Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
Unless you’ve been avoiding TV, radio, and magazines the past few years, I’m sure you know the Kardashians get a ton of bad press. After all, they are constantly in the spotlight and are bound to make choices that not everyone likes. I don’t agree with everything they do, but I can appreciate that they are a tight-knit family that really cares about one another. When the press leaked that the oldest Kardashian sister, Kourtney, was pregnant with her third child, people had some downright mean things to say. Many people criticized her for not being married and others claimed she got pregnant only to bring more attention to the Kardashian name. Kourtney is now about 4 months along and the judgment keeps on coming. Commenters on a recent Daily Mail article had this to say about Kourtney and her pregnancy: “I think she is addicted to being pregnant.” “OINK!!” “Can’t we stop this utterly vacuous family breeding?” Yikes! I may be in the minority, but I think Kourtney is a great mom who is doing the best that she can. Her children are loved and appreciated. I am happy that she is pregnant with her third child with longtime partner Scott Disick and wish them the best. Here are three reasons why I love Kourtney Kardashian as a parent:
- She works hard to balance her career and her kids. (In fact, she combines the two and designs kids’ clothes!) Kourtney may be a successful clothing designer, business manager, and reality TV star, but she cherishes her role as Mom the most. Kourtney doesn’t have a nanny when she’s not working, and feels guilty if she goes out without her kids. A self-proclaimed attachment parent, Kourtney co-sleeps with both Mason, 4, and Penelope, 2. She breastfed Mason for 14 months, and made baby food for both children. When she is with her little ones, she doesn’t have a set schedule and tries to make the most of the time she has. Ultimately, her kids’ needs come before work, Kardashian has said.
- She struggled to get rid of the baby weight and ended up embracing her new body. After giving birth to Mason, Kourtney lined up a photo shoot with Life and Style but realized that her body hadn’t bounced back the way she would have liked. She tried to become a gym rat for a week but ultimately realized that her body is never going to be quite the same (even though it is still amazing!). When pregnant with Penelope, Kourtney eased up on her workout routine and even gave into some In-N-Out Burger cravings. Now that Kourtney has a third baby on the way, she’s not afraid to show her baby bump. Kourtney has been spotted in the Hamptons in a bikini, and she uploaded the Instagram photo to the right yesterday with daughter Penelope.
- She’s not afraid to enlist help. Celebrities are real people, too, and it’s nice to know that they can’t do it all on their own either. When Mason was a baby and Kourtney was a new mom, she went shopping and couldn’t open his stroller. One woman volunteered to help open the stroller, and Kourtney happily took her up on her offer. When Kourtney discovered she was holding onto too many of her kids’ old toys and was having a difficult time parting with them, she enlisted her family to help her sell them in a charity yard sale. She also relies on her family to help out with watching the kids. Lucky for Kourtney, she has a lot of people willing to lend a hand.
I hope that when I become a parent, I can be the cool, devoted, loving mom that Kourtney Kardashian is to her kids. I may not be whipping up any baby food, but I can certainly appreciate how she cares for Mason and Penelope. I can’t wait to “meet” Baby #3!
Are you pregnant? Use our Chinese Gender Predictor to find out whether Baby’s going to be a boy or a girl.
Images courtesy of Kourtney Kardashian’s Instagram profile.
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Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
The Internet has transformed how children learn and communicate, for better and for worse. On one hand, it has brought a wealth of information and research to kids’ fingertips at the click of a button. However, the Internet can be extremely dangerous. The web is the preferred playground for sexual predators, according to Harold Ort, public affairs officer for ICE. Any child with access to a computer or a smartphone is at risk. Last year, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) logged nearly a million hours working over 4,000 online sexual predator investigations.
A crucial component of reducing the number of sexual exploitation cases is education. “The online sexual exploitation of children has reached epidemic proportions. Increasingly these incidents involve young people who are self-producing explicit images and sending them over the Internet. We can’t arrest our way out of this problem. Raising awareness about the risks that lurk in cyberspace is key to helping keep kids safe,” ICE Deputy Director Daniel Ragsdale said. To promote more widespread Internet safety education, the HSI and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) launched Project iGuardian, the first national cyber safety campaign of its kind, in March. The project’s mission is to teach kids — and to help parents and educators teach kids — to “think before you click” in this digital age. Here are four ways you can use iGuardian’s resources to help keep your kids safe online:
- Request to have iGuardian talk to your kid’s school or your organization. HSI special agents and law enforcement officers give hands-on, age-appropriate tips on how to avoid online sexual predators to both students and parents. Younger kids receive trading cards that separate the good guys from the bad guys, making the experience interactive and more memorable. To ask for a presentation, email email@example.com.
- Check out the NetSmartz Education Outreach Program provided by NCMEC. NetSmartzKids.org has games, videos, and more to introduce kids to Internet safety. NetSmartz.org educates parents on how to prevent and report instances of child exploitation. The website breaks down cyber safety by topics ranging from blogging to gaming to sexting.
- Download the Operation Predator app on iTunes. The Operation Predator app was designed to seek the public’s help in tracking down suspect child predators. Users can receive alerts about wanted predators and can share the information with friends through email or social media. Parents with this app can also look at the latest news about arrests and prosecutions of child predators.
- Know who to call. If you suspect a crime, call (866) 347-2423 or go to the HSI Tip Line. Report suspected child exploitation or missing children to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678.
Even the brightest kids can fall victim to sexual predators, according to Ort. It is so important to educate them before something happens. Project iGuardian has set out to do just that.
Have your family sign our internet contract and shop tech-free educational toys.
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Tuesday, May 27th, 2014
A recent Atlantic article reported that most kids in Los Angeles’ school system are not eating healthy lunches. On any given day, less than half of students took a vegetable from the school cafeteria’s lunch line and ate it. I’m not shocked by this statistic, but I wish the number of kids eating veggies were higher. Processed foods, which dominate many students’ diets, don’t have the nutrients they need to be healthy. Schools seem to care more about what the students want to eat than what’s best for them. The L.A. school district has been and continues to adjust their cafeterias’ menu to fit what kids want to eat, moving away from their old healthy foods initiative. In the newest rendition of the school district’s menu, hamburgers are offered every day. Some might argue that kids, especially older kids, should know how to tell what’s healthy and what’s not and make the right decisions for themselves. If they want to eat junk food every day, that is their choice and we shouldn’t interfere. However, I think that the current system impairs kids’ ability to make the right food choices, and we should work to improve the situation. There are two changes that I believe would change the way that students eat their lunches:
- Make lunch periods longer. Many schools have inadequate lunch breaks. In order to encourage kids to eat salads instead of junk food, we need to give them the time to do so without feeling rushed. According to a 2013 poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, 20 percent of students from kindergarten to fifth grade get only 15 minutes (or less!) for lunch. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that students get 20 minutes to sit down and eat their lunches, which doesn’t include the time it takes to walk to the cafeteria and wait in line for food.
- Add a nutrition section to home economics, health, or science class. Nearly all schools claim to have nutrition education, but at what age do students learn about nutrition — and to what extent do students learn beyond the food pyramid? I didn’t learn about nutrition until I was a sophomore in high school, and I don’t remember anything about the class except that we wrote in a food diary. The nutrition class should be a hands-on experience that helps students make informed food choices. Teachers should take their students to the cafeteria and teach them how to choose balanced meals in addition to lecturing in the classroom.
I hope that the Los Angeles school district reverts back to its old, healthier menu, and that other school districts follow in its footsteps. The cafeteria menu shouldn’t change; students’ attitudes should change, and we need to help make that happen. One out of every 3 kids is considered overweight or obese in the United States. Let’s work to reduce those numbers— starting with the way kids eat lunch.
Print out healthy on-the-go breakfast recipes and shop kids’ lunch boxes.
Image via Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, May 6th, 2014
On April 15, dozens of gunmen stormed the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria, and abducted more than 200 students who were asleep in their dormitories. They are still missing. This afternoon, Girl Rising and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girl initiative hosted a Call to Action Google hangout to discuss what is going on and how we can help.
What is the latest information about what’s happening?
There is no consensus on exactly how many girls have been kidnapped, but we know that over 200 girls were taken to an unknown location three weeks ago. The Nigerian president does not have much information, and the authorities have not been forthcoming. There had been a false statement that the girls had been rescued, and since then the military has been cautious about giving information. There have been rumors that some of them have died, have gotten ill, were married, or are out of the country.
This mass kidnapping is not an isolated incident. Though the problem is just now gaining international attention, girls have been getting kidnapped for months. In fact, eight more girls were kidnapped yesterday.
Who are these girls?
The girls who have been kidnapped are truly extraordinary. Before the incident, they were taking exams that would have lead them to a university, unlike most girls in Northeast Nigeria who are not able to go to school at all. Instead, girls typically get married starting at age 12 and 13. Only 3 percent of girls make it to college.
When girls go to school, they get married, have kids later, and live healthier, safer lives. According to Girl Rising, educating girls can break cycles of poverty in just one generation. Now, even more Nigerian parents are skeptical about sending their girls — and boys — to school because it is so dangerous.
How can I help?
Girls Rising and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girl initiative identified 3 easy ways to help aid the situation in Nigeria right now.
- Raise your voice on social media. The #BringBackOurGirls hashtag has gone viral globally on Twitter, and you can help continue the movement to get the story out. Tweet or post on Facebook using that hashtag or change your avatar to spread the word. Your impact can truly make a difference. In fact, CNN has sent more reporters cover the kidnapping in Nigeria because of the social media response.
- Sign a petition. There is a Change.org petition that currently has over 300,000 signatures. Help it reach the one million mark.
- Contribute financially. There are several organizations that are raising money to help. One such group is Catapult, a start-up advocacy group for girls’ and women’s rights. You can help them reach their goal of raising $25,000 toward the cause.
For more information on the efforts to help bring back these Nigerian girls, check out Girl Rising’s action kit.
Read our tips on how to raise confident girls, see what career your daughter will have, and shop kids’ backpacks.
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Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
This week is the Jewish holiday of Passover, and tonight we have the second seder, or Passover dinner. What I enjoy about Passover is the opportunity to have back-to-back dinners with family and friends, some of whom we might not see often. It’s an excuse to skip after-school and after-work activities and come together. The seder, with all of its prayers and traditions, slows down the night and allows us to enjoy each other’s company. For me, simply sitting down at a kitchen table and eating a meal is something that I don’t normally do.
The good news is that more families are regularly having dinners together. According to the Importance of Family Dinner IV, a 2007 report from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, a surprising 59 percent of families report eating dinner together at least five times a week, which is a 12 percent increase from 1998. Even President Obama and Lean In’s Sheryl Sandberg make sure they are at the dinner table almost every night. There are some great benefits from eating together as a family. Research shows that children who eat with their families regularly are more motivated, receive better grades in school, and get along better with others. Family dinner is also a way to strengthen communication and bond with your kids. Kids who eat with family members are more likely to eat healthy foods and less likely to become overweight. Moms benefit from family dinners, too! Researchers at Brigham Young University studied working moms at IBM in 2008 and found that sitting down for a family dinner relieved their tension and stress.
If you’re looking to get more use out of your kitchen table, there are plenty of online resources to get you started. On Dinner a Love Story, blogger Jenny Rosenstrach shares how she schedules family dinners around after-school activities and reveals her favorite recipes for busy parents. Our site also has plenty of easy, family-friendly recipes. If you’re worried about silence at the dinner table, check out the Family Dinner Project for their fun conversation topics, games, and activities. Have a great time with your family!
Try one of these one-pot suppers this week and browse kids’ place mats.
Image via Shutterstock.
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