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3 M's to Remember for 2015

Published in Parent



Being messy is okay. Get down and dirty with your kids when exploring and encouraging their creativity. Value the disorganization that lives between you. Take in those priceless moments and remember, you can always clean up- tomorrow!





Be present. Don't worry about the Facebook or Twitter hits. Don't upload another pic to instagram. Enjoy the moment- in the moment. Be present. Listen to your children and enjoy authentic conversation. In 2015, it's about brain power, so take care of yourself and your children by being there. Remember, your children will remember your presence, more than your presents.



Never forget that you matter and are the expert on your children. No one knows your children better that you and no one can replace your role as parent. You matter and the world needs you to be you and do you to keep us all balanced and moving forward! Don't give up my friend, you matter.



The Forgiveness List

Published in Parent



This year was incredible to say the least. The realities owning, building, and trying to grow your own business in America can be a dream killer. Especially, when it's a business that you love and a field that you feel called to with a genuine purpose and a plan that's bigger than anyone has even envisioned.


In short, this is no get rich quick scheme. This is an opportunity to us to forgo what we thought were careers to live our faith and empower everyday people- just like you and me.

Yet, good intentions does not protect from money hungry sharks, broken hearts, or innocent children who do not know why they need to give mommy and daddy some space to quickly problem solve.

This year, the Urban Parenting family has been sued, endured divorce, and met wonderful moms and dads all over the world that encourage us to keep going. So this, in essence, is for you. Our faithful readers, our crazy supporters, our home team! Thank you! We would not be here without you and we do this for you. Each of you matter to us.

So what was 2014 like for us? 2014 was a time for change, a chance to choke down the pain of the past, and open the door to welcome new beginnings. From parent to parent, the best way to walk into your destiny is to let go and forgive. So instead of wasting hours on a New Year's resolution list, we invite you to create an annual New Year's Forgiveness List.

The concept for the New Year's Forgiveness List was created by our former Editor-in-Chief and co-founder, Debbie Matters.  Debbie is an Infant Mental Health Advocate, the mother of two wicked smart preschoolers, and recently survived a divorce. It was during this time that she just felt like the new year needed to come in with cleansing, instead of crying. So in place of setting the traditional annual goals for herself, she decided to first forgive herself, flaws and all, and then forgive or seek forgiveness of others.

As she closed an amazing chapter of her life in hopes of a new narrative; other names and faces began to pop up in her head. She started to think of other untold stories and chapters that have been undone in her life. So she went back to the beginning so to speak. She took time to meditate, reflect, and then reached out to people in her past that she had not talked to in years and just said, "Sorry. Please forgive me". In some cases, she sent private Facebook messages, while others she just said a little prayer for, or let the universe know that she forgives them and is finally free to move on. Needless to say, it was embarrassing, vulnerable, scary, and ultimately, the most life settling. It helped her to be at peace with her life. It helped her to see that not only does she matter, but that we all matter. We all have lives that crash into and burn each other from time to time. Yet a new day is on the horizon... What a simply freeing ideal- to stop, look back, and forgive. It was sincerely one of the hardest and most authentic things she has ever done in her life. She overcame her fears of what others may think of her and just did what she felt right in her heart.  Now, what about you- are you up for the challenge? Do you remember an old friend, family member, or love that you need to forgive or seek forgiveness from? Tweet us your Forgiveness List journey @UrbanParentMag

There's no time better than now. Make this your best year yet. Forgive.





Finding Supermom: Coping with Crying

Published in BABY



Why Babies Cry?

  1. Hunger
  2. Too hot or too cold
  3. Diaper needs changing
  4. Discomfort/pain,fever/illness
  5. Teething
  6. Colic
  7. Boredom/ over-stimulation
  8. Fear- of loud noises or a stranger

Understanding you Baby


Taking care of your baby is the most amazing time of your life! But, when your baby won't stop crying, it can be very upsetting for you and caregivers. Yet, it is normal for your baby to cry. In fact, a baby may cry for two to three hours a day- sometimes more!

Nonstop crying is difficult got all parents to cope with. Here are some tips on when to spot and stop crying:

  1. Crying happens most often in the evenings
  2. Crying may start or stop and you don't know why
  3. Crying may not stop no matter what you do
  4. Your baby's crying will not harm him or her

Ways to calm your baby


It may seem like your baby cries more than others, but ALL babies cry. You can do the following things to try to sooth your baby.

  1. Check the reasons your baby may be crying such as basic needs (see above)
  2. Offer your baby a pacifier
  3. Hold your baby against your chest
  4. Massage, rock, or walk with your baby
  5. Sing, hum, or talk to the baby
  6. Take the baby for a ride in the carseat or stroller
  7. If your baby is not in distress, place the baby in a safe place (such as a crib) and let him cry; check on him every 5-10 minutes to make sure he or she is alright

In the end, check with your baby's doctor if you think your baby is crying too much. Remember, you may be a Supermom, but it's always okay to ask for help!


Tips on handling Frustration or Mommy Fatigue

  1. Think about about you love your baby
  2. Relax, take a bath, shower, exercise, or play music
  3. Call a trusted friend, relative, or neighbor and ask them to watch the baby and to give you a needed break
  4. Sit down, close your eyes, and take 20 deep breaths
  5. Talk to someone. Call one of the crisis hotlines- 911 (Don't take your frustration out on your baby. NEVER shake a baby!)



Breastfeeding Facts and Benefits

Published in BABY


Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and beneficial activities for mom and baby. There is no other single action by which mom can so dramatically impact the present and future health of her baby.

No formula can duplicate the unique properties of breastmilk, no matter how many vitamins, minerals and supplements are added to what is basically a chemical formula.

Breastmilk is the one and only natural, complete and complex food for infants. Just as importantly, breastfeeding promotes an exceptional bond between mom and baby that only mom can provide.



  •  Provides most complete and optimal mix of nutrients and antibodies
  • Keeps pace with infant's growth and changing nutritional needs


  • Protects against stomach upsets, ear infections, respiratory illnesses, allergies, asthma, meningitis. childhood lyphoma, Crohn's disease and ulcerative entercolitis
  • Appears to reduce the risk of obesity & hypertension
  • Reduces risk of childhood diabetes and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
  • Increases bone density
  • Reduces risk of heart disease later in life
  • Increases the effectiveness of immunizations


  • Shown to develop higher IQ's
  • Improves brain and nervous system development


  • Improves emotional development
  • Promotes special warm bonding & emotional relationship with mom




  • Reduces risk of breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancers and anemia
  • Protects against osteoporosis and hip fracture later in life
  • Helps return mom's body to its pre-pregnancy state faster


  • Breastmilk is free, thus reducing or eliminating the cost of formula
  • Breastfed babies are sick less, thus reducing healthcare costs to family and requiring less time-off from work


  • Promotes special emotional relationship and bonding with baby



Access to Quality Child Care

Published in Parent


“In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It’s not a nice-to-have -- it’s a must-have. So it’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or as a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.”
– President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015

Helping working Americans meet the needs of their jobs and their families is a key part of the President’s plan to bolster and expand the middle class. Access to high-quality child care and early education not only promotes a child’s development, but it also helps support parents who are struggling to balance work and family obligations. A safe, nurturing environment that enriches children’s development is critical to working families and is one of the best investments we can make in our economy. Yet today, a year of child care costs higher than a year of in-state tuition at most colleges – putting a significant strain on parents.


Ensuring that children have access to high quality and affordable early childhood programs can help children prepare for school and succeed in later life while strengthening parents’ ability to go to work, advance their career, and increase their earning potential. Research shows that money spent on young children is an effective investment, yielding benefits immediately to parents and for many decades to come for the children. For example, the President’s Council of Economic Advisors’ report on the Economics of Early Childhood indicate that investments in high-quality early education generate economic returns of over  $8 for every $1 spent.

Today, President Obama outlined his plan to make affordable, quality child care available to every working and middle-class family with young children. His plan includes:

  • Making a landmark investment in the Child Care and Development Fund that helps every eligible family with young children afford high-quality child care.
  • Tripling the maximum child care tax credit to $3,000 per young child.
  • Creating a new innovation fund to help states design programs that better serve families that face unique challenges in finding quality care, such as those in rural areas or working non-traditional hours.

Two years ago, the President called for a continuum of high-quality early learning for America’s children – including support for children and their parents beginning prenatally with evidence-based home visitation for young children and new and expecting parents and continuing through high-quality preschool for America’s 4-year olds. Over the past two years, the federal government, states, philanthropists, and business leaders have invested nearly $3 billion in high-quality preschool and early education. Today’s announcement builds on these continuing efforts to make high-quality early education and child care available for all. These investments to expand and strengthen child care and early education programs complement the Administration’s other efforts to help working families, including offering workers the opportunity to earn paid sick and family leave, a higher minimum wage, and equal pay for women.



Parents who work in low-wage jobs can face real difficulties affording quality child care – in 2013, the average cost of full-time care for an infant at a child care center was about $10,000 per year – higher than the average cost of in-state tuition at a public 4-year college -  and much higher in some locations. Without help, many families can face the untenable choice of not working or leaving their children in unsafe, unstable, or poor quality child care arrangements. Affordable, quality childcare can help parents so they can go to work to support their family.

Learning begins at birth, and the earliest years of a child’s life are those most critical for building foundational cognitive skills, social and emotional skills, and patterns of engagement in school and learning. Studies show that children who attend high-quality early learning programs – including high-quality child care – are more likely to do well in school, find good jobs, have fewer interactions with the justice system, and have greater earnings as adults than those who don’t.  Increasing the supply of high-quality, affordable child care can help parents balance work and family responsibilities while also investing in young children.

That’s why this year the President proposes unprecedented investments in making quality child care affordable and available for working families by:

  • Expanding access to child care assistance for all eligible families with children under four years of age, within ten years. The federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) helps low- and moderate-income families with the cost of child care and increases the availability and quality of that care. States contribute matching resources for a portion of the CCDF funding they receive. But currently, federal and state funding for child care assistance falls well short of the need, and only a small share of young children receive federally-funded child care subsidies. The President’s proposal will ensure that all low- and moderate-income families (those with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty line, or approximately $40,000 for a family of three) with children age three and under have access to a subsidy to pay for quality child care so they can work or attend school or job training. By 2025, this investment will expand access to high-quality care to more than 1 million additional young children, reaching a total of more than 2.6 million children served monthly through the child care subsidy system. To qualify for this funding, states will be required to develop sound plans for how they will build the supply of quality care for infants and toddlers and ensure that the subsidies they provide (when combined with reasonable copayments families can afford) will  cover the cost of quality care.
  • Cutting taxes for families paying child care with a credit of up to $3,000 per child. The President’s tax proposal would streamline child care tax benefits and triple the maximum child care tax credit for middle class families with young children, increasing it to $3,000 per child. The President’s child care tax proposals would benefit 5.1 million families, helping them cover child care costs for  6.7 million children (including 3.5 million children under five), through the following reforms:
    • Triple the maximum Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) for families with children under five, increasing it to $3,000 per child. Families with young children face the highest child care costs. Under the President’s proposal, they could claim a 50 percent credit for up to $6,000 of expenses per child under five.
    • Make the full credit available to most middle-class families. Under current law, almost no families qualify for the maximum CDCTC. The President’s proposal would make the maximum credit – for young children, older children, and elderly or disabled dependents – available to families with incomes up to $120,000, meaning that most middle-class families could easily determine how much help they can get.
    • Eliminate complex child care flexible spending accounts and reinvest the savings in the improved CDCTC. The President’s proposal would replace the current system of complex and duplicative incentives with one generous and simple child care tax benefit.
  •  Improving the quality of child care. Last year Congress acted on a bipartisan basis to pass child care legislation that includes much-needed reforms to improve the quality and safety in child care settings, including  requiring training for providers to prevent sudden infant death syndrome, instituting annual inspections of child care facilities, and comprehensive background checks of all providers. This proposal would provide the resources to help states implement those important reforms and support the expansion of access to quality child care programs staffed by early educators that can provide developmentally appropriate services that promote the healthy development and school readiness of young children
  •  Promoting Innovation in the Child Care Subsidy System.  The President will also invest $100 million in new competitive grants to states, territories, tribes and communities to develop, implement and evaluate models of providing child care to address the unmet needs for families who face unique challenges to securing child care. These pilots could be used to develop promising practices for families in rural communities or have children with disabilities, parents who work non-traditional hours, and other families who struggle to find and use high-quality child care.



In addition to the historic investment in helping every low-income and middle-class family afford child care, the President’s FY16 budget will make critical investments to expand access to high-quality early education, including:

  •  Providing Preschool for All:  In his 2013 State of the Union, the Obama Administration announced a proposal to provide high-quality preschool to every American child and the FY 2016 Budget will continue to support this historic public investment in early education and in the future of America’s children.  This $75 billion partnership with states would extend federal funds to expand high-quality preschool to reach all low- and moderate-income four-year-olds from families at or below 200% of poverty.  The proposal, financed through an increase in tobacco taxes which will discourage youth smoking and save lives, also encourages states to broaden participation to reach additional middle-income families and to expand the availability of full-day kindergarten. In December 2014, the President and Vice President hosted the White House Summit on Early Childhood Education, highlighting over $1 billion in investments dedicated to early childhood education and development, including new efforts to expand preschool across 18 states and in over 200 high-need communities, reaching an additional 33,000 children.
  •  Supporting Infants and Toddlers  through Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships: This Administration has more than doubled the number of infants and toddlers in Early Head Start and, in 2014, created the new Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships program – an effort to  provide quality care to tens of thousands of additional infants and toddlers through a partnership between Early Head Start and child care providers that meet the highest standards of quality to serve children from birth through age three.  The Obama Administration has invested $500 million to support communities and proposes additional funding as they improve and expand comprehensive early care and education through the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships program, reaching over 30,000 infants and toddlers this year.
  • Increasing the duration of Head Start to a full school day and year. Head Start is a key element of the Administration’s efforts to help all children meet their full potential. The Obama Administration has already taken dramatic steps to raise the bar on Head Start quality, including requiring low-performing programs to compete for continued funding, and is revising performance standards to reflect the best available science on early learning and development. The President’s Budget includes a new proposal to further increase the impact of Head Start – while also helping the working parents of Head Start children – by providing enough resources to make sure all children in Head Start benefit from a full school day and full school year (at least six hours a day, 170 days a year), which research shows leads to better outcomes for young children.
  • Investing in Voluntary, Evidence-Based Home Visiting: Established in 2010, the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program builds on research showing that home visits by a nurse, social worker, or other professional during pregnancy and in the earliest years of life has benefits to parents and to children. These programs have been shown to significantly improve maternal and child health, development, and learning.  These effects have proven to be long-lasting, with one study showing improved language and math abilities at age 12.  Additionally, these programs have led to increases in parental employment and reductions in child maltreatment. To date it has supported more than 1.4 million visits in over 700 communities. The President’s Budget would ensure the program does not end when funding is scheduled to expire in March 2015 and expand the program to reach additional families and communities. This proposal is also supported by the increased tobacco tax.



Parenting Advice From Kids

Published in Family

Just for laughs... Jimmy's wife is having a baby soon. He has two older kids so it's been a long time since he took care of a baby. To brush up and get some advice on how to raise a child, he went right to the source and asked a child to help him figure some things out.

Teaching Children about Activism

Published in Parent


Many people have heard of the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. Many people have expressed anger, tweeted thoughts, posted rants on Facebook, and are looking for ways to take action.

Then, I thought of my situation as a mom of a preschooler and toddler, in addition to being a Parent Coach, and realized that this is a critical time in history. We are living civil rights history and have an opportunity to change the narrative. We may not all be in Ferguson, MO right now, but we can still inform, empower, and inspire our children (and ourselves) about the power of activism and collective impact. Together- we can BE THE CHANGE.

Below are a few ways you can encourage your children to get involved and stand up for their rights:

  1. EDUCATE: Learn about and from past civil rights leaders and the plight for human rights
  2. SERVE: Get involved with your church and local community organizations to help others in need
  3. COMMUNICATE: Know who your local and state politicians are and how to communicate with them to express concerns and invoke change
  4. ACT: Register to vote when you become 18 years of age, find out what issue matter to you and then show up to the polls to VOTE!
  5. UNITE: Peaceful protests change history!
Remember, the civil issues and response of the next generation depends on how we raise them up today.

Shine on,

D. Manigat


Urban Parenting Magazine


Inaugural Henry N. Tisdale Visionary Leadership Pre-College Academy

Published in Uncategorized

Middle and high school students from Williamsburg County had a unique experience this summer at Claflin University, participating in the inaugural Henry N. Tisdale Visionary Leadership Pre-College Academy.

 Claflin University President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale poses with participants of the inaugural HNT Visionary Leadership Pre-College Academy at Claflin.

During the academy – which was designed to give students a jump start on college planning and a taste of University life – the students spent time enhancing their critical thinking and reasoning skills while taking part in a variety of career and personal development seminars led by academic, business and industry experts.

Students from Hemingway MB Lee Middle School participated in the first session on June 16-20, and the University hosted students from Hemingway High School on June 23-27. The academy is named for Claflin's eighth and current president, Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, a Kingstree native.

By providing programs and services for students that offer academic opportunities and aid in their efforts to complete high school, earn a college degree, attain meaningful employment or pursue graduate studies, the HNT Visionary Leadership Pre-College Academy hopes to help the next generation of global leaders with visionary perspectives reach their full potential. Seminars were presented on such topics as financial literacy, spirituality, community service, time management, wellness, etiquette, teamwork, bullying, career exploration, peer pressure and more.

Claflin University's Vice President for Administration Drexel Ball poses with participants of the inaugural HNT Visionary Leadership Pre-College Academy at Claflin.

Dr. Verlie Tisdale, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, led a seminar on time management. She told the nearly two dozen students gathered in Ministers’ Hall that they will be pulled in many different directions while at college.

“You have to prioritize your time,” she said. “Always know what is important.”

Today’s students face even more distractions and strains on their time with smart phones, texting and social media.

When you constantly check text messages and Facebook, “You are allowing that person to infringe on your time,” Tisdale told the teens. “Don’t let someone else take possession of your time.”

Procrastination, she said, is another trap that students should be careful not to fall into.

“Don’t wait until the last minute,” she said. “Be attentive, participate and interact. … And be flexible – plan for the unexpected. Make plans so that you can have time to get things done.”

Tisdale said students shouldn’t be afraid of what others may think of them if they need help mastering a certain topic or subject.

“You’ve got to be true to yourself,” she said. “Worry about you, and be your best you. … Nothing beats a failure but a try.”

Quailia Flegler, a 15-year-old rising sophomore at Hemingway High, said she’s enjoying her time at Claflin and the skills she’s learning.

“I enjoyed the managing money session,” she said. “I want to go into finance in college.” Flegler said her career goal is to be an entrepreneur and have a temp agency.

For Flegler and 17-year-old Ty’Juan McCrea, a rising junior at Hemingway High, attending the HNT Visionary Leadership Pre-College Academy was their first time on the Claflin University campus.

“I wanted to come get a good experience of college life,” McCrea said. “I think it’s a pretty good campus. I like the environment and area.”

McCrea said he also enjoyed learning how to budget his money – and his time. “You can use them both together,” he said of the skills.

Carolyn Snell, assistant to the vice president for student development and services and director of career development at Claflin, said the University family and Orangeburg community were instrumental in making this first HNT Visionary Leadership Pre-College Academy a success.

“This is an excellent opportunity for middle and high school students to experience life on a college campus before embarking on their higher education journey,” she said.


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