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?
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It was confirmed last year, after much internet confusion, that Scar and Mufasa of The Lion King are indeed brothers. I am glad that's settled. Now the only remaining head-scratcher is: Why the heck does Scar have a British accent when no other lion around has one? Was he educated at some British lion boarding school? Watch a whole lot of Brit feline flicks? Most likely, the reason is this: Filmmakers often use foreign accents and non-standard dialects to voice "bad" characters.
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.
There was a time when my coffee table was my most prized piece of furniture. Before the days of "shelfies", it served as the focal place of my living room, a curated display of my 20-something aspirations. On top of the rectangular sheet of glass perched on legs made of industrial copper pipes sat a couple sleek books -- Design*Sponge at Home to showcase my modern aesthetic and Edible Selby because I loved the idea of going on culinary adventures around the world -- along with an assortment of issues of The New Yorker that I'd tell myself I would sit down and read very soon.
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.
I know what you're thinking, and I agree, so let's just get this out of the way: "Having someone to take care of you when you get old" is a terrible reason to bear children. But since you may currently be in the trenches of wiping the bottom of a person who keeps calling you Squishy Belly Mummy and wondering, "So when is this whole parenting thing supposed to pay off again," let's look at some numbers, shall we?
It seems as though nearly every week a new study is published that contradicts the last one about how much screen time kids should - and shouldn't - be allowed. But assuming you've decided to take the plunge and buy your child a phone, tablet or computer, the hard choices aren't over - in fact, they have just started. Now, you'll have to figure out just how much digital privacy to allow them.
Having kids usually means having to buy a lot of things for them, which means accumulating a massive amount of clutter. Limiting new items doesn't just help you avoid the chaos, it also helps your children build better habits and value their possessions more. Though it might seem like an overwhelming task, decluttering your kids' stuff is possible with a few tips.
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.
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."
As a parent, you often don't remember how much easier life was pre-kids until you try to do something basic, such as stay in a hotel. Before being with child, you could walk into the room, plop your stuff down, climb into bed, and watch the Reese Witherspoon movie marathon on TV for hours while eating Flaming Hot Cheetos (or, you know, do the things you love). When you have a baby who sleeps on a very particular schedule, under very particular conditions (sunlight is evil!), hotel living can be an ordeal. (Note: If you have a baby who can snooze like a log at a monster truck show and believe it is parents who create delicate infant sleep habits, look, I'm... too tired to fight.)