Emotional Intelligence: Conflict Resolution for Kids

Executive Function

Most kids have inherently good negotiation skills. Pull out a chocolate bar and tell kids to divide it up for themselves, and you’ll find quick proof of that. When it comes to conflict resolution and self-regulation, however, many adults wonder whether children possess the emotional intelligence and executive functioning skills to navigate that territory. As […]

Sharing and Taking Turns: Supporting Your Kids

Sharing on their own terms works

In the dance class I’ve written about before and that I help teach, the kids sometimes use colorful scarves as props during freestyle dancing. It’s really fun to watch them swirl and twirl, unless you’re watching littlest Julianne*, where you wonder how long it’ll take her to accidentally wrap up her feet and wipe out. The less […]

Best Books for Kids to Build Self-Esteem and Confidence

It’s tough being a kid these days. Not that it was easy when we were little–the playground could be a pretty rough place for everyone, and definitely so for a highly sensitive soul like mine. For better or worse, social media didn’t exist yet; therefore, we couldn’t confirm or deny our social status. Compared to […]

Shopping with Kids: Supporting a Growth Mindset Among the Shiny Objects

Knowing her grandparents will soon be asking for gift ideas for our daughter, my husband and I decided to take our five year old window shopping today. As usual and as I’ve written about before, we began with the caveat that although we wouldn’t buy anything, we’d take pictures of what she likes so that […]

For Rules’ Sake: The Freedom in Letting Go

Although I was on the other side of the playground when it started, I suspect the conversation began something like this: “Hey, let’s see if you can throw the football so hard that it gets stuck in the tree!” Perhaps having never experienced the frustration of getting a ball stuck up high, this young boy […]

Understanding Children’s Behavior: One Simple Idea

Every week, I help teach a dance class. And every week for the past three months, six-year-old Lexi (not her real name) has had to be first in line when the children await their dance props (scarves and whatnot). When it’s time to line up, she’ll push other kids out of the way to get the prime spot. […]

Preparing for the Inevitable: The Importance of Trusting Play

“Mommy, let’s pretend this isn’t a train tunnel.” “Okay, what is it?” “It’s a tomb.” Well, hello, conversation stopper. She paused for effect, which is a good thing, because I certainly didn’t expect that. After a moment to process and very consciously trust that children’s play serves an important purpose for them, I mentally cringed […]

Telling Our Kids What TO Do: Three Ways to Build a Child’s Self-Confidence

At one of the schools I have the pleasure of visiting regularly, this week’s craft table featured what the teacher appropriately called the “paper guillotine,” along with some glue and paper. At one point, an unsuspecting adult walked over and saw the setup. She inquired, only half-jokingly, “Oh, is this the table where you slice […]

Observing the Experts (Who Are Rarely Adults, With This Exception)

  For the past week, I’ve attended a multi-age outdoor school led by Teacher Tom, who’s hailed by parenting experts as one of the “world’s leading practitioners of ‘democratic play-based’ education.”* If you haven’t followed his blog or bought his book, you should, and if you can attend his class, even better. Although I exceed the age limit […]

The Parenting Strength of (Seemingly) Doing Nothing

There’s a little boy in Teacher Tom‘s multi-age summer school whose name isn’t Jimmy, but I’m saying it is to protect his privacy. Jimmy is quite little, as in, he still has to wear a sticker on his back that reads, “Please take me to the bathroom at 2 p.m.” He can’t be any older than his […]