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You're in the home stretch. Dinner is done. Toys have been tidied. PJs are on. You have storybooks in hand, and there is just one more thing to do. "Time to brush your teeth," you tell your 5-year-old, who looks at you and yells, "NO!" then runs in the opposite direction.

You wonder why you are surprised since this happens most nights. You could pull them out from under the bed where you know they are hiding, and bring them kicking and screaming to the bathroom (reminding them how they need to brush their teeth to avoid cavities). You could give in and tell them their teeth have to be done tomorrow (and face the same argument all over again then.) You could offer a barter. An extra book and a song in return for compliance. However, you know they will string out negotiations and your frustration will hit new levels.

But bribes, rewards and forcing a child do not work long-term.

When children resist doing things that need to be done, our options can feel limited. And none of the above strategies prove useful for long. Forcing a child to do something feels harsh and diminishes trust. Giving in shows a child that when they go off-track, you cave in, and puts them in a position of too much authority for their young years. And bartering and rewards have been shown to reduce children's intrinsic motivation; in addition, they continue the struggle between you.

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When a child refuses to do what you ask, there are hidden reasons. Our kids don't deliberately say no just to push our buttons. When they do say no, it's because their feelings and emotions have overwhelmed their ability to think and cooperate. Saying "No!" is a signal that your attention on the subject is needed. The options above are temporary solutions based on wielding power over an already anxious child, or on giving up forging a healthy solution that pleases both of you.

Here's an approach that fosters trust, partnership and co-regulation. It involves discovering a supportive way to work with your child to dissolve the feelings driving their resistance, until they're happy to be part of the solution.

With some forward planning, your child will soon feel able to do more of the things you ask. You can think of it as the Seven C's For Holding An Expectation.

  1. Continuing process: When setting limits, adopt a long-term view
  2. Choose: Decide which request you want to work on
  3. Cultivate: Lay the groundwork with both yourself and your child
  4. Communicate/consent: Set the expectations limit when things are calm
  5. Confidence: Hold the expectation
  6. Calm: Calm and helpful responses to use when your child says no
  7. Care: Respond with listening and care when your child says no

1. Continuing process: Adopt a long-term view

We often think of limit-setting as something that has to happen quickly, when we ask and without delay. And we seek quick fixes when we don't get immediate obedience. In this fresh approach, it's important to see limit-setting as an ongoing project. We will be working not on the resistance itself, but the cause of the resistance. This requires a longer-term view, but will bring lasting transformation.

2. Choose: Decide which request you want to work on

If your child resists waking up, eating breakfast, going to school, picking up their belongings and going to sleep, it can be hard to know where to start. And it's tempting to want to work on everything at once, but don't! Pick one issue, and focus there.

Decide which limit is most important to you, and why, then find a good time to approach the subject when things are calm (and before you need it done).

3. Cultivate: Lay the groundwork

Approach the resistance from both sides.

Groundwork with your child: When we are getting along well with someone else, we are more trusting and able to answer to their requests, and so before holding an expectation you want to make sure you are feeling in touch, open, and close to your child. There are a few good ways to build this closeness.

Sharing time doing the things your child chooses, laughing often, and playing together are all helpful ways to build that connection. Using Hand in Hand Parenting's Playlistening and Special Time tools naturally builds opportunities to interact in a way that fosters closeness each day.

Special Time: An invitation to play in which you give your child a specific amount of time to choose what they want to play, and how you will be involved, is a brilliant tool to use often. It helps your child feel the warmth of your attention. Once you have identified a pattern of resistance around a task, you can boost connection further by offering five or 10 minutes of Special Time before you hold an expectation for them to do something. If your child's resistance to a task is linked to needing more of your attention, you may even see their resistance totally disappear after some intensive Special Time.

You can also try using Playlistening around tasks and expectations in these ways:

  • Reverse roles and become the one who doesn't want to do things. Make it exaggerated and playful, but only continue if you find it makes your child laugh.
  • Create a routine of a playful and physical play with lots of laughter. For example, while I was building toward addressing my son's frequent resistance, we played more roughhousing games, usually before we began our bedtime routine.

Playlistening helps you target resistance indirectly, using laughter and play, and can be a powerful way to shift your child's shouts of "No" to "Yes."

Groundwork for yourself : Setting limits is as much about us as it is our kids. Although a child's refusal might appear to be their issue, it can trigger a rush of feelings for us too. It helps to start holding an expectation or a limit after getting grounded and comfortable about it ourselves.

For instance, when my son suddenly resisted going to preschool for a few consecutive mornings, I started doing my own groundwork. I checked to see if I still thought that the preschool was right for him, and thought once again about whether he was ready for it. Yes was my answer to both, so I continued holding the expectation that he would go.

I checked in with my best thinking using a Listening Partnership, which is a way to address what's going on in your head, check biases from your own upbringing, and experience the kind of emotional support that you'd like to offer your child. There are many places to find a parent who might like to do a free exchange of listening time with you, including this group, and the process is simple.

Having the space to clear out how you feel about limits in general, and to offload the feelings you have about the particular expectation you want to hold for your child, will help you get comfortable with setting the limit. Listening Partnerships give you a place to feel heard and held.

Here are some ideas to experiment with in your listening time when you are working on holding an expectation.

A Listening Partner role models holding expectation for you

A good place to begin with this is by sharing where you have difficulties meeting expectations in your own life. Taxes? Folding clothes? Being on time?

Ask your listening partner to hold the expectation that you are working on: "It's time to do your expense sheet now." Their role is to help you find the exact feelings that underlie your resistance. It's not to make you do the thing you resist!

Then you can say all the things you want to say, without any censorship:

"I don't want to!"

"You do it for me!"

"I'll do it later!'

Your listening partner can just listen with a full attention or if it is helpful, they can offer a phrase (You can set this up before your listening time begins.) Try, "It's time to do it now," or "Expense sheet!" or "I am sure you can do it… and right now show me how hard it is."

You will notice feelings bubbling up–you might feel embarrassed, guilty, insulted…the possible reactions are countless! If you feel safe enough, you will release the tension you feel in laughter, a tantrum, a light sweat, or in crying about how overwhelmed or exhausted you feel.

Once you have processed those feelings, go a bit deeper. Have them ask, "Tell me the first time you did not like doing things you are supposed to."

There's nothing like putting yourself in another's shoes to build empathy, and this time, you get to see the world from your child's point of view. You also get to experience the kind of limit setting that involves meeting expectations with a listener's support. You'll have a loving reminder of the expectation and permission to process feelings in the presence of caring person.

This makes it a whole lot easier to offer similar permission to your child.

Offload your feelings about your child's behaviors in your Listening Partnership

You can also ask your listening partner to role-play your resistant child, and then let loose with all the reactions you have inside. This gives you a chance to start processing them.

If setting limits this way feels hard, that's okay.

Many of us may have a hard time imagining what calmly and warmly holding an expectation looks like because it is such a departure from the way we were raised. It's natural to feel difficulty trying to do something we haven't experienced. Your listening partner can model what you may have a hard time imagining, by role-playing setting a loving limit with you, or around the tasks your child resists.

4. Communicate/consent: Set the expectations limit when things are calm

And so, with groundwork laid, you can begin work on your child's refusal. Begin by setting the limit when things are calm, and you feel well resourced. Announcing the expectation may sound like, "We will go to your school after Special Time and breakfast, at 8 am."

When we announce the limit ahead of time it gives a useful window.

If your child says "Sure!" and they can agree at least then, you might talk about ways that make it easier. "I noticed it was hard for us to get ready, what can I do for you so you can enjoy your preschool tomorrow?"

If they get upset about the very thought of the expectation, they are ready to work on the tension they carry.

You can choose to help them there and then. A first step might be a playful intervention. With a child that resists the idea of going to their preschool, you could playfully say, "I don't want to either! Let's stay here and snuggle forever and ever. No bathroom break, no lunch break, just snuggle and snuggle and snuggle," and give them a snuggle.

Watch how they respond. If your child responds to your playful approach with a smile or laughter, keep going. This loosens up the stuck feelings and sheds a little light on them, so when you hold the expectation next time it might not feel so stark.

When your child's feelings are really stuck, they may get agitated or upset at the mention of your expectation, or in response to your Playlistening. In that case, switch to Staylistening, where you stay close and listen quietly and with caring while your child rails and cries about the expectation.

5. Confidence: Hold the expectation that the request will happen

Now comes what you have no doubt been waiting for. Setting and holding a limit. The process is essentially the same whichever limit you want to hold.

  1. Move in close and set the limit, warmly and firmly, using eye contact.
  2. Listen to your child's feelings
  3. Re-state the limit, calmly.

Here are a few examples:

Holding an expectation around taking a bath: You did the groundwork. You are quite certain that you want a bath to happen and you are clear on your reasons why. You both agree your child will take a daily bath, but when you tell your child that it's time, they protest. You listen for a minute. Then you come close, hold their hands, make eye contact and point to the direction of the bath. "Time for a bath," you say. Then you listen to their upset, making sure they don't distract themselves with another activity. "Nope, no coloring now. Bath time."

Holding an expectation around brushing teeth: If your child has agreed to a morning and evening brushing, you can show the toothbrush and say, "Ready? Time to brush." If they flail, sit quietly with them, with the toothbrush and toothpaste. When the crying or tantrum slows down, bring the child's attention back to the expectation, "Time to brush your teeth." If your child gets upset or cries because of your expectation, you know that they are shedding the feelings that cause them to react. It's a sign that there's something good taking place. Tension releases. Your caring pours in. It takes time, but you'll get results!

6. Calm: Responses to use when your child says 'no'

When the expectation is held with kindness, your child's job is to show you fully how they feel inside. All you need to do is to give your child your time and your presence. These are some steps to consider when your child cannot meet the expectation after they have initially agreed, and when they have begun to cry or get angry.

1. Listen with your eyes as much as your ears and try to offer your whole presence.

2. Make sure everyone stays safe. If your child attacks the toilet tissue and tears it up, for instance, you can regard this as a safe way for them to express their feelings, but picking up a chair with the intent to throw it needs to be stopped. Tell them immediately, "No, I can't let you do that. Not safe." Stop them quickly but calmly, with your body.

3. Check internally if you have the time and patience to keep Staylistening. If you do, use Step 4, if not, skip to Step 5.

4. As your child's outrage calms, gently remind them of your expectation. This is not to win their immediate compliance, but is an invitation to them to keep sharing how they feel about it. Your gentle reminder guides your child's mind to refocus on the feelings that cause their resistance.

The image I use in my mind during this process is of the child digging a tunnel through a sand dune. Their job is to keep digging (shedding their feelings) until they get through the tunnel and out into the light. For them to get to the other side, my job is to hold the flashlight, showing them, "This way! You can make it to the other side." Your child does the work while you support them and show them the way.

Each time they work on these feelings they make it farther through the dune. They may regain their talent for cooperation within one Staylistening session, or it may take a few different times of shedding feelings while you hold the expectation. All work shedding feelings is good work. If the dune always stays undug, your child will continually try to avoid it, and their resistance to the task will remain. They will take a very very long time to reach "the light."

5. If you find yourself out of time and patience, stop your Staylistening. Rest assured that you have helped your child begin breaking down the resistance they feel to the task and that you will return to that work the next time you hold the expectation on the limit.

6. Whenever your child works on their resistance, watch to see how they express their feelings physically. Yawning, crying, laughing, sweating, moving their body around and even saying mean things are signs that they are digging deeper through the sand dune. Once their tunnel is in place, their resistance disappears. When you hold the expectation in the future, they'll move freely through the open tunnel to fill your request.

7. Remind yourself that this way of setting limits is not about compliance. You did not fail or do something wrong if your child's crying doesn't immediately give way to compliance, although that may happen sometimes. How long it takes for your child to dissolve his emotional reaction to your expectation depends on the depth of feelings or fears they have about what you want them to do. In my case, I had to work on the same issue with my son for days, even weeks, and once or twice, when his fears were deeply held, for months. Always, after a ground-shaking show of feelings, things shifted.

For example, when it was time to leave the house for the preschool as we had agreed, my son would not put on his socks, or he would drag his feet all the way. These signs showed me that we need to pause the "going-to-preschool" protocol so I could pivot, move in, and connect by offering eye contact and my full attention.

I laid some more groundwork by starting our morning routine 20 minutes or so earlier. Not having to rush helped me to stay calm and patient. When I said, "It's time to put on your socks," I held the socks. This is often the moment I started hearing voices in my head, saying things like, "We agreed to do this yesterday, and if you don't we will be late!" or "Son, if you don't put these on, you won't get your…" These are often things we heard growing up, or we hear others say. But these are not helpful motivators, so I held back. I sat down and held the sock in my hand and stayed there while my child cried and protested. He squirmed but I stayed with him, holding his little body in my arms.

He would say, "No! I don't want to!" and I would say, "I know you don't. You can put on a sock. Let's do it—here I come!"

I didn't force the socks on, but suggesting it and gauging my son's reactions guided me to what he needed.

Holding an expectation when others are listening

When there are other adults involved, it can get tricky. This kind of waiting for a child to work through their feelings with a few words here and there from the parent can be highly frustrating for grown-ups. If their idea of an outcome means fulfilling the expectation—in my case this would have looked like getting out the door without fuss and skipping off to preschool—my "long-term view" approach did not appear to be "working."

My mother would watch me and get upset. Luckily, we were on the same page about sending him to the preschool, and so I would say, "Thanks for your concern, but I can handle it. He's working very hard to get to a space where he can enjoy his school. I have seen him work through some hard things before. It will be okay."

When will a no become yes?

We worked on him not wanting to go to preschool for several mornings, often arriving late, with an impatient brother tagging along glumly. And then one morning his father Staylistened to our son's vigorous crying and struggles. My son got sweaty and cried hard with lots of wild movements. Then he fell asleep.

We decided that it was so late for preschool, and he wouldn't go. But when he work up, he opened his eyes and he said, "I am ready." From that day on, he went to preschool everyday with little resistance. A couple of years later, he experienced a similar fear response about starting Kindergarten, and I listened to his feelings in very much the same way. He refused and refused to go, but after a long and deep cry and struggle with me listening to him one morning, he was able to start going to school happily and willingly.

I still don't know what he was afraid of or he was working on emotionally, but I know that after he worked hard on his emotions, he has been able to function extremely well in a school setting.

What to do if the problem behavior is persistent

When the problem behavior is persistent, it can be a good strategy to take a break and come back to the issue later, if you possibly can. For example, if getting to school in the morning is challenging, try fixing your schedule so that you can take a wellness day with your child and spend a connecting day together without going to school.

7. Care: Responding with care when your child still says no

Use your time to play, have fun and lay a little extra groundwork. To find out what might be underneath their behaviors, consider:

Your Child: When does your child does want to go to school? Is it about missing you? Is there something that your child doesn't like at school? Are there health or learning concerns that have not been addressed? Did something change in your child's life recently?

How about you? What comes up for you when they don't want to go? Is it hard kissing you baby goodbye or seeing her grow up? Did you like going to school, or do you have less-than-sunny remembrances? How did the adults in your life respond when you did not want to do things?

Once you have reconsidered and reconnected, you'll be ready to start the process once again. Your child can go back to digging through their sand dune—and sooner or later, you'll both scamper through that tunnel and into less resistance and more fun.

Keiko Sato-Perry is a Hand in Hand Parenting Instructor based in Redwood City, USA. Originally posted on Hand in Hand Parenting.

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Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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By: Justine LoMonaco


From the moment my daughter was born, I felt an innate need to care for her. The more I experienced motherhood, I realized that sometimes this was simple―after all, I was hardwired to respond to her cries and quickly came to know her better than anyone else ever could―but sometimes it came with mountains of self-doubt.

This was especially true when it came to feeding. Originally, I told myself we would breastfeed―exclusively. I had built up the idea in my mind that this was the correct way of feeding my child, and that anything else was somehow cheating. Plus, I love the connection it brought us, and so many of my favorite early memories are just my baby and me (at all hours of night), as close as two people can be as I fed her from my breast.

Over time, though, something started to shift. I realized I felt trapped by my daughter's feeding schedule. I felt isolated in the fact that she needed me―only me―and that I couldn't ask for help with this monumental task even if I truly needed it. While I was still so grateful that I was able to breastfeed without much difficulty, a growing part of me began fantasizing about the freedom and shared burden that would come if we bottle fed, even just on occasion.

I was unsure what to expect the first time we tried a bottle. I worried it would upset her stomach or cause uncomfortable gas. I worried she would reject the bottle entirely, meaning the freedom I hoped for would remain out of reach. But in just a few seconds, those worries disappeared as I watched her happily feed from the bottle.

What I really didn't expect? The guilt that came as I watched her do so. Was I robbing her of that original connection we'd had with breastfeeding? Was I setting her up for confusion if and when we did go back to nursing? Was I failing at something without even realizing it?

In discussing with my friends, I've learned this guilt is an all too common thing. But I've also learned there are so many reasons why it's time to let it go.

1) I'm letting go of guilt because...I shouldn't feel guilty about sharing the connection with my baby. It's true that now I'm no longer the only one who can feed and comfort her any time of day or night. But what that really means is that now the door is open for other people who love her (my partner, grandparents, older siblings) to take part in this incredible gift. The first time I watched my husband's eyes light up as he fed our baby, I knew that I had made the right choice.

2) I'm letting go of guilt because...the right bottle will prevent any discomfort. It took us a bit of trial and error to find the right bottle that worked for my baby, but once we did, we rarely dealt with gas or discomfort―and the convenience of being able to pack along a meal for my child meant she never had to wait to eat when she was hungry. Dr. Brown's became my partner in this process, offering a wide variety of bottles and nipples designed to mimic the flow of my own milk and reduce colic and excess spitting up. When we found the right one, it changed everything.

3) I'm letting go of guilt because...I've found my joy in motherhood again. That trapped feeling that had started to overwhelm me? It's completely gone. By removing the pressure on myself to feed my baby a certain way, I realized that it was possible to keep her nourished and healthy―while also letting myself thrive.

So now, sometimes we use the bottle. Sometimes we don't. But no matter how I keep my baby fed, I know we've found the right way―guilt free.


This article is sponsored by Dr. Browns. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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Learn + Play

Adele's albums have soothed many hearts through hard times, and now she's going through a big relationship transition of her own.

The singer is separating from her husband Simon Konecki, the father of her 6-year-old son, Angelo James.

"Adele and her partner have separated," Adele's people wrote in a statement to the Associated Press. "They are committed to raising their son together lovingly. As always they ask for privacy. There will be no further comment."

Our hearts go out to Adele. Of course, she doesn't owe anyone any further explanation or discussion of her separation, but by announcing it publicly, she is shining a light on a family dynamic that is so common but not talked about as much as it should be: Co-parenting.

Parenting with an ex is a reality for so many mothers. According to the Pew Research Center, "the likelihood of a child – even one born to two married parents – spending part of their childhood in an unmarried parent household is on the rise."

Angelo James' experience will be similar to many of his peers.

"Increases in divorce mean that more than one-in-five children born within a marriage will experience a parental breakup by age 9, as will more than half of children born within a cohabiting union," Pew notes.

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Adele and Konecki already know a thing or two about how co-parenting works, as Konecki has an older child from a previous relationship.

They can make this work because so many parents are making this work. The reality is, two parents can still be a family, and be a team for their child without being romantic partners.

Decades ago, co-parenting after a divorce wasn't the norm, and a body of research (and the experience of a generation of kids) has changed the way parents do things today. Today, divorce isn't about the end of a family. It's about the evolution of one.

Research suggests joint physical custody is linked to better outcomes for kids than divorce arrangements that don't support shared parenting and that divorced couples who have "ongoing personal and emotional involvement with their former spouse"(so, are friends, basically) are more likely to rate their co-parenting relationship positively.

Co-parenting is good for kids, and clearly, Adele and Konecki are committed to being a team for Angelo James.

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News

If you've had a baby in a hospital you know that those first few nights can be really hard. There are so many benefits for babies sharing rooms with their mamas (as opposed to being shipped off to those old-school, glassed-in nurseries) but tired mamas have a lot of conflicting messages coming at them.

You're told to bond with your baby, but not to fall asleep with them in the bed, and to let them rest in their bassinet. But when you're recovering from something that is (at best) the most physically demanding thing a person can do or (at worst) major surgery, moving your baby back and forth from bed to bassinette all night long sure doesn't sound like fun.

That's why this photo of a co-sleeping hospital bed is going viral again, four years after it was first posted by Australian parenting site Belly Belly. The photo continues to attract attention because the bed design is enviable, but is it real? And if so, why aren't more hospitals using it?

The bed is real, and it's Dutch. The photo originated from Gelderse Vallei hospital. As GoodHouskeeping reported back in 2015, the clip-on co-sleepers were introduced as a way to help mom and baby pairs who needed extended hospital stays—anything beyond one night in the maternity ward.

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Plenty of moms stateside wish we had such beds in our maternity wards, but as but Dr. Iffath Hoskins, an OB-GYN, told Yahoo Parenting in 2015, the concept wouldn't be in line with American hospitals' safe sleeping policies.

"If the mother rolls over from exhaustion, there would be the risk of smothering the baby," she told Yahoo. "The mother's arm could go into that space in her sleep and cover the baby, or she could knock a pillow to the side and it's on the baby."

Hoskins also believes that having to get in and out of bed to get to your baby in the night is good for moms who might be otherwise reluctant to move while recovering from C-sections. If you don't move, the risk of blood clots in the legs increases. "An advantage of being forced to get up for the baby is that it forces the mother to move her legs — it's a big plus. However painful it can be, it's important for new moms to move rather than remaining in their hospital beds."

So there you have it. The viral photo is real, but don't expect those beds to show up in American maternity wards any time soon.

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News

A new study has some people thinking twice about kissing their bearded partners, or maybe even letting those with beards kiss the baby—but there's a lot to unpack here.

According to Swiss researchers, bearded men are carrying around more bacteria than dogs do. A lot more. But read on before you send dad off to the bathroom with a razor and ask him to pull a Jason Momoa (yes, he's recently clean-shaven. RIP Aquaman's beard).

As the BBC reports, scientists swabbed the beards of 18 men and the necks of 30 dogs. When they compared the samples, they learned beards have a higher bacterial load than dog fur.

Dudes who love their beards are already clapping back against the way the science was reported in the media though, noting that the sample size in this study was super small and, importantly, that the scientists didn't swab any beardless men.

The study wasn't even about beards, really. The point of the study, which was published in July 2018 in the journal European Radiology, was to determine if veterinarians could borrow human MRI machines to scan dogs without posing a risk to human patients.

"Our study shows that bearded men harbour significantly higher burden of microbes and more human-pathogenic strains than dogs," the authors wrote, noting that when MRI scanners are used for both dogs and humans, they're cleaned very well after veterinary use, and actually have a "lower bacterial load compared with scanners used exclusively for humans."

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Another important point to note is that most bacteria aren't actually dangerous to humans, and some can be really good for us (that's why some scientists want us to let our kids get dirty).

This little study wasn't supposed to set off a beard panic, it was just supposed to prove that dogs and people can safely share an MRI machine. There is previous research on beards and bacteria though, that suggests they're not all bad.

Another study done in 2014 and published in the Journal of Hospital Infection looked at a much larger sample of human faces (men who work in healthcare), both bearded and clean shaven, and actually found that people who shaved their faces were carrying around more Staph bacteria than those with facial hair.

"Overall, colonization is similar in male healthcare workers with and without facial hair; however, certain bacterial species were more prevalent in workers without facial hair," the researchers wrote.

A year after that, a local news station in New Mexico did its own "study" on beards, one that wasn't super scientific but did go viral and prompted a flurry of headlines insisting beards are as dirty as toilets. That claim has been debunked.

So, before you ban bearded people from kissing the baby (or yourself) consider that we all have some bacteria on our faces. Dads should certainly wash their beards well, but they're not as dirty as a toilet.

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News

New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo is on a mission to level the playing field for young women and provide them with the tools for success. In 2017, he implemented free two- and four-year public colleges for New Yorkers, and now Cuomo is adding a budget proposal that would provide on-site childcare at community colleges.

Under the proposal, single parents participating in the program would also have access to tutoring and help when applying to four-year schools. It's the kind of idea that could be a game changer for parents in New York state.

Currently, childcare centers are subsidized for student-parents but can still cost parents $50-$60 a week; under Cuomo's budget proposal, childcare would be free. Students who are already enrolled in similar programs acknowledge that the benefits are enormous.

"As a single parent of two children going to school full time, I wouldn't be able to come to school and afford for childcare," says Michelle Trinidad, a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) and parent to a 4 and 5-year-old. "Thank goodness for BMCC Early Childhood Center that is very much affordable. It gives me the opportunity to advance my career and be confident that my son is in good hands. School is hard enough on its own, having reliable child care means a lot to me and my children."

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The plan is a part of Cuomo's 2019 women's justice agenda, legislation that addresses the gender wage gap, as well as economic and social justice for all New York women. According to a 2017 report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research, 11% of undergraduates, or 2.1 million students, were single mothers as of 2012, which has doubled since 2000. Additionally, that same study found that 4 in 10 women at two-year colleges say that they are likely or very likely to drop out of school due to their dependent care obligations.

"This is an exciting initiative for New York that addresses a critical need, and if implemented, will have a far-reaching impact on various aspects of society, especially for the next generation," says Ryan Lee-James, PhD an Assistant Professor at Adelphi University. "I view this initiative as both a direct and indirect pathway to address the well-documented achievement gap between children reared in poverty and those growing up with higher income families, as it provides moms, who otherwise may not have had the opportunity, to further their education and thus, afford their children more opportunities."

Additionally, many view campus childcare as a safe haven for college students. "During my 18 years working in campus childcare, I have witnessed how the student-parents can complete their courses and stay focused by having childcare on campus," says Sori Palacio, a Head Teacher at BMCC Early Childhood Center. "Parents usually express how thankful they are for having their children traveling with them to school as well as having their children nearby while they complete their degree. They concentrate in academic work without worrying about their child's wellbeing. This service helps the entire public by preparing more people to serve the community."

Parents have so many barriers when it comes to accessing higher education, but free childcare could be a game changer that benefits multiple generations.

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News
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