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5 ways parents can motivate children at home during the pandemic –  no nagging, no tantrums

5 ways parents can motivate children at home during the pandemic –  no nagging, no tantrums
via Unsplash

This article was originally published by The Conversation. You can read it here.

Parents have always helped with homework and made sure their children fulfill responsibilities like chores, but the extended and often unstructured time families are spending together during the current crisis creates new challenges.

After a disaster like a hurricane or fire, establishing structure is important to keep consistency and maintain a sense of control for both parents and children. This includes creating a schedule and communicating clear expectations and guidelines on things such as screen time.


But how do parents get children to follow the schedule and fulfill responsibilities without nagging and in a way that prevents blowups and tantrums?

Wendy Grolnick, a psychologist and parenting expert who has worked with parents in disaster situations, has studied how parents can help children become more self-motivated and decrease conflict in the family. In this piece she shares some strategies to make the house run more smoothly during the coronavirus crisis.

1. Involve children in setting schedules

When children participate in creating guidelines and schedules, they are more likely to believe the guidelines are important, accept them and follow them.

To involve children, parents can set up a family meeting. At the meeting, parents can discuss the schedule and ask children for their input on decisions like what time everyone should be out of bed and dressed, when breaks from schoolwork would work best and where each family member should be during study time.

Not every idea will be feasible – children may feel being dressed by noon is fine! But when parents listen to a child's ideas, it helps them own their behavior and be more engaged in what they are doing.

There may well be differences in opinion. Parents can negotiate with their children so that at least some of the children's ideas are adopted. Resolving conflicts is an important skill for children to learn, and they learn it best from their parents.

2. Allow children some choice

Schoolwork has to be done and chores need to be completed, but having some choice about how they are accomplished can help children feel less pressured and coerced, which undermines their motivation.

Parents can present some chores around the house, and children can choose which they prefer. They can also pick when or how they complete them – do they want to do the dishes before or after watching their TV show?

Parents can also give children choice about what fun activity they would like to do at the end of the day or for a study break.


3. Listen and provide empathy

Children will be more open to hearing about what they need to do if they feel that their own perspectives are understood. Parents can let children know that they understand, for example, that it is not fun to be in the house and that they miss being with their friends.

Parents can begin requests with an empathetic statement. For example, "I know it seems like getting dressed is silly because we're in the house. But getting dressed is part of the routine we have all decided upon."

Even if they might not agree with their child's perspective, when parents show that they understand, cooperation is enhanced, as is the parent-child relationship.

4. Provide reasons for rules

When parents provide reasons for why they are asking for something, children can better understand the importance of acting in particular ways. Reasons will be most effective when they are meaningful to the children in terms of the children's own goals. For example, a parent can say that dividing up family chores will help everyone have more time for fun activities after dinner.

5. Problem-solve together

Not everything will go according to plan – there will be times of frustration, nagging and yelling. When things aren't working out, parents can try engaging in joint problem-solving with their children, which means employing empathy, identifying the issue and finding ways to resolve it.

For example, a parent might state, "You know how I've been nagging you to get up in the morning? It's probably really annoying to hear that first thing in the morning. The problem is that even though we decided we'd all get up at 8 a.m., you are not getting out of bed. Let's put our heads together to see what we can do to make morning time go more smoothly. What are your ideas?"

I have seen this take the stress out of mornings for working parents who need to take their children to school before going to work, and I believe it could help during the pandemic, too.

All of these practices can help children to feel more ownership of their behavior. That will make them more likely to cooperate.

However, these strategies require time and patience – something that is hard to come by at times of stress. Research studies show that parents are more likely to yell, demand and threaten when time is limited, they are stressed or they feel worried about how their children are performing.

That's why its important for parents to find time for their own self-care and rejuvenation – whether it be by taking a walk, exercising, meditating or writing in a journal. A pandemic or other disaster presents challenges for parents, but using motivational strategies can help parents provide a calmer and more effective environment that also facilitates a positive parent-child relationship.

Wendy Grolnick is Professor of Psychology, Clark University




Pop Culture

Airbnb host finds unexpected benefits from not charging guests a cleaning fee

Host Rachel Boice went for a more "honest" approach with her listings—and saw major perks because of it.

@rachelrboice/TikTok

Many frustrated Airbnb customers have complained that the separate cleaning fee is a nuisance.

Airbnb defines its notorious cleaning fee as a “one-time charge” set by the host that helps them arrange anything from carpet shampoo to replenishing supplies to hiring an outside cleaning service—all in the name of ensuring guests have a “clean and tidy space.”

But as many frustrated Airbnb customers will tell you, this feature is viewed as more of a nuisance than a convenience. According to NerdWallet, the general price for a cleaning fee is around $75, but can vary greatly between listings, with some units having cleaning fees that are higher than the nightly rate (all while sometimes still being asked to do certain chores before checking out). And often none of these fees show up in the total price until right before the booking confirmation, leaving many travelers feeling confused and taken advantage of.

However, some hosts are opting to build cleaning fees into the overall price of their listings, mimicking the strategy of traditional hotels.

Rachel Boice runs two Airbnb properties in Georgia with her husband Parker—one being this fancy glass plane tiny house (seen below) that promises a perfect glamping experience.

@rachelrboice Welcome to The Tiny Glass House 🤎 #airbnbfinds #exploregeorgia #travelbucketlist #tinyhouse #glampingnotcamping #atlantageorgia #fyp ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim

Like most Airbnb hosts, the Boice’s listing showed a nightly rate and separate cleaning fee. According to her interview with Insider, the original prices broke down to $89 nightly, and $40 for the cleaning fee.

But after noticing the negative response the separate fee got from potential customers, Rachel told Insider that she began charging a nightly rate that included the cleaning fee, totaling to $129 a night.

It’s a marketing strategy that more and more hosts are attempting in order to generate more bookings (people do love feeling like they’re getting a great deal) but Boice argued that the trend will also become more mainstream since the current Airbnb model “doesn’t feel honest.”

"We stay in Airbnbs a lot. I pretty much always pay a cleaning fee," Boice told Insider. "You're like: 'Why am I paying all of this money? This should just be built in for the cost.'"

Since combining costs, Rachel began noticing another unexpected perk beyond customer satisfaction: guests actually left her property cleaner than before they were charged a cleaning fee. Her hypothesis was that they assumed she would be handling the cleaning herself.

"I guess they're thinking, 'I'm not paying someone to clean this, so I'll leave it clean,'" she said.

This discovery echoes a similar anecdote given by another Airbnb host, who told NerdWallet guests who knew they were paying a cleaning fee would “sometimes leave the place looking like it’s been lived in and uncleaned for months.” So, it appears to be that being more transparent and lumping all fees into one overall price makes for a happier (and more considerate) customer.

These days, it’s hard to not be embittered by deceptive junk fees, which can seem to appear anywhere without warning—surprise overdraft charges, surcharges on credit cards, the never convenience “convenience charge” when purchasing event tickets. Junk fees are so rampant that certain measures are being taken to try to eliminate them outright in favor of more honest business approaches.

Speaking of a more honest approach—as of December 2022, AirBnb began updating its app and website so that guests can see a full price breakdown that shows a nightly rate, a cleaning fee, Airbnb service fee, discounts, and taxes before confirming their booking.

Guests can also activate a toggle function before searching for a destination, so that full prices will appear in search results—avoiding unwanted financial surprises.


This article originally appeared on 11.08.23

A woman realizes that she has some pretty big regrets in life.

After the age of 30, people begin to judge the decisions they’ve made in the past based on their newfound perspective on life. This is a time when many of us pause and take stock of where we are versus where we imagined we'd be. As careers, relationships and personal aspirations begin to unfold, so do the realizations of things we may have done wrong. But it's also time for a type of self-reflection that can empower us to make more informed decisions in the future.

There probably isn’t one person alive over the age of 30 who doesn’t have at least one major regret. The key is to use that regret to your advantage by learning from it and not making the same mistake twice.

Regrets can also be helpful to others as a warning of some of the pitfalls in life to avoid.


A Redditor who goes by noThefakedevesh recently posed a question to the AskReddit subforum: “People above 30, what's your biggest regret in life?” The question was a great excuse for people to share their regrets and how they overcame the mistakes they made in the past. The list of regrets is also a wonderful way for younger people to avoid things that will give them regrets later in life.

One of the most powerful themes repeated in the post was people’s regret for caring too much about other people’s opinions and trying to be people-pleasers. Many people also regretted not taking more risks in life, especially when they were younger.

Here are 13 of the most powerful regrets people 30 and over shared on Reddit.

1. Not being healthy

"Not taking my own health seriously." — Outlasndishness3310

"I always think of the line from 'Peggy Sue Got Married' where she asks her grandfather if he could go back and do things differently, what would he change and he says, 'I'd have taken better care of my teeth.'" — TrustAvidity

2. Fear of judgement

"The amount of time I spent anxious about being judged." — BastardWing

"When I learned to let go, it was amazing. You can't control other people's opinions. You only get to control yourself and your own attitude. What other people think of me really doesn't have much effect on my life and it's easy enough to not interact with folks who judge me." — tmp_advent_of_code

"'Never take criticism from people you wouldn't go to for advice' has helped me with this many times." — RemainingEye

3. Fear of failure

"Not putting myself out there due to fear of failure. Failing should be celebrated and encouraged as a tool to learn and grow and improve." — TheWinderousWizard

4. Not exercising

"My biggest regret is not getting into exercise earlier. I thought people only exercised to lose weight and I was convinced I was just meant to be overweight. In my 30s I discovered running and volleyball and now I’m fitter in my 40s than I was in my 20s. I wish I’d realised how much fun I could be having." — NeitherGur5003

"One of the most useful tools for me recently has been reframing exercise as movement. The word 'exercise' has a punishing connotation to me - it's a tool used to cudgel 'lazy' people. 'Movement,' however, is joyful and free-flowing. Movement can be running, lifting weights, dancing, yoga, stretching, scrubbing your bathroom, walking your dog, goofing off with your nieces and nephews, parkour, bike riding - whatever. Celebrating movement gets me to appreciate the power of my body and the pleasure of mobility. It helps me to focus on a healthier relationship with my body that emphasizes the long-term ability to inhabit and utilize this great, useful, electrified meat sack that requires nourishment and ongoing maintenance. Anyway, hope that helps you too." — BarnacledSeaWitch

5. Being a people pleaser

"This 10000000%. Can't help others if you don't take care of yourself first. Hugely with kids and parents. Parents are ineffective if they ignore their spouses and put all their energy into everything else and nothing into themselves and each other." — Slickpoison

6. Should have invested earlier

"Yes to investing. I'm close to retiring and don't have anywhere close to the amount that I'd like. I used to make fun of my brother for his frugality but it turns out I was the foolish one." — Scurtrberau

"Rule of 72- at 8% growth you’d see your money double in 9 years. Waiting a decade means you miss out on doubling that money. What’s worse is that you have a certain set number of doubling periods before retirement- 22-31, 31-40, 40-49, 49-58, 58-67 - 5 doubling periods. $1 put in at 22 is worth 25 = $32 at retirement." — Burnbabyburn11

7. Paid too much attention to parents

"I listened to my parents too much when I was younger." — Distressed_Finish

"My mother was never going to understand me or love me unconditionally, or see me as anything other than something to possess and control, and I wish I could have realized it and freed myself from her sooner." — FloraFly

8. Waiting too long to get sober

"I'm in my 40s now and pretty much drank my way through my 20s and early 30s. I got into the lifestyle of drinking with friends every day after work, then a big session Friday night and it was the norm for me, I pitied people who just went straight home from work. Now thinking of all the money I spent, the health implications, the general setting my life back by 15 years, I think I was the one that was pitiable." — Dave80

"Same. I was a casual/social drinker my entire 20s and early 30s, and I wish I was not. Life without alcohol is so much better." — Barhanita

9. Put more effort into friendships

"I wish I didn't let friendships die so easily. I'm 36 and you'd be surprised how fast you can go a decade without talking to someone you once saw every day." — NutellaBanabaBread

10. Missed opportunities with women

"Took me far too long to realise if I had just taken my shot, I most likely would have succeeded with a few of my crushes. But I am happy were I am now, but man some of those missed opportunities..." — Zeebie_

11. Smoking

"Wish I never would have touched a cigarette." — BlueStarSpecial

"This for sure, I smoked for 25 years, maybe 15 a day. At today's prices in the UK that amounts to around £82k or just over $100k." — Dave80

12. Self-loathing

"I regret the amount of time I spent hating my body. The self-loathing I had with my appearance consumed me, and now when I look back at photos of me in my twenties I just wish I could have seen how skinny I was." — Wetsummer486

13. Being a loyal employee

"Being loyal to a company and expecting to be rewarded later." — Pinkpujita

"Been job hopping every 2-3 years. New projects, more motivation, learning new stuff, most of the time with increased salary." — fr6nco

via Pixabay

A sad-looking Labrador Retriever

The sweet-faced, loveable Labrador Retriever is no longer America’s favorite dog breed. The breed best known for having a heart of gold has been replaced by the smaller, more urban-friendly French Bulldog.

According to the American Kennel Club, for the past 31 years, the Labrador Retriever was America’s favorite dog, but it was eclipsed in 2022 by the Frenchie. The rankings are based on nearly 716,500 dogs newly registered in 2022, of which about 1 in 7 were Frenchies. Around 108,000 French Bulldogs were recorded in the U.S. in 2022, surpassing Labrador Retrievers by over 21,000.


The French Bulldog’s popularity has grown exponentially over the past decade. They were the #14 most popular breed in 2012, and since then, registrations have gone up 1,000%, bringing them to the top of the breed popularity rankings.

The AKC says that the American Hairless Terrier, Gordon Setter, Italian Greyhound and Anatolian Shepherd Dog also grew in popularity between 2021 and 2022.

The French Bulldog was famous among America’s upper class around the turn of the 20th century but then fell out of favor. Their resurgence is partly based on several celebrities who have gone public with their Frenchie love. Leonardo DiCaprio, Megan Thee Stallion, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Reese Witherspoon and Lady Gaga all own French Bulldogs.

The breed earned a lot of attention as show dogs last year when a Frenchie named Winston took second place at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and first in the National Dog Show.

The breed made national news in early 2021 when Gaga’s dog walker was shot in the chest while walking two of her Frenchies in a dog heist. He recovered from his injuries, and the dogs were later returned.

They’ve also become popular because of their unique look and personalities.

“They’re comical, friendly, loving little dogs,” French Bull Dog Club of America spokesperson Patty Sosa told the AP. She said they are city-friendly with modest grooming needs and “they offer a lot in a small package.”

They are also popular with people who live in apartments. According to the AKC, Frenchies don’t bark much and do not require a lot of outdoor exercise.

The French Bulldog stands out among other breeds because it looks like a miniature bulldog but has large, expressive bat-like ears that are its trademark feature. However, their popularity isn’t without controversy. “French bulldogs can be a polarizing topic,” veterinarian Dr. Carrie Stefaniak told the AP.

american kennel club, french bulldog, most popular dog

An adorable French Bulldog

via Pixabay

French Bulldogs have been bred to have abnormally large heads, which means that large litters usually need to be delivered by C-section, an expensive procedure that can be dangerous for the mother. They are also prone to multiple health problems, including skin, ear, and eye infections. Their flat face means they often suffer from respiratory problems and heat intolerance.

Frenchies are also more prone to spine deformations and nerve pain as they age.

Here are the AKC’s top ten most popular dog breeds for 2022.

1 French Bulldogs

2 Labrador Retrievers

3 Golden Retrievers

4 German Shepherd Dogs

5 Poodles

6 Bulldogs

7 Rottweilers

8 Beagles

9 Dachshunds

10 German Shorthaired Pointers


This article originally appeared on 03.17.23

Science

MIT’s trillion-frames-per-second camera can capture light as it travels

"There's nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera."

Photo from YouTube video.

Photographing the path of light.

A new camera developed at MIT can photograph a trillion frames per second.

Compare that with a traditional movie camera which takes a mere 24. This new advancement in photographic technology has given scientists the ability to photograph the movement of the fastest thing in the Universe, light.


The actual event occurred in a nano second, but the camera has the ability to slow it down to twenty seconds.

time, science, frames per second, bounced light

The amazing camera.

Photo from YouTube video.

For some perspective, according to New York Times writer, John Markoff, "If a bullet were tracked in the same fashion moving through the same fluid, the resulting movie would last three years."


In the video below, you'll see experimental footage of light photons traveling 600-million-miles-per-hour through water.

It's impossible to directly record light so the camera takes millions of scans to recreate each image. The process has been called femto-photography and according to Andrea Velten, a researcher involved with the project, "There's nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera."

(H/T Curiosity)


This article originally appeared on 09.08.17

A map of the United States post land-ice melt.


Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?


If all of earth's land ice melted, it would be nothing short of disastrous.

And that's putting it lightly.

This video by Business Insider Science (seen below) depicts exactly what our coastlines would look like if all the land ice melted. And spoiler alert: It isn't great.

Lots of European cities like, Brussels and Venice, would be basically underwater.

In Africa and the Middle East? Dakar, Accra, Jeddah — gone.

Millions of people in Asia, in cities like Mumbai, Beijing, and Tokyo, would be uprooted and have to move inland.

South America would say goodbye to cities like Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

And in the U.S., we'd watch places like Houston, San Francisco, and New York City — not to mention the entire state of Florida — slowly disappear into the sea.

All GIFs via Business Insider Science/YouTube.

Business Insider based these visuals off National Geographic's estimation that sea levels will rise 216 feet (!) if all of earth's land ice melted into our oceans.

There's even a tool where you can take a detailed look at how your community could be affected by rising seas, for better or worse.

Although ... looking at these maps, it's hard to imagine "for better" is a likely outcome for many of us.

Much of America's most populated regions would be severely affected by rising sea levels, as you'll notice exploring the map, created by Alex Tingle using data provided by NASA.

Take, for instance, the West Coast. (Goodbye, San Fran!)

Or the East Coast. (See ya, Philly!)

And the Gulf Coast. (RIP, Bourbon Street!)

I bring up the topic not just for funsies, of course, but because the maps above are real possibilities.

How? Climate change.

As we continue to burn fossil fuels for energy and emit carbon into our atmosphere, the planet gets warmer and warmer. And that, ladies and gentlemen, means melted ice.

A study published this past September by researchers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany found that if we don't change our ways, there's definitely enough fossil fuel resources available for us to completely melt the Antarctic ice sheet.

Basically, the self-inflicted disaster you see above is certainly within the realm of possibility.

"This would not happen overnight, but the mind-boggling point is that our actions today are changing the face of planet Earth as we know it and will continue to do so for tens of thousands of years to come," said lead author of the study Ricarda Winkelmann, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

If we want to stop this from happening," she says, "we need to keep coal, gas, and oil in the ground."

The good news? Most of our coastlines are still intact! And they can stay that way, too — if we act now.

World leaders are finallystarting to treat climate change like the global crisis that it is — and you can help get the point across to them, too.

Check out Business Insider's video below:

This article originally appeared on 12.08.15