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How to raise an optimistic child in a pessimistic world

While the news is hard right now, you've got all the tools you need to make the world a better place.

raising optimistic kids

It can be easy to focus on the negative things going on in the world and what you should worry about, especially as a parent. Thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, social media, cell phone notifications and even sources you wouldn't expect, like Instagram and YouTube, we're all immersed in the news.

It's understandable if you don't feel like putting on a happy face every day and keeping your kids optimistic about the future.

But don't give up. Ironically, even though media and technology seem to be the cause of our collective pessimism, they're also essential for overcoming it, either by using them wisely or knowing when to put them away.

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Here are six ways to help your family find a silver lining, even in a cloud.

1. Put things in perspective

When tragedy strikes somewhere in the world, we relive it every time we turn on the TV, open our social media, check our phone notifications or see a sensationalistic headline. Parents understand that the media amplifies things for eyeballs and clicks. But kids don't necessarily get the relationships among sources, sponsors and audience.

How you respond to news makes a difference in how kids process it, too. Help your kids put things in perspective by explaining that the loudest voices capture the most listeners—and you should always do your own research. When you "right-size" things, it lessens kids' fears and restores hope.

2. Talk about what you're grateful for

Counter defeatist attitudes by nurturing your kid's character. Strong character grounds your kids when the world feels chaotic. Take the time to share what you're grateful for and have them participate, too. Encourage them to persevere against obstacles and to have compassion for others.

Research shows that expressing gratitude actually makes people feel optimistic. Try these character-building movies to kick off the conversation.

3. Fight fake news

Many kids say they can't tell the difference between what's real and fake online. Confusion, doubt, lack of trust are all things get in the way of being optimistic. But kids have the tools to fight fake news.

They can use online fact-checking tools to discover the truth (or at least uncover the fraud). Plus, they can refuse to contribute to the spread of false information by not sharing stuff they can't verify and can call out dubious claims when they see them. Taking fact-checking into your own hands is empowering.

4. Stand up to bullies

Teach your kid that the buck stops with them. When they see someone getting bullied—and it happens all the time in texts, on social media, and in online games—they shouldn't just stand by. While they should never do anything that would endanger themselves, they can do a lot to assert their support of others.

They can call out cyberbullies, report them, stand up for the victim, or just private-message the victim and tell them someone cares. It's not tattling. It's truly everyone's responsibility to keep the internet a positive, productive place. Standing up to cyberbullies shows you believe you can make a change.

5. Stamp out hate speech

Online anonymity can have some unintended consequences. For example, people think they can spew hateful language or share insulting images without fear of being discovered. That may be, but hate speech is not a victimless offense. While institutions are beginning to punish those who spread abusive material, no one should wait until that happens. Hate speech hurts people, contributes to an overall negative environment, and is sometimes a cry for help from someone in crisis.

Explain how to handle hate speech: Don't respond to it, block people who do it, report offenders, and don't share it.

If your kid can influence only one person to knock off the negative stuff, then they'll influence someone else, and they'll influence someone else, and so on.

6. Tune out the world for a while

Grab your kids, grab your partner if you have one, and shut everything else down. If they're all there with you, you won't miss anything. Simply being together, whether it's to read, have a device-free dinner, or talk about an issue recharges you and sends your kids the message that family time takes precedence over everything else.

Experts recommend this kind of self-care because the buildup of bad news can be overwhelming and even debilitating. And if that's how adults feel, imagine how kids are reacting to the constant barrage. By managing your media and reclaiming your family time, you show your kids what's really important.

Originally posted on Common Sense Media.

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By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

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Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

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Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

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When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

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Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

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Washable Breast Pads

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Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

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Breast Milk Storage Bags

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The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

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