Parent Talk

Queen Mary's Dark Harbor: Are Your Kids Ready for this Scary Halloween Haunt?

No parent likes to contemplate it, but the day will come for our kids when trick-or-treating is no more. If your family is as hooked on Halloween as ours is, you'll want to find a way to keep the magic going, even once your baby starts to look really big to other people (particularly people opening their doors at night). Filling this void is the main reason for the many seriously spooky big kid haunts around the Southland—haunts like Universal Horror Nights, Knott's Scary Farm, and Dark Harbor. But how to transition? You can't just hit the brakes on collecting candy with Elsa and suddenly start running from chainsaw wielding zombies.

The first time I visited this haunt, I had a theory that Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary might be the perfect tween transition to a different way of celebrating All Hallows' Eve, and I committed so fully to this theory that I booked our whole family (and some friends) for an overnight on the haunted, haunting ship. And guess what? It worked! Three tweens I know had the time of their lives screaming with the spooks all night at the Queen Mary. The evening was enormous fun, and I think a few things we did to prepare helped stack the deck in favor of success.

Entering NYC Kindergarten: 5 Things to Know

The first day of kindergarten is exciting, nerve-wracking, hectic, tear-jerking and adorably photogenic all over the country. But New York City kids (and parents) face a unique set of challenges when headed to school for the very first time.

I have three children, ages 16, 12 and 8. That means I’ve been through NYC kindergarten three times. (I’ve also been through the admissions process three times, and wrote an entire book, Getting Into NYC Kindergarten, of tips and tricks.)

Over the years, I’ve learned five things that all families must know in order to have a successful transition from pre-K (public or private) into elementary school (public, private, charter, gifted, magnet, religious; like I said, it’s NYC, things are different here).

Check out the list below and learn from my mistakes, rather than your own.

65 School Lunch Ideas: Back-to-School Lunches Kids Will Actually Eat

Chances are you've had a healthy, well-packed school lunch delivered back into your hands virtually untouched at the end of the school day. There should be a special name for the heartbreak one endures at the words, "I told you I hate peanut-butter and jelly," when not only is this the first you're hearing of it, but you spent extra on organic jelly and freshly ground peanut butter. And if not PBJ, then what? Well, we've got 65 answers to the question of what to pack in a successful school lunch.

Build-A-Bear Has a New Pay-Your-Age Contest, without the Lines

Making a puffy, fuzzy DIY toy at Build-A-Bear is a great experience, especially for a birthday gift, but those bears are far from free. So it was no surprise last year that the company's big Pay-Your-Age Day (5 years old, get any toy for $5) resulted in lines not only out of the stores but out of the buildings—and lots of angry parents when lines were shut down. The good news? Build-A-Bear is doing the popular event again, but doing it differently this year.

New Private School for Pre-K Through 5th Grade Opening in E. Northport

Like most parents, Mimosa Jones Tunney and John Tunney, who own and operate popular Huntington restaurants Besito and The Shed, are passionate about their children’s education. When they couldn’t find a school they thought would best prepare their young boys, they decided to build their own.

The School House, located at 106 Vernon Valley Road in East Northport, is the result of the entrepreneurial couple’s dream to bring a new way of teaching to Long Island. Enrollment is currently under way for pre-K through fifth grade. The building, the former home of a local preschool, has been undergoing a renovation in recent months. Walls were knocked down, new windows added, and the result is a bright, open, sun-filled space where children can thrive.

12 Things Dads Actually Want To Do for Father's Day in LA

There are lots of ways to celebrate Father's Day around LA, including special occasion meals among sharks, ex-presidents, and the night market masses. The trick is figuring out what the dad at your house really wants. If you want this Father's Day to revolve around something more exciting than a new tie, check out our dozen ideas for dad-friendly, kid-friendly activities that he won't see coming. We guarantee there are some ideas on our list you hadn't thought of.

10 Kid-Friendly Hollywood Restaurants

Hollywood is full of things to do with kids—we have collected 25 of them—and you can easily spend the entire day. Which means you will need food! Hollywood is also full of restaurants. But once you weed out the fast food chains and big tourist chains, there are still plenty of kid-friendly local chains and independent restaurants, and we have selected 10 options. There is something for you if you want something quick, something historic or old-timey, or something new and fun. And even if your kids are picky eaters or have food allergies, they will enjoy something from this list!

15 Super Easy April Fools' Day Pranks to Play on Your Kids

There are few things more satisfying than pulling a fast one on your own kid, but elaborate prep work is sure to sap the fun out of any good April Fools' Day joke. In the past, we've shared ideas for old-school gags and fun tricks to play on children, but more recently, we've found that the very best pranks are also the simplest.

Here, we run down 15 easy ways to show kids that we still have the upper hand—at least when it comes to April Fools' Day!

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