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Life Kit: Parenting
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Life Kit: Parenting

Author: Life Kit from NPR

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Raising awesome kids takes help. NPR has science and experts to get you through the toughest parenting moments. Subscribe to get episodes from Life Kit on parenting.
13 Episodes
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From distracted parenting to "sharenting," an honest look at our own use of electronic media can make us into more skillful parents and better role models. Here's what to remember:- Put your phone away whenever possible when you're with your kids. - If you want calmer children, be a more focused parent. - Before you post a picture or share a cute story about your kids on social media, think twice and get their permission if possible. - Don't use technology to stalk your children. - Work for healthier technology for your kids, and for all of us.
Emotional outbursts. Lost sleep. These are signs that your kids are spending too much time with digital devices. Here's what you can do about it. Here's what to remember:- Pay attention to your children's emotional relationship with screens, not just how much time they are spending with them. - Don't just make technology rules based on time. - Do guard bedtimes and mealtimes. - Don't expect taking away the phone to solve all your family's problems. - Mentor your kids; don't just monitor them.
The family that plays video games together, stays together. When parents become digital mentors, children can learn empathy, resilience, and prepare for future careers. Here's how to harness the advantages of screen time. Here's what to remember:- Whenever possible, share screens with your kids. - Balancing screen use is about much more than time.- Be smart about content. - Look for what's positive about your kids' screen time so you can help those positive things grow.
Actress Sonia Manzano is beloved by millions as Maria on Sesame Street. Her character on TV mirrored many of Manzano's real-life milestones, like marriage and motherhood (Elmo served as ring bearer for Maria's wedding on the show). She also wrote for Sesame Street in later years, and helped the show address diversity issues. In this special episode, Manzano reflects on her 44 seasons on Sesame Street, what she thinks was the show's most poignant moment — and which Muppet was secretly her favorite.
Self-regulation skills, including self-control, help us reach our goals, learn in school and get along with others. Millions of children struggle to develop them. We talk to experts for strategies to teach these skills — and get some very special help from Cookie Monster. Here's what to remember:- Look at self-regulation as a skill that can be learned and practiced.- Teach children to calm themselves.- Use your imagination to reframe a temptation.- What would Batman do? Kids can channel their heroes to make it easier to live up to their values.- Be strategic about distractions.- Build self-regulation skills with activities like martial arts or music lessons.
By some estimates, up to 93% of American adults have some degree of math anxiety. The problem often starts in elementary school, but parents can do a lot to fix it. We talk to experts to get some some unexpected strategies for children of all ages, with a little bit of help from Sesame Street head writer Ken Scarborough and, of course, the Count.Here's what to remember: - Your own math anxiety doesn't have to hold your kids back.- Talk about math when you're sharing everyday activities.- Play math — with board games, card games, puzzles, and more. - Forget about right and wrong answers. Keep things open-ended — life, and math, are more fun that way.
Most kids value success and achievement more than caring for others, according to Harvard's Making Caring Common project. Who is to blame? We are. We talk to experts for ideas on how to do better, and why.Here's what to remember:- Children are born to be kind — but also unkind. - Kindness requires courage.To build kindness, practice mindfulness.- Teach real apologies, and frame forgiveness as a gift you give yourself.- Practice gratitude to "raise the capital" of everyday kindness.- Kindness is a habit; rituals, chores and service can all help.
Whether a school shooting or a deadly tornado, scary events in the news can leave parents struggling to know when — and how — they should talk with their kids about it. Rosemarie Truglio of Sesame Workshop and Tara Conley, a media studies professor at Montclair State University, give us tips. - Limit their exposure to breaking news.- For the really big stories, pick a quiet moment and start the conversation by asking what kids have heard and how they're feeling.- Give facts and context: Let kids know that most scary news events are rare. Show them where it is happening on a map. - When they ask why something happened, avoid labels like "bad guys." - Encourage kids to process the story through play, art, even video.- Take positive action together.
Even the most amicable split is world-changing for young children. Here are a few key tips for grown-ups trying to help their kids navigate this big transition. - Give children as much heads-up as you can — as soon as you've made a definite decision to split up.- It's a grown-up problem. Don't share details that will confuse your child or hurt your partner.- Don't fear the big feelings or the "pajama truth-bomb." - It's good for kids to talk about a separation — even when it may be painful for adults to hear.- Make sure your kids know that not everything will change. - Keep routines, and toys, consistent, even if they're traveling from one home to another. - Look back together on the good memories.
Whether it's mini-makeup kits, gross-smelling slime or semi-automatic foam-dart guns, every parent or caregiver has fielded requests for toys that they're just not that into. We talk about princesses and superheroes and their influence on kids with Rosemarie Truglio of Sesame Workshop and Lisa Dinella, a gender studies professor at Monmouth University. Here's what to remember: - Banning toys outright can be counterproductive. - Pay more attention to how kids play than what they're playing with. - Fight sexism in the playroom by broadening toy selections. - Talk directly to your kids about your values.- Join in your child's play to help expand the possibilities. - Grossed out? Use toilet toys as a chance to teach science — and manners.
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Comments (5)

Joshua Linehan

Could you do a story on teaching your young children about chores and allowance and money? How young is too young for capitalism? What to do instead?

Aug 12th
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Sawyer  Martinez

Joshua Linehan That must be great!

Aug 12th
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faith bwire

I still remember the bomb last in Kenya 1998 El Nino 1997 post election violence... That later actually made me stop watching news till to date I really don't have focus.... The events in our lives can shape or break us.... Making me realize how our minds are powerful and mental wellness should be something we look into always. Our minds are always active all our lives yet we need take good care of it

May 18th
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faith bwire

Oh this is so helpful when you think they are not affected most of them are forced to grow up.... Our minds function the same we need to process all and progress this to be well holistically thank you for sharing this

May 18th
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Sandra Norris

What if you aren't big on supporting make-believe characters? My son lost a tooth a I didn't do the tooth fairy thing. He doesn't seem upset but he asked me if the tooth fairy was real. I asked what did he think, he says he thinks she's real.

Apr 20th
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