STUDY: Smoke While Pregnant and Your Kid May Become Schizophrenic


A study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), New York State Psychiatric Institute and colleagues in Finland reports an association between smoking during pregnancy and increased risk for schizophrenia in children.

Results show that a higher maternal nicotine level in the mother’s blood was associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia among their offspring.

Findings are published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The paper evaluated nearly 1,000 cases of schizophrenia and matched controls among offspring born in Finland from 1983-1998 who were ascertained from the country’s national registry.

Heavy maternal nicotine exposure was associated with a 38-percent increased odds of schizophrenia.

The findings persisted after adjusting for factors, including maternal and parental psychiatric history, socioeconomic status, and maternal age.

“To our knowledge, this is the first biomarker-based study to show a relationship between fetal nicotine exposure and schizophrenia,” said Alan Brown, MD, MPH, senior author and Mailman School professor of Epidemiology and professor of Psychiatry at CUMC.

“We employed a nationwide sample with the highest number of schizophrenia cases to date in a study of this type.”

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Help Your Child Cope With Your Impending Divorce With These Tips (INFOGRAPHIC)


Divorce is a painful ordeal, not just for the couple that endures it but also for any children of a fractured union. Kids are strong but divorce can leave them uncertain, angry, frightened and depressed.

Parents want to ease the pain and assure their children that all will be well in the end. The folks at Browells put together an Infographic with ideas on how to reduce a child’s pain while enduring their well-being during the transition:

by Browell Smith & Co

Western Parenting Styles Influence the World, But ‘Tiger Mom’ Style Is Now Enticing


Historically, Western societies’ methods of parenting have managed to influence the child-rearing habits of other parts of the world, in particular, Asia, but the tide is shifting as more parents in America and Europe begin to adopt the “Tiger Mom” structure.

So says University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education Professor of Applied Psychology Dr Xinyin Chen who analyzed the parenting styles in the West which encourages individualism to the parenting styles in the East which emphasizes collectivism.

“In most Western societies, such as Europe and the US, individualism, independence and self-orientation are viewed as important,” Chen writes in an article published today in Child and Family Blog. “Parents encourage their children to develop skills that support these values, such as assertiveness, self-confidence, self-expression and autonomy. They want their children to develop a positive sense of self and personal worth.”

In the piece titled, “East and West May be Reshaping Each Other’s Parenting,” Chen compared more westernized parenting styles to those of Eastern world nations.

“In more collectivist cultures, such China and Korea, parents are expected to assume greater responsibilities in child development,” Chen wrote. “To fulfill that expectation, they tend to be highly involved in child rearing and child education, sometimes using ‘high power’ strategies.”

Where American parents may engage children more, Asian and Eastern parents do not as much.

“They may order their children to do certain things, providing little explanation or reasoning. They want their children to obey them, so they emphasize compliance and obedience.” Chen states.  “In a ‘high power’ approach, if children don’t listen, parents may use force or punishment. This approach reflects the parents’ goals: to develop children who listen and who learn qualities such as cooperation, compliance and self-control, which could be useful for adapting to the society.”

But each model has its own benefits, he argues.

“The US emphasizes individuality and self-confidence, which have been seen as cornerstones of economic success,” writes Chen. “But the message from Japan, China and Korea is that their traditional values—self-control, modesty and compliance—might lead to greater achievement.”

He credits globalization and industrialization for the infusion of Westernization of Asian, African and South American cultures with these societies growing “more individualistic, and parents are adapting their child-rearing styles and values.”

And as parents rely less on their children to care for them in their older years, Chen notices that “parents say they are raising children more for enjoyment. They want their children to develop independent skills and positive self-esteem.”

Likewise, teens in China are reporting that “over the past 15 years, parents have become less authoritarian and less power-assertive, as well as more sensitive to their feelings and needs, encouraging them to exercise greater independence and autonomy.”

But in the same vein, in the West, attention to “Tiger Moms” and because of immigration, and the growing multiculturalism of the West, parents in America and Europe are getting exposed to the child rearing habits of people from Asian, Africa and South America. Peer group interactions contribute to a melting pot of values where children learn from peers with different cultural values, and parents, too,  “also have increasing opportunities to learn about new values through their interactions with families of different backgrounds,” Chen notes.

“In the West, concerns about the importance of education have made parents ready for fresh thinking” he adds. “They’re open to the idea that pushing their children hard to achieve academically may have something more to offer than laissez-faire Western approaches that have failed some children.”

Read Chen’s blog article HERE

Our Pick for Best Super Bowl Commercials Featuring Kids


A lot of people watch the Super Bowl just for the awesome, creative and funny commercials that are released for the first time during the most watched sports game all year. This year, for Super Bowl LI had some great ads and these are the top ones we were talking about today that featured kids.

This one had us laughing and it had our Bellyitch Bumpwatch alum Miranda Kerr in it too. (smile)

This one had us smiling

This one had us crying (though the feedback was mixed)

Who doesn’t love a little girl with moves? T-Mobile got you!

And this ode to a classic children’s nursery rhyme was perfect!

And finally one for the moms and wives out there. Mr. Clean is now sexy?! LOL! Love it!

What you Need to Know About GPS Tracker Watches For Kids (INFOGRAPHIC)


GPS tracker watches for kids are a great way for parents to keep up with their children and let them wander farther away without too much worry.

Because it is not always possible for parents to be with their children physically, these safety wearables, using advanced GPS technology, make it easy to keep a track of the exact location of your child on a smartphone or computer. They are great for easing anxiety when kids go to the local park alone, go trick-or-treatin or are after school during an extra-curricular activity.


These wearable devices are a great alternative to cell phones, as children in this age group are not big enough to carry one, and kids as young as 5-years old can wear them.

The folks at OTR Reviews reviewed a few trackers and picked the best. They also assembled this pretty awesome infographic breaking down GPS Tracker Watches to help parents better and easier understand these products.


New Parents: Design Your Baby’s Nursery Room Like a Boss


Welcoming a baby is an exciting time around the home. But before the baby arrives, mom and dad have some work to do. From selecting the perfect crib to choosing the comfiest nursery chair, here are five tips to make the nursery cozy for the entire family.

The Crib

While many parents don’t necessarily think of the crib as an investment, it truly is. Your child will likely sleep in a crib for the first few years of his or her life. And, if you are planning to have more kids, you will soon find that your crib was in fact, a good investment. When choosing your crib, be sure to check that it meets all of the current United States safety requirements. Although you may want to use a family heirloom or precious antique crib in baby’s room, be cautious, as safety standards have evolved over the past decade, and the crib you may be thinking about using could be dangerous. When it comes to design, choose a crib that suits your style. And, if you are planning on having more children, perhaps consider choosing a crib that is gender neutral.

Noise-Reducing Curtains and Drapes

Noise-dampening window dressings can be a great option for parents who are searching for a way to reduce the amount of noise from outside that is heard indoors. Whether the noise is coming from a busy street or a barking dog, certain styles of drapes and curtains can actually help your new bundle of joy sleep better. Dense materials such as velvet and suede are good for keeping outside sounds muffled. Pleated curtains can help to reduce some noise and layering your window dressings can also make the room a bit quieter and tranquil.

The Changing Table

Possibly one of the most essential items, behind the crib, in baby’s room is the changing table. There are a few possibilities you can choose from when adding a changing station to the nursery. The freestanding changing table is one option. Here, you should be able to access everything you need to change your baby — necessities should never be more than an arm’s reach away. A changing top is a second option. The changing top is different as it is not freestanding but instead a piece that can be added to an existing dresser. For parents with limited space in the baby’s room, a changing top may be the best idea. When choosing your changing station, be sure to consider whether or not it can be repurposed after your baby grows out of his or her diapers.


Along with at the spa or in a relaxing bath at home, aromatherapy can be used in the baby’s room. However, keeping the nursery smelling great must be done with caution. Consider using a diffuser in the room; this will both humidify and diffuse the essential oils throughout the space. When adding oils, be sure to dilute them. For example, parents with children ages 0-1 should dilute the oil to one-eighth its concentration.

The Nursery Chair

When the baby arrives, new parents will be spending a lot of time in the nursery. And while it’s important to make the room comfy for your baby, making the room cozy for mom and dad is also crucial. That’s where the nursery chair comes in. While essential to the room, parents can use the nursery chair to add a pop of color to the room or show off their style. Remember, this is a nursery. Choose fabrics that are washable and consider choosing a pattern or print that can hide stains well.

The 4 Things You Need to Do To Help Your Child Find His or Her Moral Compass


With everyone from politicians to rap stars to professional athletes posting their sometimes abrasive and mean-spirited thoughts online, it can be difficult to try and get kids to avoid doing the same thing.

But Rabbi Daniel Cohen, the father of six daughters and the author of “What Will They Say About You When You Are Gone?” provides some tips for parents struggling to find the right way to talk to their children about such issues and ensure their kids are not making mistakes that will come back to bite them later in life.

He says it begins with helping children understand the choices they make every day.

“I’m not referring to choices about the clothes you wear or the food you eat,” says Cohen who serves as the senior Rabbi at Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford, Connecticut, the largest modern orthodox synagogue in New England. . “These choices do not represent the essence of who we are or want to be.”

Instead, Cohen says parents can lead by example when they show their children how they try to make meaningful choices every day, which “require reservoirs of strength, faith and clarity.”

Children – and adults – need to think about whether they want to be seen as a giver or a taker, he says.

“Do you want to be remembered for your honesty, authenticity and warmth? These are the moral choices confronting us every day whether in private or in public,” says Cohen, who also co-hosts with Reverend Greg Doll the nationally syndicated radio show “The Rabbi and the Reverend” Sunday mornings at 11 AM and evenings at 9 PM.

That may translate into things such as getting back to someone when we’ve promised them an answer; seizing the chance to help when asked; not posting ugly comments online or simply smiling more. Those are the things that best teach our children how to live a meaningful life, he says.

For parents looking for ways to help their children develop more positive mindsets and actions and avoid doing things that might hurt their reputations later in life, Cohen suggests:

  1. Developing the “good habit” muscle. Ask children about how they behave when no one is looking. Do they listen to their “inner voice” or do they ignore it and do something they’re not supposed to do, such as posting a snarky Facebook comment about someone else? Cohen says children need to be encouraged to listen to that inner voice, because that’s when courageous choices happen. If they don’t listen, then they “become inured to follow what feels good as opposed to what is good,” he says.
  2. Bolstering self-confidence. Talk with kids about the choices they’ve made in the past week that made them feel good inside. What helped them make those choices? Are there lessons to learn from those things to help them in the future? “When you’re confronted with a moment of indecision, with only a split second to decide whether to listen to your inner voice, you’ll follow what you’re conditioned to do. One good choice energizes another,” he says.
  3. Looking for motivators. Children often are bombarded today with the opinions and thoughts of celebrities and public figures who may or may not behave appropriately. Parents need to talk to their children about who they look up to and why. Who motivates them to be their best? Is it some music star or is it perhaps a grandparent or sibling? Do they keep this person in mind when they make their choices?
  4. Helping them to celebrate small victories. Parents can help their children understand that each new day provides a new opportunity. To be generous and not greedy. To be honest and not deceitful. To be selfless and not self-serving. “Each morning,” he says, “we’re blessed with an opportunity to choose life and get back on the road to success.”

Parents, Cohen says, can use these moments to also energize their own commitment to being better in both the big moments and the small ones.

“At every moment of our lives, whether young or old, we’re called up to be our very best. We’re charged with living life with passion and purpose. The world is watching,” Cohen says. “If we choose courageously and optimize our opportunities, we’ll know that we gave of our gifts and touched the world.”


Do You Live in One of These Best Cities to Raise the Next Rock Star

6292366044_c38ee2f884_bMusic makes the world go around and everyone knows by now that children who learn an instrument do better in math and in school, in general. Exposing your child to an instrument at a very early age has many other developmental benefits.

But what if you want to nurture your baby to become the next Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin (besides the dying at age 27 part)?

There are certain cities that are havens for the type of culture, programs and music lessons available.

“When you look at children ages two to nine, one of the breakthroughs in that area is music’s benefit for language development,” explained Mary Luehrisen, executive director of the nonprofit National Association of Music Merchants Foundation.”Growing up in a musically rich environment is often advantageous for children’s language development.”

Researchers at have investigated The Best Cities to Raise the Next Rock Star. They analysts ranked 111 major cities based on the amount of music lessons available in an area (as reported by music tutors) compared to the number of children under 18 in the area.

You can find your city’s rank in each category here.

Top 5
1. Gainesville, FL
2. Tallahassee, FL
3. Ann Arbor, MI
4. Athens, GA
5. Fort Collins, CO

Bottom 5
We Don’t Got The Beat
107. Honolulu, HI
108. Bakersfield, CA
109. Buffalo, NY
110. Memphis, TN
111. Fresno, CA

photo: suzanne gipson

Child Experts Warn About At-Home High-Tech Infant Vital Signs Monitors


Experts now warn that high-tech baby monitors that track infants vital signs as they sleep may do more harm than good.

Writing in the JAMA medical journal, child health experts at the University of Pennsylvania suggest these new trendy gadgets can trigger panic if they get the signs wrong.

“There is no evidence that consumer infant physiologic monitors are life-saving, and there is potential for harm if parents choose to use them,” the authors write.

A lot of these new devices will send alerts to the parents’ smartphone if there is a change in the baby’s breathing rate or pulse.

All they do is create ‘fear and self-doubt’ among the parents of healthy babies, doctors argue.

The most popular one is the “smart sock” like the Owlet with sensors sewn into the material.

They are pinned to a baby’s clothes or worn as a wristband – and some even come as a ‘smart sock’ with sensors sewn into the material and range in price from $100 to $250 dollars.

h/t Daily Mail

Decompress with These 7 Hilarious Viral Mom Music Video Parodies


Getting older can be painful but no one says we cannot have fun with it. That’s what mom vlogger and viral parody video maker Dev Dalporto did in her recent video which is a spoof on The Chainsmokers hit song, “Closer.”

Dalporto’s is called “Older” and it laments on the ups and downs (but mainly downs) of life after moving to the suburbs to start a family. A lot of us may be able to relate to not seeing friends any longer, losing sleep, wrinkles, chronic pain, and weight gain. Watch and enjoy!

And while you’re on her channel check out her other parodies!

We need the comic relief in these days.