This week in parenting: October 9, 2020

sesame street cast arms around each other at table

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Two upcoming TV specials for kids about race and racism.
Two noteworthy TV specials are set to air this month to address race and racism with their young viewers:

  • “PBS KIDS Talk About: Race & Racism” will feature real families talking about racial identity and what it means to stand up for yourself (and others). More here on viewing information.
  • Sesame Street has announced its an anti-racist special “The Power of We.” The special will be in a Zoom-type format, with skits and songs to help define racism and explain how hurtful it can be. “When you see something that’s wrong, speak up and say, ‘That’s wrong’ and tell an adult,” 6-year-old Gabrielle the Muppet says. More here on viewing information.

Babies’ random choices become their preferences.
A new study from Johns Hopkins University finds that human beings begin to develop arbitrary preferences in their early stages of life. Researchers found that babies engage in intuitive biases when it comes to making choices. When they choose a particular toy, for example, it means they are also committing to disliking the other options. Science Daily 

Parents are warned not to let infants sleep with nursing pillows or lounging pads. 
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning parents that nursing pillows and lounging pads pose a suffocation hazard for babies. These products are designed for babies to use while they are awake and supervised. The consumer agency also notes that babies should sleep flat on their backs, in a crib without bumpers, bedding or soft toys. TODAY


We’ve been featuring your pandemic-related stories on our Facebook page, and on our site. Below is one such post. 


My eight-year-old son Rafa
scooters beside me. White helmet,
covers his head, blue mask,
covers half his face.
Strands of
his sun-streaked-brown hair,
last year, sticks out.
Rafa maintains
a relaxed grip on his
handle bars. Cruising casually
over the Astoria sidewalks.

I walk, beside him,
Relieved that in the last
days of summer vacation,
I’ve gotten him off
screens, out of our three-room
apartment, into the Queens
outdoors, to meet a friend in our
pandemic pod,
in finally reopened playground.

Now we pass by
our local park and tennis courts.
The thump of balls, hitting rackets.
I see a boy, about five, and his father
approaching. The boy is scootering too, and when
he catches sight of Rafa, his face lights up.
“Noah!” he proclaims.
It is the voice of hope and recognition.
This is my long-lost friend! I hear
in heart breaking clarity.

Rafa and I both pause.
I look at him and realize, of course,
it might be hard to recognize a friend
now, masked and helmeted, with only a sliver
of eyes and a scooter stride.

Rafa looks back at me quizzically.
“Oh!” I say, placing my hand
on my heart. “He thinks you’re his
I hear the boy say to his father,
insistently, “That’s my friend Noah!”

Noah, the name I had written
on a piece of paper, from a hospital
bed, when deciding
what to name my first son, who
eventually took on another name.

Noah, a friend who took Rafa
on bike rides throughout Portland
Oregon, just a summer ago,
before masks, before lock downs,
travel bans, quarantines, and zoom.
Before knowing the fabric of infectious diseases,
before exploring the countless ways a virus spreads,
before watching friends lose yoga studios, preschools,
restaurant jobs, theater jobs, and teaching jobs…

Rafa tell me quietly, “I’m not Noah.”
“No, but he thinks you are. Maybe
he misses his friend,”
I tell him, thinking
of those who have abandoned the
city for elsewhere.

Rafa looks one more time at the boy,
thoughtfully. He doesn’t say,
I am not Noah.
Instead he turns, and scooters,
and I follow beneath the deep hum
of the Triborough Bridge.
—By Catherine Kapphahn

(Advice & tips from parenting experts) 

Q: How can we support kids’ political views about the election?

A: There’s less than a month to go until the presidential election, and politics is omnipresent in the U.S.—on TVs and computer screens, across social media and in neighborhoods. So what about young kids who want to express support for a political candidate? My son “lives in the same world I do, and his life is every bit as affected by politics,” writes Caroline Horwitz at Motherwell.  When Horwitz’s seven-year-old son put a Biden-Harris sticker on the back of his bicycle “she was both proud and self-conscious about his public political stance.” A Biden supporter herself, she questioned whether her neighbors thought she made him do it, but ultimately self-doubt gave way to cautious optimism for their mutual candidate of choice, noting that “children are supposed to emulate their parents, after all, and sometimes further along in the narrative, if you’re fortunate, children can compel parents to change.”—Motherwell

(Tasty recipes for families)

One-pan chicken thighs (or shrimp) with coconut creamed corn. Easy-to-make, balanced, and flavorful, it’s a complete meal in just one skillet. Click here for full recipe.


Talking to My Daughter: A Brief History of Capitalism, by Yanis Varoufakis. A wonderfully accessible and insightful explanation of the current state of our economy by an acclaimed academic—and father. Varoufakis is writing to his daughter about how we’ve become a society ruled by the market, one where experiential value has been replaced by exchange value, and what we can legitimately do in the face of the inequality such a transformation engenders.

(& other interesting facts)

  • Pantone has announced its new color of the year: period red. The company hopes the shade will “embolden people who menstruate to feel proud of who they are.”
  • Apple’s new face mask emoji has been updated, it’s now hiding a smile so it doesn’t look as sad.
  • Science shows that watching images and videos of cute animals is good for your overall health.

The 6-week-old giant panda at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo is…a boy! See the reveal here.

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