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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 child touches mom's pregnant belly while sitting next to her and dad on the couch.

Are you ready to talk about the birds and the bees? A parent's guide to the sex talk

There is no easy way to say this - it's probably time to have the talk. The sooner you start preparing for it, the better. “The talk” is a rite of passage for most parents, but it can be uncomfortable. I get it. So, just how do you talk about sex in a clear, meaningful way with kids? Let’s break it down.

Dad is feeding baby some pureed food while mom sits on the bed in the background.

New food allergy guidelines: What parents need to know

The infant stage is exciting as you see your child learn to sit up, grasp things and grow. There are so many exciting milestones, but when it comes time to introducing many food allergens, some parents may have worries. Here’s what you need to know as you expose your child to common food allergens.

The number 1 rule about cleaning out earwax

Let’s set the scene - you look over at your kid and there’s a bunch of earwax in their ear. You may feel immediate panic to clean it out. There’s no way you can let them walk around like that. So, you run to get the cotton swabs you know you shouldn’t use. But, before you do anything, here’s the No. 1 rule about cleaning out earwax.

Close up of a child's back of the head while a doctor uses an otoscope to look in his ear.

Ear infections in children: What you can do and when it’s time for ear tubes

Ear infections are one of the most common medical issues among young children and can be frustrating for both parents and kids. As a parent, we know you want to do everything possible to keep your child healthy.  Here’s what to know about ear infections and when to talk to your doctor about discussing ear tubes.

Young teen looks at a pill bottle while in front of a mirror.

6 Ways to keep kids safe around medications

You might be pretty good at home security. Many people have doorbell cameras, security alarm systems, door locks, window locks and child locks. But have you ever thought about medication storage? Medications are often left in places where curious children can find them, like bathroom cabinets, purses and nightstands. It helps to have a strategy to prevent kids from accessing medications.

Ways to reduce chemicals in your child’s food

Almost every time you walk into the grocery store there is a new food item. It’s a wonder how the stores fit everything on the shelves. But have you ever wondered about the additives in all these foods? What’s really in our food besides food?

Young girl throws away a face mask in a playground trash can.

Kindness during unmasking

We have all been through a rough time these past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. When you look at everything that has happened, and everything that has changed, there is no doubt that COVID-19 has left a lasting impact. As we look forward to returning to normal activities and unmasking, please keep in mind the importance of kindness during this time of transition.  

Young girls looks at arm while a nurse is giving her a vaccine and using a ShotBlocker.

Ways to comfort children for vaccine appointments

If you’ve ever wished for a way to help your child not feel pain, you’re not alone. We’ve all had vaccines or drawn blood and know it does come with some discomfort. The Child Life team at Children’s Mercy works every day to comfort children before needle procedures like routine vaccines or blood work and they’re sharing ways parents can help prepare kids—and even help kids cope with pain.

Ways to help teens get more sleep

Teens can have difficulty sleeping because they often face a perfect storm of biological and social factors that disrupt sleep. Teens need an average of 9 hours of sleep each night and with a little help, it can be possible

Developmental milestone updates: What parents need to know

Developmental milestones help track how children are progressing in physical and behavioral ways like talking, walking, playing and learning. They are also used to help detect autism and developmental delays in children. These milestones have just been updated for the first time in 18 years. Here is what’s changed and how it will affect parents.

Mom hugs her preteen daughter and looks at a cell phone.

Preparing your child for social media

Allowing your child to join social media is a heavy decision many parents must make. It can feel like every kid has a phone, and almost every kid is on some type of social media. If you’ve ever asked yourself if you should let your child have social media accounts, here’s where to start.

Parent Resources About School Tragedies

In response to the recent school shooting in our community, the Developmental & Behavioral Medicine team at Children’s Mercy Kansas City have compiled some resources to help families.

Mom looks worried as she reads a thermometer next to her coughing child.

How to know if your child is truly sick

Sometimes kids know when to play the sick card. You may see random bouts of “stomach aches” and saying “I don’t feel good” both before and during school. How do you check to see if kids are really sick, or might be stretching the truth?

Diaper changing hacks to save you time and from a blowout

It’s estimated a 6 month old will have used about 1,440 diapers. The pie chart of spending time with a new baby has got to be 80 percent changing a diaper. Here are some top diaper tips to save you from a blowout, save you some time and save you some sanity.

Bigger kids, bigger parenting

If you were under the impression that older kids are adults and you’re done parenting when they turn 18, let me pop that bubble for you and give you some tips from a mom going through it.