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Between Santa and the (kinda creepy) Elf on the Shelf, keeping the magic alive during the holidays can be a full time job for parents. However, if you’ve got a kid who’s a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on Netflix, we’ve got some great news for you! The team behind the hit kids’ show has created a special holiday hotline where kids can hear seasonal greetings from each of the Mane Six. Check it out.

To reach the hotline, simply call 833-249-0483. There your kid will hear a greeting from Princess Celestia herself (so technically there are greetings from seven characters. WOOT!), who then prompts them to pick which of the Mane Six they want to hear from. 5 ways your kid can talk to Santa this ChristmasPress 1 for Princess Twilight Sparkle, 2 for Rarity, 3 for Applejack, 4 for Fluttershy, 5 for Rainbow Dash and 6 for Pinkie Pie. All six messages are adorable and have the ponies talking about trying to find the “best gift ever” for their friends, which is a reference to the new holiday special on Netflix.

Just a heads up: in Equestria, they celebrate Hearth Warming, not of Christmas (though it’s pretty similar), so don’t be alarmed when the ponies wish your kid a Happy Hearth Warming instead of the usual holiday greeting.

Because of this, the line will actually stay open until December 31st, so this can also be the perfect way to cheer up a kid who gets sad about Christmas being over. SCORE!

Read more:
27 magical My Little Pony items your kids will adore
24 days of Elf on the Shelf ideas

The post There’s a My Little Pony hotline to wish your kid a happy holiday! appeared first on Today's Parent.

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Here we go again. The ever-popular and unrelenting song, Baby Shark, is now available in singing plush toy form. Yup, love it or hate it, the song you simply can’t get out of your head is bound to be a big hit for the holiday season.

Here's a version of Baby Shark parents will actually loveWowWee, the toy company behind last year’s must-have holiday toy, Fingerlings, teamed up with Pinkfong to create official stuffie versions of Baby, Mommy and Daddy Shark. Each member of the Shark family comes in two types of plush—a full-sized shark doll and a stackable mini shark cube—and no matter which version you choose, it’ll play the song with a simple squeeze. Heads up, you probably don’t want to let your little one take these stuffies to bed unless you’re down to hear that song play over and over throughout the night.

While this may seem like the worst gift idea ever to a lot of parents, we do like the fact that kids can use this to listen to their favourite earworm of a song without opening up the iPad and going on YouTube (high-five for less screen time!). So what do you think, would you buy this for your little one?

Read more:
8 kids’ songs that I never ever want to hear again
This Sesame Street remix of “Despacito” will be stuck in your head all day

The post Stop everything! Baby Shark is now a singing plush toy appeared first on Today's Parent.

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For little kids, exploring the world around them involves a lot of putting things in their mouths. From pocket lint to pieces of Lego, little hands will pick up just about everything off the floor and plop it right into their chubby cheeks for safe keeping. As a parent, you hope to discover these little treasures before any swallowing happens, but just in case you don’t get there in time, researchers have determined just how long it’ll take to pass piece of Lego.

Yep, you read that right. In a recently published paper from the online version of the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, a team of six health professionals from the medical site, “Don’t Forget the Bubbles”, worked to solve the age old question: How long does it take to poop out Lego?

You've got to be sh*tting me—the best poop storiesTo figure this out, each one of them ingested a piece of Lego—specifically, the somewhat candy-shaped head of those super popular mini-figures—and then, well, they monitored their poop to record when it came out.

According to their findings, the average FART score (that is, the Found and Retrieved Time) was about 1.71 days. To be fair, the study sampled only six adults, so take this average with a grain of salt. Also, while this is technically a published study, just know that it was very much made as a lighthearted not-so-serious research project meant to put a smile on peoples faces.

Mission Accomplished.

Read more:
This amazing “wooden” roller coaster build is every Lego fan’s dream
This kid’s job application to Legoland will melt your heart

The post This is how long it’ll take your kid to poop out Lego appeared first on Today's Parent.

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A post shared by The New Stepford (@thenewstepford) on Nov 5, 2018 at 8:15am PST

Let’s face it: Your pre-teen doesn’t respond to your gushy parental love as well as they did when they were little. After all, they’re beginning their transition into an angsty hormonal teenager, so if you want to strengthen your parental bond, you’ve got to adapt and speak in a language they’ll understand: sarcasm.

Mom of two Wendy Cicero realized this was the perfect way to bond with her kids, who—at 12 and 14—are right at the cusp of teenage-dom. Instead of just writing their names on their paper lunch bags, she started writing passive aggressive quips, and her kids loved it.

20 movies to watch with your teen on Netflix Canada “It’s imperative to have humour with your kids,” Cicero told TODAY. “We joke about everything—sex, drugs, politics, their bodies—I don’t want them to think anything is taboo. Humour is a great segue into having meaningful conversations and it helps break the tension of things that can be kind of awkward.”

And since her kids know that she’s mostly joking with her notes, she can get her message across in a way that’s enjoyable for both her and her kids.

Take a look at some of her examples:

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A post shared by The New Stepford (@thenewstepford) on May 17, 2018 at 11:58am PDT

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A post shared by The New Stepford (@thenewstepford) on May 18, 2018 at 7:41am PDT

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A post shared by The New Stepford (@thenewstepford) on Nov 19, 2018 at 7:52am PST


Hilarious, right? If you’re a mom of tweens, you’ve definitely had these exact thoughts.

Cicero, who runs the blog The New Stepford, only posted pictures of her notes onto Instagram after her daughter convinced her they were funny, and she was totally right because the people of the internet love them (including us!).

The wildest part of all this is that people in the comments asked her to sell them pre-made packs of paper bags with her notes on them, and they actually bought them! According to one of Cicero’s captions, people wanting to purchase plain brown paper bags with simple notes on them didn’t make sense to her, but when opportunity knocks…

So kudos to her. She found a way to bond with her kids AND make a few bucks on the side while doing it. She’s truly living the dream. Maybe in the future, she can just write the notes and her kids can pack their own lunches? Who knows!

Read more:
These kids’ hilarious sex questions show why early sex ed is so important
Being a teen girl on social media is like having a high-pressure full-time job

The post These passive aggressive lunch bag notes say what all moms are really thinking appeared first on Today's Parent.

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As Ontario’s Child Advocate Irwin Elman tucked his pink slip into his pocket, and his office staff dumped desk drawers into boxes, I wonder if Doug Ford and his PC party patted themselves on the back for money saved. It appears Ontarians will be drinking their cheap beer at the expense of vulnerable children and youth.

Foster children, Indigenous children, disabled children, abused children—collectively a group most Canadians would wish to protect and champion—have been thrown under the bus in a reprehensible wielding of political power. Last Friday, the Conservatives repealed the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007 as part of their fall economic statement, stripping these children of the one person guaranteed to be in their corner: The Ontario Child Advocate.

Not beholden to any agency or government, the child advocate (a position held by Irwin Elman since 2008) educates youth on their rights and pushes for action on their behalf. Because the office reports to the legislature, it remains independent. Most provinces have one, but now Canada’s most populated province has lost theirs. Although some people may not be familiar with the role of the child advocate, even those who have never had personal contact with the children who might need it would be left scratching their heads as to why kids in jeopardy have been targeted by the PC government.

With Children’s Aid Societies having limited oversight, the Advocate’s office was the one safe place where foster children could turn to report abuse within the system. For youth with mental health issues who have found themselves in the criminal justice system, the child advocate could push for a plan of care so they didn’t end up spiralling in the system. For blindsided parents who’d adopted children with severe special needs, the advocate helped their children receive critical services. The office called for mandatory inquests into the deaths of children in foster care and demanded rights for Indigenous youth. The advocate was the voice for the voiceless. Why did Doug Ford want that silenced?

The child advocate has fought for youth in far-reaching ways. Alongside youth activists, the advocate has been instrumental in helping children change government policy that directly affects them. At one time children in foster care were only afforded care until age 16—a ridiculous age to be thrust into independence—but the office forced direct change and the age limit was raised to 18.

In August, when the Kashechewan community declared a state of emergency with regards to the education of their children because their dreadful portables did not meet health and safety codes, it was the Ontario Child Advocate who pressed the Federal government to step up and make urgent changes. This is a time when we as a nation are to be making reparations with the Indigenous community for the heinous way their youth have been treated, most notably during the 60s scoop and in residential schools. Indigenous children are disproportionally represented in the foster care system, prime recipients of the child advocate’s help, and for the Ontario government to strip them of an advocate is a deplorable gesture and a giant step back.

How trauma reverberates down through generations and affects kidsThose adults down in the trenches fighting for the vulnerable youth—the social workers, counsellors, First Nations leaders, teachers, and parents who may be the first ones to direct youth to the advocate—have just had the rug ripped out from under them. But imagine what will go through the minds of struggling children when they read a tweet or something in the media (as Elman did) and learn the office has been closed, that the people they were relying on have been taken away. For some children, the advocate may be the only person on their side, and they are left alone and powerless. Perhaps Doug Ford can personally man the phone in the advocate’s office, listen to children’s stories, and explain his reasoning for shutting the doors.

Granted, there is only so much money to spread around, with lots of agencies and offices clamouring for their share. Governments have the hard task of deciding where the funds go, and they win elections by promising to look for leeches in order to kick them off the teats of tax payers. But it’s hard to imagine anyone could look at the kids who have found themselves in the clutches of a cruel life, and think they are the drain on provincial coffers, yet by stealing their advocate that’s the intimation. A nonpartisan issue, the wellbeing of children should be the top priority of a civilized society. Ontarians can afford to pay more for beer. They cannot afford to lose one bit of protection for the kids who need it most.

One day, in the not-too-distant future, the very youth this government has further disenfranchised will be making the decisions for this province. The PCs should hope that generation will be a merciful one, despite what has been modelled for them, and that they will be kinder to seniors than the current government is to our youth.

Christen Shepherd is the author of The Promise: Truth from the Trenches of Adoption

Read more:
With Doug Ford as Premier, are our kids vulnerable?
What it’s like to foster 115 kids

The post The Ontario Child Advocate was the one safe space for vulnerable kids—now it’s gone appeared first on Today's Parent.

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Photo: Chris Jackson / Clarence House via Getty Images

Happy birthday Prince Charles! The heir-to-throne’s 70th birthday is tomorrow but today (November 13), the royals released some very special photos of the family to celebrate.

For the first time since Prince Louis’s christening back in July, we have a new photo of the whole family. This one was taken early September by Chris Jackson in the gardens of Clarence House. Now, I know we should be focusing on the birthday boy, but I can’t help but look at Louis and his big grin (and adorable chubby thighs). He’s already rocking shorts just like his big brother George (most royal boys wear shorts and knee socks until they are eight or so and then they start wearing pants!) Charlotte looks adorable as ever, smiling for the camera, but also possibly eyeing something behind the camera that she wants to play with. And George is playing it cool with a sly half-smile.“I was delighted to have been asked to take these portraits of The Prince of Wales surrounded by his family to celebrate the important milestone of his 70th Birthday. It was particularly special to capture such an informal and relaxed family portrait over a fun afternoon in the gardens of Clarence House.”

“I was delighted to have been asked to take these portraits of The Prince of Wales surrounded by his family to celebrate the important milestone of his 70th Birthday,” said the photographer. “It was particularly special to capture such an informal and relaxed family portrait over a fun afternoon in the gardens of Clarence House.”

Since this photo was taken in September, Meghan would have been pregnant, though she and Harry likely hadn’t shared their exciting news yet with the family. I’m sure Charles loves that this photo captures all four of his grandchildren.

Photo: Chris Jackson / Clarence House via Getty Images

In this more candid shot someone is clearly making everyone laugh and we get to see Grandpa Wales, as the kids call him, thriving in his role as granddad. Look at George’s big grin—it looks like Charles had just tickled him to make him smile for the photo. Though Louis looks very confused by what is happening behind the camera.

In an interview for the documentary “Prince, Son & Heir—Charles at 70,” Camilla talks about what an amazing grandparent her husband is. “He will get down on his knees and crawl about with them for hours, you know making funny noises and laughing.

And Prince William revealed that he wishes his dad would spend more time with his kids. “Having more time with him at home would be lovely, and being able to you know play around, err, with the grandchildren. Because when he’s there, he’s brilliant. but we need him there as much as possible.”

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A post shared by The Cambridges (@teatimewiththecambridges) on Nov 8, 2018 at 3:08pm PST

In the doc, there was another sweet photo from this shoot released of little Louis grasping at his grandfather’s hands and Charles is just beaming.

For all the fashion fans, Kate is wearing a navy polka-dot dress by Alessandra Rich. And I have to say, Louis is the spitting image of his mum. Seeing them in these photos really shows how many of Kate’s gorgeous features the little guy inherited—especially her eyes!

The Queen is throwing Charles a big birthday bash tomorrow at Buckingham Palace so we will get to see William, Kate, Harry and Meghan driving into the party (it’s a private affair so there likely won’t be any photos from the actual event). The kids will likely have wished Grandpa Wales a “happy birthday” earlier in the day and hopefully enjoyed some cake with him.

Read more:
What will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s baby look like
Princess Charlotte gives her brother a kiss in new photo
What Prince William and Kate Middleton are really like as parents

The post Prince Louis is all smiles in new family photos with Grandpa Charles appeared first on Today's Parent.

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