Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for August, 2009

PARENT TALKS: Morning Routines, Family Law & More

Morning Routine (Hector Casanova illus., MCT Direct) “Childhood Matters: Limits, Transitions and Change”
Aug. 23 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Summer’s ending, the transition to school is starting, and Rona Renner, RN, and guests are discussing limits, transitions and change.

“Free Family Law Clinic”
Aug. 25 from 3 to 7 p.m. at Bananas, Oakland
A free Family Law Clinic for low-income families embroiled in domestic matters. Sponsored by BANANAS and offered by the Volunteer Legal Services of the Alameda County Bar Association. Reservations are required; call Volunteer Legal Services, 510-302-2222.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, August 17th, 2009
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

FAB Five for the Weekend

Sonic Vision at Chabot

BIG SCREEN: Catch a show in the Chabot Space & Science Center‘s 70-ft. dome screen theater or planetarium. This weekend’s lineup includes “The Secret of the Rocket” about a magical rocket ship and a wild ride through the cosmos (perfect for kids 5-10), and “Sonic Vision,” a computer-generated musical experience designed by Moby (great for tweens and teens). Tickets $11-$15.

SKATE ART: Watch a pro skateboard demo and a full afternoon of skateboard-related art activities Aug. 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Walnut Creek’s Bedford Gallery. Free.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, August 14th, 2009
Under: Family Entertainment | No Comments »

LITTLE Tikes Recalls 1.6 Million Toys

Recalled Little Tikes Little Tikes and the federal Consumer Product Safety folks just recalled 1.6 million Little Tikes workshop toys and trucks after discovering that the oversized plastic nails in the sets can lodge in children’s throats. One toddler had to be hospitalized after a toy nail became wedged in his throat. He’s OK now, but the nails pose a significant enough threat that the toy company has recalled them. If you’ve got one of these sets – the Swirlin’ Sawdust Workshop, the black pick-up truck with a tool kit, or any of the other recalled models, take the nails away and contact Little Tikes at (800) 791-2737 or for a replacement.

Posted on Friday, August 14th, 2009
Under: Toy Recalls | 1 Comment »

BACKPACK Advice from the Pros

backpack Shopping for a new backpack for your kids? Here’s advice from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital occupational therapist Michelle Merget: “If a backpack is overloaded or not loaded properly, children can develop pain in their shoulders, neck and back. So this school year, we’re advising families to be extra careful when helping their kids pack all those books, computers, lunches, changes of clothes and sometimes even sports equipment.”

  • Picking the Backpack: Go for a lightweight pack that hangs no more than two inches below the shoulder and four inches below the waist. Make sure it has two thick, padded shoulder straps. Extra padding across the back can help cushion the load.
  • Watch the Weight: Even older kids should refrain from carrying a 25 lb. fully loaded pack, and no child should carry more than 15% of his body weight. “Parents need to take everything out from the previous day,” says Merget, “and repack, being certain that heavy items are on the bottom and lighter items are on the top.”

Posted on Wednesday, August 12th, 2009
Under: Health & Safety | No Comments »

SOFI Goes Caribbean With Asheba

Our favorite guest bloggers, Trine Gallegos and soon-to-be second grader Sofi, are back with still more CD reviews – one a winner and one … not so much. Asheba
Asheba:In the Kid Zone” is a lovely little offering. Pegged as “Caribbean music for kids,” this CD has its share of toe-tapping, booty-shaking and joyful numbers. This breaks the cookie-cutter offerings that are out there. Sofia gave it a thumbs-up. And if you like Asheba’s music, you’ll want to know this: Asheba is performing at 6 p.m. Aug. 15 at Antioch’s Prewett Park, 4701 Lone Tree Way. The concert is free. For more information, call 925-776-3070.

Mary Kaye: We tried like crazy to like this CD. We really did. Mary Kaye has a beautifully clear voice and her music is rather sweet. But, still … there was something missing. Similar in tone to the beloved Laurie Berkner, Mary Kaye’s “Music Box” just didn’t have any of Berkner’s grab-you-by-the-collar charm. Still, this wasn’t a bomb, so we’re planning to share with another friend, in hopes of it finding it a good home.

Posted on Tuesday, August 11th, 2009
Under: children's music | 1 Comment »


Olivia (Courtesy Nickelodeon) Olivia, the adorable porker from Ian Falconer’s picture books and now Nickelodeon’s animated adventures, is on DVD, and we’ve got a copy, hot off the press. The new Nickelodeon DVD features four Olivia adventures including a memorable turn as cow #2 in the school play, a piano/sibling rivalry lesson, and some soccer hijinks. You want it? Ah, all you need do is click “comments” and tell us, who’s your favorite fictional pig? We’ll draw a winner’s name on Monday.

(Congrats, by the way, to last week’s winner – Alyssa!)

Posted on Monday, August 10th, 2009
Under: Contest | 9 Comments »

425,000 Kolcraft Play Yards Recalled After Baby Dies

Recalled play yard The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Kolcraft just recalled 425,000 infant play yards after a 10-month-old baby boy strangled to death. Twelve different models are included in the recall and all of them have a raised changing table with a strap that forms a loop underneath. One model also has a rocking cradle in which children can become trapped and suffocate. There have already been 45 reports of babies rolling to the side of the cradle and getting wedged. These play yards were sold between 2001 and 2007. Check the web site for specific model numbers, then contact the company to get replacement parts.

Posted on Monday, August 10th, 2009
Under: Babies & Tots, Toy Recalls | 1 Comment »

PARENT TALKS: Stay-at-Home Daddies & More

Scheduling (Chris Ware illustration) “Nurse Rona’s Book Club: The Daddy Shift”
Aug. 16 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Guest host Dr. Will Courtenay, The
Men’s Doc, and Jeremy Adam Smith, author of “The Daddy Shift,” discuss stay-at-home dads, breadwinner moms and changing roles in parenting.

“Childhood Matters: Limits, Transitions and Change”
Aug. 23 from 7 to 8 a.m. on 98.1 KISS-FM and streamed live on Summer’s ending, the transition to school is starting, and Rona Renner, RN, and guests are discussing limits, transitions and change.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, August 10th, 2009
Under: Parenting Issues | No Comments »

Frugal Back to School Shopping Tips

Back-to-School Survival (Laurie McAdam illus., MCT Direct) The ever-helpful Consumer Reports folks just assembled a list of frugal back-to-school shopping tips. Some of them you probably already knew – but hey, a reminder is always helpful, right? But there are some new ideas in the mix too. Take a peek, then hit “comments” and add your tips too.

Buy in bulk – Notebooks, pencils, all those things are often sold in bulk. Nowhere to store them? Or don’t think you’ll use them all? Go in on the purchase with a neighbor.

Go plain – The Hannah Montana 3-ring binder is $6, the plain version is $2.

Go classic – When you go back-to-school clothes shopping, buy polos, tees and other basics in solid neutrals and classic styles. They’re easy to mix and match, and never look dated.

Think growth – That “buy one, get the second half off” deal looks mighty tempting, but kids grow like weeds so exercise a little restraint when stocking up. Shoes that fit now, won’t by spring.

Look for online deals – No matter what you’re buying, go online to look for coupons and promotional codes first. Try or, or Google “promotion code” and the name of the retailer. One Consumer Reports reporter recently saved 45% on a purchase by using two codes at once on the Borders Web site.

Posted on Friday, August 7th, 2009
Under: Kids & Tweens, Schools | 5 Comments »

7 Year Old Drives Car

Car by Andrewatla, StockXchng Well, here’s a new one for the Bad Parenting files. Quebec police just spotted a YouTube video of a family cheering on their newest young driver, a 7 year old tooling down the road in an SUV. Dad’s running the video camera from the passenger seat, mom and the sibs – a little sister, sans seat belt, and older brother – are in the back seat and young Samuel is behind the wheel. Police found the family, thanks to Dad’s extra-descriptive narration… which also urged his little gum-chewing son to look at the camera and smile. Now police are weighing traffic and criminal violations, and child endangerment charges. OK, reality check, people. How old were you when you first drove a car? And what do you think of this?

Posted on Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
Under: Just Bizarre | No Comments »