Life Kit: All Guides

By Life Kit from NPR

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 May 23, 2019
As a teacher, I cannot recommend this podcast enough!

Description

Everyone needs a little help being a human. From sleep to saving money to parenting and more, we talk to the experts to get the best advice out there. Life Kit is here to help you get it together. Subscribe to get new guides every two weeks.

Episode Date
Millennials And Money
2239
In this special episode, Sam Sanders of NPR's "It's Been A Minute" talks with financial journalist Hannah Seligson and Aminatou Sow from the podcast "Call Your Girlfriend" about why millennials are so financially intertwined with their parents.
Jul 16, 2019
How To Be A Better Caregiver When A Loved One Gets Sick
1729
None of us are prepared to be caregivers — the role is thrust upon us. More than 40 million Americans are caring for an elderly parent or loved one. Here are six tips to make the caregiving burden more sustainable:
- Accept help, and don't be afraid to ask for it.
- Break down caregiving tasks into bite-sized solutions.
- Don't tell your loved one what to do. Ask about the quality of life they want and how you can get them there.
- Be an empowered medical advocate for your loved one.
- Get your legal ducks in order so you can focus on your relationship.
- Make sure to take care of yourself, too.
Jul 12, 2019
Take Control Of Your Care When You're Seriously Sick
1618
Finding out you have a serious medical condition can leave you reeling. These strategies from medical and lay experts will help you be in control as you navigate our complex health care system and get the best possible care.
Here's what to remember:
- Your primary care doctor is the captain of your health care team.
- Don't be afraid to get a second opinion.
- Get organized, and find someone to help you if you can't do it yourself.
- If you need a procedure, go to someone who does it all the time.
- Use the Internet, but use it wisely.
- Figure out what matters to you, and fight for it
Jul 10, 2019
How To Get The Best From Your Doctor
1502
Going to a doctor who puts you at ease can actually improve your health. We have six tips for finding a primary care doctor you click with — and how you can make the most out of that relationship.
- Figure out what type of patient you are, and let that guide your choice of doctor.
- Seek out a doctor who makes you feel comfortable.
- When you go to the doctor, go prepared.
- Be clear about your agenda.
- Be yourself at the doctor's office.
- You have a right to give your doctor feedback. But if things aren't working, don't be afraid to break up.
Jul 08, 2019
Parents, Check Your Own Screen Habits
1395
From distracted parenting to "sharenting," an honest look at our own use of electronic media can make us into more skillful parents and better role models.
Here's what to remember:
- Put your phone away whenever possible when you're with your kids.
- If you want calmer children, be a more focused parent.
- Before you post a picture or share a cute story about your kids on social media, think twice and get their permission if possible.
- Don't use technology to stalk your children.
- Work for healthier technology for your kids, and for all of us.
Jun 28, 2019
The Darker Side Of Screen Time
1691
Emotional outbursts. Lost sleep. These are signs that your kids are spending too much time with digital devices. Here's what you can do about it.
Here's what to remember:
- Pay attention to your children's emotional relationship with screens, not just how much time they are spending with them.
- Don't just make technology rules based on time.
- Do guard bedtimes and mealtimes.
- Don't expect taking away the phone to solve all your family's problems.
- Mentor your kids; don't just monitor them.
Jun 26, 2019
The Brighter Side Of Screen Time
1420
The family that plays video games together, stays together. When parents become digital mentors, children can learn empathy, resilience, and prepare for future careers. Here's how to harness the advantages of screen time.
Here's what to remember:
- Whenever possible, share screens with your kids.
- Balancing screen use is about much more than time.
- Be smart about content.
- Look for what's positive about your kids' screen time so you can help those positive things grow.
Jun 24, 2019
Paying For College: What To Know Before You Go
1829
Don't let college anxiety rush you into a financial mistake that could haunt you for years. This Life Kit episode lays out the do's and don'ts of paying for college so that you don't have to mortgage your future before you get there.
Here's what to remember:
- Take advantage of every opportunity to explore your interests before college.
- Consider attending community college before transferring to a more expensive four-year college.
- Don't let a school's high price deter you — you may only have to pay a fraction of the advertised price.
- The FAFSA form is the gatekeeper to most student financial aid, so don't put it off.
- Find free money, from federal Pell Grants to scholarships for left-handed tuba players.
- If you or your parents have to borrow beyond federal student lending limits, the degree might not be worth the debt.
- You don't have to attend an elite school to be happy.
Jun 14, 2019
Survive College When You're Paying Your Own Way
1415
You've taken the leap and enrolled in college! But money issues don't end when you accept your financial aid. Paying your way through school can be stressful, but lots of folks have made it work and they have advice for how you, too, can navigate your years in college.
Here's what to remember:
- Find out what resources your college offers for students — you may have to do some digging.
- It's OK to get a job, but try to find one that's related to what you want to do.
- Make a budget. And don't miss out on that free food!
- When being thrifty isn't enough and you have no more hours for a job, talk to the financial aid office about taking out small federal loans.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help.
- Take care of yourself. You've made it to college: You belong there!
Jun 12, 2019
Pay Off Student Loans The Smart Way
1730
Paying off student loans can be a financial nightmare. But if you know how to navigate the system, you can find a payment plan that's more affordable.

Here's what to remember:
- Download a list of all your federal loans.
- If you get an income-driven repayment plan, stay in it!
- Don't trust your loan servicer. Do the research, find your payment plan and get it in writing.
- Take a personal day or make a date with a friend to tackle student-loan paperwork.
- Consider a full frontal assault on your loans to pay them down quickly.
- Loan consolidation or refinancing might make sense for you, but might also lead to financial disaster.
Jun 10, 2019
'We Wanted To Show Children Real Life': Sesame Street's Sonia Manzano
1086
Actress Sonia Manzano is beloved by millions as Maria on Sesame Street. Her character r on TV mirrored many of Manzano's real-life milestones, like marriage and motherhood (Elmo served as ring bearer for Maria's wedding on the show). She also wrote for Sesame Street in later years, and helped the show address diversity issues. In this special episode, Manzano reflects on her 44 seasons on Sesame Street, what she thinks was the show's most poignant moment — and which Muppet was secretly her favorite.
May 31, 2019
Free-Range Food Labels: Can My Groceries Really Help The Planet?
1406
So many food labels proclaim their eco-virtues these days — organic. Pasture-raised. Cage-free. Non-GMO. What do they actually mean? Here are six ways to make sense of it all.

- "Natural" or "sustainable" labels have no legal standard.
- "Organic" means it's better for the planet, but may not be better for you.
- Non-GMO is not organic. The food was still grown with pesticides.
- Labels like "Animal Welfare Approved" mean the animals got to live outdoors.
- "Fair Trade" products deliver a little extra money to small farmers in cooperatives.
- Don't let labels stress you out. When it comes to solving the world's problems, your shopping decisions aren't nearly as important as your political decisions.
May 29, 2019
Trust Your Gut: A Beginner's Guide To Intuitive Eating
1067
Knowing when and what to eat may sound simple, but dieting can mess up our connection to hunger cues. The practice of intuitive eating can help people make peace with food.
May 27, 2019
What Cookie Monster Taught Us About Self-Control
1606
Self-regulation skills, including self-control, help us reach our goals, learn in school and get along with others. Millions of children struggle to develop them. We talk to experts for strategies to teach these skills — and get some very special help from Cookie Monster.

Here's what to remember:
- Look at self-regulation as a skill that can be learned and practiced.
- Teach children to calm themselves.
- Use your imagination to reframe a temptation.
- What would Batman do? Kids can channel their heroes to make it easier to live up to their values.
- Be strategic about distractions.
- Build self-regulation skills with activities like martial arts or music lessons.
May 17, 2019
Raising Kids Who Love Math — Even If You Don't
1402
Up to 93% of American adults have some degree of math anxiety. The problem often starts in elementary school, but parents can do a lot to fix it. We talk to experts to get some unexpected strategies for children of all ages, with a little bit of help from Sesame Street and, of course, the Count.

Here's what to remember:
- Your own math anxiety doesn't have to hold your kids back.
- Talk about math when you're sharing everyday activities.
- Play math — with board games, card games, puzzles, and more.
- Forget about right and wrong answers. Keep things open-ended — life, and math, are more fun that way.
May 15, 2019
Kindness Can Be Taught. Here's How
1883
Most kids value success and achievement more than caring for others, according to Harvard's Making Caring Common project. Who is to blame? We are. We talk to experts for ideas on how to do better, and why.

Here's what to remember:
- Children are born to be kind — but also unkind.
- Kindness requires courage.
- To build kindness, practice mindfulness.
- Teach real apologies, and frame forgiveness as a gift you give yourself.
- Practice gratitude to "raise the capital" of everyday kindness.
- Kindness is a habit; rituals, chores and service can all help.
May 13, 2019
A Saner Mindset For Weight Loss
1165
The way many of us think about weight loss is totally counter-productive. Focus on healthy habits you can sustain instead of the numbers on the scale.

Here's what to remember:
- Forget goal weights. Instead, focus on behavioral goals.
- Start with small changes and let them snowball.
- A loss of only 3% of your body weight can meaningfully improve your health.
- Remember that your best weight is the one you reach when you live the healthiest life you can actually enjoy.
May 03, 2019
The Biology Of Weight Loss
1295
Our biology makes it hard to lose weight. In this episode, we won't tell you how to lose weight — or whether you even need to. We will give you five realities about biology, and they might even help you be kinder to your body.

Here's what to remember:
- Metabolism slows when you lose weight.
- Hormonal changes that come with weight loss make you hungrier.
- What you eat is more important than how much you exercise.
- Exercise seems to play a big role in maintaining weight and preventing further gain.
May 01, 2019
Boost Your Body Acceptance For Better Health
1883
We all can feel the effects of weight stigma, no matter what our size. Here's how to feel good about the body you're living in and improve your health, without obsessing about your weight.
Apr 29, 2019
Should You Pay For Financial Advice?
1283
We help you understand whether you need an adviser, and if you do want one, how to find someone who will act in your best interest.

Here's what to remember:
- Many people don't need to pay for financial advice.
- Use a "fee-only" adviser, not a "fee-based" adviser.
- Consider low-cost options like robo-advisers or Vanguard.
- You might need to break up with your adviser — but you can still be friends.
- Two online resources can help you find an adviser: NAPFA and Kent on Money.
Apr 29, 2019
Your Cheat Sheet For Smarter Investing
1331
Investing doesn't have to be hard. We explain how to grow a nice nest egg and avoid that four-letter word that starts with F ... fees.

Here's what to remember:
- Don't pick your own stocks.
- Don't sell stocks if the market crashes.
- Diversify your portfolio.
- Don't pay too much in fees.
- Invest in index funds, not actively managed funds.
- Rebalance your portfolio every year — then leave it alone.
Apr 29, 2019
Get Started Saving
1005
If you're not good at saving money, it's not your fault: Humans are hard-wired to focus on the present. But there's a way to beat evolution and build for your future.

Here's what to remember:
- Make savings automatic.
- Save, even if you have student loans.
- Participate in your employer's matching plan.
- Reward yourself for saving.
- Envision your future self.
- Start saving young.
Apr 29, 2019
When The News Is Scary, What To Say To Kids
1591
Whether a school shooting or a deadly tornado, scary events in the news can leave parents struggling to know when — and how — they should talk with their kids about it. Rosemarie Truglio of Sesame Workshop and Tara Conley, a media studies professor at Montclair State University, give us tips.

- Limit their exposure to breaking news.
- For the really big stories, pick a quiet moment and start the conversation by asking what kids have heard and how they're feeling.
- Give facts and context: Let kids know that most scary news events are rare. Show them where it is happening on a map.
- When they ask why something happened, avoid labels like "bad guys."
- Encourage kids to process the story through play, art, even video.
- Take positive action together.
Apr 29, 2019
'What If We Lived In Two Houses?' Talking Kids Through Divorce
1349
Even the most amicable split is world-changing for young children. Here are a few key tips for grown-ups trying to help their kids navigate this big transition.
- Give children as much heads-up as you can — as soon as you've made a definite decision to split up.
- It's a grown-up problem. Don't share details that will confuse your child or hurt your partner.
- Don't fear the big feelings or the "pajama truth-bomb."
- It's good for kids to talk about a separation — even when it may be painful for adults to hear.
- Make sure your kids know that not everything will change.
- Keep routines, and toys, consistent, even if they're traveling from one home to another.
- Look back together on the good memories.
Apr 29, 2019
The Problem With Toy Guns And Princesses
1615
Whether it's mini-makeup kits, gross-smelling slime or semi-automatic foam-dart guns, every parent or caregiver has fielded requests for toys that they're just not that into. We talk about princesses and superheroes and their influence on kids with Rosemarie Truglio of Sesame Workshop and Lisa Dinella, a gender studies professor at Monmouth University.

Here's what to remember:
- Banning toys outright can be counterproductive.
- Pay more attention to how kids play than what they're playing with.
- Fight sexism in the playroom by broadening toy selections.
- Talk directly to your kids about your values.
- Join in your child's play to help expand the possibilities.
- Grossed out? Use toilet toys as a chance to teach science — and manners.
Apr 29, 2019
Death: Talking With Kids About The End
1472
Whether it's a goldfish or Grandma, every child will experience a death at some point — and their parents will likely struggle to explain it.

Here's what to remember:
- Be honest and concrete. The cat wasn't put to sleep, and Grandma didn't go on a long journey.
- Don't overwhelm kids with too much information. They need time to process.
- Make sure kids know they're still surrounded by people who will love and support them.
- Don't be afraid to show emotion.
- When it comes to deathbed visits or funerals, tell kids what they might see and give them a choice.
- Keep the hope alive!
Apr 29, 2019
Talking Race With Young Children
1244
Even babies notice differences like skin color, eye shape and hair texture. Here's how to handle conversations about race, racism, diversity and inclusion, even with very young children.

A few things to remember:
- Don't shush or shut them down if they mention race.
- Don't wait for kids to bring it up.
- Be proactive: Help them build a positive awareness of diversity.
- When a child experiences prejudice, grown-ups need to both address the feelings and fight the prejudices.
- You don't have to avoid topics like slavery or the Holocaust. Instead, give the facts and focus on resistance and allies.
Apr 29, 2019
Is It OK To Lie About Santa And The Tooth Fairy?
1103
Magical thinking is part of childhood, and when it comes to characters like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, parents often play along with elaborate charades. But what should grown-ups do when kids start aging out of the magic and asking tough questions?

Here's what to remember:
- You aren't lying. You're entering their world of make-believe.
- When kids start asking questions, listen carefully. They might not be ready for the whole truth.
- When the jig is up (and you'll know!), come clean and be prepared for big feelings.
- Find new ways to keep the magic alive.
Apr 29, 2019
Think Your Way Out Of Insomnia
1315
When you can't sleep, your thoughts can be your worst enemy. In this episode, we explain five key strategies to help break the spiral, based on what many believe is the most effective treatment out there: cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBT-I.

Here's what to remember:
- Log your sleep time to get a reality check on how much you're actually sleeping.
- Write down your anxious thoughts; then replace them with more rational ones.
- Restrict the amount of time you spend in bed based on information from your sleep log.
- Find a relaxation technique.
- Make it a rule: The bedroom is only for sleep (and sex); no electronic devices, no lying in bed, ruminating.
Apr 29, 2019
Don't Count Sheep: Better Bedtime Rituals
1333
From mediation to melatonin to putting on a pair of socks, we all have routines to help us reach that blissful state of slumber. These are the ones that work:

- Forget sheep. Instead, use mental imagery — picturing a walk in the woods or a stroll on a beach — to help relax.
- Relaxation and meditation apps can help you unwind.
- Melatonin supplements might ease your way into sleep, but too much melatonin could disrupt it.
- Over-the-counter sleep medications may knock you out, but they won't result in effective sleep.
- If young kids wake you in the wee hours, don't react in a way that increases their stress — but do find strategies that make it no fun to be up.
- Sleep rituals are personal. If you believe in yours, that might be all you need.
Apr 29, 2019
Do This Today To Sleep Well Tonight
1179
From the moment you wake up, your body starts to prepare for sleep. We show you how to adjust your daytime habits to get the best possible night of rest.

Here's what to remember:
- Start the day with natural light — from an east-facing window, or even better, go outside — to put the brakes on melatonin.
- Cut the caffeine off by late morning. Even if it doesn't keep you up, caffeine impacts how much deep sleep you're getting.
- Get moving during the day. Exercise can increase the quantity and quality of your sleep.
- Avoid the nightcap. Alcohol makes you feel sleepy but disrupts deep sleep.
- Ban the smartphone and TV from the bedroom. Too stimulating, when you should be letting go.
Apr 29, 2019
Boost Your Credit Card IQ
1220
If you use credit cards in a intentional way, you can free up some valuable perks. We geek out on strategies to make credit cards work for you, without getting out of control on spending.
Here's what to remember:
- Use credit cards that have the best rewards on the things you spend the most money on.
- Protect your credit score: Always pay off your balance, don't spend more than 30 percent of your limit, don't cancel a card you've had for a long time.
- Don't outgame yourself by accepting too many new cards with sign-up bonuses.
- Know yourself: If you've had trouble with running up debt, don't tempt yourself with more cards.
Apr 29, 2019
Never Pay An Unnecessary Fee Again
1202
Don't get caught in a cycle of unnecessary overdraft fees, credit card interest and high-cost loans. A few simple tools can help you hold onto those hard-earned dollars.

Here's what to remember:
- Automation is your friend. Set your bills on autopay.
- Overdraft protection is deceptive. Link your checking account to a savings account to avoid overdraft fees.
- Set up a buffer savings account with automatic deposits.
- Don't use credit cards for emergency spending.
- If you do have an emergency, try asking your employer for your already-earned wages.
- Balance transfer checks can help with high-interest debt, but read the fine print.
Apr 29, 2019
Be The Master Of Your Budget
1309
To many, it's a dreaded task: making a budget to keep track of money. Guess what? You can do it, and we show you some tools that can help — maybe even make it fun. The founder of the popular budgeting software You Need A Budget tells us how to track your spending.

Here's what to remember:
- Don't budget just because you should: Set a goal.
- Leverage anxiety from a life change and turn it into motivation.
- Follow the 50-30-20 method.
- Use the power of scarcity.
- A roommate is worth 1,000 coffees.
- Find the budgeting technique that works for you. Here's a worksheet to get you started: https://bit.ly/2umlqex.
Apr 26, 2019