Dear Jack: Playing Hungry Hungry Hippos and Crossfire with Your Sister Before School

8 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Two months ago, when I took you to Target so you could spend a $25 gift card you received for your birthday, I also invested in the classic board game Crossfire for our home.

It has truly served its purpose as a casual form of pick-up entertainment in our living room.

But this past weekend, you realized that there are some major similarities between Crossfire and Hungry Hungry Hippos.

So now, both games take up the real estate of our living room table.

I’m happy though. You and your sister even entertained yourself this week before school; alternating between the two games.

It’s like having our own little arcade in our living room!

Love,

Daddy

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How Often Children Should Go to the Dentist

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a concerned parent. There are many dangers present in the world today, and so it is a good idea to be careful when you are taking care of the health of your child. “When it comes to dental care of your child, in particular, an early start and regular follow up is the way to go,” says a local Belltown dentist.

First Visit

To begin with, you should take your child to the dentist by the time he or she celebrates his or her first birthday. These first visits are crucial for the child because they get him or her accustomed to the dentist’s chair. As a parent, starting this early also gives you the opportunity to get educated on the best care for your child’s teeth.

In case your child is still on the bottle and hasn’t started to wake up in the middle of the night to drink or snack, you can wait until he or she turns two years of age before you take him or her to the dentist for the initial visit. Once you’re done with the first visit, the standard frequency is to take them for a checkup every six months.

Between 4 and 6 Years

A major milestone is that period between the ages of four and six. At this point, your dentist should take some X-rays to find out if there are any insidious cavities lying between the teeth.

After 6 years

From the age of six, your main focus should be on prevention. This is that age when the baby teeth start to shed and get replaced by permanent teeth. Your child’s dentist is highly likely to suggest a sealant at this point. This is a plastic resin that will bond the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth and reduces the chances of cavities forming in these spaces. The resin blocks bacteria from getting in those spaces between the teeth and also the grooves and valleys in the teeth themselves. This will be necessary between the ages of seven and nine. The most likely site for such treatment will be the molars, which are especially prone to cavities.

Another thing that is likely to happen around this time, when the child is seven years old, is that his or her dentist is going to suggest an evaluation of the teeth, known as an orthodontic evaluation.

As for braces, the majority of kids won’t be wearing these until they get into their early teens, but that’s not what an orthodontic evaluation is for. The whole point of orthodontics is to modify the growth of the jaw. At this stage, the dentist will evaluate the skeletal origins of things like crooked teeth and correct them early on. By sorting these issues at an early age, the dentist will be able to ensure that your child has a beautiful smile later in life.

What matters the most for your child is the basics: make sure he or she brushes his or her teeth at least twice a day, flosses everyday and go for regular twice yearly dental checkups. Your children will thank you later in life for that beautiful smile on their faces.

Dads Secretly Take Their Sons to See PG-13 Rated Superhero Movies, Like Aquaman (But They Don’t Admit It On Social Media…)

At what age is it socially acceptable for a boy to go see a PG-13 rated superhero movie with his dad?

Follow up question:

At what age is it appropriate or okay for a boy to watch a PG-13 rated movie with his dad?

I think those are difficult questions to answer, and even dangerous to ask, because ultimately, each parent has their own standards on what they perceive as acceptable in raising their children.

And in an age where many people have traded in their fear of God for fear of a social media backlash thanks to ever-potential mob mentality of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, no one wants to have to defend their views to the 10% of the population who passionately disagreed in the comments section; and then have to follow-up with a token social media apology a few days later.

My theory is that many dads do take their sons to watch PG-13 rated superhero movies, they just don’t talk about it on social media because it may not be socially acceptable to broadcast it.

On certain issues, I am undeniably more conservative as a parent. But with other things, I am perhaps more liberal than people might expect.

I recognize that not all PG-13 rated movies are created equal. So to me, the movie rating is a bit arbitrary.

Fortunately, it’s as if there is now an unspoken rule that PG-13 rated superhero movies that have their own toy line have agreed to keep sexual content out of their movies. Instead, the PG-13 rating is earned from stylized action sequences; in other words, violence without blood.

There are also typically a handful of milder profanities thrown in these PG-13 rated superhero movies. Even though my 8 year-old son doesn’t hear his own parents cursing, I’m sure by now he’s learning the “bad words” from other kids at school.

Honestly, what bothers me more is my son hearing the casual use of “oh my God” in PG rated movies and kids’ sitcoms. To me, that phrase is breaking one of the Ten Commandments. Meanwhile, I’m supposed to be worried because my son hears an alternate word for butt or poop?

So as long as he knows which words he’s not allowed to say, as he gradually becomes aware of which words our society has given power of taboo, then I am not too concerned.

However, this is all simply my own parenting style.

This isn’t necessarily what the norm is. Maybe it is. I don’t know. Honestly, I’m not keeping up with what other parents are saying on the subject.

Or maybe they’re like me- they’re not admitting to taking their sons to see PG-13 rated movies; not because it’s inappropriate for the child, but that it’s inappropriate for the parent to admit it on social media?

But if it were socially acceptable for a dad to admit he took his 8 year-old son to see Aquaman this past weekend, I would use this opportunity that say that it was probably my son’s favorite superhero movie so far.

And knowing that he and I had quality time together this weekend doing something we both enjoyed- well, that makes me happy to be a dad.

Dear Holly: You Finally Have Your New White Bed

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

Right after we got your brother’s new bunk beds installed, you also got an instant upgrade.

You had been asking Mommy for a white bed, so she painted your brother’s old bed white and got you a new bedspread.

While all of that was taking place, Nonna helped take care of you. You especially liked hearing her read your favorite stories in her own rendition.

So you went from the final stage of your crib bed, to now, the big girl bed you will have for years to come!

You now have the bedroom of a nearly 3 year-old little girl!

Though I guess it’s just a matter of time before we end up having to paint the walls pink.

Love,

Daddy

4 Things to Consider Before Giving Jewelry to Your Kids  

Pieces of jewelry are great gifts to adults and children alike. While most people consider jewelry as a priceless possession, every piece has its price tag, so you want to ensure that it will be used, kept, and treasured forever.  

Giving jewelry to your kids is entirely different from buying them new toys. Jewelry is far more expensive and can be a source of major disappointment when your child accidentally misplaces or loses it. So, here are the important things you need to consider before you give jewelry to your kids:  

  1. Type of Jewelry 

Jewelry for adults is different from jewelry for kids; hence, you need to carefully choose the type of jewelry that you give as a gift. Here are some examples of jewelry pieces that are appropriate for kids: 

  • Monogram and name necklacesThese types of necklaces are perfect for grade-school kids. They are personalized and are appropriate for both girls and boys. You may have the initials or the name of your child designed or engraved into a beautiful pendant. 
  • Birthstone earrings. Dainty birthstone earrings are classic jewelry pieces that will never run out of style and will never be outgrown. They can be given as gifts not only on birthdays but on all types of occasions. For instance, you can give tourmaline or opal stud earrings to Octoberian birthday celebrants. 
  • Earrings in fun shapes and characters. There are different styles and designs of earrings that girls love, such as tiny hoops with fun shapes, flower-theme dangling earrings, cupcake-inspired design, and favorite cartoon character designs.  
  • Rings in colorful and playful designs. Rings are recommended for older kids because they can appreciate them. Choose colorful and playful designs, and your kids will surely love them and wear them every day.  
  • Charm bracelets. Give your kids charm bracelets to remember the most important events or milestones in their lives. For instance, you can give your daughter a basic bracelet for her 7th birthday. As the years go by, accessorize the bracelet with charms that represent your child’s achievements. 
  1. Age of the Child 

The age of your child is a crucial factor to consider before you decide whether it’s practical and sensible to give such a valuable gift. Here are some reminders when buying jewelry for your kids: 

  • Toddlers and preschoolers tend to damage or lose items, especially jewelry. It’s okay to give earrings such as gemstone or birthstone studs for your baby girl because they hardly notice or remove it.  
  • School-age children appreciate cute necklaces and bracelets. Your son will appreciate a new stainless-steel necklace and bracelet with his name engraved on it, like that of his favorite rockstar. Your daughter will be surprised and possibly request a set for her charming jewelry collection. 
  • Teenagers are starting to develop their fashion sense. They would appreciate a simple jewelry set that they can wear to complete their OOTDs. 
  1. Safety

You may want your baby to wear fine jewelry on her christening or when attending special occasions, but you’re also worried about your baby’s safety.  Here’s how you can keep your child safe when wearing jewelry: 

  • Make sure that there’s nothing around or in the jewelry piece that could pose a choking hazard, such as tiny charms, loose embellishments, and delicate extensions, to young children, especially those aged 5 years and below.  
  • Constrictive jewelry could cut off proper blood circulation, so choose necklaces and bracelets with appropriate length.  
  • Bring your child to the jewelry shop to try a necklace to ensure appropriate sizing.  
  1. Make and Durability 

Invest in a long-lasting jewelry piece that your children will cherish forever and that would possibly become an heirloom that will be handed from one generation to another. According to The New York Times, jewelry changes people, so its make and durability say much about the person’s character and personality, including your child’s perception about what a “priceless gift” is.  

As an example, a pair of diamond stud earrings is a precious gift you can give to your daughter for her graduation or debut. Diamond is a precious and durable material, and so are platinum, gold, and silver.

Conclusion 

Jewelry usually holds great sentimental value for the giver and the wearer. It connects the heart and minds of two people, most especially a parent and a child. Parents always want to give the best for their children, and giving your kids jewelry is like showing them how much you love and care for them. More than the price, it is the thought that truly counts. At the end of the day, what your children will love and appreciate are all the time and effort that you have devoted for choosing the best jewelry gift for them.  

Photos: Shutterstock

Dear Jack: You and Your Sister Willingly Shared a Bed During the Christmas Holidays

8 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Though you could have slept down the hall in your very own bed in the bonus room while we stayed at Nonna and Papa’s house last week during Christmas vacation, you opted to sleep on the trundle bed attached to your sister’s bed.

But I noticed that all four nights, you and your sister ended up in the same actual bed. She would roll off her bed in the middle of the night onto your bed.

And then by the 3rd night, she decided she wanted to sleep on the trundle bed instead. But of course, she crawled up into your bed those nights after you fell asleep.

The funny thing is, you had no idea. You slept through all of it either way.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Sneaking Chocolate Candy Behind Empty Christmas Toy Boxes

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

Last week during our Christmas vacation at Nonna and Papa’s, Mommy and I went out for a few hours to get coffee. While we were out, Nonna caught on to a sneaky little trick that your brother set up for the two of you.

He took two empty boxes from Christmas gifts, Scented SlimyGloop and Play-Doh poop, and placed them upright on the kitchen table.

Then he placed the jar of mint chocolate M&Ms behind them and slowly began dispersing them, one at a time, to both of you.

The exact number of M&Ms obtained during this mission remain unknown.

But even though it wasn’t your idea, the look on your face in this picture makes it very clear you were quite the accomplice.

Love,

Daddy