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If there’s anything that might make changing a dirty diaper seem like a better option, it’s sitting down to tackle taxes. But, like those dipes, it has to be done. And just so you know: really soon. The good news? There are plenty of tax benefits to be had from those adorable little deductions—ahem, kids—of yours. “It can easily be thousands of dollars’ worth,” notes Lisa Greene-Lewis, lead CPA, American Tax & Financial Center at TurboTax.
On the first day of school after winter break, all of the girls at my daughter’s preschool were sporting their new Christmas duds: Sarah with her pink cowboy boots; Jane in her sparkly cardigan; and my daughter, dressed in her white button-down shirt (“like Daddy’s”), draped over a Spiderman t-shirt, and her navy clip-on tie with a pattern of white reindeer. She had asked Santa for a solid black tie, but we couldn’t find a toddler tie quite so…adult.
Confession: Before I became a parent, parents annoyed me. A lot. All they did was complain about how tired they were, or how lucky I was to not have kids, followed—oddly—with incessant clucking about how “time was running out” for me to embark on the amazing journey of parenthood myself. I vowed that if I ever became a parent, I’d never subject my childless pals to these preachy speeches. Then, in 2010, I gave birth—and, on cue, all the laments and pious musings I once hated hearing from parents came gushing out.
Your 7-year-old lost his lunch money at school—and now his playdate canceled. So he slams his Lego tower against the wall, sending bricks flying everywhere. Your heart stops. Does expressing anger that way mean he may become a violent adult? Um, unlikely, says Heather Shumaker, author of It's OK Not to Share.
Most kids eat way too much salt, with overweight kids most at risk of developing pre-hypertension if they overdo it, says a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Buy foods with 150 mg of sodium or less per serving,” says registered dietitian Joy Bauer. “If you tame a child's taste for salt, you'll do her a lifelong favor.” Here, five sneakily salty foods, and go-to alternatives:
Go, Fight, Win! If cheerleading brings back memories of cute uniforms and pep rallies, you may be envisioning the same fun future on the sidelines for your daughter. But cheerleading has evolved into an intense sport that rivals gymnastics when it comes to skills and football when it comes to serious injuries like concussions and spine injuries, prompting the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to release a new policy statement.
Fantasy: French Riviera, Reality: Laguna Beach, CA
Jeff Pineda’s eight-year-old daughter, Aalijah, spends every day after school in the gym. Ten hours a week, the pink-loving third grader from Anaheim, California, steps into a cage to perfect her skills in jujitsu, wrestling, and kickboxing. Some parents might wince watching these sessions; after all, Aalijah gets repeatedly pummeled by fists and kicked hard in the ribs. But the level of physical contact isn’t unusual--it just comes with the territory of being ranked #1 in the country in youth mixed martial arts for her age and weight.