A paper plate for a birthday present?

My daughter’s friend is turning 4. “We need to get a birthday present,” I told her, and started figuring out when we could go to a toy store. My daughter’s excitement was off the charts. “Oooh, oooh, oooh!” she squealed. “I want to take a paper plate! And I want to make her a silver cat! I […]

How to avoid stepping in it

Dog poop on the sidewalk: my 4-year-old spotted it. “Someone left that mess there. That’s not cool!” I said. “That’s not cool!” she agreed. “It’s our responsibility to clean up our own messes,” I said. “Yeah!” she said. “I always try to clean up my own messes,” she said. “That’s wonderful,” I said. And I […]

Screen time: How to find a balance?

Do you struggle to set healthy boundaries around screen time? Do you want your kids to enjoy the digital world–without forgetting how to hit the OFF switch? Concerned about how you’ll handle your kids’ social media or cell phone use down the road? Even though I’m pretty committed to avoiding screen time for my daughter (apart from […]

Cleaning up messes: from ‘No!’ to ‘Whoa!’

Knock on my door any random afternoon and you might think five children live at my house instead of one. (Did I tell you we moved from our condo to a house? It’s awesome because G can jump, run, and dance to her heart’s content. On the flip side: more room for messes to accumulate.) […]

The beauty of looking back

“Mama, what is my life?” It’s not often we parents pause to reflect on the memorable events of our children’s lives. Today, on my daughter’s 4th birthday, I got that chance. It wasn’t something I thought to do on my own. I was caught up in planning a fairy princess party and the happy chaos […]

Are you unintentionally a playground party-pooper?

Let’s say you’re a kid. You’re at the playground. Your grown-up brought you there to, presumably, have fun. There’s a structure for climbing. You climb on it. Your grown-up is standing down below you. And he or she is saying this: No. No–wait. Don’t put your foot there. Come back around this way. I don’t– You’re […]

7 ways to connect before you direct

The brain is wired to resist coercion. That’s why being told what to do triggers defiance. Unless we feel very connected, in that moment, to the person telling us what to do. This is an intriguing piece of the parenting puzzle that I wrote about in “The secret to stopping power struggles.” Here are some ideas for creating a little connection in the moment: 1. […]

What’s stopping you from being who you want?

Ever made a New Year’s resolution that didn’t stick? Consider this: Sometimes we think we want something. But we don’t realize we have a conflicting need that overrides it. Before I wrote Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science, for example, you would not find me speaking in public. No sirree. You would rarely even find […]

Gather the stars

One day, Maya and I pretended we took an airplane to the moon. We were camping. We were pretending. What did you see? A scary person. He looked like a monster. So I sat back down in my seat. Did you see anything when you looked out your window? Outer space! It was nighttime. The sky […]

Go slow, voice low

Humans can regulate each other’s nervous systems. Does that sound weird? Less weird, I bet, when I put it this way: When we act anxious, our children pick up on our energy and become more anxious. When we act calm, our children pick up on that energy and become calmer. One session at the Zero to Three conference, on early childhood […]

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