Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Electronic Babysitter Goes Mobile…

Friday, January 7th, 2011

A Naperville, Illinois 6-year-old ran up hundreds of dollars in charges because she didn’t know she was making purchases while playing a game on her iPod Touch, according to the local CBS station in Chicago.

The parents are focused on the fact that pop-up ads in some of these games are confusing for kids and that their daughter didn’t know what she was doing. But really, why should a 6-year-old be playing any online game unsupervised — to the point where she can inadvertently buy hundreds of dollars worth of anything?

I have to agree with Linda Parduhn of Chicago, who wrote to tell me about this story: “No 6-year-old needs her own iPod, nor do her brothers and sisters who are shown, in the video, getting them from the family docking station. You cannot absentee parent and then blame marketers for scamming your child.”


Our Most Popular Posts: Disneyland, Bullying, Girls’ Sexy Costumes… And Some Truly Obnoxious Commercials

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

It’s always interesting to look at the stats for Parent Talk Today to see the list of the most-popular posts. (If you ever want to check out the current popular posts, just look in the right sidebar.)

As we head into 2011, here are the most-popular posts:

For 2011, what would you like to see us talk about here? This is YOUR place to discuss parenting issues, from pregnancy through college. I’d love to have your suggestions. Thanks for all your support!

Wordless Wednesday: Every Kid Should Spend Some Time Fishin’

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Read Parent Talk Today on Your Kindle

Monday, December 6th, 2010

It’s here! Now you can read Parent Talk Today on your Kindle for just 99 cents per month. Check it out! And thanks to those readers who requested this. It was easy to set up with Amazon, and it looks great on the Kindle. (Click on the link above to get more information and the link to buy it. The link shown below is just a screen shot.) ;)

Helping Kids With Test Anxiety

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Today I’m happy to welcome Kate Willson as a guest blogger. Kate writes on the topic of best online colleges.  She welcomes your comments via email at and also here on the blog. Thanks, Kate!

It’s time for midterm tests, and many kids across the nation are panicking. Taking tests can be stressful for anyone, but they can also cause anxiety so great that your child may end up doing more poorly on exams — not from lack of studying, but from too much worrying.

Test anxiety, however, is easily avoidable because it’s often rooted in poor time management. Going into a test with confidence is the most effective way to do well, and this confidence only comes from studying well before the exam is scheduled.

If your child chronically suffers from test anxiety, here are a few tips for beating the stress before it starts.

1. Sit with your child and map out a plan. Kids are often poor planners, so they may need your help with this one. Sit down with your child and make a list of all upcoming tests a month or two before they’re set to begin. Figure out which classes are your child’s weak spots and dedicate more time to studying for those.

2. Explain to your child that studying a little bit every day is more effective than cramming. Every day, after homework and other chores and obligations are completed, make sure your kid is spending time reviewing every subject, with a greater emphasis on the more difficult classes. Study in order of importance. The easier, more enjoyable classes are better left till later, when your child’s attention and energy are waning.

3. As tests approach, make short study guides. Many teachers give students a pretty precise indication of what, exactly, will be on each test. Based on the information the teacher provides, work with your child to collect notes, homework assignments, and other class materials, and condense the information into a quick study guide that your kid can review a few days before the test.

4. Take it easy. Even if your kid is fully prepared for her tests, some children just get more stressed out than others. If your child is prone to this kind of stress, make sure she engages in relaxing activities around test time to unwind. Encourage her to take effective breaks doing things she enjoys. Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep the day before any test, and is also eating healthy and avoiding sweets and caffeine, which further contribute to anxiety.

Above all, reassure your child that as long as she gives it her all, it’s not the end of the world if she doesn’t do as well as she wanted to. Doing her best is what counts.

Get Your Free Cyber Security Guide for Parents

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Thanks to the folks at SafetyWeb for providing a wonderful, detailed, new guide for parents, “Cyber Security in the 21st Century.” You can download it as a free PDF here.

One of the most important things to talk about with your kids when it comes to being safe online is sharing personal information and photos over Facebook, Twitter, etc. Thanks to SafetyWeb for allowing me to share these tips for parents, which are also appropriate for kids:

• Don’t post the exact details of your whereabouts before the fact. Announcing the exact dates of a two-week vacation; reporting when and where a child goes to and leaves school; saying anything that tells strangers too much about your location or your kids’ locations should be avoided.

• If you choose to upload photos to a social networking site via a smart phone, turn off geotagging.

• Monitor kids’ networked friends. Be sure they understand that they should not accept invitations from people they don’t know.

• Do not include too many personal details. Birth month and day is adequate, for example, especially for information about children, but the same applies to adults, too.

• Use avatars or pet pictures for kids on social networking sites.

• Understand that Skype and other VoIP software can share too much information, too. Share information judiciously.

• Think before posting anything – pictures, facts or opinions. Privacy is a relative term on a social networking site, and things travel quickly on the Internet.

• Set and maintain your security settings. Do not assume that the site’s default settings are the best for you.

Halloween Costumes for Baby

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

I just saw the CUTEST Halloween costumes for babies over at and I have to share them with you. While some are a bit pricey, in my opinion, some adorable costumes are just $9.95. Here are some of my favorites, covering all price ranges. (Makes me miss those preschooler days, when Matt was a spider for Halloween!)

Kids and Chores: What Works?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

When should kids start doing chores around the house? Should allowance be tied to chores? Do sticker charts help?

Check out my interview (no byline, unfortunately, but it’s mine!), on, with parenting expert Amy McCready. A mother of two and the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, an online parenting education resource, McCready explains why chores are an essential part of growing up. (She even has suggestions for ways toddlers and preschoolers can help around the house.)

I’ve also been checking out her online course, which teaches parents how to calmly and confidently put an end to back talk, lack of listening, tantrums, whining, sibling rivalry, bedtime battles and any other misbehavior that comes along. Gotta love that! Want to see McCready in action? Here she is on the Today Show.

Check out Positive Parenting Solutions. There’s a lot of great material there for parents of kids of all ages.

Life’s Little Pleasures

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Randy (AKA “The Hubs”) is flying home from a week-long business trip and is due in any minute. The laundry is done for the first time all summer. The dog endured his trip to the vet + bordetella shot today and is happily snoozing at my feet. There’s homemade chocolate cake in the house. I have lots of paying writing and editing work to do tomorrow. And Matt, my son, is downstairs playing Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s “Lucky Man” on the piano.

Life’s little pleasures. They mean a lot in the day-to-day scheme of things. (Although Randy returning after being gone for a week is a BIG pleasure.) A phone call from a friend. A great cup of coffee. An unexpected card in the mail. A walk on a gorgeous July morning.

What are the little pleasures in your life right now? Isn’t it amazing how something so small as (temporarily) having the laundry done can make your day?

Show this Video to Your Tweens and Teens — Girls AND Boys

Sunday, June 20th, 2010