Monday, October 15, 2018

I miss you! 5 ways to support your toddler or child when you have to travel without them

Leaving your child behind is hard, especially when you are traveling far away. When parents of 19-month-old asked for ideas to support him while they were gone on a trip without him, this was my response:

1. Accept all the feelings
Accept the feelings that come with the process from both sides (I have been dealing with this process myself as I transition my son into preschool). Being apart from each other is hard because you love each other and that shows healthy attachment. This article is helpful for the person staying home with him to support him in this process and specific words to use when feelings arise:

2. Create Family Book
Create a family book or print pictures that the child can have available to look, pick up and hold at any time. Especially in the morning, at bedtime or times when parents are part of his routine. Write a short letter and leave it with the book saying you are on a trip, you will be back in a few days and you love him. Write a note for each day if you feel like it. The caregiver and the child can read it together. Making drawings or writing letters (for older children) to be read when the parents are back from the trip can be cathartic.  

3. Communicate the Plan
Young children do not have a sense of time yet. Tell him the day before what the plan is going to be and who will stay with him during that time.  At 19 months he is young and he will not respond but he will know what to expect. 

4. FaceTime or not FaceTime?
 I think it is ok to FaceTime. Not a million times ;). He might be distracted or not want to talk (which is common at this age) but he will know you called. And if he is sad after the call the person staying with him can remind him you are on a trip, you will be back in a couple of days and offer the family book if he needs it. You can decide the frequency of the calls depending on how he reacts. 

5. How long would you be gone? 
Sometimes having a physical way to know when you will be back can be helpful (example: having 13 blocks on a shelf removing one each day, stickers on a calendar), but at 19 months he might be too young for this one. 

Children are resilient and capable to deal with change even though it might be uncomfortable at times. We all struggle with it, both children and adults, but finding healthy ways of supporting the process will empower everyone involved. 

Safe travels!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Bows and Arrows: Parents and Children

On Children by Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sharing Ideas, Sharing Knowledge

Nowadays everyone wants to be a blogger. I, on the other hand, never wanted to be one. It happened by accident when I was studying Early Childhood Education at UCLA and my final assignment for a class was creating a Teacher Book. It was meant to be a collection of the most valuable resources and information for my teaching career. As I started putting it together, I realized this wasn't meant to stay on my hard drive or in my teacher's inbox. It was meant to be shared. That's how this blog was born.

I had a similar feeling after my son was born and the strategies I used as a teacher made my life easier at home. For that reason, I decided to put together a workshop for parents.  I know parenting is hard. I know you want to read the books and the articles but the life of a parent is a busy one. Here is the information in case you are interested and want to take two hours out of your busy day to get valuable strategies for your parenting journey.

To sign up go to

See you there!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Lead by Example

People say babies only cry, sleep and poop. But if you intentionally observe them you notice they are really busy. They discover the world and they are immersed in a very intense social study. They watch the light coming through the blinds. They delight looking at the leafs in the tree moved by the wind. They learn by example, it is proven. Our brains are powered by mirror neurons.

"A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behavior of the other, as though the observer."

They watch us make faces.  They listen to us talking to strangers and they watch us using out phones and computers...all day. I've heard many people say children are born tech savvy in this generation. My theory is they are born in a world with tech-savvy parents and adults, that is why they are so skilled at it.

If you want your kids to spend more time off the screen start yourself. It's easier said than done.

"Whether a child is 8 months old or 2 or 7, we need to teach children how to process things, make transitions, comfort themselves, deal with feelings and shift gears. We are becoming more and more reliant on computers, whether it’s a game or book, to function for kids in that way. "

Here is the full article about screen time recently published in the Washington Post

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Kinds of Thinkers

I love finding articles that are relevant to the business world, the classroom and/or life at home. Even though we often regard these worlds as different and separate, they are more alike than we think. Working with small groups of children - ages 2 to 5 - I often found the conversations resembled those in the boardroom or business meetings I used to attend in my past life in the corporate world or as a business consultant. Leadership is about understanding ideas and group dynamics. Whether you are a manager, a teacher or a parent; understanding how others think is an important tool to relate and work with others.
In the same way that the theory of Multiple Intelligences developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner helps us understand a child strengths and weaknesses; this article by Mark Bonchek and Elisa Steele at the Harvard Business Review website helps us identify what type of thinkers children might be. Understanding how others thinking is similar or different from ours empowers us to collaborate more successfully with children or adults.

"For example, on the big picture or macro orientation:
  • Explorer thinking is about generating creative ideas.
  • Planner thinking is about designing effective systems.
  • Energizer thinking is about mobilizing people into action.
  • Connector thinking is about building and strengthening relationships.
Across the micro or detail orientation:
  • Expert thinking is about achieving objectivity and insight.
  • Optimizer thinking is about improving productivity and efficiency.
  • Producer thinking is about achieving completion and momentum.
  • Coach thinking is about cultivating people and potential.
When you know your thinking style, you know what naturally energizes you, why certain types of problems are challenging or boring, and what you can do to improve in areas that are important to reaching your goals."

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Back to Basics: Don't forget to be human.

Great advice for teachers and parents...and non-parents!

"To be a caring person, though, an educator must first be a person. Many of us are inclined instead to hide behind the mannerisms of a constantly competent, smoothly controlling, crisply authoritative Teacher… To do so is to play a role, and even if the script calls for nurturance, this is not the same as being fully human with children. A real person sometimes gets flustered or distracted or tired, says things without thinking and later regrets them, maintains interests outside of teaching and doesn't mind discussing them. Also, a real person avoids distancing maneuvers such as referring to him or herself in the third person (as in: “Mr. Kohn has a special surprise for you today, boys and girls”).

Here, again, what initially looks like a common sense prescription reveals itself as challenging and even controversial. To be a person in front of kids is to be vulnerable, and vulnerability is not an easy posture for adults who themselves had to strike a self-protective pose when they were growing up. Moreover, to reach out to children and develop genuine, warm relationships with them may compromise one's ability to control them. Much of what is wrong with our schools can be traced back to the fact that when these two objectives clash, connection frequently gives way to control."

Alfie Kohn

Friday, May 10, 2013

Starting points when interacting with children: Challenging but rewarding work

"....What I’ve come to understand is that the most important work I do to see a child in positive ways is within me. I must continually work to transform my own view of children’s behaviors, see their points of view, and strive to uncover how what I am seeing reveal s the children’s deep desire, eagerness, and capacity for relationships. There is no more important or rewarding work than this."

Deb Courtis

"Seeing Children’s Eagerness for Relationships
Exchange Essential: Observing Children - Part II."

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Problem Finders: Design Thinking for Genuine Epic-Scale Problem-Based Learning by Ewan Mcintosh

Another ICOT 2013 keynote speaker worth seeing.  Ewan McIntosh explains the process many creative professionals use and explains how this can be used to create dynamic and deeper thinking that will better equip students for their future. Being passionate about ways the business community and the education system can be integrated I had to share this. I love the idea of the importance of creating problem finders, not only problem solvers!

To watch the talk go to The problem finders | EDtalks

Forty years of teaching thinking - revolution, evolution and what next? | EDtalks

An interesting talk from David Perkins at the International Conference on Thinking ( ICOT 2013). From past to future. Glad to be part of this movement!

"40 YEARS OF TEACHING THINKING -Revolution, Evolution, and What NextToday, national and international educational frameworks commonly include a range of thinking skills, often as part of 21st century skills or competencies. Although policy probably promises more than practice delivers, teaching thinking in some form has become a presence in many classrooms. All this began with revolutionary zeal in the thinking skills movement of the 1970s and 80s, including the first ICOT in 1982. Over the decades, skepticism about teaching thinking emerged from IQ advocates (‘people can’t get smarter’), the back-to-basics movement (‘no time for frills like thinking’), and the notion of situated learning (‘good thinking requires saturation in a discipline’). Meanwhile, both research and practical classroom experience have deepened our ideas about what thinking skills are, whether and how they can be taught, and what place they might take amidst competing educational agendas. I along with many colleagues have been involved throughout. This overview follows the journey of findings and changes in practice that have led us to today, and then looks to the decades ahead." From

To watch the talk go to  Forty years of teaching thinking - revolution, evolution and what next? | EDtalks