5 encouraging phrases that will make kids smile

Everyone needs a little encouragement, and kids are especially needy for positive words in the first weeks of the school year. Early wake-up times, confining schedules and packed days wear out parents, yes, but kids, too. You don’t need to flatter them endlessly to lift their wish-it-was-still-summer spirits; a few well-chosen words can go the […]

Why I don’t give my kids 100 percent

  Being a mom requires a lot. By the end of the day, I feel like I’ve been tugged on, sucked from and sneezed on so many times that I just want to scream “give me some space!” Sometimes I do. The days of working on something without interruption or even finishing a sentence during […]

10 tips for talking to grieving kids

Death is a tricky topic of discussion among adults, but talking to grieving kids about the death of a loved one can be downright intimidating. But experts say the difficulty of the conversation doesn’t make it any less important. One in 20 children will experience the death of a parent before they graduate from high […]

10 ways to support a family with a sick kid in the hospital

When a friend or family member has a sick kid or teen in the hospital you know you want to help but aren’t sure exactly what to do. Try one of these 10 ideas for supporting families with a child in the hospital: 1. Give kid-friendly games. If a child is sick enough to be […]

8 apps that will help you break your cell phone addiction

If you check your smartphone in the bathroom, at the gym, at the playground with your kids, before you go to bed at night — and a hundred other times in between — it may be time for a digital detox. And ironically, there’s an app (or 10) for that. You may not be technically […]

6 ways parents can improve their listening skills

If you feel like your kids hardly listen to a word you say, take heart. Children and teens ignoring their parents is a universal problem as old as parenting itself. But before you put all the blame on your offspring, consider whether your listening skills could stand to be improved. Try these six tips for […]

10 life skills you should be teaching your teens (but probably aren’t)

Eventually your teens will be full-fledged adults. Yes, they grow up fast. Make sure they know how-to adult by teaching them these 10 simple but crucial life skills: 1. How to unclog a toilet. You only need to get stuck with a clogged toilet at a party once to understand how important this life skill […]

7 kid-friendly clutter busters

Kids and stuff go together like peanut butter and jelly. They stick together, and it can be a challenge for parents to keep things tidy with little clutter magnets in the home. Don’t work harder to fight the piles of kid paraphernalia; work smarter. Try these seven kid-friendly clutter busters: 1. Live by the one […]

8 New Year’s resolutions to make as a family

Parents may have a secret weapon when it comes to making and keeping New Year’s resolutions: their kids. After all, most children exhibit near-perfect recall when it works in their favor (“On Monday when we were driving in the car you said that we could go to Target on Saturday to look at Lego”),  above-average […]

5 classic pairings of holiday films and food

Looking for a fun family activity on a cold winter’s night? How about dinner and movie, holiday-style? If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the week before Christmas, may we suggest the following five food and film pairings? The movie: “White Christmas” The food: Vanilla Snow Ice Cream, Snow Angel Cupcakes […]

10 activities to add to your Christmas break bucket list

Summer isn’t the only season worthy of a bucket list. Winter deserves a wish-list of its own (and not just the one penned for Old St. Nick). Consider adding these 10 activities to your Christmas break bucket list: 1. Build a snowman. If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, pencil in some time to build […]

5 ways to make the North Pole Express the ride of your life

Mark Nelson, executive director of the Heber Valley Railroad, likes to joke that his favorite part of the North Pole Express is “when it’s over.” The themed holiday train ride is a massive, complicated — and quite impressive — undertaking for the historic railroad. More than 150 employees and community members work to transport guests […]

59 of the best toys of all time

What do a ball, stick and cardboard box have in common? They are just three of the toys that are members of the National Toy Hall of Fame. This award is given by The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. It features 59 (and counting) of the best toys of all time. […]

5 outrageous things moms aren’t supposed to do

Spend a little too much time on social media, and you’ll realize that Mom Shaming is both real and sad. Here are just a few of the ridiculous things moms have been getting in trouble for doing lately: 1. Brexting Yes, this really is a thing, as in a laughable term for texting while breastfeeding. […]

15 toys and books that will help your kids keep quiet

There are plenty of scenarios when you need to keep your kids quiet but their hands busy so they don’t fight, complain or fall asleep in the car right before you get home. Keeping a quiet bag stocked and ready for car rides, waiting rooms and church time is a major parental sanity saver. But […]

10 critical safety tips for Halloween night

Here’s a holiday fact that’s really scary: Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year, according to the Washington, D.C.-based organization Safe Kids Worldwide. To keep your little ghosts and goblins safe this spooky season, follow this advice […]

6 ways to help kids develop a musical ear

It’s time to face the music: exposure to classical music is good for kids and teens. Numerous studies show a correlation between music education and brain development; math and spatial reasoning; reading and verbal skills; academic achievement; and even social and emotional development. For instance, a performance report from the 2012 SATs shows students who […]

10 family-friendly Halloween happenings in Utah County

Looking for a Halloween event that won’t scare the screams out of your little monsters? There are plenty of G-rated venues in Utah County. Here are just a few of the places where you can have a happy — and not so scary — Halloween: 1. Cornbelly’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Festival When: Daily except […]

8 solutions for the bedtime battle

Last week I staged a bedtime intervention with my kids. I was feeling frazzled and frustrated that what I pictured as a warm and fuzzy farewell to the day was in fact an hours-long power struggle. In desperation I did what any self-respecting journalist would: I interviewed my mom friends about what their bedtime routine […]

10 traditions to help children love general conference

The semiannual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the perfect time for faith, family — and food. Here are 10 traditions to help children and youth stay engaged as they hear talks from church leadership. 1. “Meet” the speakers Children and teens may be more likely to pay attention […]

7 suggestions for surviving your spouse’s football addiction

Football season is in full swing, which can only mean one thing: I am now a sports widow. Every Saturday for the foreseeable future, I can plan on my husband being absent for hours, cheering on his beloved team until his voice goes hoarse. If it’s a home game, he’ll be in the stands yelling […]

10 ways to help picky eaters

Tired of mealtime drama? Sometimes picky eating is more than just frustrating behavior: Children who are intensely picky (or selective) eaters are more than twice as likely to develop depression and anxiety than those with normal eating habits, according to a study published in August in the journal Pediatrics. While only about 3 percent of […]

15 books (and series) for boys who hate to read

If your son hates to read, don’t despair, say local librarians. Maybe he just hasn’t found the right book (or series!) yet. Here, three Utah County librarians give their top picks for books that will spark literary love in reluctant readers. FOR GRADE-SCHOOLERS Picks by Joella Peterson, children’s services manager at the Provo City Library […]

12 ways to make the first day of school special

Most Utah County children are headed back to school this week. It doesn’t take much money or time to make your child’s first day special. Just a love note here or a school-bus-shaped Twinkie there is all it takes to score high marks in fun. “Twas the night before …” 1. Eat a final feast […]

5 podcasts for mom’s back-to-school learning

The kids will be back in school soon, but they aren’t the only ones in the family who could benefit from additional education. It’s a smart idea for parents to be continually learning, too, even if they aren’t formally enrolled in class. Podcasts are a convenient way to get education on the go. Listen to them […]

6 ideas for helping kids understand their emotions

Joy, sadness, anger and disgust. Thanks to the Disney animated flick “Inside Out,” parents and their kids may be thinking a lot more about these emotions. And hopefully they’re talking about them, too, says Ross Flom, a BYU psychology professor who specializes in child development. Flom and two former grad students co-authored a study released […]

5 ways to help your children catch the pioneer spirit

It’s hard to say enough good things about the Latter-day Saint pioneers who crossed the plains to Utah. They were committed, spiritual, hardy, tough. Every year, Utah celebrates that unbreakable attitude July 24, but you don’t have to brave long parade lines in Salt Lake to honor the state’s forbearers. Here are a few easy […]

5 things I gave up to be a happier mom

Gluten, flour, sugar, Diet Coke, food I can actually taste. Just kidding. I love gluten. And sugar. I would never give those things up. In fact, a nighttime pint of Ben & Jerry’s is often my reward for surviving another summer day with four kids at home. But there are a few things as a […]

Hey, Mom: You have more free time than you think

Moms never get enough sleep and they certainly don’t get any “me” time — or so goes popular opinion. But numbers from the latest American Time Use Survey released last Wednesday say those common societal laments aren’t necessarily true. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey, women in households with children under age […]

Adventures in babysitting: 5 ways to set your sitter up for success

If you’re old enough to remember the 1987 comedy “Adventures in Babysitting,” then you might have a kid or five who needs watching. But when it comes babysitting, flat tires and mafia run-ins are bad. Safe, boring and uneventful evenings are good. A babysitter is one of the most important people you will ever employ. […]