My Blog

Social and Emotional Learning

Raising Creative Problem-Solvers

Do you constantly referee children's disagreements? Do you tend to side with one child, frustrating the other? Or do you offer solutions, only to be ignored? If you're nodding in response to any of these questions, this will help...

The scenario:

My 4.5-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son share a room. It's the only place in the house where they're allowed to play LEGOs, so the plastic pieces don't take over ourBLW_Two_Bacchic_Putti_Fighting living room/homeschool area. Both kids love LEGOs, but my older son likes to...

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Why We Hike

"Why do we have to do this hike?", complained my almost-eight-year-old son, his arms drooping by his sides. We had been hiking for almost two hours, had just conquered a half-mile 500-foot elevation gain, and still faced another mile uphill before reaching the summit.

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My husband, unable to stomach my son's complaints, put our younger daughter in the carrier and charged up the hill. I took a deep breath and silently asked myself, "Why do we make them hike?"

Walking beside my son at his...

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The Entitlement Myth

A few weeks into his first-grade year, my formerly sweet and relatively cooperative son began acting sassy, cocky, and entitled. Requests for help were met with groans and eye-rolls. Limits were countered with sighs and "whatever"s.

We gave him the benefit of a doubt: Surely he was just imitating his older classmates' rude behaviors. Or maybe this was a misguided attempt at being more independent. All my friends' children were acting the same way, so it was probably a developmental phase....

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The Good Struggle

This morning, let's talk about compassion (identifying our common struggles) and empathy (letting others know they're not alone).

Raise your hand if you want your child to show compassion and empathy for others. OK, that's pretty much everyone in the audience. Put your hands down.

Now, raise your hand if you want your child to suffer. Anyone? Anyone? *crickets*

Most of us agree that it's painful to watch our child get hurt (physically or emotionally). So painful, in fact, that it triggers the...

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BOTW: Good-Night Yoga

good night yogaOn a recent date night at a local bookstore (exciting, I know), my husband came across Good-Night Yoga: A Pose-By-Pose Bedtime Story. Neither of us practice yoga, but we'd been trying to find activities we can do as a family in the evenings that will engage both a three-year-old and a seven-year-old AND that will help us transition peacefully into the bedtime routine.

We've been reading and yoga-ing with this book a couple of evenings a week for the past month, and it's become on of our...

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The Puzzle-Child

Over the years of working in Montessori classrooms I've met many children who are eager to attend lessons, engage in follow-up work, and share their new knowledge. And then there are the occasional "puzzles" (as my son's Primary guide once referred to him). How do you know if you live or work with a puzzle-child?

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Puzzle-children are those for whom learning comes easily but who see most teaching as a hindrance to their own learning agenda. On a good day, they grumpily humor your agenda for a...

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Entitlement: Been There, Done That

Few things trigger me more than interacting with a child who has an entitled attitude. rich-kidWhy? Because I was one of them. I grew up in a traditional Mexican upper-middle-class family, with a stay-at-home mom and two maids who did all the housework so we didn't have to. I never did my laundry, tidied my room, or set a table. Those things just happened!

When I was 18, my mom went back to school and decided that I needed to learn how to run a home. One night, my dad was coming home a bit later than...

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You're Not Alone

As children, we learned to deal with our big emotions by seeing how our parents handled theirs. My mom chose the "nothing's wrong so put on a happy face" route, while my dad preferred the "slam a door and punch a hole in the wall" approach.

After trying out both strategies, I gravitated towards my dad's method. Not surprisingly, I married a lovely man who followed the approach my mom had modeled.

During the first years of both my children's lives, I fought a long and lonely battle with...

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A Deep Understanding

When I became a mom, I realized that it takes a parent to understand a parent. I have been blessed to have a worldwide community of Montessori-trained friends who are navigating the same beautiful, yet often turbulent, waters of parenthood with me.

One of my wisest friends is Junnifa Uzodike, the founder of the Nduoma Montessori blog. She contacted me through myblog someyears ago, when she was beginning her Montessori journey, and we have sharedcountless conversations about motherhood and...

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Safe Haven

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A recent visitor from Russia gifted our classroom with a truly exquisite set of nesting dolls, the smallest of which was no larger than the fingernail on mypinky. All the children were curious about the dolls, but Annie, a nine-year-old who was new toour classroom, was truly enamored by the set. Between academic activities, she would spend time lining up the dolls and then nesting them again.

I was absent for a few hours on Tuesday morning, and by Wednesday three boysmade the discovery that...

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