Communicating Takes More Than Language

SimonYesterday, my daughter lost her sweater. It was a gift from her grandmother, and she was despondent as we retraced her steps.  As I was fumbling my way underneath some aluminum bleachers where we had been sitting, a guard approached and told me I wasn’t allowed under there. Even though I didn’t catch a word of what he said, I knew by his body language that he meant for me to leave.

I responded with all the pertinent French I knew: Continue reading

Categories: communication, Language | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

4 Strategies For Raising Children With Healthy Body Images

Blog Title Pic Body ImagesI looked through stacks of old photo albums before we moved and I discovered something.  I used to be skinnier.  Also, I was so cute!  What strikes me as I look through old photo albums is that I never felt cute or felt skinny at the time.  I was always dissatisfied and wished I could change any number of things about the way I looked.

If I could go back and tell the younger me one thing, I would give myself permission to feel joyful in my skin.  I wasted so much time Continue reading

Categories: Emotional Development | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

When No One Speaks Your Language: An Interview With My 6-Year-Old Daughter

First day of school

Our family relocated to Switzerland this summer, and I worried about the impact of our move on our children.  Specifically, we decided to enroll them in the local Swiss public school. My oldest child would start first grade (3P in Switzerland), and my middle child would begin kindergarten (2P).

All of my children are resilient, flexible, persistent, and compassionate.  Still, each of their personalities left me wondering about the ease or difficulty of transitioning to school.

I was most worried about my oldest.  Continue reading

Categories: Expat, Language, Switzerland | Tags: | 4 Comments

Children With Big Fears

I receive questions from parents and educators on a regular basis, and often think – Well, I know what I would do, but how would someone else respond?   Our tools and strategies are embedded in our own cultural background and adapt to fit the needs of our individual children.  One person could never have the answers for every situation! 

When I read this question about childhood fears, I invited four wise early childhood professionals to offer a range of perspectives on how to they might respond.  I hope you find some strategies and tools from the following mix of responses that might help you in your journey.  If you have a difficult situation with your children and need some ideas, please contact me.

toy-airplanes-277085-m“Dear Emily,

Rhea* has a fear of flying. The last time she flew was on a five hour flight when she was three.  She was nervous, but when the flight came, it was largely uneventful.  A few months ago we were supposed to fly to visit my parents. Rhea had made some comments about not wanting to fly. We bought her some toy airplanes and we talked about what it would be like and I really thought she would be fine. Well…she wasn’t. Continue reading

Categories: Fears, Tough Behaviors, Travel with Children | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Tekoa

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

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