In a study released last month by researchers at the University of Liege in Belgium, ageism can be seen in children as young as three. It's normal - little kids naturally sort what they see into categories, and often assign traits to those categories based on the messages they receive (such as that elderly people yell a lot and want you off their lawn).
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It's an annual tradition for parents all across the country. The Christmas holidays start to wind down. They get a letter from school about their student's enrolment. They start seeing hints of "back to school" at the store. The kids are dressed in clothes that are almost too small and worn from a summer of play. It's time to start thinking about going back to school.
Before you have kids, the beach is easy. You amble down with nothing but a towel and a bottle of water; maybe you bring an umbrella and stick it in the sand with the ease of Zeus tossing a thunderbolt. Sun protection is a big hat and a dab of sunscreen. But once you procreate? Hannibal crossed the Alps with less effort and gear than it takes to get kids to the shore.
By now, we know how important it is to instill a sense of gratitude in our children - according to the book Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character, those who practice thankfulness get better grades, have a lower risk of depression, and are more engaged in their hobbies and communities. And we're trying. Around the parenting sphere, there are countless posts about teaching kids to write thank-you letters, start gratitude journals, toss their daily joys into the gratitude jar, and list their blessings at the dinner table. All are completely worthwhile rituals. It seems like parents are becoming really intentional about cultivating gratitude in their homes - or at least about writing about it on the internet. As a mum, I sure would like to become more disciplined in this area. Who wouldn't?
While going over the illness section of the handbook at my daughter's preschool orientation, the director told parents, "If we made every kid with a runny nose stay home, we'd have no children here." Kids get sick a lot and not every sniffle requires you to take a day off from work to nurse them back to health. But it can be tough to gauge whether your kid is too sick to go to school, and it often comes down to a judgment call.
There are a lot of numbers you have to keep in mind when you're raising a kid: Their height and weight. How many millilitres of milk they're drinking, at first, and then how many fruits and veggies they're eating, how much outdoor play they're getting, and of course, how many minutes a day they spend glued to a device.
If you belong to any online parents' groups and you make a word cloud, there will be one word in 72-point font in the dead centre: SLEEP. No one gets through the first months or years of parenthood without wondering how the hell to get the kid to go to sleep, stay asleep, or sleep just a bit later in the morning.
When you're a parent, naptime is the second most-looked-forward-to moment of the day. It's the hour (or two, or three, if you're lucky) that you get to eat lunch, check email, do a chore or two, and maybe even rest yourself. That's what makes the phrase "dropped nap" so horrifying: It means that a day that began at 7 (or 6, or 5, if you're unlucky) now yawns open, like a gaping maw of death, to bedtime. There's no opportunity for respite: Just you and a toddler, covered in homemade slime, squabbling about whether it's Tuesday.
This past weekend, I decided to take two four-year-olds -- my daughter and her friend -- to see Coco, Pixar's new movie. But before leaving the house, I happened to read the tweets. The many, many tweets. There were warnings, outcries, and rage-induced petitions regarding the 21-minute long Frozen "featurette" that plays before the film. It's called Olaf's Frozen Adventure, and according to those who've endured it, it's bad. Excruciating. "In addition to representing the worst elements of the crass commercialization of Christmas, the songs were lacklustre, the plotting is painfully cliched, and Olaf is annoying as shit," tweeted one viewer. Another wrote: "Even my 6yr old girl was like -- "how LONG is this??!" Many said that they were so confused, restless or irritated that they almost walked out of the theatre.
New research shows that many young children, prior to reaching the age of six or seven, mistakenly believe that birthday parties cause ageing. It's a truly adorable finding, but the study also offers an important glimpse into the developing brain and our early tendency to seek out causal explanations for the unfolding world around us.
Hey, it's peak airport season! The time of year when you spend a lot of time in lines waiting to be barked at by airport security, and waiting to take off your shoes, and then ... sometimes waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more. This is not exactly ideal when you don't have children, but for those of us with toddlers and little kids, it's a special stretch of total hell. So the prepared parent plans enough activities to keep little Corian and Toto engaged -- and most importantly not whining or screaming -- for up to, oh, 11 hours.
When I hear from adults who live with anxiety, many say that the only thing that helps is not trying to get rid of the anxiety completely, but learning to accept that it's going to hang around, maybe forever. They begin to see it as just a thing, neither good nor bad. On a recent episode of The Hilarious World of Depression podcast, one guest said she deals with her anxiety by naming it "Steve" and then imagining Steve as this dumb friend who shows up once in a while. So whenever her anxiety acts out, she can say, "Oh, Steve. Cut it out."
New parenthood comes with a certain amount of pain: There's the delivery, of course, and the rather searing experience of learning to breastfeed a newborn. But aside from those delivery-specific pains, the new parent or caregiver might find herself nursing back, shoulder, neck,and wrist pain - all from hauling around the tiny new bundle of joy. But it doesn't have to be this way! To get an idea of how to protect your musculoskeletal system from undue strain, I spoke to Stephanie Leaf, a physical therapist specialising in postpartum issues and the director of New Leaf Physical Therapy, for her best advice on avoiding and treating the pain caused by caring for a newborn.
The holidays cause some anxiety in my house: My husband and I are both somewhat undisciplined in our spending, and previous Januaries have arrived with credit-card bills so disturbingly large that I've wondered if we were in the grip of some kind of eggnog-induced mania. This holiday season is different, however: Last January I vowed to get my financial life in order and teach my kids about sensible money management, and it's gone pretty well. For the first time, this Christmas we've actually budgeted a sensible amount for gifts and festivities.