Kids + Facebook = a passel o’ worries for parents and schools. But help may be on the way, now that Facebook and National PTA have “friended” each other. The new partnership has a lofty goal: nothing less than a comprehensive program to reduce cyberbullying and increase kids’ online safety. For its part, National PTA will reach out to local PTAs via its National PTA website; Facebook has pledged an in-kind commitment of $1 million in promotions and through its safety center. More info is on our site at parentmap.com/more; read much more about kids’ online safety.
Here’s news so shocking, I almost dropped my Pop-Tart: More than half of all foods aimed specifically at toddlers — 53 percent! — derive 20 percent or more of their calories from sugar. That’s according to a new study that looked at packaged toddler and baby foods in Canada. Products considered included toddler entrées and desserts; snacks like cookies, snack bars and yogurts; and some cereals. Forty percent of ’em had some form of sugar listed among the first four ingredients on the label. Check your labels and watch for sneaky sugar terms like corn syrup, cane syrup, brown sugar and dextrose.
Are kids raised in lesbian families at a disadvantage? A huge new study, just published in Pediatrics, answers with a resounding “No!” The study followed lesbian families for 24 years; it found that the 17-year-old kids of lesbian mothers scored higher in social and academic performance, and lower in aggressive behavior and social problems than did their peers raised in “traditional” families — even in the face of homophobic stigmatization. Find out more; watch for our feature story on gay parenting in the November issue of ParentMap.
Know those little round batteries you find in watches, flashing jewelry and toys? Keep ’em away from little kids! Poison Control specialists say if button batteries are swallowed — or crammed up noses or into ears — they can cause big problems for little kids. Most swallowed buttons pass right through, but some get lodged in the esophagus, where they can cause tissue damage. If you suspect your critter’s been sucking down button batteries, call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222. More tips can be found at parentmap.com/more.
If you tend towards cranky in the evenings, listen up: A new study finds that your mood at baby’s bedtime can have a major effect on baby’s sleep! Researchers at Pennsylvania State University tracked maternal moods and babies’ sleep patterns, and found that moms who are “emotionally available” at bedtime tend to have babies who sleep more soundly. What does “emotionally available” mean? Warmth and sensitivity, among other things. So if you’re irritable at the end of the day (imagine!), take a few deep breaths cribside; the last thing you need is a sleepless baby!
Seems last month’s cover story (“Confessions of a slacker parent”) struck a nerve; slacker parents have been turning themselves in in droves on our Facebook wall. “One day I lost track of time, only to realize that [my 6-year-old son] hadn’t had anything to eat from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m.,” writes Dawn. You think you’ve got a few guilty parenting secrets? Pop that Easy Mac in the microwave, “friend” us and check out the slackitude!
Speaking of normal …
Here’s another breath of fresh air for us perfection-challenged parents: Dr. Laura Kastner’s new online project, Top This Parenting. The new website — a collaboration between a psychologist, a poet and a geographer(!) — dishes up great perspective, advice and fun, Kastner style. What could be better?
The new ParentMap.com
Sure, our old site won oodles of awards, but here at ParentMap, we never rest on our laurels! This month, we are all aquiver over our newest baby: the spankin’ new ParentMap.com! Now it’s easier than ever to find the info you need, rate articles and events, search our giant, continually updated calendar, and more. Keepin’ it fresh for you! Hope you like it.