You can Support A Tobacco Free New York!

This post was sponsored by Tobacco Free New York State as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Did you know that the average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13 years old?! As a mom of a 13-year-old, this alarms me! As much as we’d like to think that they don’t have access, teens are being exposed to and finding access to tobacco products. My daughter has told me stories of older middle school students found smoking e-cigarettes. And the e-cigarette use in high school students grew 160% in just four years from 2014 – 2018.

It’s not just our teens that are being exposed to tobacco products. Tobacco companies spend billions of dollars in advertising, much of which is found in-store. You may not realize it, but when you stop at the local convenience store with your kids to pick up some groceries, they see the colorful signs and boxes of cigarettes behind the counter. Tobacco Free New York is working to protect our kids from being visually exposed to tobacco products. The simple campaign aims to gather support to move tobacco and tobacco marketing out of view of kids. As a parent of a tween and teen, this is something that I am on board with.

As readers of the blog you know that my family enjoys the great outdoors. We often spend our weekends eating, traveling and enjoying new experiences and adventures. It is important to me that my children are active and healthy and I ensure that they have healthy diets and get adequate sleep. They know the harmful effects that smoking can have on their health and have often questioned why people would knowingly harm themselves. While they are both anti-smoking and probably low-risk, it doesn’t help to see cigarettes and other tobacco products while we are shopping at the store.

As parents, we can do something to protect all our children from being exposed to tobacco products in stores. You can take action by simply pledging your support at the”Seen Enough Tobacco” site. Every pledge counts! Help make New York a healthier place to live, work and play!


Cell Phone Wars {Surviving 13}

Kids these days seem to be getting cell phones at a younger and younger age. My husband and I always agreed that thirteen seemed a fair age for our kids to get cell phones. We aren’t anti-technology and they both have had iPods for years. The iPods can do almost everything that a phone can do, except send texts (when not on WiFi) and make phone calls.

My daughter turned thirteen a month ago and she still does not have a cell phone. She assumed and told us that she is getting an iPhone 8. My husband and I recently upgraded to 8s because he didn’t even own an iPhone. When he went to purchase his there was a B1G1F deal. We debated saving the 8 for our daughter, as I was perfectly happy with my 6s. However, my husband told me that I should have the 8 and I didn’t really want a 13 year old having a better phone than me. We told her that she could get a cell phone at 13, but never told her it would be a new phone.

We’ve heard countless stories from my our daughter about how many of her friends have broken their phone screens or even lost their cell phones. Since when did it become the norm to allow children to carry around these, several hundred dollar pieces of technology, that are basically mini-computers?!!

Some parents I’ve talked to have gotten phones for their kids because both parents work late and it’s easier to keep up-to-date with their kids whereabouts and activities. Others have children who, if they had had a cell phone, could have avoided an anxiety-filled experience.

I see a cell phone as just another distraction. And if I’m going to give my daughter a phone, there are going to be rules set in place. The first stipulation we put in place months before she turned 13 was that she wasn’t being handed a phone at 13. She would have to show that she is responsible as well. Responsible being – she doesn’t need to be asked to do things ten times before they get done, that she doesn’t hold the family up because she’s late, that she gets her homework completed and gets to bed on time…..nothing life shattering. And guess what, months later, she still has not shown us this responsibility. So, she still doesn’t have a phone.

I also admit we were a bit lax with her iPod use. We’ve been a bit stricter now with her electronic time, but once a cell phone is involved, we have a phone contract that will be in place. Again, if she really wants the phone, she’ll sign the contract and follow our rules.

I know that she’s the only one in her friends group, and possibly even the whole grade, who doesn’t have a cell phone. In the rare times that she has needed to contact us, she borrows a friend’s phone or use the school phone. Somehow, millions of kids, including myself, were able to survive growing up without a cell phone.

So, we will continue to have to withstand the fights and the tears until she shows us that she is responsible enough to handle another piece of technology. I hope as an adult she can look back and be thankful that we didn’t just give her what she wanted and made her show she could be responsible. But for now, we will have to withstand the sometimes daily arguments. #Surviving13

Time to Go to Bed! {Surviving 13}

When my kids were younger, bedtime was one of my favorite parts of the evening. Once they were in bed at 7:30 or 8 PM, I’d have a couple of hours to clean up, prep for the next day, blog and even get to watch an episode or two of a television show. Fast forward to today, where my now thirteen year-old, on some occasions, is going to bed at the same time as me!

My 10 year-old is supposed to be in bed at 8:30 PM and my thirteen year-old is supposed to be in bed at 9 PM. I am very aware of the research that recommends teens get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night. If my daughter got to bed on time she’d be getting a good 9 hours of sleep, since she is woken up at 6 AM on school days.

However, between needing help on last minute homework or just being plain SLOW about getting ready, she is rarely in bed on time. If this was a one time thing it wouldn’t be a big deal. But this is an ongoing issue. We have her start the getting ready process at 8:30. Does she really need 30 minutes to get ready for bed?!

I know that the 8-10 hours is a recommendation. Some kids can deal with less sleep. My kids, however, take after me and NEED a lot of sleep. Otherwise, they get extra irritable and aren’t pleasant to be around. Plus, if she was getting enough sleep, I would think it would be easier for her to get up in the morning. I wake her at 6 AM before I go into the shower. Then my husband checks on her ten minutes later to make sure she is up and moving.

So what are we doing to try to get her to bed on time? I realize one of my mistakes was not taking her iPod away a certain hour before bedtime. I know this plays a huge role in her being distracted and slow. As we now are getting into phone discussions (post coming soon!) this is one of our non-negotiables. It is much more difficult to take something away once you’ve already allowed it for so long. Since she has no concept of how long things take her to get done, we are also thinking of resorting back to a timer and giving her limits on how long she can take to do something.

As infants and toddlers, and even in elementary school, both of my kids have been good sleepers. Now the problem is currently getting one of them into bed on time! I’m trying to instill healthy sleep habits now for the kids. I know as they get older, they’ll get more homework, be involved in sports and extracurricular activities and possibly even have jobs. I think a regular sleep schedule will help them perform at their best.

But seriously, girl, it’s time to go to bed already! How do you get your teens to bed at a decent hour?