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Want Your Kid To Be A Creative Thinker? Go See This Movie.

Friday, August 7th, 2015

I loved “Inside Out” as much as the next person. Scratch that. I’m obsessed with it, so I loved it MORE than the next person. But yesterday I had the privilege of attending a Mamarazzi screening of Salma Hayek’s new animated film “The Prophet” (in theaters in New York and Los Angeles today) and I felt a different sort of mind-opening.

Parents, take your children to see this film. (And then don’t forget you should also pay attention.)

Based on Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran’s book of the same name, the movie is an illustrated exploration of philosophical poems “On Freedom,” “On Love” weaved into the larger story about the artist Mustafa as he is being exiled due to his ideals. It struck me as kind of grownup Baby Mozart—each poem recited to stunning visuals, beautiful music, with the added benefit of messages about the human spirit. Hayek’s goal is to have kids connect with themselves in a way they are not used to. I know it might sound crunchy or hippy, but it’s actually a brilliant idea.

“It’s working [children’s] brains in a new way because they cannot expect what is coming next,” said Hayek. “Kids are programmed to see the same kind of materials where they already know how they’re going to feel. There’s a bad guy. There’s a good guy. ‘I like it.’ ‘I don’t like it.’ But life is not so simple. This movie makes them feel things they’re not used to.”

In a world that changes at such a high-speed pace, the ability to think outside the box is the new black. Everyone wants his or her child to be creative and innovative and groundbreaking. But how? “We need a new generation that goes into the unknown and finds solutions that we have not seen or heard,” said Hayek. “But the first thing is to connect with themselves.” And kids are sophisticated enough to think deeper than we often believe.

The movie isn’t going to put you on the edge of your seat. It’s not ‘laugh-out-loud fun for the whole fam,’ but some aspect will resonate with you and your child. Something about it will make you think in a new way. That is a great way to spend screen time if I ever heard of it.

Ruthie Fierberg is an editorial assistant at Parents. Though she does not have children of her own, she’s practically been raising kids since her first babysitting job at age 11. She is also our resident theater aficionado and has interviewed over 40 celeb parents. Follow her on Twitter @RuthiesATrain.


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5 Reasons Your Family Should Tune In To Tonight’s World Cup Match

Friday, June 26th, 2015

In case you haven’t heard, tonight is the faceoff between the U.S. women’s soccer team and China in the quarterfinals of the World Cup.

But in case you also haven’t heard, Andy Benoit—a contributor at Sports Illustrated—thinks women’s soccer and “women’s sports in general [are] not worth watching.” And then, in case you still hadn’t caught wind, Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers took DOWN Benoit for his comments in a revival of their former SNL segment “Really!?! With Seth & Amy” on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Now you’re all caught up.

Aside from the fact that the game will undoubtedly be entertaining, here are 5 reasons you should cuddle up on the couch tonight with your family and cheer on the good ole’ US of A:

1. Model behavior. According to Forbes, soccer is the second most popular youth sport in America. If your child is one of the 25 million kids lacing up her cleats each week, take advantage of this opportunity to inspire her. Even if your kid isn’t on a team, watching elite players will show him the value of sticking with the sport and setting GOOAAAAALLLLLS!!!!

2. Show your pride. There’s something unique about watching these international athletic showdowns. I’m not an unpatriotic person, but I’m also not waving my American flag from the window each day. Yet, when the Olympics or the World Cup roll around, it’s amazing to see the fight, determination, and talent in the athletes battling for our country to take home the title. Our teams are representations of our values. As is the American Dream, we believe in hard work, dedication, and following your passion. Your kids will notice that in the players on the field.

3. Teach them teamwork. Nothing great in life is accomplished alone. They say “it takes a village to raise a child.” When we tune in to awards shows, winners rush to spit out the names of everyone who helped them earn that statue. In soccer, your kids will witness collaboration in action.

4. Inspire your daughter. Sadly, there are too many people who share Benoit’s sentiments: That, somehow, women’s sports are less worthy, entertaining, or competitive than men’s. Show your daughter (and your son) that women are worth watching. The women of this World Cup team are strong, fit and at the top of their game. I think that’s worth the screen time.

5. Support moms like you. Did you know that 3 players on the Women’s World Cup team are moms? Christie Rampone, captain of the U.S. National Team, Shannon Boxx and Amy Rodriguez are all mothers hoping to make their kids proud. Now that sounds like something we can relate to and admire!

P.S.  If you want to introduce your kids to the team before you watch, check out these quick videos!

Ruthie Fierberg is an editorial assistant at Parents. Though she does not have children of her own, she’s practically been raising kids since her first babysitting job at age 11. She is also our resident theater aficionado. Follow her on Twitter @RuthiesATrain.

How to Talk to Kids: The Importance of Communication
How to Talk to Kids: The Importance of Communication
How to Talk to Kids: The Importance of Communication

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A Life-Saving Lesson During CPR Awareness Week

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

When I was in sixth grade, I learned CPR in health class as part of our “babysitter training unit.” I’ve haven’t really thought much about it. I’ve never had to give anyone CPR, but the fact is, if I needed to, I could.

This week is the American Heart Association’s (AHA) CPR Awareness Week. According to AHA, 70 percent of Americans might feel helpless to act in an emergency situation either because they don’t know CPR or their training has lapsed. But CPR saves lives. In fact, Chloe Singh saved her sister Grace’s life using Hands-Only CPR when Grace, then 8, had a febrile seizure while alone in the bathtub and nearly drowned.

It’s a life-saving skill worth learning, but if you can’t enroll in a course right away there IS something you can learn now. In Hands-Only CPR, the chest compressions need to be performed at a certain speed to be effective, namely 100 beats per minute. Coincidentally, the song “Stayin’ Alive” is the exact right speed to keep time to during chest compressions in order to help a person in need. With the a capella trend in full swing, AHA asked Street Corner Symphony to record the song so families everywhere can sing along while learning about Hands-Only CPR.

Check out the instructional video below and stay safe!

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The Most Important Lesson to Teach Your Child

Friday, May 15th, 2015

Last weekend was my little sister’s college graduation. (Go Orange!) As the students processed in to commencement, robes billowing and tassels swinging, I couldn’t help but notice the amazing diversity of this student body. It was a far cry from my graduating class.

I mentioned it to my sister afterwards, saying how cool it was that she just graduated a school that clearly values differences and how interesting it must have been to be able to learn from all of those differing perspectives. “Well, yeah it would be, except everyone keeps to their own group,” she said, a drop of disappointment in her voice.

Putting kids of different backgrounds in the same place might be step one, but true to my sister’s words it doesn’t solve what I’m dubbing “the acceptance problem.” Our society is still a very segregated one—not by law, but by practice. And this isn’t just about race. We naturally separate by religion, by sexual orientation, by gender.

In the June issue of Parents, Michelle Crouch wrote about raising kids to respect people of all races and backgrounds. In a news cycle full of stories about police violence against blacks, hate crimes against gays in restaurants, and more, teaching our children acceptance for all people is the best path to a peaceful future. Not to mention, it just makes for a more interesting life.

So now it’s time to walk the walk.

June is LGBT Pride month. You might see signature rainbow emblems popping up in your neighborhood as a sign of celebration and, well, pride. For LGBT families, it’s a time to celebrate their identities. Equally, if not more importantly, it’s an opportunity for communities and non-LGBT families to reach out and show their public support.

While I have always supported the LGBT community in my heart, it’s important to show up. I love to attend the annual Pride Parade in New York City. It’s practically an official holiday here. It’s a chance to for me to say, “We may be different, but I love you for those differences. I value you. I want to learn from you.”

There are Pride events all over the country throughout the month of June, with special events for families. (After all, a massive parade in the heart of Greenwich village might not be stroller-friendly.) In fact, Playbill has partnered with Disney Theatrical Productions and Family Equality Council to present Family Day OUT. Families will get to meet the casts of Disney’s Broadway productions in a private celebration before attending the show of their choice.

So take a look at the calendar, or find more localized events in your area. Embrace this opportunity to cultivate compassion in your child. Our world increases in diversity each day, so in our quest to better our world we must first care for the people in it.

Photograph: Shutterstock

Ruthie Fierberg is an editorial assistant at Parents. Though she does not have children of her own, she’s practically been raising kids since her first babysitting job at age 11. She is also our resident theater aficionado. Follow her on Twitter @RuthiesATrain.

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The Conversation All Parents of Young Athletes Need to Have

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

For those of you who don’t know, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. For those of you who want to stop reading now—it is a tough subject—I remind you that it’s because of this sensitivity that we need to talk about it. According to the CDC, one in four girls and one in six boys will have experienced some form of sexual abuse by age 18. We can all agree that even one person is too many.

Participation in sports can be an invaluable experience for kids. Not only does it keep them active and physically fit, youth sports is where many learn teamwork, sportsmanship, determination, and perseverance. As a kid playing basketball and tennis, I learned how to work with my peers towards a common goal—and have fun while doing it. Yet, sports can also be a high-risk environment for physical and sexual abuse. We’ve seen this in national news stories like the Sayreville High School Football team, but, unfortunately, this is a risk for kids of all ages. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent these harmful situations so that children reap only the benefits of organized sports.

USA Swimming is one organization that has been working to actively increase awareness to reduce the risk of abuse in the sport through the Safe Sport Program. By following a five-point program, USA Swimming aims to create a safe and healthy environment for kids.

One of the most important things parents can do is to talk to your kids. Teach your children about their bodies and about appropriate boundaries. Darkness to Light, an organization committed to stopping child sexual abuse, offers some great tips about how to speak to your kids about this difficult subject. Teach your child what parts of his body no one should touch. You don’t want to scare your child, but you also want to keep him safe. Talk to the instructors. Make sure you feel comfortable with them. The relationship between coaches and participants is one based on trust. The more dialogue we can get going, the closer we will be to ending abuse and focusing on what really matters: kids having fun.

Ruthie Fierberg is an editorial assistant at Parents. Though she does not have children of her own, she’s practically been raising kids since her first babysitting job at age 11. She is our resident theater aficionado and can be found constantly running around New York City to find the best new show, the most awesome dance party, or the hottest Bikram yoga studio. Follow her on Twitter @RuthiesATrain.

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