Ever wish that your kids came with an owner's manual? You might not get your wish exactly, but you can read a favorite parenting magazine online, find tips from other parents about raising children, supplement your children's education, learn how to keep them healthy or get advice on talking to them about tough issues. Use the sites in this Parenting Web Guide to make your search quick and successful.
With little ones running around, you probably don't have a great deal of time on your hands; the Internet is a quick and easy way to read up on the latest in parenting news and advice. In this section you'll find some catch-all sites that cover basic parenting issues.
- Most of the sites listed in this section are browsable by the age of your child. Look near the top or the sides of each homepage for buttons that will take you to age-specific areas of the site.
- Online shopping can be a great way for busy parents to save time. You can get baby gear, kids' clothes and toys, and even your groceries delivered right to your door. For more help with online shopping, see our findingDulcinea Shopping Web Guide.
For parenting sites that do it all ...
runs the gamut from pregnancy to getting your child ready for college and provides tips for keeping your child entertained as well as schooling information. There is also content specific to mothers, including a section on how moms can stay healthy.
offers a couple of free e-newsletters: "Practical Parenting" and "Feeding Your Family." This site has tips on how to conceive as well as information about finances, caring for a child with special needs, nutrition, and even information for grandparents. Parenthood.com hosts videos from the site MomMe TV that feature mothers talking candidly about motherhood—from pregnancy and birth to the tween and teenage years.
is the online version of the Canadian magazine of the same name. Here you'll find a collection of pre-conception, pregnancy, and parenting articles and resources. Most notable is the recipe search feature on the homepage (the search box is in the upper-left corner; click the circle that says "Recipe File" to search for recipes by keyword).
For parenting magazines ...
focuses on keeping you and your family healthy and happy with features on marriage, divorce, single parenting and even money tips in the "Your Life" section. Check out the Toy Finder
in the "Fun Times" section to search for toys by age and budget.
has a "Family Style" section that covers entertaining, holidays, even celebrity parent news. This site features the cartoon strip "Baby Blues" under its "Daily Laugh" section. Send in photos of your baby or family and you might find them featured on the magazine's Web site.
has an "Ages and Stages" section
that walks you through your child's development from birth to age 12. This site also has product buying guides and parenting guides. By clicking on any of the words in the "tag cloud" (the box full of keywords of various sizes) on the homepage, you'll be directed to related articles; if you scroll down to the bottom of the homepage you'll find links to all sections of the site.
The information or advice that you are searching for online will vary greatly depending on the age of your child. While most of the information in this guide pertains to the needs of young children, this section looks at the many resources the Web provides that will help parents answer age-specific questions, regardless of whether you're looking for advice on an infant or teenager.
- Many of the parenting sites listed in other sections of this guide divide information by your child's age; these sections can provide valuable age-appropriate tips and tools for your child.
For advice on babies and toddlers ...
American Baby magazine
has a number of features that will give you an idea of what your baby's physical, social, and intellectual development might be like in each week or month through the second year of life and provides a guide to childhood illnesses that may help you prevent or understand your child's illness.
Zero to Three
is a nonprofit organization that encourages the healthy development of young children. You'll find lots of information about your baby's growth and development on this site: how to choose a caregiver, what to look for in your child's language development, how to teach your child through play, and much more.
lets you keep charts of your baby's sleeping, eating, and dirty diaper habits to help you better understand your child's patterns and make decisions about nap time or easily spot changes that could indicate illness. Enter your baby's data in real time, or do it just once a day, and Trixie Tracker will automatically generate charts to give a visual representation of your baby's patterns. You can get a two-week free trial, but after that there is a fee. Visit for subscription options
For advice parenting your elementary school child ...
from the Girls and Boys Town National Resource and Training Center has some helpful resources for what it calls the "discovery years." On this site you'll find links to articles about teaching your child to resist peer pressure, say no to drugs, and a number of resources to help ADHD students perform well in school
For advice parenting your adolescent or teenager ...
breaks down the tween and teenage years by grade in school and gives advice for parenting issues such as driving, dating, and your child's first job.
is a monthly newsletter that covers all things teen. You can get a trial issue or preview articles online for free. After that a subscription is $10 for 12 issues (one year) and unlimited Web access.
is a children's health site created by the Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media. The "Parents" portion discusses tips for dealing with the emotions and behavior of children and their physical growth and development. There's also a handy "Parent's Guide to Surviving the Teen Years
If you are a parent of a child with special needs, some of the more generic parenting resources might not be particularly relevant. You might be looking for advice to help prepare your child for school, to help your child's educators better understand his or her needs, or to make everyday tasks easier for both you and your child. Either way you'll find many resources specific to special-needs children and their parents online.
- On many computers, clicking the "Ctrl" key and the "+" symbol will make text on a Web page larger, making it easier to read for a child with limited vision or one who has trouble sorting through lots of information.
- In the "Connecting to Other Parents" section of this guide, you can connect with other parents who have experiences similar to your own. To find these parents, search on these sites for key terms relating to your child's special needs; you can also search for these terms on a regular search engine.
Most kids are able to create a game or craft project out of a few odds and ends and a little creativity, but you may be looking for a more structured activity from time to time. The Web offers plenty of ideas to help you think of places to go and things to do with your kids.
- Doing some repairs around the house or building something can be a great way to spend an afternoon with your child. To find projects for kids try looking at home improvement store sites-for example, Home Depot's site will show you how to find Kids Workshops in local stores. You can also purchase plans for projects online; David Stiles' site sells plans for treehouses and other woodworking projects.
For keeping kids entertained ...
offers arts and crafts ideas (some crafts you can even print from the Web site), recipes, party ideas, and travel suggestions. The clean design of the site makes it easy to navigate.
The Tufts University Child & Family WebGuide
has a list of links to help you keep your kids entertained as well as understand more about how children play. You'll find links to outdoor activities, after school activities, recommended reading for your kids, and even sites that look at how children play from an analytical or research point of view.
No one can be a perfect replacement for a parent, but on the Internet you'll be able to find resources to help you choose an acceptable alternate caregiver for your child. Whether you need a temporary babysitter or are trying to decide who to appoint as legal guardian of your child, you'll find the resources you need online.
- Want to place a classified ad for a caregiver? You can do so online either through most local newspapers' Web sites or on an online classified site such as Craigslist.
- If you are looking for a new childcare provider, there are lots of Web sites that perform background checks on individuals for a fee, including Intelius.
For childcare providers and information ...
allows caregivers to post their credentials and availability so that parents can connect with them. Rate your previous caregivers or get recommendations for new ones from other CareSquare members.
is a quick and easy way for parents to find a babysitter (or to find a pet sitter). Simply enter your zip code to find nearby sitters; you can sort your results by proximity, by sitter name, or by the ratings that the sitter has received on the site. You can browse the sitters in your area for free, but membership will cost about $100/year (monthly plans are available).
The U.S. Department of Education
has a list of links to the child care licensing offices in each U.S. state. What your state provides on it's own site will vary, but some states offer parents information such as childcare statistics, tax write-off information, help locating a licensed child-care provider, and more.
For information about child guardianship and custody...
has a short and informative article describing the duties of a legal guardian and the process of appointing a legal guardian.
provides a list of 10 things to think about when choosing a guardian for your child. Also on this site you'll find explanations of the basics of guardianship like the difference between temporary and testamentary guardianship, how to establish a guardianship, and some examples of guardianship law in certain states.
Education is at the forefront of many parents' minds. And while choosing the right school for your young child can be a difficult decision, the Internet can help to make this choice as stress free as possible. When the time comes, there are also a number of resources to help you and your child chose the right college.
- Children's homework helper sites and search engines can be a good place for anyone (parent or child) to go if you are interested in learning a little bit about a new topic because you will find simplistic, reliable information on these sites. To find a list of them see our findingDulcinea Teaching Web Guide.
To help you choose a school or teacher ...
is a service of Standard and Poor's. Research a public school or district by your zip code and find the proficiency levels of the students, the student-to-teacher ratio, the total enrollment, and performance information. Search by state and find spending information and performance indicators.
Rate My Teachers
allows students and parents to comment on teachers. To view ratings or to provide some feedback of your own, select your area on the map or search by name and state
. This site might provide some insight if you have the ability to choose your child's teacher. See a bad review? Check to see if the teacher has written a response to explain the comment.
For college planning ...
is a no-frills site that walks you through the college prep, application, and decision process with a series of articles and tools, including a college match quiz
and an "Award Analyzer"
to help you figure out which schools are offering you the most aid. This site is powered by Peterson's
, a test prep and college planning site that is also worth checking out (although it is a bit more cluttered).
has an entire section devoted to helping you choose the right college
. Depending on your needs, use either College MatchMaker, which searches for colleges based on your interests, or College QuickFinder, a tool for finding and researching a particular college. This is also the place to go to register for the SAT exam
is a free search service for scholarships. After creating an account, make your profile using a series of questions about you and your education history that will take 20 minutes or so (having your resume and education background handy will make the process quicker). Once that's done, the site shows you the scholarships for which you might qualify.
is a rewards site that allows you to save money in a tax-free "529" college account (for yourself, a family member, or a friend). You earn rewards by using a registered credit card and shopping at affiliated online stores as well as several brick-and-mortar stores and restaurants.
The habits that you teach your children while they are young are those that they will carry with them throughout life. It is just as important for their health that you teach them to eat a balanced diet and stay active so that they can live long, happy lives. There are plenty of online resources that can help you teach your child about healthy eating and exercise or find the best medical and safety information.
- One way to find a doctor for your child is to check the Web site of your health insurance provider. Try searching for the name of the company in any search engine, and once at the site browse or search for a directory of covered doctors.
- Many product-safety dangers arise when products are not properly used or installed. There is a large assortment of how-to videos online that can show you the proper ways to use many children's products. Edmunds has a video that shows how to properly install a car seat.
For healthy eating habits ...
has the new and improved food pyramid to help you decide how many servings of each food group your child needs to live a healthy life. You'll also find nutrition resources on this site so that you can better understand the labeling on your food, discover the importance of physical activity, and learn more about how to help prevent certain diseases by improving your eating habits.
has a number of family-friendly recipes that are also very nutritious. Visit the "Kids in the Kitchen" section to find recipes for your picky eaters.
For fun exercise and activity ...
is a children's health site created by the Nemours Foundation's Center for Children's Health Media. It has an article on fitness
that outlines the National Association for Sport and Physical Education's exercise recommendations for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age kids. You'll find the Nutrition & Fitness index
handy to navigate to sections of this site that may be of interest to you.
BAM! Body and Mind
is a Web site created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that aims to teach kids how to make healthy life decisions. It has appealing graphics and features that encourage kids to become active by educating them about the many benefits of exercise.
For product-safety information ...
has a list of links for product safety as it applies to children. If you are interested in finding out the appropriate ages for children to play with certain toys, poison prevention, sports safety, or other child-related product safety issues, this site is for you.
To find a pediatrician or other doctor ...
The AMA DoctorFinder
resource on the American Medical Association's (AMA) Web site allows users to search for information on area doctors by inputting their name or specialty along with a location. The database contains a list of virtually every licensed physician in the United States, as well as additional information on education history, accepted insurance providers, and contact information is provided for AMA member physicians.
allows you to search the directory to find active members of the American Academy of Family Physicians in your area. Results are generally limited to the doctor's name, with occasional links to a practice's Web site.
There will come a time in every parent's life when kids start to bring up some of the more difficult issues: bullies, Internet safety, dating, peer pressure, drugs and alcohol, or sex, to name a few. There are many online resources to help prepare you to discuss these issues with your child. You can also find plenty of sites for kids and teens to help answer the questions they don't want to ask you or that you can't answer.
- Consider the source when looking at information about drug use or sex; some sites will be more open about these issues than you may be comfortable with. Look for an "about us" section of a site or look for the parent company by searching the URL on the WhoIs database to determine if the opinions of an organization are in line with your own.
- For resources to help you promote safe Internet behavior with your children or to filter the content available to your child online, see the "What can I do to keep my kids safe online?" section of our findingDulcinea Internet Safety Web Guide.
To help you talk about tough issues in general ...
Talking With Kids About Tough Issues
has tips for talking with your kids about drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, and HIV and AIDS in addition to a list of Web resources with additional information for you or your kids.
For information about kids and drugs, alcohol, or tobacco ...
For information about kids and sex or dating ...
is a government Web site that has lots of links to resources about teen sexual health.
has a Web page devoted to abstinence-covering what it is and how to practice it. The "More Articles" tab on the right side of the page offers links to articles on other types of birth control.
For information about kids and Internet safety ...
is a site from Childnet International, an organization that works to make the Internet a safer place for kids. Click on the "Parents/Carers" section and then the "Communicating" tab to get information on how to teach your children about Internet safety. You'll also find a link to Childnet's Chatdanger site
that will teach your child about the dangers of online chat.
Even the most experienced parents run into a situation they need some help with every once in a while: your child won't eat any vegetables, or has begun to bully other kids at school. The Internet provides a quick and easy way for parents to connect with each other and benefit from the common pool of knowledge and experience.
- Even though some sites are geared specifically toward moms or dads, any parent can find advice on these sites.
- You will find some communities specific to your child's age in the "Age Specific Parenting Advice" section of this guide.
- Just like with any online community, be careful about how much personal information you provide to strangers on parent networking sites. Do not put yourself or your child in danger by being careless with the personal details of your life.
For online parenting communities or advice ...
is an online community with an individualized twist: when you sign up for the service and let the site know a little bit about yourself, it will help you create a personalized page that will show you all of the blogs, advice, and happenings that might be of interest to you. You can post questions for other parents to answer or answer the questions of others on the discussion boards. Take a look at what kid-friendly activities are going on in most major cities, view and share photos and videos of your kids, or start your own blog.
Elder Wisdom Circle
is for you if you are looking for some sage advice from a "cyber-grandparent." Submit a question along with your e-mail address and you'll receive a confidential, personalized response from one of the site's elders within a few days. If you find an elder you particularly like, you can write questions directed to him or her.
is an online parenting community. Read or write advice for other parents (on teething, toilet training, pregnancy, or whatever you like), join communities of parents with similar interests or parenting styles, and upload photos of your little ones to share with everyone (or just to share with family and friends).
For parenting blogs ...
is a blog with practical parenting advice from other parents. Rather than the administrator of the blog giving advice alone, this blog gets tried tips and suggestions from its readers. You'll find advice such as suggesting you clip your young child's nails while they sleep so they don't fuss and how to change diapers without getting diaper cream on your hands.
is the collective blog of about 40 modern-day moms. In the "DotMom Daily" posts you'll find links to the latest news stories about parenting and children.
is a blog for dads with product reviews, child product recall commentary, and then more obscure entries like "NYC men's room changing tables."
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