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Watching or reading the news on a regular basis can be pretty depressing. It often seems like the world is quite literally falling apart. Parents are especially inundated with an onslaught of information on child-rearing -- and whether the news makes you feel good about your parenting choices or guilty, we often get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of it. We decided to bring you some of the good and noteworthy news stories from 2013, including new findings about breastfeeding, a continued emphasis on outdoor play, and even some encouragement to love your post-baby bodies. Our world is far from perfect, but there are some shining examples and trends that give us hope for the future. Here are 6 news stories from 2013 that are interesting, uplifting, and inspiring.
Image © Jaime C. Moore
1. Girls Rule!
There’s a saying: If you educate a girl, you educate a whole village. Yet finding good female role models for our kids can be challenging in this twerk-tastic world. We loved how this photographer dressed and photographed her daughter as historical heroines such as Amelia Earhart and Jane Goodall. The ad for Goldieblox reimagined the Beastie Boys classic “Girls” into a feminist anthem and went viral even as it got into copyright issues. We’ll take our girls as these type of rule-breakers any day.
Another stellar female role model Malala Yousafzai, brought women’s rights to the younger set (she’s 15!) and she was shortlisted for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013. According to this bright and brave young woman, “I know the issues are complex and enormous. But the solution is one and simple. That is education, education, education.”
2. The Changing Tides of Child Education
Of course, the importance of education isn’t just for girls. Evidence is mounting that preschool is an “extremely cost-effective educational intervention method,” with children of all classes and backgrounds benefiting from the early enrichment. Of course, we’d all want our kids to go to preschool in the forest!
And kids learn more than the basics at certain schools: one Queens public school went vegetarian and touted improved student academic scores, attention spans, and energy levels. Go plant-based power!
3. The Great Outdoors
Outdoor, unstructured play is paramount and is often sorely lacking in today’s educational environment. Luckily, we see evidence that tides are changing and that outdoor playtime is now being viewed as much more valuable and vital than “just running around.”
Also, more schools with environmental missions and schools that naturally favor this type of play such as Waldorf and forest kindergartens are popping up. Even when the winter weather is less than desirable, remember that everyone benefits from fresh air and going for a nature walk/play in the snow or taking the dog out for playtime in the fresh air.
4. The Beauty of the Postpartum Body
Considering the national obsession with celebrities and body perfection, we have been loving the tributes to real moms’ bodies and the amazing work that they do, creating and caring for life! Even if we don’t all look like Gisele when we’re going about our daily business and multitasking, we can all take a minute and give thanks for these amazing postpartum bodies in all their glory.
5. Breastfeeding Continues to Stop the Presses
Despite breastfeeding being as “old news” as it can possibly get, this natural bonding and feeding method continues to get plenty of front page press. From Venezuela proposing a baby bottle ban to encourage more moms to breastfeed to the news that breastfeeding may pass along good bacteria to baby’s digestive system (therefore helping with gut health and immune system development) to a pilot program in Britain that will actually pay moms to breastfeed for six months, breastfeeding continues to get a positive push from many different avenues (especially considering the low nutritional content of many prepared baby foods).
6. Room for Improvement
We’re proud to share all of this good news with our readers, and we feel it’s important to tell you the not-so-good news as well. Child labor continues to be a problem worldwide, and we encourage you to buy products that are fairly traded (or to inspire your children to help out with this issue or any that help children in need). And while the U.S. experienced the lowest preterm birth rate in 15 years, we were still given a “C” rating on the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card. Read this article for ways to reduce your risk of preterm labor, and pass the news along.
And here are a few more stories that had us scratching our heads collectively: a new baby seat with an iPad attachment, a toddler potty with an iPad stand, recreation experts who are paid $400 an hour to teach kids how to play, and the scary ways that kids’ love of screen time mimics (or actually is) addiction.
Tell us: what news stories resonated with you the most over the past year?