Going to the Zoo During Coronavirus Edition

On this week’s episode: Jamilah and Elizabeth are joined by Rumaan Alam to discuss splitting custody during coronavirus. Can one parent, concerned about safety, keep the child without first discussing it with their co-parent? How can this issue be resolved without escalation?

For our new family-friendly segment, Everyone Is Fighting Now, the hosts are joined by Megan Ryder Sanders, a zookeeper at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado. Megan answers questions from kids, including: how the animals are doing, if zookeepers are being paid, and how much elephants eat. To listen to the family-friendly segment zoom ahead to 39:00. Or if you are listening to the Plus episode, go to 34:30.

I just got the dreaded there’s-COVID-in-your-child’s-school email

“Dear parents, I’m writing to inform you that a student at our school has a confirmed case of COVID-19.”

I’m paraphrasing, but that’s basically how Wednesday’s email from my son’s principal began. Yikes. And yet, we’d known it was only a matter of time. While COVID infection rates in our Toronto neighbourhood have been comparatively low throughout the pandemic, we’ve got 700 kids from junior kindergarten to grade 8 at our school, plus a daycare. That’s a lot of teachers, staff, parents, kids and siblings—the “bubble,” so to speak, is big. And as we all know, the positive test results are piling up again.

The email, which arrived exactly one week into school for us, didn’t offer many details, which caused concern and incited panic in many caught-off-guard parents.

But providing very few details is actually how it’s supposed to be, for health privacy reasons. Much like the COVID alert app, there are few specifics. The principal let us know there was a confirmed positive case at the school, that the student had attended school for just one day the week before, that he or she has been absent since that time, and that Toronto Public Health is working on it. She could not tell us which kid, which family, which grade or which classroom cohort is affected. The email simply said that the classrooms and spaces impacted are being cleaned, and that the school would keep us posted with more information as the contact tracing and public health investigation is completed.

While some parents went straight to Facebook or their group text threads with alarm, I did my best to assume that no news—or very little news—was good news. The entire school would not be shuttered without notice. And even if the kids in my son’s cohort were being sent home immediately (they weren’t!), I’m pretty sure I’d be notified via phone ASAP, and not just see it on a Facebook group. I mean, he’s in grade 1—they’re not gonna put my five-year-old on the curb and tell him to walk himself home.

A few hours later, the principal followed up with an email from Toronto Public Health, notifying us that the positive case was not in our kid’s cohort—phew. We didn’t need to do anything differently beyond what the entire school community is already supposed to be doing: wearing masks, washing hands, completing the daily screenings, keeping the kids in their cohorts, restricting our social contacts and remembering to physically distance and leave quickly at drop-off and pick-up, instead of the usual parent chit-chat while lingering in the schoolyard. We can’t be cavalier; we still have to cautious. It’s a please-be-patient-and-try-not-to-freak-out situation.

But parents, of course, are going to speculate—and this is happening mostly online, now that we can’t mingle in the schoolyard. Parents, naturally, want to know which class of which grade has been sent home. They want to know if it’s an asymptomatic or symptomatic case. They want to know which rotary teachers, if any, might have had close contact with the exposed kids. They want to know if siblings of the kids in the exposed cohort are staying home, too.

For the kids in the same cohort (or classroom) as the positive case, isolating at home for 14 days is the next step, even if they get tested and it’s negative. Parents are also going to need to be patient as they await the remote learning plan for the kids sent home for two weeks. (Don’t forget: Their teacher has to get tested and self-isolate, too, and then mobilize online learning for his or her students.)

Word on the street is that Toronto Public Health doesn’t have siblings of the kids in the cohort with a positive case self-isolating, but as always, parents should follow the advice of their local public health authority. Guidelines and specific protocols may change in different situations. (These are the guidelines for Toronto.)

For now, the administrators and the school council are asking for patience and for a sense of calm to prevail. No rumours or gossip, just empathy. If you need to know more, you will be notified. Don’t overwhelm the office with phone calls. Fill out the health screening forms every day. Keep your kids home if they’re at all under the weather. Don’t create any stigma around who’s sick, who’s well, who’s been absent, or who’s getting tested. Make a casserole or deliver groceries for the affected families, if you know them. But don’t fuel the rumour mill. Trust the systems that are in place.

This is hard, of course, if you’ve long since lost faith in your school board or in your education ministry. It’s also totally disorienting to wrap your head around this new reality after we’ve spent the past six or seven months being terrified of coming into contact with anyone with COVID-19, taking every precaution we can. Now we’re sending our kids—armed with masks and lanyards and fanny packs full of teeny-tiny hand sanitizer bottles—back into a building where we know there was a documented case?!

But this very situation is why schools made cohorts and worked hard to limit—as well as they could—the number of students and teachers each kid comes into contact with. This is why advocating for smaller class sizes mattered (and still matters) so much. It’s why our kids can’t mix classes when playing outside at recess, or eat all together in a cafeteria.

We can’t predict exactly what the next few weeks and months will look like, and that’s stressful. We’re going to see more positive cases; we’re going to deal with 14-day quarantines; we’re going to face school closures. Our job right now, though, is to sit tight, keep masking and distancing, keep washing our hands, and to listen to public health. It’s an overused phrase, but it really is time to “keep calm and carry on” instead of the alternative: “Panic and freak out.”

The Will We Overcome Boredom Edition

On this week’s episode: Dan, Jamilah, and Elizabeth discuss updating your will. It’s important to have an updated contingency plan in these uncertain times. But how can you be sure if you are leaving your kids to the right people? They also answer a letter from a mom who is going stir crazy after a few days at home with her child. How can parents be stimulated while playing, sometimes boring, games with their kids? For Slate Plus, we have quarantine schedule mutiny! We’ll hear from the mom who received a three page letter of protest AND the son who wrote the manifesto.

The Cross Country Conundrum Edition

On this week’s episode: Dan, Jamilah, and Elizabeth discuss parenting anxiety. Is it OK for a letter writer not to be overprotective? Or does parenting anxiety keep children safe? They also answer a letter from a woman whose stepdaughter is struggling on the other side of the country. How can you help when you’re so far apart? For Slate Plus: Dan, Jamilah, and Elizabeth turn their host mics over to THEIR KIDS! The mini-hosts tell us what they like and don’t like about staying home with their parents.

Slate Plus members get a bonus segment on MADAF each week, and no ads. Sign up now to listen and support our work.

Recommendations:

Jamilah recommends requests that you stay in the house and pay attention to the news. Please, please, stay in the house.

Elizabeth recommends A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers by Fred Rogers and Luke Flowers. Perfect for poetry tea time in your house.

Dan recommends reading to your kids, even if they may seem a smidge too old. He’s reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

 

Join us on Facebook and email us at momanddad@slate.com to ask us new questions, tell us what you thought of today’s show, and give us ideas for what we should talk about in future episodes.

 

Podcast produced by Rosemary Belson.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

When Kids Say Shocking or Rude Things – What’s a Parent To Do?

A parent is distressed that his son says he doesn’t like, or is afraid of Black people, a sentiment that is abhorrent to him. “Worst of all,” the dad writes, “he will say this when he sees Black neighbors.” This dad realizes that his strong reactions may be making matters worse, but his son’s statements are striking a particularly sensitive nerve. “If this were literally anything else I would just minimize my responses to it and acknowledge the feeling.” This parent feels at a loss and is hoping Janet has a solution. “This is absolutely the biggest parenting challenge I have faced.”

Transcript of “When Kids Say Shocking or Rude Things – What’s a Parent To Do?”

Hi, this is Janet Lansbury. Welcome to Unruffled. I have a question today from a parent who reached out to me on Facebook and is very concerned that his son is saying shocking and rude things in regard to Black people. And what I would like to talk about in this podcast is understanding why children repeat, and then sometimes start to say publicly, disturbing, dismaying and rude things. Why does this happen? How does this happen? And what can we do about it?

Okay. Here’s the note that I received on Facebook:

Hi, Janet. I hope you can offer advice here.

Set up for this question is: My wife and I are both white and our son is white. We live in a small Southern city that is still pretty segregated and most of the people our son sees in our daily life and our personal life are white. My son will be five next month and has largely been home with one of us since birth, with the exception of a very rocky attempt at starting preschool that was ended by the pandemic. He’s very bright, has great language and critical thinking skills, and is inconveniently insightful about how to find exactly the right framing to turn a situation in his favor.

He’s extremely attached to my wife and sometimes seems to see me as the “not mama” and project a lot of his frustrations onto me, which I largely just acknowledge, “You would really rather mama were here to do this with you, et cetera.”

Anyway, this is the context for which he has started saying he doesn’t like or is afraid of Black people. A sentiment that is abhorrent to us. Worst of all, sometimes he will say this when he sees Black neighbors. Needless to say, he’s learned that these statements get a response. Recently, he has told me that he learned to not like Black people from me because I have told him it’s not okay to not like Black people and he wants to be the opposite of me.

If this were literally anything else, I could just minimize my response to it and acknowledge the feeling, but saying you don’t really like Black people doesn’t seem like an acceptable or appropriate response. We work to include books and movies that have Black leads, acknowledge the wide diversity of human bodies, affirm the dignity of all people, but can’t really broaden his social experiences right now nor do we want to expose Black children to anti-Black statements from our son. This is absolutely the biggest parenting challenge I have faced and I’m really at a loss. I hope you will have some thoughts.

Right. Wow. So, I feel how upsetting this situation is. And it sounds like this parent is handling their life with a lot of care and thoughtfulness, doing everything right. And then this happens and it is so dismaying and, as this parent says, abhorrent that his child would be saying these things.

So many of the answers for this parent, I feel like, the parent already knows on one level. Also the child actually explains what’s going on, very honestly says: I’m doing this because you’ve shown me that it bothers you and that’s something I’m exploring. That’s what children do. They want to explore why these people who are so powerful and important to them, that they look up to, that they need to depend on, they want to understand everything about us and everything about their power with us.

So, when they happen to say something that triggers us, they get kind of stuck, pressing it and pressing it, to explore those vulnerabilities that the parent has. As I say a lot, this isn’t an evil tendency. It shows this child’s amazing insight and perception and it shows the innate drive children have to explore and learn and go deeper and deeper into understanding their world. And especially these powerful figures: us.

I hear from parents about issues similar to this, not in regard to race, but I’ve heard it in regard to, “I don’t like Grandma.” Or, “Go away!” to people on the street or, “Go away” to neighbors that are being kind. And I’ve heard it happen with other things that parents care about. For example, if it’s important for a parent to raise children who are gender neutral and they have, let’s say, a daughter who only wants to wear pink, frilly, princess dresses, that can become a thing that starts as an in-the-moment behavior or exploration and then, because it hits a chord with the parent, it takes hold and becomes a thing.

In this case, I don’t think the child believes in their heart that Black people are scary. I don’t think this child actually believes that. And yet it’s continuing because the child wants to learn about their power with this parent.

Another thing about young children is that they’re not expressing these philosophical viewpoints about things. They’re expressing something very in-the-moment. So, my guess is what happened here is that in that moment, for whatever reason, I don’t like this person that looks different than us that we don’t socialize with and I don’t like. Or, I’m a little afraid. But even “afraid” to me sounds like something that this child caught wind of, that maybe a parent responded, “Oh, are you afraid?” It doesn’t sound like something that a child would naturally feel, unless they were scolded by a Black person or they heard people arguing or there was something disturbing that actually happened that scared them.

I think it’s probably with this child… who this dad says is inconveniently insightful about how to find exactly the right framing to turn a situation in his favor. I mean, this guy reads these parents like a book and it’s a gift. Most children, young children, are just naturally so aware and perceptive about their parents. That’s why we have to be on our game as much as we can. We’re not going to be perfect.

And in this case, I can empathize with this parent. This sounds like a very disturbing, horrifying situation. The last thing… As this parent says: if it was anything else, I feel I could handle this, but this is so deeply important to me and that’s exactly why this has happened.

So again, backing it up… Something happened that this child had that momentary feeling that, I don’t like that, I don’t like this person, I don’t like these people. Then they felt instantly that they hit on a big nerve and now it’s become a place they have to continue exploring.

So, what do we do as a parent? What do we do especially in this case, when the ship has sailed?

First, I’m going to talk about how we can handle it the first time. And then I’ll talk about how to right this ship, which is very, very possible. It’s really going to come from understanding a child’s process, the way children view the world, which is just much more innocently and usually specific to one situation at one moment. So even when they say something like, “I don’t like…” What does that mean to them? It doesn’t mean what it might mean to us where we’re just painting all this as, “I don’t like any of these people.” It could mean that I’m not used to these people, it could be a lot of things.

So, the first thing as a parent, I would want to try to do, if I could calm myself enough, is be curious. And I would want to understand. “Oh … What happened? What don’t you like?” And again, we know that children are born with a tendency to be biased, that even babies prefer people that are familiar and look like their parents. So, it’s a natural thing to have that bias. But if we can use this magic word for ourselves as parents: curiosity, we will be in the mode that we want to be in. Openness, curiosity, trusting our child, trusting that our child is a good person and that we are good parents and that whatever they’re saying, there’s a reason in that moment that they’re feeling that way.

We want them to be able to explore with us. We want those feelings or those thoughts to be able to land with us safely. Not pushed back on with fear, if possible. As soon as we’re judging, as soon as we’re pushing back, “Don’t say those things about people. You can’t feel that way.” We’re closing the door to understanding and connecting with our child and to being that person that we all want to be for our children — somebody they can confide in, somebody that there are no taboo topics with. You can say anything to me. This is gold as our children are getting older, that they feel safe saying anything to us. They don’t have to hide and feel wrong for what they’re doing or saying.

So, first I would be curious and I would want to understand. We’re not going to be perfect and I totally understand where this parent is coming from and the trauma this parent is going through around this. But that’s what we want to aim for as much as possible. And I think this parent knows this, because the parents says, “If it was anything else, I would just minimize my response to it.”

But we don’t even have to think about minimizing our response because, there, we’re trying to control something. What I would do is embrace a clearer understanding of the way children think and explore and how driven they are to learn, especially about us.

So, maybe we’re caught for a second, like, “Whoa, huh?” And then we settle into, “I want to know more about this.” And most of us do want to know more, but our judgments and our fears will get in the way. So, trust in your child, trust in their process, be open. In this case, I would say, “What don’t you like? Did something happen or where did you get that feeling? What makes you feel that way?”

And then I’m going to breathe and just remain this open place. And that can be easier, because we don’t have to come up with a response. Sometimes parents put pressure on themselves that: Oh my gosh, I got to steer this child immediately. I got to fix this right away. And that can get in our way, because then we’re coming back with, “No, no, no, you don’t feel like that. That’s not okay.”

What’s going on in your heart? That’s what children need and that’s the parent that I think we all want to be, with the realization that it is a learning process and that the feelings are momentary. This isn’t my worldview now for the rest of my life.

I did a podcast with Jennifer Eberhardt who is a bias specialist and she’s amazing. She’s a Black woman and she noticed her son saying some very biased things that were pretty shocking to her. I recommend listening to that (HERE) because she gives examples of responding to her son. Asking why in an open way, in a trusting way, in a genuinely curious way.

If we could all embody curiosity with our children, parenting would be a lot easier because we’d understand a lot more and we wouldn’t create these patterns that we don’t want to create. But it takes courage, especially on these certain topics that are so, so important to us.

If we don’t get triggered, if we can respond in that curious open way, then a child is much less likely to take it out and have it be a thing that they do in public. Our openness at home can prevent a lot.

But if you’re where this parent is and it’s already coming out in public and being repeated, I would say:

“You’ve noticed, I’m sure, that when you say these things about Black people, you can see that I get upset. I get angry because this is really important to me that we love and respect all people. So, I think what happened when you first started saying this is that I started worrying that you don’t love and respect all people. And so I told you you shouldn’t say that and I got upset. But now I realize, and you even told me yourself, that you’re doing this because I told you it’s not okay and I’m sorry, because I want you to feel safe to tell me anything that you’re feeling. I would love to be that person for you. And I’ve decided I’m going to be that person for you. It’s really, really important to me. So, I’m not going to say that anymore, but I really can’t let you say that to other people when we’re out in public or in front of people. But if you want to say it to me, I’m not mad at you for saying that. I would like to know where that’s coming from. I’m interested in everything that you think and say.”

Obviously we don’t have to say all these words, but that’s the content that I would want to share with my child to back this up. And that means being very honest and straightforward, which I think is important with every child, but this type of child, especially, because he will know the difference. He will know. And it will feel so good to you to share vulnerably in a way that isn’t judgmental of him, in fact the opposite, saying, “You know what? I was wrong to push those thoughts away. I’m sure you had a reason to feel like that in that moment. I’m sorry.” And then follow through. Believe in your child as a good person with a process.

And children, it’s part of their healthy development to be the opposite of us, like this child says. He wants to be the opposite of me. This boy’s so insightful and that’s healthy development. If you all like this, I’ve got to say this, even though I actually really do want that, but I’ve got to be different. Especially if you’re making a strong stance, I’ve got to be my own person.

So, while I wouldn’t let him turn situations in his favor in terms of limits that we have or boundaries or make decisions that we feel are a, “No” and that he tries to turn it into a, “Yes.” I would not let that happen, so that he does get the safety and boundaries that he needs. The attitude I would have is, “Wow, that’s a very interesting argument you’ve made. This is what we’re doing though.” Something like that, where you welcome him to try to turn it in his favor, but you’re still going to make the decision. If it’s a decision that you don’t care about either way, then you might say, “Huh, you know what? I can see your point. All right. I think we will do that.” But I would still come at it as a leader and being decisive, because children like this need more from us actually. They can’t tell us that, but they need more leadership from us. Not the judgmental kind, but the assured kind that still welcomes their perspective.

And so if he says something like this again, then after explaining the path that you’ve been on to him, I would say: “Hmm, there you go. You’re saying that. What is it now? Do you still want to be different than me? Or what is this that you don’t like? Because you told me before that it’s not about you not liking Black people, it’s about you wanting to be opposite to me.”

Just call out all those elephants in the room in a friendly, loving way.

And then if something happens in public, I would try to calm yourself, know that, okay, this is still getting tested a little bit. I would say, “Oh, come here. I can’t let you.” And then I would take him aside, like, “No, buddy. That’s not okay. You can share anything you want with me, but no, I can’t let you do that. That’s harmful.” So, you’re going to bring him into you to coach him in this, to have his back, ideally not being threatened yourself.

Then with everything else, also, that I learned from Jennifer Eberhardt, it’s great that you’re doing the books and the movies and that you’ve embodied these beliefs yourself. But if there was any way to bridge into just one actual relationship, maybe this parent does have this but, especially with a child, for him to befriend a Black child, for you to have a family or families that you socialize with if you join a group or something. I realize that’s difficult right now with the pandemic. But if you can find activities, even online, where you can have a teacher or some personal connection. When we have relationships with people and enjoy them, that can disrupt bias. So, I would consider if there might be a way, even online, to do that. Somebody that tells stories or something that he likes to do. That can make a real change. It’s important and it is possible.

I hope some of that helps.

For more, both of my books are available in paperback at Amazon,  Elevating Child Care, A Guide To Respectful Parenting and No Bad Kids, Toddler Discipline Without Shame. You can also get them in ebook at Amazon, Apple, Google Play, or Barnes and Noble, and in audio at Audible.com. As a matter of fact, you can get a free audio copy of either book at Audible by following the link in the liner notes of this podcast.

Thank you so much for listening. We can do this.

The post When Kids Say Shocking or Rude Things – What’s a Parent To Do? appeared first on Janet Lansbury.

School is about to start in Ontario and we still don’t have a safe reopening plan

A few days ago, I flipped the calendar in my kitchen from August to September and stood there for several seconds, feeling how deeply unsettling the moment was. It wasn’t just that I still use a paper calendar in the year 2020—reserve your judgement, please—it was knowing that September is officially here and somehow, Ontario still doesn’t have a safe school reopening plan in place.

My children were supposed to be back in class on September 8th, but the start of the school year has been pushed back by a week because nothing is ready—not the classrooms, the health and safety protocols, the buildings, PPE, and in many cases, not even parents or educators. It’s a mess. Information is changing by the hour, and though we’re just days away from most Ontario schools reopening, students still haven’t been assigned to cohorts and many teachers don’t even know their assignments for the year.

It’s not the schools’ fault, in my opinion—all of the teachers and administrators I know are working incredibly hard right now, picking up the pieces of a mess they didn’t create. Instead, the problem stems from a complete lack of support from the provincial government, who promised to do “whatever it takes” and then promptly plugged their ears, humming away like rebellious toddlers. (Don’t worry; they found time to reopen bars.)

We are SIX MONTHS into this pandemic. I don’t expect perfection from anyone, but I would hope that those in leadership and decision-making roles would have their shit together by now. Instead, Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce have ignored expert recommendations, silenced parents and continued to demonize educators. Instead of getting to work, they’ve played a game of ignorance and distraction. There has been plenty of time to address the needs of students and educators while planning a safe return to the classroom, and it simply hasn’t happened—I’m raging mad. Sure, there are plenty of “nice to haves” on the table, like plexiglass desk dividers and shade tents for outdoor spaces, but at the end of the day, we know what’s absolutely necessary: smaller class sizes that allow for social distancing, and proper ventilation, which includes wildly luxurious things like classroom windows that actually open.

Our kids aren’t getting what they need, and it puts us all at risk.

Even the health and safety measures we are (allegedly) getting seem to be more promissory than anything else. My kids’ school still doesn’t have PPE on site, for example. It’s also a 100 year old building with windows that are more decorative than functional. Most classrooms don’t have sinks and not every floor has a washroom, so kids sharing common spaces is unavoidable. Across the province, public schools are plagued with inadequate HVAC systems— something the premier has suggested they replace at the last minute using reserve budgets that weren’t unlocked until mid-August. Because, you know, it’s easy to fix hundreds of massive ventilation systems on minimal funds in a matter of weeks. (Also, someone may want to tell Ford about how many Ontario schools contain asbestos, and how that particular issue impacts a renovation timeline.)

I’m tired of Lecce’s tone deaf grandstanding and Ford’s lies. What we need is truth and action. It doesn’t matter what’s said in a press conference— not only has the government failed to support smaller class sizes, they’ve actually made many elementary school classes bigger. That’s right: if a school has two classes of 25 students and 10 students from each class have opted for online learning, that doesn’t result in two reasonably sized classes of 15— it could mean one class of 30 kids. Yes, those ideal classes will be collapsed into one large group and one of the teachers, now considered surplus, would be assigned to online learning or another role.

What’s that sound you hear? Just me and thousands of other parents, collectively screaming into the void.

This situation is ridiculous, and it goes against every credible medical recommendation we’ve seen. A much-publicized Sick Kids report stated, “Our recommendation from an overall health perspective is that children and youth return to a daily school model with risk mitigation strategies in place.” These mitigation strategies were clearly outlined within the report and included smaller class sizes, symptom screening, wearing face masks, student cohorting, handwashing, ventilation and social distancing. It recognizes that while two metres is the standard recommendation for social distancing, a minimum of one metre may be more achievable in elementary schools. In reality, when you’re looking at overcrowded classrooms, you’d be lucky to get a solid half metre between desks.

Kelly Iggers is a parent and a teacher-librarian with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) who has been advocating for a safe September. “I was shattered by the provincial government’s plan to return with no reduction in class sizes,” Iggers explains, noting that she’d been “naively optimistic” before details were announced. (In fairness, Lecce himself stated on camera that classes would likely resume in an adaptive model with “no more than 15 students” in a room.) Iggers started a petition asking Ford and Lecce to reduce class sizes in order to allow for proper social distancing measures. At present, the petition has over 250,000 signatures and has led to the formation of OntarioSafe, a volunteer-led group advocating for safe and equitable conditions in public schools.

Not only is Iggers seriously concerned about a lack of adequate health protections for children, educators and their families, she recognizes the impact that safe school reopenings could have on our economy. “The current situation has forced many parents—particularly women—to give up or reduce their employment,” she says. “It’s also crucial to point out that the pandemic has disproportionately impacted marginalized communities in Ontario. A safe school reopening plan is needed for all Ontarians, but it is particularly needed so that we do not deepen these inequities that we are already seeing.”

Instead of focusing efforts on a safe, successful reopening of the Ontario public school system, government officials are passing the buck while Ford asserts that he “won’t hesitate” to initiate a second shutdown if COVID-19 outbreaks hit schools (a notion that strikes fear into the heart of every economically vulnerable working parent). Instead of prevention, we’re getting PR from Lecce and a misguided call for prayers from Ford. It’s not enough, and it’s not okay.

September is here and instead of feeling excited, I’m angry. Parents around the province are making noise and if it continues, I hope we’ll eventually be heard. Ontario doesn’t need another sudden reaction to crisis—we need evidence-based, proactive measures now. Smaller is safer, and it can be done. Our kids and communities deserve it.

Finding Focus

What…did you say something? I was distracted. Each week, we have been exploring temperament traits and discovering how those traits may or may not show up in children. Each of us is born with unique genetic features and within the same family, we can look alike but behave differently and have very different temperament traits. … Continue reading Finding Focus

Do You Know This Way to Make Parenting More Joyful?

Do you know this one way to make parenting more joyful?

No one goes into parenting expecting an easy ride.

We all know there will be differences of opinion. We all know we will need to make BIG decisions and set limits and they’ll be BIG feelings about those decision and limits.

But, truthfully, did you ever expect it to be THIS HARD?

Did you ever expect to have to nag your kids so much?

Did you ever expect their pushback?

The anger and upset you’d face?

And did you ever expect it all to be so exhausting?

How Can You Make Things Easier?

Long before this year, parenting was under supported. We knew that showing up as the parent you want to be would be way easier if you had the support, the sleep, and the time you needed.

But if you are like 99.9% of parents you don’t have enough.

And THEN 2020 brought a pandemic!

And things got even harder.

That’s why we’re launching our new 5 Days of Play challenge.

If everyday life is like a wet blanket on your sparkle, stopping you from being a playful, fun parent, then this challenge is for you.

Over five days:

  • We’ll show you how to stop parenting from a stressful place – even when life is incredibly stressful.
  • We’ll show you how to gain your kids’ confidence and increase co-operation using tried and tested playful parenting tools.
  • We’ll show you how to turn frowns upside down, and be the light, easy-going parent you want to be.

Stop feeling powerless when your children show up with challenging behavior.

Kids’ brains are wired to pick up on our feelings, and when they sense stress it translates to them as insecurity and possible danger. Kids show us they feel all this with their behavior —Their challenging behavior.

When you lead with lightness, you also bring a secure, loving framework to your family.

That’s the true power of play.