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[Kids]

...Be a Cool Parent

We searched for cool parenting “experts” who’d be willing to share their tips. We even interviewed a few. Then we realized some of the coolest parents we know—if we do say so ourselves—are right here, on our editorial staff. And when we’re not editing, we’re deep in the trenches—parenting. Happily (all right, reluctantly), we’re going to share our cool-parenting primer. (Hint: there’s a common thread in all of the tips).

1: Don’t Sing in the Car. Or anywhere else. Ever. Under any circumstances. Same goes for dancing—just don’t do it.

2: Learn the Lingo—But Don’t Use It Yourself. It’s cool if you know that when your son says his favorite rapper has a “nice grill,” he’s not talking about a barbecue. It’s not cool if you invite his friends over to play video games at your “crib.” Remember: there’s a fine line between really cool and really embarrassing!

3: Act Like a Tree—and Leave. Newsflash: once your child is past the “Mommy & Me” stage, he does not want you hanging out with him and his friends.

4: Don’t Friend Your Teen on Facebook. The last thing your teen wants his friends to see is a “like”—or, God forbid, a comment—from you!

5: Don’t Be Yourself. Wanna be cool in your kid’s eyes? Make an effort not to stand out in a crowd.

6: Be God-like. You know, omniscient, loving, forgiving—and most of all, invisible!

…Be a Kid Again

Do the stresses of today’s society make you long to recapture your halcyon childhood? Us too. Short of finding the Fountain of Youth, here’s what you can do to feel like a kid again.

1: Eat Like a Kid. Remember, you are what you eat. To regress to your youth, we suggest starting with any kid’s favorite part of the meal: dessert. Try homemade “Twinkie” desserts at Provisions Cafe and Bake Shop in Pelham (914-738-6622), the Ring Ding-inspired cakes at Plates in Larchmont (914-834-1244), or peanut-butter-and-jelly cupcakes from the Flour & Sun Bakery in Pleasantville (914-495-3232). If you insist on eating dinner first, you can’t go wrong with mac ’n’ cheese. And, since kids don’t care about truffle oil, skip Ümami’s famous creation for the gooier three-cheese variety at Comfort in Hastings-on-Hudson (914-478-0666).

2: Play Like a Kid. There’s no reason age should prevent you from enjoying your favorite playground games. Gather your posse and sign up for Big League Kickball (bigleague kickball.com). The co-ed league is open to anyone 18 or over, and has divisions in Yonkers, Valhalla, Purchase, and Stamford, Connecticut. If you’re more of a lone wolf than a team player, there’s no age limit on the laser tag at FUNFUZION in New Roc City (914-637-7575).

3: Relax Like a Kid. As a youngster, there was only one thing that could relax you into a peaceful slumber: story time. Remember the pleasures of being read to aloud with the author events at the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center (914-332-5953), which often hosts local authors and poets, and Spoken Interludes (914-307-1683), where just-published authors read from new and upcoming works over dinner and (adult) drinks.

4: Dress Like a Kid. When you were a kid, you lived in your OshKosh B’Gosh overalls. Lucky for your inner child, designers have been sending one-piece outfits down the runway at their shows. You can buy your own jumpsuit by Theory ($215) or Marc by Marc Jacobs ($298) at Neiman Marcus in White Plains (914-428-2000; neimanmarcus.com). For men, hark back to the days of skinned knees with ripped 7 For All Mankind ‘Flynt’ Bootcut Jeans ($225) at Nordstrom, also in The Westchester (914-946-1122; nordstrom.com).

…Become a Pop Star

Do you see yourself as a Billy Ray Cyrus type, managing your progeny to fame and fortune as teen pop stars? Take your budding Taylor Swifts and Jonas Brothers to the Random Farms Kids Theater’s annual “Are You a Pop Star?” event in Elmsford to see if they really have the chops. On the first day of the two-day workshop, performers work with Cari Cole, founder/director of Cari Cole Voice & Music Co. in Manhattan, which offers vocal training, artist development, and record production. Participants return the next day and, backed by a live band, perform for a panel of judges from the music biz. The chosen winners get a one-song record contract with Cole. We asked for tips on nailing that big audition.

1: Start Early. “Kids should start writing their own songs at eleven and twelve years old,” says Cole. “It takes years to put a project together well.”

2: Hone Your Instrument. “In musical theater, they tell you to belt out songs to prepare for the stage,” says Cole. “There’s tons of vibrato in musical-theater singing—it’s overdone. In pop it’s not overdone, it’s almost underdone.”

3: Don’t Imitate. “We encourage the kids to find their unique sound and stay true to themselves, using their favorite singers only as inspiration,” says Anya Wallach, producer and founder of the Random Farms Kids Theater.

4: Stage Presence Counts. Says Wallach, “You have to interpret the words of the song so that they mean something to you, and not just stand there frozen like a robot.”

5: Dress the Part. “Be creative with your clothing,” says Cole. “It’s part of your artistry.”

“Are You a Pop Star?” takes place every fall. To find out more, call (914) 740-1010 or visit randomfarms.com. If you’re interested in vocal coaching with Cari Cole, call (212) 532-0828 or visit caricolevoicestudios.com.