Houston

Questions to Consider Before Picking a Pediatrician

Choosing your kid's pediatrician may seem like just one more "before baby" chore to soon-to-be parents running down a checklist that includes everything from assembling the crib to finding childcare. But actually, this single decision is going to impact your family more than you might think.

Of course, you need to ensure a doctor is licensed, and ideally, certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, accepts your insurance, and works with a top-rated hospital in case of emergencies, but beyond those practicalities, there are a few things that make for standout pediatricians. The best pediatricians (IMHO) treat the whole family, especially new parents. They ask mom if she's getting enough sleep and offer breastfeeding and other postpartum support. The can offer discipline suggestions and address behavior issues as kids grow up. 

But don't just take my word for it. We asked our amazing group of second-time parents at Mommy Poppins with kids ranging from newborns to teens on what to ask when interviewing a new doctor for your children and what to look for when choosing that very first pediatrician for your brand-new baby. Read on for our 13 top questions to consider before choosing your next doctor.

Find more top tips in our Baby and Pregnancy Guide for New Parents.

99 Sensory Activities for Any Child

All kids can be affected by sensory processing issues. Certain situations just make them freak. So it makes sense that exposing kids to a variety of sensory activities in a calm, playful manner can alleviate some of these problems.

In that spirit, we've put together this list of 99 sensory activities for any child. Though these activities involve sensory stimulation, they are great all-around activities for any child, from toddlers on up. Some are even good for babies. These sensory activities also can help you. My kids' school's occupational therapist once gave a seminar to parents on sensory balance and activities for maintaining a sensory-savvy schedule. I now realize my engine tends to run too low and I need to work harder at energizing myself throughout the day. I have incorporated some of these activities to keep my own energy up.

For more tips on dealing with sensory issues, see our posts on sensory savvy-snacks and OT-recommended toys.

Kids and the Election: Teaching Your Children About Voting

With just a few weeks until the election and politics all over the news, voter fatigue may have started to set in. It’s at this point many of us are thinking, “I can’t wait until this election is over.” I’m definitely there. But it’s important to remember what’s at the core of all this political ping pong (or maybe dodge ball): our vote. Whether you look at selecting our country’s leaders as a right, privilege, duty, or obligation, it is an opportunity to have our voices heard. It is also a teachable moment for our kids. For tips and resources for teaching your kids (even the youngest of the crew) about citizenship and the importance of being informed and involved, read on. We have a rundown of ideas, interactive websites, books, and crafts for you to share with toddlers to teens.

Scary Easy Ideas for a Spooktacular Halloween Party

It's never too late to organize a super simple Halloween Party. This year I hosted our fifth annual neighborhood party and tested out some frighteningly easy Halloween snack recipes. They must have been a hit, because my little ghosts and goblins didn’t let out a single boo in protest. Now that I have my fifth party under my (witch's) hat, here are a few tricks for how to host your own Halloween Party.

The Sky's the Limit at These Houston Trampoline Parks

Trampoline parks give parents the chance to release their inner child as the kids burn off some serious energy. It's also the safest way to practice front back flips and bouncing friends into the air without serious physical trauma. We all knew that one kid growing up who flew off the backyard trampoline and broke a bone or two. Houston has several trampoline parks to choose from that offer unique activities, weekly specials, and party packages.

In general, the facilities do not allow guests to wear denim, and most require grip socks that can be purchased upon admission (maybe they will let you by with those fashionable hospital socks you probably still have stashed away somewhere along with an unfinished baby book). 

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: LEGO KidsFest, ArBOOretum, Tomball Bluegrass Festival, Oct. 22-23

Houston's faux fall is in full swing, but the good news is a cool front is allegedly on its way to town just in time for the weekend. You and the family can visit pumpkin patches and take pictures wearing cute fall clothes instead of tank tops, check out area festivals, or test your wits at a haunted house. Hayrides are another good option, and many are hosted at area farms which provide a full day of family fun.

Here's a list of the biggest events happening in October, and don't forget to check our calendar for weekday and weekend activities. 

7 Houston Area Ice Rinks for Family Fun

Houston may not have frozen ponds, even in the winter, but there are plenty of options in and around the city to practice ice skating. No matter if you stay in the city or stretch out to the suburbs, there are plenty of opportunities to expose your kiddos to ice skating and harness their inner-Nancy Kerrigan or Wayne Gretzky.

Adorable Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas

Despite bearing the job title of "Stay At Home Mom," I am not one of those crafty moms (much to my chagrin). I've tried to be, multiple times, but my attempts at being creative and crafty usually end up falling short of the high standards I see on social media. To top it off, I also have a bad habit of procrastinating (one of the many reasons I am a proud and frequent Amazon Prime user; two-day shipping for life!). All that to say, when it comes to holidays like Halloween, it's not unusual for me to be scraping together ideas that are cheap and easy at the last minute so my kid can trick or treat - or trunk or treat - in costume. Find yourself in the same situation? Check out these costume ideas for some last-minute inspiration:

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