Ask Mr. Dad: Nothing to fear but fear

Dear Mr. Dad: My 15-month-old baby is suddenly afraid of everything – including a lot of things he wasn't afraid of just a few weeks ago. He's scared of the bathtub, getting his hair cut, the vacuum cleaner, the dark, and even our dog (the same dog that he actually rode on recently. What's going on and what can we do to help our son?


Living with Children: Teacher needs advice to get parental cooperation

An early childhood educator of thirty-eight years left a message asking if I had advice for encouraging cooperation from parents. She reports what every veteran teacher (defined as having twenty years or more classroom experience) I have spoken with over the past forty years reports: to wit, that it is the rare parent who does not become defensive, even accusatory, when a teacher reports misbehavior.

Entertainment & Life

Game review: ‘Unravel 2,’ beautiful puzzle adventure promotes positivity and teamwork

Parents need to know that "Unravel Two" is a side-scrolling adventure and puzzle game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs that's a follow up to the original 2016 platformer. The player's characters – creatures made of positive emotions that have taken physical form as animated "Yarnys" – aren't aggressive and never attack the darkly glowing negative emotions that chase after them. That said, Yarnys can be destroyed by hazards such as electricity and moving cars, eaten by animals, or disintegrated by their enemies. Both the story – which centers on a pair of Yarnys trying to assist a couple of kids on the run – and the play promote concepts of friendship, teamwork, and cooperation. The Yarnys can't speak, but it's made clear through their actions and animations that they care for and want to help each other.

Entertainment & Life

App review: BrainPOP Featured Movie: Awesome Educational Tool for Kids Going Back to School

Parents need to know that the content in BrainPOP Featured Movie is produced by a well-respected educational organization. The content changes daily (though everything is archived, so kids don't feel pressured to use the app every day). Each day, there is a new animated documentary, and it could be on just about any topic you can think of. Film topics have included the planet Mars, dogs, asthma, blogs, and Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. These films and the information within are geared toward older elementary school kids. While there shouldn't be anything offensive or scary for younger kids, the movies – and the quizzes that follow them – may be over the heads of kids younger than 8.


How can I get my kids in the mood for school after a summer of TV and video games?

Most families take a more relaxed approach to screen time during the summer. But once the school year starts, homework, extracurriculars, and other activities require a tighter schedule. Develop a game plan – with your kids' input – before school starts, and begin implementing it when you still have some flexibility in your schedule. Different strategies work for different families, but here are some ideas to try:


Apps stirring up trouble in schools

Ask any middle or high school teacher what their biggest classroom challenge is, and it's pretty much guaranteed they'll say "cellphones." Makes sense. Today, 95 percent of teens have access to a cellphone, and nearly half say they're on them "constantly." Putting aside for a moment the need to find solutions to this problem, inquiring minds want to know: What the heck is on kids' phones that they can't go an entire class without them?

Health & Fitness

Moms Gear: Side-string yoga shorts great for workout

The Onzie Side String Yoga short can be a great wardrobe addition to your workout routine for participating in a low-impact exercise such as yoga, Pilates or PiYo. The shorts are available for $44.00 through and come in a variety of attractive prints and colors, such as Peony, Butterflies, Flora, and others and feel comfortable during a yoga flow or similar series.

Personal Finance

Social Security: We know what matters – it’s you

We named our blog Social Security Matters for a few reasons. Yes, we matter to millions of people. And the matters we write about – from policy changes to new programs – from online my Social Security features to popular baby names – are topics that affect you in one way or another.

Taiko Drummers perform at the Japanese Cultural and Food Bazaar

Taiko Drummers perform at this year's Japanese Cultural and Food Bazaar at the Buddhist Church of Sacramento, Saturday, August 11, 2018.