Archives for September 2010

Fisher-Price® Recall

Fisher-Price® issued four recalls today. Please make sure you don’t have one of these items in your house! If you do, visit the Mattel Recalls Page and visit the appropriate link for your product.

hotwheelsrecalledtrike.jpgFourteen varities of Fisher-Price trikes have been recalled due to the protruding key you see in the picture above.The recall site states, "A child can strike, sit or fall on the plastic key and be injured." 
HealthyCareHighChairrecalled.JPGHealthy Care™, Close to Me™, and Easy Clean™ High Chairs with tray storage pegs have also been recalled. Check the label on the back of your high chair for a product number, then compare with this list to see if yours has been recalled.

There has also been a recall on specific models of the Little People® Wheelies™ Stand ‘n Play™ Rampway and inflatable balls associated with the following toys: Baby Playzone™ Crawl & Cruise Playground™, Baby Playzone™ Crawl & Slide Arcade™, Baby Gymtastics™ Play Wall, Ocean Wonders™ Kick & Crawl Aquarium (C3068 and H8094), 1-2-3 Tetherball and Bat & Score Goal made before 2008.

Please see the Mattel Recall Web site for more information.

The Child Product Safety site is an easy resource for finding the most recent recalled children’s items, as well as searching for specific items you may have questions about.

Finding Family-Friendly Movies by Bud Harlan

As parents today, you may find it difficult to sift through what is and what is not appropriate for your kids. Take a movie rating, for example. I think it’s safe to say that many “PG” movies of today would have been considered “PG-13” (and, in some cases, “R”) 10 years ago.

So, where do you start? What resources are available to parents who want to find an appropriate, kid-friendly movie for the whole family to watch on a Friday night?

I found a couple of online resources for parents, one of which also has a neat iPhone app to supplement its Web site.

Focus on the Family operates Plugged In Online, a Web site with hundreds of movie reviews (including movies currently in theaters). This one’s a real simple, easy-to-navigate blog that also has reviews on videos, music, TV shows, and games. Plugged In makes searching for movies super simple, and it also has a feature which allows you to view the most-read reviews.

Another interesting online resource I found was Common Sense Media. I only stumbled across this Web site because I first found its iPhone app. This Web site has almost 4,000 movie reviews and, like Plugged In Online, also reviews games, TV shows, and music. In addition, this Web site has thousands of book reviews and Web site reviews. Here are a few screenshots of what the Common Sense Media iPhone app looks like.



Here’s what you see when you open up the app. So, say you want to do a thorough review of a movie before taking the family to see it…



It lets you scroll through to select which movie you want to review. What I really like here is that it shows you how old you should be to watch the movie. None of those ambiguous movie ratings that loosely apply these days…


When you select "Read Our Full Review," you get a page of good content on what to expect from the movie. These icons are simple and easy to understand. I thought Common Sense Media did a great job including info that was important to parents. When was the last time you saw a movie and thought, “I would never want my child to grow up and behave like that”? This app actually shows you (via the “Role Models” icon) to what degree the movie might positively influence a child.



When you scroll down the app, you can read more information about the movie, what you need to know about the different movie elements, what’s good about the movie, etc. The neatest thing I found here was info on how you could talk about the movie with your kids. Instead of just watching a movie and letting that be that, this app gives you ways to "debrief" the movie with your children. This "debrief" feature could give you the opportunity to relate the movie to spiritual concepts, help you clear up any "societal" misconceptions, or even lead your child to Christ.

Any other tools for finding family-friendly movies we should know about?

Bud Harlan is the department intern for Childhood Training and Events at LifeWay and blogs for CentriKid Camps. For other kid-friendly tools and resources, visit

Help Your Child Make Friends

me & my friends

Some children are natural at initiating play — and relationships — with other children, while others must be guided. Here are some tips for ensuring your child will learn to make and keep friends.

Start with the Golden Rule.

“Have them consider, ‘Would you like it if Jayden did that to you?’” says Corinne Gregory, founder of SocialSmarts®, a nationally-recognized program that teaches good social skills, positive character, and values to kids. “Young children are not aware of how much power they have to make other people feel good or bad. To build and keep friends, you have to put yourself in their shoes. Keep reinforcing this concept with your child, praising positive behavior when you see it and gently correcting the negative.”

Offer consistency.

“Teaching the concept of ‘friend’ comes best when there can be one consistent one-on-one situation, one consistent family with whom you and your child feel comfortable,” says Andrea Gould, Ph.D., president of Lucid Learning Systems. “After mastering the art of playing peaceably with one other youngster, preferably close in age, a child can learn, with guidance, to generalize about friendship, its comforts, and its challenges. Good experience generalizes readily.”

Foster empathy.

“Learning to recognize and interpret social cues such as a sad face, a laugh, or a child’s need to be alone can determine whether or not your child will make and keep friends easily,” says Jackie Gass, president of Sunbrook Academy and early childhood development expert. “You can promote the process [of developing empathy] through everyday experiences by talking about facial expressions of others and asking, ‘How do you think she feels?’, ‘How does that make you feel?’, or ‘Does he look happy or sad?’ You can also encourage this by expressing your own feelings or through books and games.”

Pay attention and discuss what you see.

“Talk to your child about what to expect when you go to the park, attend a birthday party or school,” says Vicki Folds, Ph.D., vice president of education and professional development at Children of America. “If your child dominates situations, discuss how the other children might be feeling if they never get a turn. If your child stands back and waits for others to engage them, you might want to encourage your child to initiate a game. At the end of a play day, encourage your child to tell you about the day, about the friends, they made and what they did. This helps them remember events and build relationships.”

So there’s what the experts say. Do you have any additional advice or tools for helping your child(ren) make friends?

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons.

Help Us With Our New Design … Coming March 2011

I have had the privilege of working on ParentLife for seven years (I can hardly believe it … time flies)! Over those seven years, I’ve been a part of several redesigns of the magazine. It’s always a lot of work, but it’s always very exciting and well worth the effort!

In the past few months, our team has been working hard behind the scenes on a new design for ParentLife that will be launching in March 2011. And I must say … it is by far my favorite design so far! I can’t wait to get it into your hands and see what you think! We hope you will find it to be beautiful, refreshing, and open with the same great content you’ve come to expect!

Today, we’re giving you a tiny sneak peek … the cover! We want the first cover of the new design to be the best cover yet, but we need your help.

Below are five of our favorite cover choices. Let us know which cover is your favorite by leaving a comment!

Cover 1 (below)


Cover 2 (below)


Cover 3 (below)


Cover 4 (below)


Cover 5 (below)



 Leave a comment and let us know which one is your favorite and any comments you would like to share. We will use your feedback to help us decide on the March 2011 cover. We’re moving fast on this, so be sure and comment today!

Don’t Forget the September Giveaway!

Follow the September Giveaway link below to give us feedback about how you use SuperDuper.jpgParentLife and to qualify for our September giveaway!

September Giveaway

Win one of 10 copies of our new Super Duper activity books!

One comment per individual, please. LifeWay employees are not eligible to win. Winners will be announced on the blog October 1, 2010.

Be Prepared in an Emergency

Did you know that September is the seventh annual National Preparedness Month? Since 2003, the Department of Homeland Security has urged families to get their acts together when it comes to having plans in case of an emergency.

The Center for Disease Control Web site offers some wonderful advice on what emergency preparedness truly means. They outline how each family can make an emergency kit, create an emergency plan, be informed about emergencies, and get involved in educating their community.

We were recently able to review the American Red Cross Blackout Buddy, a fantastic tool to have in your home in case of a common problem: a power outage. (If your kids are very scared of the dark, this can qualify as a national emergency!)

blkbuddy.jpgThe Blackout Buddy functions as a night-light for everyday use, but when the power goes out it immediately has a bright LED light that comes on automatically. Flip down the prongs for plugging in, and it can be used as a flashlight — one that can be found a lot more quickly than the one buried in the bottom of a junk drawer in a dark kitchen.

The Blackout Buddy is just $15, and a percentage of proceeds goes to the American Red Cross.

Do you have an emergency plan for your family? Or even know where your flashlights are? Honestly, I’m not sure we even HAVE a flashlight.

Fun Friday Photo — September 24, 2010



Thanks to Diane R. for this great photo!

Photos wanted! Send us your funny, cute, or just plain fun pictures for our Fun Friday Photos. Each Friday we will post a new "Fun Friday Photo." E-mail your photo and a suggested caption describing the photo to Visit the blog each Friday to see if your photo was chosen!

Mark Smeby Releases First CD

MarkSmeby_bigCOVERtry1.jpgA project 17 years in the making, ParentLife writer Mark Smeby released his first album, Pilgrim Man, on September 14.

Here’s what Mark says about his music:

"My hope? That people would know more clearly how loved they are after listening. To feel that hope is closer than they imagined. And that life is an awesome adventure worth diving into – heart first."

What a wonderful mission! Pilgrim Man is available for purchase on iTunes for $9.99. You can read all about Mark’s adventures on his blog as well.


How Much Weight Should I Gain?

I can’t say I love that moment at my midwife appointment where they hoist me and my baby belly onto that beloved doctor’s scale. Who does? Due to a long bout of all-day sickness, a struggle with a possible gallstone, and running after a toddler, I’ve been much less concerned with my weight gain during this, my second pregnancy.

Some women ignore the number; some obsess over it. Here are some basic guidelines for how much weight you should be gaining during the course of your pregnancy. As always, this is something you should discuss with your obstetrician or midwife if you have any concerns or questions.  — Jessie, ParentLife Blog Guru

If your pre-pregnancy
weight status was:                                           You should gain this many pounds:

underweight                                                       28-40
normal weight                                                    25-35
overweight                                                         15-25
obese                                                               11-20

Data is from the Institute of Medicine, Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines (Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2009).

You can also check out our “On the Way” section in every issue of ParentLife!

What’s your experience with weight gain during pregnancy? Good, bad, or ugly?

Speaking Up! by William Summey

Summeyboys.jpgDo you remember hearing the statistic that people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of dying? It’s true! After all, death doesn’t boo and throw rotten tomatoes at you. Seriously, many people have a difficult time speaking in front of others. And I have found that our children are no different.

My oldest son, Jonathan, is president of the RAs (the Royal Ambassadors missions organization) this year at our church. I think he was proud of the honor until he realized that he would have to lead the group of 1st-6th grade boys every week in saying the pledges, making announcements, asking for prayer requests, and saying a prayer!

Now he doesn’t get nervous at bat in front of a bunch of screaming fans, but he was nervous about leading this time. I really don’t think it had much to do with the audience (although school-age boys and their teachers are fairly daunting), as much as remembering what to say and not messing up onstage.

So we practiced, talked about what to say, and practiced some more. Now four weeks into the year, he seems like an old pro. OK, not an old pro, but a lot more relaxed! I am so proud of the job he has done. It was even more precious to walk through this problem with him, help him practice, pray together about it, and watch him succeed.

Now today, as I literally sit here with a second computer loading a presentation I have to make later today, I am trying to learn that same lesson all over again for myself. Bottom line, I am nervous! It is not that I lack experience speaking in front of others. It is more about a new audience, not knowing exactly what to expect, and of course not wanting to fail.

This nervous feeling is a reminder to me to pray and prepare. Too often in life we seek the comfortable and familiar, when we need a little bit of challenging and unfamiliar to make us grow. Plus, I think today in particular, I am learning a little something from my son as well.

I hope you, our ParentLife readers, have a great day! May it be uncomfortable just enough to make you depend on God more!