The Best Parenting Websites

It’s a dot-mom world―and you’re speeding down the information superhighway. Slow down and pull over at these not-to-be-missed sites.

  • Lori Bergamotto
Best for Practical Information

thecradle.com
What it is: An all-questions-answered primer for the newly pregnant and the newly parenting, with eco-friendly undertones.

Why it's worth your time: No need to troll multiple sites when you can get one-stop shopping here: parent-to-parent advice, cool baby gear, and green-living guides.

Don't miss: The useful and easy-to-navigate baby-name database: more than 50,000 names tailored to the origin, the level of popularity, and the letter you desire.

pluggedinparents.com
What it is: A comprehensive cyber-world that offers advice from a pediatric nurse-practitioner, reader-approved recipes, and even family-dog pros and cons.

Why it's worth your time: You can quickly put to rest many anxiety-inducing issues, like language milestones and food allergies. Find all the answers here.

Don't miss: The movie reviews. Never again will you suffer through a mind-numbing kids’ movie, thanks to the honest critiques of family-oriented films.

kidfriendlyguide.com
What it is: A cross-country handbook of restaurants, resorts, after-school activities, and services that cater to kids, complete with reviews by parents.

Why it's worth your time: Those steely glares from the no-children-welcome zone? Steer clear of them forever.

Don't miss: The handy link to the extensive list of toy recalls from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

 

 

Best for Networking

totspot.com
What it is: Part online baby book, part social site. Parents create secure MySpace-like profiles for their kids and share pictures and milestones with loved ones.

Why it's worth your time: You can save the hours calling Aunt Fran about baby’s first word and e-mailing Uncle Joe about tot’s first soccer goal. They can see it all here.

Don't miss: The growth-chart application, which allows you to monitor your child’s development without marking up the walls.

raisingthem.com
What it is: A six-degrees-of-separation site where you get together with parents you know and the people they know.

Why it's worth your time: Because having a playdate with a parent you don’t know can be just as awkward as a blind date.

Don't miss: The online support groups for people in the same boat (parents of multiples, parents of special-needs kids, parents of more than four children, etc.).

motherhoodlater.com
What it is: A cyber powwow for the over-35 set, with encouraging info about fertility and surrogacy, plus lots of local chapter information for playdate planning.

Why it's worth your time: You risk embarrassment by admitting your teenage crush on Donny Osmond to a bunch of 20-somethings. These women can relate.

Don't miss: The hilarious blogs. Waxing poetic on everything from menopause to dealing with the cringe-inducing “Are you his mom or his grandma?” inquiry.

 

 

Best Daily Destination

babble.com
What it is: A veritable safety net of we’ve-been-there advice and keep-you-in-the-loop news to help you during that gigantic leap into the world of parenting.

Why it's worth your time: You’ll get smart, timely conversations. In other words, a break from goo-goo ga-ga sounds that can be the only talk you hear all day.

Don't miss: The Health and Development section, where experts weigh in on 36 controversial topics, such as co-sleeping, cord-blood banking, and spanking.

thefamilygroove.com
What it is: An online magazine that touches on such topics as autism awareness and fitness ideas on shedding the baby weight, all in a chatty, tell-it-like-it-is forum.

Why it's worth your time: With the Power to the People e-mail, a quarterly e-blast for readers, you can save 10 to 20 percent off certain purchases at mom-friendly stores.

Don't miss: A burgeoning local resource guide that tips you off to the best take-the-kids restaurants and bring-the-baby resorts.

ohdeedoh.com
What it is: As the founders so aptly put it, “a site for people who care about good design but just happen to have children.”

Why it's worth your time: There’s a wealth of trust-worthy resources for home improvements, saving you the trouble of gathering word-of-mouth advice.

Don't miss: The Nursery Tours: voyeuristic, behind-the-scenes glimpses of real-life children’s rooms, including those decorated on an itty-bitty budget.

 

Best for Kids

zookazoo.com
What it is: A site that takes kids on educational adventures through a make-believe world. (There’s an annual fee of $58. Best suited for ages 6 to 12.)

Why it's worth your time: Because Zookazoo charges a membership fee, it comes armed with every online security precaution―meaning no inappropriate ads or pop-ups.

Don't miss: The Hiphopolis world, where kids can listen to musical beats and play a musical memory game.

kidstube.com
What it is: A YouTube-type forum (think video sharing, but more heavily monitored) that elicits both parents’ approval and kids’ interest.

Why it's worth your time: You can rest easy that the content is age-appropriate and spend less time policing the TV for kid-friendly viewing.

Don't miss: The Random Channels, where pint-size viewers can click on the wildly popular Webkinz-related videos.

handipoints.com
What it is: A destination that transforms ho-hum chores into an opportunity to earn points.

Why it's worth your time: You get a break from the bad-cop aspect of parenting. When kids willingly help around the house, you don’t have to nag.

Don't miss: The chore charts. A tally-and-reward application that encourages kids to make their beds, brush their teeth, and clean their rooms.