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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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How to promote diversity and inclusion in your child’s life

It’s back-to-school season, and that means getting new school supplies, adjusting to new routines and learning about all kinds of subjects. An important subject that parents can help teach their kids about is diversity and inclusion as they encounter new students in class.

What parents should know about autism

Autism is considered a “spectrum” because it often looks different for different people.  One person’s autism symptoms may even change over time.  This range, or “spectrum,” can lead to misunderstandings. Here’s what you should know. 

Will flu season be different this year?

Last year we saw lower influenza infections than we have in a long time. We can credit things like social distancing, masks and handwashing which helped keep flu infection from spreading. This year has many wondering if flu season will return to high levels.

Top questions about the COVID-19 vaccine from teens

Kids 12 years old and older have been approved to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Many people have questions, and that includes teens. Here are a few of the top questions area teens wanted to know about the vaccine with answers from Pediatric Infectious Diseases physician, Barbara Pahud, MD, MPH.

A dad holds his baby girl, trying to comfort her in the midst of her sickness.

What to know about RSV

By now we all know about COVID-19, but you may have heard about another virus going around Kansas City, called RSV. This respiratory virus gives cold-like symptoms, can be dangerous for some infants and young children and is hitting our area earlier than expected. Here’s what you should know.

When is the time to talk about puberty?

Puberty. We all go through it. It was a strange time for most of us and it’s still a strange time for most kids today. We can help our kids feel empowered with the knowledge to make this strange period of time, less confusing.

Teen boy sits in the passenger seat of the car with his dad listening to a phone with headphones.

Headphones: how loud is too loud?

Has your kid asked for $150 Airpods yet? I remember when headphones came free with the phone or tablet, but times have changed. Whichever headphones kids use, there is always one constant question…How loud is too loud when it comes to headphones?

Woman's feet on gymnastic balance beam

Sports and mental health: What we can learn from Simone Biles

USA gymnast, Simone Biles, withdrew from the Olympic team final competition on July 27 due to a medical reason that was later clarified as a mental health issue. This decision has brought mental health in sports to the forefront of the world stage, yet again, and it is sparking conversations, which is a good thing and much needed.

Save Little girl wearing warm clothing looking outside

Ways to handle homesickness

Staying the night at an aunt’s house or an overnight sleepaway camp is often the first chance a child experiences a go of independence. Even the most confident of kids may experience homesickness and there are ways parents can help.

Close up of two torsos with arms hugging around a person.

Why teaching personal boundaries is important for kids

Sadly, 1 in 10 children will be sexually assaulted before their 18th birthday. We all want to keep kids safe from this kind of trauma. One way to keep kids safe is to teach them a few things to feel empowered to stop abuse before it even starts. Here’s what I mean.

Mom hugs her preteen son. They are wearing sports clothes and near a basketball goal outside on a sunny day.

8 tips to support kids when talking about gender

Learning about gender is a normal part of growing up. At around 2 years old, children start to notice people are different genders. By age 6, most children will identify themselves as male or female. Responding to your child’s questions or concerns about gender or sex can be uncomfortable or confusing. Here are some tips to help have those conversations.

A mom’s story: Finding my son mental health help

As a behavioral health professional and a mom of a teenager with Autism and Tourette Syndrome, I thought I was equipped to manage my son’s mental and behavioral health challenges. We were already on a waitlist to get him the help he needed and were participating in many services, but then the pandemic happened.

Young boy wearing a dark blue shirt sits on the floor next to a woman in a light blue shirt. They are playing with a toy on the ground.

Myths about seeking mental health treatment

We spend a lot of time as parents doing what we can to protect our children. Whether that is checking that they wear a seatbelt, making sure they put sunscreen on often enough or getting the right amount of exercise. It’s also important we think about their mental health, along with their physical health.

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.”