The red balloon

“Nooooo!” My toddler’s anguished cry rose high into sky along with her shiny new balloon. “Balloon, don’t do that!!” Moments before, she’d been skipping down the street, holding the balloon with such care. She’d continually turn to look up at it with awe. She was so incredibly happy. And she’d refused to let me tie the ribbon to her dress or […]



The best thing to do when your kid hits you

Sunday was one of those days. Everybody was off their rhythm. Everybody was short on sleep. Everybody was cranky. If you have a 3-year-old, you know what that means: violence. By them. Toward you. I set us up for this mess Saturday night by lingering at a party and getting our toddler to bed late, then running out […]



Toys that spark a child’s imagination

The stick lying on the sidewalk was, at first, a stick — just a twig blown down from its tree in last night’s windstorm. Then the toddler picked it up. She pointed it to the ground and it became a walking stick. She poked it into the side of the car seat my husband was […]



Make discipline easier on yourself

This poor mom. She was juggling two kids on a plane, solo, and she was–as any of us would be–agitated. I couldn’t help noticing, though, that she was making things harder on herself than necessary. When we were still half an hour from landing, her little boy started taking off his shoes. “No, don’t take off your shoes! […]



3 best ways to boost your baby’s language development

Speak with your baby in a certain way, new research shows, and your baby is far more likely to pick up on language. The difference is big — more than double the vocabulary by age 2. How? Glad you asked, because “how” is what Zero to Five is all about. Three things: Speak in a sing-songy […]



Q: My 3-year-old is hitting and pinching her sister

Hey Tracy: I am trying to teach my 3-year-old ways to calm herself down when she’s feeling angry. I usually ask her to take a deep breath or go away from people (namely her 6-month-old sister) if she feels like hitting or pinching. Some days we can turn the mood around. Other days it seems […]



Flipped your lid at your kid? One way to recover

“How do I remember what I’m supposed to do in the heat of the moment?” a dad asked me. I was giving a keynote talk at BabyFest NW, and he had stopped by my table to check out my book beforehand. The dad said he had plenty of parenting information. He knew how he intended […]



How to criticize your kids without ruining their self-esteem

The best praise is focused on your child’s effort, not your child’s traits. The same is true of criticism. stripslashes(strstr(” “, “class=”) ? “” : “”)In one study by Columbia University researchers, kindergarteners were given a scenario: a teacher asks them to create a house out of Legos, and they forget to put in windows. Then […]



The best kind of baby-proofing

Outlet covers. Cabinet locks. Furniture straps. We did all the usual baby-proofing. But something still wasn’t quite right. Our curious, newly mobile baby found plenty of other things to touch. At times, laptop power cords draped from our dining-room table to an outlet in the corner, an invitation to play a game of plug & […]



Why some kids try harder and some kids give up

My 18-month-old struggled to buckle the straps on her high chair. “Almost,” she muttered as she tried again and again. “Almost,” I agreed, trying not to hover. When she got it, I exclaimed, “You did it! It was hard, but you kept trying, and you did it.” stripslashes(strstr(” “, “class=”) ? “” : “”)The way I praised […]



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