Your Child’s Roblox Obsession, Explained

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If you’re a parent with a gaming kid under the age of 16, chances are good that you’re already familiar with Roblox, the hugely popular multiplayer online gaming platform that seemingly came out of nowhere to capture the attention (and obsession) of kids all across the globe. 

While you also may know about RobuxRoblox’s in-game virtual currency, which consistently ranks among the most-requested gaming gift cards for kids, you may not be aware of many other details about the game itself and have lots of questions about safety, security and excessive screen time related to Roblox gameplay.

Worry no more: Our guide to Roblox for kids will hopefully answer many of the questions that you might have but are too afraid to ask! Read on to learn more about the seemingly ubiquitous gaming phenomenon.

finding out more about roblox for kids

What Exactly Is Roblox?

Simply put, Roblox is a persistent (meaning, it’s online all of the time, 24/7), multiplayer gaming platform that lets millions of users around the world create, share and play 3-D games and virtual experiences with one another—all in real-time. 

Roblox can be played on a variety of devices and operating systems, ranging from smartphones and tablets to laptops and gaming consoles—even VR headsets. Because of Roblox’s wide accessibility, relative ease of gameplay and freemium cost model, young gamers (especially those under age 13) have latched on and propelled its popularity in recent years, making it the most popular entertainment app for that age group.

After creating and logging into free-to-play (more on costs later) personalized accounts, players choose from more than 40 million games and experiences, in which they virtually interact with other players using customizable avatars, audio chat or text chat.

Many games are freeform and immersive explorations in virtual environments. Some popular ones focus on building homes and tending to pets and babies, while others are more action-oriented, including first-person shooter and racing games. Ranked by the number of visits, Adopt Me!, where players—you guessed it—adopt, raise and collect various pets, is currently number one. Other top entries include Tower of Hell, MeepCity and Brookhaven.

how to figure out roblox for kids and what kids see

What Do Players See and Do on Roblox?

Through their customizable avatars, Roblox players are immersed in colorful and dynamic virtual 3-D worlds and experiences that they can explore and move through via touch screens, gaming controllers or keyboard strokes and mouse clicks—much like any other video game.

As a platform to reach consumers, Roblox has become a big business: Major brands, such as Gucci, have partnered with Roblox to create virtual boutiques that sell exclusive virtual merchandise for avatars, like sunglasses and beanies. Meanwhile, musicians such as Lil Nas X and Twenty One Pilots have hosted virtual concerts that have attracted millions of viewers.

While some parents may find navigating Roblox’s game interface confusing, most kids will find controlling and customizing their avatars to be fairly intuitive. Experts say the concept of crafting a virtual character and interacting using avatars in virtual spaces—what’s been coined as playing in the Metaverse—“is not novel to kids that are playing Roblox because they grew up in the metaverse, that’s all they know,” says Colin Rosenblum, a tech writer and YouTuber who covers content creators with Samir Chaudry on the Colin and Samir YouTube Channel.

What sets Roblox apart from other digital video games—such as Minecraft or Fortnite, for example—is the unique creator system that’s built into its gameplay. The vast majority of content and games available on Roblox are user-created and supported, versus created and developed by professional gaming studios. By comparison, while most other digital video games have prescribed rules for playing and specific pathways to winning, Roblox’s gameplay is fluid and collaborative by design. Social interactivity is essential to Roblox’s gameplay and popularity.

“Roblox games reflect the sort of imaginative play you often find in the playground,” says Andy Robertson, a U.K.-based family technology expert, author of Taming Gaming and creator of the Family Gaming Database. “One child has an idea about a game to play, others join him or her, and the rules slowly change as the group decides how to have fun together. Roblox creators can quickly update and adjust their games to match the demands of the huge playing community.”

What's the craze behind Roblox for kids

When Did Roblox-Mania Begin?

Despite parents noticing Roblox-mania among their kids and their kids’ peers only over the past few years, Roblox has been around for nearly two decades. An early iteration of the game was first introduced in 2004 by San Mateo, CA-based game developers David Baszucki and Erik Cassel, followed by the 2006 release of Roblox’s online gaming platform and game creation system.

Today, Baszucki is CEO of Roblox Corporation, the parent company of Roblox, and his username, “builderman,” is still the first welcome message that new players receive when they register new accounts. 

Although Roblox’s popularity grew steadily in the 2010s, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown helped to further accelerate Roblox’s popularity, especially among younger gamers. By 2021, Roblox achieved a milestone of 202 million monthly active users globally, an increase from 146 million in the previous year. Today, Roblox has more than 43 million daily active users, with a whopping 67% of Roblox users under age 16.

Many parents have stories of how when their kids were attending remote school and unable to have in-person playdates, Roblox was a lifeline between their kids and their friends. For many, meeting and playing together in Roblox’s virtual environment became a welcomed antidote to social distancing rules for both kids and parents alike.

“[During lockdown] my sons would set up playdates with their friends and say, ‘we’ll meet you in a specific game on Roblox,’ ” says Angeline Yeo, a Bay Area mom of 11-year-old twin boys Reece and Logan, who both started playing Roblox about a year ago. “It was the only way for them to connect with friends because San Francisco was pretty locked down then.”

As word of mouth among elementary school gamers spreads, Roblox continues to amass more players, who spend an average of 2.6 hours per day on the platform.

is roblox for kids safe?

Roblox for Kids: Is It Safe?

Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), the non-profit, self-regulatory body for the video game industry, gives Roblox an ESRB rating of E10+, meaning it’s suitable for all players ages 10 and older, although it’s a game that’s popular with even younger players. Consequently, Roblox’s strict Community Standards focus on fostering a safe and secure environment for players of all ages.

Roblox has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to child endangerment, violence, bullying and harassment, among other key safety tenets. The platform utilizes both software and 1,600 human moderators to filter and block inappropriate content, but offensive communications or inappropriate user-generated content can sometimes slip through the cracks.

“It’s important for parents to familiarize themselves with the robust parental controls that Roblox provides to ensure their children are shielded from inappropriate content or communications,” says Patricia Vance, president of the ESRB.

First and foremost, Vance insists that parents make sure their kid’s Roblox account is registered with an accurate birthdate, which enables automatic filtering and other protections that are designed to safeguard children under age 13. Additionally, kids and parents alike should familiarize themselves with how to block and report bullying or disruptive players. Last and most importantly, parents should teach their children never to share personal information online, including real names, addresses or passwords.

“Roblox’s parental controls give parents the ability to curate the content their kids may encounter when playing, including options to restrict voice chat only to approved friends or turn it off entirely, create a white list of age-appropriate games for your kids, and more,” Vance says.

Start here to find out how to activate Roblox’s safety tools.

Is Roblox Free to Play?

While Roblox is ostensibly free-to-play, there are plenty of in-game purchases. Many Roblox players say gameplay is hindered by not making in-game purchases, which include buying everything from virtual gear and clothing for avatars to virtual food to feed pets to virtual furniture as well as the ability to unlock levels and skills.

Roblox’s in-game virtual currency is called Robux and it costs real dollars to acquire. The more real money spent, the better the exchange rate: For example, 800 Robux cost $10, 4,500 Robux cost $50 and 10,000 Robux cost $100. There also are three tiers of Roblox Premium memberships, which have recurring monthly charges.

Parents with Roblox players are all too familiar with requests for more Robux, which can easily get out of hand. Yeo has a simple solution: “I don’t give the boys money [for Robux]; they are responsible for funding their own Robux through birthday money and red envelope cash gifts.” 

How to Manage Screen Time?

Increasing screen time for kids is an ongoing concern for many parents, especially when kids already spend so much time on screens at school and at play. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages media use by children younger than age two and recommends limiting older children’s screen time to no more than one or two hours a day.

But managing screen time for kids is often easier said than done, especially when online games like Roblox can easily become addictive. The Mayo Clinic offers three simple suggestions for helping to reduce screen time for kids:

  1. Eliminate background TV
  2. Keep TVs, smartphones and computers out of bedrooms
  3. Don’t eat in front of screens.

When kids are using screens, experts encourage parents to be proactive about monitoring what, when and how much media they consume. When it comes to gaming, it’s easy to lose track of time, so parents of gaming kids should be especially vigilant, experts say.

“Kids have become so accustomed to screens,” says Mike Chung, a Redondo Beach, Calif.-based marketing technology strategist whose six-year-old son Teddy recently started dipping his toes into Roblox. Chung says Teddy’s access to apps on his iPad currently is limited to YouTube Kids, Khan Academy, Roblox and a few other pre-approved gaming apps. And while it’s easy to manage his son’s screen time at this age (“he’s six, as parents, we can just turn off his iPad”), Chung recognizes that managing screen time for kids will get more difficult as they grow older.

The good news for parents is that Roblox provides numerous settings to help moderate young gamers’ activities on the platform, including restrictions on how much time and money your child can spend. Parents also should take advantage of parental monitoring tools such as Microsoft’s Family Settings, Apple’s Screen Time and Google’s Family Link to manage precisely when and for how long your child is permitted to play games.

Still, many parents continue to be concerned about the excessive amount of time their kids are spending online playing games like Roblox. While these concerns are warranted, there is growing evidence that supports the creative and social value of playing video games.

“The social benefits of playing video games, both off- and online, have been grossly under-addressed in the media,” says Dr. Rachel Kowert, a research psychologist and the research director of Take This, a non-profit mental health organization that supports the diverse cultures and issues of the gaming community. “Rather than video games having created a generation of addicted and antisocial youths (as the stereotype would suggest), research indicates that the highly social nature of video games, both off- and online, helps to build and maintain friendships, both with pre-existing ‘offline’ friends and online friends.”

As one parent put it, there are pros and cons to Roblox for kids: 

On the con side, some games on Roblox can be violent, and some bad players may want to take advantage of kids through scams or inappropriate conversations. Parents must be vigilant and proactive about implementing Roblox’s numerous age-appropriate safety and security tools.

On the pro side, the creative aspects of Roblox gameplay can spark a child’s imagination and further her interests in design and building. Plus, staying in touch with friends and family virtually when they’re unable to be together in person is a bonus.


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You know that April showers bring May flowers, but did you know that many babies born in May consider themselves to be the happiest and healthiest people around? Yup, according to studies, those born in the fifth month of the year are at lower risk of suffering from diseases related to respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurological conditions. Read on to find out why May babies are such a hearty lot. And if you’re expecting a May babe, check out this list of adorable names just for babies born in May. 

1. People born in May consider themselves to be lucky. According to a survey of nearly 30,000 participants, respondents were asked to rate how lucky they thought they were. The findings showed that people born in the summer are more likely to consider themselves to be lucky compared to those born in the winter. May-born respondents said they were the luckiest, while people born in November were the most pessimistic.

2. But watch your wallets with May-born people. People born in May are notorious spendthrifts, but if they set their minds to saving their money, they’re also the most committed to doing so.

3. Superman was born in May. More specifically, Henry Cavill, who currently plays the Man of Steel on the big screen, was born on May 5, 1983. Other actors-cum-superheroes who blow out birthday candles in May include Will Arnett (voice of LEGO Batman), George Clooney (Batman, circa 1997), and Stephen Amell (TV’s Green Arrow).

4. May babies are driven to succeed. Strong-willed and deeply emotional, people born in May seem to possess an innate sixth sense that helps them navigate through life. Like April-born people, those born in May can be stubborn, but their critical, systematic ways of thinking help them get stuff done.

5. People born in May often have wanderlust. Restless and curious, people born in May are always itching to explore the world. They often lead exhausting and busy lives that incorporate adventure and work, but they are the last to complain about their hectic lifestyles. For May-born people bitten by the travel bug, exploration isn’t simply a distraction, it’s a way of life.

6. May-born parents are the best. If you’re a parent with a birthday in May, your kiddos can count themselves among the lucky ones. May parents are devoted, well-organized, resourceful and creative. Plus, May-born spouses are affectionate and funny.

7. May babies are strong. Thanks to the combination of milder spring temperatures and the return of warmer weather flora and fauna, May is a month when the world comes roaring back to life. Babies born in this month are typically bigger and stronger than their peers born in the preceding winter months. And they don’t just possess physical stamina: May babies are known for their strength of mind, body and spirit, experiencing the least amount of chronic diseases compared to babies born in other months.

8. But May babies tend to be born tinier than babies born in other months. According to U.S. National Library of Medicine, babies born in May tend to be shorter, lighter and have smaller heads, which scientists think is related to the amount of vitamin D the mother gets while pregnant.

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21 Asian American Heroes Our Kids Need to Know About

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Throughout history, people of Asian descent have played important roles in the creation of American life and culture, lending their talents to significant developments in the arts, business, politics, science and much more. Despite their myriad contributions, the stories of Asian Americans are often left untold. With more than 21 million Americans today who can trace their ancestry back to various parts of Asia, Asians will eventually be the largest immigrant group in the United States. Representation matters, and it’s time for Asian American historical figure to receive their laurels. Read on to learn about some noteworthy activists, artists, entrepreneurs, scientists and more of Asian descent that you may not have learned about in U.S. history class.

Ang Lee, Taiwanese American Filmmaker

Taiwanese American filmmaker Ang Lee has the unique distinction of being the first non-white director to win an Oscar for directing as well as producing and directing Academy Award-winning films performed in Chinese and English. Having been nominated for a total of nine Academy Awards, Lee has won three: Best Foreign Language Film for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) as well as Best Director for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Life of Pi (2012). Born in Chaozhou, Taiwan, in 1954, Lee came to the U.S. to study film, and he received an MFA from New York University’s Tisch School, where he was a classmate of filmmaker Spike Lee. Ang Lee is considered by many to be among the most accomplished and influential filmmakers of his generation.

Anna May Wong, Taishanese American Actress

Widely regarded as the first Chinese American actress of Taishanese descent to achieve superstardom in Hollywood, Wong was born in Los Angeles in 1905 and started acting at an early age. Her varied career spanned silent films, the first color films, television and radio. Although many of her early roles played into ethnic stereotypes, Wong was a vocal advocate for greater representation of Asian Americans in film and television, and she gained both critical and popular acclaim for her international acting roles. Wong famously lost the leading role of the Chinese character O-Lan in the film adaptation of Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth to German actress Luise Rainer, who played the role in yellowface and went on to win the Academy Award for her portrayal.

Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu, Chinese American Nuclear Physicist

Known as the “Chinese Marie Curie” and the “Queen of Nuclear Research,” Dr. Wu was born in Jiangsu Province, China, in 1912, and moved to the U.S. in 1939 to pursue her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley. As an experimental physicist, Dr. Wu made significant contributions to the study of nuclear physics, and as a member of the research staff at Columbia University, she played a critical role in the Manhattan Project, the research and development consortium led by the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom that created the first nuclear weapons. Dr. Wu was the recipient of the inaugural Wolf Prize in Physics and was the first woman to serve as president of the American Physical Society.

Dalip Singh Saund, Indian American Congressman

Born in Punjab, India, in 1899, Saund emigrated to the U.S. via Ellis Island in his early 20s to further his education. He subsequently earned both master and doctoral degrees in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley. After becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1949, Saund ran for and won various positions in local government in Stockton, California. In 1955, he announced his campaign to run for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat, a seat he would go on to win twice, which made him the first Sikh American, the first Asian American, and the first Indian American to be elected to the U.S. Congress.

Cecilia Chung, Hong Kong American Civil Rights Activist

Cecilia Chung is an internationally recognized civil rights leader and social justice advocate. Born in Hong Kong in 1965, Chung immigrated to San Francisco in her late teens. She is a transgender woman living openly with HIV and currently serves as Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives and Evaluation of Transgender Law Center. Chung was the first transgender woman and first Asian to be elected to lead the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Celebration. Through her advocacy and philanthropic work, Chung has established herself as one of the country’s most important voices in anti-discrimination, transgender rights, and HIV/AIDS education and awareness.


Dr. David Ho, Taiwanese American Research Physician and Virologist

Born in Taichung, Taiwan, in 1952, Dr. David Ho moved to Los Angeles at age 12 with his mother and younger brother to reunite with his father, who emigrated to the U.S. in 1957. After earning his bachelor of science in biology from California Institute of Technology and his medical degree from Harvard University-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Dr. Ho performed his clinical training in internal medicine and infectious diseases. When he was a resident at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, he came into contact with some of the first reported cases of what was later identified as AIDS. Since then, Dr. Ho has been on the frontlines of AIDS research and more recently, coronavirus research.

George Takei, Japanese American Actor and Civil Rights Activist

Best known for his iconic role as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek series, George Takei is a groundbreaking actor and civil rights activist who blazed a trail for subsequent generations of Asian Americans in the performing arts. A self-proclaimed Anglophile, Takei was named after the United Kingdom’s King George VI, who was crowned earlier in the same year (1937) that the U.S.S. Enterprise helmsman was born in Los Angeles. Like many people of Japanese descent at the time, and despite being American citizens, Takei and his family were forced to relocate to internment camps during World War II. Since coming out as gay in 2005, Takei has become a prominent LGBT rights advocate and political activist. He also has won awards and accolades for his work on human rights and Japan–U.S. relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

Duke Kahanamoku, Native Hawaiian Olympic Gold Medalist, Surfer and Actor

Nicknamed “The Big Kahuna,” Duke Kahanamoku was a towering figure in the worlds of sports and entertainment. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1890, Kahanamoku was a five-time Olympic medalist in swimming, having competed in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, and the 1924 Olympics in Paris. Kahanamoku also was an alternate for the U.S. water polo team at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. Following his trail-blazing athletic career, Kahanamoku worked as an actor, sheriff and surfer, helping to popularize the Hawaiian sport of surfing to a new generation of surfers all over the world.

Grace Lee Boggs, Taishanese American Author, Philosopher and Feminist

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1915, to Chinese immigrant parents from Taishan, China, Grace Lee Boggs was a prominent Chinese American author, social activist, philosopher and feminist. She was on the frontlines of social change in the 1940s and 1950s, and in the 1960s, she and her husband James Boggs—a Black writer and community organizer—were important figures in the fight for social justice for minority communities. Lee Boggs is best known for her book, The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, and she is regarded as a key figure in the development of the Asian American movement and identity. She remained active in human rights advocacy until her death in 2015 at the age of 100.

Publicity still featuring Haing S. Ngor, from the 1993 drama, “My Life”

Haing S. Ngor, Cambodian American Surgeon, Actor and Author

Although Haing Somnang Ngor trained as a surgeon and obstetrician in his native country of Cambodia, he is best known for winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1985 for his debut performance in the film, The Killing Fields, in which he portrayed Cambodian journalist and refugee Dith Pran. Ngor is the only actor of Asian descent to ever win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and only one of two non-professional actors to win an acting Oscar. Born in Takeo Province, Cambodia, in 1940, Ngor survived the horrors of prison camps under the Khmer Rouge. Ngor harrowing accounts of torture and losing his wife during childbirth in Pol Pot’s prison camps, as well as his subsequent journey to the U.S. as a refugee, are told in his autobiography, Haing Ngor: A Cambodian Odyssey.

I.M. Pei, Chinese American Architect

Born in Guangzhou, China, in 1917, Ieoh Ming Pei moved to the U.S. in 1935 to enroll in the University of Pennsylvania’s architecture school, but he quickly transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Pei would go on to design some of the nation’s most iconic buildings, including the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, among many others. Pei’s design of the glass and steel pyramid at the Musée du Louvre in Paris firmly established his reputation as a global visionary. Pei is among a select few architects whose work has defined city skylines around the world. In 1983, Pei won the Pritzker Prize, which is sometimes referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture.

Jerry Yang, Taiwanese American Co-Founder of Yahoo! and Tech Investor

In 1994, Jerry Yang and his classmate David Filo dropped out of the doctoral program at Stanford University to create an internet directory originally named “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web,” which was later renamed Yahoo! As the creator of one of the first internet portals, Yang played a critical role in defining the role of technology in our lives. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1968, Yang emigrated to San Jose, California, at age 10 with his mother and brother. In the years since leaving Yahoo!, Yang has become a mentor to numerous technology startups and an investor to more than 50 startups.

Joyce Chen, Chinese American Chef, Restaurateur and Author

Before there was Food Network, chef, restauranteur and author Joyce Chen was credited with popularizing authentic, northern-style Chinese cuisine in the U.S. Previously, much of the Chinese food that most Americans consumed was a hybrid “chop suey” that was neither authentic nor Chinese in origin. Born in Beijing, China, in 1917, Chen and her family fled the country as communists were taking over. She settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she opened the first Joyce Chen Restaurant in 1958, pioneering the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet concept. In 2014, the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp with Chen’s image in honor of her accomplishments and lasting influence on American cuisine.

Kalpana Chawla, Indian American Astronaut and Engineer

Kalpana Chawla was the first woman of Indian descent to go to space, having served as a mission specialist and primary robotic arm operator on the space shuttle Columbia. Sadly, Chawla was one of the seven crew members who died when the spacecraft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere in 2003 following the space shuttle Columbia’s 28th mission. Chawla was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and several streets, universities and institutions have been named in her honor. She is regarded as a national hero in India, where she was born in East Punjab, in 1962.

Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink, Japanese American Politician and Attorney

Born on a sugar plantation camp in Paia, Hawaii, on the island of Maui, in 1927, Patsy Mink pursued a law degree at the University of Chicago after being rejected by all 12 medical schools to which she applied. As the then Territory of Hawaii debated statehood in 1956, Mink was elected to the Hawaiian Territorial Legislature representing the Fifth District in the Territorial House of Representatives, becoming the first woman with Japanese ancestry to serve in the territorial House. When Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959, Mink ran in the Democratic primary for the state's at-large U.S. congressional seat but was defeated by Territorial Senator Daniel Inouye. In 1965, Mink won a post in the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the first Hawaiian woman elected to U.S. Congress and the first woman of color elected to the House, where she served six consecutive terms. She served as Assistant Secretary of State under the Carter administration, then returned to the House, serving again from 1990 to 2002.

Philip Vera Cruz, Filipino American Labor Leader and Civil Rights Activist

Philip Vera Cruz was an influential labor organizer, farmworker and leader in the Asian American movement. As a co-founder of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, which later merged with the National Farm Workers Association to become the United Farm Workers, Vera Cruz led the charge to improve the terrible working conditions for migrant workers, especially Filipino and Mexican farmworkers. Born in Saoang, Ilocos Sur, Philippines, in 1904, Vera Cruz moved to the United States at age 22. Working a variety of menial labor and farm jobs, Vera Cruz witnessed firsthand the deplorable treatment that farmworkers experienced. Vera Cruz partnered with Mexican labor organizer Cesar Chavez to demand better treatment, and together with the United Farm Workers union, these labor leaders were finally able to impact change in working conditions for thousands of workers. Learn more about this hero by reading Philip Vera Cruz: A Personal History of Filipino Immigrants and the Farmworkers Movement, you can find it here. 

Sammy Lee, Korean American Olympic Diver, Coach and Physician

Sammy Lee has the rare distinction of being the first Asian American man to win an Olympic gold medal for the U.S. and the first man to win back-to-back gold medals in Olympic platform diving. Born to Korean immigrant parents in Fresno, California, in 1920, Lee first dreamt of becoming an Olympic athlete when he saw banners for the 1932 Olympic games in Los Angeles. Lee competed in the 1948 Olympics in London and the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. Following Lee's impressive diving career, he helped coach several U.S. Olympic divers, including Bob Webster, Greg Louganis, and Pat McCormick. In addition to coaching, Lee also practiced as an ear, nose and throat doctor for 35 years before retiring in 1990.

Tammy Duckworth, Thai American Army Veteran and U.S. Senator

Born in 1968, in Bangkok, Thailand, to an American father and Thai mother, Tammy Duckworth is the first Thai American woman elected to U.S. Congress, the first person born in Thailand to be elected to U.S. Congress, the first woman with a disability elected to U.S. Congress, the first female double amputee in the Senate, and the first U.S. senator to give birth while in office. A former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and veteran of the Iraq War, Duckworth lost both of her legs and some mobility in her right arm after her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents, causing severe combat wounds. Despite her injuries, she sought and obtained a medical waiver that allowed her to continue serving in the Illinois Army National Guard until she retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2014.

Yo-Yo Ma, Chinese American Classical Musician and Performer

Born in Paris, France, in 1955, to classically trained musicians of Chinese descent, Yo-Yo Ma was raised and educated in New York City, where he was a musical prodigy who began performing at the age of four. A graduate of The Juilliard School and Harvard University, Ma has performed as a soloist with orchestras around the world, recorded more than 90 albums, and received 18 Grammy Awards. Ma has achieved both critical and commercial success, and has been honored with numerous recognitions, including the Glenn Gould Prize, National Medal of Arts, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Polar Music Prize, and was once named “Sexiest Classical Musician” by People magazine.

Wong Kim Ark, Chinese American Cook

Wong Kim Ark is not a well-known figure in most American history books, but the 1898 landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, known as United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649, established an important precedent for birthright citizenship. Wong was a restaurant cook born in San Francisco in 1873 to Chinese immigrant parents. The Naturalization Law of 1802 made Wong’s parents ineligible for U.S. citizenship through naturalization. When Wong visited China as a teen, upon his return to the U.S., he was readmitted without incident. However, several years later, following another return from visiting China, Wong was denied entry because has not considered a U.S. citizen, despite having been born here. Wong was confined for five months on steamships off the coast of San Francisco while his case was being tried. In a landmark 6-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court sided in favor of Wong’s claim of birthright citizenship, establishing an important precedent that continues to this day.

Yuji Ichioka, Japanese American Historian and Civil Rights Activist

As a child, Yuji Ichioka and his family were relocated from their home in San Francisco to the Topaz internment camp in Millard County, Utah, for three years during World War II. This experience proved to be seminal for Ichioka, who is largely credited with coining the term “Asian American.” By helping to unify different Asian ethnic groups (e.g., Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans, etc.) under a single, self-defining term, Ichioka paved the way for greater prominence and understanding of people of Asian descent in the U.S. Born in San Francisco in 1936, Ichioka served three years in the military, then earned degrees from University of California campuses in Los Angeles and Berkeley. He founded the Asian American Political Alliance in 1968 and helped to establish the Asian American studies program at UCLA. With his wife, Emma Gee, Ichioka established the Yuji Ichioka and Emma Gee Endowment for Social Justice and Immigration Studies at UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center.




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12 Tips for Raising an Independent Thinker

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As parents, our greatest wish for our children is for them to be happy, healthy and confident. Experts agree that curiosity and independent thinking are key ingredients to ensuring the development of these positive character traits; however, there is still often cultural and societal pressure for kids to conform to predetermined ideas and behaviors. 

Raising kids who stand up for what they believe and who march to the beat of their drums can be a delicate balancing act, but it’s essential to fostering a strong sense of self. “Independent thinking children develop higher levels of confidence and have increased self-esteem,” says Carole Kramer Arsenault, a licensed family therapist who is the founder and CEO of Boston Baby Nurse, a full-service childcare provider. “Children who are independent thinkers use their own experiences to interpret the world instead of believing everything they are taught by parents, teachers, society, etc.”

We asked child behavior and early education experts for their advice on how to foster confidence and independent thinking in any child. Read on to discover their 12 best tips for raising an independent thinker.

photo: Kipp Jarecke-Cheng via Instagram

1. Model and share the behaviors, values and ideals you want your independent kid to possess.

For most kids, their first role models are their parents and caregivers. Modeling and sharing with your child what you believe and what you value—early and often—will ensure that she grows up with a solid ideological foundation as she develops her sense of self. “Parents who communicate what they value with their children raise children who value communicating with their parents,” says Mica Geer, an American early education specialist based in Stuttgart, Germany. Geer adds that it’s a two-way street and parents also need to hear what their children value, too. “It may seem like the ramblings of a child, but when a kid is sharing her thoughts, parents need to really listen.”

2. Let children know that failure is an essential part of learning and growing.

Young children are like sponges: they’ll absorb virtually everything around them. Encouraging kids to learn through their failures instead of giving up when things get tough will empower them in the long run. According to the Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit organization that supports families and children coping with mental illness and learning disabilities, “trial and error is how kids learn, and falling short on a goal helps kids find out that it’s not fatal.” By learning to embrace a misstep, a child may be spurred to put in the extra effort the next time, learning a valuable lesson in the process.

3. Instead of simply pushing independence, encourage self-reliance.

Dr. Jim Taylor, a San Francisco-based psychologist, says independence is achieved through the pursuit of self-reliance. “As human beings, we are social creatures incapable of being truly independent,” says Dr. Taylor. “Instead of raising independent children, I want you to raise self-reliant children.” Dr. Taylor defines self-reliance as “confident in your own abilities and able to do things for yourself.” For children, that means encouraging the development of essential life tools that include cognitive, emotional, behavioral, interpersonal and practical skills.

photo: Michael LaRosa via Unsplash

4. Expose your child to different cultures, foods, and multicultural/multiethnic experiences.

“Encouraging your child to play and interact with other kids from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds as well as diverse socio-economic circumstances can open a child’s mind to different worldviews and opinions,” says Boston Baby Nurse’s Carole Kramer Arsenault. Early exposure to the wider world—to different cultures, people and even food—teaches a child that the world is vast and open to lots of possibilities.

5. Tell your kids that practice makes perfect—or at least makes pretty great.

While experts agree that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to instilling confidence and independence in children, most recognize that values can and do change with time, age and experience. The Center for Parenting Education provides useful resources for helping parents raise caring, responsible, resilient children, including practical exercises that parents and children can work on together to share and explore their basic life values.

6. Allow your kids to act their age.

One of the greatest and longest-lasting gifts a parent can give to a child is confidence. However, a parent can undermine a child’s confidence by creating expectations that are unrealistic or not age-appropriate. Carl Pickhardt, a psychologist and author of 15 parenting books, tells parents to let children act their age. “When a child feels that only performing as well as parents is good enough, that unrealistic standard may discourage effort,” Pickhardt says. “Striving to meet advanced age expectations can reduce confidence.” Instead, Pickhardt says parents should celebrate accomplishments big and small as well as encourage children to practice skills to build competence.

photo: Frank McKenna via Unsplash

7. Define and set clear boundaries for your child.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but defining and establishing clear boundaries and expectations will help a child feel a greater sense of independence and confidence. “Reasonable boundaries that are based in logic and frequently reinforced actually do more to encourage kids than constantly changing expectations,” says early education specialist Mica Geer. “I think a lot of parents worry about crushing their children’s creativity and autonomy by setting expectations on their kids,” Geer says that parents sometimes equate expectations with limitations, but kids always are looking for things that make them feel safe and in a safe environment to build their own ideas. “Clear expectations and shared responsibility empower children to reach for more creatively and encourage them to think independently.”

8. Give your child the space to grow, learn and explore.

Younger children especially are trying to assert their independence in ways that may come across as defiant or disorderly to some parents. But experts caution not to overreact or jump in to correct too quickly. “Research shows that parents who are over-involved in an activity that a child is doing, who take over, those kids don’t develop a sense of pride, adventure and willingness to try new things,” says Dr. Linda Acredolo, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California at Davis. Instead, Dr. Acredolo says children need the space to try—and fail on their own to learn and move forward.

9. Give responsibilities to your child at an early age.

Whether it’s simple household duties like taking out the trash or doing the dishes, assigning chores to children can give them a sense of accomplishment as well as set them up for understanding that seeing through the completion of tasks is essential throughout life and part of being a successful person. “By making them do chores… they realize, ‘I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life,’ ” says Julie Lythcott-Haims, a former Stanford University dean and the author of How to Raise an Adult.

photo: Todd Ruth via Unsplash

10. Encourage your child to ask questions and share their opinions.

Rather than enforcing your own perspective or dismissing your child’s questions, encouraging your child to question things and share his opinions and genuinely listen will help him gain confidence in his ideas. “This shows the child that his viewpoints matter. Parents should engage in actively listening to what their child has to say,” says Kramer Arsenault. “Respect a child’s viewpoint, even if it is different from yours.  When a child feels listened to he feels valued.” And feeling valued will enhance your child’s self-esteem and confidence. 

11. Teach children that they have agency over their minds and bodies.

Children rely on so much from their parents and caregivers when they are young, but as they transition from childhood into adolescence, one of the most important lessons they need to learn is that they have agency over their minds and bodies. Parents can help to facilitate the transition of their children’s dependence to greater independence by ensuring that their kids know the choices they make have consequences. The Center for Parenting Education has a helpful resource for helping parents and children navigate effective discipline and consequences

12. Trust your kids.

According to Dr. Jim Taylor, there are two kinds of children: independent and contingent. Contingent children are dependent on others for how they feel about themselves, while independent children are intrinsically motivated to achieve. Trusting that your child has learned the right lessons will allow him or her to flourish in their independence. “If your children are independent, you have provided them with the belief that they are competent and capable of taking care of themselves,” says Dr. Taylor. “You gave your children the freedom to experience life fully and learn its many important lessons.”

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22 Books That Feature Asian American Heroes & Leads

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When it comes to kids’ books, representation matters. This is especially true for minorities, immigrants and other marginalized people whose stories often don’t receive the same attention as “mainstream” white characters. Check out our roundup of just a few of our favorite books that feature strong Asian American protagonists. These books range from historical fiction to graphic novels to bilingual picture books and even chapter books for kids that’ll appeal to readers of all ages and backgrounds.

I'll Go and Come Back


When Jyoti travelled cross the world to visit her grandma in India, she didn't expect to miss home. But then Sita Pati taught her tons of fun things to do in her native country. When it's time to go home, Jyoti suddenly didn't want to leave. This sweet tale of the special relationship between grandmother and granddaughter by Rajani LaRocca is beautifully accompanied by Sara Palacios' illustrations and will have every reader reminiscing about their family. Ages: 3-7

Love in the Library


Based on a true story about author Maggie Tokuda-Hall's grandparents, this story shares the reality of living in an incarceration camp during WWII. With illustrations by Yas Imamura, young readers follow Tama who works in the camp's library and her friend George while navigating life and love at Minidoka. Ages: 6-9

The Katha Chest


Young readers will learn the importance of Kathas for the people of Bangladesh in this story by Radhiah Chowdhury. When young Asiya visits Nanu, her favorite part is opening her chest filled with the old sari's that have been transformed into katha quilts. Along with mesmerizing illustrations by Lavanya Naidu, readers will also be entertained by the simple prose and inspiring story. Ages: 4-8

How Do You Say Good Night?


Pre-schoolers will enjoy learning how to say good night in 10 different languages, including Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, French, Italian, Portuguese, Swahili, Arabic, Vietnamese, German and Korean. This bedtime follow-up to author Cindy Jin’s How Do You Say I Love You? features adorable illustrations by Shirley Ng-Benitz and is the perfect way for parents to wish their little ones a good night’s sleep in any language.  Ages: 2-4

Chinese New Year Wishes: Chinese Spring and Lantern Festival Celebration


Written in English and simplified Chinese, Chinese New Year Wishes is a colorfully illustrated picture book that follows the adventures of a Chinese-American boy named Hong as he and his family prepare for and celebrate the Chinese New Year Festival. Author Jillian Lin and illustrator Shi Meng have created an enjoyable story behind one of the most important annual celebrations in many East Asian cultures, including interesting facts about the festival and recommended questions for discussion at the back of the book. Ages: 2-6

Dim Sum for Everyone!


If music is the food of love, then Grace Lin’s delightful sing-song love letter to dim sum will touch the hearts (and stomachs) of anyone who has ever sampled the delicious joys of these little Chinese dishes. The story follows a little girl and her family as they visit a bustling dim sum restaurant, picking their favorite dishes from steaming trolleys filled with dumplings, cakes, buns and tarts. With simple words written and expressed in both English and Chinese, this bilingual board book is a yummy read for any budding foodie. Ages: 3-6

Little Jagadish and the Great Experiment


This book by Ajali Joshi chronicles the journey of a young boy named Jagadish who sets out to find solutions to unanswered questions using the scientific method. Inspired by the life and work of Indian physicist, botanist, and author Jagadish Chandra Bose, this story encourages young readers to embrace their curiosity and unleash their inner scientist. Ages: 4+

The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh


Author Supriya Kelkar’s debut children’s book celebrates the life of an Indian-American boy named Harpreet Singh who is a practicing Sikh. Harpreet’s culture and religion are affirmed in the colorful patkas or head covering that he wears. When his family moves to a new city, everything feels gray for Harpreet, but by wearing a colorful patka to express his mood and suit different occasions, he is able to bring color to an otherwise dull world. Illustrator Alea Marley nicely depicts Harpreet’s joy and exuberance through simple yet powerful images. Ages: 3-7

children's books that encourage diversity the name jar

The Name Jar


Like many immigrants from non-English-speaking countries, the main character in The Name Jar has a name that her majority classmates find difficult to pronounce. Unhei recently moved to the U.S. from Korea, and instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells her classmates that she will choose a new “American” name by the following week, with suggested new names placed into a jar. As Unhei makes friends, her naming path leads to embracing her culture, identity, and given name with the support of her new community.  Ages: 3-7

Super Satya Saves the Day


Super Satya is ready to have a super day, including finally conquering the tallest slide in Hoboken. But her day takes a not-so-super turn when she realizes her superhero cape is stuck at the dry cleaner. Will she be able to face her fears, help her friends and be the true hero everyone knows she is? Super Satya Saves The Day introduces Satya, a precocious Indian-American superhero. Ages: 3-9

Bee-Bim Bop!


Bibimbop is a traditional Korean dish of rice topped and then mixed with meat and vegetables. Author Linda Sue Park has created a fun picture book for pre-schoolers that uses bouncy rhyming text to tell the story of a young girl recounting all the ways she helps her mother make this delicious dish, from shopping, preparing ingredients, setting the table, and finally sitting down with her family to enjoy a favorite meal. Featuring whimsical illustrations, which sweetly depicts the lives of a modern Korean-American family, the book includes the author’s recipe for bibimbop. Ages: 4-7

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas


Writer Natasha Yim and illustrator Grace Zong have transplanted the classic British fairy tale, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and set the story in a bustling contemporary Chinatown. It's Chinese New Year, and young Goldy Luck’s mother wants her to take a plate of turnip cakes to the neighbors. The Chans aren’t home, but that doesn’t stop Goldy from trying out their rice porridge, their chairs, and their beds—with disastrous results. Soon, things take a turn for the absurd., i.e., Pandas! Ages: 4-8

Asian Americans Who Inspired Us


This celebration of trailblazing Asian-Americans who changed the world is beautifully illustrated and features the captivating and inspiring stories of a wide range of American heroes of Asian descent, ranging from Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi and classical musician Yo-Yo Ma to astronaut Ellison Onizuka and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, plus many more. As a Filipina-American mother and Fulbright Scholar who served in the U.S. Air Force, author Analiza Quiroz Wolf is herself an inspirational Asian-American role model. Ages: 6-12

Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi


First-time author Eugenia Chu’s illustrated children’s book mixes American and Chinese cultures and blends traditions and languages in a simply told and engaging story. The title character, Brandon, is an American-born Chinese boy who bonds with his Chinese grandmother by making dumplings with her. The story is told in both English and simplified Chinese and is a fun read for families with children who are learning—or who are interested in—Mandarin or Chinese culture. Ages: 7-11

Sam Wu Is Not Afraid Series


London-based authors Kevin and Katie Tsang are a husband and wife writing duo who conceived the Sam Wu Is Not Afraid series based on memories of Kevin’s childhood fears while growing up in Atlanta. Sam Wu is the kind of character who young readers will immediately identify with: brash on the outside, but doubtful on the inside. Each book in the series tackles one thing or other that our hero is most definitely NOT at all but maybe actually totally afraid of, whether it’s ghosts, sharks, spiders or zombies. Funny, silly, and earnest in equal measures, Sam Wu would never be mistaken for a wimpy kid. Ages: 7-12

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire


The titular character of Susan Tan’s quasi-autobiographical debut novel is a precocious soon-to-be third-grader named Priscilla “Cilla” Lee-Jenkins who is 50% Chinese, 50% Caucasian, and 100% destined to become a future author extraordinaire. The irresistible Cilla and all of the other fully realized cast of characters in the book are beautifully and humorously written, and Tan tackles tough subjects like biracial identity and the challenges of growing up in a black and white world with great wit, compassion and flair. Ages: 8-12

Girl Giant and the Monkey King


If your young reader is a fan of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, Van Hoang’s debut novel will appeal with its mix of magic, adventure, and middle-school woes. Girl Giant and the Monkey King tells the story of Thom Ngho, an 11-year-old Vietnamese-American heroine who is keeping a secret: she is extraordinarily strong—and her strength is making it impossible for her to fit in at her new middle school. Thom accidentally unleashes the Monkey King, a powerful and mischievous deity, and she soon realizes that dealing with this notorious trickster may be more trouble than it’s worth. Ages: 8-12

Green Lantern: Legacy


Asian-American comic-book superheroes are few and far between, so when writer Minh Lê and illustrator Andie Tong reimagined the Green Lantern story as told through the adventures of a 13-year-old Vietnamese-American boy named Tai Pham, many in the Asian-American community rejoiced. This graphic novel nicely interweaves Vietnamese culture with the origin stories of DC Comics space cops known as the Green Lanterns, with Tai’s grandmother's jade ring functioning at the power-inducing rings owned and operated by the Green Lantern corps across the universe. Ages: 8-12

Pippa Park Raises Her Game


While trying to navigate friendships and cyberbullying, tweenager Pippa Park receives a prestigious athletic scholarship, which leads her to reinvent herself at her new private middle school. Author Erin Yun cleverly reimagines Charles Dickens’s classic Great Expectations through the experiences of a funny, kind-hearted Korean-American heroine whose journey to self-discovery and self-acceptance wends through the corridors of middle school, sports action, and underprivileged immigrant home. Sharp and poignant, young readers will enjoy learning about class relations and ethnic identity. Ages: 9-13

A Place to Belong


Newbery Medal award-winning author Cynthia Kadohata takes young readers back to the end of WWII in the U.S. and Japan. After spending four years in internment camps, the 12-year-old protagonist, Hanako, and her American-born family are forced to renounce their American citizenship and expatriate to Japan. This historical fiction tells a story from the past but reflects the dangerous xenophobic and nationalist rhetoric that’s present today. This beautifully written novel will resonate with young readers who will relate to the pressure Hanako feels as a young kid giving up everything known for something entirely different. Ages: 10-14

The House That Lou Built


Lou has a big dream: to build a tiny house. She shares a room with her mom in her grandmother’s house in San Francisco and longs for a place of her own, where she can escape her crazy but lovable extended Filipino family. It’s not so easy to build one, but she won’t give up on her dreams—her friends and family won’t either. This beautiful coming-of-age story is set around the Bay and explores culture and family, forgiveness and friendship, and what makes a true home. Ages: 8-12

Bravo Anjali


Young readers will enjoy the story of Anjali as she struggles with friendship and owning her exceptional talent in the tabla world where she is the only girl. A follow-up story to Always Anjali, this story inspires young readers to never dim their light and to never let anyone make her feel bad for being good at something.



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For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, April is a happy month of beginnings: the start of springtime and the restarting of the zodiac cycle, which begins with Aries. For those with an April birthday, longer days and the renewal of seasons have imbued April babies with bubbly personalities and positive outlooks. Keep reading to learn more about the traits of people born in the fourth month of the year.

April babies are outgoing and athletic.
Charm and confidence are two additional characteristics that people born in April naturally possess. Notable (fictional) characters born in April include animated smart-aleck Bart Simpson (born April 1, 1979) and heavyweight boxer Rocky Balboa (born April 6, 1946).

People born in April are kind and sympathetic.
Whether they are offering an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on, those born in April have the uncanny ability to cheer up those around them and make them laugh. Their understanding nature gives them the ability to motivate themselves and others.

People born in April are less affected by certain diseases.
According to this Washington Post study, April babies were less likely to develop neurological, respiratory or reproductive issues later in life.

Your BFF is probably born in April.
Passionate and caring, those born in April make for loyal and generous friends. But be forewarned: April babies can be chatterboxes who love attention and can sometimes want to hog the spotlight.

They're born in the middle of the pack.
April babies are usually neither the youngest nor the oldest students in their class, neatly fitting in the middle of the school calendar. For some parents, April is the ideal month to have a baby.

April babies are natural-born leaders.
Thanks to their ambitious and tenacious natures, people born in April are meant to be leaders. They can be innately stubborn and bossy—a potent combination (when used right) that can lead to those born in April to achieving their goals.

April babies can be emotional.
Whether they are ecstatic or enraged, April babies hold their emotions close to the surface. They can be competitive, which makes them well-suited to sports, but have a tendency to lose interest quickly. Keeping April babies on track and focused is key.

rawpexel via iStock 

April babies are fearless risk takers.
There’s never a dull moment with April babies, who are enthusiastic about everything they do and unafraid of taking risks. That’s great news if you’re a parent who doesn’t like to stay still because April babies are feisty and possess seemingly boundless energy.

Career options are limitless for April babies.
While pilots are statistically more likely to be born in March, there doesn’t appear to be a pattern for the career paths taken by April babies, which means that those born in April pursue careers across the job spectrum.



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For those who are lucky enough to be born in the month of March, count yourself among a select group of creative, natural-born leaders who are empathetic and optimistic. According to science (and a smidge of astrology, if you believe in that kind of thing), here are eleven cool traits and factoids that make March babies so special.

Can you say, natural-born leaders?
A study of CEOs from around the world found that most of them were born in March.

Trust someone with a March birthday to pilot your next flight.
An above-average number of pilots were born in March.

Babies born in March have a lower risk for asthma.
While allergy suffers may not love the pollen that spring blooms bring, research has shown that babies with March birthdays are less likely to suffer from asthma due to healthy exposure to all those dust mites.

March babies are optimistic and happy.
The third month of the year spans the cusp between the end of winter and the beginning of spring. The arrival of warmer weather and blooming flowers seem to be reflected in the temperaments of March kiddos. Those born toward the end of the month tend to be optimistic and happy in disposition compared to babies born in the winter months, who tend to be more susceptible to depression and seasonal affective disorders.  

Babies born in the spring tend to be taller.
Exposure to daylight during the increasingly longer days of spring has positive effects on mothers, resulting in taller babies born toward the end of March.

You might end up with a night owl.
This sleep study suggests that kids born in spring and summer tend to stay up later than those born during the winter months.

March is a month of dreamers and heroes.
Those born under the sign of Pisces are also charismatic, affectionate and generous.

No modern presidents were born in March.
Four of the last five U.S. presidents were born in the summer.

March babies are romantic and soulful.
Guided more by intuition than by structure, those born under the sign of Pisces are ideal partners and friends.

Creativity peaks in March.
From Albert Einstein to Vincent van Gogh, lots of famous thinkers, artists and athletes claim birthdays in March.

March babies have pretty good eyesight.
While winter-born babies have the best vision overall, babies born in spring have been shown to have better eyesight than their summer friends. according to a study of 300,000 military applicants.

Solitude is a must.
Pisces babies (Feb. 19-Mar. 20) love people, but they love solitude just as much. Known as super creative and imaginative, March babies enjoy getting lost in their own thoughts and are content to spend time alone.

—Kipp Jarecke-Cheng & Karly Wood

Feature photo: iStock



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10 Simple & Effective Disciplinary Phrases to Try with Kids

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Disciplining kids of all ages can be tricky. We’ve all been in the heat of the moment when frustrations are high, and the default impulse to yell at or shame a misbehaving child is difficult to resist. According to experts, these tactics are minimally effective in the short term and entirely ineffective in the long term. “Children aren’t misbehaving because they are bad,” says Carole Kramer Arsenault, founder and CEO of Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny. “They are trying to learn, and how we respond will have a huge impact on their development.”

Instead of losing your cool, engaging in positive discipline practices can help to more effectively manage unwanted or inappropriate behavior and allow little ones to genuinely learn and understand lessons about the consequences of their behavior. We consulted parenting experts for practical advice to help kids and parents weather the storms of tantrums, misbehaving and acting out—scroll down to see 10 simple and effective disciplinary phrases to try the next time you need to put your foot down.

1. “Let’s talk about it calmly.” Defusing and de-escalating a tense situation is often the first order of business when disciplining a child. “Parents and kids are stressed like never before,” said Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny’s Carole Kramer Arsenault. “When you think back to how parents have traditionally responded to [their kids’] big emotions, it was often to react with similarly big emotions. Instead, our mindset about disciplining children needs to shift.” As an author, registered nurse, certified parenting coach and mother of three, Kramer Arsenault said rather than thinking about disciplining as punishment, parents should use these as teachable moments, starting from a place of calm.

2. “Stop. Keep your hands to yourself.” In a circumstance where a child’s behavior may be hurting others, such as biting or hitting, Kramer Arsenault said it’s important for parents to provide clarity in their directions to ensure parent and child are on the same page. “Instead of saying ‘You know you should keep your hands to yourself, right?’ it’s better to say it as a statement rather than ask a question.” Be firm and direct.

3. “No means no.” Being kind but firm is important to establish boundaries for a child. According to Dr. Stephen Bavolek, author of Nurturing Parenting Programs, setting boundaries and expectations for children helps build important life skills, including patience, problem solving, responsibility and self-discipline. “The purpose of family rules is for parents and children to establish consistent guidelines that will help everyone know what is and what isn’t expected of them,” said Bavolek.


4. “Try to do better.” Acknowledging that there is an opportunity to do better is important for a child’s growth. Maureen Healey, child development expert and author of “The Emotionally Healthy Child,” said, “When we’re upset, we may scream or slam doors, but moving from reactivity to responsiveness is the path to positive emotional health.” Encouraging children to catch themselves and make different, better choices is an important life lesson.

5. “Consider the consequences.” Trying to reason with an upset child can seem like a Sisyphean task, but guiding a child to understand the consequences of her actions can have a lasting impact. “Having clear expectations is very important,” said Kramer Arsenault. “But sharing the consequences of actions is just as important, too.”

6. “Let’s take some deep breaths together.” Tense situations between parent and child sometimes warrant time outs for both parties to allow the heated moment to pass. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, effective discipline to raise healthy children does not include any form of corporal punishment. Researchers have linked corporal punishment to an increased risk of negative behavioral, cognitive, psychosocial, and emotional outcomes for children. 

7. “Can I find a special toy for you?” If a child is fighting over a toy with another child, redirecting their attention and refocusing on something else can alleviate the tension. Children sometimes misbehave because they are hungry, bored, or don’t know any better. Experts said encouraging something new or different to focus on is a useful reframing and disciplining tactic.


8. “It’s OK to be upset.”  Permitting children to experience their feelings is important to developing their sense of self and security. “Kids have a lot of emotions and outbursts, and sometimes they don’t understand why,” said Kramer Arsenault. “Just explaining and teaching them that it’s OK to feel upset is an important lesson.”

9. “Can you choose a better word to use?” Talking back or potty talk can be alarming. For example, parents may experience their potty-training kid suddenly expressing themselves with colorful (and inappropriate) language like “poopy-head.” Fortunately, the American Academy of Pediatrics assures that this is a normal developmental stage, and parents should avoid overreacting or making light of unwanted language. Instead, encourage problem solving and finding better, more appropriate language to use.

10. Sometimes, silence is golden. While there are serious misbehaviors that should never be ignored—including aggression or anything that puts a child or others in harm’s way—selectively ignoring relatively minor, negative attention-seeking actions, such as whining, temper tantrums and talking back, may help to curtail those problematic behaviors in children. According to research, positive reinforcement through praise and support along with consistency and clarity results in greater emotional stability and health of children.


When words fail, Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny’s Carole Kramer Arsenault suggested three simple reminders: 

  1. Parents need to better educate themselves to appropriate, positive disciplining.
  2. Parents can build trust with their children through consistency and clarity.
  3. Lastly, and most importantly, parents should model the behavior they want from their children.

—Kipp Jarecke-Cheng



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6 Lunar New Year Traditions the Whole Family Can Enjoy

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Whether it’s called Chinese New Year, Seollal, Shōgatsu or Tết, Lunar New Year (running officially from New Year’s Eve on Jan 31. through Feb. 6) is a special holiday for more than 1.6 billion people of Asian descent across the globe. Think of it as a cross between Fourth of July, Passover, Christmas and the biggest birthday bash ever—all rolled into one. There are some essential customs that many people hold dear, and each one revolves around family, food, fortune and fun. Read on to discover a few roaringly fun traditions that you and your family can try this Lunar New Year!

In with the New!

Kipp Jarecke-Cheng

Although it happens in the middle of winter, Lunar New Year is also known as the Spring Festival in many Asian countries. As such, it’s also a time when many families prepare for the new year (and the coming spring) with major house cleaning. Asian superstition dictates that household organization extends to finances as well, which means paying off or collecting debts prior to the new year.

In addition to decorating the house with red paper cutouts and banners—particularly tiger-themed decorations in 2022—during this festive time, a fun activity to do with kids is folding origami boxes and putting small lights in them as a way to remember ancestors and wish for good luck in the coming year.

Pro-tip: Plan to do housekeeping before the new year commences. Many celebrants believe that sweeping around the house on Lunar New Year’s Day is akin to sweeping away all of your good luck for the year!

Noodle on This

Kipp Jarecke-Cheng

There are many different traditional dishes that are enjoyed during Lunar New Year, but one of the most common dishes served across Asian countries during the holiday is a bowl of noodle soup. On Lunar New Year’s Eve and Day, families often eat handmade wheat noodles in a savory broth that includes vegetables and hard-boiled eggs. Long noodles represent longevity and long life, while eggs symbolize rebirth and starting anew.

Pro-tip: Don’t cut the noodles! Slurping is OK and expected. Also, it’s traditional to serve elders and the little ones before serving yourself.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Fortunes

Kipp Jarecke-Cheng

During Lunar New Year, kids may receive festively decorated red envelopes that are filled with “lucky money,” along with written notes wishing them health, happiness and success. Known as lai see (Cantonese), ang pao (Hokkien) or hong bao (Mandarin), these red packets also are given during other holidays and special occasions. Increasingly, money is given via red envelope mobile payment apps in many parts of Asia.

Pro-tip: While the amount of cash isn’t as important as the intent behind the gift, many Asian people believe the number or denomination is very important, so you’ll want to make sure you’re putting a “lucky” number inside the red envelopes. Also, make sure to include clean, crisp bills because no one wants to start the new year with crumpled cash.

Baby, You’re a Firework

Kipp Jarecke-Cheng

While many people in America set off fireworks that light up the night sky only during Fourth of July celebrations, firecrackers are the noisemakers of choice for those who commemorate Lunar New Year. Traditionally, the sounds from the small explosions are meant to drive away evil spirits, while strings of firecrackers are invariably red, which is an auspicious and lucky color.

Pro-tip: Since most places require special permits or have banned fireworks and firecrackers outright, take the kiddos to your city or town’s Chinatown, which often has firecracker displays and lion dances during the weeks of Lunar New Year. Alternately, ringing bells to usher in the Lunar New Year is a perfectly acceptable way to ward off evil spirits this time of year. Plus, you’ll have an excuse to use those jingle bells leftover from Christmas.

Dress for Success

Kipp Jarecke-Cheng

Dressing in bright colors—especially in red—is common practice during Lunar New Year. Revelers wear their fanciest duds as a way to scare away evil spirits and invite good fortune to them. Some devotees will even go as far as wearing red underpants! Wearing new clothes from head to toe also symbolizes new beginnings for the new year, and wearing something red is the luckiest color of them all.

Pro-tip: Red looks good on everybody.

Family Foto Opp

Kipp Jarecke-Cheng

Most importantly, Lunar New Year is about spending time and celebrating with family and loved ones. For many Asian families, Lunar New Year is the one time in the year when entire extended families get to see each other, so it’s the perfect opportunity to snap an annual family portrait. With COVID restrictions in place, this might not be possible, so try other ways to stay connected like these sweet ideas for keeping in touch with grandparents from a distance

Pro-tip: Your family portrait shouldn’t be too staged or too pose-y. It’s a celebration. Have fun!

—Images and words by Kipp Jarecke-Cheng/Feature photo: Vladislav Vasnets via Pexels 



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