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It's not perfect. It's parenting.

Sometimes you need answers to the little everyday things that parents encounter. And sometimes, you just need someone to encourage you through all of the craziness and challenges of parenthood. Welcome to Parent-ish, a blog from the experts at Children's Mercy.

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Young preteen girl walking in a park, carrying a stick and holding a dog on a leash.

Dog safety 101

We know to teach kids to look before crossing the street and to not run with scissors. These are all well-known safety skills parents always talk about with kids. But we should be teaching a few safety things when it comes to dogs, too.

Two young boys in a canoe and wearing life jackets. They are using rowing paddles on a lake and smiling.

Ways to beat the dreaded summer boredom

Summer is finally here! We love the sunny days and the freedom a school break can bring. Here are some ways to keep kids active this summer, before they even have the chance to say, “I’m bored.”

It’s more than duck-duck-goose: how to encourage active play in preschoolers

We know staying active has so many benefits on your health and happiness. There are lots of ways to help lay the groundwork at an early age that will help encourage kids to stay active later in life. And yes, even duck-duck-goose has a hidden learning purpose.

Teenage girl stands in between library shelves, smiling at camera and holding books. She is wearing an employee badge.

How early work experience can positively impact kids

One of the best things I get to see in my role is the change in confidence in young adults after getting a job or starting a volunteer experience. In my role as the Project RISE manager at Children’s Mercy, I help teens and young adults find volunteer roles and employment. Within a month of starting their role, I often see an improvement in their self-worth, demeanor and confidence.

Parents beware: gruesome injuries caused by toy

Any parent or pediatrician can agree – children will try to swallow almost everything. Some say, there is nothing quicker on Earth than a child’s hand reaching for something they shouldn’t have. When kids are young, they use their mouth to explore the world. But, when they are playing with certain toys, it can be extremely dangerous.

Four rules of lawn mower safety

Spring has sprung! We all know what that means…mowing season has arrived. You probably have the one friend who LOVES to mow, but for most people it is a hot, sweaty and dirty task at the bottom of the “adulting” to-do list. Kids may even find the ride on lawn mowers exciting. But when it comes to kids and lawn mowers, things can turn dangerous quickly.

Young boy wears blue baseball uniform and holds bat over the plate while looking at the mound.

Why kids should be more than one-sport athletes

When we’re talking about student-athletes, there’s typically two camps of thinking. One camp thinks kids need to become experts in their chosen sport. I’m firmly in the other camp of having kids play in multiple sports, time for free play and having an offseason. Here's why.

Brandon Billinger holds hands with his two young sons walking away as the cross a walking bridge on a sunny day.

What nobody tells you about parenting

When I became a dad, I had no idea what I was really getting into. The fact of the matter is that I didn’t even know how to change a diaper.

Toddler girl wearing a grey striped shirt leans over a table to look at four white cleaning products.

Keeping kids safe from accidental poisonings

According to the American Association of Poison Control Center, over 91% of poison exposures in Missouri and Kansas occur in the home, and over 45% of those cases involved children under the age of 5.

Family with young baby holding baby food jar in a grocery store.

Toxic metals found in baby food: what you should do now

With the recent news that the US House of Representatives found multiple baby food brands were tainted with high levels of heavy metals like arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury, it can send any parent into fear mode.  We should be concerned, but not panic. Here’s why.

A parent’s guide to discussing white privilege

The process of evaluation and education related to white privilege is an important part of the journey to addressing racism and working toward a world where all children are safe and healthy.

Confetti, laughing emojis, party horns and a fake bug spread out on a table with April Fools text.

5 harmless April Fool’s Day pranks to play on kids

Well, it’s that time of year again – April Fool’s Day. This year is a good time for some light-hearted, harmless pranks parents can play on kids.

Young child reaching for red bell pepper in grocery store with parents behind her.

Organic, dairy-free and vegetarian diets explained in under 180 characters

You’ve probably seen the new options for your morning coffee – oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, cashew milk and the list goes on. Meanwhile, conversations about organic and non-organic food options are ongoing. It can be overwhelming to understand nutrition and how to identify the best options for your kids.

Two young children with backs to camera, hold hands and look at home debris after a storm.

How to plan for tornado safety with your family

Spring can’t come soon enough after months of winter cold and darkness. But with spring comes severe weather and tornados which can cause dangerous conditions and sometimes lead to injuries. What does your family need to stay safe during severe weather? Check out these tips for tornado safety.

Preteen girl smiling while receiving vaccine shot.

Let’s talk about HPV

You may feel like you don’t need to read this because your child isn’t sexually active or isn’t a girl. Well, unfortunately, that’s not true. HPV causes cancer, affects boys and girls and is increasing in infection rates by 5% each year. Let’s talk about HPV and the cancer-fighting HPV vaccine.