No More "Magic Words"

ThanksgivingAs a culture, we are obsessed with manners. In our product-oriented society where parents and care providers feel judged by the actions of children, we feel that we are doing a good job when our children are polite.

Why do we care so much? Why is it necessary for our children to use manners in the first place? Why do we care if our children say “please” and “thank you?” (more…)

Parks in China, Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar, and India

In the last two months our family has spent time in six different countries, visiting parks in every location.  I have a growing theory that the casual observer can learn something about the culture from paying attention to the types of equipment in a playground and watching the ways that equipment is used by the children and the adults they are with.

My sampling of playgrounds from the countries in the title of this post (plus, the post I wrote a few weeks ago about parks in Japan) is very small, and I’m sure does not provide a clear overview of playgrounds across that country.  Still, I enjoy reflecting on our experiences in these parks and wondering what conclusions I can draw given my very limited experience. (more…)

"Let Kids Swear" (Guest Post by Heather Shumaker, author of "It's OK NOT to Share")

rule25_revise_final SwearingI write a lot about Power.  Young kids love feeling powerful.  You see them engage in powerful actions like throwing stones in water, hauling heavy logs, being up high, swinging high, climbing, running and wearing superhero capes.

But words offer tremendous power, too.  Particularly those words.  You know the ones: potty talk, stupid head and general swear words.

Words we don’t want to hear – and often try to ban – are experiments in power.  (more…)

What To Do When Children Bite (Part 2)

IMG_3037Wait? There was a part 1?  Yes – on September 5, 2012.  I occasionally forget to finish my blog-thoughts.  Thanks to a reader for pushing me onward to part 2!

As our children grow, we hope to nurture them into assertive adults.  Children who act aggressively need support to temper that aggression.  Children who are victims need support to verbalize their needs and stand up for their rights for physical and emotional safety.

Here are some lessons I have learned from my mentors and wise educators about how to help: (more…)

Why I Hate "Pink"

????????????????I was traveling recently, and as I stood in the security line at the Sacramento Airport, I noticed something: I was surrounded by variety.

A couple sporting matching hula pantsuits, avid sports fans showing off jerseys and matching hats, people of all ages with assistive devices including wheelchairs, walkers, and breathing machines.  There were travelers with dogs, travelers with international (more…)