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Life Kit: Parenting
Raising awesome kids takes help. NPR has science and experts to get you through the toughest parenting moments. Subscribe to get episodes from Life Kit on parenting.
Sep 30, 2021
It's FAFSA Time! Here's How To Apply For College Financial Aid
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid opens to potential college students to fill out on Oct. 1 for the 2022-2023 school year. Here's how to fill out the form to get money for college — and why you should apply now instead of waiting.
Sep 28, 2021
How You Can Help Someone At Risk Of Suicide
Research shows that suicide is preventable. And while surveys have shown that Americans know this, they might not know how to help someone who may be at risk. It's National Suicide Prevention Month, and we're looking at ways you can help if you know someone who is struggling.
Sep 27, 2021
How Reading Aloud Can Help You Bond With Your Kids
Reading at school is one thing, but reading at home is important too. Though with busy schedules filled with after school activities, homework and lots of tech at kids' fingertips, it's not always easy to convince kids that reading isn't a chore. In this episode, Diana Opong helps us discover that there is so much joy — and value — to be found in reading aloud as a family.
Sep 20, 2021
In 'We're Not Broken,' Author Eric Garcia Takes On Myths About Autism
Whether you know it or not, you know somebody who is autistic. So if you think autism doesn't affect you, you're wrong, says Eric Garcia. In this episode, Garcia, author of We're Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation, talks about myths surrounding autism, how to talk about it and how to help your autistic loved one live their most fulfilling life.
Aug 30, 2021
How To Keep Your Kids Safe From The Delta Variant
Returning to in-person schooling is both a relief — and a source of great anxiety — for a lot of parents this year. The pandemic is still happening. The Delta variant is surging. And millions of children are too young to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The news changes fast — updates on vaccine trials and breakthrough infections seem to roll in every day — but there's still a lot the whole family can do to stay as safe as possible. In this episode NPR health reporter Pien Huang shares tips from public health experts — all parents themselves — for keeping kids safe at school.
Aug 19, 2021
5 Tips For Becoming A Stepparent
Becoming a parent is challenging and the same is true for those becoming stepparents. In this episode, we talk to experts — some of whom are stepparents themselves — about how you can navigate the process. They share their do's: let the biological parent deal with discipline — and their don'ts: don't say anything to the child that you wouldn't want them to repeat to the other parent.
Aug 16, 2021
Do's And Don'ts For Parents Whose Kids Have Gained Weight In The Pandemic
If you've noticed that your kid put on some weight during the pandemic and you're not sure what — if anything — to do about it, you're not alone. Weight is an incredibly fraught topic — and an imperfect indicator of health. As parents, a kid's sudden weight gain can be hard to know how to tackle — the last thing we'd want is to do anything that might create poor body image for our children or set the stage for eating disorders. We spoke to doctors and specialists who work with kids. In this episode, they share their tips for how to get kids back on track and support healthy habits.
Aug 9, 2021
A Business-Minded Way To Make Tough Family Decisions
Having elementary-aged kids at home can mean a maze of tough decisions about how to run your family and what's right for your small children. Economist Emily Oster offers ways to streamline decision-making with strategies — and data — that work in the business world.
Aug 5, 2021
The Process Of Becoming A Mother Has A Name: Matrescence
Becoming a mother is a huge, complicated life transition that can rock every fiber of a person's being. The process even has its own name: matrescence. That postpartum feeling of being on an emotional rollercoaster, not recognizing your body in the mirror, thinking that you've lost yourself — it's all part of the process. Yet, not a lot of people talk about it, leading many new moms to think that there's a problem with them if they feel anything but joy. In this episode, host Grace Bastidas of Parents Latina offers guidance for mothers trying to make sense of this life stage. Here are five takeaways that can help moms-to-be (and moms already in the thick of it) get their footing, including tips on how to manage expectations, get the support you need and prioritize time for yourself.
Aug 3, 2021
Money Talks: How To Teach Kids About Finance
Money can feel like a taboo topic in a lot of households, but talking about it regularly can take the awkwardness out of it. Kids see and do everything that we do, and that's true when it comes to money, says financial expert Jen Hemphill. In this episode, Hemphill shares her top tips for financial literacy for kids and families, including how to start those conversations and creating a healthy money mindset for everyone.
Jul 26, 2021
How To Talk About Divorce With Your Children
Even the most amicable split is world-changing for young children. Here are a few key tips for grown-ups trying to help their kids navigate this big transition. (This episode originally published April 26, 2019.)
May 6, 2021
Finding The Perfect Name For Your Baby
Picking a name for a baby can be overwhelming. With all the possibilities out in the world, it can be hard to even begin to choose. On this episode of Life Kit, host Diana Opong speaks with baby naming experts for a framework that can help.
Apr 12, 2021
Navigating Life After Pregnancy Loss
Despite how common pregnancy loss is, families often suffer in silence. In honor of Black Maternal Health Week, Life Kit teamed up with the hosts of the podcast docuseries NATAL to share stories from parents who have experienced loss, and expert advice about how to support loved ones through grief.
Apr 10, 2021
Raising Boys To Be Feminists
Author Sonora Jha shares insights from her memoir, How To Raise A Feminist Son, which includes practical to-do lists about how to handle some of the hardest conversations with sons.
Apr 1, 2021
Raising Kids Who Help With Chores
Raising kids who pitch in around your home doesn't require bribes or a chore chart. Kids want to help – and parents can nurture that desire by including them in age-appropriate ways.
Mar 27, 2021
Talking With Kids About Anti-Asian Racism
Navigating conversations with kids around race and racism can be tricky. Here's what to think about while talking to kids about the rise in anti-Asian attacks and the shootings in Atlanta earlier this month.
Mar 25, 2021
Helping Teens Cope With Mental Health Struggles
Over a year into the pandemic, many teens are missing milestones and struggling with their mental health. Here's how to spot red flags and when to get help.
Mar 1, 2021
Deciding When To Have A Baby
Whether you've always wanted to be a parent or not, starting a family is a big decision. The pandemic makes it even tougher. In this episode, experts talk through what to consider.
Jan 7, 2021
What To Tell Kids When The News Is Scary
When the headlines are terrifying, how can parents make sure kids get the facts without traumatizing them? Whether it's a school shooting, a global pandemic or an insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, child development experts have some advice. (This episode originally ran in March 2019.)
Dec 10, 2020
Helping Kids (And Parents) Cope During COVID-19
Kids and teens have had their lives upended by COVID-19. Here's what parents can do to help them stay positive and feel supported.
Nov 16, 2020
Transforming Kids' Worries Into Superpowers
Kids have anxiety — but it's not always a bad thing. Renee Jain and Dr. Shefali Tsabary have some ideas about how to help children use those feelings to their advantage.
Nov 2, 2020
How To Raise Good Citizens
Now is a good time to talk to the kids in your life about how to engage in civics. Here's a primer from our Life Kit parenting team.
Oct 22, 2020
FAFSA 2020: Here's How To Apply For College Financial Aid
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is now open to potential college students to fill out. Here's how to fill out the form to get money for college — and why you should apply now instead of waiting.
Sep 8, 2020
A Simple Equation to Help Kids Love Math
Math anxiety is real for kids and adults. But parents can help. The solution goes beyond equations and textbooks.
Aug 13, 2020
How To Make Sure Your Child Learns This School Year
This school year, families with children are in a serious bind. Whether you're looking for options for childcare or need resources to keep your kid entertained, this episode will walk through some ideas to think about.
Jul 21, 2020
How To Work With — Not Against — Screen Time
Some parents think the best way to manage a child's screen time is to set hard limits. But those rules are particularly difficult to keep during a pandemic, when screens are a lifeline for all of us. So what should the rules be? Sonia Livingstone and Alicia Blum-Ross, coauthors of Parenting For A Digital Future, explain why being too strict about screen time might not be the best strategy for your kids — or the whole family.
Jun 22, 2020
Kids Know How To Occupy Themselves. We Need To Let Them Do It
American parents often feel like event planners for their kids. There's a pressure to make sure kids are entertained and content every minute of the day. NPR's Michaeleen Doucleff says kids can be trained to occupy themselves.
Jun 11, 2020
Discussing 'The Talk'
It's Been A Minute host Sam Sanders talks with his colleague Kenya Young, executive producer of Morning Edition and mother of three boys about "the talk" — The series of conversations black parents have with their kids, particularly their sons, about how to deal with police encounters.
Jun 4, 2020
How White Parents Can Talk To Their Kids About Race
NPR's Michel Martin talks with Jennifer Harvey, author of Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America, about how to talk with white kids about racially charged events — and how to keep the conversation going. If you're a white (or nonblack) parent, don't wait for your kids to bring up the topic of race to start the discussion, says Harvey.
May 28, 2020
Be Honest And Concrete: Tips For Talking To Kids About Death
Whether it's a family pet or a loved one, every child will experience a death at some point — and their parents will likely struggle to explain it. This episode, we revisit the Mr. Hooper episode of Sesame Street, which provides a master class in talking about death and grief with young children.
May 26, 2020
Decision Day Is Almost Here. Here's How To Decide For An Unknown Future
While it's hard to know what college will look like this fall, college decision day is almost here. So what can students do to make a sound choice during this uncertain time? Education reporter Elissa Nadworny gives an update on what incoming college students need to know about appealing financial aid, changing plans and thinking through a gap year.
May 12, 2020
When Will This Be Over? Sesame Workshop's Tips For Parenting During A Pandemic
Many parents are struggling right now — juggling kids at home 24/7 and coping with their own losses. In this episode, Rosemarie Truglio, a developmental psychologist and senior vice president of curriculum and content at Sesame Workshop, offers helpful pandemic parenting tips.
May 10, 2020
Sesame Street's Grover On Coping During Coronavirus: Just For Kids
Hey kids! Sesame Street's Grover is here and he's got some great ideas for making your days brighter during coronavirus. Grover explains how to make virtual play dates more fun, how to daydream and how to be a helper.
May 8, 2020
Kid-Friendly TV Show Recommendations
Parenting during self-isolation can be challenging, and let's be honest — sometimes screen time helps you just get through the day. Our friends at Pop Culture Happy Hour offer TV recommendations for those with young kids at home.
Apr 2, 2020
Here's How To Pick A College During The Coronavirus Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic is making college decisions more complicated. This episode answers the burning questions: How do I get a hold of final transcripts if my school is closed? How do I decide on a school I can't visit? What if I need more financial aid than I thought I did?
Mar 24, 2020
6 Tips For Homeschooling During Coronavirus
Tens of millions of parents are homeschooling their kids during the coronavirus. Here's a realistic guide to keeping kids engaged and everyone sane. Hint: this is a good time for passion projects and sleeping in a bit.
Mar 13, 2020
Coronavirus And Parenting: What You Need To Know Now
Coronavirus is raising a lot of questions for parents. From how to talk to children about coronavirus to weathering school closures, enforcing good hygiene and some screen time strategies when you're home with little ones, Life Kit answers your coronavirus questions.
Mar 12, 2020
'Big Mouth' Creators On Embracing The Awkwardness Of Puberty
Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg are the co-creators of 'Big Mouth,' an animated comedy about a group of tweens stumbling through the mysteries of puberty. Kroll and Goldberg talk with Life Kit parenting hosts about normalizing shame, building empathy, weathering awkward puberty moments and hormone monsters.
Feb 11, 2020
What Your Teen Wishes You Knew About Sex Education
Consent, dating, masturbation, porn. It can be difficult talking with teens about sex and relationships. NPR's Life Kit has a few tips to help make those conversations with your kids a little easier.
Feb 6, 2020
Helping A Child Whose Parent Is Struggling With Addiction
What can you do if you suspect a child is being impacted by a family member's addiction? Experts say you don't need to be an addiction expert, just a caring adult. This episode offers guidance to help a kid through a tumultuous time.
Jan 28, 2020
What Is Postpartum Depression? Recognizing The Signs And Getting Help
One in seven women experiences postpartum depression. But it's easy to feel alone — especially when you're told having a baby is supposed to be blissful. This episode helps both struggling moms and loved ones identify the symptoms and find treatment.
Dec 17, 2019
The Birds And The Bees — How To Talk To Children About Sex
Sex, genitals, consent, self-touching — it's tricky to talk to younger kids about these topics. This episode helps parents get past the confusion and embarrassment around sex education so they can raise healthy, responsible kids.
Oct 29, 2019
How To Help A Child Struggling With Anxiety
When is your kid just scared of the dark and when are they dealing with a larger anxiety disorder? This episode will teach you how to help a child with anxiety and reach them in stressful moments.
Oct 24, 2019
How To Talk To Kids About Climate Change
Today's kids are bombarded with the realities of climate change — whether through extreme weather or in the news. These tips will help you and your kids cope with the overwhelming feelings to move beyond helplessness and toward action.
Oct 15, 2019
Rethinking Brilliance: Raising Caring, Collaborative Kids
We all want our kids to succeed, but that doesn't mean running math drills. Author Kathy Hirsh-Pasek explains the "6 C's" that kids need to thrive and why raising brilliant kids starts with redefining brilliant.
Sep 18, 2019
From First Phones To Online Porn: Answers To Your Screentime Questions
NPR's Life Kit answers parents' questions about their kids' screen use. Education consultant Ana Homayoun says it's all about empowering your kids to make good decisions when you're not around.
Jun 28, 2019
Parents, Check Your Own Screen Habits
From distracted parenting to "sharenting," an honest look at our own use of electronic media can make us into more skillful parents and better role models. Here's what to remember: - Put your phone away whenever possible when you're with your kids. - If you want calmer children, be a more focused parent. - Before you post a picture or share a cute story about your kids on social media, think twice and get their permission if possible. - Don't use technology to stalk your children. - Work for healthier technology for your kids, and for all of us.
Jun 26, 2019
The Darker Side Of Screen Time
Emotional outbursts. Lost sleep. These are signs that your kids are spending too much time with digital devices. Here's what you can do about it. Here's what to remember: - Pay attention to your children's emotional relationship with screens, not just how much time they are spending with them. - Don't just make technology rules based on time. - Do guard bedtimes and mealtimes. - Don't expect taking away the phone to solve all your family's problems. - Mentor your kids; don't just monitor them.
Jun 24, 2019
The Brighter Side of Screen Time
The family that plays video games together, stays together. When parents become digital mentors, children can learn empathy, resilience, and prepare for future careers. Here's how to harness the advantages of screen time. Here's what to remember: - Whenever possible, share screens with your kids. - Balancing screen use is about much more than time. - Be smart about content. - Look for what's positive about your kids' screen time so you can help those positive things grow.
May 31, 2019
'We Wanted To Show Children Real Life': Sesame Street's Sonia Manzano
Actress Sonia Manzano is beloved by millions as Maria on Sesame Street. Her character on TV mirrored many of Manzano's real-life milestones, like marriage and motherhood (Elmo served as ring bearer for Maria's wedding on the show). She also wrote for Sesame Street in later years, and helped the show address diversity issues. In this special episode, Manzano reflects on her 44 seasons on Sesame Street, what she thinks was the show's most poignant moment — and which Muppet was secretly her favorite.
May 17, 2019
What Cookie Monster Taught Us About Self-Control
Self-regulation skills, including self-control, help us reach our goals, learn in school and get along with others. Millions of children struggle to develop them. We talk to experts for strategies to teach these skills — and get some very special help from Cookie Monster. Here's what to remember: - Look at self-regulation as a skill that can be learned and practiced. - Teach children to calm themselves. - Use your imagination to reframe a temptation. - What would Batman do? Kids can channel their heroes to make it easier to live up to their values. - Be strategic about distractions. - Build self-regulation skills with activities like martial arts or music lessons.
May 15, 2019
Raising Kids Who Love Math — Even If You Don't
By some estimates, up to 93% of American adults have some degree of math anxiety. The problem often starts in elementary school, but parents can do a lot to fix it. We talk to experts to get some some unexpected strategies for children of all ages, with a little bit of help from Sesame Street head writer Ken Scarborough and, of course, the Count. Here's what to remember: - Your own math anxiety doesn't have to hold your kids back. - Talk about math when you're sharing everyday activities. - Play math — with board games, card games, puzzles, and more. - Forget about right and wrong answers. Keep things open-ended — life, and math, are more fun that way.
May 13, 2019
Kindness Can Be Taught. Here's How
Most kids value success and achievement more than caring for others, according to Harvard's Making Caring Common project. Who is to blame? We are. We talk to experts for ideas on how to do better, and why. Here's what to remember: - Children are born to be kind — but also unkind. - Kindness requires courage.To build kindness, practice mindfulness. - Teach real apologies, and frame forgiveness as a gift you give yourself. - Practice gratitude to "raise the capital" of everyday kindness. - Kindness is a habit; rituals, chores and service can all help.
Mar 18, 2019
When The News Is Scary, What To Say To Kids
Whether a school shooting or a deadly tornado, scary events in the news can leave parents struggling to know when — and how — they should talk with their kids about it. Rosemarie Truglio of Sesame Workshop and Tara Conley, a media studies professor at Montclair State University, give us tips. - Limit their exposure to breaking news. - For the really big stories, pick a quiet moment and start the conversation by asking what kids have heard and how they're feeling. - Give facts and context: Let kids know that most scary news events are rare. Show them where it is happening on a map. - When they ask why something happened, avoid labels like "bad guys." - Encourage kids to process the story through play, art, even video. - Take positive action together.
Mar 18, 2019
'What If We Lived In Two Houses?' Talking Kids Through Divorce
Even the most amicable split is world-changing for young children. Here are a few key tips for grown-ups trying to help their kids navigate this big transition. - Give children as much heads-up as you can — as soon as you've made a definite decision to split up. - It's a grown-up problem. Don't share details that will confuse your child or hurt your partner. - Don't fear the big feelings or the "pajama truth-bomb." - It's good for kids to talk about a separation — even when it may be painful for adults to hear. - Make sure your kids know that not everything will change. - Keep routines, and toys, consistent, even if they're traveling from one home to another. - Look back together on the good memories.
Mar 18, 2019
The Problem With Toy Guns And Princesses
Whether it's mini-makeup kits, gross-smelling slime or semi-automatic foam-dart guns, every parent or caregiver has fielded requests for toys that they're just not that into. We talk about princesses and superheroes and their influence on kids with Rosemarie Truglio of Sesame Workshop and Lisa Dinella, a gender studies professor at Monmouth University. Here's what to remember: - Banning toys outright can be counterproductive. - Pay more attention to how kids play than what they're playing with. - Fight sexism in the playroom by broadening toy selections. - Talk directly to your kids about your values. - Join in your child's play to help expand the possibilities. - Grossed out? Use toilet toys as a chance to teach science — and manners.
Feb 25, 2019
Death: Talking With Kids About The End
Whether it's a goldfish or Grandma, every child will experience a death at some point — and their parents will likely struggle to explain it. Here's what to remember: - Be honest and concrete. The cat wasn't put to sleep, and Grandma didn't go on a long journey. - Don't overwhelm kids with too much information. They need time to process. - Make sure kids know they're still surrounded by people who will love and support them. - Don't be afraid to show emotion. - When it comes to deathbed visits or funerals, tell kids what they might see and give them a choice. - Keep the hope alive!
Feb 25, 2019
Talking Race With Young Children
Even babies notice differences like skin color, eye shape and hair texture. Here's how to handle conversations about race, racism, diversity and inclusion, even with very young children. A few things to remember: - Don't shush or shut them down if they mention race. - Don't wait for kids to bring it up. - Be proactive: Help them build a positive awareness of diversity. - When a child experiences prejudice, grown-ups need to both address the feelings and fight the prejudices. - You don't have to avoid topics like slavery or the Holocaust. Instead, give the facts and focus on resistance and allies.
Feb 25, 2019
Is It OK To Lie About Santa And The Tooth Fairy?
Magical thinking is part of childhood, and when it comes to characters like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, parents often play along with elaborate charades. But what should grown-ups do when kids start aging out of the magic and asking tough questions?