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Thursday, June 19th, 2014
Keith Boyd and Arthur Greeno
One special boy is doing incredible things in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Keith Boyd, 10, is currently on a mission to raise $250,000 this summer for The Little Light House, a local development center for children with special needs. Keith was born with non-verbal cerebral palsy and went to school at the center until age 6. He is now able to verbally communicate after receiving the Tobii EyeMobile as a gift from The Little Light House. The tool allows users to type a message by interpreting the gaze of their eyes, which is then read aloud. The Tobii is just one of many new tools to help kids with disabilities
And while the gift of communication is invaluable, Boyd is doing what he can to give back.
“[The Little Light House] has done so much for me; I want to give back so other kids can go to that school without paying any money,” he said.
But raising that amount of money in one summer is no easy feat, so Keith crafted a business plan to set up lemonade stands around his community. He presented the plan to Thrive15, an online educational resource for entrepreneurs. Moved by his proposal, local businessman Arthur Greeno stepped in to help make this charitable idea a reality.
Now, Keith’s Ice Cold Lemonade Stand is open for business.
Thanks to donations from local businesses, he’s off to a good start. Before the first lemonade stand opened, $70,000 had already been raised through donations. The local Chick-Fil-A franchise, owned by Greeno, also donated lemons. In his list of ingredients, Keith noted he would require lemons, water, and hugs to make the summer favorite. It can’t get any sweeter than that!
Check out Keith’s website to learn more about his mission, to donate, or to just read some good news. Because you know what they say: When life hands you lemons…
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Thursday, June 12th, 2014
Don’t mistake these adorable fruits and veggies for a child’s play cooking set! A look inside reveals the latest skin care offerings from the store for all things quirky and cool.
Last week, Urban Outfitters debuted its Beauty Shop at the new three-story Herald Square location in New York City—the largest one in the world. Korean brands like Tony Moly (maker of these darling delights), along with Clio, Mizon, and The Face Shop, fill up most of the shelves.
Can’t make it to The Big Apple? You can purchase the products online and in select stores.
Peachy keen: This hand cream smells just like the fuzzy fruit! ($8)
Cherry picked: Packed with SPF 15, this lip balm is the perfect addition to your beach bag. ($8)
Apple a day: Keep wrinkles away with this peeling cream that reveals softer skin. ($16)
More summer beauty finds:
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Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
One out of every four kids will grow up illiterate in the United States. Every school day, 3,000 students drop out, the majority of them poor readers. Children who can’t read at grade level by 4th grade are 400% more likely to drop out of high school. Yet government spending on children’s education continues to be cut.
LeVar Burton, actor and children’s literacy advocate, saw the need to create change in our schools and decided to do something about it. Burton, the host of the original Reading Rainbow series on PBS, is running a Kickstarter campaign that could completely change how low-income schools teach reading. ”We need help to bring Reading Rainbow to every child,” said Burton.
The ultimate goal is to create a universally-accessible, browser-based digital library that would be available to every teacher and student in the world. In classrooms that have a high concentration of low-income children, this service will be available at no cost.
The campaign runs from today through June 27, and is asking for $1,000,000, a goal that seems increasingly achievable as the donations inch toward the 50 percent mark.
Track your child’s learning achievements with our daily thumbs-up chart and shop classic kids’ books.
Watch a video below of LeVar Burton talking about his Kickstarter campaign.
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Monday, April 28th, 2014
If you’re expecting a little one anytime soon, you may be longing for the day you’ll be able to answer that pressing question: “Is it a boy or a girl?” But how significant is your baby’s gender, anyway? According to Christia Spears Brown, PhD, author of the newly-released Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue, whether you’re having a little Ethan or a little Emma shouldn’t influence much. And it’s not about being gender neutral, she says. “It’s making gender irrelevant to how I raise my child.” Read on to hear what Brown has to say about many of the gender-related issues she explores in her book.
Gender isn’t just relevant to parents of older kids. As you write, “One of the very first questions a parent-to-be is asked is ‘What are you having?’” What do you hope parents of babies will take away from your book?
“I think this book is best targeted to parents of babies. I want parents to recognize that gender, for the life of their child, won’t predict very much about what their child acts like or thinks like or is able to do. Parents have to think, ‘How can I foster the traits, skills and abilities of my child in which gender is just irrelevant?’
We want our kids to grow up to be nurturing and empathetic, for example. All toys teach kids something. What toys foster nurturing and empathy? Baby dolls, for example. All babies should have baby dolls and things that they can practice caretaking for. We know that boys and girls both like baby dolls until they’re about 2 years old. There’s not a gender difference in that.”
Can you explain the consequences of categorizing children by gender?
Every time we say, ‘What a smart girl you are,’ ‘What a good boy’—that teaches kids from a very early age that gender is the most important thing about them. Kids think, ‘If this is so important, I better figure out what a good girl or a good boy is supposed to do,’ so then kids create the stereotypes for themselves. The other part is for parents to recognize that our language matters. The times that we label gender, the ways that we constantly color-code, all that does matter—even if we are trying our best to be really egalitarian and to foster gender fairness, those really subtle messages tell kids these are the things that you need to pay attention to. That starts right from the beginning. It’s impossible to avoid pink and blue worlds. But to reduce it as much as possible—and it’s not about being anti-pink, there’s this big anti-pink movement, it seems—it’s more teaching kids that you don’t need to be categorized by gender.”
You note that your daughters’ relatives often gift stereotypical presents that they assume young girls would enjoy. How should parents address instances such as these in which others’ views on gender don’t align with their own?
“I think there’s ways to do it that are respectful. I very subtly correct the stereotypes that I hear them say. I do correct it with my kids in private, I’ll just typically say, ‘They kind of forget that boys and girls don’t really differ this way,’ or, I sometimes say, also for older folks, ‘Back when she was young, girls didn’t roughhouse as much as they do now, but now we know that girls roughhouse just as much as boys do.’ I do make sure that I don’t let that stuff go uncommented on, but I also want to be really respectful of the people in our lives. When it comes to the toys that well-meaning relatives give, if I find them really stereotypical, I donate them. I try to walk that fine line of being respectful and recognizing that people of a different time have different attitudes about gender than I do, and it’s not really my job to change them. I try to in subtle ways, but my job is to really just help my kids navigate the stereotypes they encounter. I want them to have a stereotype language, to be able to recognize stereotypes when they hear them. I can’t protect them from all the stereotypes they’re going to encounter, but I can give them tools to recognize them.”
Are your kids ever upset when they receive a toy that you’d prefer to give away?
“I explain why I don’t like it. You know, ‘These clothes really aren’t appropriate for a kid to play with. Let’s give this to someone else, because I just don’t think this is the best toy for us to have in our house.’ They seem to be ok with it. The reality is, kids have plenty of toys. They have plenty of other things; this one toy isn’t going to make or break the birthday or Christmas.”
How do you work to address stereotypes with your kids?
“My 3-year-old had a big princess movement for awhile, which I’m not real fond of. I didn’t want to just ban princesses, because I felt like that wasn’t quite fair, so I was asking her, ‘Well, why do you like princesses so much?,’ and she said it’s because they wear sparkly, pretty outfits. I had to reflect on my own attitudes about it and I thought, well, really what I don’t like about princesses is that they’re passive and they wait for the boy to come and save them. I don’t mind the sparkly, pretty outfit. There’s nothing wrong with that. So I suggested, well, what if we don’t keep the princesses but get other dolls that are also sparkly and wearing nice outfits. Wonder Woman came to mind. She has a tiara, she has a very sparkly belt, very sparkly bracelets, but yet she has lots of powers, and she’s very strong, she comes and saves the day.”
So what do you think of Frozen?
“I think the princesses are fine in it. What’s frustrating as the parent of a daughter is it’s really hard to find movies that feature girls in which finding love is not a primary theme. Typically the movies are either about finding love or about pushing against finding love. Brave was a movie, which, again, I liked, but it’s about how she doesn’t want to find a boyfriend. In Frozen, there’s that boyfriend, true love theme. It ends up where the true love is the sister, which is a great take-home message. I would love a movie where a girl goes on an adventure and there’s nothing love-related, because boys get those movies where boys just go do interesting things. My philosophy is talk to them about it. We went to see Frozen, and I talked to [my then 9-year-old] and I said, ‘I really wish there were movies about girls where it wasn’t always about boys and who they were in love with. I think you do lots of cool stuff, and I think a movie about girls doing lots of cool stuff would be great to go see.’ Research shows that the best way to help kids battle stereotypes is to recognize them. Knowledge is power, when you recognize them, you can fight them, which I find is much better than just trying to censor and edit out the world.”
How can parents impart these beliefs on their children without going to the extreme of raising a child as a gender neutral being?
“From the moment they’re born, focus on their individual strengths. Keep your focus on ‘what’s my individual kid like’—it’s not about making a political point, it’s not about trying to make them gender neutral—it’s what are my individual child’s strengths, and how can I foster those without consideration of gender. Within that, you’ll have natural variation. Some girls are going to be more feminine and caretaking and passive and verbal, whereas some girls aren’t. Within each of your kids, there’s going to be natural variation, so if you happen to have a very passive, somewhat sensitive girl, that’s just who she is, and that should be fostered and valued. But recognize that not all girls are going to be that way. Some girls are much more rough-and-tumble and don’t like to sit still. There’s nothing inherently wrong with feminine toys or male toys. It’s figuring out which is the best for my kid and what are they interested in. That’s tricky for parents of babies, because babies come out not being able to tell you what they’re interested in. For babies, try to provide both. Have trucks and cars and blocks and dolls and stuffed animals so that kids can naturally gravitate toward whatever they’re specifically interested in.”
You write that “mothers talk more, interact more, and are more sensitive to the smiles of girl babies than boy babies. Baby boys are handled more roughly than baby girls” and these biases carry over as kids get older in terms of how parents respond to their children’s emotions. How can parents work not fall into these traps?
“Again, it’s that idea of knowledge is power. There are very few actual differences between boys and girls from birth. There are no differences in how they express emotion. There are no differences in their temperament beyond some kind of impulse control. There are very few differences in terms of activity level. There are no differences in terms of how much they like to look at people and how social they are. Part of it is knowing what the facts are and then being able to check your own preconceived notions. No parent tries to raise a stereotypical child. The goal for parents is really just check their own preconceived ideas. When you think, ‘Oh, I’m having a boy,’ what do you think that means? Well the reality is, it shouldn’t really mean anything. It should be irrelevant, because knowing that they’re a boy shouldn’t predict anything about their behavior or interests or preferences. But if you assume that that’s going to predict what your child will be like, then clearly you have some assumptions. Research shows us that those aren’t accurate assumptions, because there aren’t reliable differences between boys and girls. You’ve got to own what your own assumptions are and do your best to keep them in check. That’s tough for all of us; I have to do the same thing. When we live in this culture, we’ve all been influenced by stereotypes, and we all endorse them, at least implicitly. The only way we know from research to reduce our own stereotypes is to be aware of them.”
How do genetics determine your baby’s gender? Watch below to learn about this amazing process.
What career is your child destined for? Find out.
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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a Kid Reporter gaggle in the White House Library during the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House, April 21, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Editor’s Note: This post was written by Justin Creppy who, at 6 years old, is the youngest contributor we’ve ever featured on our site! Justin (pictured in a blue shirt with red tie, right) was invited to the White House on Easter Sunday to be part of a special Kid Reporter event hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. Read Justin’s story about his experience.
By Justin Creppy
This year I visited the White House for the first time on Easter, and I was one of seven kid reporters to be in the first-ever Kid Reporter gaggle. My day started with so much excitement! I couldn’t wait to get to the White House, but I didn’t know what to expect, so I kept asking mommy and daddy so many questions.
When I arrived at the Northgate I had to be a big boy and give my name and birthdate to the secret service. That was special and fun. I got a badge and entered the White House lawn area. There was so much to see. I walked past the West Wing and I went to the Vermeil Room that had portraits of first ladies. Then I had press time with First Lady Michelle Obama in the White House Library. Her “Let’s Move” program was the focus for the event’s theme, “Hop Into Healthy, Swing into Shape.” When mommy told me what those words meant, I started telling her that I had a bunch of questions for the First Lady. Can I ask her what exercises she does? What sports do Malia and Sasha play? Do they eat healthy every day? My parents told me to pick 2-3 questions I really wanted to ask because this was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
I was one of the youngest kid reporters, and I got a little nervous when the First Lady entered the room. She was very nice and asked us to sit on the floor and introduce ourselves. I got so excited and asked a question, “First Lady, what do Malia and Sasha do to have fun when you are busy and the President is traveling?” I was happy to learn they are just like all the children in the United States. They like to have fun! Malia plays tennis and runs track. Sasha likes to dance hip-hop and plays basketball. The First Lady also said they like to be normal kids with sleepovers, playdates, and going to the movies.
I also learned so much by listening to the other kid reporters’ questions and learning the importance of eating healthy, being active, and watching only a little bit of television. I had an amazing day, and the First Lady gave all the kid reporters a wristband to enjoy the Easter Egg Roll. I was so happy to see so many kids having fun, running, and playing with their families. I had a fun-filled day that I will never forget!
Read experiences written by other kid reporters:
Justin, center, standing in front of the First Lady
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Friday, March 7th, 2014
While putting together our April issue (on newsstands March 11), the editors at Parents couldn’t wait to get the scoop on the newest addition to Rosie Pope’s family. Rosie’s official due date was not until March 12, so we asked two clairvoyants to predict baby number 4′s birth details for us. Here’s what they predicted:
Update! Our beloved Parents contributor gave birth March 6, just before 5 a.m., to Bridget Monroe Pope. After a long labor, the little one weighed in at 7 lbs., 12 oz.
So how did our psychics do?
Both correctly predicted that Rosie would have a girl. Cheri chose the right range for little Bridget’s weight and Sunfairy Chrissy’s “feeling” that March 6 would be her birthday was dead-on. Cheri also correctly called the time window, although the baby was not born at home. As Rosie recovers in the hospital, she is beaming over her family’s new arrival: “She is a mini J.R.!,” Rosie says, marveling at the resemblance between little Bridget and her eldest big brother.
Congratulations to Rosie, her husband, Daron, and the entire Pope clan!
Are you expecting? Check out Rosie’s Style Tips for Mom-to-Be in the video player below or find Parents’ picks for top maternity gear here.
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Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
Parents.com is excited to announce the launch of a new web-only series of comic videos: The Lords of the Playground. Each episode shines a light on the everyday visits to the blacktop from the vantage point of a couple of dads sitting on the sidelines. The series proves this is not your father’s fatherhood.
The video shorts star veteran actors Jason Kravits and Matt Servitto as the dads. Kravits has acted on several television dramas and comedies, including The Practice, The Michael J. Fox Show, and 30 Rock and Servitto has appeared on the big screen and small in works such as The Sopranos, Brotherhood, Going the Distance, and Hitch.
Topics tackled by the duo include acceptable baby talk, playground bets, the Cadillac of strollers and finding a new sitter. Real-life events inspire the storylines as both Kravits and Servitto are dads on film and off. Kravits is the proud papa to a 12-year-old son while Servitto’s 10-year-old and twin 8-year-olds have been known to cause sleep deprivation.
Check back every Wednesday at 10 a.m. EST/7 a.m. PST for the very latest episode of The Lords of the Playground.
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Monday, January 13th, 2014
Looking for a great babysitting gig? The perfect position has just opened up.
Like many other parents here and across the pond, Prince William and Kate Middleton are looking for child care for their son Prince George. They need a new nanny for Baby George because his current caretaker, 71-year-old Jessie Webb, is going back into retirement. (Fun fact: Webb took care of Prince William when he was a baby.) Because the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are getting ready to embark on a huge tour of two countries, they are going to need the extra help.
If you’re thinking about applying, be prepared to provide some spectacular references. Becoming a nanny is no easy feat, even if you want to care for commoners, so I can’t imagine what the qualifications are for becoming a royal nanny. Last year, NBC News ran a story on how competitive it’s become to be a nanny. Many couples now want nannies who have degrees in early childhood education in addition to experience. Some are even asking for Master’s degrees. Of course, the pay is greater for those with the best resumes; nannies might make $100,000 or more. There is no word on how much Prince William and Kate plan on paying their next nanny, but, no matter what, there are sure to be plenty of perks with the gig.
There have been rumors that Grandma Carole Middleton will help William and Kate out with George, but aides have claimed that these rumors are false. And, of course, Great-Grandma Elizabeth is probably too busy to take on a job like this. It’s probably for the better. Having granny as nanny is a tricky situation for any family, but it is probably even more complex for this royal family. My bet is that they will choose someone else to care for George.
Before they start interviewing, the royal family may want to do some research into which kind of childcare is a good fit for their needs, or they—and, of course, you!—can watch the video below to learn how to choose the right nanny.
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