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4 New Years Resolutions Everyone in the Family Can Stick To

With the New Year just arriving, you may still be thinking about your resolutions or setting new goals for your personal or family life. Setting goals and making new commitments can benefit both you and your family.

As you think through the changes you’d like to see in your personal and family life, consider these ways you can start the New Year off right.

Work on spending time together – Families tend to spend a lot of time around each other during the holidays, but as soon as they end the hustle and bustle of everyday life takes over and families often find themselves with little time to connect.  The New Year is a great time to set a goal to spend at least one night a week together as a family.  Create a game night or movie night once a week.  Maybe even mix it up and do something different each week.  Have everyone in the family come up with five family activities they want to do, then put them in a bowl and pick them out one by one, scheduling them a week or two in advance.  This way everyone in the family gets to do something they picked to do pretty frequently.

Limit screen time – Parents often complain that all their children want to do is watch TV, play video games or text and talk on their phones.  The amount of time children spend engaged in these activities is disturbing and can be frustrating to parents.  However, parents are often distracted with these devices as well.  How much time do you spend on your smart phone, tablet or laptop at home around meal time and in the evenings?  Challenge yourself to limit the time you spend on these devices when you could be spending time with your children.  Set a new rule that there are no phones at the meal table, parents included.  Spend that 30 minutes engaging in conversation with your children instead.  Your older children may resist at first, but as they see you put away your phone and really connect in conversation with them, they will become less opposed to the idea.

Help others – Building a sense of generosity in your children can be difficult.  Working on projects to help others as a family can be a very memorable experience for them that they cherish for a lifetime.  Serving at a soup kitchen, volunteering to be a part of a city wide clean-up day and signing up to do a charity walk are just a few examples of activities you can participate in with your children that benefit others.  There are also a lot of smaller jobs that you can do together too.  Making a meal for a sick neighbor, raking the leaves for the elderly couple down the street and taking care of a friend’s child for the day so she can rest are simple actions that make a big impact on the outlook your child has toward others.

Take time for yourself – Yes, parents need time on their own.  Everyone knows that.  Making it happen can be challenging, but don’t forget that your child needs some time to himself too.  Whether it is taking a long bath or going for an extended run, be sure to carve out time in the week to spend caring for you. You should also help your child find time for himself as well.  He may have a mound of homework to finish, but he is going to be better equipped to work efficiently if he has a little down time in his day too.

By setting a few goals for the New Year you and your family can build a connection and get off to a great start.

Amazon Baby Registry Start Up Guide

As any brand new expecting couple understands, the process of starting a family is daunting, from conception, to appointments, to dietary restrictions, to the unsolicited advice to the actually prep for getting ready to add a brand new member of the family.

It’s a good thing that there is a lot more technology these days that is taking the headache out of some of the items on the long to-do-list.

In my day, over a decade and more ago, if you wanted to create a baby registry for your family and friends who wanted to help you out with your initial childcare expenses, you had to load yourself and your growing girth in the car, stand in line for a clerk who’d give you a scanning gun and then, you’d have to waddle all over a big box store like Target or Walmart scanning items to add to your list. After that, you had to go back in line and have another clerk upload the list. Phew!

These days, there is Amazon Baby Registry

Here is how it works:

Got to the Amazon Baby Registry landing page and click the “Create a new Baby Registry” button.  You’ll be directed to a page with questions you need to answer, enter the address to have gifts sent to and then create the registry.

After that, you can start adding gifts you want. As you probably already know, Amazon has the Earth’s Biggest Selection of products to fill your house with all the right baby things.

Now, here is a bonus that you get with Amazon that you won’t get with other one off stores, if there is a product that isn’t carried or available on Amazon, you can add it using the University Registry option. It’s a browser plug in and you can add items from any site to your registry.

Mobile On the Go

If you are not at your desktop and you think of something to add, you can do it via the Amazon app on your phone. It allows you to access and update your registry whenever you want, from wherever you are.

Instant Organization

Once you’re done with your registry, Amazon works its magic and organizes it by categories to make it easy for your family and friends to search and decide what they want to buy.

Publish It

Once  you’re done, you can decide if you want to make your registry public so anyone can find it by  searching your name.

You can also limit your registry so that only people with the link can access it. Or you can make it totally private to yourself only as you build it out and before it’s ready for public consumption.

Gifts for Parents Just for Creating the Registry

When you sign up, Amazon sets you up with a welcome box with up to $35 worth of baby products. Yay!

Option for Group Gifters

When your co-workers, or college friends want to go in on one large expensive gift like a stroller, glider or car seat on the list, they can utilize the Amazon group gifting option.

Friends and family or coworkers and associates can pitch in towards the purchase of one costly item.

The average annual cost of diapers for the first year of life for an infant is $550.

Another option for friends who want to help offset the expense of a new baby is for them to contribute to Diaper Fund. Friends and family can contribute any amount of money, up to $550 total, toward diapers.

You’ll get this money in the form of an electronic Amazon gift card, which can be used toward diapers and a variety of other eligible baby products as well.

For Gift Givers

All you have to do is go to the Baby Registry search page and look for the name of the mom-to-be, pick gifts, then check out. You can opt to pitch in towards a large group gift or contribute to the Diaper Fund.

If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you’ll have to spend at least $25 to be eligible for free shipping. If you have Prime, you’ll get the regular, two-day free shipping rates you’ve come to know and love.

What happens if you don’t get all the items on your list

Once you’re registry is closed, or after baby is born, you can go back and order items unpurchased for 10% off or 15% off if you are an  Amazon Prime member.

Returns are Generous and Easy

If you have to return an item, don’t worry about rushing because Amazon gives you an entire year to return items from your list! That’s the best part if you ask me!

And you have no store to drive to, just print out the return label and drop it off at an Amazon location or ship it back through regular carriers like USPS.

Start your Amazon baby registry today

6 Ways to Get the Must Out Your Home for the New Year

clean bedroom and bed

Image by engin akyurt from Pixabay

It’s all too common to come home in the winter to find that far from being fresh and inviting, your home smells and feels dusty, musty, and damp. The air might feel stale, and perhaps even humid or very dry. This is usually the result of a lack of fresh air, as we’ve all had our windows closed for months, a lack of natural light, the dampness that comes with having to have washing dry indoors, and the fact that we’re all spending much more time wrapped up in close quarters at home. 

This mustiness can be annoying, but it can also be a health risk. When the air is stale, there are increased allergens. You might find that colds and other bugs spread more quickly, that you don’t sleep as well, and that you get more coughs or that you have trouble recovering from illnesses. Keeping your home fresh can boost your health, and your mood, as well as making your home more inviting.

1. Open Your Windows for a Little Every Day

When it’s cold outside, we want to keep our windows closed all of the time. But, opening the windows, at least in the rooms that you use the most, for just a few minutes every day could let in some fresh air, and move the stale air out. If it’s more comfortable, do this for a few minutes before you leave the house, so you don’t have to worry about bringing the temperature back up. 

2. Wash Bedding and Towels

clean bedroom

Pixabay – CC0 Licence

If we’re honest, most of us don’t wash our towels and bedding often enough. Try to wash them once a week, it’s more hygienic, and your house will smell and feel much fresher. When it’s not raining, drying washing outside can also help. 

3. Get A/C and Filters Checked

Whether you are using it at the moment or not, this is the perfect time to look at getting your AC unit serviced, and the filters changed. If you need to get emergency ac repair and start running your unit a little every day to keep air moving and fresh. 

4. Add an Air Freshener

An air freshener does precisely what it says on the tin. Sort of. It won’t actually freshen the air. But, it will help it to smell nicer and fresher. If your house feels stale, try to avoid scents that are overpowering or heavy. Light florals, linen, and sweet vanilla can all be effective. 

5. Open Internal Doors

If your home is musty, you want to move the air as much as possible. Keeping internal doors closed can help you to keep warm, but opening them sometimes will help keep air circulating. 

6. Air Soft Furnishings Out

Soft furnishings such as bedding, throws, rugs, sofa covers, curtains, and other heavy fabrics hold on to scents, as well as dust. On a dry, bright day, take these outside and let them hang. Beat the dust off, and let them get some fresh air. They’ll bring it back into the home with them, and the atmosphere will be much lighter. 

It’s a New Year! Let’s start out Must Free, shall we!? (SMILE)

Here Is Your Pregnancy and Postpartum Exercise Guide

pregnant woman running with weights

reposted from Havenlife with permission

Moving while your pregnant is so important. It can be five minutes in the morning or ten minutes at lunch. The time of day doesn’t matter, just as long as you can fit it into your schedule.

Being fit as a mother doesn’t mean spending hours at the gym. We talked with Jaime McFaden, a mom and trainer with audio fitness app Aaptiv, and asked for her top tips for staying in shape during and after pregnancy. Check them out below.

The best exercises for pregnant women

Regular exercise during pregnancy can improve health, reduce the risk of weight gain and even help with delivery. Jaime says that while it’s important to move throughout your pregnancy, it is also important to listen to your body. During pregnancy, your body goes through so many changes. Before you begin exercising, listen to what your body is telling you. Below are some safe exercises for pregnant women.



Kegel exercises for pregnant women

Kegel exercises are something you should do every day even if you’re not pregnant, Jaime says. Learning how to contract and release your pelvic muscles is so important for women’s bodies. This exercise can be done anywhere and only takes a couple of minutes.

How to do kegel exercises: In a seated position or standing up, take a deep breath in. In the inhale, release muscles in the pelvic region, and when you exhale, clench up those pelvic floor muscles. These are the muscles that control urine flow. Repeat this exercise for about 2-3 minutes.

Recommended reps: Every day for 2-5 minutes

Ab exercises for pregnant women

The ab exercises you do should vary throughout your pregnancy. Listen to your changing body. Jaime says to “avoid crunches, laying on your back and any twisting exercises as you progress in pregnancy.” Below are three recommended ab exercises for pregnant women.

Bird dog

How to do it: This exercise requires you to get on all fours and do opposite arm and leg extensions. Start with your right arm and left leg. Move both limbs away from your center and then pull them back in. Then, repeat. Do the same thing with your left arm and right leg.

Recommended reps: 12-15 on each side

Knee side planks

How to do it: Lay on your side with your knees bent on top of each other at a 90-degree angle. Raise your upper body by lifting yourself up on your right forearm. Your elbow should be directly under your shoulder bent at a 90-degree angle. To do a rep, contract your abdominal muscles and lift your hips off the ground. Hold this for 30 seconds and then lower yourself to your starting position. Do this same movement on the other side.

Recommended reps: Hold each side for 30 seconds

Reverse plank

How to do it: Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Place your palms on the floor behind your hips. Press into your palms and lift your body upwards. Looking up at the ceiling, make sure to point your toes and keep your arms and legs straight. Keep your body in a straight line and squeeze your core. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Recommended reps: Hold each side for 30 seconds

Lower body exercises

“Building lower body strength is a huge help when it comes to labor and delivery,” says Jaime. Strong lower body muscles will also help with all the lifting and carrying you will be doing as a mom. Squats are a great option. They not only keep you strong and healthy, but they also help build the muscles you will be using during birth. Below are some exercises to help strengthen your lower body.

Pilé squats

How to do it: A pilé squat is a version of a squat where you keep your legs wide and toes turned to the outside. To do a rep, lower down your hips as you were going to sit in a chair and come back to a stand.

Recommended reps: 12-15

Lunges

How to do it: Standing with your feet hip-width apart, take a big step forward with your right leg. Lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your right knee is directly above your right foot. Press your weight into your right heel to drive yourself back up to your starting position. Repeat this on the other side.

Recommended reps: 12-15 on each side

Back exercises for pregnant women

Most women endure back pains at some point in their pregnancy. “So much of what you will do as a mom is forward—make sure you build your back muscles to keep good posture and support,” Jaime says. Below are her top recommended back exercises for pregnant women.

Good morning

How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands behind your head. Take a deep breath and hinge forward from your hips. Allow a slight bend in the knees and keep your back flat. Lean forward until you are horizontal (do not go beyond horizontal). You should feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings and back. Then, exhale as you reverse the move to stand up. You can do this exercise without weight, with a resistance band or with a barbell once you get comfortable.

Recommended reps: 12-15

Deadlift

How to do it: This exercise requires a barbell. Again, listen to your body and reduce your weight as needed. Between 22 and 30 weeks, consider switching to an alternative exercise as your bump may be too big.

To do this exercise, stand next to the barbell and hold a neutral spine. Taking a deep breath, bend from the hips (maintaining a neutral spine), and grab the barbell. Exhale as you lift up. Once you are at your starting position, breath in on the way down until your barbell is back on the ground. As you exhale, repeat the exercise by lifting the barbell back up. Remember to keep a neutral back throughout.

Recommended reps: 12-15

One-arm row

How to do it: With a 5-10 pound weight in your left hand, place your right knee on a sturdy chair and leave your left foot on the ground. Bend forward with your back parallel to the floor and place your right hand on the seat. Hold the weight in your left hand with your palm facing in and extend down. Bend your left elbow back up to form a 90-degree angle. Hold for a couple of seconds and then return to your starting position. Repeat this on both sides.

Recommended reps: 12-15 on each side

Yoga exercises for pregnant women

Yoga is a great way to condition the body and soothe the mind during pregnancy. “I strongly advise women even if they have never tried yoga to give it a try during pregnancy,” says Jaime. However, it is important to not over-stretch. During pregnancy, your body will produce more of the hormone relaxin. This hormone has a tendency to make you feel more limber than you are.

With that in mind, try out the exercises below. These poses are great for any stage of your pregnancy as they do not include a ton of twisting or balance.

Cat cow

How to do it: This move is great for stretching your back, releasing tension and shifting the weight of the baby away from your spine. To do the cat cow pose, start on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. As you inhale, raise your head slowly and look up. On your exhale, bring your chin towards your chest and round your back. Press your hands into the floor and push the center of your back up (similar to a cat stretching).

Recommended reps: 3-4 breaths

Downward dog

How to do it: To do this pose, start on your hands and knees. Spread your fingertips wide and tuck in your toes. From here, lift your hips up so your heels are now touching the ground and your body is in a triangular position. Press through your fingertips to draw your chest towards your thighs. If your calves are tight, bend one knee forward and repeat with the other side. When you are done with your downward dog, you can bring your knees down and rest in child’s pose.

Recommended reps: 3-4 breaths

Pigeon

How to do it: The pigeon yoga pose is a great move for you to cool down with. For pregnant women, it is excellent for releasing tension in the lower back and hips. To begin, start on your hands and knees. Stretch your left leg all the way back, keeping your foot relaxed. Bring your right leg forward and bend your knee, so your right knee is at your right wrist. If your belly allows, come down to your forearms and connect your hands. Repeat this on the other side. Any variation of this position will work and as the baby grows you may need to adjust to create space for your bump

Recommended reps: 3-4 breaths

Best workouts for pregnant women by trimester

 

While it is important to move throughout your pregnancy, make sure to get your doctor’s clearance before doing any exercise and check in regularly through each trimester. Jaime says the most important thing to do is to listen to your body. If you feel tired, get some rest. If you’re hungry, eat. Your body is going through a lot of changes, so you should listen to what it’s telling you.

First trimester

According to Jaime, “the first trimester is where women either feel fine or crappy, so you have to take it day by day.” She recommends sticking to normal strength and cardio exercises. If you didn’t do much working out before your pregnancy, aim to establish good exercise habits gradually. Start by taking a few 10-minute walks every week and then gradually build up to a 30-minute walk three to five times a week. If you are someone who exercises regularly, talk to a doctor or personal trainer about how you can lower the intensity of your workouts.

Yoga is great during this trimester as it will allow you to gently stretch and develop strength. You can also pair this with some light strength training such as squats, lunges and deadlifts.

Second trimester

In months four to seven of your pregnancy, many women generally feel great. “As the baby gets bigger and your belly starts to grow,” Jamie says, “you may surprisingly feel good and have some energy back so you can exercise.” She recommends doing about 60-70% of what you are used to. Rather than focusing on a particular area, stick to full body workouts. When doing your abs, lower body and back exercises stick to 10-12 reps as opposed to 15.

Third trimester

You’re now in the home stretch with only a few more weeks to go! This is when your body is being stretched and pushed the most. Many women feel they need a break during this time. However, if you are still looking to get your heart rate up, Jaime recommends avoiding exercises where you are on your back. “A vein pumping blood called the Vena can be disrupted if you lay on your back for extended periods of time,” she explains.

Avoid any high-intensity workouts. Consider activities like walking, swimming or prenatal yoga. If you’re looking to tone muscles, stick to squats and lunges. As always, make sure you are practicing your Kegels.

Postpartum exercises

 

If you’ve just welcomed a new baby into your life, finding the time to workout can be tricky and feeling comfortable in your body again can feel even harder. “Doctors say not to go for physical exercise until 6 to 8 weeks after birth,” Jaime says. For the first few weeks after birth, your priorities should be to rest and spend time with your new baby. Your body takes several weeks to recover from the changes of pregnancy. Do not overdo it by rushing back to the gym.

If you’re ready to get back in shape, start making an effort to move a little bit every day. Once you are feeling comfortable again, try the below postpartum exercises.

Kegel exercises postpartum

Just like you should be doing kegel exercises during your pregnancy, you should also be doing them postpartum. During the birthing process, these muscles are weakened and therefore should be exercised regularly after giving birth.

However, it is important to give your body the time it needs to heal so wait until about six weeks after delivery. You may find that doing kegel exercises is challenging at first. Do not be discouraged. This is normal and will take time and patience to get back to normal.

Low-impact exercises

If you are just starting out, it is best to begin with lower-impact activities. These can include swimming, walking, stretching, water aerobics or yoga. If you are going to the gym, try the elliptical, stationary bike or stair climber for a lower-impact workout that will still get your heart racing. Start with 5-10 minutes and then build on your duration and intensity the more comfortable you feel.

Core strengthening

According to Mahri Relin, founder of the exercise platform Body Conceptions and a trainer who specializes in postnatal workouts, “core strength keeps you safe, centered, and prepared for childbirth—and it’s the same area you want to keep strong after.” One way to regain your stability and heal your abdominal muscles is to do postpartum core exercises.

However, it’s important to get the green light from your MD before attempting these exercises. Your abdominal muscles have gone through a lot of pulling and stretching in order to make room for your new baby. Avoid traditional sit-ups and crunches and instead opt for the moves below.

Leg and arm extensions

How to do it: Starting on your hands and knees, draw the core up and bring your right elbow into your right knee. As you inhale, reach your right arm out and your left leg straight behind you. Exhale, and contract your muscles while bringing your right arm and left leg back to your center. That’s one rep. Once you have completed your reps, switch sides.

Recommended reps: 10-12 each side

Yoga boat

How to do it: Sit on the floor with your knees bent. Tighten your abdomen and slightly lean your torso back while lifting your feet off the floor. Lift until your shins are parallel to the floor and your hips are flexed at 90-degrees. Keep your back straight and extend your arms forward to maintain balance. Hold this for 30 seconds and then repeat.

Recommended reps: 10-12

Raised leg extensions

How to do it: Lie on the floor with your legs bent at 90-degrees. Engage your lower abs and lift both legs up a few inches so they are in a diagonal position. Hold for a few seconds and then return to your starting position.

Recommended reps: 12-15

Exercises for diastasis recti postpartum

Diastasis recti is a separation of the rectus abdominis, what we refer to as our “six-pack” muscles. This happens to about two-thirds of women and can occur either during or after pregnancy. Maura Shirey, a certified pregnancy fitness educator and owner of Bodies for Birth, says that after birth “the core remains overstretched and the woman is left with a belly that feels very different.” She recommends focussing on strengthening your transverse abdominis. This is the deepest muscle in your core and your best bet for regaining strength and stability.

Kristin McGee, a yoga/pilates instructor and mother of twins, says that “while you’re healing your diastasis, you want to avoid any exercises that put too much strain on the abdominals and can cause the belly to cone or dome.” She advises her clients to avoid crunches, planks, backbends and any exercises that can cause the abdomen to stretch further. Below are some recommended exercises to help strengthen your rectus muscles.

Transverse abdominis side bracing

How to do it: Lie on your right side with your knees bent and feet resting on the floor. Place the fingers of your right hand on top of your stomach—just above the hip bone. From here, tighten your abs and draw your belly button in towards your spine. Hold this position, then relax and repeat. You should be able to feel your muscles contract under your fingers.





Recommended reps: 3-4 breaths

Toe taps

How to do it: Lie on your back and lift your legs into a tabletop position. With your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, lift up your right leg and tap your toe on the ground. Alternate between legs.

Recommended reps: 10-12 on each side

Heel slides

How to do it: Lie on your back with your legs bent. Lengthen one leg forward and hover it over the floor, keeping the hips still and drawing your abdominals in and up. Bend the leg back into the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Recommended reps: 10-12 on each side

Postpartum back stretches

As a mother, your back muscles work harder from moving and lifting your baby all day. Many mothers begin to experience postpartum back pain. To combat this, try to do the below stretching exercises at least ten minutes a day. For the first six to 12 weeks, stick to gentle postpartum stretching such as side-to-side neck stretches or toe touches.

Pelvic tilts

How to do it: Lie on your back and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle so that your feet are flat on the floor. Then, lift your hips off the floor and squeeze your butt. You should feel a nice stretch in your lower back muscles and buttocks.

Recommended reps: 10-12

Knee to chest stretch

How to do it: Lie on your back with your legs straight in front of you. Bring one leg up and use your hands to hug your knee into your chest. Hold this for about 30 seconds and then switch to the other side.

Recommended reps: 10-12 each side

Supine lower back release

How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Extend both arms out into a “T” position. Roll both knees to one side while keeping your shoulders on the ground. Hold this for 20-30 seconds and then return to your center. Repeat this on the other side.

Recommended reps: 10-12 each side

10 Ways Parenting Will Be Different in the New Decade {Predictions}

family

family

Now that I’ve reviewed the parenting trends of the past, from a celebrity perspective, let’s take a look at the top parenting trends that we can expect in the coming decade.

From Helicopter to Free Range Parenting, child raising techniques and patterns change over time, with each generation and with scholarship and research.

There really is no right way to accomplish this fine craft and art of raising decent human beings from newborns to young adult.

However, each generation adopts varying habits and patterns that mark their eras in distinctive ways.

The Millennial Generation has already established itself as separate and almost the anti-Generation of its Gen X and Baby Boomer generations that precedes it.

One report indicates that 82% of babies born each year is to Millennial moms, so here is how this new generation of parents are creating new trends for the next decade.

1.More traveling with baby and small children

Parents will be less timid about taking their babies and small children with them while traveling the world.

The concept of traveling with children is not new but was limited to trips to Disney world or roadtrips in the Summer to the Grand Canyon.  Of course, we always had those bold wanderlust or Peace Corp types of parents who were never fearful about picking up their toddler and heading to the Andes but they were in the minority.

A new report by Resonance Consultancy points to the increasing importance of Millennials to the family travel market.

Travel Agents Report states that “44 percent of Millennial travelers take their vacations with the kids in tow,” according to the firm’s new Future of U.S. Millennial Travel report.

More than half (58%) of U.S. Millennials who traveled overnight last year have children under the age of 18 in the household, Resonance learned.

Once kids enter the picture, Millennial parents continue to travel.

Now and in the future, millennial parents will not even hesitate to do so. Many are open to the idea of home schooling their children while living and working as digital nomads abroad. They do not think a child necessarily needs in-school instructions. As a result, we will see more children grow up as students of the world.

The well traveled child is the future.

2. Making home made baby food

In the last decade alone, American spending on baby food has dropped dramatically, and there’s a growing emphasis on making baby food at home.

Millennial parents have grown up in the age of information, and generally speaking, it shows.

They’re not feeding their kids the super-processed, questionably-nutritious baby and kid food of yore, and they want to maintain their principles of eco-minded, earth- and animal-friendly living once they become parents.

And according to Forbes, newer baby food brands are catering to them by partnering up with nutritionists and food engineers to offer sustainable biodynamic food sourcing and processes.

Because Millennial parents of all economic classes want nutritious, organic, science-backed food for their babies , their babies Generation Alpha will be the best fed kids.

3. More Baby wearing, Less investment in multiple strollers

Not long ago, the stroller was a status symbol. Posh parents would have purchased more than two strollers by the time their child reached Kindergarten: a baby carriage or infant car system, a jogging stroller and a toddler stroller.

Nowadays, it’s all about baby-wearing. Also, newer parents have less income and are interested in sustainable living, less waste and extravagance. They do not rely on things like strollers to make a statement.

The term “babywearing” was coined by William Sears, a California-based pediatrician who in 1992 wrote “The Baby Book,” which popularized the concept of “attachment parenting.”

Along with co-sleeping and extended breast-feeding, baby carrying is a core tenet of that parenting approach, which is supposed to nurture a closer attachment between parent and baby and ultimately a healthier child.

The future of parenting is more engaged and connected parents and baby wearing is part of that.

4. Single by Choice/More cohabitation before marriage or without plans to ever marry

Beginning with Generation X, women have been willing to have babies on their own, or elect to just co-habitate with a partner and skip getting married altogether. However, most eventually bowed to societal pressure to find the one, exchange vows and have kids.

Future parents are not willing to be handcuffed by societal rules and tradition.

In 2009, the oldest millennials were in their 20s and as The Wall Street Journal reports, of those older millennials who did have kids, most were unmarried.

And generally, what is norm has changed.

A Pew report finds that just 46% of kids in 2016 were living in a household with two married parents in their first marriage, compared to 61% in 1980.

Generation Z is coming up behind the Millenial generation and are said to be more financially savvy,  the next era of parents will be even less constrained by standards of traditional practices.

Their family planning practices will reflect this prediction.

5. More demanding about Parental Leave

Dads in the Generation Y are also leading the charge in changing gender-based roles in the home, and likewise will change policies related to parental leave.

Millennial dads are more likely to take paternity leave after their spouses or partners have a child.  They are also more likely to be stay at home dads and to baby wear.

A Business Insider report states that “millennial dads are far more likely than their fathers were to take time off work after the birth of a baby” and quotes a 2016 Cornell University study  which asserts that dads who take longer paternal leave tend to be more engaged and involved with their kids in the long run.

That same report indicated that “in 1989, only 10% of these stay-at-home parents were dads, whereas today, stay-at-home fathers account for 17% of such caregivers” and noted that while “women still account for the vast majority of parents in this role, but the numbers are on a course toward more balance.”

Further,it states that in many dual-income millennial homes in which both parents work full time (that’s 46% of households, according to Pew), the mother is the primary earner.

They are making private companies and the government adjust to this new dynamic.

Millennial parents have influenced employers such as Microsoft and Netflix to announce significant expansions to their paid parental leave benefits.

As more private companies start to offer extended family leave and generous paternity leave, future parents from up and down the socioeconomic ladder will start expecting and even demanding adequate time off after welcoming a child to the family.

They will also be more likely to support laws or support candidates that propose new laws standardizing and expanding parental leave policies and laws.

6. More Social Media – Less Friends/Family as Advice Source

Parents will be more comfortable about sharing photos of their children in social media and some with actually brand their children from birth, similar to the way celebrities do now.

About 4 in 5 millennials admit to posting a picture of their kid online at least once, according to a poll conducted by TIME and Survey Monkey. Half of baby boomers, meanwhile, have never posted a photo of their kids online, as well as 30% of Gen X parents.

A Business Insider report about how Millennials use their children as status symbols state they are spending up to $100,000 on things like Instagram-worthy nurseries.

Month-by-Month posts for the first  year of a baby’s life and fabulous color coordinated themed first birthday parties are a thing that Instagram following are made of!

Being that the new generation of parents are more digital conscious and aware, they will continue to skip friends and family for advice and turn to Google.

A recent New York Times article states that millennial parents go to Google, chat rooms, and apps for parenting advice and as one expert told the paper, “Google is the new grandparent, the new neighbor, the new nanny.”

7. Creative Names and Less Formal Names with History and Meaning

“Finding a name that has authentic roots, but is completely undiscovered, is the ultimate baby name status symbol,” Pamela Redmond Satran, a founder of the site Nameberry and author of “The Nameberry Guide to Off-the-Grid Baby Names,” told Alex Williams of The New York Times.

The future of parenting will include names that are not necessarily connected to a family or tradition.

In fact, more Millennial parents are reportedly looking for a name that is not already attached to a domain.

Also, that New York Times article mentions that many millennial parents are giving their kids personal hashtags and YouTube channels.

8. Raising Gender Neutral Children

With more awareness of LGBTQ issues and variances of how members of that community identify, modern and Millennial parents are cognizant about how they label their children. In year’s past, we followed strict gender identity and roles. To put it bluntly, children were either male or female. However, in the coming years, more parents will be open with raising children without subjecting them to or assigning them gender identity.  Future parents may be more likely to let their kids determine for themselves how they want to identify.

A Euromonitor international report states that middle class parents in developed world, especially older Millennials who are becoming parents, are taking a more gender-neutral approach to child raising, using neutral colors and with names suitable for either gender proving popular.

9. Less Religious – More Spiritual or Non Religious

A lot of holidays in secular society have become so homogenized and commercial that it is very easy for a child raised in a non-religious household to not feel left out. Christmas, Easter even Halloween and Day of the Dead which have cultural and spiritual origins are practiced and recognized by people who do not go to Church or follow the initial practices of each holiday.

Four in ten millennials now say they are religiously unaffiliated, according to the Pew Research Center. In fact, millennials (those between the ages of 23 and 38) are now almost as likely to say they have no religion as they are to identify as Christian.

10. They will do what feels right to them 

If any of the aforementioned are clues, the next generation of parenting will go with their gut and not abide by what books, society, the media, the government or advertisers tell them.

In fact, they will be the one dictating what these ancient institutions do!

The next era of parents will be more empowered.

The future is here and it’s going to be quite different!

 

11 Parenting Books To Read in the New Year

End of Year Book Review:

I’ve been gifted dozens of books and offered the opportunity to review hundreds this year. I simply cannot and do not have the bandwidth to read, digest and thoroughly review them all.

However, as the year comes to a close in a few short days, I know that a lot of readers are looking for guidance and inspiration to carry them in the new year. So, I curated a sampling of some of the top parenting books  are among those that I thought would be helpful to parents, new moms, expecting parents and others.

1. The High School Survival Guide: Your Roadmap to Studying, Socializing & Succeeding by Jessica Holsman

I have a child who entered high school this year who had to deal with the transitioning to more difficult classes, traveling from class to class, taking notes,  meeting new friends, and navigating all the in between. I gave him this book to read which he managed to devour in a few short days.  It offers a lot of common sense suggestions and inspiration, study tips and more.

The book is authored by Jessica Holsman, a popular YouTuber of “Study with Jess” and “Life of Jess” web series. It makes a good gift for a middle schooler or teen already in high school.

The only thing I would change is the cover which features a girl and gives the impression it is tailored to girls. It is not, but that could dissuade some readers or parents from picking it up.

Get it for $11.99!

2. The College Bound Organizer by Anna Costras and Gail Liss

This is part guide, part work book, part inspirational book and part organizer. It’s a book for a kid or parent who needs (or at least wants) to have a place to journal college visit tours, information researched on various colleges, and then the application process (recommendations, transcripts, test scores etc).

I like the organization, tips, blank pages and the way it is arranged. Some sections are too generic for me to tailor to suit my way or organizing information so I will just leave those blank or use them as inspiration to put my own checklist or form together. Overall, it’s a pretty decent handbook.

Get it for $12.89.

3. The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children  by Ronald F. Ferguson

As a parenting expert, I am constantly looking for insights and perspectives on how to master this difficult task of raising good, conscientious, able-bodied and decent children. The authors of this book describe  “Eight Roles of Parenting” which as one reviewer put it is a “framework is a really clean way of looking at the messy reality of parenting.”  It basically refers to the roles a parent should have during different portions of their children’s’ development. I like it even though the author seems to establish the benchmark for success as acceptance into Harvard. That bar is a bit high and also, one can be successful without attending Harvard or a top college at all.

Nonetheless, I love how the book lays out the foundations though it doesn’t offer enough tips on how the average unlearned person could accomplish the steps other than by simply trying to figure out how to model success. It is pretty comprehensive and a very well researched and thorough read! I felt validated and challenged.

Get it for $18.49

4. Heart, Sass & Soul: Journal Your Way to Inspiration and Happiness by Greta Solomon

I think a lot of us get stuck in a rut and struggle to break free from it. During this time of self-doubt, unsurety, and relative darkness, we find ourselves procrastinating, stagnant, and simply not doing what we need to do to advance our lives or goals.

This book starts with prompts and inspirational passages to help us overcome these self-inflicted hurdles to define our path without judgment.

The back includes a journal with writing prompts that connects it all together. I’m still reading this one but so far, I’m enjoying it. It’s not rocket science but a lot of times, we simply need someone else to roadmap what we already know. The readers get to experience the examples of the author’s own path to journaling and learn a lot from the experience of a previously reluctant journaler to expert.

From the publishers, “Writing for yourself is an incredible way to heal your heart, find happiness, and reconnect with the things that matter most. Journaling and freewriting can bring you a deeper level of self-awareness, allowing you to truly know who you are. Heart, Sass & Soul will show you how to develop a writing practice that nurtures inner strength and promotes a rich, fulfilled life.”

Get it for $12.85

5. The Story Behind: The Extraordinary History Behind Ordinary Objects by Emily Prokop

In a casual and conversational tone, Emily Prokop gives some perspective and insights into the backstory and history of everyday objects that have extraordinary place in our lives in terms of usefulness and functionality.

This is a cool gift book to give that kid or older adult who loves trivia and loves wowing others with information. The only downsides is the lack of reference to the facts which may cause the detail-oriented person with a skeptical brain and fact-checker perspective to not trust some of the information. But beyond that, it’s a really cute and to-the-point and easy-to-read, skim and skip around book.

This is not an inspiration book, per se, but by learning about the quite mundane and ordinary start of some pretty fantastic inventions, the reader could draw motivation and encouragement on what they could achieve.

Get it for FREE on Kindle

6. Top Students, Top Parents: A Manual for Parents Who Want to Help Their Children Become All They Can Be  by Kathleen Burns

This book is a collection of brief but cogent academic articles and essays by experts about children’s learning and how early environmental factors come into play. Many people assume that children inherit learning ability. Whilst this is true to some extent, the book discusses how critical environmental factors are in facilitating a child’s curiosity and desire to learn, one reviewer writes.

I’m still digging into this book, but so far, what I find most fascinating about it is that it shows you the way you should be speaking to, engaging, instructing and guiding your child to maximize his or her ability to absorb knowledge, be a better reader, have a stronger work ethic and patience. That fact sets this book apart from others, like some mentioned in this list, that simply outline and explain what makes a grade A student or a top parent.

Get it for $18.95

7. Your Complete Vegan Pregnancy by Reed Mangels

From the mind of an expert nutritionist with experience in veganism comes this book which provides useful tips, hints and suggestions on how to feed your body when a pregnant vegan.

For a long time, and I believe still today, a lot of doctors have NOT recommend vegans stick with their strict diets while pregnant. They argue that animal fat and proteins are needed to help a developing baby in utero.

In modern times, and with more recent studies, and experiences, and also with more options available in regular grocery stores, it is very possible to feed a vegan body and a baby.

This guide offers yummy recipes along with the guide that can be used all throughout a pregnancy and after. Even those who are not expecting can benefit.

Get it for $10.39

8. You Can Be a Winning Writer by Joan Gelfand

Is 2020 the year you finally get your book published, a literary agent or self-publish your first book?

There is a reason why there are  millions of books and authors out there but only a fraction of successful published books and authors, comparatively.  The reason for this paradox has to do with the fact that not all authors are able to connect with readers, deliver a compelling story or message, keep readers engaged and have them coming back for more.

In Joan Gelfand’s book, readers will  learn of the 4 C’s (Craft, Commitment, Community & Confidence) and be inspired to get to work and to put in the effort to finally get their book written or published this coming year.

I gifted this one to my husband who is writing his first novel. I also plan to dig into the formula some more as I explore fiction writing in the coming year.

Get if for $15.99

9. Why Will No One Play With Me? The Play Better Plan by Caroline Maguire

Many children lack important social and executive functioning skills that allow them to navigate through the world with ease.

I got this book a little while ago and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Inside, parenting expert and former coach at the Hallowell center provides a very well-written and clear manual for helping parents who have children who struggle with social interactions and with connecting with others. She offers a step-by-step guide with examples and very relevant examples. She suggests using tools:

*Social Sleuthing: learn to pay attention to social cues
*Post-Play Date Huddles: help kids figure out what to look for in a friendship
*Reflective Listening: improve your child’s relationship with their peers
Every parent wants their child to be okay–to have friends, to be successful, to feel comfortable in his or her own skin and this guide book is meant to give them the tools to do that.
With compassion and ease, this program gives parents a tangible, easy-to-follow guide for helping kids develop the executive function and social skills they need to thrive.
This books has dozens of 5 star reviews and there is a reason for it.

Get it in Hardback for $18.59

10. The Multi-Cooker Baby Food Cookbook by Jenna Helwig

Jenna combines the Instapot/quick crock pot craze with the new trend of moms who prefer to cook and prepare their own baby food rather than rely on commercially prepared jars and pouches. In this book, moms can expect to find over 100 recipes made of whole foods including some the entire family can enjoy.

It’s well organized and could make a great gift book.

Get it for $12.99

11. Sailor to Student: How I Made a Quarter of a Million Dollars, and You Can Too by Tony Elion Jr

This former sailor offers tips and suggestions in lay terms on how he uses investments to earn big bucks. I was surprised when his publicist or publishers sent me a link to access. It was a quick read but the advice within it is succinct, helpful and memorable. It’s a great thing to read to start the year especially if one of your goals is to get financially independent.

Get it for $14.99

There you have it! A bunch of books to kickstart your new year!

7 Things To Get With Your Amazon Gift Card

It’s time to use those gift cards you got for Christmas!  Since 2005, some $45.7 billion has been floating around in unused gift card balances, according to Finder!

We can guess why. Life is Busy. We are Forgetful.  Don’t join the statistic! Avoid hesitating on spending your gift card!

I recommend you get on Amazon and quickly order something you would ordinarily NOT get for yourself!

It is an excellent excuse to gift yourself something novel, fun, quirky or just different.

Here are 7 items I’ve seen, purchased, used and looked up to see if they sell them on Amazon and they do! Sweet!

1. Game on!– Get nostalgic and play some of your fave Atari 6400 games you played as a kid with your own kids! We love Blast’s vintage “Plug and Play” video game that comes with a wireless controller and features 8-20 classic video game titles like Centipede, Millipede, Yar’s Revenge, Asteroids, Missile Command, Pitfall, River Raid, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Galaga and Dig Dug. We picked one up at Target for like $25.00 on sale. Online it’s at Amazon.com for just $18! My husband and I played for hours with our kids on Christmas Eve! So fun!!! Thanks AtGames for gifting us a controller as well!

2. Coffee Lovers – I have been eyeing KRUPS’  Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder for a while now and it’s down to $15! Perfect price point for this best selling press machine for coffee aficionados like myself! It makes 3 ounces worth of  yummy goodness in about 10 seconds! Love mine! I got one for Christmas and I’m hoping it saves me money on Starbucks! Oy vey! LOL!!

3. Wine On – Ever since I won a wine tumbler in an Instagram contest, I’ve not stopped using mine. Not sure if to laugh or cry about that! ha! If you have an Amazon gift card, you can pick one up for under $20!  It’s my go to at the end of a trying week!

4. Future seekers – Going in 2019, a lot of people have big dreams and hopes of making the next year better than the last. I’m a fan of astrology and birth order and the zodiac and I can say emphatically that I got my kickstart going thoroughly through the pages of Mecca Woods‘ book “Astrology for Happiness and Success!” ($10.39)  I not only perused Woods’ very practical tips, delivered in a casual conversational tone for my sign, Virgo, I did for my children’s and husband’s as well. I found the career and wellness guidance extremely relevant and they appear so personalized to me! The book is wonderfully sectioned and organized making it a super easy read! You can pass it on to your mom, sister, bestie when done! Get it!

5. Ski down – It’s the season for hitting the slopes and a new pair of over the glasses ski goggles would be a great gift to give yourself this winter! These are just $18 on Amazon! It gets good reviews, fits with your helmet and fog resistant! Looks like a winner! I think I’ll get the purple ones!

6. Well Read – For the design and/or book lover, this exquisite reading lamp I peeped a teen using while sitting and reading books in Barnes and Noble over the holiday caught my eye. It is pretty, sleek and super portable. I asked her if she got it in the bookstore and she told me  no, Amazon! For just $15!!! I just ordered one!

7. Wild Animal – Signal your love of your pet dog or cat with these adorable fridge magnets! I saw these on my girlfriend’s fridge a few months ago! I thought they were so cute and they’re only about $10 for a set on Amazon!

Have fun shopping for stuff you know you may not ordinarily get for yourself!

Umoja! Explaining Kwanzaa

Today is the first day of the pan African and African American holiday developed in 1966 by California State University professor and Chair of Africana Studies Dr. Maulana Karenga.

Kwanzaa means “First Fruits of Harvest” in Swahili, a language spoken in many East African nations. It is a seven-day holiday that celebrates seven values, collectively called the Nguzo Saba, a Swahili word for Seven Principles.

These seven communitarian African values are: Umoja (Unity), Kuji-chagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith).

Kwanzaa table setting traditionally includes seven candles, ears of corn, fruit, a cup and a cultural woven mat all symbolizing principles of the new holiday. Celebrants put a green tablecloth over a table they place in a central place in their home, and place a woven straw mat called a Mkeka on top of that table which symbolizes the historical foundation of African ancestry.

On top the mat is a Kinara (a candle holder) with seven candles. It holds three red candles on the left, three green candles on the right, and a black candle in the center. A candle is lit every day, as during Hanukkah. The black candle is lit first, the lighting then going back and forth between red and green, starting with the outermost candles and moving in to the center.

The table also should include Mazao, crops from the community including a bowl of fruit; Muhindi, an ear of corn for each child in the household;  Zawadi, gifts for the children; and Kikombe cha Umoja, a cup to represent family and community.

Celebrants also decorate their home in the pan African colors of red, green and black. They wear traditional clothes worn by Africans in various countries on that continent, including garments made of Kinte cloth, a material made of interwoven cloth strips worn by the Akan peoples of Ghana.

Starting on December 26, celebrants greet each other by saying “Habari Gani” which is a standard Swahili greeting that means “what is the news?”

The response is whatever day it is – Ujima, Nia, etc.

Kwanzaa table setting traditionally includes 7 candles, ears of corn, fruit, a cup and a cultural woven mat all symbolizing principles of the new holiday.

On the sixth day, or New Year’s Eve, those who celebrate this tradition have a reading or discussion, there is held a program that includes welcoming, remembering, reassessment, recommitment and rejoicing, concluding with a farewell statement and a call for greater unity.

Families exchange gifts on the seventh day.

The values are supposed to be building blocks for the African American community and to teach them of the pan-African connection between people of African descent now living all over the world.

Africans of all faiths can and do celebrate Kwanzaa, i.e., Muslims, Christians, Black Hebrews, Jews, Buddhists, Bahai and Hindus as well as those who follow the ancient traditions of Maat, Yoruba, Ashanti, Dogon, etc. Kwanzaa is not supposed to be an alternative to their religion or faith, but a common ground of African culture.

However, some people who reject the Christmas holiday season’s materialism elect to practice Kwanzaa as an alternative to interject meaning into their holiday season.

Those not from African descent can celebrate Kwanzaa, just as others celebrate Cinco de MayoChinese New Year and Native American pow wows.

The political part of the holiday is that it has been credited with helping African Americans stay bonded and for assisting young people to avoid the trappings and failings of vices and other negative issues that sometimes plague African American communities. Learning and practicing this tradition can help young people realize their potential and value beyond the here and now and connect them to their ancestral roots and to others today who share their collective African heritage worldwide

So, for example, rather than “what would Jesus do?” a Kwanzaa-based query might be, “what would your great ancestors who were once kings and queens of the greatest civilizations and cultures do if they saw you acting a fool and disrespecting their legacy and honor?”

Not bad a message at all.

If you are celebrating Kwanzaa with your children this year, enjoy and Happy Kwanza to you! Umoja!

Merry Christmas: Enjoy These Christmas Movie Scenes

There are fun Christmas movies for kids like Rudolph and Santa Claus is coming to town and then there are those with kids in them that adults enjoy more and are bonafide cult classics. The jokes and wise cracks in them can be appreciated by big kids of the adult variety! ha!

My favorite is A Christmas Story, the Great Depression era themed movie about a kid who just wanted a BB gun for Christmas and his adventures with his friends and trying to convince his parents, the mall Santa, teachers and other adults in his life that a BB gun is NOT a dangerous gift for a kid. The antics are hilarious. I actually remember nagging my parents to take me to see this movie when it was released in 1983.

Here are three other hilarious and funny Christmas scenes that you should watch online or rent this Holiday season:

 

 

BOPIS: Where You Can Still Buy Online Pick Up In Store This Christmas Eve

If you are a last minute shopper and still scrambling for Christmas gifts two days before Christmas and a few days until Kwanzaa and mid Hanukkah, then you may be seeking options for getting gifts that don’t require you fighting other deal seekers and spending hours in line.

Luckily for you, retailers have embraced a relatively new concept, Buy Online, Pick up in store or BOPIS for short. Conduct a quick research to see if your fave local store that you have access to has this option.

Here are some of the big top stores that still have sales so you can get your BOPIS on!

BEST BUY will give you your items in a shorter pick up line until.

WALMART will allow you to order up to 4:oopm  and pick up today.

TARGET offers same day order pick up until Christmas Eve.

MACY’S will provide free same day pick up with an order of $25 or more.

Will add more as I see them! Happy Shopping!