Meaningful ways to tackle credit card debt

Even chipping away little-by-little can make a big difference.

woman typing at computer

During a pandemic that has caused significant hardships for many people, it's not surprising—albeit upsetting—to learn that 42% of Americans feel that their financial situation has gotten worse in the last year; and of that group, 45% have taken on debt because of it.

This means that the previous reports that 37% of Americans carry credit card debt will likely increase.

Most people with credit card debt are anxious to get rid of it—but that is a daunting task to be sure. So we sat down with Brittney Castro, CFP, AAMS, CRPC, the in-house CFP for Mint and founder and CEO of Financially Wise Inc. to talk about credit card debt.

Here's what she said about how families can start to make a dent when they have more credit card debt than they would like to have.


Money is such a stressful thing. Do you have any comforting words for people who may find themselves in a situation where they have credit card debt?

Castro: The main thing with credit card debt is to process it in a healthy way. There are a few stages. There's the mental and emotional stage of credit card debt, which you're referring to.

First, acknowledge the debt you have and see it in black and white. And that could be simple: write it all out with a pen and paper. What is the debt? How much do you owe? What's the interest rate? What's the minimum? And when you do that, you might feel things, right? You might feel shame, guilt, overwhelm, stress or anxiety, and it's healthy to process those emotions—but don't let them weigh you down and feel like you're a horrible person, or that it is connected to your self-worth or you're the only person who has credit card debt in America.

We tend to focus on criticizing and feeling bad versus thinking, "Okay, here's what it is. Maybe it's not comfortable to look at this, but now I see it in black and white." And that's such a huge step. Honestly, [writing it out] is the biggest step, just to see it and then say, "Okay, now what kind of game plan can I put in place?"

Consider why you that debt? Was it a medical emergency, or were you overspending? Really, just what was it from? It's not like you need to feel bad. You just need to be honest. Am I overspending and that's what it's from, or was it a really difficult year and I didn't have income for a while and that's why I have debt or was there a medical emergency and I acquired debt? When you identify the reason, then you could get clear on the game plan that will stick for the long term.

And it might not be one and done emotionally, like "Oh, I feel guilty and now I'm not guilty anymore." You might have to keep acknowledging those feelings when you're working on a debt game plan and just keep reminding yourself, "No. I'm starting a new path. Here's the thing I want to remind myself about." All of those positive affirmations or mindsets to switch it, because it might not switch overnight.

Would you say then that the first step is doing this pen and paperwork of figuring out exactly what the debt is?

Castro: Exactly. That's the first step. And it sounds pretty basic and easy, but I think a lot of people avoid it because they're so scared, and it could just be one activity for that week. "Today, I'm just going to look at all the accounts, write down all these numbers, and then that's it, and then I'm going to feel good that that was what I did today. Next week, I'll start to look at it and process what it was, how did I get here?"

Take it step-by-step, and I think that's where Mint is so great because a lot of the messaging this year is about little wins. It's these little steps, so even if it's just taking that first step and identifying the debt, great. If you're using the Mint app, you can see all of that in your accounts, the net worth section, so that could be helpful too.

Do you have a preferred method for getting all of that information into one spot?

Castro: Well, if you use a Mint app and you link your accounts, you'll be able to see it. But also I think what you should do is pull up any app like that and write it down with pen and paper. Something about writing it down makes it more real and also a little bit more simple. I think sometimes we like to over-complicate. No, just literally write it down. What is it? How much is it? And then look at it from an objective point of view.

Okay. So we've got the Mint app going, we've written it down, we've processed our initial emotional response. What is the next step?

Castro: Well, the next step would then be to set up some sort of automatic payment plan to start tackling the debt with the highest interest rates. So look at all those that you just wrote down and decide which one has the highest interest rate and start making additional debt payments.

Even putting $10 more a month; it's progress, right? So it's all about making progress and taking these baby steps, and then doing it over and over. That's the next step: To organize the debt, start with the one with the highest interest rate, and make more payments toward that one. Even if it's something small that you think is not going to be a big deal, like $10 a month more, do it.

What are we looking at when we get a credit card bill?

Castro: Assuming you're carrying a balance, there's going to be a minimum payment. Let's say you have a balance on your credit card of $3,000 and they calculate the minimum monthly payment as $59, and that is the debt you've identified as the highest interest rate debt. Well, let's say you can add another $50 per month on top of the minimum. So now your total payment is $109. By adding $50 more per month, you're going to pay that debt off faster. You want to pay this one off fast because it's the one with the highest interest rate, meaning that's the one that's causing a lot of pain in your financial life.

How can somebody figure out how much they can afford to pay towards their credit card debt every month?

Castro: That's just really looking at your budget. Ideally, you're trying to carve out 20% of your net income for goals, and debt reduction is one of your goals, so depending on how much debt you have and where you stand in relation to other goals, such as your cash cushion.

This is the art of money. That's so different for everybody, but you would just say, "Alright, I have $200 to work with every month. I'm going to put $100 toward my cash cushion and $100 toward making extra debt payments."

You want to balance it out because a lot of people end up putting $200 toward extra debt, but they have nothing going to building a cash cushion, so then the next time an emergency comes up, they have to use the same debt that they were working so hard to pay off.

So that's kind of the art of money; figuring out what is it that you have to work with and looking at your budget. You can use an app like Mint and calculate what you can cut out, like subscriptions, anything to free up more cash flow, and then divide it according to the priority of your financial goals.

That is so interesting. I think that it can be tempting if you have a lot of debt to look at that and think, "The faster I pay this off the better." But you're saying not at the expense of making sure that you're building an emergency fund so that you can protect yourself moving forward?

Castro: Yeah. And that's the art of money. It might mean it takes you a little bit longer to pay off the debt because you're balancing out against building cash, but that's what you need to do because people can stay in that debt cycle, and that's the cycle we're trying to beat.

For someone who is paying off debt slowly, how can people continue to stay motivated? Are there ways that we can build in mini-milestones or moments of celebration along the way?

Castro: Absolutely. I think that's a big part of Mint's message this year: Celebrate all of these little wins because really that's what it is anyway. It's all the little wins that add up to big wins over time.

Let's say, for example, your debt reduction strategy would be that every time you pay $500 off of the balance, you have a little celebration, whether it's just acknowledging it with your family and loved ones, or maybe you do something nice. Maybe treat yourself to a dinner that won't break the bank. Find a way you can celebrate the milestones, and whatever that means to you. Maybe it's every $500 that you pay off in balance. Maybe it's every $1,000, or maybe even smaller, every $100, just depending on how much immediate gratification you need to keep the momentum. Sometimes these game plans are going to take five years, 10 years, so you have to stay motivated.

In your work, do you see things creep up again and again that tend to be sneaky ways that people accumulate credit card debt?

Castro: I think that's just it. It could be little things you're over-spending on every month. Let's say you're over-spending $300 every month and you're using your credit card. Well, you do that for a year, that's $3,600 that you now owe. So it is the little things, and that's why doing weekly budget check-ins, which I call money dates, can be very helpful.

It's easy to go on Amazon and click—if your budget's $300 per month for Amazon, and then you look after week one and you're like, "Oh, I already spent $275. What the heck did I just buy?" Then you check yourself and say, "Alright, for the next three weeks, I can't buy anything because I've already hit my limit." So this is how we check ourselves.

And it's kind of fun in a way. It could be a fun game to make sure you're spending within your boundaries and using the Mint app and doing the categories and setting up your budget and seeing how you're doing against those categories helps. Look at that every week. Don't just set up your budget and then forget about it. Look at it and say, "Okay. I already spent my Amazon budget for the month, so anything more I want will stay in the cart until next month."

What are some other nuggets that you can share with people that you feel are maybe are misunderstood or not talked about enough?

Castro: Depending on the situation, you might be able to qualify for a balance transfer credit card, and you run the numbers, and it might work out to your benefit, even though there's a transfer fee to do something like that, to lock in a 0% APR. So that's a good strategy to look at if you have multiple credit card debts and a high-interest rate.

What are your thoughts on debt consolidation or loans to pay off debts?

Castro: It can be tricky because there are fees. Debt consolidation is kind of the worst-case scenario, because, one, it affects your credit score badly, and then two, there are fees wrapped up. Basically, a company comes in, kind of negotiates your credit cards, then they take over those lines, and then you just pay that company.

First, you have to find a reputable company. That's why I say start with the balance transfer. Maybe there are other personal loans you can get. We don't usually recommend this unless, but home equity loans sometimes take out the debt, then you can get a lower interest rate. The idea is to see if there are any lower interest rates you can get on these debts while you work on paying them off.

Anything else that you think is helpful for people to know?

Castro: Remember that you're not alone if you have a credit card debt. The reality is we live in a country that has leveraged debt. I don't want to become Debbie Downer, but we're pumping out trillions of dollars on the daily here just within this last year alone. So remember that you're not alone, and you can empower yourself to change your scenario because you don't have to live with the burden of debt. You could change the scenario, make more money, manage the money better. I know sometimes debt is acquired just from life. Medical bills, emergencies. Totally cool. Don't feel bad. Just focus on getting it paid off. And you really can do it, because sometimes I think people look at it the debt and they're like, "It's never going to go away," but it will if you focus on it.

Is this also a scenario in which someone could reach out to a professional like yourself to help figure out what that budget should be and to sort of get a plan in place?

Castro: Yeah, they can. Sometimes even just hiring a financial planner for one hour for a consulting session is worth it. So there are financial planners who work on an hourly basis, and you can go to websites like CFP Board and NAPFA to find those types of people. It's really valuable to have someone look at the numbers with you and get a game plan together, and it's worth it to say, "I need someone to help me do that."

In This Article

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    When you ask any two mamas to share their experience with breastfeeding, you are bound to get very unique answers. That's because while the act of breastfeeding is both wonderful and natural, it also comes with a learning curve for both mothers and babies.

    In some cases, breastfeeding won't be the right path for everyone. But with the right tools, resources and social support systems, we can make progress toward the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation to continue breastfeeding through the first year of a child's life. After all, breastfeeding helps nourish infants, protects them against illnesses, develops their immune systems and more. Not to mention that mothers who breastfeed experience reduced risk for breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

    With National Breastfeeding Awareness Month this month, it's a great time for mamas (and expectant mamas!) to gather the supplies that will support their feeding journey—whether it looks like exclusively breastfeeding, pumping or combo-feeding.

    Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

    Designed for regular use, this double electric breast pump allows mamas to customize the cycle and vacuum settings that work for them. The 100% SoftShape™ silicone shields on this pump form-fit to a wide range of breast shapes and sizes—which means more comfortable, more efficient pumping. And every pump comes with two complete Dr. Brown's Options+ bottles, giving you everything you need to go from pumping to feeding.

    $159.99

    Dr. Brown’s™ Breast Milk Collection Bottles

    There's no need to cry over spilled milk—because it won't happen with these storage bottles! Make the pump-to-feeding transition simpler with Dr. Brown's Milk Collection Bottles. The bottles adapt to Dr. Brown's electric pumps to easily fill, seal and transport, and they work with Dr. Brown's bottle and nipple parts when your baby's ready to eat. (Meaning no risky pouring from one bottle to another. 🙌)

    $9.99

    Breast Milk Storage Bags

    With an extra-durable design and double zip seal, your breast milk will stay fresh and safe in the fridge or freezer until it's needed. Plus, the bags are easy to freeze flat and then store for up to six months, so your baby can continue drinking breast milk long after you are done nursing.

    $9.99

    Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump with Options+™ Bottle & Bag

    Here's something they don't tell you about breastfeeding ahead of time: While feeding your baby on one side, the other breast may "let down" milk, too. With this one-piece Silicone Breast Pump, you don't have to let those precious drops go to waste. The flexible design makes pouring the milk into a bottle stress-free.

    $14.99

    Dr. Brown’s® Manual Breast Pump

    No outlet in sight? No worries! With this powerful-yet-gentle Manual Breast Pump, you can get relief from engorgement, sneak in some quick midnight pumping or perform a full pumping session without any electricity needed. With Dr. Brown's 100% silicone SoftShape™ Shield, the hand-operated pump is as comfortable as it is easy to use. Complete with Dr. Brown's® Options+™ Anti-Colic Wide-Neck Bottle, a storage travel cap and cleaning brush, consider this the breastfeeding essential for any mama who has places to go.

    $29.99

    Options+™ Anti-Colic Baby Bottle

    With the soft silicone nipple and natural flow design of these bottles, your baby can easily switch between breast and bottle. Clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to the vent, your baby can enjoy a happy tummy after feeding sessions—without as much spit-up, burping or gas! By mimicking the flow and feel of the breast, these bottles help support your breastfeeding experience.

    $7.99

    This post is sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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    7 hacks for simplifying after-school snacks

    Prepping delicious and nutritious foods shouldn't take all day.

    When you're in the middle of the school year and managing a family, each minute of time becomes very precious. Sometimes that means healthy food choices in the household can take a backseat. But don't stress it, mama. Prepping delicious and nutritious choices for the kids to munch on doesn't need to take all day.

    Remember to keep it fun, simple and interactive! Here are tips for simplifying after-school snacks once and for all:

    1. Prep snacks on Sunday

    This simple trick can make the rest of the week a breeze. Tupperware is your friend here, you can even write different days of the week on each container to give the kids a little surprise every day. I really like storage with compartments for snack prep. Personally, I slice apples, carrots or cucumbers to pair with almond butter and hummus—all great to grab and go for when you're out all day and need some fresh variety.

    2. When in doubt, go for fruit

    Fruit is always a quick and easy option. I suggest blueberries, clementine oranges, apples, frozen grapes or even unsweetened apple sauce and dried fruit, like mixed fruit. It's fun to put together a fruit salad, too. Simply cut up all the fruit options and let the kids decide how they'd like to compile. Prepped fruit is also great to have on hand for smoothies, especially when it's been sitting in the fridge for a few days—throw it in the blender with some nut milk and voila.

    3. Pair snacks with a dip

    Hummus is a great dip to keep on hand with lots of versatility or you can grab a yogurt-based dip. Easy and healthy dippers include pre-sliced veggies, baby carrots and multigrain tortilla chips. Plain hummus is a great way to introduce seasonings and spices too—shake a little turmeric, add fresh basil and you'd be surprised what your kids will take to.

    4. Have high-protein options readily available

    Snacks with high protein, like cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs and jerky will fuel kids for hours. One of my favorites is a turkey stick, which is a fun addition to the hummus platter. Just slice into bite-sized pieces. I love cottage cheese because it can go savory or sweet, use as a dip with your prepped veggies, or drizzle pure maple syrup and sprinkle with berries.

    5. Always keep the pantry stocked

    Monthly deliveries keeps the pantry updated without a trip to grocery store. Many kids are big fans of popcorn, granola and pretzels. We like to DIY our own snack packs with a little popcorn, pretzels, nuts and whatever else is in the pantry so there's always something different!

    6. Make cracker tartines

    I love the idea of replicating popular restaurant dishes for kids. Here are some of my favorite snack-sized tartines using any crisp bread, or favorite flat cracker of your choice as the base. There are no rules and kids love adding toppings and finding new combinations they love.

    • Avocado crackers: Use a cracker and then layer with thinly sliced avocado, a dollop of fresh ricotta cheese topped with roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds.
    • Tacos: The base for this is a black bean spread—just drain a can of black beans, rinse and place into a wide bowl. With a fork or potato masher, lightly smush the beans until chunky. Spread onto your cracker and top with tomato, cheddar cheese and black olives. Try out a dollop of super mild salsa or some lime zest to introduce some new flavor profiles.
    • A play on PB&J: Smear peanut butter, almond or a favorite sun butter on the cracker. I like to get a mix it up a bit and put fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries and tiny diced apples) and a little bit of dried fruit sprinkled on top.

    7. Pre-make smoothie pops

    The easy part about meal prep is the prep itself, but knowing exactly how much to make ahead is tricky. Freeze a smoothie in popsicle molds to have a healthy treat ready-to-go snack. They're super simple to make: Add any fruit (I like apples, berries, pineapples and mangoes) and veggies (carrots, steamed beet and wilted kale) to a blender with your favorite nut milk until you have consistency just a bit thinner than a smoothie. Pour into your trusty reusable popsicle molds and then into the freezer to make an ice pop so good they could eat them for breakfast.

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    15 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

    So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


    Stomp Racers

    As longtime fans of Stomp Rockets, we're pretty excited about their latest launch–Stomp Racers. Honestly, the thrill of sending things flying through the air never gets old. Parents and kids alike can spend hours launching these kid-powered cars which take off via a stompable pad and hose.

    $19.99

    Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

    Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

    Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)

    $139

    Secret Agent play set

    Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

    This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    Stepping Stones

    Stepping-stones

    Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

    $99.99

    Sand play set

    B. toys Wagon & Beach Playset - Wavy-Wagon Red

    For the littlest ones, it's easy to keep it simple. Take their sand box toys and use them in the bath! This 12-piece set includes a variety of scoops, molds and sifters that can all be stored in sweet little wagon.

    $17.95

    Sensory play set

    kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

    Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $19.95

    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Foam pogo stick

    Flybar-my-first-foam-pogo-stick

    Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

    $16.99

    Dumptruck 

    green-toys-dump-truck

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

    $22

    Hopper ball

    Hopper ball

    Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

    $14.99

    Pull-along ducks

    janod-pull-along-wooden-ducks

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $16.99

    Rocking chair seesaw

    Slidewhizzer-rocking-chair-seesaw

    This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

    $79.99

    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $79.99

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $24.75

    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

    $40

    We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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    Even 5 hours of screen time per day is OK for school-aged kids, says new study

    Researchers found screen time contributes to stronger peer relationships and had no effect on depression and anxiety. So maybe it isn't as bad as we thought?

    MoMo Productions/Getty Images

    If you've internalized some parental guilt about your own child's screen time usage, you're not alone. Numerous studies have shown that exposure to significant amounts of screen time in children leads to an increased risk of depression and behavioral issues, poor sleep and obesity, among other outcomes. Knowing all this can mean you're swallowing a big gulp of guilt every time you unlock the iPad or turn on the TV for your kiddo.

    But is screen time really that bad? New research says maybe not. A study published in September 2021 of 12,000 9- and 10-year-olds found that even when school-aged kids spend up to 5 hours per day on screens (watching TV, texting or playing video games), it doesn't appear to be that harmful to their mental health.

    Researchers found no association between screen usage and depression or anxiety in children at this age.

    In fact, kids who had more access to screen time tended to have more friends and stronger peer relationships, most likely thanks to the social nature of video gaming, social media and texting.


    The correlations between screen time and children's health

    But those big social benefits come with a caveat. The researchers also noted that kids who used screens more frequently were in fact more likely to have attention problems, impacted sleep, poorer academic performance and were more likely to show aggressive behavior.

    Without a randomized controlled trial, it's hard to nail down these effects as being caused directly by screens. The study's authors analyzed data from a nationwide study known as the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (ABCD Study), the largest long-term study of brain development and children's health in the country. They relied on self-reported levels of screen time from both children and adults (it's funny to note that those reported numbers differed slightly depending on who was asked… ).

    It's important to remember that these outcomes are just correlations—not causations. "We can't say screen time causes the symptoms; instead, maybe more aggressive children are given screen devices as an attempt to distract them and calm their behavior," says Katie Paulich, lead author of the study and a PhD student in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Also worth noting is that a child's socioeconomic status has a 2.5-times-bigger impact on behavior than screens.

    Weighing the benefits with the risks will be up to you as the parent, who knows your child best. And because we live in a digital world, screens are here to stay, meaning parents often have little choice in the matter. It's impossible to say whether recreational screen time is fully "good" or "bad" for kids. It's maybe both.

    "When looking at the strength of the correlations, we see only very modest associations," says Paulich. "That is, any association between screen time and the various outcomes, whether good or bad, is so small it's unlikely to be important at a clinical level." It's all just part of the overall picture.

    A novel look at screen time in adolescents

    The researchers cite a lack of studies examining the relationship between screen time and health outcomes in this specific early-adolescence age group, which is one of the reasons why this study is so groundbreaking. The findings don't apply to younger children—or older adolescents, who may be starting to go through puberty.

    Screen time guidelines do exist for toddlers up to older kids, but up to 1.5 hours per day seems unattainable for many young adolescents, who often have their own smartphones and laptops, or at least regular access to one.

    Of course, more research is needed, but that's where this study can be helpful. The ABCD study will follow the 12,000 participants for another 10 years, following up with annual check-ins. It'll be interesting to see how the findings change over time: Will depression and anxiety as a result of screen time be more prevalent as kids age? We'll have to wait and see.

    The bottom line? Parents should still be the gatekeepers of their child's screen time in terms of access and age-appropriateness, but, "our early research suggests lengthy time on screen is not likely to yield dire consequences," says Paulich.

    Children's health

    Mom and gorilla bond over their babies at the zoo: ‘It was so beautiful’

    The new mothers shared a special moment at a Boston zoo.

    Franklin Park Zoo/YouTube

    Motherhood knows no bounds.

    When Kiki the gorilla spotted a new mom and baby visiting her habitat at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, she immediately took a liking to the pair. Emmelina Austin held her five-week-old son Canyon to the glass so Kiki could get a better look.

    The gorilla spent nearly five minutes happily pointing and staring at baby Canyon.


    Emmelina's husband captured the sweet moment on his phone, in a video that's now gone viral.

    Mother shares unique maternal bond with gorilla (FULL VIDEO) www.youtube.com

    Why was Kiki so interested in her tiny visitor? Possibly because Kiki's a new mom herself. Her fifth baby, Pablo, was born in October.

    Near the end of the video, Kiki scooped up Pablo and held him close. The new moms held their baby boys to the glass and shared a special moment together: just a couple of mothers, showing off their little ones.

    "When I walked into the zoo that day, I never could've imagined that we would have had that experience," Austin told ABC News. "It was so beautiful, and we walked out just over the moon."

    We can't get enough of the sweet exchange. There's something special about sharing your little one with the world. Mothers of all ages, races–and it turns out, species–understand.

    Our favorite viral mama + kid videos