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Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

Speak and communicate

Is that an ‘SUV,’ a ‘Jeep’ or a ‘Hatchback?’

Monday, December 24th, 2012 12:23 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Vehicles on the Road

Ever since B and M could sit up in the stroller by themselves, our daily walks would include identifying everything we see on the streets. It started with stationary things, like “mailbox,” “street lights” and “STOP sign.” Pretty soon, we got into vehicles.

Instead of ‘car,’ I’ll distinguish for them whether a vehicle is an SUV, jeep, hatchback, sports car, convertible, truck, commercial truck, 18-wheeler, school bus or bus. Before they could walk, I didn’t want people overhearing me enunciating “com-mer-cial tr-uuuuck” to 10–month olds, so I always got down to their level and  kept my voice low. When they were 20 months, whenever I emphasized to them that something is a ‘Jeep’ and not an ‘SUV’ (for a time, they called every vehicle an SUV) , I would look around and hope no one overhears me and thinks I’m a crazy mom. But now, when they walk down the streets and name the vehicles correctly, I know my hard work has paid off. When they say things like, “That’s a hatchback. That’s not an SUV,” I find myself clapping – for them and for myself!

Between 0-3, children are at the height of their Sensitive Period for language. I can just hear my Montessori Trainer, Judi Orion, say over and over, “You keep giving them the language and one day, it will come out.”

Collaborating With Your Child

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 12:44 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Daddy Helps Brooke

Most adults just want to do things FOR the child. Why? It’s so much easier than teaching them to do it.

Let’s take cleaning up after meals for instance. You have two choices, you can clean the table for them, that takes about 30 seconds. OR you can have them do it. Then you have to figure out where to put the dirty dishes, how they will wipe the table, where to put the sponge, how they will clean their hands. And then once you’ve got the logistics down, you have to show them how to do it and then enforce it over and over and over and over and over…

One is clearly easier than the other. But one will make you feel like it’s Groundhog’s Day and you are playing the role of the slave, while the other gives your child the opportunity to practice motor skills, develop attention to detail, learn sequencing and give him a sense of independence that lead to happy, secure, confident children.

So you pick.

For those of you courageous and conscientious enough to take the second route, I have a piece of advice. When you are teaching your child to clean up after meals (this really applies to everything, but I’m just using this as an example), collaborate with them. Young children cannot do it all on their own all at once. They will be able to eventually, but it can be overwhelming at this age. So I’ll say, “Let’s clean up together. I’ll put the bowl and the plate  in the dishcart and you put the spoon in the dishcart.” OR “Let’s clean up together. You put this bowl (I’ll pick it up from the table) in the dishcart.” Then I’ll hand them the plate for them to put in the dishcart, the spoon, etc.  As long as they are doing something toward cleaning, that is what you’re looking for. Even if at the end, you feel you did most of the cleaning, if they participated, then you are on the right path. Gradually, over time, you can pull back and they can do more. There will be regression on bad days. If they are tired or cranky, don’t force it. Don’t punish them for not cleaning. Instead, use these words often, “Let’s do it together!” Even if you end up doing most of it that day, let it go. Tomorrow, when they are in a better place, they will do more of it.

I have a lot empathy for little ones. Transitioning from a baby in mama’s arms where everything is done to becoming your own little person – it’s a big transition. If you’re willing to collaborate with them, it’ll make their life –and yours – a little easier.

We Don’t Share

Monday, October 15th, 2012 11:19 am | By Stephanie Woo


Brooke and her stroller

You know how when two children play together, the toy someone else is playing is always the BEST toy in the room? This is when I always hear parents and caretakers tell their children, “Sweetheart, you have to SHARE.”

Imagine this: you’re at dinner at a beautiful restaurant with your partner and two friends. The food comes and everyone starts enjoying the food in front of them. Then your partner turns, nudges you and says, “Honey, you should share your food with your friends.” How does that make you feel? Depending on the day, I can imagine I would have any or all of these responses, including “What, why? It’s MY food.” “Why do I have to share? Why don’t you share YOUR food?” and flat-out “um, NO.” Frankly, everyone else at the table would consider your partner to be nothing but plain rude. As adults, we respect someone’s right to share. We value sharing when it comes from within. If you have to ask someone to share, it’s not really sharing.

That’s why you never hear the word “share” in our house.

Two weeks ago, Mackenzie was playing with a toy stroller and Brooke wanted it. I heard the screaming and found Mackenzie holding onto the stroller while Brooke was trying to yank it out of her sister’s hands.  I got down to their eye-level, turned to Brooke and said, “Brooke, can you say, ‘Mackenzie, when you are finished, can I play with it?’” I gave Brooke 1 or 2 words at a time so she can repeat them after me. Then I turned to Mackenzie and said, “Mackenzie, when you are finished, can Brooke play with it?” She nods yes.

Brooke still wanted it and tried to take it from Mackenzie, I said, “Mackenzie is not finished playing yet. You can play with it when she is finished. Do you want to read a book or listen to music?” Brooke lets it go and goes to play with something else.

Five minutes go by. Brooke is upstairs. Mackenzie climbs up the stairs pulling the stroller behind her saying, “Brooke! Brooke!” She’s done playing with it and she’s ready to pass it on!

We’ve been doing this ever since they’ve started fighting over toys, maybe 4-5 months ago. This is the most effective communication tool I’ve experienced with toddlers. Speak their language and toddlers can be so reasonable it would surprise you. The next time Brooke is playing with something, she knows she will receive the same courtesy: she gets to play with the toy to her heart’s content and no one else can play with it till she is done. When a child knows this, she will have all the patience in the world to wait her turn.