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Chicago parenting predictions for 2013

Being a parent in 2013 isn’t that much different than it was a century ago. We parents are all working hard to do our very best for the little people in our lives. But family life is constantly evolving, and every year we are exposed to new innovations intended to make this parenting gig a little bit easier.

From genius online artwork organization to the greatest new thing in kids’ birthday bashes, we found the best in new parenting trends and innovations that Chicago area families can expect to see this year.

Here’s what is coming your way:

We found the best in new parenting trends and innovations that Chicago area families can expect to see in 2013.

Fashion

Mini Me

When you head out shopping next year, plan to pick up one outfitfor you-and something very similar for your “mini me.” “In 2013,look for little girls to be emulating what their moms are wearing,now more than ever,” says Kristine Prugh, Chicago mom of three andthe founder of Twinkleberry and Son
showroom. “For spring, expect to see lots of maxi dresses, mint
green paired with peach, and shoes with glittery embellishments-for
both moms and their daughters.”


Fun

The proliferation of the photo booth

Photo booths have been around for years, but they were largelyrelegated to amusement parks. But these machines (and the quick andfunny photo strips they produce) are becoming prolific. Photobooths now are readily available for rental, and families areincorporating this playful element into celebrations such as blockparties, birthday bashes and more. Local companies like Shutterbox PhotoBooth rent photo booths for any occasion (even if it is just to
show your kids that you can still get your silly on!).

There are also a handful of great apps for smart phones that areperfect for photo booth fun on the go. Some of our favorites are IncrediBooth and PopBooth.


Play

Take your recycle bin building to the next level

“Everyone knows kids favor the boxes toys come in over the toysthemselves, which is why these two new two companies have made suchan impression on me,” says Lindsey Gladstone, editor of DailyCandyKids and mom to two little ones. Makedo sells kits that include
tools (saw, hole puncher, connectors, hinges) to join together
cardboard, plastic and fabric castoffs so kids can get seriously
creative.

Toobalink adds connectors to
paper towel and toilet paper tubes to allow your little architect
to build towers out of items that otherwise would end up in the
recycling box.


Throwbacks

What’s old is new again (but it is a lot easier this timearound)

Sure, you meant to send Grandmaand Grandpa a postcard fromyour recent vacation. But the process of selecting a postcard froma rotating rack in a souvenir shop, penning a message, obtainingproper postage and popping said card into a mailbox feels like alot of work when you could just send a picture from yoursmartphone. At the same time, there really is something specialabout getting an actual postcard in your mailbox.

Enter Postino.You snap a picture, add a message (including your
real signature), buy a stamp through PayPal and your real postcard
arrives in a real mailbox in just a couple of days.


Entertaining

DIY (with a little bit of help from the experts)

The days of kids’ birthday party extremes are over. Parents nolonger have to choose between outsourcing the whole shindig to theparty planning experts or sucking it up and handling every lastdetail of the party themselves. Piece of CakeProductions provides the tools to help families pull off
first-rate celebrations for every occasion. These entertaining
experts provide complete downloadable party plans and basics (party
timelines, invites, menus, crafts and game directions, shopping
lists, etc.) that make it possible for mom and dad to pull off the
whole party themselves (while actually being able to enjoy the
experience).


Taste

Tea party

Tea isn’t just for pretend parties with baby dolls or lazyafternoons with old ladies anymore. Take your tea parties to thenext level in 2013. Tea drinking in the U.S. is on the rise, andkids can get in on this trend, too. Families are realizing thatcaffeine-free, herbal teas offer numerous benefits for kids.Retailers such as Teavana
even have entire sections of their website devoted to tea forlittle ones. Choose a caffeine-free tea and mix with a bit of
juice or honey to make this warm offering more appealing to
kiddos.


Efficiency

Outfitting your kids made easy

Kids require constant wardrobe updates. You get everybody set upwith shoes, clothes and all the necessary outerwear only todiscover that your son’s feet have grown overnight and yourdaughter’s brand new jeans are suddenly floods because of herserious growth spurt. Two companies are rethinking the way familiesdeal with the constant in and out of kids’ clothing.

Wittlebee.com is a
monthly kids’ clothing club. Sign up online, provide details about
your kid’s sizing and style preferences and receive a box with $100
worth of clothing basics (retail value) for $39.99 a month. Parents
can provide feedback to their stylist online and pause or cancel
the membership at any time.

Of course, parents also have to deal with all of the clothingtheir kids have outgrown. This is where Moxie Jean comes in. “Moxie
Jean takes the hassle out of keeping up with high-quality kids’
clothes so that your little ones always look great no matter how
fast they grow,” says Sharon Schneider, founder and CEO of Moxie
Jean. Here is how it works: Request a free mailer bag, fill it with
the high-quality but too-small clothes and send the bag back to
Moxie Jean. You can choose whether you want to use the credits you
earned from your bag to buy new items through Moxie Jean or you can
donate your credit to the families served by the Ann and Robert H.
Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.


Technology

The new family photo album and an answer to kids’ artworkoverload

Gladstone is always looking for the newest big thing for the 6and under set-and their parents. One of her favorite innovations inapps is Artkive. “Any
parent who suffers from art project overload-and the accompanying
guilt about throwing their kids’ artwork away-will appreciate
Artkive. Photograph your kids’ masterpieces as they come home-and
then toss them right in the trash. At the end of the year you can
make a coffee table book of the art straight from the app,” she
says.

Use This Life to get a
handle on your family photos. “Digital photos are great, but I live
in fear of our hard drive going haywire and losing all of our
memories,” Gladstone says. This Life gathers all the digital images
from your desktop, phone, camera, and social channels and stores
them safely in the company’s cloud.


Entertainment

Kid-sized versions of the performances that mom and dadlove

Why should adults have all of the fun? Increasingly, localcultural institutions are offering more and more programmingdesigned to engage younger audiences. For example, Second City Improv ExtravaganzaExplosion now offers its signature brand of off-the-cuff sketch
comedy show for families (read: you can count on the humor being
clean).

Similarly, the Chicago SymphonyOrchestra offers programs that kids and their music-loving
parents can appreciate. Check out the Family Matinee Series or the
Once Upon a Symphony program for preschoolers.


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