Parents @ Play: The last gasp of summer

But summer definitely isn't over yet, which means that if they hunker down and finish up their homework, there are still plenty of well-lit hours in the day to play outside before bedtime. Here are some of our late-summer outdoor favorites.


Living with Children: Step-parenting rules of engagement

Q: In a recent column, you advise that stepparents have complete disciplinary authority over all children who live in or visit the home, but do you feel the same policy should apply when the stepparent joins the family when the kids are teenagers instead of younger children?


Ex-etiquette: Set clear boundaries for relationship with ex

Q: My ex has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and he's fine when he takes his meds, but when he doesn't, he's extremely unpredictable and he scares me a little. That's the reason we broke up - I never knew what to expect. Lately he's been contacting me again with a lot of "remember whens" and I sort of feel like he's stalking me. I don't want to go back to him, but I'm afraid to tell him. What's good ex-etiquette?


Lori Borgman: Give kids a break and start school later

There was a time you could tell when school was starting by the school supply aisles at the big box stores. They looked like the aftermath of a tornado - shell-shocked parents, binders strewn across floors, backpacks upended, and pencils driven straight through the display of crayons and markers. But now the school supply shelves are neat. There is no whirlwind rush for supplies, because there is no single "back-to-school" date.


Ask Mr. Dad: Stepping into a blended family

Dear Mr. Dad: I'm divorced and have three children from that marriage. I'm engaged to a great guy and we're very happy. The one trouble area is that he never seems quite comfortable around my kids (he doesn't have any of his own) and often tells me that he doesn't feel like he truly belongs. How can I help him feel like a real member of the family?


Apps to help kids get ready for kindergarten

There is no shortage of apps geared for pre-K kids heading into their first year of school. The trick is finding high-quality educational programs that help build important literacy, math, and concentration skills and using them with your kid to model engaged thinking and lifelong learning.

Movie News & Reviews

Movie review: 'Kubo and the Two Strings,' deeply affecting epic adventure may be too scary for young kids

Parents need to know that "Kubo and the Two Strings" is an adventure from LAIKA Animation, the studio behind "Coraline," "ParaNorman," "The Boxtrolls," and "Corpse Bride." Like those films, it has more darkness and edge than many average kids' movies and is best suited for tweens and older, rather than the preschool and early-elementary set. It has scary characters and epic battles that can be quite intense and that lead to character injuries, an entire village burning (though the villagers survive), and even deaths. Language is limited to a few insults ("stupid," "idiot," etc.) and romance to a couple of embraces and references to a past love story. Despite the peril, this epic adventure set in an alternative fantasy Japan has strong themes of courage and teamwork. And at heart, it's a mother-and-son love story, as well as the tale of a young artist learning how to be a hero.


Game review: 'No Man's Sky,' exceptional sci-fi tale, virtually endless play

Parents need to know that "No Man's Sky" is a first-person sci-fi simulation game where players explore a virtually endless universe filled with massive planets, alien life, and technological secrets. The bulk of the game is composed of exploration, discovery, and using resources to craft new items and technologies. Players can also engage in battle with aliens and machines - including those that pose no threat, should they choose (though most creatures will fight back if attacked, and many are much more powerful than the player's character). The gun-based combat involves explosions and bursts of light, but no blood or gore.


App review: INKS., irresistible, meditative take on classic pinball

Parents need to know that INKS. is an art- and music- driven minimalist pinball game by the makers of the exceptional Lumino City. The object is to get the ball to touch the colorful squares as it bounces around from flipper to flipper. It's great for calm, almost meditative play, but some levels require very high levels of skill, which might frustrate some kids. Watch out for in-app purchases for power-ups, as there's no parent gate. The developer doesn't list a privacy policy on their website, so be careful with sharing personal information via social network links within the game.


Keep your eyes on fireworks safety

Every Fourth of July, emergency departments see an influx of injuries caused by fireworks. Mayo Clinic experts say the hands, face and eyes are particularly vulnerable.
Courtesy: Mayo Clinic
Keep your eyes on fireworks safety 1:00

Keep your eyes on fireworks safety

Rafters enjoy the rapids on the French Broad River 1:46

Rafters enjoy the rapids on the French Broad River

Legal Remedy expands, holds 'Beerthday' celebration in Rock Hill 1:16

Legal Remedy expands, holds 'Beerthday' celebration in Rock Hill

Rock Hill kidnapping, rape suspect in court 2:43

Rock Hill kidnapping, rape suspect in court