Government Plans to Reunite Parents, Older Kids

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What we can all learn from the trapped Thailand soccer kids

This week, the world watched with bated breath as 12 boys, members of The Wild Boars soccer team, and their coach were rescued from deep inside an underwater cave in Thailand. It was a situation that had seemed beyond hope and yet, the boys’ steely determination and preternatural calm stand as a lesson to Americans…
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New Video Released Of Rescued Thai Kids At Hospital | NBC News

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Parents who had severe trauma, stresses in childhood more likely to have kids with behavioral health problems

A new study finds that severe childhood trauma and stresses early in parents’ lives are linked to higher rates of behavioral health problems in their own children.
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Join the monthly artrepublic Kids Club

Saturday 21st July 10-11:30am, this month our guest artist is Joe Webb. Join Joe for an hour and a half of creative fun, with loads of great activities for the kids to enjoy.

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Please note: These events are very popular and have limited availability so please register early. Also, please be aware that there will be photography and video of the event which will be used for marketing purposes by artrepublic and our affiliates.

To take part in this free event, simply visit our Eventbrite page to register. Hope to see you there!

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Elon Musk is building a ‘kid-size submarine’ to rescue Thai kids trapped in cave

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Elon Musk is coming to the rescue.

The tech leader, along with SpaceX and Boring Company engineers, have been working with cave experts in Thailand to rescue the boys’ soccer team of 12 that’s been stuck in a cave system since June 23.

On Saturday, Musk tweeted an updated rescue plan, which essentially involves constructing “a tiny, kid-size submarine” that he plans to fly to Thailand.

Musk began his Saturday updates by discussing an “escape pod design” and “an inflatable tube with airlocks.” But as the day progressed, he settled on the idea of a mini-submarine. Read more…

More about Tech, Thailand, Elon Musk, Spacex, and Submarine


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Kid’s completely understandable reason for refusing to share his favorite book goes viral

He just didn’t want other people reading his favorite book. Period.

Book lovers across the world could sympathize with the British 6-year-old’s stance in response to a homework assignment asking him if he would recommend his favorite book to a friend.

In a tweet on Wednesday to celebrate National…

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Learning disabilities: Kids and families struggle beyond the academics

Academic struggles can also create significant stress and anxiety for children and families, a new study finds. Using a 15-question survey in families of children on IEP plans, researchers document actionable levels of distress.
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How Kids Can Get Free Summer Meals in All 50 States and Washington, D.C.


For millions of children, summertime isn’t a carefree vacation.

Children who receive free meals at school during the academic year often struggle to find similar support during the summer.

To address this problem, the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers the Summer Food Service Program to make sure low-income children still have access to nutritious meals over summer.

How big is the impact made by the summer food program? Last year, about 3.8 million children were served at more than 50,000 summer-meal sites across the country, a USDA spokesman said.

How to Access the USDA Summer Food Service Program

Brittanee Harris serves bagged lunches to children at Northside Boys and Girls Club. “I think it’s very important,” said Harris. “It helps parents because they may not have the means to provide a lunch.” Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

To find out if you meet the income requirements for free meals, check this chart here.

Free food sites range from schools to independently sponsored locations. Certain states have their own site maps and requirements, and the USDA provides a national location-finder map.

For information on sites near you, call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8 HAMBRE for a Spanish-speaking operator. You can also text “FOOD” to 877-877 or “COMIDA” to 877-877 for a reply in Spanish.

Read below to learn about how to find free meal sites in your state and application details, if necessary.

1. Alabama

Break for a Plate in Alabama provides two free meals each day to kids and teens up to 18 years old. To participate, use the location finder to search for programs in your area.   

2. Alaska

Find program sites in Alaska by using the USDA map.

3. Arizona

Check this site for more information, or use the location finder for spots in your area.

4. Arkansas

Arkansas requires parents to contact their child’s school to apply for the program. Eligibility depends on income and household size. Use the USDA map for sites in your area.

5. California

Use the USDA map locate a food site near you.

6. Colorado

Call Colorado’s Hunger Free Hotline at 855-855-4626, or use the USDA map.

7. Connecticut

End Hunger Connecticut lists summer meal sites, as well as operating dates and times. The site currently says to check back mid-June for open locations.

8. Delaware

Use the USDA map to find locations in Delaware.

9. Florida

A child eats a free sandwich at Northside Boys and Girls Club. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Florida’s Summer BreakSpot Program doesn’t require an application — all you have to do is show up during mealtimes. Some sites also offer enrichment activities for children at a low cost, which you can find out about if you call the site ahead of time. Find local sites here.  

10. Georgia

To find local sites in Georgia, call 855-550-SFSP, text “FOODGA” to 877-877, or visit the national site finder.

11. Hawaii

Visit the summer food site map on Hawaii.gov to find the 2016 locations. The 2017 sites aren’t listed yet, but you can call Aloha United Way at 211 to find a local site. The income level limits are a bit higher for Hawaii than for other states.

 

https://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks

 

12. Idaho

Use the national site finder to find locations in Idaho and contact them to apply for the program. You could also call the Idaho Department of Education at 208-332-6821 or email summer@sde.idaho.gov.

13. Illinois

To apply for SFSP in Illinois, contact the state’s nutrition program office at 217-782-2491. Details are available here.

14. Indiana

Find information on the program here.  

15. Iowa

Use the USDA locator in Iowa.

16. Kansas

The Kansas Department of Education site provides information here.

17. Kentucky

To find a summer meal service site in Kentucky, refer to the interactive USDA map.

18. Louisiana

Use the interactive USDA map to locate a food site near you.

19. Maine

For summer meal sites in Maine, refer to the interactive USDA map.

20. Maryland

Use the Maryland summer meals site search map to find a location near you. The map includes hours and days of operation, plus directions to each site.

21. Massachusetts

Benefits.gov says that to apply for SFSP in Massachusetts, contact a school near you. School contact information can be found here.   

22. Michigan

In Michigan, the SFSP is also known as “Meet Up and Eat Up.” Use the USDA map to find a location near you. This calendar lists additional events at food sites, such as ice-cream socials and family cookouts.

23. Minnesota

Minnesota Public Schools, which administers the state’s SFSP program, released a free app, Summer Eats Minnesota, to help kids find meal sites. The state has more than 80 sites, and kids under 18 don’t need to sign up in advance to take advantage of the program. The app even shows daily menus.

24. Mississippi

To apply for the SFSP, contact the Office of Child Nutrition at 601-354-7015. Once you’ve applied, use the USDA map to locate a food site near you.

25. Missouri

The Missouri Department of Health provides a map of summer food sites. Contact your local site to apply for the SFSP.  

26. Montana

To find free summer meals in Montana, use the interactive USDA map, or call the Montana Food Bank Network at 800-809-4752.

27. Nebraska

Check the USDA map to find locations serving summer meals.

28. Nevada

Find out where kids can get up to two meals each day by checking the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

29. New Hampshire

Check the USDA map to find locations serving summer meals.

30. New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture has a list of meal sites at a link in the middle of this page.

31. New Mexico

No registration or application is required for kids to receive meals in New Mexico. Use the New Mexico Summer Food Service Program interactive map to find a site near you.

32. New York

Anyone 18 or younger can get free summer meals, no registration or identification required. Beyond the five boroughs, use the interactive USDA map.

33. North Carolina

Check the USDA map to find locations serving summer meals. Families in central and eastern North Carolina can download a list of sites serving those areas. Parents are advised to call first to make sure the nearest site is operating.

34. North Dakota

The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction maintains a list of sites offering summer meals.

35. Ohio

Check the Ohio Department of Education’s interactive map to find locations and serving times near you. No sign-up is required. The state also offers an app to assist in site location.

36. Oklahoma

Use the Food for Thought Summer Food Program interactive map to find feeding sites across Oklahoma.

37. Oregon

Select your city from the list to view a map of summer food sites in Oregon.

38. Pennsylvania

Check the USDA map to find locations serving summer meals.

39. Rhode Island

Use the USDA map to find summer food sites in Rhode Island.

40. South Carolina

Check the USDA map to find locations serving summer meals.

41. South Dakota

Families in South Dakota can use the USDA Summer Meal Finder link at the top of the page to review a list of summer meal sites, or use the USDA map to find a location.

42. Tennessee

Use the USDA map to find summer food sites in Tennessee.

43. Texas

The Texas Department of Agriculture offers an interactive map to locate summer food sites and contact information.

44. Utah

Use the Utahns Against Hunger website to find summer food sites.

45. Vermont

Check the USDA map to find locations serving summer meals.

46. Virginia

Check the USDA map to find locations serving summer meals.

47. Washington

Use the USDA location finder to determine your nearest site.

48. West Virginia

Information, application requirements and contact information are available at Benefits.gov.

49. Wisconsin

Check Wisconsin’s Open Food Sites Map to find a location near you.

50. Wyoming

Use the USDA map to find locations serving summer meals.

51. Washington, D.C.

Use the USDA map to find summer meal sites in Washington, D.C.

Jacquelyn Pica is a writer and SEO specialist at The Penny Hoarder. Lisa Rowan also contributed to this report.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Christina El Moussa on Ex Tarek Bumping Into New Boyfriend Ant Anstead at Kids’ Soccer Games

Christina El Moussa is balancing time with her new British TV star boyfriend and her ex-husband and current co-star, Tarek — occasionally at the same time.

The HGTV star, who just announced a new solo series, Christina on the Coast, opened up about what happens when the men in her life cross paths. “Ant comes to the kids’ soccer games, and met Ant multiple times and he likes him. He thinks he’s a good guy,” she tells Access Live

Asked how Tarek reacted to her new romance, she said, “I think he had an idea. We’d been dating since about November 2017. So he knew that we were together.”

RELATED: Tarek El Moussa Ponders Becoming a Hot Yoga Instructor as Ex Christina Announces New Solo Show

The friendly exes continue to work together filming their hit show Flip or Flop — season 7, the first they filmed after divorcing, is airing now — and Christina maintains their working relationship has “been really good,” adding “I think it’s really fun incorporating more of our personal lives into it.”

She also breaks down her feelings for her new guy: “I am dating an absolutely amazing person named Ant Anstead. He’s fun, he’s funny, he’s grounded, he’s gorgeous. He’s honestly my best friend.” Anstead, who’s well known in the U.K. as an automotive expert and TV personality from the show For the Love of Cars, is also a friend of Prince Harry.

Anstead had previously shared on social media that he’d been texting with the Duke of Sussex asking for advice on “dating a Yank,” but noted the tips he received would “be kept secret!”  When asked about their friendship, Christina replies, “Yes, maybe,” but declines to share other details.

RELATED: Christina and Tarek El Moussa Embrace the Awkward in First Flip or Flop Episode Since Divorce

The couple first confirmed their relationship with an Instagram post in January, and have since enjoyed a handful of romantic vacations as well as low-key hang time with their kids. Christina shares Taylor, 7, and Brayden, 2, with Tarek and Anstead has two children from a previous marriage.

Christina and Tarek announced their split publicly in December 2016, noting they’d secretly been living apart for months.

 


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Can the kids wait? Today’s youngsters able to delay gratification longer than those of the 1960s

Some 50 years since the original ‘marshmallow test’ in which most preschoolers gobbled up one treat immediately rather than wait several minutes to get two, today’s youngsters may be able to delay gratification significantly longer to get that extra reward.
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This summer, keep your kids happy with these essential safety tips

by

Laura Falin

posted in Life

Summer is almost here! I can’t wait. Our family is so done with schedules and schoolwork, and we’re ready for some hiking and swimming and other outdoor adventures.

But it’s good to be aware of the risks as well. Not so we can sit at home afraid to go out, but so we can be prepared to handle emergencies if we should have to. I fervently hope we do not.

summer safety tips for babies and children

Sun Safety Tips:

-Sunscreen

The FDA, the Mayo Clinic, and most professionals recommend that babies under 6 months do not wear sunscreen, but instead remain out of the sun. This is especially important between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the sun is at its peak. Be sure to keep your baby in a hat with a wide brim, sunglasses, and sun-protective clothing. All children over 6 months old should wear sunscreen of at least SPF 15 when you go outside. Be sure to reapply often — at least every two hours, and every time after they get out of the water. Also, most people don’t apply enough — be sure to use at least as much sunscreen as would fill a shot glass.

You can find more information on sun safety here. 

-Heat

Be sure your babies and young children are also well-protected from heat stroke. Dress them in light, loose-fitting clothing and keep them in the shade as much as possible. Cool the car before taking them anywhere. Breast milk and formula will provide enough hydration for babies, older children should have plenty of water handy while they’re out and about.

We never, ever want to consider the possibility that we might forget a baby in the car, but it does happen. It’s even happened to me (fortunately, only for about 30 seconds, but enough for me to realize that we’re all susceptible). I once heard the suggestion that you take off your shoes and put one (or both) next to your baby’s carseat when you get in the car to drive. This post has some more great suggestions. Also remember to keep cars locked at home to prevent kids from playing inside.

Finally, be sure you don’t make this common mistake — putting a blanket, even a very thin one, over a baby’s stroller to shield him from the sun can cause the inside temperature to rise and your baby to overheat.

You can find information on heat stroke in babies here. 

Water safety

-When to take babies in the water

In this BabyCenter article, Dr. Howard Reinstein, a pediatrician and American Academy of Pediatrics spokesman, recommends parents not take babies younger than 2 months in pools, lakes, or other swimming places. Newborns are vulnerable to illness and it’s safer to wait until they’re older. When you do take babies swimming, remember that they’re not as able to regulate their body temperature — watch your baby for signs they’re cold and dry them off when necessary. Also, be sure babies and young children do not drink the water in pools, streams, or wherever you’re swimming.

-Help prevent drownings

An estimated 370 drownings and 5,600 near drownings involving children under 15 occur in pools and spas each year, and 77 percent of those are children under the age of 5. The Life Saver Pool Fence’s Guide to Pool Safety recommends multiple layers of protection for pools — access doors that lock, pool alarms, a pool fence, water survival training for children who are old enough to crawl or walk, and CPR and rescue training for parents who own pools. Parents can buy wearable immersion alarms for their kids to wear, which go off if the child falls into the water.

Also, be sure children can’t climb over any fences using chairs or tables, and be sure doggy doors that would allow access are also blocked. Practice “touch supervision” as well — parents should be within arm’s length of a toddler at all times they’re near water.

We always had our babies and toddlers wear a PFD (personal flotation device) fitted for their size — babies are wiggly and I wanted that extra layer of protection. And even now that our kids are older and my husband and I are good swimmers, everyone wears PFDs when we’re kayaking, paddleboarding, or doing other boating activities. Our other personal rule is that no one swims alone with a baby. If something were to happen to a parent (we hit our head, got a cramp, whatever) I wanted an extra person there to help out.

Check here for more information on water safety. 

Tick and Mosquito Bites:

The best way to prevent tick and mosquito bites (and the diseases they carry, such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus) is to make sure the environment around your house isn’t one they like. Keep ticks out by keeping your lawn well-cared for and manicured. Create a tick barrier — a wide strip of wood chips or bark — that separates your lawn from taller grass or brush. Keep deer out of your tick-free zone by putting up a deer fence. Also, ticks get Lyme disease from mice, so eliminate any wood piles or other nooks and crannies where mice like to live. Keep mosquitoes out by eliminating any standing water around your property, including places like flower pots or birdbaths. Make sure you have screens on your windows to keep mosquitoes out of the house.

You can also avoid bites by wearing long sleeves and long pants (I know…exactly what everyone wants to hear in the summer!). Children and adults should use bug spray, but talk to your pediatrician about what kinds of bug spray are for babies and kids, and how old they should be before wearing bug spray.

Inspect kids for ticks when they come inside and remove them immediately with tweezers. And call your pediatrician immediately if your child develops any out-of-the-ordinary reactions, such as a rash, fever, or flu-like symptoms.

Johns Hopkins has more information on ticks here, and the CDC has information on ticks and mosquitoes here.

This post was originally published in May, 2017.

Do you have any summer safety tips?

Photos by Laura Falin and iStock

For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on facebook and Pinterest.

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How we can reunite migrant kids with parents

They’ve been arriving in New York City in the dead of night. Quietly placed in temporary foster care, hundreds so far, they’re among the thousands of children that the US government has separated from their parents. No one can say when — or if — they’ll ever see their parents again. President Trump’s executive order…
Opinion | New York Post

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World-schooling: people who travel around the world with their kids

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How often did you sit in school wishing you were somewhere more exciting? Going to the same building and spending most of your day learning can be a real drag, especially when you’d rather be out doing something a lot more fun. No matter what people do to try and make school more exciting, it still ends up being pretty boring. Well, if you’ve wished for a way to change things up and give your own kids a more stimulating education, then we’ve found the thing for you – world-schooling.

What is world-schooling?

World-schooling is pretty much exactly what it says it is. You travel the globe with your children and educate them about everything there is to see in the world. It’s a bit like home-schooling, only much more exciting (and expensive). It’s about more than taking your kids on vacation for a few weeks and introducing them to a new culture. Most world-school children are out of mainstream education for a year or two, if not forever. You’re essentially responsible for teaching them everything you think they need to know, which can put a lot of pressure on your shoulders. When done well, though, it has plenty of benefits.

Good geography skills

It’s amazing how bad some people’s geography skills are. Even those who have received a full school education can’t point to many different countries on a map. At best, they might be in the know about American geography, but that’s about it. How better to improve your geographical knowledge than to see where everywhere is for yourself?

Pick up the language

It’s more important than ever for children to learn foreign languages. The world is becoming increasingly connected, and being multilingual can be hugely beneficial for the younger generation. If you spend a good amount of time schooling in one part of the world, it’s likely that your child will start to pick up on the language, especially if you help teach them. Learning from experience is much easier than sitting in a classroom having the words drilled into you.

One big history lesson

Everywhere you go, you’re surrounded by history. Towns and cities all around the world are filled with museums and galleries that showcase the local history. However, you don’t even need to go to these places to learn everything. Each country has its own unique culture that’s been shaped by history, and immersing your child in that will open their mind to the way that different people live. Traveling is one big history lesson.

Artistic expression

Being surrounded by all these different cultures can also be hugely beneficial for your child’s creativity. When they’re in an art class at school, they might not know how to create anything outside of the norm. However, when children are world-schooled, they see for themselves how people have produced artwork using their own unique styles. If creativity runs in your family, then this is the best way to inspire them to follow their artistic dream.

Learning acceptance

One of the most important lessons that a child can learn from being world-schooled is accepting others. Depending on where they’re raised, a kid might grow up not being surrounded by other ethnicities and religions, which can be harmful to them in later life. Exploring the world will show them first hand how other people dress and what they believe in. Doing this while they’re young will show them there’s nothing wrong with being different, and that they should appreciate everyone for who they are.

World-schooling isn’t for everyone. After all, traveling around the world doesn’t come cheap, and a lot of people can’t afford it. Even if you can manage a year, or just a few months, though, it can do your children a world of good.

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Join Us: Outrage and Activism – A Panel Fundraiser to Support Kids in Need of Defense

Join Above the Law, Fashionista & Dealbreaker in partnership with Caveat for an evening charity event benefiting KIND for the current immigration crisis. Mark your calendars for June 26th, 6:30PM – 9:00PM at Caveat, 21A Clinton Street.   REGISTER HERE.

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The President treasures his political base to the point that a climbdown over traumatized kids is unthinkable

It will take more than the cries of babies to make President Donald Trump back down on immigration, an issue that has animated his most ardent political supporters since he first stepped into politics.


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Elizabeth Vargas Opens Up About Being A Single Mom: ‘My Kids Are My First Priority’ | PeopleTV

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

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What Trump Could Learn From Freud’s Daughter About Parentless Kids

Seventy-five years ago in the midst of World War II, Anna Freud, the daughter of Sigmund Freud, and her close friend, Dorothy Burlingham, published their classic study, War and Children, documenting the impact that separating children from their parents had during a time when England was under attack from Nazi Germany.

Freud and Burlingham knew their subject firsthand. They had been directing the Hampstead War Nurseries, which provided children, many of whom had lost their homes to German bombs, with residential care and comparative safety.

Today, thanks to the Trump administration’s policy of criminally prosecuting asylum-seeking adult immigrants who do not cross into the United States legally and separating them from their children, Freud and Burlingham’s study of children in crisis has become relevant in ways its authors never could have imagined in 1943.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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5 Summer Movie Deals for Bored Kids and Parents Longing for Labor Day


It’s that time of year again: The kids are out of school, and parents are trying to figure out how to get them out of the house, because apparently summer camp costs $ 11,000.

Well, frugal parents who are sick of hearing “I’m bored” 19,009 times a day can rejoice!

Movie theaters around the country are offering free and discounted kids movies all summer long.

5 Theaters With Sweet Summer Movie Ticket Deals

Here are five theater chains offering movie ticket deals this summer. Remember, individual theater schedules vary, so check the website of the location nearest you for the latest details.

$ 1 Movies at Regal Cinemas’ Summer Movie Express

You can see a different movie every Tuesday and Wednesday through Aug. 15 at participating Regal Cinemas on the Summer Movie Express. All movies are $ 1 and typically start at 10 a.m. Check the Regal website for details.

10 Films for $ 5 at the Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse

Through Aug. 23, you can see a different PG-rated movie each week for $ 1 per movie or pay $ 5 to see all 10. Showtimes are at 10 a.m., and days vary by location at participating Cinemark Theatres.

And make sure to print the schedule for your location to get a $ 2-off coupon for any large popcorn or fountain drink.

Free Summer Movies at Bow Tie Cinemas

Bow Tie Cinemas is showing free movies during its Summer Kids Series. Get in on the fun at participating locations every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 a.m. from June 19 to Aug. 15.

$ 4 Movies and a KidsPack at AMC Theaters’ Summer Movie Camp

AMC knows kids can only sit so long without fiddling, so it’s offering a combo. Every Wednesday — excluding July 4 — at 10 a.m. through Aug. 1, your $ 4 ticket gets you a movie and a KidsPack, which includes a popcorn, drink and FrootiTooti fruit snacks.

The Summer Movie Camp is only at participating AMCs, so check the website before loading up the kids. And for big kids, don’t forget you can always snag $ 5 movies on Tuesdays with an AMC Stubs membership.

10 Films for $ 7 at Harkins Summer Movie Fun

For $ 7, you can buy a season pass to Harkins Theatres’ Summer Movie Fun series. Through Aug. 3, you can see a different movie every week at 9:45 a.m. Monday through Friday. If you don’t want to spring for the pass, single movie tickets are $ 2 each.

And sorry adults, there’s no admittance unless you bring a child with you. But Harkins also has a Summer Series for guests 14 and older at 10:15 a.m. every week. It’s limited to select locations and by request only, so call 480-627-7777 for more information.  

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She gives money-saving and debt payoff tips on Instagram at @savingwithspunk.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Doctors saw immigrant kids separated from their parents. Now they’re trying to stop it.

The toddler pounded her fists on the play mat, sobbing, with no parent to comfort her.


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What’s the best time of day to photograph your kids?

by

Jennifer Borget

posted in Life

It’s getting late in the afternoon, their bellies are full from dinner, the sun is setting, the weather is cooling down. It feels like the perfect time to head outside.

“Let’s go for a walk,” I called after a long day inside homeschooling and reading lots and lots of books. We can travel far and wide through text in a book, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still need to get outside.

 

When it comes to playing, they’re happy to do it together no matter what it is. Sometimes that means my son’s dinosaur is “eating” the doll my daughter is twirling around. Their favorite kind of play however goes beyond dollhouse walls, even beyond the walls of our home.

“Have you ever played Freeze Tag?” I asked as we reached the park.

“No, what’s that?” My daughter asked. My 11-year-old sister was there to help break it down.

“It’s like regular tag but when the person who is it tags you, you have to freeze in place,” she explained. The evening was full of belly laughs and side aches.

Then I watched as my kids pretended a rock wall was a castle wall to waiting to be climbed. They jumped off to escape the dragons, then flew back up again.

My favorite photos to capture are at this time of day, when the sun is setting, the shadows are long and the light is golden. It’s hard to beat the warmth and joy these photos bring. But the best time to photograph our kids? Right now.

Whether your child is a baby learning to lift his head up, or a toddler learning to walk, a preschooler playing pretend, or a big kid trying something new. Now is always the best time to capture a moment with your child. So, quick, go snap a pic. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

This post was originally published March, 2017.

Jennifer Borget is a domestically-challenged part-time journalist, and a full-time mom. She’s a photographer and storyteller challenging families to cherish and make the most of every day on at Cherish365.com To catch more of her motherhood journey, follow @JenniferBorget on Instagram and join her #Cherish365 community on Facebook.

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On ‘Kids See Ghosts,’ Kanye West and Kid Cudi Bare Their Scars to the World

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

It was announced in April that a string of Kanye West-affiliated projects would be hitting the public this summer, and so far, fans have gotten the triumph of Pusha T’s DAYTONA alongside the relative banality of West’s own Ye.

Nas and Teyena Taylor projects are forthcoming, but fans have hotly anticipated the joint project from Kids See Ghosts, aka West and Kid Cudi. After some delay, an album listening party was livestreamed just prior to the album’s June 8 release date (Kanye’s 41st birthday), and the disappointing and infuriating West shenanigans that overshadowed these releases’ announcements seem to have suddenly taken a backseat to the actual music.

That doesn’t make Kanye any less insufferable, and its made for a confounding shift in tone surrounding the ongoing West conversation. But teamed with Cudi, West and his longtime collaborator get to lean on each other, and the result is a more full-bodied success than either has had in a long time. West’s new album Ye didn’t paint a very sympathetic picture of his current state of mind. But with Kids See Ghosts, Kanye opts for the cathartic as opposed to the curmudgeonly—and there’s no doubt that his fans have Kid Cudi to thank for that

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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How to put sunscreen on kids who can run away

by

Laura Falin

posted in Life

Getting outside with my kids — hiking, biking, cooling off at the lake, is my favorite thing. All the noisy chaos that happens in the house seems not quite as loud when we’re all outside. Also, no one is messing with my stuff.

But I dread putting sunscreen on them. I have to confess, I get a little relieved when we go swimming at an indoor pool because I don’t have to mess with it. A few BabyCenter bloggers were talking about sunscreen application woes when one said her fantasy would be a sunscreen mist in the doorway that her daughter passed through every morning. Like a carwash but with sunscreen. This is a genius idea and I will pay her a thousand dollars if she makes me one.

In the meantime, we make due. My husband swears by the spray-on stuff, which does work. I just worry about hitting every single spot, and spray sunscreen seems to only last for one afternoon with our group of six. Not exactly the best bang for my buck.

My method for years involved trapping squirmy toddlers between my knees and holding them firmly in place while I squirt sunscreen into one hand and slap it on every exposed area I possibly can. Usually someone got it in their eyes and cried (which is good, actually, because it flushes out all the sunscreen I just accidentally got in there).

Then several years ago, manufacturers started making sunscreen sticks, which saved my life, and perhaps my kids’ eyesight. I love those things. Here are a few more suggestions to make applying sunscreen to kids a little more pleasant.

How to apply sunscreen to squirming children

1.) Put them in charge…sort of. Kids always do better when they have some control. Give them the sunscreen stick and let them “color” their faces. Let them apply their own lotion to their arms and legs. Keep an eye on them and make sure you get any spots they missed, but let them be the ones to start everything off.

2.) Use different applicators. This is a brilliant idea from EWG — they suggest giving kids make-up sponges or brushes to apply their sunscreen. All four of my kids loved playing with my make-up so I think this would be a huge hit.

3.) Bribe them. I know, everyone has very strong opinions on whether to bribe kids…but if promising ice cream afterward, or extra screen time at home can get them to sunscreen up and help prevent skin cancer? It might be worth a try. You can also let kids play on their iPad or tablet while you’re applying sunscreen to keep them occupied.

4.) Make it a house rule. No one at our house gets out of the car to go on an adventure without sunscreen. I suppose this is the opposite of bribing — punishing kids by making them stay at the car until everyone’s properly protected. But we started out doing this when the kids were babies, and we still abide by it, so it doesn’t occur to anyone to object (for this to work, you’d better be putting your sunscreen on, too!).

5.) Use other sun protection clothing. We started using swim shirts a few summers ago, so we now have less area to apply sunscreen. Also, we use SPF-protective hats, so if the kids or I do miss a spot, hopefully they’re still covered.

I hope that even though my kids wiggle and act like they’re being tortured by this tiny bit of lotion, I’m not only protecting them but I’m also teaching them healthy habits that they’ll continue for the rest of their lives.

For a list of good sunscreens for kids, I really like the suggestions on EWG as well. They’ve got everything categorized to help you pick the best one for your family.

And for more BabyCenter summer safety tips, be sure to check out this post. Happy adventuring!

Do you have any tips for getting sunscreen on kids?

Images by Laura Falin and iStock. 

For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on Facebook and Pinterest.

This post was originally published in June, 2017.

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Preschool program preps kids for academic success through elementary school

A program that helps low-income parents prepare their children for school has benefits that extend beyond kindergarten and into into third grade, including performing better academically, acquiring better social emotional skills and needing fewer additional school services.
Literacy News — ScienceDaily

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The secret to honing kids’ language and literacy

Researchers found that a child’s ability to self-regulate is a critical element in childhood language and literacy development, and that the earlier they can hone these skills, the faster language and literacy skills develop leading to better skills in the long run.
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Reality Check: The Cromarties Talk About Life With Blended Family Of 14 Kids

Just having one or two kids is fun, but having 3, 4, 5 and 6 is fun too!,” says Terricka Cromartie about the blended family life she shares with husband Antonio Cromartie.

The power-couple star on USA’s The Cromarties, which centers on their marital life, their five kids (Antonio has 14 kids in total), and Antonio’s transition into full-time dad after 11 years in the NFL.

During the first half of the season, Terricka loved having Antonio home to help raise their kids, but his OCD, intense competitiveness, and method of parenting the same way he would coach a football team sometimes proved to be too much.

In the back half of the season, which kicked off May 8, the Cromarties are back and offering viewers a glimpse into Antonio’s life after the NFL, which he describes as, “Being at home with the wife full-time and enjoying family life.”

Check out our Q&A with The Cromarties below.

Tell us how you manage the everyday challenges of being a mom while starring on a reality tv show?

Terricka: It’s kinda been a blessed experience for us. Our day-to-day continues normally as it did prior to the show. We struggle with time management with the kids and filming and making sure they have a normal lifestyle, ‘cause they still go to school full-time and participate in their activities while filming. So we try to keep the balance so they can experience the joys of being on this show while at the same time still being a kid. So that’s the biggest struggle but our team here has made it great because they understand the importance it is for us that our kids maintain a normal lifestyle.

Speaking of that, there’s so much talk about income inequality these days. Do you ever worry about how your family will come off to others who also have more than a couple of kids but whose lifestyles are not as privileged as yours?

Antonio: We (aren’t) really concerned about it because we grew up in the same way. I grew up in a single-parent home. Terricka grew up in a single parent home, so we understand that aspect of life. I don’t think we live a lavish life. We just live within our means of what we want and we can provide for our kids. Can we live a lavish lifestyle? That would be something that’s different but we chose not to. Our biggest thing is just to make sure that we give our kids something that we didn’t have. The important thing is a family with both parents in the household. Our biggest thing is to give our kids what we didn’t have growing up.

Terricka: We raise our children to be respectful and to be good students in school and we reward them for those things. We keep it balanced. We don’t buy just for the sake of buying. There are moments where we do spoil our kids when it’s deserving.

Have there been moments when you’ve asked producers that a segment be cut because it was too embarrassing?

Terricka: No, we haven’t experienced that. We have a really good team They work really well with the kids and they take time for us and the kids. We thank God that we haven’t had to experience anything that was too embarrassing. We do have a lot of fun and we laugh a lot on set. It’s just been a really enjoyable experience. They make it really easy for us.

Talk about the evolution of Antonio from NBA player to full-time father of 14 on a reality show?

Antonio: The transition from playing in the NFL for 11 years to now coming home is not having to get up. My body is always up at a certain time, so I could wake up at 6 o’clock in the morning and start cleaning the house because I don’t really have nothing else to do.

It’s my body getting used to the transition for 11 years — just finding a niche and something else to do. My biggest thing is just always trying to do something I love, from coaching to broadcasting. That’s something I’m leaning towards too but the family time is most important. I’m able to go on field trips and be a chaperone or pick my kids up on the first day of school. Those are some of the things I missed while playing for 11 years and now that I have that, it’s something that’s priceless to me.

What are three of your favorite or core parenting values that you live by?

Terricka: I don’t know that there’s any one thing but I think the biggest thing that I always tell anybody who asks me is to just really be patient with your kids and understand that a lot of things are age sensitive. You’re going to have days where your kids are gonna run you crazy but just enjoy those moments because pretty soon they’re not going to be that age anymore and you’re going to miss it. My biggest thing is just to enjoy it, whether it’s a crazy day or a good day, just enjoy it for what it is and sit back and learn how to laugh at the little things.

When you watch the show, does it reveal your strengths and weakness as a parent and how your parenting styles differ?

Antonio: The show has revealed that I’m too strict. I need to be laid back a little more and be able to talk to the kids and not always give them a “No.” I think the strength part of it is me having patience with the kids and try to understand them more. But I think my biggest weakness is not letting them be kids but treating them more so as adults, and that’s something that needs change within me. That’s what the show has revealed.

Terricka: My strengths that I didn’t even realize I had maybe came through other people’s comments in regards to me as a parent. Just how I teach my kids and how I allow them to develop. I encourage my kids to go over and above what somebody else would expect of a one-year-old. My expectations of them are a lot larger than what most people would expect. So I realize that I have the strength in that, as far as communicating with my kids and their daily development. I think my weakness is I’m very worrisome about my kids. I don’t know if that’s expressed on the show. I know I’ve experienced it with working on the set. I’m the worrisome mom. I’m always worried about the safety of my kids.

And parents want to know if you share some of the fears that they have for their children

Antonio: Everything going on in society is surrounded on racial and social injustice, so us being on the show, that’s part of the fear that comes into it because of what’s going on in Black America right now, and the injustices that’sgoing on throughout America. And it’s also just parenting, having the fear of not doing something the right away for your kids, or not teaching them certain things or how to do things. You don’t want to fail as a parent by not explaining to them or teaching them something as they go through life.

How do you work in romance, sexy time and reconnecting as a couple?

Terricka: We just sneak away… occasionally. We definitely plan date night and make time for us. Sometimes we do it during the day while the kids are at school.

What do you find most rewarding about starring on a reality TV series with your family?

Terricka: Just to be able to share our story. A lot of people had speculations about us and our household and how large it was and us having kids outside (the marriage) but they never really understood us as a whole.

I think people get a true glimpse inside our household and they can see that we’re extremely relatable. We’re not the parents that know everything but we’re young and we’re making good decisions with our kids and we have a blended family. We don’t really showcase blended families but other families who are blended, know that you can have a blended family, you can be different and it can work and you guys can be very successful with it. I’m glad we’ve been able to showcase that.

Tune in to “The Cromarties” Tuesdays at 10:30/9:30c on USA.

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It’s summer, what do you feed your kids for lunch?

by

Sabrina Garibian

posted in Life

Summer break is just a couple of weeks away and man am I burned out from making school lunches. I’m a good cook and have no problem saying that. I also have my act together most of the time and I have no problem saying that either. But, well, this is what my daughter’s school lunch looked like today:

bad school lunch

It’s a yogurt tube, two cheese sticks because apparently I can’t count, a whole apple and a whole cucumber. I didn’t even cut the cuke, never mind peel it. I just keep telling myself that at least it isn’t the donut and croissant I dropped off at my 3-year-old’s preschool when I accidentally left her lunch box at home. Because I did that this week too.

bad school lunch

So here I am, burned out on lunches when I’m about to have four children home with me all summer. And I have to feed these children multiple times a day!

I don’t want to overcomplicate things but I also want my children to eat a well-balanced diet. I have a hard time finding the middle of the road on this topic, but I’m going to try my best this summer to offer a healthy lunch at least four days a week.

I know we are all in the same boat, so I thought I’d share the list I came up with for summer lunches.

Here it is:

  1. turkey and cheese sandwich, apple, chips
  2. snack plate of almonds, grapes, cheddar cheese cubes, pretzels
  3. red lunch of watermelon, red pepper slices, tomatoes and pepperoni
  4. rainbow lunch of grape tomatoes, clementine, slice of cheese, walnuts, cucumber, blueberries and purple grapes
  5. graham crackers and apple slices with peanut butter for dipping
  6. fruit smoothie made out of milk, banana, frozen strawberries and a handful of baby spinach
  7. egg salad on a bagel, pickle, chips
  8. protein box with boiled eggs, almonds, string cheese, and sliced pepper
  9. yogurt with toppings like chocolate chips, raisins, walnuts, slivered almonds and strawberries

I will start off the summer like that, but by the end I bet lunch will be pizza, an ice cream bar and a cucumber for good measure. At least everyone will eat it?

Help! What will you make for summer lunches?

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He Raised His Credit Score 277 Points — Now He Teaches Kids How It’s Done


James Cooper is all about changing kids’ lives. So he talks the talk, and he walks the walk.

Every year, Cooper gets invited to dozens of high schools to speak to thousands of students about bullying, violence, teen pregnancy and gangs through the nonprofit he founded called Fedup-4U.

He relates to the students; he doesn’t talk down to them. His school assemblies reach out to students with a passionate mix of music, dance and motivational speaking.

Now he’s adding another subject to the group’s repertoire: The importance of good credit.

Cooper feels strongly about this topic because of his own experience with having bad credit and climbing his way out of it — raising his score nearly 300 points, in fact. It was a long climb for him, and he got ripped off by three different so-called credit-repair companies along the way.

He’s lived it, and he wants to prevent today’s 18-year-olds from going through the same thing.

His message: Know how credit works, and don’t run away from your financial problems.

“Because when you try to buy a house 10 years later, that’s gonna kick you in the butt,” says Cooper, 50, of Atlanta.

‘We Got Burned’

James Cooper speaks to students about the importance of credit awareness at a high school in Macon, Georgia on April 20, 2018.
Cooper speaks to students about the importance of credit awareness at a high school in Macon, Georgia, on April 20, 2018. Matt Odom for The Penny Hoarder

Cooper knows all about having bad credit. As recently as 2017, his credit score was a lousy 524.

“I never had a credit card,” he says. “I had $ 6,000 worth of unpaid bills.”

He vowed to sort out his financial situation and fix his credit. He and a Fedup-4U partner did it together.

They learned the hard way not to deal with fly-by-night credit repair services.

“We got burned by a lot of companies,” Cooper says. “They took our money and disappeared with it. We both got burned for about $ 4,500 altogether.”

Although there are legitimate credit repair services, there are also shady ones that demand money upfront and promise way more than they can deliver. Then they’ll milk you for money until you wise up.

Cooper and his friend went through this ordeal with three companies.

Then they found Credit Sesame, a free credit monitoring service that helped them learn how to fix their credit for free.

‘They Showed Me the Ins and Outs’

A sign with a credit score on a desk
Cooper used Credit Sesame and raised his credit score 277 points. Matt Odom for The Penny Hoarder

In Credit Sesame, Cooper and his partner finally found a legitimate option for really improving their credit.

For one thing, you can use it 100% for free.

The app started by sending Cooper a free credit report card — including his TransUnion credit score — and provided him with personal recommendations.

It showed him a quick view of his total debt, plus all the factors contributing to his low score: credit usage, credit age, inquiries, account mix and payment history.

Cooper’s favorite part about Credit Sesame is its personalization. It suggested concrete steps, based on his situation, to better manage his credit score.

“They showed me the ins and outs — how to dot the I’s and cross the T’s,” Cooper says. “I applied for my first credit card ever.”

So long, 524 credit score.

Credit Sesame recommended he:

  1. Get a credit card.
  2. Ask for a credit increase on that card.
  3. Keep his monthly balance on the card below 5% of his credit limit. That affected his credit utilization, which is the percentage of your available credit you’re using.

That raised his score.

“The highest I went was an 801,” he says. He raised his score by 277 points over the six months from June to November 2017.

“Then I purposely took my score back down,” he says, to see how quickly it could drop. He’s been watching his score go up and down ever since. “We’re experimenting with my credit score as I speak,” he say, to learn more about credit scores so they can teach students about them.

He lowered his credit score by raising his monthly balance on his credit cards. Again, that affected his credit utilization.

‘You’re Missing One of the Most Important Pieces’

James Cooper poses in a high school auditorium
Cooper uses what he’s learned through Credit Sesame as a blueprint for his lessons, because that’s what worked for him.
Matt Odom for The Penny Hoarder

Cooper founded Fedup-4U in New Jersey in 2009 and expanded it to Atlanta when he moved there in 2012. He does a lot of the group’s motivational speaking.

The organization says it hosts about 75 school assemblies and reaches more than 65,000 youths and young adults each year throughout the Southeast and the Northeast.

Now they’re putting together a school-approved curriculum on credit, to be launched in August 2018. The idea is to introduce it as part of the financial literacy programs that many high schools already teach.

“How can we talk about banking and checking without talking about credit?” Cooper asks. “I’m speaking to these kids, finding out what they know and what they don’t know.”

As he travels throughout the Southeast speaking in schools, Cooper has been floored by what he’s found.

“Too many of these kids are living on their own18 years old, seniors in high school, living in their own apartment and working a part-time job for tips,” he said. “But they don’t know anything about credit.

“I’m saying to them, ‘You’re already living in adulthood, but you’re missing one of the most important pieces.’”

Getting the Message out

Cooper and others at Fedup-4U are learning all they can about credit because the organization is preparing to take its new message into schools in Georgia, Alabama, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

“We want to touch the Z Generation,” Cooper says “We’re not in the business of fixing credit. We want to get to you before you have to fix your credit.”

The new program will be called CREDUP, short for “Career Ready Education Development on a student’s way UP.” Cooper says teaching kids about credit is especially important now that Americans owe a collective $ 1 trillion in credit card debt. Yikes!

Cooper values the lessons about credit he’s learning by monitoring his credit score.

“We’re taking so much of the blueprint from Credit Sesame,” he says.

If your credit isn’t as good as you’d like, check out Credit Sesame for yourself to see what you could do differently.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. His credit could be better, and he’s working on it.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Here’s How to Get a Kids’ Book From Barnes & Noble — Totally Free


No matter how intent your kids are on staying outdoors this summer, there are going to be rainy days.

And now that I’m thinking about it, in today’s screen-mediated world, maybe it’s a challenge to get your kids to go outside in the first place.

Either way, there will be summer days when kids populate your couch. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a book in their hands instead of your phone?

Better yet: Wouldn’t it be great if you got that book for free?

Free Summer Reading for Kids at Barnes & Noble

The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program is back for the 22nd year in a row. That means children in grades one through six will once again have the chance to earn free books.

All your kids have to do is read any eight books this summer and record them in this Summer Reading Journal.

Then, help them bring it to your local Barnes & Noble, where they’ll choose from a selection of free books, divided by grade level.

This is not a ploy to get subpar books off the shelves — these are titles you and your kids actually want in your collection. I mean, Judy Moody!

The program runs from May 15 to Sept. 3. Be sure to check with your neighborhood location to make sure it’s participating.

Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) is a writer whose work has been featured in “DMQ Review,” “Sweet: A Literary Confection” and elsewhere. Editorial assistant Jessica Gray updated this post.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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1 mom, 4 kids: How to survive a 7-hour car ride

by

Sabrina Garibian

posted in Products

Want to know my number one tip on how to survive a 7 hour car ride with four small kids? Do it alone.

I mean it! Does that make me sound like a mean wife? I know it sounds absolutely crazy but my husband and I are happiest on trips to visit my family when I drive our four kids myself and he meets us by train a day or two later. I spend the whole car ride focused on the kids, listening to pop music, kids’ music, or a Disney DVD. The kids are happy and don’t whine because the music entertains them and I’m paying attention to them.

I load up the passenger seat with their activities so I can pass them back as needed. I stop for a full hour halfway way there for everyone to eat a good meal, use the restroom, and stretch their legs. My husband is happy because he can work a few extra hours on the train and shows up at our destination ready to relax.

If we all drive together it never seems to go well. My hubby is so focused on “making good time” that he doesn’t want to stop for an extended break and is constantly looking at the map to decide which route to take for the quickest way to our destination. We ignore the kids as we get wrapped up in front seat conversation, and we always listen to CNN. We don’t mean it, but the ride stinks for our kids when we ride together and everyone ends up whining or feeling cranky.

I love my husband so much but long car rides with the kids are for me to take alone!

Anyway, now that I’ve let you in on the details of my life, let me share some tips for surviving a long car ride with small children. I do it often enough that I feel like I’ve become an expert. Keep in mind that as a rule we do not allow food in our car so you won’t find snacks in our car. Yes, even for a 7 hour car ride.

How to survive a 7-hour car ride with small children:

7 hour car ride

  1. Think of the car ride as part of your trip and not just as a way to get where you’re going. We blast the music, play I Spy, and practice learning the lyrics to our favorite pop tunes.
  2. Save the electronics for the last fourth of your trip. Our general rule is no electronics until we’ve been in the car at least four hours. After the four hour mark all bets are off and I’ll play a movie on the DVD player or let my children use their tablets. If we let them use the tablets from the start, the car ride feels like it lasts forever.
  3. Stop at a restaurant or market instead of a rest stop. I treat our car ride break like we’re going out for a real meal. We time it around lunch or dinner and usually stop at a Shake Shack five minutes off the highway. We eat a really good meal, everyone stretches their legs and uses the bathroom, and we’re ready to continue our ride. It takes us an hour, but it allows us to get back in the car feeling refreshed.
  4. Bring activities for your kids to do. I pack pencils and notebooks so the kids can draw or write. My son usually brings a little Lego man, and my daughters bring dolls and a book to play with on the car ride. Bonus: the books can double as bedtime books on your trip.
  5. Don’t forget a wet bag! Wet bags are so useful, but on a car trip they become a necessity if someone spills a drink or gets sick in the car. I keep one in the glove compartment in case we need to store wet clothes or blankets until we can wash them at our destination.
  6. Let your children pack their own backpacks. I used to pack each child a blanket, stuffed animal, toy, and book for our long car rides. Now I let them pack their own! I noticed when they packed their own they tended to play and use those items more. It’s risky business with little ones, but try it! On our last trip my 2-year-old packed 4 pairs of socks, a book about socks, and a Curious George stuffed animal. Would you believe she spent the whole car ride putting socks on the stuffed animal and taking them off?
  7. Chill out. Staying relaxed and taking each moment for what it is truly helps on a long car ride. I have so many crazy stories about our car rides, from the time my son threw up for two straight hours but I was stuck on the GW bridge and couldn’t pull over, to the time one of my girls had to use the bathroom and couldn’t wait for a rest stop so we pulled over on the highway (don’t judge me!), to the time we left in shorts and drove through a surprise April snowstorm that doubled our travel time. If you stay relaxed, your children will too!

Traveling with kids isn’t always easy, but by keeping a positive attitude and being prepared, you will all have a blast. Happy travels!

What’s your best tip for traveling with children?

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My 5 goals for an amazing summer with my kids

by

Charlie Brooks

posted in Parenting

I usually feel like I don’t spend enough time with my family, and that feeling gets worse in the summer. I definitely don’t want to be the dad who works through every vacation. But, alas, I’m a bit of a workaholic. I not only have my normal full-time career, but also two part-time jobs.

So I’ve made a few summer resolutions I’m hoping might help make sure the season goes down as an enjoyable one instead of one that I wasted working, again.

Stop being such a jerk. True, I should avoid being a jerk anyway. But I really like teasing my kids. What works well as a bit of joking around at the bus stop, though, gets old on long summer days. Might as well save all my A material for when school starts up again.

Take time to educate. Determined to avoid an academic summer slide with our son, my wife had the great idea to ramp up the amount of reading we did last summer. It worked very well. Reading and learning games are a great way to increase the overall quality of family time.

Budget family time. I’m really good at budgeting my work time. I can extend that to my family time without overextending myself. Basically, this means setting aside a block of time each day where family is my job. No fiddling around on my phone, no napping on the couch – it’s time to play.

Take advantage of later bedtimes. When school’s not in session, I’m usually out of the house before the kids get out of bed. It’s possible to offset that loss of morning time by loosening up bedtimes a bit. If the day gets half an hour longer because I’m having more fun with the kids, that’s time well spent.

Summer Time

Remember the adults, too. I want to try to boost the quality of time with the kids, but there are also adults in the house I want to spend time with. Extra time with the kids becomes less meaningful if I ignore my wife every night. Moreover, I also need to preserve my own sanity. Some nights, I might just have to accept that I missed out on a fun summer day so I can be a good husband and a sane human being.

That last bit becomes extra important because my wife is going through surgery at the beginning of the summer and will thus be unable to move for a good chunk of the vacation. So somehow I have to find time to fit lots of fun into this summer while also being a good caretaker.

All of this rambling might make it seem like I’m turning a fun summer vacation into a pile of stress, but that’s how I seem to function. I’m a workaholic, and I even take my fun seriously. Hopefully I won’t take it too seriously and my whole family can have a great summer.

How do you get the most out of your summertimes?

Images: Can Atacan, Marina Shemesh

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Getting kids moving improves performance — and behavior — in school

A few years ago, when my girls were in the second and third grades, they raved about the dance breaks they would occasionally have during the school day.


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Michelle Obama, Celebrities To Honor Kids Heading To College

Michelle Obama

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Michelle Obama will be joined by a lineup of celebrities when she honors Philadelphia students for their pursuit of a college education or career in the military at College Signing Day.

Wednesday’s event in Philadelphia is the fifth College Signing Day she’s hosted.

A long list of celebrities is set to join the former first lady at Temple University, including actors Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and singers Camila Cabello, Ciara and Janelle Monae.

Obama has hosted College Signing Day events in New York in 2016 and 2017, in Detroit in 2015, and in San Antonio, Texas, in 2014.

The event celebrates high school seniors choosing to pursue higher education, either at a professional training program, a community college, a four-year college or university, or the military.

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More Kids Have Autism, Better Diagnosis May Be The Reason

NEW YORK (AP) — The government estimates that autism is becoming more common, but it’s only a small increase and some experts think it can be largely explained by better diagnosing of minority children.

About 1 in 59 U.S. children were identified as having autism in 2014, according to a Thursday report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that focused on 8-year-old children. That’s up from 1 in 68 children in both 2010 and 2012.

White children are diagnosed with autism more often than black or Hispanic children, but the gap has closed dramatically. Autism used to be 20 percent higher in white kids than black children, and that difference shrank to 10 percent. The gap between white and Hispanic kids shrank from 50 percent to 20 percent.

That increased recognition in minority kids is likely a big reason for the overall increase, CDC researchers said.

The causes of autism aren’t well understood, and it’s not clear if other factors might also be at play — like, for example, more couples having babies later in life, said Thomas Frazier, chief science officer for the advocacy organization Autism Speaks.

“There’s still a ton of work to do to better understand why this is happening,” Frazier said of the increase.

There are no blood or biological tests for autism. It’s identified by making judgments about a child’s behavior. Traditionally, autism was diagnosed only in kids with severe language and social impairments and unusual, repetitious behaviors. But the definition gradually expanded, and autism is now shorthand for a group of milder, related conditions.

The new CDC report is based on a tracking system in 11 states that focuses on 8-year-olds, because most cases are diagnosed by that age. The researchers check health and school records to see which children meet criteria for autism, even if they haven’t been formally diagnosed. It is one of three autism estimates by the CDC but is considered the most rigorous.

“It’s the gold standard,” said Alison Singer, president of the Autism Science Foundation, an autism advocacy and philanthropy organization.

The researchers gathered data from Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin, casting a net that included about 300,000 children. The 1 in 59 was an average: It was as high as 1 in 34 in New Jersey, and as low as about 1 in 75 in five states.

Why the difference? Researchers said rates tend to be higher in states where they can access more records.

For years, the estimate was increasing in leaps and bounds, though it wasn’t clear why. A report released in 2007 put the estimate at 1 in 150, or the equivalent of about 1 child in every 5 or 6 classrooms. The new 1-in-59 figure translates to 1.7 percent.

Heather Cody Hazlett, a University of North Carolina psychologist, called the slight increase from 2012 to 2014 unsurprising.

She researches new ways to do spot autism earlier. What’s discouraging, she said, is that fewer than half of autistic children are diagnosed by the time they turn 4.

There is still a lag between when parents first become concerned and when kids are diagnosed. Many doctors may be reluctant to jump to an autism diagnosis in a younger child, because they are “trying to be cautious and not alarmist,” Hazlett said.

But that can lead to a delay in therapy or other services.

The CDC’s Deborah Christensen, one of the study’s authors, said: “We need to do more work to make sure that children with developmental concerns are evaluated quickly.”
___
The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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Parents may help prep kids for healthier, less violent relationships

Warm, nurturing parents may pass along strategies for building and maintaining positive relationships to their kids, setting them up for healthier, less-violent romantic relationships as young adults, according to researchers. In a study, adolescents who reported a positive family climate and their parents using more effective parenting strategies tended to go on to have better relationship problem-solving skills and less-violent romantic relationships as young adults.
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Why a 5-year age gap between my kids has turned out to be perfect

by

Melissa Willets

posted in Parenting

My first three children were born very close together.

Age gap between kids

So up until now, I never really knew any other way of doing things. My life was always about having at least two kids in diapers, balancing the terrible twos and infancy, multiple car seats and strollers, and dealing with tantrums and teething and baby poop patterns while potty training.

After our third child was born, we tried to get pregnant for years, and even endured a late-pregnancy loss before conceiving the baby I am due to have in the next several weeks.

For a long time, I thought having an age gap of five years between my youngest and the baby would mean he would be at a disadvantage; that he would have a hard time fitting into our crew. I also worried how I would fare going back to the baby stage after such a long break.

But I’m starting to realize there are many benefits to the five year age difference, not only for me, but for our entire family.

My youngest actually understands that I’m having a baby. For a toddler or even a preschooler, the idea of a sibling growing in mommy’s tummy and then coming home to live with you, forever, is very abstract. I remember trying to prepare my kids for the arrival of our baby, but truthfully, they didn’t get it until the baby was born, and didn’t go away. This time my youngest daughter is almost 5, and she really is getting it. It’s fun to see her level of excitement and how much she wants to be involved in the pregnancy. One of the cutest things she does is to whisper goodnight to my belly before she goes to bed each night. Sniff.

She also accepts that sometimes I’m tired and I have to sit down, so I can’t play anymore or we have to leave the park. Can’t say I experienced that kind of empathy during previous pregnancies!

5 year age difference is awesome

I don’t have to pick my daughter up anymore. Sure, I like to cuddle with my (current) youngest, and hold her when I can, but now that I’m heavily pregnant, it’s a relief she doesn’t need to be carried. She can walk on her own (even if sometimes she’d rather be carried), and spare me the back pain, and even potential complications associated with lifting a child in pregnancy.

My little one is newly self-sufficient. At almost 5 years old, my daughter can now dress herself (yeah, her outfit choices are often questionable, but she can perform this task on her own), do most of her business in the bathroom, get her own snack, and play independently. What all of this means for me: I have more time to rest and focus on taking care of myself than during previous pregnancies.

I can get things done without having to watch her every second. Of course a 5-year-old still requires constant supervision. But she can play in her room on her own, or go upstairs without me having to follow an inch behind. I can only imagine how this will translate once my son is born. I’ll be able to actually shower or eat when the baby is sleeping rather than chase after a toddler. How liberating!

I have a helper. My daughter is so excited to help out with the baby, from picking out his outfits to maybe even giving him a bottle (we’ll see!). What a luxury to have an “older” child who can fetch a diaper or grab my phone for me. And who (probably) won’t poke him in the eye, like my 2-year-old kept doing when my second daughter was born.

What do you think the perfect age gap is between kids?

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Sleep mode? Tech giants’ kids’ ‘fixes’ amount to baby steps

NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook is adding a “sleep” mode to its Messenger Kids service to let parents limit when their kids can use it.
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Is TV feeding your kids junk-food ads?

by

Claudia Boyd-Barrett

posted in Parenting

The television channels your child watches may be bombarding him with hundreds of commercials for unhealthy food, a new study suggests.

Researchers studied a single TV network in Australia frequently watched by children. They calculated the number of food commercials that appeared over a one-year period, focusing on the hours before school (7 a.m. to 9 a.m.) and after school (4 p.m. to 10 p.m.) when children tend to watch television.

Ads for unhealthy food such as chips, fast food and fried food appeared almost twice as often as commercials for healthy food, the study found. Junk-food advertising actually increased during the hours when children were likely to be home, the authors said.

Altogether, assuming children watched about 80 minutes of the TV network a day, they’d be exposed to more than 800 junk food commercials over the course of a year, the researchers calculated. That’s the equivalent of about 4 hours of back-to-back junk food advertising, according to the study published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Kids-watching-TV

The researchers didn’t explore what impact the junk food advertising might be having on children. But other research, and the World Health Organization, have tied advertising of unhealthy food and drink to obesity in children.

Of course, this study wasn’t looking at a U.S. television channel, so the amount of junk food advertising on networks here may be different. Unfortunately, if the amount is similar, American kids could potentially be exposed to even more ads for unhealthy food than this study suggests. A report last year by Common Sense Media found that children in the U.S. spend on average more than 2 hours a day looking at screens, mostly TV and video.

Another recent study found that sporting events watched frequently by children on TV and online overwhelmingly featured advertising for junk food.

Concerned about the effects of junk food advertising on your child? Learn some tips on how to counter junk food marketing, and what to do if your toddler only wants to eat junk food.

Are you concerned about your child’s exposure to junk food advertising on TV? What do you think could help counter the problem?

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12 stirring movies to watch with your kids for Earth Day

by

Laura Falin

posted in Life

As a mom, a Girl Scout leader, and a nature lover, I find Earth Day to be a good time to do a little reality check: Am I teaching my kids to take care of our environment? Am I teaching them to just get outside and appreciate it? I really do want them to grow up appreciating this amazing planet.

We live at the bottom of the Rocky Mountains, and I think they get sick of me telling them, “People save up for years to come stand where you’re standing right now.” But I hope they get that. I hope they always look at this world with awe.

I thought I’d follow up last year’s post on  great books to read on Earth Day with a post on good movies to watch. Every Friday night, we make breakfast for dinner, spread blankets on the floor, and have a movie night while we eat. It’s tradition. If you’re looking for a Friday night movie suggestion, how about one of these with an environmental theme?

movies to watch with kids for earth day

12 movies to watch with kids for Earth Day

1. Whale Rider: Set on New Zealand’s North Island, Whale Rider shows life in a present-day Maori tribe. Pai knows her destiny is to become the tribe’s leader, but faces resistance because she’s a girl. But the movie also shows the relationship between the tribe and nature, and Pai’s own place in it. The movie will give you lots to talk over with your older children (it is rated PG-13, so I’d hold off with younger kids.) Just a beautiful movie that will leave you thinking for days.

2. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax: Danny DeVito voices the Lorax, a grumpy but lovable creature who speaks for the trees in this adaptation of the Dr. Seuss book. The soundtrack to this wacky movie is one of our favorites.

3. March of the Penguins: Morgan Freeman narrates this documentary on the harrowing journey emperor penguins make — from warmer climes to the freezing Antarctic — in order to mate. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ll leave with an amazing respect for these fellow parents (and if you’re anything like me, you’ll get teary realizing the lengths they go through for their babies, just like we do.) Great movie for kids and adults.

4. Arctic Tale: From the same studio that made March of the Penguins. Queen Latifah narrates the stories of Nanu the polar bear and Seela the walrus pup as they struggle to survive and grow in the Arctic.

5. Anything by Disneynature Films: I’d start with “Earth,” but all of these movies are fantastic and show how different species survive in their environments. There’s a new film out this year — Born in China — about pandas that I really want to see as well.

6. Happy Feet: Although Mumble the penguin can’t find his “heart song” — the unique noise each penguin makes to attract a mate — he’s a pretty awesome dancer. The movie also touches on how humans have depleted the penguins’ food supply, and could lead to a good discussion with kids on how our actions affect others. (Also? Another amazing soundtrack!) Bonus pick: Sequel Happy Feet Two returns with a plot involving melting icebergs that endanger the penguins.

movies to watch with kids for earth day

7. WALL-E: Set in the future, Wall-E shows a garbage-strewn planet earth, where a sanitation robot (WALL-E himself) lives alone until the arrival of a fascinating new girl robot (EVE). But can WALL-E and EVE help the humans, who now orbit Earth in a spacecraft, to return to their planet and take care of it properly this time?

8. Fly Away Home: Amy, a 13-year-old in New Zealand, is sent to live with her father in Canada after a car crash kills her mother. While wandering through marshes near her new home, Amy discovers goose eggs left behind when developers accidentally kill the mother goose. Amy raises the goslings herself, teaches them to fly, and helps them migrate with the rest of the Canadian geese. Rated PG, so make sure your child can handle the more intense moments.

9. FernGully: The Last Rainforest: Fairies discover humans are cutting down all the trees in their forest. One fairy, Crysta, shrinks a human boy to save him from being hit by a tree being felled, and teaches him about the importance of saving her forest.

10. Big Miracle: Based on a true story. In 1988 a reporter in Barrow, Alaska, discovers a family of gray whales trapped offshore. Realizing this could be his big break, he reports the story, which gets picked up by press across the country. Organizations from Greenpeace to oil companies to the Soviet Union must work together to save the whales. (Note: There is a death that might upset younger children. The movie is rated PG.)

11. Bambi: Way back in the ’40’s, Walt Disney made a film that took a hard look at man’s relationship with the natural world, and at his capacity to destroy it. From Bambi’s mom being shot (spoiler alert) to the fire at the end of the movie, Man doesn’t come across very well in this one.

12. Hoot: Based on the Carl Hiaasen book, the movie follows three kids trying to thwart a corporation that’s endangering owls. The kids sabotage the company’s construction site, and hilarity ensues. Rated PG.

Photo credits: istock

For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on facebook and Pinterest.

This post was originally published in April, 2017.

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Mom’s depression can affect kid’s IQ, study says

by

Claudia Boyd-Barrett

posted in Parenting

Here’s another reason to seek help if you think you’re suffering from depression: A new study suggests being depressed could hinder your child’s brain development.

Researchers with the University of California San Diego School of Medicine studied almost 900 Chilean women and their children. Every five years, between ages 1 and 16, the researchers spent time observing the mothers, watching how affectionate and responsive they were to their children, and surveyed whether the moms provided age-appropriate learning materials such as toys and books to their kids.

The researchers also assessed the children’s verbal IQ, and screened the moms for symptoms of depression.

On average, children whose moms were severely depressed scored lower on the IQ tests than children whose moms weren’t depressed. The difference wasn’t huge – about half an IQ point – but lead author Patricia East said that’s enough to create a meaningful disparity in children’s verbal skills and vocabulary.

“Our study results show the long term consequences that a child can experience due to chronic maternal depression,” she said in a statement.

depressed-mom-with-baby 

The findings were published in the journal Child Development.

About 20 percent of the women who began the study depressed remained so for a long time, the study found.

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment and doesn’t prove maternal depression impacts children’s IQ levels, only that the two may be associated. Authors tried to select moms with similar backgrounds and circumstances, however the women may not be representative of women in the U.S. Most of the moms in the study had limited education and did not work outside the home, East said.

An estimated 1 in 10 mothers in the U.S. develop postpartum depression. The good news is, it’s very treatable. Treatment can not only help you feel better, but also help you take better care of your baby. Take this postpartum depression quiz to see if you are at risk.

Have you or someone you know struggled with depression? Tell us about the experience.

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$1 million federal grant will help study of transgender kids

The first large-scale, national study of transgender children, including some as young as 3, is poised to expand thanks to a five-year, $ 1 million grant awarded Thursday by the National Science Foundation to the professor leading the project.
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20 Advocacy Groups Say YouTube Illegally Collects Data on Kids

A group of advocates has asked the FTC to investigate YouTube, alleging that the Google subsidiary isn’t doing enough to make sure it isn’t collecting data on kids.

A complaint was filed Monday by the Center for Digital Democracy, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, and 18 other child, consumer, and privacy advocacy groups. The coalition argues that Google, YouTube’s parent company, violated the 1998 Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which says companies have to get a parent’s consent before collecting data on users under the age of 13.

YouTube’s terms of use say users have to be 13 or older to create an account. They have also released a YouTube Kids app to allow children to interact with age-appropriate content. However, even that kid-safe zone has come under fire recently, as some videos have been inappropriately included in the service. YouTube is reportedly considering a new iteration of the app that would have no algorithm. Instead, all accessible content would be reviewed by a real person.

The complaint to the FTC is only the latest in a series of data and advertising scandals that have forced social networks and their users to examine the policies and implications of sharing online.

A Google spokesperson told CNN: “Protecting kids and families has always been a top priority for us. We will read the complaint thoroughly and evaluate if there are things we can do to improve.”

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Primary care doctors may be unsure when kids’ bad moods are serious or not

Family medicine doctors and pediatricians are less confident than psychiatrists in their abilities to tell the difference between normal irritability and possibly bigger issues in children and adolescents, according to researchers. Primary care providers and pediatricians were also more likely to prescribe medications when they thought there was a problem, while psychiatrists were more likely to start with behavioral therapy.
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When kids’ autistic brains can’t calm down

One third of children who have autism spectrum disorder also have epilepsy. It’s related to an autism risk gene. But scientists didn’t now why the mutation, catnap2, caused seizures. Now scientists have discovered the mutation shrinks the neurons’ dendrite arbors and synapses that enable brain cells to relay vital messages. The ‘Calm down!’ message gets lost in the brain, causing neurons to spin out of control. Drugs could soon be tested to reverse seizures, language delay and intellectual disability.
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Immigrant parents, refugees face greater mental health challenges; Kids’ learning at risk

Canadian immigrant parents, refugees, women and minorities are at greater risk of mental health issues and socioeconomic challenges, with their children more likely to suffer learning setbacks before kindergarten, a pair of studies have shown.
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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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