Stories about: Parenting

Mindfulness for busy parents who don’t have time

Mindfulness tips for parents

I know the last thing you need is another item on your to-do list.

If you’re a parent — especially a parent of a child with a medical condition — your time, energy and resources are already spread precariously thin. You’re exhausted. You’re worried. And you have no idea what’s coming next.

It’s hard enough to show up for life’s daily challenges without the added task of trying to learn mindfulness.

But here’s the thing about mindfulness: It holds space for you to feel that exhaustion; that worry and that uncertainty.

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Coming of age in a Snapchat world: How do I keep my child safe?

How to keep your kids safe on social media

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Reddit. As a parent, your instinct is always to protect your child. But how 
do you protect them in the ever-evolving digital landscape? Social media has become a part of our everyday lives and is changing the way we interact with the world around us. According to a study by Common Sense Media, teenagers use an average of nine hours of entertainment media a day and tweens (ages 8-12) use an average of six hours per day. This does not include using media for school or homework.

What is the long-term impact of this amount of media exposure on the developing brain? We don’t yet know. What we do know is that it is impossible to prevent your child from using social media. So, how can you help them use it safely?

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Celebration = intoxication is a dangerous message for kids

For kids, celebrating should not go hand-in-hand with substance use

On New Year’s Eve, CNN fielded reporters all over the country to cover and arguably, to define how Americans celebrate. A report from a “puff, pass and paint” party in Denver, in which revelers flaunted their marijuana use, caught the attention of millions of viewers and became a subject of discussion nationally.

The arrival of marijuana in the realm of legal and now socially-accepted substances, strengthens the message that substance use is required for having a good time.Showcasing marijuana use on national television is relatively new following the recent liberalization of marijuana policy in several states and the novelty incited significant coverage. But the underlying message that strives to define substance use as a necessary (and perhaps sufficient) component of celebration is anything but new.

In fact, incessant references to drinking and being drunk have been part of popular film and television culture for decades and now usually goes largely unnoticed. We seem to have accepted that being drunk is synonymous to having a good time, though this message which has its roots in the alcohol industry is more the work of years of successful advertising campaigns than a biologically based truth.

The arrival of marijuana in the realm of legal and now socially-accepted substances, further strengthens the message that substance use is required for having a good time which is already implicitly accepted. This notion risks causing significant harms to our kids and deserves closer scrutiny.

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Helping kids get fit — one step at a time

Parents in the community learn how to cook healthy food for their families
Families participating in Fitness in the City (FIC), a partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital, get referrals to resources and educational offerings like this cooking class.

“How many tortillas do you eat at dinner?” Francisca Guevara asks the boy and his parents. “Okay,” she says when they tell her three. “Do you think you could eat two instead? Or even just one?” They nod in agreement: That seems possible.

As the associate director of community health and outreach for Charles River Community Health, Guevara recognizes the need to meet families where they are, tailoring her suggestions to fit their traditions. “We can’t tell people that they can no longer eat the foods that are important to their culture,” she explains. “That just puts families on the defensive. But we can explain why certain foods aren’t healthy and suggest that they eat smaller or less-frequent portions.”

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