Halloween and Food Allergies: Fostering Childhood Resilience

When my daughter was three years old, I didn’t think anything about fostering childhood resilience when it came to Halloween. For some reason that’s unbeknownst to me, she decided that what people do with Halloween candy is…donate it. Who was I to argue with her thoughtful idea? So, for the past two years, we’ve gathered […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

“I’m Not Your Mom” and Other Tips for Raising Self-Sufficient Humans

After finishing a two-week, multi-age summer class with Teacher Tom, who’s an internationally respected teacher and writer, I asked my child what she thought he was really good at. She pondered my question for a moment and thoughtfully replied, “He’s really good at sitting.” Well, shoot. At the risk of bragging, I’m a fine sitter, myself. Now that I know […]