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
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