Which preschool, which kindergarten?

“Because we don’t fully understand how our brains work, we do dumb things.” Thus begins a line in the bestseller Brain Rules by John Medina. “We try to talk on our cell phones and drive at the same time, even though it is literally impossible for our brains to multitask when it comes to paying attention. […]



The tree is up, the lights are on, the cookies are … gone already?

My daughter and I baked gingerbread cookies today. She’d really been looking forward to this. And I kept kind of ruining it! Some of the things that popped out of my mouth: “That’s too much sugar to lick off your hands. No–hey– Don’t ask if you can’t handle the answer.” “Another cookie?” “OK, what greens […]



Acting delicately when toddlers rub privates in public

A parent wrote me with a delicate question: How to stop a toddler from rubbing herself between the legs at preschool, without making the act itself shameful? Here’s our exchange. My daughter’s nursery has informed me that in the last few days, she has taken to lying on her tummy and wiggling her hips and […]



Today only: Signed copies of Zero to Five

Instead of an impersonal deal on Cyber Monday, how about a book signed with love? That’s my offer for you today: a SIGNED copy of Zero to Five. This hardcover coffee-table book would be a nice Christmas present, for yourself or a friend. Or a beautiful baby shower gift. Or, if you work with families professionally, a […]



4-year-old takes 12-hour road trip with no iPad. Here’s what happened

“Should WE try that?” A friend had just come back unscathed from a road trip to Yellowstone with her 5-year-old, and we thought, “Huh.” We decided to do it. Of course the big unknown was how G would do on the 12-hour car ride from Seattle to Yellowstone. She’d be solo in the back seat, […]



12 ways to include your toddler when cooking and cleaning

“Hey, that’s my BOOK!” one mom said when she saw me at a baby-expo booth with Zero to Five. “That saves my LIFE!” (And you, dear mama, made my day.) She said her favorite tip was about including your baby in whatever you happen to be doing. A few days later, I got a question […]



Baby refusing to eat? 8 things to consider

In the midst of transitioning her baby to solid foods, a mama wrote to me with a challenging situation. At 6 months, her little boy started off eating pretty well. At 7 months, he wasn’t eating enough or was refusing to eat, to the point where he had fallen off the weight charts. She felt stuck trying to force calories into […]



Is your toddler eating enough?

“You’re full? But you didn’t eat very much.” “Just two more bites, OK?” “Finish everything on your plate and then you can have dessert.” Our intentions are good. But in bribing–or pleading, chasing, commenting, shaming, or hovering–the message we’re really sending is unintended: Ignore your body’s signals for hunger and fullness. Ignore your body’s natural ability to […]



It’s not too early to talk about sex

“He said don’t tell.” The mother’s heart dropped. The night before, at bath time, they had talked about private parts being private and who to tell if someone tells you not to tell. Now they were on their way to school. “Don’t tell what?” The 4-year-old was quiet. The mother waited. The girl started humming. The […]



3 ways to build vocabulary and reading comprehension

How to work on vocabulary with a 5-year-old? 1. Read a ton together. Books use a larger variety of words than we tend to use in conversation. As you’re reading, occasionally ask whether he understands. “What does the word ___ mean?” “Why did she just do that?” “What do you think might happen next?” “Remember that […]



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