Becoming Mama: An Experiential Event for Pregnancy + Postpartum

Motherly's Becoming Mama event is an experiential and informative full-day event for new moms and moms-to-be, exploring all three trimesters of pregnancy—plus postpartum!

Motherly's Becoming Mama event is an experiential and informative full-day event for new moms and moms-to-be, exploring all three trimesters of pregnancy—plus postpartum!

The event will include engaging panels with industry leaders, interactive workshops with experts, intimate, honest stories from influential moms, and a chance to meet your new mom village IRL. We'll also offer some pampering, shopping and a curated baby registry experience.

Sat, October 26, 2019
10am- 3:30pm
WeWork Now
902 Broadway
New York, NY 10010

REGISTER NOW


Event Lineup:

10am: Registration + Breakfast presented by Daily Harvest

10:50am: Motherly Co-Founder Welcome + Surprise Reveal!

11am: Intention Setting Ceremony

featuring Erica Livingston @birdsongbrooklyn

11:20am: Navigating the 4th Trimester sponsored by One Medical

featuring Radha Agrawal @love.radha; Samantha Huggins @carriagehousebirth; Margaret "Peggy" Chapman @onemedical; Deena Campbell @mother.ly

11:50am: Lunch + Wellness Break

12:50pm: Baby Steps to a Cleaner Lifestyle sponsored by Pipette

featuring Erin Boyle @readtealeaves; Meaghan Murphy @goodhousekeeping; Caroline Hadfield @pipettebaby; Conz Preti @mother.ly

1:20pm: It Takes a Village: Self-Care for Mom sponsored by Pampers

featuring Diana Spalding @mother.ly; Elyse Fox @elyse.fox; Rebekah Borucki @bexlife; Alexis Barad Cutler @notsafeformomgroup

1:50pm: Snack Break presented by Stylish Spoon

2:50pm: The Motherhood Advantage in the Workplace

featuring LaTonya Yvette @latonyayvette; Samantha Wasser @eatbychloe; Grace Bastidas @parentslatina; Jill Koziol @mother.ly

PLUS:

Motherly's Gear Lab featuring the best gear for 2019 sponsored by Bugaboo

Bump + Baby Photos and DIY Nursery Decor sponsored by Crate+Kids

Pregnancy + Postpartum Style Station sponsored by Motherhood Maternity

Pampering for Mama in our Wellness Lounge sponsored by Baby Dove

Plus
  • Enjoy a Light Breakfast & Healthy Lunch.
  • Bring home awesome gift bags filled with baby & mama goodies.
  • Meet a whole new mama community to help you on your journey!
REGISTER NOW
*While many of Motherly's events are family focused, there will not be specific activities or play spaces for babies or kids. this event is more mom-focused. Babies under 1 are welcome at this event, but a baby carrier is suggested as there's no room for strollers. Please use your discretion.

Speakers

Radha Agrawal is the co-Founder, CEO and Chief Community Architect of Daybreaker, the early morning dance and wellness move-ment that currently holds events in 25 cities and over a dozen college campuses around the world with a community of almost half a million people. She is a successful entrepreneur (Co-Founder THINX, LiveItUp), author, speaker, DJ, inventor, and investor. Her new book BELONG answers the questions, "how the heck do I find my people?" and "How do I create large and meaningful communities in the real world?". She was named by MTV as "one of 8 women who will change the world." Radha lives in Brooklyn NY with her love Eli and her twin sister Miki – and lots of family and friends within a few blocks. You can most often find her tinkering with community and experience design projects, or on the dance floor at Daybreaker in New York City (if she's not dancing at sunrise in another part of the world.)

LaTonya Yvette is an author, stylist, and lifestyle blogger. Her eponymous blog covers motherhood, style, and beauty. Her debut book, WOMAN OF COLOR, recently published in April 2019. She lives in Brooklyn with her two children, River and Oak.

Rebekah "Bex" Borucki is a mother of five, TV host, meditation and yoga guide, birth doula, and author of You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life: Simple 4-Minute Meditations for Inspiration, Transformation, and True Bliss (Hay House 2017) and her brand new book, Managing the Motherload: A Guide to Creating More Ease, Space, and Grace in Motherhood (Hay House 2019). Her mission is to make mental health support and stress management tools accessible to all, especially BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People of Color), LGBTQ+ folks, and other marginalized communities. Rebekah lives with her family and a barn-full of rescued farm animals on their 8-acre homestead in rural New Jersey. For more information, visit www.MotherloadBook.com.

Samantha Wasser is the Founder, Senior Vice President and Creative Director of popular plant-based, fast-casual brand by CHLOE. Samantha provides creative vision for the brand, overseeing brand identity, growth, menu development, and social media presence, all of which have been major credits to the brand's rapid expansion and evolution. Samantha Wasser has proven to be not only a veteran in the culinary space but an innovator and thought leader in today's restaurant industry. She was recognized in both Zagat's and Inc. Magazine's honorable "30 Under 30" for her work in restaurant development in 2014 and 2016. Samantha also serves an Advisor for WeWorks Food Labs. In December 2018, Samantha and her husband Mitch welcomed their son James Wyatt into the world. Following, in May 2019, Samantha led a women-run collaboration called Beyond Mother's Day with partners Kindbody and Robyn, that included a series of events held by by CHLOE with the goal to advance the narrative of improving support for all paths to parenthood. During Beyond Mother's Day, by CHLOE gave 50% of proceeds from their Beyond Mother's Day Cupcake sold throughout May to Baby Quest Foundation, a non-profit providing financial assistance to couples who struggle to afford fertility treatments.

Elyse Fox is a mother, director, activist and tastemaker living in New York City. You may have read her name in bylines by Vogue Magazine, Forbes and Broadly to name a few. Through her efforts to destigmatize mental health Elyse has collaborated with Olay Beauty, Harvard University, Instagram, the U.S. Intelligence Community and Nike. Her mission is to connect communities and spread awareness through vulnerability and story telling. In January, 2017 Elyse created Sad Girls Club; a stigma-free online and IRL community created for millennials and Gen. Z to discuss mental health openly.

Samantha Huggins is a co-founder of Carriage House Birth and an empathic full spectrum doula, doula trainer, childbirth educator, curriculum builder and parent. As a founding member of Carriage House Birth, Samantha works vigilantly to redefine doula work and contemporary parenting. She oversees CHB Education focusing on childbirth education, doula trainings, elevating the early parenthood experience and doula professionalism. Samantha is deeply committed to this work and creating a model of care that is sustainable and works for all family systems.

Erin Boyle is the writer and photographer behind the lifestyle blog, Reading My Tea Leaves, where she writes about all things slow, simple, and sustainable. Erin's first book, Simple Matters, came out in January, 2016. It's a nod to the growing consensus that living simply and purposefully is more sustainable not only for the environment, but for our own happiness and well-being, too. Erin embraces the notion that "living small" is beneficial and accessible to us all—whether we're renting a tiny apartment or purchasing a three-story house. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two young children.

Grace Bastidas is the founding editor of Parents Latina and also has editorial oversight of the Spanish-language brand, Ser Padres. Prior to joining Meredith, she served as deputy editor of Latina magazine. She's also held senior editor positions at New York Weddings and The Village Voice, and has written for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications. In her free time, Grace is an ambassador for the Good+ Foundation, a nonprofit working to break the cycle of family poverty. A native New Yorker, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two young daughters.

Meaghan Murphy is Good Housekeeping's executive editor. Known for her high-energy, upbeat personality and YAY lifestyle, Meaghan B Murphy is a multi-platform media junkie. In addition to her role as the Executive Editor of Good Housekeeping, reaching 30 million total audience, Meaghan regularly appears on shows like Live with Kelly & Ryan, Dr. Oz, the Today Show and shoots a series for NBC News titled "A Better Way," in which she shares MacGyver-style hacks. She also joined the fourth season of "Small Business Revolution" (Hulu) as its expert in building community spirit — something she effectively did as Chief Spirit Officer of her own suburban town and as the ambassador for the community-based app NextDoor. A New Jersey native, Meaghan married her younger brother's best friend, Patrick, and together they live in Westfield (aka @bestfieldnj) with their "Irish triplets," Charley (9), James (7) and Brooks (6), and labradoodle Dempsey. When she's not at the gym for 5AM workouts with her #goodvibetribe, Meaghan is busy penning her debut novel The Fully Charged Life: A Radically Simple Guide to Having Endless Energy and Finding the Yay in Every Day for Penguin-Random House.

Alexis Barad-Cutler is a group facilitator, professional speaker, writer, and published author. She founded Not Safe For Mom Group (nsfmg) in 2018, after a well-known parenting website took down an essay she had written for them because it was "too controversial." She wanted to create a stigma-free platform and community where women could express the thoughts, feelings, and questions they don't talk about everywhere else. These days, (nsfmg) has an active on, and offline community that flies in the face of the sanitized version of motherhood typically seen on social media. (nsfmg) members engage in honest, deep diving conversations about everything from post-baby sex, to rage, to infertility, to gender disappointment, to postpartum depression and anxiety. The result is a community of support (and window into contemporary motherhood) you won't find anywhere else.

Deena Campbell is the Experts and Lifestyle Editor at Motherly. Her work has been published in Allure, The New York Times, PopSugar, Essence and a host of others. She currently resides in New Jersey where lives with her husband and two young children.

Margaret "Peggy" Chapman, MD, MS, FA is a pediatrician at One Medical, where she focuses on establishing a trusting and respectful relationship with parents and children to forge a therapeutic alliance. She believes preventive care and parent education are key to raising happy, healthy children-and she feels privileged to be part of the process. She enjoys working with children of all ages, from newborns through adolescents, and is especially interested in child behavior, child development, parenting, and ADHD. In her time off, Peggy enjoys walking, gardening, skiing, hiking, baking, and reading. She graduated from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and did a chief residency in pediatrics at New York Presbyterian Hospital. She's board certified in pediatrics.



Caroline Hadfield is President of Amyris' Pipette, a clean, safe and nontoxic personal care brand for babies and moms launching September 2019. Caroline a powerful force in the personal care and beauty markets, having previously launched the successful brands Sephora and Amyris' Biossance. Throughout her career, Hadfield has demonstrated her ability to identify opportunities in the market and deliver the highest quality results based on consumer demand. As a leader in the clean personal care movement, Hadfield recognized a need for a brand that caters to the sensitivity of newborn skin without compromising on safety or efficacy. She was instrumental in Amyris' decision to ban more than 2,000 potentially harmful ingredients from its labs. Hadfield's commitment to transparency is a driving force in her decision making as she continues to be an advocate and innovator in the emerging clean personal care market. Hadfield received her degree in Textiles and Management from Leeds University, and participated in Stanford University's Senior Executive Program. She resides in San Francisco, CA with her husband and two daughters.

Erica Livingston is the co-founder of Birdsong Brooklyn and a full spectrum doula supporting families through conception, pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. Her birth work began in the postpartum sphere and she still is most passionate about bringing that time period into the light. Erica is also an herbalist, breathwork practitioner and hosts birth and threshold blessings for her community and clients as well. A trained comedienne and performer, Erica brings heart centered humor to all the spaces she creates. Erica and her business partner and best friend, Laura Interlandi, built Birdsong Brooklyn, their doula and parenting business together in 2013 when they saw the extreme lack of support for the postpartum period reflected in their own journeys and the journey of almost every other new parent they came across. Working outside of hierarchy and patriarchy took an acknowledgement and a new container which they've been building ever since including a 13 week mentorship program for doulas of all walks and their online learning lodge for parents, doulas and people. Their business mantra is "All boats rise when we tether together and the sun shines for everyone!"

Jill Koziol is the co-founder and CEO of Motherly a modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood with it's 30M+ monthly audience. She is also the co-author This Is Motherhood and The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama, launching April 2020. Jill is passionate about serving and empowering women and mothers because when mamas are successful, everyone wins. She is an advocate for families, female founders, and how to thrive with multiple sclerosis. Jill lives in Menlo Park with her husband and two daughters.

Liz Tenety is co-founder and Chief Digital Officer of Motherly. A former Washington Post editor, she's also a mom of 4.

Conz Preti is the Stories editor at Motherly. Originally from Argentina, she now lives in NYC with her husband, son and two rescue dogs. Always looking for the next adventure and for another tattoo to add to her collection.


Diana Spalding is a certified nurse midwife, pediatric nurse, and mother of three. She has BA in anthropology from Emory University and both a BS in nursing and a master's degree in midwifery from New York University. In addition to caring for thousands of pregnant women, Diana has worked in pediatric oncology, and has served in several professorial and advisory roles in higher education settings. Diana is the Digital Education Editor at Motherly and the founder of Gathered Birth, a motherhood wellness center in Media, PA. She is soon-to-be TEDx speaker, and wrote The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama: Redefining the Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Journey, releasing April 2020.

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In This Article

    Getty

    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.

    Family Foodies

    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.

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