Category Archives: Think

Make the most of family travel with these 5 packing tips

By Sandra Aris

Spring and summer travel is here, and parents are ready to get kids out of the house and on the road or in the air. But before kicking off their dream vacation, parents are left with the difficult task of packing for everyone in the family. And while it may be as simple as outfits and skincare for adults, packing for kids requires much more preparation, thought, and consideration.

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This Mother’s Day, let’s commit to giving moms the care and protection we deserve

I am writing this just a day after the news broke about the likelihood of the United States Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and bringing the issue of abortion back to the states. What this means is those in need of abortion services will no longer be protected by federal law, and instead their reproductive rights will be at the whim of their state legislature.

For women like me, who live in states like New York, nothing will change. However, for the thousands of women who live in states poised to enact the strictest abortion laws in the country, the overturning of Roe means they may be forced to spend obscene amounts to go out of state for an abortion, resort to unsafe and/or illegal alternatives, or continue a pregnancy they do not want.

As a mother who has carried two children in my womb, I know with a full heart the joy and wonder of bringing life into this world. I do not take this lightly, and I reject anyone who suggests those of us who are pro-choice are callous, uncaring supporters of “baby murder.” It is because of my experience with having a healthy, supported and welcomed pregnancy that I more than ever want to ensure that others have the same.

The ability to choose when to have a child is just part of the bigger picture for ensuring women and mother’s are protected. For those who choose to carry a child, we need to do a far greater job of providing them with comprehensive prenatal and post natal care.

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VIDEO INTERVIEW: Camp expert on choosing the best overnight camp for your child

I sat down with Tom Rosenberg, President and CEO of American Camp Association, to talk about how families could choose the best overnight camps for their children.

In our interview (posted below), we discuss taking the time to research the options available and consider what camps would appeal most to your children. We also discuss concerns such as tuition costs, homesickness, and device dependence.

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New book captures the essence of motherhood through rhyme

I have thought about writing a parenting book for a long time, and toyed with various ideas for expressing my views.

The format I kept coming back to was poetry.

I have always enjoyed creating rhymes, and often find myself composing verse in my head. I felt compiling a bunch of short poems on the various aspects of motherhood would resonate best with my audience.

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American Academy Of Pediatrics to release puberty guide for all genders

I don’t remember much about “sex ed,” probably because, like most kid, I turned a lot of it out, and I was lucky to have a good working knowledge of puberty before I engaged in any formal classes.

What I do remember, or rather don’t remember, was learning much about what happens to boys, or kids born with male body parts (though the word trans was not in my vocabulary at the time). As a girl, the focus was on things like ovaries and periods, and breasts and babies. We weren’t learning about sperm or erections or ejaculation.

At the time, I didn’t think much of why we were separated along gender lines. I guess, like the teachers, I presumed only certain things were relevant to me. Why should I worry about what was happening to the boys when I had enough going on in my own body?

Now that I am older, and more aware of how important comprehensive puberty education is for all kids.

I am thrilled to see efforts being made to teach children about the changes bodies go through in an inclusive, informative and, dare I say, enjoyable experience.

One such effort comes from the American Academy of Pediatrics, whose upcoming book You-ology provides an in-depth look at the changes all bodies go through.

Written by gynecologist Melissa Holmes, MD, FACOG, and pediatricians Trish Hutchison, MD and Kathryn Lowe, MD, FAAP, You-ology is a book guardians will appreciate, and children (ages 9-13) will find appealing.

Adults will love the book’s thorough and fact-driven guides to everything from menstruation to erections. And, young readers will enjoy how a recurring group of characters go through familiar experiences like growth spurts, sprouting hair in new places, and hormonal changes.

Unlike puberty books of the past, You-ology, is truly meant for all genders. Transgender, gender-nonconforming, non-binary and other gender diverse children and their guardians will find a wealth of information on navigating their unique puberty experiences, as will cisgender children and their families.

Beyond teaching young people about puberty, this book provides helpful tips for navigating the more challenging aspects of growing up, such as bullying and what to do when they encounter pornography.

Having a nine-year-old son who is about to go through puberty, and a six-year-old who isn’t far behind, I am grateful to have a copy of You-ology to help myself and my kids better understand what they will be going through on their journey to adulthood.

You-ology will be available for purchase in April 2022.

I am thrilled to see efforts being made to teach children about the changes bodies go through in an inclusive, informative and, dare I say, enjoyable experience. #aap Click To Tweet

Let them read books

Throughout history, adults have worried about what their kids read. On a small scale, this meant parents limiting what is read in the home. On a bigger scale, this has lead to banning books from schools, libraries and other public spaces.

Not long ago, a Tennessee school chose to ban Maus, a graphic novel inspired by real-life events during the Holocaust, for offensive language and imagery. The move was met with much outcry, as many thought banning this book does a disservice to the students who would benefit from reading this account of the Holocaust.

With rare exception, I believe children should have access to literature. I won’t even add the caveat “age appropriate,” because that term is so subjective and the ability to handle mature material varies greatly from child to child. Furthermore, I believe books are a great way to spark hard conversations.

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Charlotte’s journey as a trans kid’s parent is “And Just Like That” bright spot

Warning: Minor spoilers for And Just Like That ahead.

When Sex And The City, first aired I was in my late teens and early 20s. At the time, I was enamored with Carrie’s effortless style and creative spirit, Miranda’s passion for her career, and even Samantha’s sexual freedom and lust for life. While, I had no major issues with Charlotte, I often found her to be the buzzkill of the group, annoyingly obsessed with marriage and family, and far from the modern representation of feminism I admired in the other women.

As a college student, marriage and kids were the last thing on my mind, and I wasn’t even sure if my life would head in that direction. Though others may have casted them off as “old maids,” I thought these four women living incredible lives in New York City were the coolest. So when Charlotte got into her usual mope about never finding a man, I wanted to reach through the screen, grab her, and say, “don’t you realize how good you’ve got it!”

Now as a 30-something woman watching the SATC reboot, And Just Like That, I realize I relate more with Charlotte than anyone else, and she may be my favorite character in the series. 

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Connecting environmental and racial justice on Tu B’Shvat and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

My nine-year-old and I were updating his PJ Library reusable wall calendar for January, when he noticed Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish holiday celebrating the new year of the trees, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, fall on the same day this year, Monday, January 17.

As we look ahead to Tu B’Shvat, we can be mindful of Dr. King’s work, how climate justice and racial justice are linked, and how we can bridge the Jewish values of caring for our planet and working toward a more just world together.

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King’s words continue to ring true, as we look back on his legacy and wonder if we have gotten closer to achieving his dream for an equitable world.

While Tu B’Shvat is traditionally a holiday focused on trees, specifically the trees of Israel, and celebrating the land, the festival can be used an opportunity for both Jews and non-Jews a like to consider the topic of environmental justice.

Tu B’Shvat is the perfect time to ask ourselves, and our children, do we have access to clean water? Can we breathe clean air? Do we live in a place that is safe from the impact of hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters? Are we close to parks, nature centers, and other places for appreciating the environment?

If the answer to these questions is yes, we can take the opportunity to think about how others might be living, and note how environmental inequality is very much an issue in the U.S. and beyond.

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I tried to turn my kid’s art into an NFT and failed miserably

Cryptocurrency. Chances are you’ve heard of this digital form of money, and may have heard of the phrase, “Non Fungible Tokens” or “NFTs.” You may have also read about people making thousands — even millions — of dollars by buying and selling NFTs on various digital marketplaces.

You may be wondering, what the hell is an NFT?

To be honest, I still don’t fully understand how NFTs function, how their value is determined, or if they are a viable long-term investment.

According to Forbes, “An NFT is a digital asset that represents real-world objects like art, music, in-game items and videos. They are bought and sold online, frequently with cryptocurrency, and they are generally encoded with the same underlying software as many cryptos.”

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Menorahs, Maccabees and more: Hanukkah explained

The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah began on Sunday evening, and you may have noticed your friends sharing pictures and videos of their Hanukkah festivities.

Hanukkah is a joyous celebration, and a popular Jewish festival. It is my kids’ favorite holiday, and for good reason! Who doesn’t love eight days of food, family and gifts?

Hanukkah is also one of the few Jewish observances those who aren’t Jewish (or connected to Judaism in some way) are familiar with, yet, despite the popularity of the holiday, many do not understand the full meaning and history behind Hanukkah.

As a Jew, and a mom, who cares about educating the world about Judaism, in hopes this might make others more tolerant and prevent antisemitism, I wanted to write this post to explain a bit more about Hanukkah.

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