Here at the beginning of the school year, teachers are doing their initial assessments, figuring out who of their students is how far along the literacy timeline.
It can be a worrisome time for us parents – what if our kids don't read when they're supposed to?
What if they tell you "reading is boring"?
What if they hate reading?
We all know that reading is THE key to our children's future success… but how do you get them to want to read?
Today's bonus episode digs into the two most important factors in getting children to be happy readers.
Click here to listen, and to sign up for the upcoming Streamline Your Mornings 5-Day Challenge, which starts Monday, October 2!
If you're struggling with back-to-school time, or starting-school time – I'm creating shows this month and next to help you feel better.
Today's is all about homework.
Over the years I've had parents share the most horrible stories about homework and their little kids, like the mom whose six-year-old received an afterschool detention for missing four homework assignments in a row.
That one still makes me choke a little.
Or the one about a child forced to miss recess because of a parent's failure to log in and do the required "family homework."
When medical ethicist Dr. Arthur Caplan comes on this show and says "recess is a right," as he did in this episode last spring, I smile at his words.
But my blood pressure goes up.
Way up, at the thought of you and your young son or daughter coping with outrageous, damaging policies like these.
So today I'm taking everything my own training and experience tells me, and everything the wonderful teachers and doctors and folks who really understand young children (and who've spoken up on my show) – and I'm boiling it down into three steps to help you handle crazy homework demands.
Go to weturnedoutokay.com/184 for key links, and to read an outline of the three steps.
Also – Click here to sign up to join the Streamline Your Mornings Free 5-Day Challenge, which I'm offering again in early October!
With fall youth sports in full swing, I wanted to share something ugly that I witnessed last spring: a dad berating his young son, after the boy and his fellow teammates took a real drubbing, losing a soccer game big-time.
In this empathy-lacking, divisive grown-up-up world, what kids learn on the soccer field seems more important and relevant than ever before; listen to today's show to find out how a parent's attitude makes or breaks a child.
Click here to sign up for the upcoming Streamline Your Mornings Free 5-Day Challenge, which I'm bringing back for a second round because the first one was so effective and helpful for parents…
And go to weturnedoutokay.com/183 for key links to this episode!
Back when We Turned Out Okay turned 2, I asked you all for a gift: your questions!
Today I'm answering one of those questions, listener Caroline's about how to deal with medical issues in your child, and expanding out from "medical" advocacy by sharing, in the second half of today's episode, about how to advocate in other aspects of your child's life.
I am so happy to bring back medical ethicist Dr. Art Caplan to address Caroline's question, "Could you possibly give some advice about dealing with stressful situations in general and medical stuff, i.e. advocating for your child?"
Art outlines four key steps that parents can take when confronted with a child's illness, and in looking back I realized that those same steps would be wonderful when trying to advocate for kids in a variety of situations, socially, educationally, in addition to medically.
For an outline of these four steps to advocating for your child and related key links, go to weturnedoutokay.com/182!
Also – to download my free Guide to Happy Readers click here…
Click here to sign up for the upcoming Streamline Your Mornings Free 5-Day Challenge, coming up October 2nd-6!
"With kindergarten," a listener shares, "I feel like I'm about to toss her to the wolves."
How are you handling the stresses of the autumn? If you've got a child starting school or preschool, or returning to school, daycare, or preschool, it can be really tough on both you and your kids.
That's why today is the first of a 3-part series, the We Turned Out Okay Back-to-School Guide.
Today I share the ONE thing you can do to make your child's separation anxiety better!
Please note: the Streamline Your Mornings Free 5-Day Challenge is underway, and thus closed to new participants.
If you want to get in on this challenge when I offer it next in October, go to weturnedoutokay.com/181 to sign up! (Go there as well for show notes and other key links to this Just You and Me Episode : )
It's the beginning of the school year, if you're listening in real time, and thus the time of year where we are all figuring out new routines, new bus routes, new sports schedules and after-school activities… Definitely a time where we can feel overwhelmed.
Today's show answers Shelley's question: "what are the hazards of overscheduling my kids?"
The way I see it, there are two big hazards in overscheduling.
It's worth, whether at the beginning of the school year or whenever you hear this, understanding the dangers in putting too many items on our children's schedules.
Only then can we understand the potential damage we're doing, and begin to figure out how to reduce the overscheduling.
Today's episode outlines the 2 big hazards in overscheduling, so hit play and listen in!
Please note: if you're feeling overwhelmed about school day morning chaos, the Streamline Your Mornings 5-Day Challenge starts in less than a week! Registration closes on Sunday, September 3, so sign up for this FREE challenge now.
The challenge includes an email in your inbox outlining a step you can take to calm the overwhelm and streamline your mornings every day from Monday, September 4 through Friday, September 8. On that day you'll also have access to my Facebook live, back-to-school Ask Me Anything, happening in the private We Turned Out Okay Facebook group.
For notes from today's show, for key links, and to sign up for the free Streamline Your Mornings 5-Day Challenge go to weturnedoutokay.com/180!
Are you feeling any of the following right now?
If so, I've got a way for you to feel better:
Join the Streamline Your Mornings 5-Day Challenge!
(It starts this coming Monday, September 4 and sign-ups close the day before, Sunday, September 3.)
This quick episode shares what the challenge includes and how participating in it will help you.
So give it a listen – and then click here to go to weturnedoutokay.com and click the picture to join the challenge!
Today's guest, author, artist, and speaker Dan Blank, knows an awful lot about fostering creativity. As dad to a six-year-old and a new baby, he also knows the struggles that creative people go through to retain their creativity – their sanity, even – while raising children.
For Dan it's a foregone conclusion: the way we humans are, right down to our very core, demands creativity. It's not something we can escape because it's part of us – everything feels off when we don't have a creative outlet.
But how do we accomplish that, while we're caught up in the daily demands of work, and raising children, and everything else?
That's what our conversation is all about today. I know you're going to love it!
For the full show notes and key links – and to sign up for the FREE Streamline Your Mornings challenge (Click here to sign up for the challenge), which will help you get a handle on the school day morning chaos and starts this coming Monday, September 4 – go to weturnedoutokay.com/179.
Do you ever wish your kids took on more around the house? Does the prospect of getting to that point seem so overwhelming that you give up before you've even started?
Today we're talking about the how to foster responsibility in kids – not an easy task!
The way I see it, there are 3 things we can do to encourage responsibility in our kids.
Listen to today's show to find out what they are and how to put them into practice!
Also – Click here to sign up for the FREE Streamline Your Mornings challenge, taking place the first full week of September, just a few weeks away… If school day mornings feel chaotic for you, jump into the challenge, which includes daily emails from Monday, 9/4-Friday, 9/8, entry into the private We Turned Out Okay Facebook group, and the ability to come to the back-to-school Facebook live I'm hosting on the last day of the challenge!
Go to weturnedoutokay.com/178 for key links and notes to this episode, and to sign up for the challenge. And have a great day!
"My wife doesn't want me to spank them, I get it – I don't want to either but what else can I do?" These words come from a listener's email, a desperate plea to figure out how to discipline kids and keep order during the daily grind.
This listener goes on to say "I got spanked, and turned out okay… I got more than spanked to tell you the truth, and I know what the constant barrage of words being screamed at me feels like. To be honest, I'd rather have had the spanking."
This listener deftly identifies two things that do not work with kids:
1) a "constant barrage of words"
So, what do you do instead?
Listen to this episode to find out!
Go to weturnedoutokay.com/177 for key links, and Click here to sign up for the Streamline Your Mornings challenge, if school days are looming and those weekday mornings are looking frightening. This FREE challenge starts in just a few weeks, and once it starts the sign-ups are closed. So to make sure that you get an email every day of the challenge, entry into our We Turned Out Okay private Facebook group, and access to the Facebook live back-to-school Ask Me Anything I'll be doing on the last day of the challenge (September 8), jump in now.
Back in the early 90s, when I was a preschool teacher, I worked with two 4-year-old best friends, "Stacy," who had lovely chocolate brown skin and eyes, and "Kim," who had blonde hair and blue eyes.
One day, as these two best buddies waited together in line for the bathroom, Kim innocently looked up at me and said: "I don't like black people."
I was speechless – she's holding the hand of her best friend, who IS a black person, telling me how she doesn't like black people… It just did not compute.
Until I realized that she did not think of Stacy as a black person; Stacy was her best friend.
She did not know who "black people" were. When she said those words she was parroting the adults in her life.
Metaphorically, I threw up my hands. I felt terrible, but I just did not know what to do. Should I talk to Kim's parents? Should I talk to Stacy's parents? Should I try to persuade Kim that she shouldn't feel that way about black people?
In the end I did nothing, I said nothing. While I spoke of this with my fellow preschool teachers, I never took it any further than that.
But it stayed with me all these years (Kim and Stacy are now in their 20s.)
Maybe you watched just a few days ago with horror as a white supremacists plowed his car into a peaceful protest, killing one and injuring many – and terrifying all.
Maybe you wondered what kind of a world you're raising a child in.
Maybe you threw up your hands and said "what can I possibly do about this?"
If so, then this bonus episode is for you.
I just finished recording. I couldn't stop thinking about Kim and Stacy, and also a song from an old musical, South Pacific:
You've got to be taught before it's too late/
Before you are six or seven or eight/
To hate all the people your relatives hate/
You've got to be carefully taught!
I was thinking about you, and about how you maybe feel like throwing up your hands and shouting "what can I possibly do about this?"
And I was thinking about Stacy, wondering how many times in her twenty-something years she's gotten the message from our society that somehow, just because of the way she looks, she is wrong, or bad, or "other."
And, I was thinking about a We Turned Out Okay listener, named Kerri, who wrote back in May (when We Turned out Okay turned two) with a question:
"I would like to know as a white person what I need to do to be sure my children are not contributing to the racism that is hurting so many."
I recorded this episode to give us – myself, as much as anyone – a roadmap, some steps to take to build a world in which racism has no part.
Four steps, to be exact; four steps we can take to build a world without racism.
Four steps to help you counter the fear and negativity, four steps to help you help your child understand what racism is, and why it needs to die.
Along the way I talk about a whole bunch of stuff, like a favorite Dr. Seuss book, wise words from several friends of the podcast, and child development theory to help you understand your child better.
Click here to read about the four steps to a world without racism and to get links to the people and podcasts and books I reference during the episode – and thank you very much for listening, for not throwing up your hands and concluding there's nothing you can do.
Because as the parent of a young child, the key to ending racism is in your hands.
When We Turned Out Okay turned 2 several months ago, I asked you all for ideas about what you wanted me to address on the show.
Listener Kerri said "I would like to know as a white person what I need to do to be sure my children are not contributing to the racism that is hurting so many."
Today, I speak with married, interracial couple Ingrid Alli and Hamilton Graziano, in possibly one of the most moving conversations I've been able to bring you yet.
Ingrid and Hamilton are newlyweds, just starting out in their married life and, as yet, do not have children.
They want kids, though – and they come on the show today to share their thoughts on what it's like to be part of an interracial couple, what it was like growing up for Ingrid, as an African-American, and their hopes about race in this modern world.
Notice: I did not say "hopes and fears about race"… Ingrid and Hamilton are curiously, delightfully fear-free. They know what's at stake, they live every day in a divisive America, and they take the positive stance that love wins.
They're performance poets, and I know you'll love, as I did, their award-winning performance of their poem, "The Lovings," about an interracial couple who fought nine long years for the right to marry in their state of Virginia.
Ingrid and Hamilton got their marriage license 50 years to the day, in Virginia, from when the Lovings got theirs. (Click the link below for the full show notes to this episode, where I've embedded YouTube video of Ingrid and Hamilton's performance of this poem.)
Ingrid and Hamilton have also got great advice in response to Kerri's question, and it's the sort of answer that transcends today's conversation about race. Their answer to Kerri's question is also the answer to worries about parenting, feeling good inside ourselves, and alleviating that guilt that many of us carry around – vague, uncertain, but there nonetheless.
I hope you enjoy this episode. It won't be the last one about race and parenting – Kerri's is a two-part question and once the back-to-school mayhem settles down, we'll return to this issue.
Speaking of back-to-school mayhem: if your inner self is shouting "aaaggghhhh!" at the thought of the looming school year and the chaotic mornings it will bring, Click here to sign up for the Streamline Your Mornings challenge, happening the first full week of September!
Sign-ups close on Sunday, September 3, so get in there now to access the daily emails, entry into the private We Turned Out Okay Facebook group, and for the back-to-school, Facebook live Ask Me Anything I'm doing on the final day of the challenge (Friday, September 8).
The whole thing is FREE, and it will be so helpful if you are worried about those weekday mornings.
To sign up for the challenge and to read the advice Ingrid and Hamilton share about how to help make sure our children aren't contributing to the racism that hurts so many, go to weturnedoutokay.com/176!
Today we take on one of the toughest issues of all: getting our kids to listen to us.
This is something every parent deals with and in recent weeks I've been asked about it more than once.
Stephanie says "they seem to have come to me without the ability to listen;" Jocelyn says she struggles with "kids not listening and obeying the first time I ask (or the first ten times)"…
Is this you? Do you find yourself standing in the kitchen sometimes, with your son or daughter in the next room, and your voice is getting louder and louder and you're clenching your fists and rolling your eyes… And still you're not getting the response you need?
Well then, today's episode is for you.
Listen by going to weturnedoutokay.com/175 – that is where you can also sign up for the Streamline Your Mornings challenge, starting September 4 and helping you quell the weekday-morning chaos!
It's time for NPC member Jen's parent-coaching call, and it's a doozy: Jen was feeling guilty about being "responsible" for getting her kids into situations where they were overtired and/or frustrated. She took their misbehavior as her fault, and in this episode I help her figure out a more productive way to frame the situation.
We also dig in to several other issues, and by helping Jen resolve them on-air, I also get to help you figure out what to do when:
Listen to this episode for detailed answers; to read my suggestions and check out the key links for this episode, including the link to joining the FREE Streamline Your Mornings back-to-school challenge starting in early September, go to weturnedoutokay.com/174… Enjoy the show!
Today's guest, PJ Jonas, got a few goats several years ago, because she just loved goats. Always keeping that love in the forefront, PJ and her family – her husband and their eight children – went from those few goats early on to, today, owning and operating a family farm which creates soaps, lotions, and edibles, all from goats milk.
When you learn that the Jonas family homeschools in addition to operating the farm and their website, goatmilkstuff.com, you begin to realize the genius that PJ has for organizing and running this well-oiled machine.
You also can hear in PJ's voice just how much she enjoys her days, filled as they are with family, and fun, and love.
In our conversation she shares all kinds of tips – both mindset and practical – for creating the life you want.
Also! During this episode PJ shares a link, that she made especially for our show, where you can get a free bar of her amazing soap! (Which I did. PJ shares a full-sized bar of soap in whatever flavor you want – mine is lavender – and it lasts a really long time : )
For show notes and key links, including the one for your free bar of soap, go to weturnedoutokay.com/173. Enjoy the show!
Today's episode is a celebration: the Ninja Parenting Community is one year old! That means I've been helping parents of young children figure out their toughest challenges for a whole year – and we've overcome some doozies:
– "How do I handle multiple meltdowns?"
– "What do I do with my child's disrespectful language and shouting?"
– "I'm so overwhelmed… What with sports schedules and everything else, there's never enough time!"
This episode is all about the sweet taste of victory; we're highlighting success stories! Find out how one member planned and executed a great beach day with her young children, and cheer on another member as she celebrates four whole days without any meltdowns…
Go to weturnedoutokay.com/172 for key links, and to watch my appearance on the Women Inspired TV show – my own personal success story.
We're sticking with the food theme this week, today addressing listener Tim's concerns about kids and food:
"Why are my toddlers not eating fruits/vegetables? Why are they only eating snacks (cereal, popcorn, Lunchables, grrrrrr)?"
In March of 2016 I made the whole month about food – how to handle picky eaters, how to prepare food without going bankrupt or spending hours in the kitchen – I even created a Guide to Food and Family, with recipes and food hacks, which you'll find in the sidebar at weturnedoutokay.com!
Go to weturnedoutokay.com/171 to listen and to read about my responses to Tim's questions (and thank you, Tim, for asking : )
When today's guest, Jeannie Marshall, became pregnant with their son Nico after her family relocated to Italy, she developed a fascination for how Italians introduce their babies to food, and the part that food plays in Italian children’s lives now that factory foods and agribusiness have made inroads into Italy. She details her experiences in one of my favorite books, The Lost Art of Feeding Kids.
One memorable line: Jeannie writes about when Italian mom of baby Rocco, a boy the same age as Nico who is being exposed to first foods as well, says it’s as though we North Americans are "teaching our babies not to like food.”
Our conversation, originally aired in March of 2016, reflects Jeannie and her family’s love of Italy, Italians, and Italian food – and also their first-hand experiences fighting that battle that we fight every day: getting inexpensive and tasty meals on the table (and then getting our kids to eat those meals).
Find key links and to complete notes by going to weturnedoutokay.com/170!
Can you think back on your own childhood and come up with some crazy sibling-fight stories? I’ve heard some doozies, people being hung out windows or tied to trees by their siblings, the time a brother put green dye in a sister’s hair – so the sister retaliated by pouring glitter into the brother’s bed!
Siblings can hurt each other in lots of big and small ways; sometimes it feels like there’s no good intervention.
Today, I share about a book that I first read while pregnant with my second: Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. This book is the second of The Fabulous Five, five books which will transform your relationship with your children, so get reading them ASAP (here’s the blog post detailing the Fab Five)!
It made the list because, quite simply, if you have more than one child - or if you grew up in a family where you had at least one sibling - you will finally understand how to help when siblings fight.
Today, we talk about the ups and downs of brothers and sisters, both in our families growing up and in our homes as parents. Go to weturnedoutokay.com/169 for show notes and key links!
Today's episode, originally broadcast in late 2015, is a Your Child Explained, about how to help our kids grow into creative, happy, socially engaged and above all successful adults.
In Tuesday's guest episode, nursery school owner and director Tanya Trainor shared about the changes she, her staff, and the children they serve made to their playground. The traditional slides, climbers, and other big (pricey) equipment typically seen on the playground are gone, and in their place are what Tanya calls “loose parts.”
Tanya shares that loose parts on the playground have translated for them into more social engagement and less redirection/discipline, a result they never expected.
Today's YCE digs more into my conversation with Tanya. Go to weturnedoutokay.com/168 for show notes and key links!
Today’s episode, originally broadcast in late 2015, was super fun to record because I got out of my usual studio and hung out at what’s easily the most amazing playground I’ve ever seen. All of the equipment we see on a typical playground – huge climber, big slide, jungle gym – was gone, and in its place were loose pieces. Bricks, cement pavers, wooden siding, bales of hay, an 8 foot long rowboat, tree stumps suitable for sitting on or rolling around, a rain gutter with a hose near the top: these were some of the many things that replaced more typical playground equipment.
It’s not a huge space, and today’s guest, nursery school director and owner Tanya Trainor of Miss Tanya’s Nursery School, knew that typical equipment would no longer work when, in spring of 2014, she found out that the fall zones required around each piece of equipment were expanding. So, Tanya and her staff did an amazing thing: they asked the children, “when we get rid of the climber out on the playground, what should we replace it with?” Their answers created the wonderful results spread out before me.
Listen to this episode to discover:
1) how these playground changes brought about the wonderful improvement in children's behavior while outside
2) the children's contributions to this new outdoor play space, and the difference contributing has made in their feelings of autonomy and collaboration
3) the dramatic drop in frequency of negative behaviors; Tanya reports far fewer incidents of conflict or need for redirection since moving to the new kind of playground
Go to weturnedoutokay.com/167 for key links and to listen – and have a happy Fourth of July!
Have you ever had it happen where you're asking your child to do something, and he or she is saying "no"?
Depending on your child's age or developmental maturity level, I bet you hear that word – "no" – an awful lot.
Today's ninja tactic digs into one way to cut down on the noes!
It's all about giving kids directives instead of asking, which sounds simple but in reality can be pretty complicated: when do we give them choices, ask questions, and when is it time to give a directive and communicate to them that "this is not a choice"?
Click weturnedoutokay.com/166 for show notes and key links to this episode!
One member of the Ninja Parenting Community might be channeling your thoughts right now: "Oh why do little kids obsess over certain movies? I have been putting Monsters Versus Aliens on every day for a month. What is going on those little brains that makes them demand the same movie so often for so long?"
Kids do this all the time… and not just with movies, they do it with books, and stories, and music, too.
In this Your Child Explained, we dig into why, exactly what's happening in "those little brains" that makes them want everything repeated endlessly.
Click weturnedoutokay.com/165 for key links and show notes!
Normally, in a We Turned Out Okay guest episode, it's me doing the interviewing… but today that format gets turned on its head!
Recently the gentleman behind the Blessing Not Stressing podcast, Rob Broadhead, invited me onto his show. He's such a great interviewer and the idea behind the show is such a lovely one that of course I said "yes please" – and as we spoke I knew I wanted you to be able to listen in as well.
Rob splits his conversations into several episodes; on this WTOO episode today we're bringing you the middle two, "School of Hard Knocks" and "Mistakes and Forgiveness."
Go to weturnedoutokay.com/164 for links to both the first and final portions of my conversation with Rob. I hope you enjoy listening to this conversation as much as I enjoyed participating in it!
These last several Just You and Me episodes have been about important stuff: being happier at home, having well-behaved children in public, helping kids resolve their own conflicts.
They've each hinged on one particular idea: that the toys kids play with and what's in their environment, can really change their behavior. (Head back to episodes 154, 157, and 160 for the rest of the "Loose Parts" series.)
Today's episode is about how to actually make these changes – without spending much, if any, money and without driving yourself bananas at the same time…
Go to weturnedoutokay.com/163 for key links and the promised free PDF of what to bring in to replace all those 1-trick toys that you're tripping all over at home!