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The We Turned Out Okay Podcast

What kind of hijinks did you get up to as a kid? Did you climb trees? Did you run around outside barefoot? Did you eat raw cookie dough? Maybe you wanted to do these and other crazy things, but you weren't allowed… Let me ask you this: what if your children wanted to? Would you let them? If you hesitate there, well, you're in the right place. The We Turned Out Okay podcast is where we learn the hows and whys of hovering less and enjoying our young children more. You get to learn from host Karen Lock Kolp's mistakes, but especially from the successes of her guests. Each helpful, lively conversation illustrates why this show really is "The Modern Guide to Old-School Parenting."
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Nov 10, 2015

Today's episode 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 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 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 hear more about:

1) the improvements in how the children relate to one another and play together in going from more conventional equipment to this new kind of playground

2) 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

3) how engaged the children are in both the creation of this new outdoor play space and their use of it

If you take just one thing from this episode, I hope it is this: play with "loose parts," as this kind of outdoor play equipment is called, is a critical part of every child's development and fosters all the important things that children will need to take into adulthood (social skills, problem-solving skills, creativity and curiosity.) Has your son or daughter's preschool adopted the loose parts philosophy yet?

Nov 3, 2015

Today is the first of a two parter, because the subject of positive discipline – how we teach our kids right from wrong – is such a biggie.

In this first part, we talk about the mindset of positive discipline… Three things are required for us parents to get into this mindset:

1) a calm, quiet demeanor; yelling and screaming produces negativity, not to mention unhappy family members

2) making the punishment fit the crime; every situation is different, we can't have a set list of infractions and punishments

3) taking our children seriously; by this I mean let's start with the assumption that they are good kids, they want not to get in trouble, they're doing the best they possibly can

All we need for the positive discipline mindset. They sound simple, but they can be really difficult to implement! Today, I try to persuade you that the best thing you can do for your child – and you – is get into the positive discipline mindset.

Thanks for listening! If you listen all the way to the end, I share a project I've just started: helping parents individually, when you feel like your challenges as a parent are more than listening to the podcast can fix. Go here to find out more!

In the next Just You and Me episode, number 38, we will get into the ninja tactics of positive discipline!

Oct 29, 2015

Podcast Episode 034: Why Do Kids Need to Play? A Your Child Explained Episode

This past Tuesday, I had a great conversation with mom and licensed mental health counselor Janine Halloran of encourageplay.com. Janine specializes in facilitating play, and our conversation ranged from the benefits of play and how little is really required to encourage it, to how endangered open-ended play is in our society.

Today, I want to extend on that conversation, and look at what's really going on inside a child's head during play, why it's so important, and how we can bring more of it into our crazy-busy lives.

First off, kids process things completely differently from adults – and play is what helps them process the events going on around them. Play helps kids understand and make sense of their world, and it's up to us to remember that both to foster learning and to make our lives run more smoothly.

Secondly, if you want to grab a kid's attention, start a game! Games help kids clean up, remember routines, and just add some fun into an otherwise humdrum task.

Thirdly, kids learn with their whole bodies, and need all different kinds of play – alone and with others, indoors and out, self-directed and open-ended.

Finally, play helps kids learn to navigate their world and negotiate and resolve conflicts (nonviolently). Studies are showing that kids aren't learning the kind of negotiation skills that we need to get along in this world, and I share about a study done a few years ago showing just how little playtime kindergarten children get in school. Called The Crisis In The Kindergarten, I hope you'll read this paper, learn about the study, and work extra hard to get your child more playtime. It's truly our hope for the future.

I'd like to leave you with a question: how are you getting your child the kind of open-ended play time that every kid needs? Drop me a line and let me know, whether over at the contact page on weturnedoutokay.com or on instagram @weturnedoutokay.

Oct 27, 2015

From the moment I first read her article on The Many Perks Of Play in the October 2015 issue of baystateparent, I knew I was going to have to talk to Janine Halloran. She explains everything there is to know about play and how it can benefit kids, in a really well-written and entertaining way.

Janine graciously agreed to come on to the show, and our interview is really one of my favorites so far!

Today, Janine shares that play is:

1) critical to the well-being of every human, and even many animals – the skills learned through play are uncountable, our reasoning and thinking skills are honed through play, we even learn how to get along with other people through play

2) endangered in our culture; the average kid's time is way too structured, which crowds out the potential for open-ended play; since open-ended play is where so much of the magic happens, it's downright dangerous to have so little of it in a child's life

3) cheap, and/or free – think about how entertained your kids are just by the boxes that the stuff we buy comes in… we do not have to spend all kinds of crazy money to provide great playthings to our kids

If you take just one thing from today's episode, I hope it is this: a thriving family needs play, and lots of it. How are you playing with your kids today?

Connect with Janine at her website, encourageplay.com, where she has great advice about helping get more play into your child's life.

Oct 20, 2015

As a kid, I loved Halloween.… But as the mom of young children, it used to scare the heck out of me! There is so much to worry about: pressures to spend money on costumes and decorations, what to do about all the candy coming into the house, helping our kids deal with their emotional fears.

I decided to do an episode that's actually an audio kit to help you stop being scared by Halloween – because I can't be the only one who feels like this! So, here goes:

4 Ways to Stop Halloween from Scaring You

1) create a spending plan… decide beforehand what you feel comfortable spending on everything Halloween including candy, costumes, decorations, and parties to feel more in control and thus less frightened

2) get creative… lots of fun can be had when you decide to make something rather than buy it; I share about building a scarecrow from thrift-shop clothing and a carved pumpkin head, something the kids and I could do together that created great memories while limiting our spending – making the whole Halloween experience less parent-scary and more fun

3) figure out your approach to candy… for the first part of 3 I suggest that you listen out of earshot of your children, as I describe the wonderful phenomenon known as the Halloween Witch; for the second part I ask you to consider something that might seem extremely insane: giving your kids free reign over how and when they consume their candy… however you handle candy, make sure you know what you'll do going in to the Halloween insanity, because having a game plan makes things less scary

4) help your young children not be scared… I was caught completely by surprise at how nakedly frightened my boys were at ages three and four by Halloween; I share about a favorite book that saved our bacon every year for about six years, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything

And that's the four ways to keep Halloween from scaring you! If they help, please let me know – go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, or shout out to me on twitter @StoneAgeTechie or on instagram (my favorite place in the social media universe) @weturnedoutokay. I can't wait to connect!

Oct 15, 2015

In today's Your Child Explained episode – where we always take a subject and look at it from within the mind of our kids – we figure out how to incorporate time for daydreaming into our kids' daily life.

If you remember, in episode 30 I spoke with dad and business owner Steve Mirando (give it a listen if you haven't yet, it's a great interview with lots of ideas for balancing work and life), and Steve told a really compelling story about his youngest attempting to "stop the wind." This four-year-old's idea for stopping the wind involved stopping a shrub from moving in the wind, and Steve recognized that moment as a really significant one… Because they're so curious and creative, children just naturally bring a lot of wonder into our lives.

Today, I extend on this idea of daydreaming and big ideas and wonder – and how easily we can trample those things without even meaning to in the daily rush.

Did you know that Einstein came up with the theory of relativity by daydreaming? He imagined sitting on a beam of light as it moves through space, and asked the question, what would that be like? Often, people feel their most creative when they're given the space and time to daydream. Adults really need that time – but kids need it even more, or at least more of it. The question is, how do we find the time for it in our daily lives?

Three things are necessary to create an environment that fosters big ideas and wonder:

1) an absence of screens

2) material for kids to keep their hands busy – a tray of sand (on a table covered with newspaper), some warm water and soap in the sink, play dough, or just some open-ended outside time

3) our willingness to engage in a conversation that is mostly us listening and observing our kids

What we're doing here is noticing our kids questions and thoughts… Even if they can't be lengthy, even if it's just for a little while a few times a week, something special happens in these moments. They help us know and appreciate our kids more, and helps them know themselves better in the long run. As they get into school, grow up and experience the pressures of daily life, knowing what gets them excited about learning is the key to happiness.

So really, fostering the sense of wonder when they're young translates to engaged, creative adults later on – and that's really what we want for them, isn't it?

Oct 13, 2015

Today's guest, along with his wife and children, have been special people in my family's life ever since we had the excellent luck of moving in across the street from them more than a decade ago.

We've watched Steve Mirando and his wife Sue support each other through a lot – having children, figuring out work-life challenges, Steve's going to full-time school for acupuncture and then hanging out his shingle as a practicing acupuncturist… many of these all happening at the same time!

Listen in to hear about:

1) Steve's past as part of an improv theater troupe, and how that's helped him cope with the surprises that life brings as a parent and business owner (check out Steve's website, theacuworks.com, here.)

2) how critical it is to surround yourself with people who want to help you achieve your dreams – and who you want to support as they achieve theirs

3) Steve and Sue's awesome ideas about family time, what it is and what it means to truly "spend time together"

If you take just one thing from this episode, I hope it is this: even in the really busy day-to-day that everyone with young children experiences, it is possible to connect with our spouses and children on a meaningful level every day. We can make a conscious choice to figure out how to make that happen! Steve and Sue Mirando, our across-the-street neighbors, are a great example of how to do that right.

Oct 6, 2015

Recently, I got to have an amazing conversation with a dear friend, granddad to a 1 1/2-year-old girl. Today's episode is a recounting of that conversation, because we can learn so much from it! Here are the three big ideas that my friend and I (who remains nameless, to protect the privacy of he and his family) spoke about:

1) The mother-in-law/daughter-in-law dynamic is very different – and can be far more antagonizing – then the mother/daughter dynamic.

2) What happens when we, this generation sandwiched in the middle who are raising young children while simultaneously engaging with our parents, want something different for our children than our parents want for them? I advise my friend, the caring and worried grandfather, to do all he can to help his son and daughter-in-law feel supported and competent… In a nutshell, this means backing off and waiting for his son and daughter-in-law to ask for help or advice.

3) The paradox of stuff: we all want stuff, we spend way too much money on it, and yet the having of so much stuff can paralyze us. This is noticeable in adults, but especially noticeable in children. With too many toys to choose from at a time, with too much background noise or overstimulating screen time, with too many food choices – kids literally can't choose. They can't make a choice! My friend the Grandpa and I put this in the context of giving gifts to grandchildren, talking especially about what gifts to give in a world where we all have too much stuff.

What is your relationship, dear listener, with your parents and your in-laws? I hope it's a good one, and if it needs some help, I hope that today's podcast starts you along the path to improving these relationships. Please drop me a line and let me know how it's going by commenting here or going to weturnedoutokay.com/contact!

Oct 1, 2015

I love shows like today's, when a listener has written in and I get to respond on the air!

Today, Melissa asks how to help give her young kids the support they need in the outside-of-school hours. Here's what I suggest: that Melissa and her husband give their children some control over what they do in their out-of-school time. Listen in for more details!

The other reason I love today's episode is that it is a Your Child Explained! This is where I get to do something I'm pretty good at, which is understanding what's going on inside your child's head and giving you tools to use in your quest to be a less-worried, more-happy Old-School Parent.

In this Your Child Explained we get into screen time; episode 27, which aired this past Tuesday in real time, featured the postmortem (finally!) with journalist and mom Heather Kempskie. Heather was on over the summer to share about her amazing family trip in an RV, and I went and blew it by accidentally deleting the second half of our interview about the trip… So this past Tuesday, Heather came back on – our first returning champion – to share about the ups and downs of RVing. A big part of our conversation centered on shutting off the Wi-Fi and how that felt for her kids during their trip, and it resonated so much with me that I wanted to talk more about what happens inside our kids' heads both during screen time, and after screen time.

Sep 29, 2015

"My editor, once in my early career when I lost a big story in my computer, told me this: everything is better the second time." Heather Kempskie shares this story to comfort me as I'm apologizing for losing our original post-RV trip in my quest for the sound of cicadas… Click here to listen to that episode… And the cool thing is that I think she's right! In this interview we talk about:

  • Heather's big takeaways from their RV trip, which are 1) RVing is super fun, and you can have alone time even in an RV surrounded by your family and 2) it's important to separate from Wi-Fi sometimes, if only to know who your true friends are
  • living for the moment, which really sounds quite hokey but is a great skill to have
  • Heather's new way of bonding with her daughter, combining exercise, nutrition and personal development through a program offered by their local YMCA
  • the October 2015 issue of baystateparent's cover model and Heather's interview with a Salem ghost tour guide
  • baystateparent's Extraordinary Extracurricular Guide, which you can sign up for right at their website, baystateparent.com

At least half this interview wasn't even in the original interview; for my part, I'm glad we got to do this redo. I hope you agree!

Sep 22, 2015

Did you know that, by the time we are five years old, we've heard "no" 40,000 times? And that in that same span of time, we've only heard "yes" 5000 times? (I learned that reading The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, a great book by the way.)

While it's true that "no" is important – for safety, if nothing else – this n-word can really bring us down… As Jeff puts it: "Eight times as many noes as yeses. Eight times the force holding you down, compared to the force lifting you up. Eight times the gravity against your desire to soar."

Today, I share with you the primo ninja parenting tactic of them all… Make no sound like yes! Here's how:

1) Actually say yes. When they ask "Mom, can I have an ice cream?" you respond "sure! Right after dinner." If it's "can we play play dough?" and if there isn't time at the moment, you respond "absolutely – as soon as we get home from the doctor." This works in so many situations, and have the added bonus of making us parents feel somehow lighter and happier… because no sucks and yes is nice.

2) Keep your cautions to yourself. If your mouth says "yes" but your body language, facial expression, and tone communicate fear and worry, your child won't hear the yes. Worse, if you say yes and then come up with 10 reasons why your child shouldn't climb that tree, or go barefoot, or eat the Halloween candy you just told him he could eat, are you really saying yes? Not really… This is where we need to be angels, not balloon poppers.

3) Use "yes, and…" A great turn-no-into-yes tactic for transitional times, try this one when your child wants to do one thing and you know that you need to do another… "Mom, can we play play dough?" "Yes, we can play now for a bit and will keep going with it when we get back from the doctor."

If you take just one thing from this episode, I hope it is this: our words matter. The more yeses we can squeeze into a child's day – more noes we can eliminate – the lighter and happier we will all be.

How are you changing "no" to "yes"? Please share! Either go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact or leave a comment right at the bottom of this post. I can't wait to hear your innovations!

Sep 17, 2015

Your Child Explained: where we talk about what is going on inside your kid's head! YCE episodes drop every other Thursday, always the same week as selected as last a guest interview episode. Sometimes a YCE episode will also be a Q&A, so if you're child is doing something that is driving you nuts, please ask me about it – just go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact – but most often the YCE will be on the same topic the previous Tuesday's guest episode.

Let's dive into your kid's head together!

Tuesday's guest, Wesley Chapman of A HUMAN Project, gave you and I lots of ways to help our young children feel loved, appreciated, and an integral part of our families. If you didn't get a chance to listen to our interview, I think you'll love it – it's Weturnedoutokay.com/024… The obstacles that Wes has overcome and the positive difference he's making and the lives of thousands of families will blow you away.

For today's Your Child Explained episode, we highlight the letter you in HUMAN: to Wes, U means Understanding. Today's show, as we look into our young kids' minds, we see a desperate need on their parts to be understood by the people they love most.

How do you communicate that you honor their ideas, that you "get" your child, no matter how young? Maybe it's as simple as saying "I understand" sometimes; maybe it's slightly tweaking your routine to honor your toddler's preferences.

The best thing is that putting the letter u in Understanding can have great consequences! They can help you know your child better, it can help you laugh together… It can help you have more fun.

Do you Understand your child? If so, please share! Go to the contact page at Weturnedoutokay.com, or comment right here in this post – it took me years to be able to Understand each of my boys, I'd love to know how you do it. And, thanks for listening!

Sep 15, 2015

Today's guest has had a lifetime of unplanned adventures… Abused and abandoned during his young childhood, simultaneously a troublemaker and a bullied kid all through school… Wesley Chapman developed an entrepreneurial spirit at age 8, when his grandmother became disabled and he started going door to door selling flowers from her garden.

The entrepreneurial spirit stuck with Wes, who found that his strength lay in being an entrepreneur, and then helping other entrepreneurs… And in more recent years helping thousands of children and teens through their own private battles.

We talk about all that in today's episode:

  • how Wes's growing up helped him become the man he is today
  • how his philosophy went from "I'll prove them all wrong" to "I'll prove myself right"… And how this philosophical shift affects Wes and the people around him every day
  • what the acronym HUMAN means, in Wes's A HUMAN Project click update
  • how you can help your young child thrive

If you take just one thing from this episode, I hope it is this: our children deserve our time and our positive thinking. These two elements are what will cause them to thrive!

Sep 8, 2015

Today's episode is probably almost exactly the opposite of what you think of when you think of school rules. In fact, it feels a little subversive… The truth is, I think that schools are getting some important things wrong. These rules for you to follow can right some of these wrongs.

Let's jump in!

1) Get into the mindset that school exists to help your child. We often feel like, especially if our kid does not fit the mold, that we are somehow in trouble – that our son or daughter is to blame for holding up the class, or poor test scores. It's important to remember that, like the police who protect and serve, school teachers are there to nurture our children, to help our children achieve their dreams. It's not the other way around!

2) Formulate a goal for what you want your child to get out of his or her school year. I know that this sounds like a weird one – aren't goals for executive boardrooms, or job reviews, or at the very least high school? – but going into your child's preschool, kindergarten, or first grade with an idea of what you hope she'll learn will help her have a better year. It gives you a parameter, and if you don't feel like this goal is being met it gives you a way to speak up about it.

3) Don't worry about testing. Tests should be the absolute last thing on a parent of a young child's mind; when they are young, our job is to nurture their creativity, help them get along better with other kids, help them spend time doing the things they love… The best way to have kids (of this age) (eventually) do well on tests is to not worry about them yet! Leave the test prep to the teachers.

4) Subject matter matters! It is much easier to help a young child on the path to, say, learning to read if what they are reading about is really important to them. The best teachers help their students learn by having them learn about what they love. If, unfortunately, your child doesn't have one of these best teachers, it becomes even more crucial for you to help them learn about what they love. Luckily, this is fun for everybody; the best learning with kids this age result in a lot of laughter.

5) If you see something missing, ASK for it. Meaning, if you want something for your child that you don't see happening in the classroom, you must respectfully ask for it… And then expect results. Fortunately we have the four C's's – remaining calm, being confident and courageous, and following up with consistency – to aid in asking, because it can be pretty scary to ask for stuff!

I hope these five School Rules help you help your child have a great school year. I'll leave you with a fifth C – community – to add to the other four… Because if schools exist to serve our children, if we think of them and ourselves as existing in a community, then as part of that community we have the right to respectfully ask for change.

What kind of change would you like to see in your child's school? Please share! Either in the comments here, or you can fill in the contact form at Weturnedoutokay.com… I can't wait to hear from you!

Sep 3, 2015

Your Child Explained: where we talk about what is going on inside your kid's head! YCE episodes drop every other Thursday, always the same week as selected as last a guest interview episode. Sometimes a YCE episode will also be a Q&A, so if you're child is doing something that is driving you nuts, please ask me about it – just go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact – but most often the YCE will be on the same topic the previous Tuesday's guest episode.

Let's dive into your kid's head together!

Simplicity expert and professional declutterer Miriam Ortiz Y Pino of morethanorganized.net really got into our heads this past Tuesday in Episode 21 (weturnedoutokay.com/021).

But what happens in your child's mind when it's time to give something away? If yours are anything like mine, giving things away does not come naturally. Here are three ways to de-clutter and simplify, even while living with young children:

1) Go into stealth mode. Clean out while they're not around, or while they're asleep… As you do this, be sure to bring out toys, clothes, or art supplies that they haven't seen in a while and then put the emphasis on those, while stealthily handing off the stuff you want to say goodbye to.

2) Overtly discuss. Talking about the good that somebody else will get from our stuff can be revelatory, even for young children. They do have generous hearts, and knowing that, when they say goodbye to these things they've outgrown, they are helping somebody else can make the transition that much easier.

3) Go gently. It can be super hard to give away things you still love! We know and understand that as adults, and communicating to your son or daughter that you know how he or she feels can make a huge difference.

There is kindness and generosity in your child's head. Appealing to that can help get past the instinctive "mine!" grab… plus, showing that you understand how tough it can be when something has to go is so supportive for your child.

How have you helped your child through the process of giving up stuff? Please share! Go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, I can't wait to hear from you!

Sep 1, 2015

Did you ever think about the relationship you have with your stuff? Today, my guest and I talk about all the different ways that our stuff is a barrier to our enjoyment of our time, possessions, and especially our relationships.

Miriam Ortiz y Pino of morethanorganized.net has built a great business to help break down these barriers. When she was 11 years old and was given her first job, alphabetizing the merchandise in the business of a family friend in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she started the very beginnings of a life of helping others organize. In more recent years she not only helps us regular people clean out our dressers and closets, she also helps organize bigger things, like political campaigns or restaurants.

Today, she talks to me about organization and decluttering, not just of stuff, but of emotions.

Listen for:

- how to better utilize an area of your home by thinking NOT about the bins and containers you'll use to store stuff, but instead of what that space will be used for

- decluttering by choosing mostly gadgets that do more than one thing

- figuring out the emotional ties to an object in order to decide what to do with it/about it – during this part of our conversation, Miriam helps me understand a decades-old argument with my husband!

If you take just one thing away from our conversation today, I hope it is this: we can be ruled by our stuff, and is up to us to master our (emotional and physical) clutter.

Aug 25, 2015

Today's episode is special, not just because it's the last in our Summer Camp series but because it's more than just a single interview; it's an ode to summer, told in parts. On recent camping trip I took my fun little recorder, the Zoom H5, and today I'm bringing you some of my favorite stories and sounds from that trip. Amazing producer (and 18 time winner of the Husband of the Year award) Benjamin Kolp has woven together these, plus my two-part interview with mom and journalist Heather Kempskie, making for a Summer Camp wrap-up that you will love! So before we jump back into fall, grab yourself one final summertime adult beverage, curl up in your favorite camp chair, and enjoy!

 

In addition to her day job as the Multimedia Editor of baystateparent.com, today's guest has always been a real adventurer in terms of her vacations – in 2014, her family swapped houses with a Danish family for a month! – but their plans for this summer were daring in a different way: she and her family spent two weeks traveling together in a motorhome RV.

 

In this unusual episode, we spend the first part talking with Heather Kempskie about plans for the RV trip with her family… And then after the trip is over we have a postmortem right here on the show!

 

Listen for:

 

Heather's enthusiasm for the upcoming trip, in which the family travels from the Boston area and down along the East Coast, heading inland to the Appalachian Mountains before returning home

what she is concerned about (for example, how do you have any alone time in an RV with three other people?), and how she handles those concerns

her favorite vacation so far – it was that one to Denmark – and how this one stacks up against that one

what the trip was actually like versus her expectations of the trip

If you take one thing away from this episode, I hope it is this: being open to seemingly crazy ideas can make your life much more fun!

 

A doggie note about this episode: when we recorded part one, we had our beautiful little Shi-Tzu-poodle mixes for less than 48 hours; by the time we got together to record the second part of Heather's interview, care of the dogs had become too much for me. I had a relapse of the condition I've been living with for four years, called tendinosis, and we had given the dogs up and I was back to 30% use of my arms. You can hear the whole story in Episode 17, where I share four ways to help your young children cope with challenging situations.

Aug 18, 2015

Welcome to another great Summer Camp episode! Today's is more of an evergreen topic, because we care about the successes of our children in all seasons. It's true that this interview is not solely about summer; but as we head back into the school year, it's also a good time to think about how to help our kids in life. And maybe, not even just our kids – but us! I'm looking forward to sharing this great show with you, you're going to love today's guest.

Do you go through a daily struggle to balance your work time with your family time? Have you ever wondered if your gender plays a part in how successful you are at work, how much money you earn, whether you get a big promotion – or watch it go to someone else? Today's guest and I talk about all things women and workplace, the subject of her very successful podcast with a great name: The Broad Experience.

Ashley Milne-Tyte grew up in London, riding public buses and then the London Tube, both by herself, to school. She spent her summers in rural Pennsylvania enjoying the kind of independence that kids used to take for granted, riding bikes or exploring the woods with friends and really only being required to "be back home for meals." Our conversation starts with differences between childhood then and now, and progresses to where her expertise helps you – and your kids – enjoy successes both in work and life.

Listen for:

  • how the myth that "having babies" is the only thing that holds women back in the workplace is completely wrong; women have difficulty climbing as high in the corporate world as men for lots of reasons, and knowing these reasons can help women be more successful
  • what can be learned from two of my favorite books – and two books on my Fabulous Five list of books that help us be better parents – Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy, and Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein
  • a great piece of advice for anyone of any gender: develop the ability to advocate for yourself; to help with this Ashley recommends the book, Ask for it: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get what They Really Want, by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, which is winging its way to me from the library as I write :-)

Ashley Milne-Tyte's expertise lies in storytelling, and in today's episode we really get a sense of that, as she shares stories from her own childhood, work experiences and setbacks. You'll finish the episode with a huge smile on your face, both because you'll have a better sense of how to be successful yourself and how to help your children be successful in the workplace when they are all grown up. You'll also have a huge smile on your face because you've got so many Broad Experience episodes to listen to in your future!

Aug 11, 2015

I'm so excited about this episode, part of our Summer Camp series in which we are setting aside our usual four themes (3R's, Unplanned Adventures, Kids through the Ages, and Risky Business), pouring a nice tall glass of iced tea – or Long Island Ice Tea, depending on your age and what time of day it is – and going on vacation! We will return to our regularly scheduled programming in September, but for now… Let's just enjoy summer!

Today's guest spends her work days helping her clients love their outdoor spaces – and then along with her husband and their three young children, she spends her free time loving and improving their own outdoor space. Jill Brown of mylandscapecoach.com really practices what she preaches, cultivating not just plants but community in all areas of her life.

And she has some great tips for us to do exactly the same! Listen for:

  • the value of hanging out, not in your backyard, but in your front yard – this is where friendships are made, trust and community are built, and fun is had
  • three fabulous ways to interact with your neighbors: putting a Little Library into your neighborhood, basically a small waterproof hut in which people leave books that they're done with, or take books they're interested in; putting in a Magazine Box similar to the Little Library; and using a utility pole as a Poetry Pole, a place for neighborhood poets of all ages to have their stuff exhibited
  • fun and inexpensive yard play equipment that you can build, like a simple disc swing or a fence made of electrical conduit

Jill's blog at mylandscapecoach.com has examples and ideas for customizing these concepts for your own yard, plus it's just a fun place to look for inspiration! I know you're going to love our conversation today because Jill has many great ideas that you can use immediately to enjoy life more outside with your young children.

If you love something that we talked about in this episode, and went out and built something based on it, please let us know! Email me at Karen@weturnedoutokay.com, or just go to the contact page, weturnedoutokay.com/contact, and drop me a line. I'm going to be shouting about my favorites on the show, I hope yours is one of them :-)

Aug 4, 2015

This week, we take a temporary break from We Turned Out Okay's Summer Camp series so that I can help you know how to talk with your children when a challenge arises.

Sometimes, even in beautiful summer, bad things happen, and today I share about the tough situation my family and I have found ourselves in over the last several weeks. But rest assured – we've still got three lovely, golden August weeks left to enjoy summer and we will do so!

One last thing before we get into the notes, this show has an epilogue, so after I have said "thanks for listening, see you next time" you still want to keep listening – I have something to share about both the Q&A, and about our dogs.… Not exactly a Hollywood ending, but a better one then I had ever thought could happen!

A Breakdown of Today's Show

Today's show is split into two parts, but before I get to those there is a really neat thing I wanted to share – friend-of-the-podcast Muttaqi Ismael, an amazing whiteboard video artist, has turned a favorite part of We Turned Out Okay: episode 5 – Four Risks That We Take With Our Children's Well-Being Every Day into a fantastic whiteboard video! He's a very talented guy, and to see the video just go to weturnedoutokay.com/017, where it is embedded… My plan is to give the video its own blog post during this month of August. Meantime, enjoy! And thank you Muttaqi – you did a great job!

Our First Q&A!

And now on to the Q&A – Jill asks: "why are my three kids awesome at swim lessons when daycare brings them, but when mommy brings them I'm practically holding their hand in the water (and that's if they actually get in the water) – we've been doing swim lesson since March BTW"

We've all noticed this at some point in our parenting lives, haven't we? Why do they behave incredibly well for somebody else, and freak out for us? Jill, I'm so glad you asked this question because it is such a common concern. My answer dives (pun totally intended) into my experiences with how my kids behaved when they were small at Grandma's versus how they behaved with me – and I recorded the epilogue because, almost as soon as I hit stop recording this episode, I realized that I had been in a very similar situation to yours!

I hope you find my answer helpful, and that it helps you think of other questions to ask. I love Q&A's, I think they're so helpful and also they help us know we are not alone. To submit a question, you can email Karen@weturnedoutokay.com, go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, friend me on Facebook, find me on twitter@StoneAgeTechie, on instagram@weturnedoutokay… Heck, you can even snail mail me! My address is PO Box 61, Bellingham, MA, 02019.

4 Ways to Help Your Child Cope with Challenging Situations

The main part of this show focuses on the four ways you can help your child cope with challenging situations. This came up because my family has been in a very challenging situation: about six weeks before this episode aired for the first time, we adopted two amazing, awesome dogs… And then the stress of caring for them caused a relapse in tendinosis, this condition that I live with that, at times, has left me unable to walk (which I've since relearned) and with extremely limited upper body and hand use.

Long story short, these wonderful dogs entered our lives and within a very short time, we had to give them up. Truly, it was either them or my health and sanity.

In this episode, I share about how heartbreaking and difficult this has been. But I also share about how grateful I am to have had them in our lives, and how amazed I am by the strength and gentleness of both my husband and our two boys.

Most importantly for you, I share about how we got through this. Because when you are in a tough situation and you don't know how to help your kids get through it as well, it's really helpful to have a guide. I hope you will think of this podcast as your guide!

Here are my four steps to coping with challenging situations, and helping your kids cope as well:

1) communicate with your kids; they WILL know that something is wrong, and consequently you will notice, if you try to keep everything from them, an uptick in bad behavior, anxiety, and tears; sharing with them what you can on their level reassures your kids and helps them trust you

2) help them understand that you are all in this together; be there for tears, questions, reassurances

3) find a way for them to help; children need to be needed, and when you give them a job – a truly meaningful job that truly helps you, however small – they become part of the solution

4) cherish the time we have with our loved ones; because challenging situations often include the absence of a person that they used to see a lot – whether through divorce, or death, or a cross-country move – it is really helpful to talk with our kids about how people come in and out of our lives; sometimes, people are not meant to be with us for long, or not without long intervals between seeing them, and the most important thing is to appreciate the time we have with our loved ones, and cherish the memory of them when we are not with them

Giving up our dogs due to my illness is one of the hardest things we've faced as a family. I'm sharing this experience with you today because I really hope it will help you with the challenges that inevitably come up in your life. Kids are amazingly resilient, and cope well with life's challenges, especially when we grown-ups take the time to communicate with them, share in grief together, find meaningful ways for them to help, and above all teach them to enjoy the time we have with the people we love.

Jul 28, 2015

I'm so excited about this episode, part of our Summer Camp series in which we are setting aside our usual four themes (3R's, Unplanned Adventures, Kids through the Ages, and Risky Business), pouring a nice tall glass of iced tea – or Long Island Ice Tea, depending on your age and what time of day it is – and going on vacation! We will return to our regularly scheduled programming in September, but for now… Let's just enjoy summer!

Though you may not know it, you have heard the voice of today's guest. Anna Vocino can be heard on networks like CBS and Fox Sports, in commercial campaigns for Canada dry, Disney Princess bikes, on The Young and The Restless and Jimmy Kimmel Live! and in many other places… but my favorite place to hear her voice is at the beginning and ending of my very own podcast!

Also an accomplished comedic actor, Anna was a series regular on Free Radio on Comedy Central and performs sketch and improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and at FunnyorDie.com. In today's show, we learn that, along with a group that includes her now-husband, Anna started a theater company in Atlanta, Georgia which is still going strong 18 years later.

In addition to all of the above, my guest today has celiac disease, and as a result has relearned how to feed herself and her family, created GlutenFreeAnna.com to share her learning, and has a cookbook coming out soon.

Listen for:

  • her inspiring perseverance through the many obstacles that have been tossed in her path; from the "surprise" pregnancy and birth of their daughter while starting the theater company all those years ago, to cultivating the super thick skin required to make it in Hollywood and right on up to how Anna dealt with the autoimmune disease known as celiac, she has cheerfully taken on every unplanned adventure – and won
  • great summer memories (this show airs during We Turned Out Okay's visit to Summer Camp, when we set aside our usual themes and just enjoy summertime) that Anna has, from going to Methodist Camp as the daughter of a minister, to attending a really great arts summer camp in Michigan with a delicious mystery dessert that she remembers well, even if she can't recall exactly what it is now :-)
  • the importance of a strong family bond, both in the family she was raised in and the one she is building with her husband and daughter, in Anna's life; while she never comes out and says "family is and always has been super important to me," this love comes through in every memory she shares, every situation she describes

If you take one idea away from today's show, I hope it is this: autoimmune diseases come in many varieties, and if you or someone you love has peculiar symptoms that are painful and debilitating, yet no one can place, the problem might be autoimmune based, or possibly food -related. But as Anna Vocino shares with us, these problems do not have to be the end of your world; instead, they could be the beginning of a new and better existence!

Jul 21, 2015

015: Top 11 Ways to Tire Out Your Kids

For This Summer Camp episode of We Turned Out Okay, I asked you about your favorite ways to tire out your kids… And you sure responded! Special thanks to Doug Gray, Aisha Newton, Nancy Marsh, Miriam Ortiz y Pino, De Osborne, Shannon Criscola, Amy Blake, Erica Chick, John Winchenbach, my own Jason Kolp, and Deb Petrella for coming up with our most popular ways to tire out your kids.

Here they are!

  • Number 11: Go take a hike
  • Number 10: Dance Party!
  • Number 9: Have a field day
  • Number 8: Flashlight tag
  • Number 7: Indoor and rainy day games
  • Number 6: Ride bikes
  • Number 5: Noncompetitive games
  • Number 4: Obstacle course
  • Number 3: Wacky golf
  • Number 2: Nerf wars
  • (drumroll please…) Number 1: Swimming

Did we miss any of your favorites? Tell me about it! Tweet me@StoneAgeTechie or post to twitter at #oldschoolsummervaca, shout about it in the We Turned Out Okay group on Facebook, or just get in touch with good old-fashioned email to Karen@Weturnedoutokay.com.

Jul 14, 2015

I'm so excited about this episode, part of our Summer Camp series in which we are setting aside our usual four themes (3R's, Unplanned Adventures, Kids through the Ages, and Risky Business), pouring a nice tall glass of iced tea – or Long Island Ice Tea, depending on your age and what time of day it is – and going on vacation! We will return to our regularly scheduled programming in September, but for now… Let's just enjoy summer!

Great news! During our interview today iPhoneography teacher Andre Ngyen offers you a week's free coaching by email! You can find out how to get this bonus by listening to the episode. Speaking as a student of his I know you're not going to want to miss out; his great ideas will help you take fantastic family vacation pictures!

If you want to see the pictures I took with Andre's guidance, click here – that will take you to last week's blog post in which I previewed the pictures we talk about in today's episode. Enjoy!

If you have any desire at all to capture great summer memories, great photographs of your kids and family – and pets – using just your iPhone, then you are going to love today's guest. Andre Nguyen of iPhoneographyinsiders.com is first and foremost a talented photographer, but most importantly he really wants to help the rest of us take great pictures.

Today's conversation includes lots of fun stuff: summer memories, dog stories, my excitement about sharing when I got to go see this amazing art installation in Boston on the Rose Kennedy Greenway… and because Andre gave us so many tips and apps, I'm going to list them here:

  • the first, easy and fun, is to simply tap the light source on your phone to completely change the amount of light in the picture; in other words, if you want a picture of your husband kissing the top of your baby's head with his son in the background, tap the sun – you'll end up with a silhouette picture! Really, really cool
  • next, be playful – take a variety of pictures of the same scene, in which you have tapped different places on the screen (which left in different amounts of light), try different poses, see if you can capture your kids jumping in the picture, use your imagination
  • when indoors, capturing enough light can be tough for the iPhone which results in grainy photographs where you literally see many pixels; Andre recommends using a strong light source and once again tapping on that light source on the iPhone screen
  • a great app: photographer's ephemerist, which tells you the angle of the sun, and exactly where it will be setting in the sky, on any given day; Andre uses this to plan his sunset photography, knowing exactly where and when the sun will be passing specific buildings, and then he can pull out his iPhone and play
  • another great app, Slow Shutter Cam,which allows you to let more light in and thus get cool blurry effects – if you take Andre's suggestion of doing a selfie on a merry-go-round with your children, please send it along! This sounds like the coolest idea in the world, my boys are too old for merry-go-rounds, I gotta see this in action :-)
  • Andre's favorite website for getting prints of his photos is called artifactuprising.com, where he's gotten beautiful print of his pictures at decent prices
  • on instagram, Andre goes by@AndreHarrison, and I just know you're going to want to head over to instagram and check out his artwork, which is amazing! You can also find it at his two websites: techminimalist.com and iPhoneographyinsiders.com

Once you start taking amazing pictures using Andre's tips, please email me some pictures! You can do that by going to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, or just emailing Karen@weturnedoutokay.com. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Jul 7, 2015

Welcome to the first episode of Summer Camp at We Turned Out Okay! For the summer months of July and August, we are setting aside our usual four themes (Risky Business, 3R's, Kids Through the Ages, and Unplanned Adventures) and kicking back. We are recognizing that in summer, time moves somewhat differently, and we can set aside our usual schedules at least a little bit – so pour yourself a frosty drink and stick your toes in the virtual sand as you press play.

In this episode I share about four fantastic books that should be on your summer reading list:

  • The Night Before Summer Vacation by Natasha Wing; I kick off the episode reading this book, an obvious and wonderful play on The Night Before Christmas, a picture book that we read at the beginning of every summer, even now that the boys are 14 and 10, because it is just that awesome
  • How To Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell; a great book involving a bet about eating live worms, the fallout from that, and the summer in which it all takes place
  • Time Sweep by Valerie Weldrick, in which a modern Australian boy discovers a way to travel through time and space, befriending a young London street sweeper living in the late 1800s; I read and loved this book as a young girl and it just evokes summertime for me
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling; I love rereading the Harry Potter books in summer, and every time I do something new comes up for me… This reread has me thinking of the big ideas that literature can bring up for us, and there's a special kind of magic when you combine big ideas and summertime

If you take just one thing from this episode, I hope it is this: as parents, it's our responsibility to instill a love of reading in our children. Reading is how humans make sense of the world, and there are lots of other platitudes to be said about it – but it's summer click publish, and platitudes are out! Reading, however, is still in, because not only is it our responsibility – it's fun!

Jun 30, 2015

Today's guest is an early intervention therapist by trade, and has such an interesting perspective on life that I just know you are going to love our conversation! Mariana Sanford Maynard has a background in equine massage, is bilingual, raised for part of her life in Brazil (even though she has no accent), and the divorced mom of two kids. Her gentle, loving demeanor permeates our whole conversation, and I felt like I had the knowledge to be a better parent after we were done talking.

Listen for:

  • similarities between horses and children – you'll be surprised
  • thinking about the system in which our kids live, and how understanding that system can help us be better parents for them
  • how to keep the idea of "family" alive, even after a divorce

If you take just one thing away from our conversation today, I hope it is this: there is real value in apologizing to our kids when we mess up. It helps them know that we are human, we make mistakes, and when we do we atone for them.

I know you're going to get so much out of this episode, please drop me a line – Karen@weturnedoutokay.com – and let me know what really resonated with you!

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