Posts tagged with "parents"

Co-Parenting Illustration by Reb Czukoski for use by 360 Magazine

Co-Parenting Tips For Divorcing Couples

Dads’ Resource Center offers tips for successfully co-parenting following divorce or separation.

According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), one out of every two marriages ends in divorce. Many of these marriages involve children, putting them at risk for a variety of emotional issues resulting from the separation. It is vital that the children continue to have the active involvement of both parents, and that the parents find a way to work together on their behalf.

“The impact on kids not having access to their fathers is heartbreaking,” says Dads’ Resource Center founder Dr. Joel N. Myers. “Most fathers know their children are missing out, but are unable to overcome the barriers to the system and fulfill the most fundamental role that men have – being a dad.”

How the two parents go about co-parenting makes a world of difference in the emotional health of their child. Successful co-parenting doesn’t happen by accident, but it is something that people can do with intention and effort.

The AACAP advises that children will do best when they know that both parents will remain actively engaged in their lives. They also report that the research shows children do better when parents can minimize conflict and cooperate on the child’s behalf. While many parents know that this is the healthiest route for their children, they may still find it difficult to figure out how to do it.

According to Dads’ Resource Center, there are three stages that co-parents go through following separation. The stages include family reorganization, co-parenting, and personal growth. In family reorganization, decisions are made about where the children will be and when and how they will be supported. The co-parenting stage is where decisions will be made about how to make it all work. Finally, the personal growth stage is where parents have finally established a working relationship without conflict, which brings relief to their children. The longer that parents remain stuck in the re-organization and co-parenting stages, the more the children are negatively impacted.

It’s important that parents make a concerted effort to learn how to co-parent while separated. Here are some tips for how parents can successfully co-parent, provided by Dads’ Resource Center:

  • Both parents need to commit to always doing what is best for their children, which includes making sure both parents have the access needed to maintain an active and meaningful relationship with them. This extends to family on both sides.
  • Communication is vital. Mom and dad should be able to work out the logistics in a patient and calm manner and make a habit of providing updates on how the children are doing – in school, about health-related matters, how they are doing developmentally, and what is going on generally in their lives.
  • Both parents need to practice forgiveness. For the sake of their children, mom and dad need to let the past be in the past and treat one another with acceptance and compassion.
  • Separated parents should educate themselves about the impact that divorce has on children, to help minimize the negative consequences. If they are having a difficult time collaboratively co-parenting parents should find support from family, friends, churches or seek professional help.
  • However, parents should not allow themselves to become overly reliant on family courts and child welfare services to manage their inability to work together. Doing so only enables them in not moving on, and if they don’t move on their children can’t either.

“Parenting is not a one-person job,” added Jeff Steiner, executive director of the Dads’ Resource Center. “Even in a separated family, both parents should view the other parent as an equal partner in the upbringing of their children. This means they must be adaptable and flexible and treat one another with grace and compassion.”

Dads’ Resource Center has been established to benefit children of separated or divorced parents by advocating the importance of fathers having adequate opportunities to fulfill their role of fatherhood. The group helps get information regarding the issues out to the public and work with fathers to help make improvements.

Baby illustration by Heather Skovlund

Top Baby Gifts

By: Carly Cohen

The cutest, trendiest, and most functional baby products:

  • Fashionable Bibs

Babies wear a bib every single time they eat. Why not make it a fashion statement? There are so many brands that offer functional and adorable bibs for your child to wear. Brands such as Bamboo Little, Saks OFF Fifth, Mud Pie, and Abby & Finn all offer affordable, fun bibs that range in prices from about $10 to $60.

  • Stylish Diaper Bags

Diaper bags are a must, and there are so many stylish and fun options out there. Brands have truly stepped up their game when it comes to diaper bags. Check out brands like Dagne Dover and Revolve for an everyday bag that will match all outfits.

  •  Baby Sweatsuits

2021 is the year of dressing as comfortably as possible. This includes dressing the little ones comfortably, too. Check out Zara’s website for some super affordable and chic sweatsuits.

  • Organic Skin Care

Nourishing baby is, and will always be, important–no matter what age. Finding natural lotions, shampoos, and washes is for the baby’s health and hygiene. The brand’s Pipette, Evereden, and Honest Beauty offer the best skincare for babies.

  • Cooling Baby Clothes

Linen is known for being a cooling, airy clothing fabric. It is extra popular in the summer for those looking for a lighter clothing option. Countless shops provide cooling clothing for babies and are worth checking out.

  • Wallpaper

Using wallpaper is one of the easiest ways to spruce up a nursery or children’s bedroom. On Loomwell Home Goods, there are stunning wallpaper designs to fit your baby’s desires and achieve the perfect bedroom.

  • Rattan Furniture

A chic and boho trick to decorate the child’s space is using rattan furniture. On Poppys Little Treasure, there are so many options for bedroom and playroom furniture. They also offer adorable bassinets, which help achieve a beautiful nursery.

  • Handmade Decorations

Check out the small business on Etsy, Shop Little Grace. This shop offers handmade decorations for a baby’s bedroom, party, or anything other occasion.

  • Baby Headwear

There is nothing cuter than a baby in clips, bows, and topknots. Mae + Rae present the perfect looks for the little ones.

  • Electric Nail File

This product is a must-have for cutting baby’s nails. There is no worry in hurting the baby because it is super quick and gentle. Amazon has a great baby-proof electric nail file for only $20. Amazon’s nail file is made from sandpaper, which makes it extra gentle on babies.

It can be difficult to constantly entertain babies and toddlers, which is why iPads can be such handy tools. However, it can be hard to hand over your baby access your new, expensive Apple product with a fragile glass screen. That’s where ZAGG products come in! ZAGG makes safely entertaining your little ones their priority.

ZAGG Gear4® recently announced its new Orlando kids tablet case for Apple iPad 10.2-inch (7th, 8th gen). The Orlando is durable, lightweight and features sturdy adjustable arms that make it the perfect partner for any situation. The Orlando case is made with kid-friendly EVA foam with an inner border lining of D3O to provide up to 6.5 feet of drop protection. The Orlando iPad case for the iPad 10.2-inch (7th, 8th gen) is available today on ZAGG’s website with a limited lifetime warranty.

Orlando kids' tablet case from Jeff Dubois at ZAGG Brands company for use by 360 Magazine

The Bodega

 On Saturday, June 12th btw 4PM-8PM, 360 Magazine will host our intimate immersive pop-up shop, which will be reminiscent of a traditional Bronx Bodega. This po-up shop is a collaborative effort to elevate our brand’s priorities in popular culture and design (PC+D). We are looking to collaborate with and highlight local businesses in the Bronx. 360 Magazine works with LGBT-friendly, community-based organizations.

This boutique and private shopping experience will be held at the #360TRAP Bronx workspace. The event will feature #AOHSOA Trunk Pieces and lifestyle choices, specifically designed for consumers to live their best PC+D lifestyle.

The pop-up will possess a carnival theme that babies and kids will love! The Bodega will feature creative activities and decors compatible with this fun concept. The event’s open bar will run for four hours and feature signature spirits of mixologists, as well as festive tapas. This event will be a privileged opportunity to reinforce brand awareness and network among target audiences and sponsors.This summer event will also be the precursor for World Blood Donor Day (6/14) and Armon Hayes‘ birthday (6/16).

cat illustration for the bodega by heather skovlund for use by 360 magazine

Feltman Brothers Baby and Toddler Clothing

With an Instagram following of almost 80K, Feltman Brothers consistently pulls out all the stops in posting beautiful photos of little ones wearing their distinctive collection of finely crafted, classic styled clothing and accessories. Playtime, celebrations, picnics, or summer christenings will all be comfortable, and memorable with Feltman Brothers summer selections for infants and toddlers.

From rompers and gowns to bibs and hats, the Feltman Brothers collections are the perfect choice for comfort and style, in classic designs that can be passed down for generations to come. Styles like the Vintage Smocked bodice Creeper and the Bobby Suits make for the most darling baby attire. Start the Feltman Brothers tradition with your family by visiting their website.

Feltman Brother's image via Frankie Shirley at HC-PR Group for use by 360 Magazine

Green Sprouts’ Snap and Go Easy-wear Bib

Green Sprouts is a leading family brand that inspires healthy and natural parenting. Green Sprouts’ Snap and Go Easy-wear Bib is the perfect way to keep your little ones clean and comfortable. Babies can rock this celebrity-loved, water-resistant bib at mealtime that limits mess and spill emergencies. In fact, Usher recently shared the most adorable Instagram post with his daughter Sovereign sporting the Green Sprouts’ Snap and Go Easy-wear Bib

This waterproof baby bib neatly rolls up and snaps to store utensils or small snacks in the pocket while on-the-go. The bib’s contoured design moves with baby and stays in place while on-the-go. Furthermore, the fabric is soft, light weight, machine washable, and stain and odor resistant. Green Sprouts products are made without azo dyes, formaldehyde, or PVC for baby’s health and well-being. For more information, please visit Green Sprouts’ website HERE.

Green Sprouts' Snap-and-Go Easy-Wear Bib image via Kristen Ray at 5WPR for use by 360 Magazine

ATTITUDE’s Natural Care and Cleaning Products

ATTITUDE is the trusted eco-friendly brand that conscious consumers turn to for all their baby care, home, personal, and pet grooming needs. This all-natural brand is committed to overall wellness for people, animals, and the environment. With these all-natural, sustainable products, you can be sure that your baby’s sensitive body, skin, and hair are getting the gentle care they require.

ATTITUDE is reducing single-use plastic, offer zero waste options, and plant a tree for every product purchased in partnership with two leading non-profit tree planting organizations. The ECOLOGO-certified brand’s personal care and household cleaning products are safe, effective, and hypoallergenic. Natural ingredients make up all of the brand’s products, with offerings that reduce single-use plastic with plastic-free and bulk collections. ATTITUDE makes it easier to adopt a natural, eco-friendly lifestyle at any age while keeping things clean and sanitary.

2-in-1 Shampoo & Body Wash by baby leaves sold by Attitude Natural Care image via Lindsey Hytrek from ChicExecs Brand Development for use by 360 Magazine

The Luli Bebe Monaco Bag

Sophisticated, sleek and luxurious, The eco-friendly Monaco backpack-style diaper and travel bags by Luli Bebe are one-of-a-kind. Monaco’s easy-carry and durable design make it the perfect, fashionable companion for everyday on the go use, as well as for weekend getaway or longer travels. These beauties are now available in a variety of posh colors.

Spacious and voluminous, the Monaco bags come in two styles: a backpack, which also functions as a diaper bag, and a classic handle-bag design. The backpack comes in two sizes, original and petite, and can also be worn across a single shoulder or in as a cross body bag. The bags are made of soft vegan, stain-resistant leather and boast a lavish satin-lined interior. Monaco bags will keep all of your travel items and on the go family gear stored in padded luxury. A trip across the country or just down the road is more practical and stylish with a LuliBebé Monaco bag

the Luli Bebe Monaco bag image via Frankie Shirley at HC PR Group, for use by 360 Magazine
Child illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Child Friendly Faith Project

Child Advocacy Group Highlights Abuse in Religious Institutions for Child Abuse Prevention Month

With National Child Abuse Prevention Month underway, the Child-Friendly Faith Project (CFFP), a national nonprofit that educates the public about religiously enabled child maltreatment, is raising awareness of crimes against children perpetrated in religious institutions.

The CFFP is also drawing attention to a dangerous court decision that could prevent abusive institutions from being held accountable and offering a valuable resource to parents and guardians to help them determine whether they should enroll or continue to enroll their children in certain religious institutions.

The little-known ecclesiastical abstention doctrine (EAD) guides courts in deciding First Amendment, religious matters. While historically the EAD has been raised in cases relating to claims of wrongful termination, in recent years religious schools facing lawsuits involving allegations of child harm have pushed courts to interpret the EAD very broadly to get cases dismissed. In one recent case, the Episcopal School of Dallas was permitted to ignore its own legal contracts with parents and the emotional harm suffered by a child never came to light.

Given this alarming legal precedent, parents and guardians of children who have been harmed by private institutions could lose their right to seek relief in court, while the institutions might never be held accountable.

Parents who have children enrolled in private, faith-based schools (or are considering enrolling them) should be aware of the potential harm posed by the EAD. With this in mind, CFFP’s campaign is offering parents valuable tips on how to determine whether they should enroll (or continue to enroll) their children in private, faith-based schools:

  • Determine whether the institution your child is enrolled in (or might be enrolled in) could claim to be faith-based. Some private schools have stretched the meaning of “faith-based” as a way to be shielded by the EAD in court. Even if an institution seems to operate in a way that appears secular, as long as a facility, school, program, or daycare operation can claim that it has some sort of faith-based or spiritual component, it could convince a court that it should be protected by the EAD and cannot be sued for child abuse or neglect.
  • Read the school’s contract carefully. Many schools specify in their contracts how legal issues must be resolved. For example, some require parents to agree to mediation. It’s important to know what legal recourses you’re agreeing to. However, be aware that if a case goes to court, the EAD does have the potential to make contracts of religious school’s moot.
  • Ask to see a school’s child-abuse prevention policies & procedures. Those that take abuse seriously and proactively develop and enforce comprehensive abuse-prevention policies are usually open to making these policies available and may even post them on their websites.
  • Research whether the school has a history of abuse allegations. Conduct an online search using the name of the institution and words such as “lawsuit,” “sued,” and “abuse” to determine if it has been accused of abuse or of covering up cases in the past. Be extremely wary if you find a pattern of abuse allegations, even if you do not find information about final court decisions.
  • Explore the educational programs of secular private or public schools. Children can receive a high-quality education and experience at many different types of schools. Consider the offerings of private secular schools or public schools, which would be unable to raise the EAD in court.

Recent abuse cases

The CFFP has previously exposed issues of religious institutional child abuse and offered support to survivors and affected families. An example is its efforts to make public the decades-long, egregious abuses perpetrated at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch. Recently, other cases have also made the news:

  • Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) — Last February, the SBC’s executive committee voted to expel two member churches for employing pastors who were convicted sex offenders. One pastor, who had been with his church since 2014, had pleaded guilty to two counts of statutory rape of a minor in the 1990s. The other pastor led his church since 2018, despite having been on Florida’s sex offender registry since 1993. In 2019, the SBC published a report on preventing and responding to cases of sexual abuse and later launched its “Caring Well Challenge” that calls on all SBC churches to adopt the report’s recommendations. Unfortunately, the program is voluntary.
  • Circle of Hope Girls Ranch — The owners and operators of this faith-based boarding school in Missouri face more than 100 criminal charges of sexual, physical and mental abuse of girls in their care. Their arrests came after their estranged daughter, Amanda Householder, posted social media videos of former residents talking about the abuse they endured. In an interview with a Missouri TV station, Householder said that victims had been speaking out since 2007. “Why did it take ten years for anyone to do anything?” she asked.

A dangerous court decision

While it’s heartening that these cases are receiving public attention, it is possible that they, and many more like them, could be dismissed thanks to a legal precedent set by a Texas appellate court in 2018. The case involved the Episcopal School of Dallas which invoked a common-law doctrine known as the “ecclesiastical abstention doctrine” (EAD). The EAD provides guidance to courts when weighing in on First-Amendment, religious matters. However, in the Dallas case, in which a father alleged that his son had been wrongfully expelled and in violation of school policy, it was applied very broadly and used to shield the school from being sued.

In another case involving Trinity Episcopal School in Galveston, Texas, a district court, in recognizing the EAD, threw out a lawsuit filed by a mother whose son had endured repeated racist bullying by other students. The mother wanted the school to hold the perpetrators accountable after the school had only demanded a written apology and suspended them for one day. Despite emotional trauma suffered by the victim, the judge agreed with the school’s claim that a court should not “intrude upon a religious institution’s management of its internal affairs and governance.”

“The EAD allows courts to prioritize a religious institution’s desire for secrecy and avoidance of accountability over the wellbeing of children,” said CFFP founder Janet Heimlich. “In cases in which organizations invoke the EAD, the public may never learn what abusive or neglectful actions took place, and parents may unwittingly enroll their children in those schools.”

To schedule an interview with a representative of the CFFP, an affected parent or a survivor of religious institutional child abuse, contact Jeff Salzgeber  through email or (512) 743-2659 cell.

The Child-Friendly Faith Project (CFFP) is a national, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that seeks to end religious child maltreatment by raising awareness of this issue through educational programs that benefit the general public, survivors, professionals, and faith communities.

Toys for Tots illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Toys for Tots × Good360

Toys for Tots teams up with Good360 (again!), to Distribute One Million Toys, Games and Books to Families-in-Need

Toys for Tots announces the expansion of their year-round efforts to support those less fortunate by distributing one million toys, books, and games to families in need NOW.  While Toys for Tots is primarily known as a Christmastime charity, the organization recognizes there is still great need to provide emotional support and doesn’t want to wait until the holiday season to deliver hope to children in need.

As a Nation we’ve all been hopeful that the Coronavirus pandemic would be in our rearview mirrors by now, but the sad reality is that COVID-19 has had a long-term impact on just about every sector of our society.  Less fortunate children likely suffered the greatest learning loss by not being able to attend in-person classroom instruction, and in order to help combat that Toys for Tots has decided to distribute one million toys this spring and summer with a focus on toys that teach providing STEM-related toys.

We realize the importance of reminding children that there is still joy to be found in simple gifts every day, no matter how difficult things may be right now. That is why we are once again partnering with Good360, the global leader in product philanthropy and purposeful giving, and providing them with one million toys to distribute via their network of nonprofit organizations across the United States to DoGoodNOW.

“Toys for Tots is more than a Christmas charity—that is why we want to DoGoodNOW and expand our partnership with Good360,” said Lieutenant General Jim Laster, USMC (Retired), President and CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.  “Without the assistance of Good360 and their vast network of non-profits throughout the country, Toys for Tots would not be able to distribute the one million toys we’re providing to families who are struggling outside of the holiday season.”

“With so many families struggling during the pandemic, Good360 is proud to continue the great work of our Marine Toys for Tots partnership,” said Matt Connelly, CEO of Good360.  “We’ve seen firsthand how toys, books and games bring joy to children and their loved ones served by our nonprofit partners and expanding our efforts will significantly increase the impact of our program.”

Toys for Tots and Good360 have complementary strengths, and this partnership will generate greater impact. Together we are more than just the sum of our parts—together we can DoGoodNOW.  The two organizations launched their collaboration in April of 2020 and since that time have distributed 1.8 million toys, games, and books.

If you’d like, you can donate to Marine Toys for Tots here

Popcorn illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Entertainment at Home: How to Spend Lockdown with Benefits?

The lockdown has ended up becoming a blessing in disguise. It is the perfect opportunity for you to be able to pick up a new skill. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. If you are able to use the lockdown wisely, then you can surely benefit from it a lot. Use this to your advantage and spend a little more time with yourself. Who knows? By the end of this lockdown, you might evolve into an even better version of who you are now. Read on to find out all the various ways to spend your time productively during the lockdown.

Spending Time Productively in Lockdown

Learn to Cook

This is the time when you find yourself in close proximity to the kitchen the whole day. Ordering in might be a risky bet considering that it might provoke the spread of COVID. So, instead of ordering food from a delivery app, cook it yourself. Start with the simpler things at first like making tea, boiling eggs, etc. As you learn more every day, you can eventually take up cooking initiatives that you never imagined before.

Try New Things

This lockdown, try something that you normally wouldn’t. Spend your time picking up a new skill. There is an endless world out there. Take online gambling for instance. You can get 100 free spins no deposit in UK if you visit online casinos. In this pandemic, as people spend more time at homes, the popularity of online casinos has skyrocketed. More and more people are exploring the world of online gambling because it is thrilling and fun. So, go ahead and explore.

Read More Books

This is the ideal time to read a book. If you are not an avid reader, you might be depriving yourself of one of the most beautiful experiences in life. We all receive books as gifts on our birthdays. On most occasions, those books end up getting dragged to one corner of our shelf and keep collecting dust. Now is the time to get those books out and experience the beautiful stories they tell.

Bond with Family

We live in an age of preoccupations. Everyone is preoccupied with something or the other. Children are busy studying; parents are busy working. We are hardly able to make time for each other. However, the lockdown has changed it, even though temporarily. In the lockdown, a unique phenomenon has taken place. Every member of the family is under one roof. Children are getting to attend online classes and parents are getting to work from home. So, start spending more time with each other. Begin with the simpler things like eating at the dinner table together or watching a movie.

Exercise

You don’t necessarily have to go to a gym to work on your fitness. A free hand workout is the best form of fitness routine. The best thing about it is that it can simply be done at home. So, this lockdown, use the opportunity to work, on your fitness, from home. Go to the terrace, do some stretching. Do some crunches and push-ups. Use the extra time you get at home to improve your health because it will not only help you physically, but also mentally.

Meditate

A lot of people turn out to be rather skeptical when it comes to meditation. However, experts certify meditation to be a genuinely helpful habit. It can result in profound improvement of your mental health and stability. Even more so, in the stressful situation of the global pandemic, you need to calm yourself down. So, practice meditating. It can do wonders.

Watch TV

In the age of Netflix and Amazon Prime, we have gained access to a seemingly endless plethora of interesting shows on TV or computers. Some of the shows have thousands of episodes, each having a running time of at least an hour. Normally, you don’t get the scope to fully watch your favorite shows in the middle of work. Also, by the time you return home, you get too tired. Nevertheless, this is your chance. Switch on the television and watch something with your family.

Do Chores

Use the free time in your hand to perform household chores. Usually, we see the mothers and daughters of the house taking up this crucial responsibility, but why should the men be left out? Pick up the mop and duster. Go ahead and clean your place up. Get into all those remote corners of the room that you have never even looked at before. Reorganize the furniture. Give your humble abode a refreshing new look.

Make a Garden

Gardening can be an extraordinarily soothing way of passing the time. Plants take time to grow and flourish, but when they do, they teach you so much about how delicate life is. Gardening has proven to have hugely positive effects on mental health. An added benefit of doing this is not having to shop for fruits and vegetables outside. After all, you are locked down. You can’t visit the marketplace for buying your cooking ingredients. So, rather grow them at home.

Plan for Future

Since you have more time in your hand, you can concentrate on drafting a course of action for your future. Our lives revolve around various aspects. We have a family to take care of. We have careers to build. We have our own dreams to fulfil. This is the perfect chance of working them all out through meticulous planning.

Try Art

Have you ever explored the artistic side of your personality before? This is the ideal occasion for that. Pick up a paint brush and go ahead. It is also a highly beneficial mental exercise because it helps you work on your precision and focus. There are so many things to take inspiration from. Maybe, try your hand at some glass painting too while you’re at it.

Detox

Enough of indulging in vices, let this lockdown be a detox phase. Rid your body of all the toxins. No smoking and no drinking because, after all, you can’t even if you want to. All the stores are closed. So, might as well use this as a way of benefiting yourself. Use this lockdown to quit your bad habits.

Conclusion

So, we told you about many different ways of using your time productively in the lockdown. However, we saved the best for last. Here it is. As we said earlier, this lockdown offers you the chance to spend some time with yourself. That is very important. So, use this time to write a letter to your future self. When you spend time with yourself, there are thoughts and ideas that you stumble upon which you would normally never even comprehend. Before you end up forgetting them, write them down as a letter for reminding yourself in the future. Make yourself promises. Make your memories immortal. Get a pen and a piece of paper. Then, write your heart out. You will cherish it when the time comes.

Transgender illustration by Heather Skovlund (Original Photo Credit: Pixabay) for 360 Magazine

Parents Open Letter to Lawmakers

1,500+ Parents of Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender-Expansive Youth Condemn Anti-Trans Bills in Open Letter to Lawmakers

More than 1,500 parents of transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth — from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico — signed a letter imploring elected officials to oppose anti-transgender bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country.  

The letter — organized by the Human Rights Campaign’s Parents for Transgender Equality National Council — was sent to elected officials Monday morning.

The letter comes in response to a fast and furious effort led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states. There are currently more than 200 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Of these discriminatory bills, 106 directly target transgender people, including efforts to ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity and prohibit evidence-based, life-saving health care for transgender youth.

“Transgender kids all across the country are listening to what you say and watching what you do. The act of writing bills like this, holding hearings, and later casting votes sends a direct message to them: ‘You aren’t real to us. We don’t believe you when you tell us who you are. Your existence is dangerous to the other kids around you. We are okay if you feel lonely, isolated, and unwelcome. We are willing to take away even the smallest concessions that have been made for you because we have power and you don’t,’” the parents wrote. “Transgender folks are so tired, tired of fighting for their existence. And parents like us are tired of begging you to see our kids and treat them as full and equal members of society.”

“Transgender children are children. They deserve the ability to play organized sports and have access to medically necessary care, just like all children. These bills are cruel — and parents are not going to be silent when elected officials attack their children through discriminatory legislation,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David. “Transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth impacted by these bills are among the most vulnerable to experience depression and engage in self-harm, including suicide. Legislators must realize the seriousness of this issue and remember that they were elected to lead — not call into question whether certain children have the right to exist, to be happy, or to live authentically.”

“As a trans person, I know what it means to have lawmakers try to write me out of existence — imagine being a trans child trying to cope with this reality. There is a coordinated attack on transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth being waged in state legislatures across the country and it is having a devastating impact on the mental health of kids, who just want to be kids,” said Jay Brown, Senior Vice President, HRC Programs, Research & Training. “Parents will not back down when it comes to protecting their children, and they will not tolerate their elected officials using their positions of power to harm and further oppress them. We will never give up hope that if people — including elected officials — hear from people at the center of the policy debate, and their loved ones, that their hearts will open, and their minds will change.”

The full letter is below.

April 12, 2021

Dear Elected Officials,

Many of you are sponsoring, co-sponsoring, or considering voting for legislation that would force transgender children to participate in sports based on a letter on their birth certificate rather than who they are – or not participate at all. Some of you are also sponsoring, co-sponsoring, or considering voting for bills that would criminalize best-practice, evidence-based, life-saving health care that transgender youth need (and deserve!) to thrive. 

Parents of transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth like us have called you, sent you emails, and have showed up in the midst of a global pandemic to testify about how devastating these bills are…not only if or when they pass and become law, but also right now because, by whipping up a firestorm of attacks on our kids, they have already caused damage to our families.

Parenting during a pandemic is hard enough. The fact that these bills exist at all—that the lives of our children are up for debate in any state in this nation—adds a layer of worry to an already fraught time. Let’s be clear: the impact of these bills goes far beyond sports and medical care; they call into question whether our children have the right to exist, to be happy, to live authentically. The answer is yes. They absolutely do.

We have shared studies with you explaining that trans youth are more susceptible to struggle with anxiety or depression, not because they are transgender but because of stigma and discrimination. You have heard that being able to participate in sports and being on a team with friends and classmates can improve their mental health. You have heard adolescents tell you how afraid they are of experiencing the wrong puberty or how terrified teenagers are of having their medically-prescribed hormones denied to them. 

This isn’t the first time. We tried telling you all of this a year ago before the pandemic thankfully cut many legislative sessions short and these bills floundered. After hearing some of these concerns last year, a senator in Missouri was quoted dismissively saying “We can’t be responsible for everyone’s mental health.”

We are pointedly telling you now that you actually are responsible for the mental health of these kids. We are holding you personally responsible for the amount of stress, anxiety, and fear our precious children are currently struggling with. We are holding you responsible for how some of our children are crying themselves to sleep every night, asking why so many people hate trans kids and want them to suffer. You are the reason they are asking to move somewhere where they will be protected, because their home doesn’t feel safe anymore with you in charge of creating its laws.

You were elected to your positions to lead. And leaders understand that in our great but imperfect system of government, we favor the concept of “majority rule, minority rights.” Leaders do not use their positions of power to harm and further oppress a struggling and hurting minority.

Transgender kids all across the country are listening to what you say and watching what you do. The act of writing bills like this, holding hearings, and later casting votes sends a direct message to them: “You aren’t real to us. We don’t believe you when you tell us who you are. Your existence is dangerous to the other kids around you. We are okay if you feel lonely, isolated, and unwelcome. We are willing to take away even the smallest concessions that have been made for you because we have power, and you don’t.”

Transgender folks are so tired, tired of fighting for their existence. And parents like us are tired of begging you to see our kids and treat them as full and equal members of society. 

Here is a powerful quote from Nomi Ruiz, a Puerto Rican trans woman, artist and performer, that we’d like you to take time to think about…

“The outside world will never truly understand the magnitude of the trans experience, especially that of a child who has an undying need to live in truth despite being ostracized for it. The only way for trans children to thrive is to allow them to live freely in the face of a society that abuses them for it.”

Stop abusing our kids by creating legislation that targets them. Kill these bills now and leave our kids alone.

Justifiably angry,

Parents of Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender-Expansive Youth

Book illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Education Tips For Children

7 Ways to Ensure Your Child Gets a Good Education

The Oxford Method, a tutoring community, offers tips to help your child be successful in school

Over the last year, during the pandemic, there have been many kids who have struggled academically. This is in part due to the millions who have had to do online learning and find the setup difficult. Whether children are learning online, in person, via classroom, or through a combination of the three, there are things that parents can do to help them be more successful. Knowing what to do can help make a world a difference and reduce the struggling.

“Many parents are aware of the way their kids are struggling with school over this school year,” explains David Florence, professor and founder of The Oxford Method, a community that offers tutoring services around the country. “Rather than let them fall behind, it’s a good idea to take action and do what you can to help them keep up and even pull ahead.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 93% of households with school-age children report that their kids have engaged in some sort of distance learning during the pandemic. They also report that the vast shift in the way kids are learning has also caused digital inequality because some kids don’t have access to computers and/or the Internet. Whether students are learning online or in class, there are things parents can do to help them get a good education.

Here 7 ways to help ensure your child gets a good education:

  1. Sleep. It’s crucial for a child to get enough sleep each night, which will help them to be more focused, as well as improve their behavior, quality of life, and mental and physical health. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that children ages 6-12 should get 9-12 hours of sleep per night, and teens ages 13-18 should get 8-10 hours of sleep per night.
  2. Teach value. It usually starts at home whether or not a child values an education. Parents who want their kids to get a good education should instill a love of learning in their children and teach them to value the education they are getting.
  3. Get them help. If your child is struggling, you may be able to help them, but there also comes a time when kids need a tutor to step in. A good tutor can make a world of difference in ensuring that a child gets a good education. They can help ensure that students will not fall behind and that they will get the foundation they need to move on in a subject.
  4. Show them how. Oftentimes, kids don’t know how to effectively study for a test or to take notes when they are in class. Take the time to show them how to do it effectively, as well as how to stay organized with their schooling. When students are organized, they are more likely to succeed.
  5. Ask them questions. Be sure to ask your kids how it is going, if they got their homework done, if they need any help, or if there’s anything they need to be more successful. They like to know that you are interested in how they are doing, so it’s good to show an active interest.
  6. Get involved. It’s always a good idea if you can get involved with the school and have good communication with the teacher. That way you will be aware of what is going on and know how to help your child more. Teachers love it when parents take an active interest in their child’s education.
  7. Praise your kids. Help kids to know what they are doing is right or what they are doing is wrong. Praising and encouraging the kids builds their confidence and helps them to succeed as they grow.

“Just about every parent has the ability to help kids succeed with their academics, even if it’s ensuring they have the tools they need to succeed,” added Florence. “We help parents be successful, even those who don’t have the funds to pay for a tutor. Our mission is to help as many students to achieve as we can.”

The Oxford Method has over 100 tutors around the country, covering all subject areas. They offer online tutoring, as well as in-person and in-classroom options. Their tutoring services are available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Instructors have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, with many of them having a master’s degree, Ph.D., and at least four years of teaching experience. The Oxford Method works with their nonprofit, Social Actualization, Inc., by giving them 10% of all profits. The funds are used to provide free computers, high-speed internet, and instruction to underprivileged families in urban and rural America. Plus, 40% of their instructors are PhDs, 40% have a master’s degree, and 20% have only a bachelor’s degree.

The Oxford Method believes that education is the great equalizer and the best gift you can give the next generation. Subject areas include science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as well as business, social studies, psychology, English, history, public speaking, study methods, test-taking, and more. To get more information about The Oxford Method, visit the website.

Digital Divide illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Digitally Disconnected

DIGITALLY DISCONNECTED

13 TIPS FOR HELPING BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE FOR CHILDREN DURING COVID-19

While social, racial, and economic disparities have always existed within the educational system, the COVID-19 pandemic is exasperating these inequities and widening gaps between students at a drastic rate. For families who can’t afford home computers, laptops, or high-speed internet access, remote learning is nearly impossible, and for students who already found themselves struggling before the pandemic, the prospect of more than a year of lost classroom time is a devastating blow. However, there are steps parents can take to shrink this digital divide, and there are resources available via schools, non-profits, and government initiatives that can help children access the technological tools they need to succeed. Indeed, Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, President and Founder of Children and Screens, notes that “the inclusion of 17.2 billion dollars for closing the ‘homework gap’ in the recently passed American Rescue Plan is a watershed moment for digital equity.”   
 
Several of the leading figures in the fields of public health, education, psychology, and parenting have weighed in with their suggestions on the best ways to combat the digital divide, and many will participate in an interdisciplinary conversation and Q&A hosted by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development on Wednesday, March 24, at 12pm ET via Zoom. Moderated by the Director of Internet and Technology Research at the Pew Research Center Lee Rainie, the panel will engage in an in-depth discussion about the digital divide and actionable steps we can all take to bridge the gap. RSVP here.
 
1. DON’T WAIT, ADVOCATE 

While schools across the country are doing everything they can to make sure that children have access to the technology and connectivity they need for remote learning, the unfortunate reality is that many families still lack adequate resources. If your family is among them, says author and MIT Assistant Professor of Digital Media Justin Reich, know that you’re not alone and that there are steps you can take to advocate for what your children need. “Start with your school staff,” Reich recommends. “They’re often overwhelmed during this challenging time but be polite and persistent. If you run into a dead-end with your school system, consider reaching out to school libraries and youth organizations like The Boys and Girls Club or the YMCA to see what kind of support they might be able to offer.”
 
2. SCALE DOWN 

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro Professor Dr. Wayne Journell agrees, pointing out that sometimes, despite their best efforts, teachers and administrators may not always know which students are struggling with connectivity issues. “Let teachers know if you have slow internet at home,” says Journell. “Sometimes detailed graphics and animations that look cute but have little relevance to the actual lessons being delivered can cause problems for students with unreliable internet. If teachers are aware, then they can scale down the ‘frilly’ stuff and still get the important content across.”
 
3. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF  

While it’s important for parents to speak up on behalf of their children, RAND Senior Policy Researcher Julia Kaufman, Ph.D., highlights the importance of encouraging children to express their needs, as well. “If your child does not have access to technology at home and is falling behind, make sure your child’s teacher knows the obstacles they’re facing and ask what accommodations will make it easier for your child to do assignments offline,” says Rand. “At the same time, help your child feel comfortable expressing any technology concerns or confusion to their teachers, including cases where they have the technology but cannot use it well.”
 
4. CHECK YOUR ASSUMPTIONS 

One critical step that educators and policymakers can take in addressing the digital divide is to check their assumptions. They cannot – and should not – assume that students do or do not have access based solely on demographics such as family income level. “In addition, they cannot assume that providing access alone creates equity,” adds Dr. Beth Holland, a Partner at The Learning Accelerator (TLA) and Digital Equity Advisor to the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN). “This is a complex and nuanced challenge that needs both a technical and a human solution to ensure that students not only have access to sufficient high-speed internet and devices but also accessible systems and structures to support their learning.”

5. SURVEY AND MODIFY  

For teachers who are on the ground and in the classroom, checking your assumptions can be as simple as asking a few basic questions at the start of the term. “Survey students to determine the percentage of your population that doesn’t have home Internet access,” recommends former AAP President Dr. Colleen A. Kraft, MD, MBA, FAAP. “Once you know the divide, you can address it,” adding, “When planning 1:1 projects and choosing devices, for example, you can consider a device’s capacity for offline use. For those without Wi-Fi, a public library in the child’s neighborhood can also be an excellent resource.”

6. VOTE FOR CHANGE 

That parents and teachers need to worry about the digital divide at all is a failure on the part of our elected leaders, says Bates College Associate Professor of Education Mara Casey Tieken. “Contact your elected officials—local, state, and federal—and complain,” she suggests. “Write letters, call their offices, attend their legislative sessions, and make your voice heard. Join with other families whose children are impacted by this divide to amplify your message and use your vote to support lawmakers who understand the impacts of this divide, have a clear plan to address it and are willing to take action.”
 
7. MAKE BROADBAND A UTILITY  

Reich agrees, reminding those families who already have their needs met that they share in the responsibility to advocate for the less fortunate. “It’s our job as citizens to demand that we as a society give families and children the tools and resources that they need for remote learning now and in the future,” says Reich. “We need to advocate for a society where broadband is treated as a utility rather than a luxury good, and young people enrolled in schools and educational programs have access to computers for learning.”

8. CONCRETE INITIATIVES  

Angela Siefer, Executive Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, advocates four concrete initiatives. “Establish a permanent broadband benefit, increase access to affordable computers, digital literacy and technical support, improve broadband mapping (including residential cost data), and support local and state digital inclusion planning.” By implementing these changes, Siefer says, policymakers can start to mitigate the digital divide. 

9. USE TECH FOR GOOD 

There are many reasons to consider equitable solutions along a “digital continuum” rather than the “digital divide;” a binary description leaves less room for nuanced and customized interventions. It may be imperative to fortify existing institutions, implement new governance structures and promulgate policies to confront disparities regarding working families. Antwuan Wallace, Managing Director at National Innovation Service, suggests that legislators consider a Safety and Thriving framework to increase family efficacy to support children with protective factors against the “homework gap” by utilizing technology to train critical skills for executive functioning, including planning, working memory, and prioritization. 
 
10. LEVEL THE FIELD 

Emma Garcia of the Economic Policy Institute emphasizes that guided technology education will be of great value after the pandemic. She says, “it will need be instituted as part of a very broad agenda that uses well-designed diagnostic tests to know where children are and what they need (in terms of knowledge, socioemotional development, and wellbeing), ensures the right number of highly credentialed professionals to teach and support students, and offers an array of targeted investments that will address the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on children’s learning and development, especially for those who were most hit by the pandemic.”
 
11. APPLY FOR LIFELINE 

Research also shows that the digital divide disproportionately affects Latino, Black, and Native American students, with the expensive price of internet access serving as one of the main obstacles to families in these communities. “Eligible parents can apply for the Lifeline Program, which is a federal program that can reduce their monthly phone and internet cost,” suggests Greenlining Institute fellow Gissela Moya. “Parents can also ask their child’s school to support them by providing hotspots and computer devices to ensure their child has the tools they need to succeed.”
 
12. GET INVOLVED 

Learning remotely can be difficult for kids, even if they have access to all the technological tools they need. Research shows that parental encouragement is also an important aspect of learning for children, notes London School of Economics professor and author Sonia Livingstone. “Perhaps sit with them, and gently explain what’s required or work it out together.” She adds that working together is a great way that parents with fewer economic or digital resources can support their children. “And if you don’t know much about computers, your child can probably teach you something too!”
 
13. NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL 

When it comes to encouraging your children, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. “Reflect on the more nuanced ways your children learn and leverage accessible resources (digital and non-digital) to inspire their continued curiosity,” says University of Redlands Assistant Professor Nicol Howard. Leaning into your child’s strengths and interests will help them make the most of this challenging time.
 
While the move to remote learning may seem like an insurmountable obstacle for families that can’t afford reliable internet or dedicated devices for their kids, there are a variety of ways that parents can help connect their children with the tools they need. For those privileged enough to already have access to the necessary physical resources, it’s important to remember that emotional support is also an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to children’s educational success, especially during days as challenging as these. Lastly, it falls on all of us to use our time, energy, and voices to work towards a more just world where the educational playing field is level and all children have the same opportunity to thrive and succeed, regardless of their social, racial, or financial background.
 
About Children and Screens
Since its inception in 2013, Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, has become one of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing and supporting interdisciplinary scientific research, enhancing human capital in the field, informing and educating the public, and advocating for sound public policy for child health and wellness. For more information, visit Children and Screens website or contact by email here.
 
The views and opinions that are expressed in this article belong to the experts to whom they are attributed, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, or its staff. 

E-Learning Illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Creative Ways of Learning

How the Pandemic Opened Doors for Creative New Ways of Learning

When the pandemic shut down schools in 2020, parents were forced to pay closer attention to what their children were – or were not – learning, and to take a more active role in their students’ education. It made for an unwelcome disruption in everyone’s lives. But within this homelife upheaval, the disruption of school also provided an opportunity to re-evaluate how learning takes place, and what families can do to make things better, says Emily Greene, the author of School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic-Stricken World.

We’ve gained a new perspective, and this is our chance to update our outdated education system for something better, to shift our mindsets, and to rekindle our children’s joy in learning from the inside out,” says Greene, who herself is a working mother of three children. “I think many of us are beginning to recognize and appreciate new ways of learning that do not necessarily conform to the traditional format of school. Outside of the school building, we’re seeing learning happen anytime, anywhere, with anyone, in formal and informal ways.”

But a question arises: If it’s time to rethink education in America, what is the way forward? For Greene, part of the answer involves simply setting aside outdated ideas about learning and embracing a new way of thinking about what school should be.

Parents don’t need to wait for the school board, teachers, or others to act. She says some steps they can take themselves include:

  • Unlearn outdated beliefs about school. The traditional model of education is over 100 years old, which means people need to unlearn it, Greene says. Among other things, school is viewed as a daytime activity in a brick-and-mortar building where children the same age learn the same things, and tests measure how well they’re doing. “Maybe we flip that,” Greene says, “so that we view learning as an anytime activity where kids of all ages have learning options, creative thinking is expected, and success is measured by curiosity rather than test scores,” Greene says unlearning has three steps. “First, we let go of status-quo beliefs that are no longer valid,” she says. “Second, we replace outdated thinking with a new mindset that could work better. Finally, we rebuild day-to-day life around a new way of thinking about school.”
  • Nurture curiosity. Children are naturally curious, but structured education doesn’t always allow them to follow their innate desires to know or learn something, Greene says. Parents can help nurture curiosity by asking children questions about what interests them, she says. Parents should also be sure to listen to their children and elicit questions from them rather than jump in with advice, opinions, and answers. “I remind parents that curiosity is innate. All children are naturally drawn to things they find interesting,” Greene says. “With practice, kids can learn to activate their curiosity to transform everyday learning into a more joyful experience.”
  • Encourage creativity. Schools don’t kill creativity, but the conformity required at school does smother it, “leaving it gasping for air,” Greene says. “Creativity is stifled by standardization, evaluation, and pressure to conform to the structure of the school system,” she says. Interestingly enough, the pandemic helped show children the importance of creativity and innovation, she says. “They saw stores and restaurants adapt to changing conditions by offering curbside pickup and social distancing,” Greene says. “Many kids watched their parents adapt to a new way of remote working. These things make an impression, showing children that creativity enables us to adapt and solve real problems.”

Through this pandemic, we have all suffered, but we also have learned so much,” Greene says. “The disruption of school gives us the perspective needed to make a lasting difference in the way our children learn. What a waste it would be to just settle back into our old ways.”

About Emily Greene

Emily Greene is the author of School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic-Stricken World in which she shares her experience educating her children inside and outside of traditional schools. She developed the Kiddovate program, working with hundreds of teachers and students. She also is co-founder of VIVA Creative, where she and her team create live and digital experiences. When the pandemic shut down the event industry, Greene co-led VIVA in rethinking how to bring people together in a global pandemic. In 2020, she received an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year® award recognizing innovation during adversity.

Lego Illustration Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

LegoLand Discovery Center Westchester

BUILDING MEMORIES AGAIN – LEGOLAND® DISCOVERY CENTER WESTCHESTER REOPENS TO GUESTS ON MARCH 26

Attraction Welcomes Nominations for Deserving Family to be VIP Guests on Reopening Day and Invites Guests to Honor Local Healthcare Workers with Ticket Donations for Visits Shared on Social Media

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester is thrilled to announce they will officially reopen its doors to guests on Friday, March 26th, welcoming fans back after over a year being closed due to local regulations. Guests can enjoy a day of family fun with signature experiences including MINILAND, LEGO® Racers: Build and Test, and LEGO® 4D Cinema! The ultimate indoor LEGO playground is looking for nominations for a deserving family to be the first to experience the attraction when it reopens. Nominations can be submitted on the attractions Facebook page or emailed to Westchester@LEGOLANDDiscoveryCenter.com

Taking extra precautions for health and safety, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester has implemented enhanced physical distancing measures, new limited capacity 2-hour playtimes, LEGO® bricks just for families to use during playtimes, and stringent cleaning protocols before each playtime following the guidance of local and national health officials.

“The health of our guests and employees is of utmost importance. We are taking proactive steps to provide visitors with a safe, comfortable environment when we welcome them back to LEGOLAND Discovery Center again,” said Laura Whitman, General Manager of LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester. “After over a year spent social distancing, we hope to provide our fans with a day of togetherness, learning, creating, and carefree play.”

As part of the reopening, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester will also honor the tireless work of local medical professionals by donating complimentary tickets to local organizations and their healthcare heroes. For every guest who tags the attraction in a social media post during their visit, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester will donate one ticket to a local healthcare worker from a health care partner to be announced soon.

Families are encouraged to visit https://www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/westchester as soon as next week to purchase tickets and check out LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester’s visit safety tips.

ABOUT LEGOLAND® DISCOVERY CENTER WESTCHESTER
LEGOLAND® Discovery Center is the ultimate indoor LEGO® playground and has 11 locations across North America including Arizona, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Kansas City, Michigan, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Toronto, and Westchester. Geared towards children ages 3 to 10 and their families, the attraction features millions of LEGO® bricks and multiple attractions including Master Builder Academy; Kingdom Quest Laser Ride; Merlin’s Apprentice Ride; LEGO® 4D Cinema; Build and Test; MINILAND™ featuring iconic landmarks; LEGO® Friends Heartlake City, and more.

Visit LEGOLAND® Discovery Center’s site for attraction info and locations. LEGOLAND® Discovery Center is a part of the Merlin Entertainments Group. 

About Merlin Entertainments plc 

Merlin Entertainments plc is a global leader in location-based, family entertainment. As Europe’s number one and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin now operates more than 130 attractions, 19 hotels, and 6 holiday villages in 25 countries across four continents. Merlin’s purpose is to deliver memorable experiences to its 67 million guests around the world, through its iconic brands and multiple attraction formats, and the commitment and passion of its 28,000 employees (peak season).

Visit Merlin Entertainments site for more information and follow on Twitter @MerlinEntsNews