What We’re Loving

The teacher in me can’t help but evaluate the toys my kids spend their time playing with. I look for toys that serve multiple purposes such as developing motor skills, promoting social interaction, language development, etc. What are your kids into? Please share in the comments below.

January 20, 2019 Read More

Establishing Expectations

*For a pre-verbal or newly verbal child, please see this post about expectations.

Expectation – a strong belief that something will happen or become the norm in the future.

Identify your expectations, model them, and step in when your kids need help meeting them. Set high expectations and watch your kids not just meet but exceed them independently.



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Expectations: Emerging Language

While we should have higher expectations for a verbal child than for a child who is just learning to talk, we still should have reasonable expectations regarding a pre- or newly verbal child’s language and behavior.  This is the time to build a strong behavioral foundation. As both a mom and a teacher, I have always found it easier to train from the beginning, even with the additional support required early on, than it is to retrain an older child down the road.

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Playing for the Same Team

Connecting with children when their emotions are high

Our nightly routine consists of the same elements, sometimes in a different order depending on our afternoon/evening activities. Most evenings we will have time after dinner to go down to the basement to play before going up to start out bedtime routine. However, this night we finished dinner and it was time to go upstairs.

Keener: “We have time for the basement?”

Me: “Unfortunately, we don’t. It’s time to go up to take a bath.”

Keener: “But I want to go downstairs!”

Oh dear…

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Consistency is Key

My dentist said it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. I didn’t track it exactly, but after about three weeks I began to consistently floss my teeth every day without having to “try” to remember.   Consistency is important for ourselves and for our children. The problem is, it can be absolutely exhausting to be consistent. My mom, Mimi, offered me the best parenting advice I’ve heard: “If you don’t have the energy, pretend you didn’t see it.”  I live by these words often.

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Sometimes, my son brushes my daughter’s hair with a dustpan brush.  Yes, that is disgusting.  Almost as disgusting as my daughter putting my husband’s cell phone in her mouth, which, according to scientists at the University of Arizona, carries 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.

My kids are far from perfect and I don’t do everything right. But I do have some ideas on how to keep the peace, avoid tantrums, and enjoy being with children.  I think that learning to use the right language is one of the keys to fostering a better relationship with your young children.

I plan to post an entry every Wednesday – something that may help you get through to the weekend.  The initial focus is on parent language – what to say and what not to say.  Let’s be real, that’s the only part we can actually control.  We can’t MAKE our children eat, sleep, or speak.  By focusing on our own language and mindset, we can model, give them the tools they need, and guide them to make the choices we would like to see and hear.




“So what I’m hearing you say is your friend found the dead mouse on the playground and put it in your lunchbox during recess? I’m writing this down as I want to get the details correct.”

My principal is a genius.  You can’t make up the stories that you hear in elementary school.  Yes, as a 2nd grade teacher I opened a lunchbox and found a dead mouse sitting on top of my student’s turkey sandwich container. I quickly decided this was above my pay grade and enlisted my principal to solve the case. I do lots of things, as all teachers do, that don’t necessarily fit into my job description, but I draw the line at dead rodents. Read More