How to Paint a Christmas Tree

Have you ever wanted to change the color of your artificial Christmas tree? Learn how to paint a Christmas tree a different color. This painted white Christmas tree and homemade ornaments are easy holiday home decor craft ideas! How to Paint a Christmas Tree White I know it’s only a few days after Halloween, but […]

The post How to Paint a Christmas Tree appeared first on Living Locurto.

Rainbow Unicorn Fluffy Slime Recipe

Last updated on July 30th, 2018 at 08:17 pm

How to make Rainbow Unicorn Fluffy Slime in only 5 minutes! An easy slime recipe for homemade fluffy slime that kids will love. It’s really the perfect kids craft!

How to make Rainbow Unicorn Fluffy Slime in only 5 minutes! An easy recipe for homemade fluffy slime.

Easy Unicorn Fluffy Slime Recipe!

This simple homemade fluffy slime recipe is the best! My daughter loves crafting and is obsessed with slime, especially unicorn fluffy slime! She loves making slime, playing with it, stretching and popping it. She’s been dying for her own iPhone and when since she got one for Christmas all she has been doing is making slime recipe videos.

I’m very excited to share her first how to video tutorial for this fabulous Rainbow Unicorn Fluffy Slime! I think she did a wonderful job! This unicorn slime recipe is super fluffy and so easy to make. It’s addictive and once you make it, you might not be able to stop playing with it. I love the neon colors!

Originally published December 2017

Homemade Fluffy Slime Recipe

What I love about this recipe is that it blends three pretty pastel colors into a unicorn rainbow! If you use the exact color combination as pictured below, your slime when combined, should turn a darker shade of gray blue. Using other colors might make your slime turn a yucky brown color. So be sure to follow directions carefully on this slime recipe.

Easy Rainbow Unicorn Fluffy Slime Recipe

Pin this slime recipe…

On Pinterest? Be sure to save this recipe so you can make it over and over again!

This is the BEST FLUFFY SLIME! How to make Rainbow Unicorn Fluffy Slime in only 5 minutes! An easy tutorial and slime recipe for homemade fluffy slime. A fun kids craft activity. #slime #craft #fluffyslime #unicorn #recipe #kidscraft #unicornslime #fluffy #slimerecipe

Concerned about Borax?

This slime recipe includes white glue, shaving cream and a small amount of borax powder diluted in water. My daughter has very sensitive hands and this slime does not affect her hands at all. If you are unsure about using borax, please watch this informative video from Stephen Spangler, the king of science projects for kids. If you prefer not to use borax to activate the slime, use saline solution instead. If you are allergic to borax, shaving cream or glue please do not make.


Experts like Vanessa Stoloff, M.D., a family practitioner at the University of Pennsylvania, say the whole Borax business is actually pretty benign. In fact, the DIY thing is currently going down in her own home courtesy of her 11-year-old twin daughters, who recently made a batch of cookie dough slime that smelled like fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. “As long as your kids’ slime recipes don’t include tasting it,” she told, “topical Borax shouldn’t affect skin—especially at the amount being used.”

Dr. Jason Hack, a toxicologist from Rhode Island Hospital, also has a daughter who’s into making slime. “It’s a great activity,” he told WPRI 12 Eyewitness News. And he echoed Dr. Stoloff’s arguement that the small amount of Borax the kids are using is not absorbed through the skin. “It would take eating a lot of it to actually become toxic,” he explained.

If your child does accidentally ingest any slime that contains Borax, you should contact the American Association of Poison Control at 800-222-1222 immediately.

Fluffy Slime is Awesome!

What makes this slime so fluffy is shaving cream. The fluffy sensation won’t last forever, so play with it right after you make it.

Easy fluffy slime recipe and video tutorial for Rainbow Unicorn Slime.

How to Make Rainbow Unicorn Fluffy Slime Recipe

Watch the video below if you want to see how we make this slime. It’s really easy, but might take some trial and error to get it just right. Not all slime is created equal!


Print the Recipe for Rainbow Unicorn Fluffy Slime

Be sure to follow this recipe as close as possible to achieve our pretty fluffy slime in the video.

If you love this recipe, please let us know. Take a picture and tag it #LivingLocurto on Instagram so we can see it. I always love to see your creative ideas!

Rainbow Unicorn Slime | Easy Fluffy Slime Recipe

How to make Rainbow Unicorn Slime in only 5 minutes! An easy video tutorial and homemade fluffy slime recipe. A fun kids craft activity.

  • 1/2 cup white glue
  • 1/2 cup foaming shaving cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon borax powder
  • 1 cup water
  • Blue, pink and yellow neon food coloring
  1. In a large bowl mix glue and shaving cream with a spoon.
  2. In a separate bowl or cup, mix 1/2 teaspoon of borax in 1 cup of water. Stir until the borax is dissolved. (To speed up this process, place mixture in a glass cup and microwave for 30-60 seconds.)

  3. Add about a teaspoon of the borax and water mixture into the glue/shaving cream bowl and stir.

  4. Knead with your hands and if it’s too sticky, add a tiny bit more borax and water mixture.
  5. Once your fluffy slime recipe is ready. Separate into three pieces.
  6. Add a drop of blue food coloring to the first piece of slime and knead until the entire piece is blue.
  7. Repeat with the other two pieces of slime by adding one drop of pink and one drop of yellow to them.
  8. When all three pieces are colored, add them together.
  9. Gently knead the fluffy slime until you have a pretty mixture of the rainbow.
  10. The longer you knead this slime, the more the colors will become one.

If you prefer not to use Borax to activate the slime, try to substitute with saline solution or laundry detergent. If you don’t use Borax, do not use water and you may need to add baking soda to thicken the slime.

Rubber gloves recommended for sensitive skin.

* DO NOT EAT. Not for small children without adult supervision.
* Do not make if you have skin allergies to cleaning supplies, glue, food dye or shaving cream.

Did you make this recipe? Let me know by leaving a comment and rating the recipe below.

Get featured! Just take a picture and share on our Facebook Page for a chance to be bragged about in my newsletter! You can also tag @LivingLocurto and #LivingLocurto on Instagram. Fun!

~ Slime Recipe and tutorial by Blondie_Slime for Living Locurto.

More Crafts You might Love!

Don’t miss this fun Edible Reese’s Slime! Click here for the recipe.


Unicorn Cotton Candy Craft

Unicorn Cotton Candy Party Favors perfect for a birthday or kids craft. Cute DIY unicorn party idea with Nella the Princess Knight printables.

The post Rainbow Unicorn Fluffy Slime Recipe appeared first on Living Locurto.

My Little Pony: The Movie and a Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Lionsgate Premiere.

My Little Pony was all the rage when I was a kid.


My grandma gave me my first My Little Pony for my sixth birthday. Its name was Baby Glory, and I was in love.

Retro My Little Pony


I was excited to see My Little Pony make a comeback, but I knew Ponies were back for good when I sat down on the NYC subway across from this guy:

My Little Pony Costume


I’ll likely see a few more of these characters this weekend as Ponydemonium (I should probably Trademark that phrase) is in full force with the release of My Little Pony: The Movie, in theaters October 6th. Have you seen this trailer yet?

My Little Pony: The Movie – Coming to theaters October 6!

A dark force threatens Ponyville, and the Mane 6 – Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Rarity – embark on an unforgettable journey beyond Equestria where they meet new friends and exciting challenges on a quest to use the magic of friendship to save their home.

I love it when big names get behind the mic for animated features, because it usually makes for a movie kids and adults can enjoy together. The Pony crew is voiced by an all-star cast, including Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Liev Schreiber, Michael Peña, Sia, Taye Diggs, Uzo Aduba and Zoe Saldana. The movie features original music and songs performed by Sia, Diggs, Saldana, Chenoweth and Blunt.

My Little Pony: The Movie Giveaway

We’ve teamed up with Lionsgate Premiere to offer a great prize pack to send you and your family to see My Little Pony: The Movie in theaters. You could win:

  • $100 American Express gift card to see the film in theaters with your family
  • PLUS a My Little Pony: The Movie Shining Friends Figure

To enter, just leave a comment below with your favorite childhood toy. We will pick one prize pack winner at random.

For more Pony fun, check out the Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram. And don’t forget to check out My Little Pony: The Movie in theaters everywhere October 6. 

Open to US mailing addresses only
Prizing courtesy of Lionsgate Premiere


Wonder Woman in Theaters + a Giveaway

This post is in partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures

In the last few years we’ve seen a lot from Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Captain America, a different Batman, a LEGO Batman, Batman’s son, and probably one about Batman’s cousins. Is it just me, or is this superhero list missing something? Come on, where my girls at?

It’s about time we saw a girl superhero on the big screen, and the wait is almost over! On June 2, Wonder Woman comes to the big screen. I’m not going to lie, I watch the superhero movies, but I’m not one to get jazzed about them. This one, on the other hand, is different. I’ve already made plans with my lady crew to go see it, and after watching this trailer, I’m more excited than ever!

I love that this film portrays a strong girl who grows up to be a strong woman who makes a difference for good. It’s a scene we don’t see played out often enough, but one that’s good  for girls young and old to see. I’m excited to see Gal Gadot step into this role.

Wonder Woman Gal Gadot

I can’t say I knew a lot about Wonder Woman before now, but apparently before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.

Wonder Woman Rise of the Warrior Action Shot

You can also show everyone your warrior with the Wonder Woman gauntlet creator. I was going for a “tough warrior” face, but I think I only succeeded in achieving a “somewhat constipated” face. It was fun to create though.

Wonder Woman Gauntlet

Wonder Woman Giveaway

If you want a chance to win tickets to see Wonder Woman in theaters, plus a nice prize pack, comment below and tell us about a Wonder Woman in your life. We will pick one person to win:

  • A $50 gift card to see the film in theaters
  • A Wonder Woman hooded sweatshirt, t-shirt, backpack

Wonder Woman Prizes

Open to US mailing addresses only
Prizing courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

10 Great Kid-Friendly YouTube Videos

I have a love-hate relationship with YouTube so when I find good, clean, kid-friendly YouTube videos I love sharing them with the family. Here are 10 kid-friendly YouTube videos to keep your kids safely entertained. You may love me for sharing these…but after the kids put them on repeat 100 times…you may hate me. #sorrynotsorry

10 Kid-Friendly YouTube videos parents will let kids watch

**Disclaimer: I am not being paid to share any of these videos. I am also not advocating for these YouTube channels as a whole. I personally feel that these individual videos listed below are kid-friendly. Referred videos shown at the end of the video and/or the entire channel can be watched at your own discretion.

Space Unicorn

Anything by these guys is pretty kid-friendly and super fun. I would recommend browsing through their YouTube channel to see what other fun things your family may enjoy.

The Gummy Bear Song

Addicting and so odd. I literally can’t get this song out of my head once it starts.

“SEAGULLS! (Stop it Now) Bad Lip Reading

Bad Lip Reading is not new to YouTube or new to the general population, but there are some that kids enjoy more than others. This one they will love (and probably have memorized by the end of the day!).

Hamster Doing A Loop De Loop

Animals doing silly things with a silly song. It’s a YouTube win-win in the kid department.

Raining Tacos

Another song that will get stuck in your head. You’re welcome.

Disney’s Moana “How Far I’ll Go” (In Real Life)

Working With Lemons is a family-owned YouTube Channel that does everything kid-friendly on YouTube. You’ll love their real-life renditions of Disney songs. Check out their very popular “Do you want to build a snowman?” video. Great stuff!

My Heart Will Go On (terrible recorder meme)

What’s a more perfect kid-friendly YouTube video than someone playing a terrible recorder version of My Heart Will Go On? I giggle every.single.time this is played.

Kid History – “Healthy Food” Episode 6

Kids say the most entertaining things and watching adults act it out adds a new layer of laughs. Kid History videos and this YouTube channel are completely kid-friendly.

Tonight Show – Musical Morning Announcements

My kids watched this bit from the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on repeat. Something about it made them giggle over and over again. We’ve watched this too many times to count.

 Tight Pants / Body Rolls by Leslie Hall

My husband and I are on different sides of the argument about whether or not this video is really entertainment. It’s appropriate for kids to watch and mine stop dead in their tracks anytime it’s on (not to mention that I can’t tear myself away from it), however the debate over whether it is entertaining or not is a strong one.  Let’s just say it is definitely entertaining in a “what on earth am I watching” sort of way and 14.7 million people must agree with me. Click the link below.


See more at!

Create Videos with Framy, Hilarity Ensures

10 Reasons I Love Snapchat (And Yes, I’m a Mom)

Funny Cat Videos


Tropical Rum Punch

Tropical rum punch is a delicious summer cocktail recipe to make for a party or sip by the pool! A mix of cranberry juice, orange juice, peach schnapps, coconut rum, layered with oranges, pineapples, limes and strawberries. With just one taste and you’ll be transported to a tropical beach.

Tropical rum punch is a delicious summer cocktail recipe for a luau party or to sip by the pool! A pitcher drink mixture of juice and coconut rum for a pretty layered drink.

Tropical Rum Punch Recipe

Celebrate summer with a fantastic Tropical Rum Punch Recipe! I made the perfect drink for you that is not only easy, but looks amazing too! Whether you are hosting a summer party, need a fun tropical punch for a luau party, or just having a simple get together with friends, fill up a pitcher with this show stopper drink!

The fun thing about this drink is the layers of sunset colors. It looks fabulous in a large glass pitcher or drink dispenser. You can leave out the alcohol for a kid punch. I wish I had this for my daughter’s Disney Frozen in Summer beach birthday party!

Tropical rum punch recipe. easy cocktail recipe for a luau party or to sip by the pool!

Originally published May 19, 2017 

Easy Luau Tropical Party Drink

Hosting a Luau party? This is my most popular drink recipe for a group to date! Get fancy by pairing your tropical rum punch with cute party supplies such as bamboo straws, hibiscus flowers and colorful luau style napkins.

In my new kitchen, I have a draw full of small party supplies for drinks. Whether I’m pouring juice for my kids or making a cocktail for a friend who stopped by to chat, I always love garnishing my glasses with cute straws, fresh fruit or tiny umbrellas.

These adorable straws and napkins came from Oriental Trading. I have all of the details about the products I used to style this drink over on their blog. Be sure to check that out!

Tropical rum punch is a delicious summer cocktail recipe for a party or to sip by the pool!

You might also like these drink recipes:

Tropical rum punch is an easy cocktail recipe for a luau party or to sip by the pool! A pitcher drink mixture of juice and coconut rum.


Best Ice

This rum punch recipe calls for a lot of ingredients, but believe me, it’s worth it! I recommend using cubed ice vs crushed ice, so your drink isn’t too watered down. I used my crushed ice in my photos and realize now that was a mistake as it melted too quickly.


Here’s what you’ll need to make this fun Tropical Rum Punch:

  • mango cranberry juice (If you can’t find Mango Cranberry Juice, use regular Cranberry Juice and add fresh chopped mangos.)
  • white strawberry cranberry juice
  • orange juice
  • simple syrup
  • peach schnapps
  • coconut rum
  • oranges
  • pineapples
  • limes
  • strawberries
  • cubed ice
Head over to Oriental Trading’s blog to get directions, party supplies. Enjoy!


Enjoy an ice-cold colorfully layered Hawaiian style coconut rum punch full of tropical fruit that is sure to please your party guests!

Tropical Rum Punch

Tropical rum punch is a delicious cocktail recipe to make for a party or sip by the pool. A mix of juices, peach schnapps and coconut rum layered with fruit. With just one taste and you’ll be transported to the beach!

Tropical rum punch

  • 64 ounces Mango Cranberry Juice
  • 1 cup Peach Schnapps
  • 1 cup Fresh Pineapple (Chopped)
  • 2 Oranges (Sliced)
  • 6 cups White Strawberry Cranberry Juice
  • 2 cups Orange Juice
  • 1 1/2 cups Coconut Rum
  • 1 gallon cubed Ice (not crushed)


  • 1/2 cup Pineapples (Chopped)
  • 3 Limes (Sliced)
  • 1 cup Strawberries (Sliced)
  1. Place pineapples and oranges in a 1.5-2 gallon drink dispenser. Pour mango cranberry juice and peach schnapps over the fruit and gently stir.
  2. In a separate pitcher, mix the white cranberry juice, orange juice and coconut rum together.
  3. Chill both containers in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  4. Before serving, fill the larger drink dispenser with ice. Pour the second layer from the smaller pitcher slowly and directly on top of the ice.
  5. Gently add some chopped pineapples and a few sliced strawberries in the center.
  6. Very gently, place sliced limes and the rest of the strawberries around the edges of the container with a large spoon or fork.

If you can’t find Mango Cranberry Juice, use regular Cranberry Juice and add fresh chopped mangos.

You might also love these tropical drink recipes!

Pineapple Sangria is a perfect coconut rum cocktail for a luau party or just sipping by the pool.

A tropical twist on the traditional white sangria. This Pineapple Sangria recipe is a perfect coconut rum drink for a luau or just sipping by the pool.



Frozen Pineapple Whip – An Animal Kingdom Copycat Recipe!

A delicious and simple copycat recipe for a Disney's Animal Kingdom Pineapple Dole Whip with rum!

Tropical rum punch is a delicious summer cocktail recipe for a luau party or to sip by the pool! A mix of juice and coconut rum for a pretty layered drink.

The post Tropical Rum Punch appeared first on Living Locurto.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid in Theaters + a Giveaway

This is a sponsored post, the words and opinions are all mine. 

Family road trips are a childhood rite of passage most kids miss out on today. I grew up in New Mexico, and every summer my family would pile in our van for a road trip. I think it was a 12-16 hour trek each way to Utah and Idaho to visit family. Of course, by the time I tell my kids about these trips, I’m sure they’ll be uphill both ways. I probably will have had to walk or push the van for a good portion of it too. Even though the trips were a pain at the time, they made for great memories.

Here we are in Idaho hanging with my aunt and some cousins. I’m the camera shy baby in the red overalls. I guess not much has changed over the years.

Family Vacation

My most unforgettable trip happened when my brothers and sisters made me laugh so hard I wet my pants. Now I’m not going to say how old I was at the time, but let’s just say I was old enough to not be wetting my pants in the car. We were in the middle of nowhere, and my parents refused to stop and delay our schedule. Instead, my mom made me alternate between sitting on a plastic bag and hanging my tail end out the window to speed up the drying process. I can laugh about it now, but back then I wasn’t amused.

I immediately thought of that story when I saw the trailer for the new movie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. It will be in theaters May 19, and it embodies all that can go wrong (and right) when a family drives across the country together.

The movie is based on the best-selling book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid. In the film, the Heffley family sets out to visit their Meemaw for her 90th birthday. When Greg secretly plans a detour to a video game convention, the trip encounters some, uh, issues. If you ask me, that’s what makes for the best family vacations.

Even if you’ve never taken a road trip of your own, you can now go to to create your own family photo like this one:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Long Haul


We would love to send you and your family on a road trip of your own. Well, a road trip to the movie theater in your town, that is. We’ve teamed up with 20th Century Fox to give one lucky winner

  • A $100 Visa to see the movie in theaters with your family
  • A copy of the hardcover book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

To enter*, just leave a comment below with a favorite family road trip memory or destination. We will pick one prize pack winner.

Check out Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul in theaters everywhere May 19.


Open to US mailing addresses only. Prizing and samples courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Everything You Need to Know about Target’s NEW Car Seat Trade-in Program

Need an excuse to go to Target?  Never?  Well here’s one anyway!

Target launched it’s 2017 Carseat Trade-in Program and we couldn’t be more excited.  The program offers parents 20% off a new carseat for trading in their old one.  The program is a partnership with Terracycle-a company that “recycles hard-to-recycle waste.”  The initiative is just in time for Earth Day, and what better way to celebrate?  It’s an opportunity to clean out your garage and feel great about yourself.  Through the partnership, they expect to keep more than 700,000 pounds of car seat materials out of landfills.

“In honor of Earth Month, we wanted to make it easy for guests to do something positive for the planet and their communities,” says Jennifer Silberman, chief sustainability officer, Target. “We love this opportunity to give families an environmentally friendly way to dispose of unwanted car seats and get the new ones they need just in time for spring.”


Target stores and super stores are accepting old carseats for a twenty percent discount



From April 17th through April 30th, you have the opportunity to recycle your old car seat at participating Target locations! To participate, simply bring your old car seat to the designated Target Take Back recycling area at a participating Target store.

All car seat brands are accepted for recycling. In return for recycling your car seat, you will earn a 20% discount on a new car seat.


SEE ALSO:  Is Your Kid in the Right Car Seat?


Target stores and super stores are accepting old carseats for a twenty percent discount

The coupon is good for any car seat you purchase in store or at – but only until May 31, 2017 so you’ll want to be ready to choose!  You can check out a full selection of their carseats here.

Just another reason we love you Target-recycling AND coupons??  You’re the best.

See more at!

22 Favorite Baby Essentials

Traveling with Baby

Graco Recalls 3.7 Million Car Seats

Best Way To Prevent Teen Drug Abuse? Iceland Has The Answer

Iceland may have the key to preventing teen drug abuse but other countries aren’t following their lead. Over the past 20 years, Iceland has taken an unconventional approach to reducing drug teen abuse – not just giving kids alternatives to drug use but to prevent even starting in the first place. What have they done to dramatically reduce alcohol consumption, smoking and marijuana use in teens? The answer is a little more detailed.

Iceland research shows how to avoid teen drug abuse.

An article published in describes how Iceland, finding that programs warning kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol were largely ineffective, wanted a different approach. That approach was in the form of a national plan called Youth in Iceland. When framing the Youth in Iceland program researchers dug into data from questionnaires they administered to youth, “Their analysis revealed clear differences between the lives of kids who took up drinking, smoking and other drugs, and those who didn’t. A few factors emerged as strongly protective: participation in organised activities – especially sport – three or four times a week, total time spent with parents during the week, feeling cared about at school, and not being outdoors in the late evenings.” 

Laws were changed making it illegal to buy tobacco under the age of 18 and alcohol under the age of 20. But that wasn’t all – advertising for tobacco and alcohol was banned and an infamous law was passed prohibiting children between the ages of 13 and 16 from being outside after 10 pm in the winter and midnight in the summer.

I don’t have a child between those ages but I imagine that such changes were dramatic and wonder if that could even be possible in the United States at any level. I do know as a parent that taking the same approach would be met with opposition from said children. I feel like there would be definite benefits of such a curfew but I also say that as a mother of younger children. It’s easy for me to say and maybe more difficult for parents of teens to do.

SEE MORE: The Link Between Family Dinner and Substance Abuse

Funding in Iceland was put toward programs to improve and strengthen parent-child relationships. Parents were encouraged to attend lectures about the importance of spending not only quality of time with their children but quantity – and in talking to their kids about their lives, knowing their friends and keeping them at home in the evenings.

I volunteer in school, I learn who are in my kids classes and I hear their conversations. I can 100% stand behind these changes that were made in Iceland. As a busy parent I do feel limited in quantity of time and therefore try to focus on quality. But I strongly believe in quantity of time with your children. Both my husband I try to set aside time with each of our children individually. And even if we are busy, I have to step back and remember how important it is to have that time, even if it is stalling at bedtime. I have found that some of the most revealing and important conversations with my children have occurred as I am putting them to bed.

SEE MORE: Why Your Daughter Should Play Sports

Iceland increased state funding for organized sports, music, art, dance and other clubs. This was intended to give kids ways to feel part of a group rather than turning to drugs and alcohol but also to help kids from low-income families.

Photo Credit: Brandon Shirley

My oldest is now 10 years old. Last year he began swimming on a local club swim team. It’s a huge commitment for his age – practices are 1 1/2 hours a day, 5 days a week. We don’t always attend, especially if he has a lot going on with school and we still have him in scouts and piano lessons. Is it over-scheduling? I wonder and worry about this all the time. We are not a sporty family. I didn’t grow up doing a lot of athletics and neither did my husband. This world is very new to us but I have seen benefits. When we first committed to the swim team, I had a clear purpose in mind. I felt like his involvement would reduce his anxiety. Even at 9, he was a very anxious child. Have I seen improvements? Most certainly. He has greater confidence, is goal-driven and part of a team with similar priorities. So, when I read that Iceland has found that involvement in sports or other clubs helps give kids the resilience to avoid teen drug abuse, I believe it.

SEE MORE: Olympic Trials and Girls in Sports

Other European nations have attempted similar programs at a local level to combat teen drug abuse but no other countries have enacted such changes to prevent teen drug abuse on a national level like Iceland. But would something like this work in the U.S.? The article in says, “A national programme along the lines of Youth in Iceland is unlikely to be introduced in the US, however. One major obstacle is that while in Iceland there is long-term commitment to the national project, community health programmes in the US are usually funded by short-term grants.”

Regardless of whether such a program would work nationwide, the results from Youth in Iceland are telling. Wherever there is a focus on parents, school and community working together to support children there is sure to be success. Would you support any of these types of initiatives to prevent teen drug abuse in your community?

Why Social Media is Not Smart for Middle School Kids

I really love middle school kids. I have two of them! If you have been through middle-school parenting, you may have noticed what I see: Strange things seem to happen to a tween’s brain the first day they walk into middle school.

Social media was not designed for middle school kids

One might sum up their main goals in life this way:

  • To be funny at all costs. (Hence, the silly bathroom jokes, talking at inappropriate times in class, and the “anything it takes to be popular” attitude.)
  • To focus on SELF — their clothes, their nose, their body, and their hair.
  • To try new things. They are playing “dress up” with their identity, trying on things to see what fits. They are impulsive and scattered, they are up and they are down, and it even seems that they have regressed in their development on their quest for independence.

As the parent, you are changing, too, as you enter the stage of parenting when you quickly depart from the naïve platform of “My child would never…” to the realization that, “I’m sure my child did that. I’m sorry, and please excuse his behavior, he is going through a phase.”

Your list of daily parenting instruction may include statements like:

  • “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!”
  • “How many times do I have to tell you not the use that word?”
  • “Stop flipping that bottle!”
  • “Stop burping the ABC’s!”
  • “You’re acting like a two-year-old.”
  • “What were you thinking?”

Then it happens: Maybe because we are exhausted from their constant begging for a phone, or because we think that all their friends have one, or because we want to upgrade ours to the latest model…we cave. We act on impulse. Our brain seems to regress like theirs, and we give them our old smartphone.

And with that one little decision comes the world of social media access—something we haven’t thought about and something none of us is prepared for. Because the midbrain is reorganizing itself and risk-taking is high and impulse control is low, I can’t imagine a worse time in a child’s life to have access to social media than middle school. Here are just a few reasons why:

  1. Social media was not designed for them. A tween’s underdeveloped frontal cortex can’t manage the distraction nor the temptations that come with social media use. While you start teaching responsible use of tech now, know that you will not be able to teach the maturity that social media requires. Like trying to make clothes fit that are way too big, they will use social media inappropriately until they are older and it fits them better.
  2. Social media is an entertainment technology. It does not make your child smarter or more prepared for real life or a future job; nor is it necessary for healthy social development. It is pure entertainment attached to a marketing platform extracting bits and pieces of personal information and preferences from your child every time they use it, not to mention hours of their time and attention.
  3. A tween’s “more is better” mentality is a dangerous match for social media. Do they really have 1,456 friends? Do they really need to be on it nine hours a day? Social media allows (and encourages) them to overdo their friend connections like they tend to overdo other things in their lives.
  4. Social media is an addictive form of screen entertainment. And, like video game addiction, early use can set up future addiction patterns and habits.
  5. Social media replaces learning the hard social “work” of dealing face-to-face with peers, a skill that they will need to practice to be successful in real life.
  6. Social media can cause teens to lose connection with family and instead view “friends” as their foundation. Since the cognitive brain is still being formed, the need for your teen to be attached to your family is just as important now as when they were younger. Make sure that attachment is strong. While they need attachments to their friends, they need healthy family attachment more.
  7. Social media use represents lost potential for teens. While one can argue that there are certain benefits of social media for teens, the costs are very high during the teen years when their brain development is operating at peak performance for learning new things. It is easy for teens to waste too much of their time and too much of their brain in a digital world. We know from many studies that it is nearly impossible for them to balance it all.

How Can Kids Slow Down?

First, we need to slow down and rethink what we are allowing our kids to do. We need to understand the world of social media and how teens use it differently from adults. Here are a few tips that work well for many parents.

  1. Delay access. The longer parents delay access, the more time a child will have to mature so that he or she can use technology more wisely as a young adult. Delaying access also places a greater importance on developing personal authentic relationships first.
  2. Follow their accounts. Social media privacy is a lie: Nothing is private in the digital world, and so it should not be private to parents. Make sure privacy settings are in place but know that those settings can give you a false sense of security. Encourage your teen to have private conversations in person or via a verbal phone call instead if they don’t want you to read it on social media.
  3. Create family accounts. Create family accounts instead of individual teen accounts. This allows kids to keep up with friends in a safer social media environment.
  4. Allow social media only on large screens. Allow your teens to only use their social media accounts on home computers or laptops in plain view, this way they will use it less. When it is used on a small private phone screen they can put in their pocket there are more potential problems with reckless use.  The more secret the access, the more potential for bad choices.
  5. Keep a sharp eye on the clock; they will not. Do you know how much time your child spends on social media a day? Be aware of this, and reduce the amount of time your child is on social media across all platforms. The average teen spends nine hours a day connected to social media. Instead, set one time each day for three days a week for your child to check their social media. Do they benefit from more time than that?
  6. Plan face-to-face time with their friends. Remember that they don’t need 842 friends; four-to-six close friends are enough for healthy social development. Help them learn how to plan real, in-person, social get-togethers such as a leave-phones-at-the-door party, a home movie night, bowling, board games, cooking pizza, or hosting a bonfire. They crave these social gatherings so encourage them to invite friends over and help them (as needed) to organize the event.
  7. Spend more real non-tech time together. Teens who are strongly attached to their parents and family show more overall happiness and success in life. They still need us now more than ever. It is easy to detach from them: Teens can be annoying! But attaching to family allows them to detach from the social media drama. Your child needs to feel like they can come home and leave the drama of their social world behind for a few hours. They want you to help them say no to social media and yes to more time with the family. They are craving those moments to disconnect, so make plans and encourage this at home.

Don’t give that smartphone all the power in your home; help tweens choose healthier forms of entertainment. They have the rest of their life to be entertained by social media, but only a limited time with you.

For more tools to help balance social media use from Families Managing Media, click here

To learn how to reverse the dysregulating effects of screen-time on your child’s mood, focus, and behavior, see Reset Your Child’s Brain.  


Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D. is an integrative child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist, the author of Reset Your Child’s Brain, and an expert on the effects of screen-time on the developing nervous system.  

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