In the Parenthood
all entries with the category

Books, gadgets, and gear

Summer reading doesn't have to be a chore

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse July 20, 2010 08:42 AM

Reluctant readers are not uncommon. For those who struggle with processing issues, or for those who haven't yet discovered a literary niche that suits them, reading can be a problem rather than a pleasure. For these kids, that summer reading list casts a long shadow.

Nancy Traversy, CEO of Barefoot Books in Concord, has dealt with reading issues with her own four children. She remembers when one of her daughters, now 18, was about 9 and a teacher told her that she was too old for the beautifully illustrated fairy tale book she enjoyed, and should be reading chapter books instead. "She actually hid my book under her bed because she was so embarrassed by it, and she was being forced to read something she didn't really like. She was getting put off reading."

Encouraging kids to read what they love can help foster an interest in reading in general. "If you force a child to read something they don't want to read, then I think that can have long term damage," she says. "Make sure your child loves whatever they read. You can get them to read anything and engage their imaginations."


Silly Bandz and the gimme gimmes

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse June 28, 2010 12:53 PM

sillybandz2.jpgSilly Bandz are the baseball cards of my kids' generation. They collect and trade them like they're going out of style. My 5-year-old likes to wear hers to school -- they reach half-way up her forearm -- where she and her friends compare and discuss them as seriously as I used to stickers and matchbox cars. At some schools they've become so popular -- and such a target for theft -- that they've been banned.
My friend Nataly's daughter has just gotten into the craze, and Nataly brings up a great point on her Work It, Mom! blog:

When it comes to requests that are heavily influenced by what her friends have at school, I find that I hesitate more than at other times. I want her to understand that just because others have something doesn?t mean that she has to have it -- silly bandz today, fancy jeans/cars/houses tomorrow. But I also don?t want to overdo it: Just because her friends have something shouldn?t mean that she can?t have it.

There's a fine line between giving your child what she wants and fostering an out-sized sense of entitlement. Are Silly Bandz a harmless trend, or a gateway to the gimme gimmes?


Advice for new parents, from those who have been there

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse June 17, 2010 10:24 AM

There's an old joke about how your parenting style changes with each child. First-time parents are apt to sterilze the baby's toys each night and boil the binkie the instant it drops on the floor. Second-time parents wash the toys when they look a little grubby and rinse the pacifier with tap water. Parents with three or more kids? The toys get outgrown before they get cleaned and the paci gets wiped off on a clean corner of mom's shirt before being popped back into the baby's mouth. A little dirt helps build the immune system, right?

Kerry Colburn and Rob Sorensen's new book, "How to Have Your Second Child First: 100 Things That Are Good to Know... the First Time Around," is full of easy-to-read nuggets of wisdom and quotes from experienced moms and dads, as well as short "Second-Timer Tips" from parents who have been there, done that, laundered the spit-up covered T-shirt. It's the book I wish I had when my first baby was born.


Are you using your kids to escape your marriage?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse June 14, 2010 05:22 AM

David Code.jpgIt runs counter to our instincts as parents, but a new book suggests that making your kids your top priority may be doing them more harm than good.

An Episcopal minister and family coach, David Code suggests that parents who focus first on maintaining a strong marriage end up having happier, better-adjusted children than those who make their kids their top priority.

"The truth is, we often find it easier to be with our kids than our partners," Code said in an interivew. "This seems child-friendly, but we don't realize we're using our kids as an escape from our spouses."


Welcome to the parenthood!

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse April 19, 2010 06:55 AM

Welcome to "In the Parenthood!" There's a lot of information out there and, no matter what's going on with the economy or the Red Sox, people still need to parent. So grab a cup of coffee and join in the discussion! Here's where we'll be keeping track of the latest parenting news, tips, and trends.

Looking for my posts from Child Caring? They're migrating over, but in the meantime you can find them -- and all of the insightful comments and discussions -- right here. And be sure to take a look at the new blog roll, at right... there are a lot of great parents in this neighborood!

Is there a parenting issue that's sparked your interest? Feel free to email me at Want to know what's on my radar? Follow me on Twitter: @WriteEditRepeat.

Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. Edit. Repeat. E-mail her at


Need help parenting? There's an app for that

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse March 18, 2010 10:07 AM

I regularly sing the praises of my iPhone. I used it not only to call AAA after a car accident a couple of weeks ago, but also to take photos of the damage, find directions for the tow truck driver, and work on a blog post while waiting for the tow truck to arrive. I used it as a GPS on that long road trip, and to check my email while on the road. And I use it from time to time to amuse our youngest kids, who are 5 and 3 and  surprisingly good at navigating the device, even if I haven't done more than download the apps for them. As Globe Magazine staff writer Neil Swidey pointed out in his article, "Why an iPhone could actually be good for your 3-year-old," preschool-age kids "are the purest breed yet of natives to the wireless world where the rest of us are refugees." If done the right way, with the right limits, he wrote, a smart phone can do more than buy you a few minutes of peace -- it could help your child's development as well.

Smart phones have become more than a must-have accessory for parents; while there are plenty of entertaining games out there, there are also apps that are geared specifically for moms and dads who need a bit more help navigating and simplifying parenthood. And we're not just talking iPhones here -- there are plenty of parenting apps for Droids and Blackberrys, too.


about the author

Lylah M. Alphonse
Lylah M. Alphonse is a member of the Globe Magazine staff and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling a full-time career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day, and about everything else at Write. Edit. Repeat. When she's not glued to the computer or solving a kid-related crisis, she's in the kitchen or, occasionally, asleep.

featured stories

Photographer seeking 'honest beauty' in '4th Trimester Bodies Project'

Are you a mom who is willing to bare it all in the name of honest beauty? A Chicago photographer and mom of three hopes so.
Barbara Meltz
Conversations with kids on the Marathon anniversary
Barbara, My son is 11, totally freaking out this week with 1 year anniversary of the Marathon bombing. We were not there, he does not...

RSS feed

click here to subscribe to
In The Parenthood