Holding to What We Know

The view from our new apartment - a storm rolling in across Lac Léman.

The view from our new apartment – a storm rolling in across Lac Léman.

My family just moved from California to Lausanne, Switzerland.  We are excited about all of the opportunities that await us in our new home, but we are realistic about the time it will take us to adjust to the big things (new language and school system), as well as the small things (the metric system and living without a car).

Not surprisingly, I have visited the grocery store nearly every day in the last eight since we arrived. I have also baked chocolate chip cookies, Continue reading

Categories: Emergent Curriculum, Respect, Travel with Children | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

3 Words You Should Say To Your Children

IMG_3780When I have a long and difficult day with my children and I tell a friend, I want:

I hear you.

When I get a speeding ticket and I tell a friend, I want:

I hear you.

When I misplace something valuable, I want:

I hear you.

Ultimately, when I feel lousy, it doesn’t matter why.  I just want to know that I am heard, Continue reading

Categories: Emotional Development, Guidance, Negotiating, Power | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

No, You Are Not Alone

IMG_3876As parents and educators, we can seem to have it all together.

We are embarrassed that we’ve lost it with our kids over something as insignificant as spilled milk, and so we hide our messy stories from each other.  We are fearful to let anyone in on the emotional chaos we feel.  We have bought into the lie that vulnerability equals weakness, and weakness equals disaster.

We believe we are raising our children alone.

But we are not alone.  Continue reading

Categories: Caregivers, Community Support, Tough Behaviors, Wisdom | Tags: , , , | 19 Comments

The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Children Today: Let Them PLAY!

IMG_4301We were traveling in South Africa a few weeks ago. Our ship docked for a six-day port stay, and we were lucky enough to see the highlights: a cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain, a hop-on/hop-off tour bus that drove us around the city, a drive to Boulder Beach to see the penguins swimming in the ocean, and a climb up to the lighthouse at Cape Point to watch the swirling waters where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. Plus, we visited the aquarium, played at some parks, ate plenty of delicious food, and found a western-style grocery store to restock our snack cupboard.

A few days into our adventures, my oldest turned to me and said, Continue reading

Categories: Open-Ended Play, Play, Problem Solving, Semester at Sea, Travel with Children | 1 Comment

Preparing Kids For Unexpected


In our travels, we have seen our fair share of unexpected and we have smelled more than our fair share of surprising.  Recently, we were walking through a food market in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, when my oldest daughter (age six) conveyed a most profound understanding:

Continue reading

Categories: Emotional Development, Open-Ended Play, Play, Respect, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

9 Facts About Life At Sea With Small Children

I know you are curious – many of you have left me sweet notes and comments to let me know how just how curious you are.  This post is for you.

Continue reading

Categories: Semester at Sea, Travel with Children | 3 Comments

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. Continue reading

Categories: Motor Development, Negotiating, Play, Repurposed Materials, Respect, Semester at Sea, Social Development | Tags: , | 7 Comments

4 Reasons Why I LOVE Traveling With Children (And 2 Reasons I Don’t)


IMG_3643 We are quite the spectacle here in Asia: a family of five fair-skinned, blue-eyed members, three of whom are too young to pay for public transportation.  The kids are getting used to posing for pictures, having their cheeks pinched by strangers, and using gestures to communicate a few simple ideas:   Continue reading

Categories: Semester at Sea, Travel with Children | Tags: | 11 Comments

Interview with Kelly Bartlett, Author of “Encouraging Words for Kids” (Plus, WIN A COPY!)


Kelly Bartlett is one of my e-friends; though have never met in person, the interactions we have had over email and digital media makes me feel like I could sit down for coffee with her tomorrow and we would chat like old friends.  Kelly’s blog, Parenting From Scratch [http://parentingfromscratch.wordpress.com], and her book, Encouraging Words for Kids [http://www.kellybartlett.net/book.htm], have both been enormously helpful to me in my journey as a parent and educator. 

 Many of us have heard of the notion that praising kids might not nurture the traits we hope for in our children, but the practice of shifting our vocabulary can be overwhelming!  Encouraging Words for Kids is like the how-to manual for those of us trying to raise kids without saying “Good job!”  Continue reading

Categories: Book Review, Guidance | Tags: , , , | 21 Comments

Playgrounds in Japan

Desmond on a train in Kobe, Japan

Desmond on a train in Kobe, Japan

One of the interesting realities about traveling with young children is the ways that it changes our use of time while we are in port.  We aren’t touring museums or spending much time in Japanese teahouses.  Instead, we are balancing our time between cultural sites and places where our children can be children.

We get to see local playgrounds and experience a small slice of what it is like to have a family in the countries we are visiting.  I plan to share pictures of these experiences with you.  In Japan, we visited two parks, and while I’m sure these parks are not typical of the entire country, I was interested to see how the Japanese design spaces for children in these small regions. Continue reading

Categories: Semester at Sea, Travel with Children | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

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