Living

Living

Ask Mr. Dad: Preschooler wants a mommy

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm a single dad – my wife left me with the baby right after our son was born. He's now four and keeps asking where his mommy is. I try to keep in touch with her and ask her to spend time with her son, but she's not interested. I've also been dating a lot, hoping to meet women so my son can have some positive female role models in his life, but no luck yet. My son clearly wants a mom. But what I'm most worried about is that he's not sleeping, eating, or behaving like other kids his age. What should I do?

Living

Ex-etiquette: Grateful for 'yours, mine, and ours'

I'm a big toaster. For years at Thanksgiving I tried to kick off the dinner by raising our glasses together and counting our blessings. We are a yours, mine, and ours bonusfamily and the people at the table are an uncommon bunch. There are exes and current partners, there are kids from each coupling that have all been raised together – and now there are grandkids. It's been a struggle sometimes, but the years have mellowed everyone and tolerance has kicked in.

Living

Living with Children: Does the equal opportunity squat work?

I was fresh out of grad school when psychologists and other mental health types began recommending that when speaking to a child, an adult should squat down to eye level with said child. Supposedly, this submissive posture is a means of demonstrating respect for the child while, at the same time, avoiding any implication that the child must pay attention and obey because the adult is bigger.

Living

Game review: 'Star Wars Battlefront II,' epic sci-fi shooter, marred by microtransactions

Parents need to know that "Star Wars Battlefront II" is a first/third-person action shooter game, and is the direct sequel to EA's 2015 "Star Wars Battlefront" title. The story touches on themes of loyalty, redemption, and more, with a strong female protagonist leading the charge. "Battlefront II" is relatively easy to pick up and play, though some aspects of it have a steeper learning curve than others. Since combat is a central focus, violence in the game is a core part of the non-stop action. Even so, the violence is never graphic or bloody, with defeated enemies simply falling over and vanishing from the battlefield. Parents should also be aware that "Battlefront II" has an in-game market, where players use credits earned through gameplay or crystals purchased with real world money to unlock additional content.

Living

App review: Preschoolers learn ins, outs of running a restaurant with Dr. Panda Cafe app

Parents need to know that, with Dr. Panda Cafe, kids act as the waiter, cook, and busser in a busy cafe. The game starts off slowly, but as kids play, things can get pretty hectic. Customers arrive and need to be seated, and orders need to be taken, food and drinks prepared, bills paid, and tables cleaned. Customers reward good service with tips, and kids collect new foods to offer. Since there's no obvious stopping point, parents may want to set time limits ahead of time. In the parents' section, parents can turn background music and sound effects on or off and hide the advertising icon on the home screen. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your information is collected and shared.

Living

Mix up your latkes

Make traditional potato pancakes one night, but then surprise the kids with dessert for dinner at your next Hanukkah candle-lighting. Here's how to whip up sweet apple latkes:

Living

How to use media to teach your kid gratitude

Our culture is saturated with come-ons to buy, buy, buy: smartphones, in-app purchases, pricey laptops, and advertising that targets kids at every turn. No wonder many parents fret over how to teach kids gratitude. But gratitude actually has nothing to do with the amount of stuff you have or don't have.

Movie News & Reviews

Movie review: 'Wonder,' earnest, emotional book adaptation, excellent film for families

Parents need to know that "Wonder" is an earnest, emotional family drama based on R.J. Palacio's award-winning novel of the same name. It centers on Auggie Pullman, a young boy with a genetic facial difference. Auggie meets both cruel bullies and good friends as he attends school for the first time; his supportive family is always there for him – even when he tries to push them away. The movie has clear positive messages about choosing kindness, appreciating everyone for who they are (rather than what they look like), and true friendship; empathy and perseverance are also strong themes. There's some fighting among tweens/young teens and sad moments involving a loss. Language includes name-calling and insult words like "shut up," "jerk," "freak," and "deformed," as well as an "oh my God" or two. Teens kiss, and adults flirt/exchange mild innuendo. A teen character finishes her mom's abandoned glass of wine after her mom, who's going through a difficult divorce, falls asleep/passes out.

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