First time making the Thanksgiving turkey? Start here.

If this year has taught us anything, it's that we can do hard things.

Thanksgiving turkey
@lelia_milaya / Twenty20

Thanksgiving is looking different for a lot of us this year. Many of us aren't traveling to see loved ones for the holiday, and the traditional Thanksgiving meal—with multiple families crowded together around a table—is actually classified as a high-risk activity by the CDC. (Thanks, 2020.)

This year has thrown a lot of changes and challenges at us parents, from childcare to summer camp to school, but we're adapting and making the best of it. That said, if your usual Thanksgiving m.o. is just showing up at your parents' or your in-laws' house ready to mow down some turkey and stuffing, one of the biggest changes this year might be suddenly finding yourself responsible for cooking your first Thanksgiving turkey. The centerpiece of the meal. The big bird. Don't panic.

Here's a step by step guide to roasting your very first Thanksgiving turkey without a hitch, and making sure your bird is delicious without making yourself go mad. Because it's 2020 and things are complicated enough.

What you’ll need

  • A turkey. Naturally. (More on how to choose a turkey below.)
  • A roasting pan. This can be a deep metal roasting pan, or one of those aluminum one-time-use-only dealies you see in the supermarket. But you need to have a deep, wide roasting pan—don't try doing this in a baking dish, a casserole dish, a skillet or (heaven forbid) a baking sheet. And if you have a roasting pan rack for the turkey to sit on in the pan, that's definitely a plus.
  • A good sharp knife. Carving a big slippery hot turkey is much easier with the proper instrument. Trust me. Bonus points if you have a carving fork too.
  • A baster. Even if you only use this once a year and the rest of the time it takes up space in your kitchen drawer, it's worth it for this purpose.
  • Aluminium foil.
  • Butter, salt, olive oil, pepper, flour, a couple onions and whatever herbs you like. Rosemary and thyme are nice. Fresh is best but dried is good too.
  • A meat thermometer. A lot of supermarket turkeys are sold with a built-in thermometer—that red plastic button that supposedly pops up out of the turkey breast when it's "done." Pay no attention to that red pop-up button. It's a notorious little liar. Get a meat thermometer if you don't have one. It doesn't have to be fancy, just buy one of those basic meat thermometers in the kitchen tools aisle with a pokey bit and a readout dial.
  • Kitchen twine. For tying up the legs. If your turkey comes with a plastic trussing piece (most birds at the supermarket do—feel the package around the base of the bird beneath the drumsticks, and if you feel something rigid, that's it), you can skip this.
  • A box of broth. This is optional, but handy for basting and for gravy-making. It can be turkey broth (if you can find it) or chicken broth.

Here's what you don't need—at least, not your first time wrasslin' the yardbird: Don't buy a gravy separator. Don't buy a ton of extra stuffing to put inside the turkey itself (more on this below, too). Don't buy cheesecloth. Don't buy those little paper chef-hat looking things for the ends of your turkey legs. Keep it simple.

How to pick a turkey

Do not buy the biggest Scrooge-impressing-the-Cratchits turkey you can find at the store. Here's the good news about a pandemic Thanksgiving: Since most of us are cooking for our immediate families only this year, there's no need to buy a giant turkey that takes forever to cook and is hard to roast evenly, even for experienced cooks. You can buy a smaller Thanksgiving turkey to feed your crew and still have leftovers for sandwiches. Look for a turkey in the 8 to 10 pound range. (Or if your family is small, consider just buying a breast only and pan roasting that with some olive oil and seasoning.)

Is your turkey organic? Is it gourmet? Is it from the farmer's market? If so, that's great. If not, that's also great. You have other things to worry about this year. Stay frosty.

How to thaw a turkey

To be honest, this is probably the most important part of making Thanksgiving turkey. If you don't thaw it completely, it won't cook evenly, plus not all of the meat will cook to a safe temperature to eat. And if you don't thaw it at all, you're ordering Thai food. So if you pay attention to nothing else on this page, please do note this:

If you buy a frozen turkey, or if you freeze your turkey after bringing it home from the store, you need to thaw it in the fridge for one full, 24-hour day per 5 pounds of bird.

That means if you have a 10 pound frozen turkey, that sucker's sitting next to your milk in the fridge for two full days, or 48 hours. Plan accordingly.

Also, speaking from tragic experience, while the turkey is thawing in the fridge you might consider putting some post-it messages on it for the benefit of any other well-meaning but turkey-illiterate members of your household: Do not move me! Do not put me on the counter! Do not put me in the freezer! I like it just where I am—hogging up all the room and making it impossible to put back the orange juice! Leave me be until Thanksgiving morning!

How to prep a turkey for roasting

A few things need to happen before you put the bird in the oven: You have to pull out the neck and gizzards (sorry), you have to season the bird and you have to truss up the legs so they don't flop to the sides and cook slower than the breast.

Here's how to prep your turkey for the oven, step by step.

Let the turkey sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Unwrap and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Remove the neck and gizzards. Here comes the gross part. Be strong: You've survived the 2020 election, you can get through this.

Most supermarket turkeys have the neck and gizzards tucked inside the bird. To remove them, you need to reach inside the cavity, up toward the neck, and pull them out.

If your turkey's legs are bound with a plastic truss, you'll first need to slip one of the drumstick ends out of its noose. This may be slippery and difficult (like giving a newborn a bath) but if you're a parent you've done harder things (like giving a newborn a bath). Once one of the legs is pulled to the side, you can reach inside the bird and feel around for anything that feels, well, not like a bird's rib cage: that's probably either the neck or the little pouch filled with gizzards. Get them both. Use a flashlight if you have to.

Some people will tell you to save the neck for making turkey gravy. I am not that person. You can make delicious gravy from drippings without holding on to some gross old turkey neck. Again, it's 2020. Let's not go crazy here.

Once you've got the innards out, put the turkey into the roasting pan and move on to the next steps.

Season the turkey. I like to make a mixture of salt, pepper, fresh chopped herbs, and room temperature butter and just slather the bird all over with it, both under the skin and on top. I use about a stick of softened butter, a teaspoon each of pepper and coarse kosher salt, and a couple tablespoons of chopped thyme, rosemary, parsley...use whatever herbs you like. I also like to put a peeled and quartered onion inside the cavity of the bird, along with a bay leaf or two. Once that's all done, sprinkle the skin with salt and pepper.

After the bird is about halfway done and there's a layer of sizzling drippings in the pan, I usually quarter another onion and put another bay leaf right into the pan alongside the bird, to flavor the drippings for gravy. This is not required. You do you.

A word of caution: Please do not stuff your turkey. Certainly not the first time you make one, and maybe not ever. Many many food experts, all wiser minds than my own, have weighed in on why stuffing a turkey is a.) gross (who wants to eat slimy stuffing?) b.) unsafe (stuffing the cavity makes the bird take longer to cook, plus you have to make sure the stuffing reaches a safe temperature) and c.) responsible for a lot of people thinking turkey is hard to roast, because cooking the stuffing to a safe temperature means keeping the bird in the oven until the breast meat is totally dried out. The solution: Make the stuffing on the side and drizzle some gravy or broth over it.

Truss the turkey legs. If your turkey came with a plastic truss, your job here is simple: Fit the bony tip of the drumstick back through the noose, which will pull the legs back in toward the breast. If you don't have a plastic truss, or you threw it away without realizing it was important, or you cut through it in a panic to get the gizzards out, you can still tie the legs together with kitchen twine, making a figure-eight around the drumstick ends to pull them tightly together, then tying in a simple knot and trimming the ends of the twine. Tuck the wing tips under the body as well, to keep them from browning too early.

Now your turkey is ready for the oven.

How to roast a turkey

Cover the turkey with a loose tent of aluminum foil.

Place your oven rack in the lower part of the oven, with extra room between the lower rack and middle rack.

Put the turkey in its roasting pan in the oven on the lowest rack. If you're using one of the floppy, thin foil roasting pans from the supermarket, you may want to put a thin cookie sheet underneath the roasting pan to make it easier to move in and out of the oven.

Roast the turkey at 375 degrees for about 2 ½ to 3 hours (10-12 minutes per pound), until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F.

While the turkey is roasting:

  • Baste the turkey breast about once every 30 minutes. Try to baste quickly so that the oven doesn't lose heat—about 5 squirts per basting should do it.
  • If the pan juices run dry, add a half cup of broth and a few tablespoons of butter to the pan for basting.
  • Remove the foil and rotate the pan halfway through, or after the turkey has been in the oven 1 1/2 hours.
  • Check the turkey's temperature after it's been in the oven for 2 hours, then check about every 20 minutes thereafter, until the temperature at the thickest part of the thigh reads 165.
  • Do not trust the little red button.

How to carve a turkey

Let the turkey rest under foil for 20 minutes.

Move the turkey to a carving board or serving platter to carve. Or, you can carve it right in the pan and arrange the pieces on a serving platter, which saves you the hot, slippery, nail-biting gamble of moving a heavy, roasted bird.

I like to start with cutting the leg and thigh, because the dark meat is moister and denser than the light meat of the breast and can stand a few more minutes on the serving platter without drying out. For the same reason I also like to carve just one side at a time and leave the rest on the bone until everybody's ready for seconds, or until you're ready to start packing up leftovers.

Remove the leg. First, cut whatever you used to truss the legs. Then use your fingers to pull the drumstick slightly away from the body, which should loosen the skin and thigh joint. Insert the tip of your knife into the thigh joint (start at the top of the crease between the leg and the body and angle the knife in) and cut through the ligaments to separate the joint. Move the leg to a cutting board and separate the drumstick from the thigh by inserting the tip of your knife into the joint and cutting through again.

Carve the drumstick. It's hard to get neat slices of meat off a drumstick, so don't sweat the aesthetics and consider this your warmup round. Hold the drumstick upright by the bone end, so that the meaty part is on the cutting board, and slice downward at a slight angle to the bone. Turn and repeat. Use your fingers to pick off any extra bits. Go ahead. It's family. They'll never know.

Carve the thigh. Lay the thigh flat on a cutting board. Figure out where the bone is by finding the joints on both ends; the bone runs straight through. Then cut through the meat parallel to the bone at a downward angle.

Carve the breast. There are two ways to do this: The on-the-bird way and the off-the-bird way. I happen to prefer the off-the-bird method because it makes thicker, neater slices to serve, but the on-the-bird method is the one most people are familiar with.

For either method, your first step is this: Nestle your knife edge into the crevice between the wing and the body, with the flat edge of the knife facing up, and make a long, deep cut straight in, toward the breastbone.

Next, to carve on the bird, start at the breastbone and carve thin slices down toward the thigh. Imagine the rib cage and angle your knife parallel to that. (That first cut you made across the breast will make the slices come off easier—see?)

To carve the off-the-bird way, make a perpendicular cut along the breastbone from the top all the way down to the bottom. You can then remove the turkey breast entirely with a carving fork, put it on a cutting board, and cut it into slices.

Repeat on the other side. And remember, it's okay to use your fingers if you need to, because #2020.

How to make pan gravy (extra credit)

You could decide to serve pre-made gravy or gravy from broth—again, this year has already been hard enough, so do what's easiest for you. But if you want to make really tasty pan gravy from scratch, you have the key ingredient sitting right in your roasting pan: drippings!

First, pour the drippings into a measuring cup or bowl, let it settle for a minute, and use your baster to skim off as much fat from the surface of the liquid as you can, reserving that fat in another bowl or measuring cup.

Position your roasting pan over two burners and turn them both on medium-low (if you used a thin, aluminum, one-time-use roasting pan, you'll need to use a heavy-bottomed saucepan over one burner for this part).

Pour about two tablespoons of reserved fat into the pan (or butter, if you weren't able to skim much fat off the top), and then add two tablespoons of flour. Cook the flour in the fat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the liquid starts to thicken and the flour starts to smell toasty and look golden brown.

Add the drippings back into the pan, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon, and cook while stirring until the mixture is smooth, about a minute.

Gradually whisk in two cups of broth (either turkey or chicken broth), bring to a boil, and simmer for 3 minutes until thickened, whisking and whisking until it's all smooth and flavorful and delicious.

If you don't like lumpy gravy you can pour it through a strainer before serving. Now go eat.

<p> Siobhan Adcock is the Experts Editor at Motherly and the author of two novels about motherhood, <a href="" target="_blank">The Completionist</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">The Barter</a>. Her writing has also appeared in Romper, Bustle, Ms., McSweeney's, Slate, Salon, The Daily Beast, The Chicago Review of Books and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter. </p>

Kristen Bell and Jackie Tohn on how they’re ‘sneak teaching’ kids with their new show "Do, Re & Mi"

The best friends created a musical animated show that's just as educational as it is entertaining

Amazon Studios

This episode is sponsored by Tonies. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Kristen Bell and Jackie Tohn have been best friends since they met as young singers and actors more than 15 years ago, and now they're collaborating on a new Amazon Original animated kids series called Do, Re & Mi. The show, which follows best birds Do, Re and Mi as they navigate the world around them while also belting out catchy tunes, is just as educational as it is entertaining.

On the latest episode of The Motherly Podcast, Bell and Tohn talk to Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety about how they're "sneak teaching" kids with their new show and why music is such an important focal point.

"It was basically our mission from the very beginning to 'sneak music education' into kids' lives, hands, brains, all of it," Tohn admits.

"There's so much science and data to support that [music] helps kids, their brains grow with math, with social skills. It literally can change your neuroplasticity. You can put music of their favorite genre or timeframe on, in an Alzheimer's ward, and they will come back online for a couple minutes. I mean, it's crazy," Bell, who has two daughters of her own, adds. "You know, music can bind a lot of families together. It can bind friendships together. And it's just a show that you can feel really good about. We want to get it in front of as many kids as possible, because I don't like the fact that some kids won't have exposure to music. Their brains deserve to grow just as much as everyone else's."

The first season of Do, Re & Mi premiered on September 17th and its creators recorded 52 different songs for the show that range from reggae and pop to country, blues and jazz.

"That's what's so exciting about this show," Tohn gushes. "Not only are the lessons we're teaching for everyone, but every episode has a musical genre, a musical lesson and an emotional lesson. And so there really is so much to learn."

Elsewhere in the episode, Bell tells Tenety about how she made literal toolboxes that carry different regulation tools to help her kids calm down (one is "find a song you love and sing out loud") and why having a village is crucial to surviving motherhood, especially in a pandemic, while Tohn details her special friendship not only with Bell, but with her daughters, too.

To hear more about the show, Bell's experiences in motherhood, and her enduring friendship with Tohn, listen to The Motherly Podcast for the full interview.


12 baby registry essentials for family adventures

Eager to get out and go? Start here

Ashley Robertson / @ashleyrobertson

Parenthood: It's the greatest adventure of all. From those first few outings around the block to family trips at international destinations, there are new experiences to discover around every corner. As you begin the journey, an adventurous spirit can take you far—and the best baby travel gear can help you go even farther.

With car seats, strollers and travel systems designed to help you confidently get out and go on family adventures, Maxi-Cosi gives you the support you need to make the memories you want.

As a mom of two, Ashley Robertson says she appreciates how Maxi-Cosi products can grow with her growing family. "For baby gear, safety and ease are always at the top of our list, but I also love how aesthetically pleasing the Maxi Cosi products are," she says. "The Pria Car Seat was our first purchase and it's been so nice to have a car seat that 'grows' with your child. It's also easy to clean—major bonus!"

If you have big dreams for family adventures, start by exploring these 12 baby registry essentials.

Tayla™️ XP Travel System

Flexibility is key for successful family adventures. This reversible, adjustable, all-terrain travel system delivers great versatility. With the included Coral XP Infant Car Seat that fits securely in the nesting system, you can use this stroller from birth.

Add to Babylist


Iora Bedside Bassinet

Great for use at home or for adventures that involve a night away, the collapsible Iora Bedside Bassinet gives your baby a comfortable, safe place to snooze. With five different height positions and three slide positions, this bassinet can fit right by your bedside. The travel bag also makes it easy to take on the go.

Add to Babylist


Kori 2-in-1 Rocker

Made with high-quality, soft materials, the foldable Kori Rocker offers 2-in-1 action by being a rocker or stationary seat. It's easy to move around the home, so you can keep your baby comfortable wherever you go. With a slim folded profile, it's also easy to take along on adventures so your baby always has a seat of their own.

Add to Babylist


Minla 6-in-1 High Chair

A high chair may not come to mind when you're planning ahead for family adventures. But, as the safest spot for your growing baby to eat meals, it's worth bringing along for the ride. With compact folding ability and multiple modes of use that will grow with your little one, it makes for easy cargo.

Add to Babylist


Coral XP Infant Car Seat

With the inner carrier weighing in at just 5 lbs., this incredibly lightweight infant car seat means every outing isn't also an arm workout for you. Another feature you won't find with other infant car seats? In addition to the standard carry bar, the Coral XP can be carried with a flexible handle or cross-body strap.

Add to Babylist


Pria™️ All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

From birth through 10 years, this is the one and only car seat you need. It works in rear-facing, forward-facing and, finally, booster mode. Comfortable and secure for every mile of the journey ahead, you can feel good about hitting the road for family fun.

Add to Babylist


Pria™️ Max All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

Want to skip the wrestling match with car seat buckles? The brilliant Out-of-the-Way harness system and magnetic chest clip make getting your child in and out of their buckles as cinch. This fully convertible car seat is suitable for babies from 4 lbs. through big kids up to 100 lbs. With washer-and-dryer safe cushions and dishwasher safe cup holders, you don't need to stress the mess either.

Add to Babylist


Tayla Modular Lightweight Stroller

With four reclining positions, your little ones can stay content—whether they want to lay back for a little shut-eye or sit up and take in the view. Also reversible, the seat can be turned outward or inward if you want to keep an eye on your adventure buddy. Need to pop it in the trunk or take it on the plane? The stroller easily and compactly folds shut.

Add to Babylist

Tayla Travel System

This car seat and stroller combo is the baby travel system that will help make your travel dreams possible from Day 1. The Mico XP infant seat is quick and easy to install into the stroller or car. Skipping the car seat? The reversible stroller seat is a comfortable way to take in the scenery.

Add to Babylist

Modern Diaper Bag

When you need to change a diaper during an outing, the last thing you'll want to do is scramble to find one. The Modern Diaper Bag will help you stay organized for brief outings or week-long family vacations. In addition to the pockets and easy-carry strap, we love the wipeable diaper changing pad, insulated diaper bag and hanging toiletry bag.

Add to Babylist


Mico XP Max Infant Car Seat

Designed for maximum safety and comfort from the very first day, this infant car seat securely locks into the car seat base or compatible strollers. With a comfy infant pillow and luxe materials, it also feels as good for your baby as it looks to you. Not to mention the cushions are all machine washable and dryable, which is a major win for you.

Add to Babylist

Adorra™️ 5-in-1 Modular Travel System

From carriage mode for newborn through world-view seated mode for bigger kids, this 5-in-1 children's travel system truly will help make travel possible. We appreciate the adjustable handlebar, extended canopy with UV protection and locking abilities when it's folded. Your child will appreciate the plush cushions, reclining seat and smooth ride.

Add to Babylist

Ready for some family adventures? Start by exploring Maxi-Cosi.

This article was sponsored by Maxi-Cosi. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Boost 1

This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.

Honestly, it's no wonder. Originally designed as a better blanket for luxury hotels and engineered with textile experts to create this uniquely soft fabric, it has made my bed into the vacation I so desperately want these days.

The comforter is made up of two layers. On one side is their signature knit "snug" fabric which out-cozies even my most beloved (bought on sale) cashmere sweater. The other, a soft quilted microfiber. Together, it creates a weighty blanket that's as soothing to be under as it is to flop face-first into at the end of an exhausting day. Or at lunch. No judgement.

Miraculously, given the weight and construction, it stays totally breathable and hasn't left me feeling overheated even on these warm summer nights with just a fan in the window.

Beyond being the absolute most comfortable comforter I've found, it's also answered my minimalist bed making desires. Whether you opt to use it knit or quilted side up, it cleanly pulls the room together and doesn't wrinkle or look unkempt even if you steal a quick nap on top of it.

Also worth noting, while all that sounds super luxe and totally indulgent, the best part is, it's equally durable. It's made to be easily machine washed and come out the other side as radically soft as ever, forever, which totally helps take the sting out of the price tag.

My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

Here is my top pick from Sunday Citizen, along with the super-soft goods I'm coveting for future purchases.

Woodland Snug comforter


The bedroom anchor I've been looking for— the Snug Comforter.


Braided Pom Pom Throw

Because this degree of coziness needs portability, I'm totally putting the throw version on my list. It's washable, which is a must-have given my shedding dog and two spill-prone kiddos who are bound to fight over it during family movie night.


Lumbar pillow


What's a cozy bed without a pile of pillows?


Crystal infused sleep mask

sunday citizen sleep mask

Promoting sleep by creating total darkness and relaxation, I've bookmarked as my go-to gift for fellow mamas.


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


10 Montessori phrases for kids who are struggling with back to school

The first day of school can be hard for everyone, mama. Here's how to use the Montessori method to help your child adjust.

No matter how excited your child was to pick out a new lunchbox and backpack this year, there will likely be days when they just don't want to go to school. Whether they're saying "I don't like school" when you're home playing together or having a meltdown on the way to the classroom, there are things you can say to help ease their back-to-school nerves.

More than the exact words you use, the most important thing is your attitude, which your child is most definitely aware of. It's important to validate their feelings while conveying a calm confidence that school is the right place for them to be and that they can handle it.

Here are some phrases that will encourage your child to go to school.

1. "You're safe here."

If you have a young child, they may be genuinely frightened of leaving you and going to school. Tell them that school is a safe place full of people who care about them. If you say this with calm confidence, they'll believe you. No matter what words you say, if your child senses your hesitation, your own fear of leaving them, they will not feel safe. How can they be safe if you're clearly scared of leaving them? Try to work through your own feelings about dropping them off before the actual day so you can be a calm presence and support.

2. "I love you and I know you can do this."

It's best to keep your goodbye short, even if your child is crying or clinging to you, and trust that you have chosen a good place for them to be. Most children recover from hard goodbyes quickly after the parent leaves.

If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, give one good strong hug and tell them that you love them and know they can do this. Saying something like, "It's just school, you'll be fine" belittles their feelings. Instead, acknowledge that this is hard, but that you're confident they're up to the task. This validates the anxiety they're feeling while ending on a positive note.

After a quick reassurance, make your exit, take a deep breath and trust that they will be okay.

3. "First you'll have circle time, then work time, and then you'll play on the playground."

Talk your child through the daily schedule at school, including as many details as possible. Talk about what will happen when you drop them off, what kinds of work they will do, when they will eat lunch and play outside, and who will come to get them in the afternoon.

It can help to do this many times so that they become comfortable with the new daily rhythm.

4. "I'll pick you up after playground time."

Give your child a frame of reference for when you will be returning.

If your child can tell time, you can tell them you'll see them at 3:30pm. If they're younger, tell them what will happen right before you pick them up. Perhaps you'll come get them right after lunch, or maybe it's after math class.

Giving this reference point can help reassure them you are indeed coming back and that there is a specific plan for when they will see you again. As the days pass, they'll realize that you come consistently every day when you said you would and their anxieties will ease.

5. "What book do you think your teacher will read when you get to school this morning?"

Find out what happens first in your child's school day and help them mentally transition to that task. In a Montessori school, the children choose their own work, so you might ask about which work your child plans to do first.

If they're in a more traditional school, find an aspect of the school morning they enjoy and talk about that.

Thinking about the whole school day can seem daunting, but helping your child focus on a specific thing that will happen can make it seem more manageable.

6. "Do you think Johnny will be there today?"

Remind your child of the friends they will see when they get to school.

If you're not sure who your child is bonding with, ask the teacher. On the way to school, talk about the children they can expect to see and try asking what they might do together.

If your child is new to the school, it might help to arrange a playdate with a child in their class to help them form strong relationships.

7. "That's a hard feeling. Tell me about it."

While school drop-off is not the time to wallow in the hard feelings of not wanting to go to school, if your child brings up concerns after school or on the weekend, take some time to listen to them.

Children can very easily be swayed by our leading questions, so keep your questions very general and neutral so that your child can tell you what they're really feeling.

They may reveal that they just miss you while they're gone, or may tell you that a certain person or kind of work is giving them anxiety.

Let them know that you empathize with how they feel, but try not to react too dramatically. If you think there is an issue of real concern, talk to the teacher about it, but your reaction can certainly impact the already tentative feelings about going to school.

8. "What can we do to help you feel better?"

Help your child brainstorm some solutions to make them more comfortable with going to school.

Choose a time at home when they are calm. Get out a pen and paper to show that you are serious about this.

If they miss you, would a special note in their pocket each morning help? If another child is bothering them, what could they say or who could they ask for help? If they're too tired in the morning, could an earlier bedtime make them feel better?

Make it a collaborative process, rather than a situation where you're rescuing them, to build their confidence.

9. "What was the best part of your school day?"

Choose a time when your child is not talking about school and start talking about your day. Tell them the best part of your day, then try asking about the best part of their day. Practice this every day.

It's easy to focus on the hardest parts of an experience because they tend to stick out in our minds. Help your child recognize that, even if they don't always want to go, there are likely parts of school they really enjoy.

10. "I can't wait to go to the park together when we get home."

If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, remind them of what you will do together after you pick them up from school.

Even if this is just going home and making dinner, what your child likely craves is time together with you, so help them remember that it's coming.

It is totally normal for children to go through phases when they don't want to go to school. If you're concerned, talk to your child's teacher and ask if they seem happy and engaged once they're in the classroom.

To your child, be there to listen, to help when you can, and to reassure them that their feelings are natural and that they are so capable of facing the challenges of the school day, even when it seems hard.

Back to School

Yes, a shower can be self-care—here's how to level it up

Some seasons of life can make you feel like you have no time for self-care, so here's how you can make an everyday activity a luxury.


Over the course of the last several years, "self-care" has become not only a buzzword, but also a daily requirement for personal fulfillment. And while self-care is important, it loses its appeal when it feels like a chore, or yet another item on a never-ending To Do list. I have a one-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. I work full-time, and I do not have full-time childcare. As a result, like many parents, free time is the stuff of fairy tales.

Instead of beating myself up over my inability to get to the nail salon or to schedule a monthly massage, I decided to redefine self-care—to be grateful for the little moments, to elevate them. In the seasons of life where you can't figure out how to fit "self-care" in—or when trying to fit it in causes more stress—choose to relish the small escapes. After all, the intent of self-care is to feel better, to improve your overall health, to fill your cup so you can help to fill others. When the act of scheduling self-care puts more weight on your shoulders, it defeats the purpose.

I can't tell you how many articles I've read that say a shower—basic hygiene—shouldn't qualify as self-care, and I do understand that sentiment.

However, on the days, weeks, or even months where you can't find hour-long blocks of scheduled "me time," why not embrace your shower as an act of self-care?

In all honesty, my nightly shower after my kids go to sleep is beyond. I look forward to it. I set the mood and bask in 10-15 minutes of silence and pampering. Here are some of my tried-and-true tips to boost your shower:

  • Light a candle: What is it about the simple act of lighting a candle that sets the mood? I recently received a South Candle from my MIL, and the dreamy summer scent has me reaching for it again and again.
  • Use a dry brush: I jumped on the dry brushing trend a few years ago and never looked back. Right before I shower, I use a dry brush on my body to exfoliate and improve lymphatic drainage.
  • Hang eucalyptus: Visit your local florist, and buy a bundle of fresh eucalyptus. In addition to its spa-esque scent, eucalyptus boasts multiple healing effects, like promoting stress-relief and improving mental health.
  • Cleanse: Indie Lee's Brightening Cleanser smells delicious and is a great addition to anyone's summer skincare routine. This vegan and plant-based formula leaves my skin looking bright and firm.
  • Splurge: It's not cheap, but Tata Harper's smoothing body scrub buffs and polishes your skin, leaving it smooth, glowing, and in my case — ready to hit the sheets!
  • Moisturize: Post-shower, use your favorite moisturizer. I love Alba Botanica's very emollient unscented original body lotion — it's super hydrating and gentle on sensitive skin without an overwhelming fragrance.
  • Enhance your skin while you catch some z's: Glow Recipe's Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask completes my nightly skincare routine. It smells like candy, and I wake up with soft, dewy skin.

Moral of the story? For busy parents, your nightly shower is a special occasion, so don't save the good products for another day—use them now!

Elevating the little moments and being creative carries over to all other areas of your life as well. Can't make it to a barre class? Slide into bridge pose while on the floor with the kiddos and do some hip raises. Turn a dance party into a quick HIIT workout with some squat jumps. Take the kiddos for a walk and pop in your airpods. Fresh air, movement, and a podcast fuels my soul. Having trouble finding a sitter for date night? Enhance your "Netflix and chill" with restaurant-quality cocktails, fancy popcorn, and a bougie dessert.

In certain seasons of life, recognize self-care in the little moments. It's not worth stressing about your inability to practice an idealistic—and unrealistic—self-care routine. Instead, find the moment, elevate it, and enjoy it.

Beauty Style

Kate Hudson says she's not done having kids—here's how she knows

Hudson shared her reason for considering baby number four....and it's pretty relatable to fellow toddler mamas.

For many parents deciding how many children to have isn't an easy one. Mama of three Kate Hudson welcomed her baby girl Rani Rose in 2018 and has two older sons, 16-year-old Ryder Russell and 8-year-old Bingham Hawn. Her family is beautiful, but it may not be complete.

"I don't know if I'm done yet," Hudson said during a recent appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Hudson shared her reason for considering baby number four....and it's pretty relatable to fellow toddler mamas.

"Right now, Rani's in that place where you're like, 'I want another baby,'" Hudson explained. "But once she gets like four, five, you're like, 'I feel like my life is kinda back a little bit. They're kind of in a groove.' There's, like, a window."

There totally is a window, and it's 18 to 59 months, according to data from the CDC. More than half of the siblings born in recent years have an age gap between 18 months (1.5 years) and 59 months (4.91 years).

In this way, Hudson is pretty out of the ordinary as she's had longer interpregnancy intervals than most American moms with her first three kids. The gap between her sons is 89 months and the gap between her middle child and her youngest is 87 months.

According to the data, women in Hudson's current age group (30-44) are more likely to have longer interpregnancy intervals than younger moms, but only 20% of interpregnancy intervals are over 60 months.

Hudson's revelation about her family size came as she spoke to Ellen alongside her brother, Oliver Hudson to promote their new podcast, Sibling Revelry. The brother/sister duo also chatted about parenthood. Both have three children...but something may happen to break the tie.

"He raises children really easily. It's his best work, he's the best dad," Hudson says of her brother, who is a dad to Wilder, Bodhi and Rio. When asked if the siblings would keep having children until one of them "wins," they have two different answers.

"I have a feeling I'm probably going to end up winning," she said, adding that she's not sure she feels done at three.

Oliver won't be competing against his sister if she chooses to have another baby: He is, by his own admission, happy with three kids (because he's not in "the window"—his kids are 6, 9 and 12).

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