Family

Family

Ask Mr. Dad: Putting together a co-parenting plan

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I are getting divorced. Unfortunately, we're so angry at each other that we can no longer even be in the same room together. Fortunately, despite our anger, we still understand how important each of us is to our children – and how important our children are to each of us. Do you think we'll be able to come up with a parenting plan that works for everyone? And if so, how do we do that?

Family

Ex-etiquette: Understanding shared custody

My husband and I share custody of his two young daughters. I also have kids from my prior relationship – one is in middle school and the other in high school. My husband's daughters see their mother every other weekend, so she doesn't have much influence on them, but each time they come home, they are terrible. It takes me days to straighten them out. What's good ex-etiquette?

Family

Living with Children: To spank, or, not to – here we go again

Four sentences into her Wall Street Journal article on recent research into spanking ("Spanking for Misbehavior? It Causes More!" December 17, 2017), the author, Susan Pinker, makes two grievous errors: first, she says that children under 7 cannot master their emotions; second, she says a fair amount of misbehavior on the part of a young child distinguishes him from a robot.

This week's circulars

Family

How to teach preschoolers the difference between fact and fiction

Little kids love playing make-believe. And there's no reason to harsh their mellow. But there comes a time when you have to explain the difference between fact and fiction. Maybe an older sibling put a scary notion in their head. Maybe they're trying to get away with a fib. Or maybe they caught wind of a tragedy in the news and you have to explain that it won't hurt them. For some kids, fantasy-reality confusion can lead to nighttime fears and anxiety.

Family

Moms Gear: Heated foot massager relaxes and warms the soles

Feet tired after a long day on the go? Then give those feet a massage using the HoMedics Shiatsu Select Foot Massager with Heat, available online through Bed, Bath & Beyond and other retailers. Of course, anyone in the family who does sports, walks or runs on a regular basis or has peripheral neuropathy may find their feet feel better after use of this massager or a similar model.

Family

9 books being turned into movies in 2018 you won't want to miss

If you're one of those families that insist their kids read the book before seeing the movie, there's some serious page-turning in your future. And if you're happy just to be able to go to the movies for some kid- and teen-friendly fare, you're in luck, too. From nursery classics like "Peter Rabbit" to tween and teen-targeted thrillers like "Ready Player One," kids' books and young adult novels are getting the Hollywood treatment. And now that movie trailers, sneak peeks, and behind-the-scenes footage hit the internet months in advance of the films' releases, kids' excitement for big-screen adaptations of their favorite books starts early. Check out the film adaptations hitting the big screen in 2018 to see if you'd like to read up before you step up to the box office.

Family

App review: Wuf Shanti Yoga Fun Machine, big, happy dog makes yoga and meditation fun, easy for preschoolers

Parents need to know that Wuf Shanti Yoga Fun Machine is a yoga app for young kids that includes brief videos of yoga poses, songs, meditations, and positive thoughts. "Think well to be well" is the motto of the dog, Wuf Shanti, who stars in the book and South Florida PBS-created series on which this app is based. The videos star, a human in a dog suit uses animal figures and movements to explain yoga poses to young kids, and real kids are also featured in some videos. There are also games and coloring pages on the app. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

Family

Game review: 'Shooty Fruity,' super fun virtual reality shooter is a blast for kids

Parents need to know that "Shooty Fruity" is a downloadable virtual reality first person shooter. In it, you blast fruit that are attacking you while working at a supermarket. Its humorous premise and cartoon graphics make it very unrealistic, but parents should know it does require using multiple weapons to explode this fruit. Parents should be aware, too, that virtual reality equipment makers don't recommend VR experiences for kids under 12 due to the potential impact the technology may have on younger players' physiological development.

Movie News & Reviews

Movie review: 'Paddington 2,' charming, heartfelt sequel will inspire compassion in kids

Parents need to know that "Paddington 2" is the sequel to 2015's adorable (and critically acclaimed) adaptation of Michael Bond's beloved English books. This follow-up is equally sweet and perhaps even more appropriate for younger kids (the villain in this one is significantly less menacing than Nicole Kidman's terrifying taxidermist in the original). Even when Paddington is sentenced to prison, it's not too upsetting: The inmates look intimidating at first but eventually befriend the kind bear. But you can expect a few scary or sad scenes, particularly when a lonely Paddington cries in his prison cell and later nearly drowns, but otherwise the action/violence is much more of the slapstick sort. And there are plenty of silly hijinks and enough physical humor – not to mention messages about compassion, empathy, kindness, and the importance of families – to entertain audiences of all ages. Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville, and Sally Hawkins co-star.