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Nysmith

Babies and Early Reading

My baby girl is just 3 months old. I know everyone says it is very important to read to children. It just seems ridiculous to read to such a young child. Can't I wait until she at least sits up by herself?

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Birthday Parties for Homeless Children

There are over 2.5 million homeless children in the United States. Most of these kids don't know what it's like to have a birthday that celebrates them. This inspired Shinnell Leake, founder of Extra-Ordinary Birthdays (EOB), to make it her mission to transform the lives of homeless children by creating personalized birthdays that make them feel valued and inspire moments of delight in their lives.

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Birthday Party Planning Tips

Birthdays are milestones that mark another year of growing, another year of change. But for many parents, these milestones are more like millstones when faced with the daunting task of putting together their child's birthday party. Here are 10 tips to help.

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Educational Summer Activities

I can't afford to send my children to summer camp or to costly local programs. Beyond swimming, biking and playing, what activities can I have them do that they will enjoy and that may be educational?

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Father and Daughter Pretend Play

Imaginative play isn't just fun and games. It's an essential component of childhood development. Through make-believe, kids develop creativity, learn to understand others and negotiate the confusing, unspoken rules of social interaction. They also use fictional scenarios to address concerns and questions about their lives - a lucid dream they stage and choreograph.

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Fathers are Important Role Models for Daughters

When I was a child, my dad seemed omnipotent. When he walked into a room, he was larger than life. He was someone who always knew how to fix a problem or find the right person to help if he couldn't do it himself - which was rare. Over the years, I developed a lot of the same skills that I had always admired my dad having. Would I be the same woman today if I had not had my dad as a role model? Probably not.

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Growing Up With Two Moms

Growing up as a Baby Boomer, I did not know any gay families and did not have any gay friends or relatives (that I knew of) until college. I am now fortunate to have many gay friends, many of whom have children. Times have certainly changed in the past 30 years as more gay couples are having kids, and LGBTQ rights have been established, even legalizing same-sex marriage in June of 2015.

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Improve Handwriting This Summer

My fourth-grade son's handwriting is so illegible that the teachers often say that they simply can't read his work. The teachers just say that he should practice, practice and practice. I'm not 100 percent sure what he should practice. This summer seems like a great time to improve his skills. He's willing to try. How should we approach this?

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Making Special Time for Your Kids

Making plans to share a few minutes every day or so to play with their children reassures parents that they don't have to break the "time bank" or somehow find an extra hour in the day to meet their children's needs. Instead, they can use these few moments to loosen up and focus solely on their child. Dedicating these brief but precious occasions to enjoy each other's company means so much to children that many families have come to call it their Special Time routine.

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Nurture Your Child's Creative Talent

Visual and performing arts are a way for children to creatively express themselves, and can help kids develop an appreciation for the world around them. Even if you don't have formal training or special talent, you can still nurture the arts in your child. Here's how.

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Signs of Autism and Early Intervention

Until recently, many pediatricians encouraged concerned parents to watch and wait, suggesting that the child might outgrow the behaviors and delays. Today, we know it's important to intervene early - 18 months is a frequent target. This can make a big difference in helping kids with ASD to learn new skills and more functional behaviors.

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Teach Kids Science Through Baking

You've probably heard of the old adage "Cooking is an art, while baking is a science." So what does that mean? Why is baking a science? For starters, baking relies on chemistry and it requires precision. Throw in a handful of this or a pinch of that might work for cooking, but when it comes to baking, the outcome can change with just the slightest adjustment to a recipe.

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