Life Kit: All Guides

Life Kit: All Guides Podcast

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.

How To Save For Your Kid's College Education
Don't let the sticker price of college paralyze you. This episode gives you smart saving strategies — including how to prioritize your own retirement savings, choosing a 529 plan and what financial aid offices really look at — so you can start saving for your child's college tuition....

How To Get A Job After College
Before you earn your diploma, you need to focus on a different piece of paper: a resume. Here's how to think about what you want to do, and then go out and get a job — maybe even a career....

How To Get A Job After College
Before you earn your diploma, you need to focus on a different piece of paper: a resume. Here's how to think about what you want to do, and then go out and get a job — maybe even a career....


How To Do Well (And Be Happy!) In College
Should you hand-write your notes or use a laptop? What about flashcards? Does highlighting even do anything? Here's how to improve your study habits and remember what you've learned — and keep college stress under control....

How To Do Well (And Be Happy!) In College
Should you hand-write your notes or use a laptop? What about flashcards? Does highlighting even do anything? Here's how to improve your study habits and remember what you've learned — and keep college stress under control....

College Checklist: Ace Your Freshman Year
Congratulations! You've been accepted into college. Now you've got to find your way around campus, pick out classes, make new friends and figure out a plan to graduate. — on time. Here's how to make it easier....


How Men Can Have Better Friendships
The typical definition of masculinity is the polar opposite of what makes strong friendships. In this episode, we talk to men about their struggles with friendship and looking for answers with some celebrity experts....

When Friendship Changes, How To Cope
In this episode, we show how to manage friendships as your life changes — and as your friends' lives change, too. You'll get practical advice on keeping friends throughout the years and even a few instructions on how to — eek — break up with a friend....

Make New Friends (And Keep The Old)
Friendship is hard, but the best way to tackle it is to talk about it. In this episode, you'll learn from the experts about how to make new friends and deepen your existing relationships....


Make New Friends (And Keep Them)
Friendship is hard, but the best way to tackle it is to talk about it. In this episode, you'll learn from the experts about how to make new friends and deepen your existing relationships....

Rx For Medical Debt
One in 5 Americans struggles with medical bills. Here are things you do to get medical bills reduced — or even forgiven....


Why Travel? Find Joy When You Leave (Or Stay) Home
What is all our wandering for? In this episode, we find meaning in the journey, not just the destination, with help from a professional traveler and an artist whose expertise is doing nothing at all....

Group Travel: How To Keep The Peace
In this episode, Life Kit shows you how to handle personality clashes and thorny social problems when you travel together....


Planning A Trip? Pack And Plan Like A Pro
This episode includes simple hacks to lighten your load — including the surprising ways to use dental floss — so you can better enjoy yourself on the road....

Millennials And Money
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....

How To Be A Better Caregiver When A Loved One Gets Sick
None of us is 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....


Take Control Of Your Care When You're Seriously Sick
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....

How To Get The Best From Your Doctor
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....

Parents, Check Your Own Screen Habits
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....


The Darker Side Of Screen Time
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....

The Brighter Side Of Screen Time
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....

Paying For College: What To Know Before You Go
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....


Survive College When You're Paying Your Own Way
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....

Pay Off Student Loans The Smart Way
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....

'We Wanted To Show Children Real Life': Sesame Street's Sonia Manzano
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....


Free-Range Food Labels: Can My Groceries Really Help The Planet?
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 s...

What Cookie Monster Taught Us About Self-Control
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...


Raising Kids Who Love Math — Even If You Don't
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...

Kindness Can Be Taught. Here's How
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; ...

A Saner Mindset For Weight Loss
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....


The Biology Of Weight Loss
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....

Boost Your Body Acceptance For Better Health
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....

Should You Pay For Financial Advice?
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....


Your Cheat Sheet For Smarter Investing
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....

Get Started Saving
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....

When The News Is Scary, What To Say To Kids
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 m...


'What If We Lived In Two Houses?' Talking Kids Through Divorce
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 hea...

The Problem With Toy Guns And Princesses
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 sexi...

Death: Talking With Kids About The End
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 ...


Talking Race With Young Children
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 li...

Is It OK To Lie About Santa And The Tooth Fairy?
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 fo...

Think Your Way Out Of Insomnia
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 f...


Don't Count Sheep: Better Bedtime Rituals
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 effect...

Do This Today To Sleep Well Tonight
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 ...

Boost Your Credit Card IQ
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 wi...


Never Pay An Unnecessary Fee Again
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 ...

Be The Master Of Your Budget
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 bud...