Category: Childhood

Potty Training Partners: Putting the Fun back into Potty Learning

A one-size-potty-training plan does not fit all potty training situations. Your potty training experiences will be as unique as you and your child. Liberate yourself and your child from external  … Read more

Fill your child’s bucket every day with love, acceptance and pride

Everything grows from love – confidence, joy, resourcefulness, kindness, compassion, acceptance and peace. You convey brain-boosting love to your children every day in a million ways. Your messages “fill their  … Read more

Tantrums and Fairy Dust: find the magic in big emotions

Magic in tantrums? Are you kidding? Any reasonable person would choose to avoid tantrums, prevent tantrums, stop tantrums as quickly as possible. Emotional meltdowns, whether they are colossal storms or  … Read more

How to Say Good Bye to a Goldfish

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. No one wants to be the messenger of bad news, especially parents who want to create happy childhoods for innocent young children. However, childhood is more  … Read more

Family Time Toy Shopping Faves for 2022

More toys? More things to buy? Not really necessary but supporting children’s play and learning is always worthwhile! Toys on any of the Family Time lists are merely ideas to  … Read more

Top Toy Picks of 2016

It’s that time again – the season of toy buying! It’s a time to be thoughtful about toys and gifts. Too much is too much because it encourages lack of  … Read more

Favorite Toys and Links for Holiday Shopping 2019

Play IS the work and the language of children. They become what they play so choose wonder, choose fun! Remember, the less a toy does, the more your child does.  … Read more

The Challenge of the Power Struggle

I’m the parent! I’m supposed to be in control! One of the biggest myths of parenthood is that parents are in control! You teach. You guide. You create routines, plans,  … Read more

6 tips to help toddlers and preschoolers with powerful feelings and emotions

Big, powerful emotions are inevitable as young children grow into thinking, feeling little people. When the world feels volatile, toddlers and preschoolers need emotionally reassuring grown-ups to help them to  … Read more

Benefits of dirt and mud play

There’s an old proverb that you have to eat a pound of dirt before you die. Turns out that proverb has some wisdom behind it. According to the Hygiene Hypothesis,  … Read more

Friendships in early childhood: do’s and don’ts for parents

Children’s friendships are unique. They flourish in the moment yet they change unpredictably. Young children’s social and emotional lives are intricately woven together. If a child is happy, friendships are  … Read more

Potty Training Accidents: all part of the learning

Imagine yourself in the body and the mind of your potty-going child. Your child’s inner world looks and feels very different from the one you know. Sometimes your child gets  … Read more

You are smarter than your child…Really!

In order to be the best teacher and guide that your child needs, you must be able to handle anything your child throws at you — metaphorically, that is. You  … Read more

Teach by example even if you are less than perfect

Children may or may not do as you say but they are very likely to do as you do. You are more than your child’s first teacher. You are your  … Read more

Night time parenting tips for sleep deprived families

Alarms are ringing in the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Sleep Foundation (NSF): this is one sleep deprived nation. The  … Read more

Social-Emotional Skill Building: teaching young children to say what they need

What do young children “need” when they are bored, sleepy, sad or hungry? How about when they are angry, confused or excited? Kids do know what they need. Babies are  … Read more

Setting limits: first act with love

Setting limits is one of the hardest things parents have to do. And it doesn’t come naturally to most. It’s a learned skill that is acquired only after months, sometimes  … Read more

5 Tips on how to teach optimism and resilience

Early childhood is prime time for encouraging optimism and resilience in children. Some researchers have even suggested that optimism, as an “explanatory style” in experiencing the world, may be established  … Read more

Learning means find the edges!

I want children to grow to their fullest potential! To stretch! To reach for the sky! To discover the impossible is possible! To me, that means find the edges. The  … Read more

Hitting, Biting, Pushing…Oh My!

Learning to play well with others is lifelong skill children learn in early childhood. Toddlers and preschoolers are learning how to express their needs, wants and preferences while accommodating a  … Read more

Parenting Improv – it’s ok to suck on those nothing-goes-as-planned days

No one wakes up in the morning saying “today I’m going to suck”! Yet, every day we are inches away from an epic fail – saying exactly the wrong thing,  … Read more

See Me Hear Me Love Me: the cornerstone of all development

Every action, every thought, every feeling is your child creating a self-portrait of who they are and what they need to grow. It’s up to us to see, hear and  … Read more

Powerful Fearless Girls

Are girls all sugar and spice and everything nice? Not exactly. Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In and COO of Facebook, says “I want every little girl who’s told she’s  … Read more

Xtreme Emotions and the Power of Love

Those “terrible two’s” got their name from the emotional Xtremes of being two. Of course it all starts at 18 months when your child first says “no” and “mine”. And,  … Read more

Teaching Independence: Baby Steps and Giant Leaps

Toddlers and preschoolers are eager to grow and learn. Yet, they often experience clingy periods of neediness just before mastering new developmental challenges like walking, separation, and potty training. They  … Read more

Trust Us: how and why parents can trust teachers for back-to-school

Back-to-school is often stressful for children, especially young children. Young children aren’t very good at feeling competent and masterful in new situations. Uh-oh….a new classroom! Where do I sit –  … Read more

Teaching social skills: hitting, biting, pushing – oh my!

Learning to play well with others is lifelong skill children learn in early childhood. Toddlers and preschoolers are learning how to express their needs, wants and preferences while accommodating a  … Read more

Back-to-school: Social-emotional readiness

Blue Birds, Busy Bees or Dancing Dolphins – Walk down the hallway of a typical preschool and you’ll see classroom names that inspire a sense of identity and belonging in  … Read more

Listening games for toddlers and preschoolers

Children live in a media-rich world that’s dominantly visual. Media conditions children to focus on rapid-fire visual images. Parents and teachers want to cultivate a multi-sensory awareness. Tuning into sounds  … Read more

Fear and reason in toddler imagination

Parents are protectors. They create safe, secure lives for little children to learn and grow. They tell stories about the world so that children may learn about danger and take  … Read more

How to build attention and focus skills to kids in a multi-tasking world

Kids, just like the busy grown-ups around them, live in a world of sensory overload. They are busier than ever, spending increasing amounts of time out of the home. Many  … Read more

Children’s Books that Soothe and Seethe: Supporting Emotional Development

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. Toddlers and preschoolers are walking around with a great big new emotional life that doesn’t quite fit yet. When your child feels intense new emotions, you  … Read more

Everyday Math

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. Young children are learning math every day. They count fingers and toes and by rote to numbers that are older than mommy. They compare quantities large  … Read more

Family Mealtime: The Recipe for Healthy Kids

Believe it or not, you can improve your child’s health and fitness, test scores, and social/emotional competence with one simple daily event. Numerous studies all tell us that the family  … Read more

To share or not to share: learning social skills

Sharing is a very challenging concept for young children. Obviously, sharing is a social skill. Sharing, however, also requires complex emotional and cognitive skills that are not fully developed in  … Read more

Relaxation for Children

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. What goes up must come down. And so it is with children’s energy levels. Young children, however, do not always have the skills to ease down  … Read more

Use Your Words: the toddler language explosion

Toddlers have spent the majority of their lives listening to words and finding optimal ways to communicate their wants and needs. Toddlers quickly discover the power of language, from their  … Read more

Halloween and the power of pretend play

Halloween is one holiday that, if played “right”, gives children enormous power and excitement, not to mention the candy part. Yes, it just might be fun to be scared! No,  … Read more

Risk-Taking in a World of “Watch out!” and “Be Careful!”

“Stop!” “Be careful!” “Don’t do that!” “Watch out!” Imagine yourself test driving a brand new Porsche Carrera convertible (MSRP $102,930.00) onto a busy I95 while a very nervous passenger reminds  … Read more

Monsters: Good and Bad

Once upon a time there was a little boy, a brave and strong little boy. He wasn’t afraid of anything. He rode his bike as fast as lightning. He started  … Read more


By Karen Deerwester, the owner of Family Time Coaching & Consulting Warning! Warning! The world is laughing entirely too little. First, the reports claimed it was the adults who had  … Read more

A Boredom Jar

Do kids really get “bored” at home? No way! Kids are kids – they can watch an ant crawl up a 9 foot wall or pull a thread on sofa  … Read more

Potty Training Basics: readiness!

Usually you see the first signs of potty training readiness on a Monday. By Friday, you are ready to work with your child and by Sunday, you will be celebrating.  … Read more

Don’t be afraid of childhood fears

Fear is inevitable in every child’s life, because children do not understand cause and effect. In child logic, darkness can “eat” a room and children can get “sucked down” bathtub  … Read more

A Few Favorite Monster Books

I believe in monsters! Because I believe in the children who see them, hear them, feel them! As parents, you can expect the monsters. Use books and pretend play to  … Read more

Outer Spaces for Kids

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. Imagine so much “curb appeal” to your backyard that children flock from every corner of the neighborhood to play, to learn, and to relax. Ok, maybe  … Read more

Starry Starry Night

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. From Twinkle Twinkle to Good Night Moon, the night sky holds endless fascination for young children. The magical combination of science and ritual is brimming with early childhood trinkets.  … Read more

A stress free transition to kindergarten

The preschool year is coming to an end. For many parents, it’s the bitter-sweet, excitement-n-fear of saying goodbye to an extended school-family and embarking on the next adventure of “big  … Read more

Your Child’s Atelier

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. Artists thrive in a studio of their own – a place to dream, experiment, and create. Atelier is the French word for an artist’s workshop. Your  … Read more

Love Letters: First Writing Experiences

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. Literacy involves four interconnected activities: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Interestingly, children do not learn these literacy skills one at a time – they do not  … Read more

Never Too Young for Philanthropy

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. Compassion and empathy are powerful feelings at any age. As adults, we have the ability to make a difference in the world by helping others. Imagine  … Read more

Back to school: the power of a backpack

Backpacks are a tell-tale sign that back-to-school is here. But like teddy bears and bedtime books, backpacks are not ordinary objects. A backpack gives your child magical power – the  … Read more

Back to school: preschool hello’s, good bye’s, and mommy comes back

Oh, the anguish of leaving a crying, confused, uncertain child in the hands of “stranger”, even when that “stranger” is a loving teacher reassuring you that “everything will be ok”.  … Read more

Transitions and New Beginnings

Endings and beginnings. Change – new ages-and-stages, new learning, new skills, new frustrations, new dreams, new challenges. Anticipation, celebration and uncertainty mark the transition from old to new. Each new  … Read more

Potty Training: Know Yourself – Know Your Child

Every child eventually learns to use the potty. Every parent survives and moves onto a zillion other parenting successes. Somehow though, until success is guaranteed, the potty experience has the  … Read more

Is Santa Claus real?

Where were you when you discovered the “truth” about Santa Claus? Some parents remember feeling betrayed by the first “lie” of childhood. Others felt liberated at their first “aha moment”.  … Read more

Favorite toys for 2018 holiday shopping

We love toys and we really love playing!!! In our annual list of favorite toys, we try to find toys that engage children in the all-in fun of being a  … Read more

Family Time for the Holidays

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. Think back to your childhood for just a minute and remember what you did during the holiday season. What was the weather like where you lived?  … Read more

Avoid the Holiday Gimme’s

The visual effect of a mountain of presents is dramatic, filled with all the excitement of surprises and wishes fulfilled. Your heart glows when you hear your child “oooh” and  … Read more

Thanksgiving Dinner: a comedy of manners

Thursday – 4:27pm: Guests are arriving in three minutes. No, not guests, relatives – Mother (who still thinks Thanksgiving should be prepared “her way”), Father (who never really understood why  … Read more

Stopping pinching

Question: My usually sunny and agreeable two-year-old has begun the distressing habit of pinching — hard. It began when she was tired or hungry so distracting her was easy. Now  … Read more

Not talking

Question: My 3 and a half year old does not speak at preschool, unless directly spoken to and often then only whispers or shrugs, nods, etc. Her teacher has expressed  … Read more

Sleeping alone

Question: Dear Karen, I blame myself for this problem. My daughter is almost 12 years old and will not sleep in her own bed. She has never slept in her  … Read more

Son showers with dad

Question: I am divorced and my son who is 6 yrs. old spends time with his dad either every other weekend sometimes more if he has special things/events to do.  … Read more


Question: My 4-year-old son is a whiner. Ever since he was about two he begs and moans until he gets exactly what he wants. What can I do to make  … Read more

Teaching quiet behavior

Question: We have a four-year old daughter who is what I have heard termed “a highly-spirited child.” It seems everywhere she goes, even just room to room in our house,  … Read more

Creating a playroom

Question: I have a room I use both as guestroom (which has a daybed with trundle), and a playroom. The room is not large. What ideas do you have that  … Read more

Respect and stepfamilies

Question: I am a new step mom to two boys, ages 4 and 10, who live with us fulltime. During my husband’s separation and divorce, his ex mother-in-law helped out  … Read more

Creative play

Question: I have a 16-month old and would like some advice on how to “play” with her. I am a stay at home mom so I try to balance house  … Read more

What Age Should a Teen Date?

Question: I have an almost 13 year old daughter. She is in the 7th grade and is the youngest. Anyway many of her friends go with their friend to the  … Read more

How much homework?

Question: With competitiveness today I feel like I have to always stay on top of my 9-year-old with her homework. I work full time and homework fills our night. I  … Read more

Stepfamily discipline issues

Question: I need your help! I have a 6-year-old daughter from a previous relationship and I just recently got married to my husband on October of 2001. I fear for  … Read more

Diaper change

Question: My 27-month old son’s general disposition is calm, happy and secure. I know form speaking with other parents that I have it pretty easy and that he is about  … Read more

Teenagers Chatting Online

Question: I have a 13-year-old daughter who recently came back into my care about a year ago, she seems to think it’s alright to go online and chat with people  … Read more

Learning to read

Question: At what age should a child be beginning to read? My daughter will be five in April and she is beginning to read, with assistance. Also, by what age  … Read more

Dealing with a family death

Question: Please help. My husband died and we will have a memorial Tues. A seven year old is angry with God for taking his grandpa. He is coming tomorrow and  … Read more

Teething and sleep

Question: My 11-month-old used to go to bed no problem and sleep through the night. The last month, teething has disrupted his sleeping and it is now taking 2 hours  … Read more

Behavior at school

Question: I have a 12 year old son. When my son is at home he is an angel. But, when he goes to school he becomes a monster. I went  … Read more

Inappropriate touching

Question: My just 6 year-old has a friend that is 8. they have been playing together for over a year. The 8 year-old is delayed emotionally so it seems that  … Read more

Sibling rivalry

Question: I have a 13-year-old and a 7-year-old that are at each others throats all the time. At first it was just arguing now it has progressed into hitting, kicking  … Read more

Showering with dad

Question: I have a 2 year old daughter who loves to take showers with her Daddy. At what age does it become inappropriate for a little girl to shower with  … Read more

Tantrum in restaurant

Question: I took my 4-year-old, and my 1-year-old to a birthday party at McDonald’s. As soon as they started the party my 4-year-old threw a huge tantrum! He didn’t want  … Read more


Question: I have a 7 yr old daughter who has recently started doing the “sleep over” thing. At least.. trying. All of her friends seem to have no problem whatsoever  … Read more

Grumpy evening behavior

Question: My seven year old son is always very grumpy at the end of the day. He becomes very intolerant with his younger brother. I told him that it was  … Read more

Sleeping through the night

Question: My 14 month old son used to sleep 10-12 hrs a night in his crib. Ever since he turned 9 months old I have been sleeping with him on  … Read more

Siblings at the same daycare

Question: My son is 6 years old. Since the beginning of this year, his younger sister (20 months old) started attending the same daycare as him. My son has been  … Read more

Getting teased at school

Question: My daughter is being tease at school about her glasses and they call her a nerd. She’s been so upset by it that she cries when I ask her  … Read more

Discipline and Step-children

Question: I’m a step mother and my step daughter tells me she doesn’t have to do what I say because I’m not her mother. After I refuse to give into  … Read more

Hungry at night

Question: Our 10-month old still does not sleep through the night. He goes down for bed at around 8:30 pm and wake up starving at 1 am. He will drink  … Read more

Behavior at school

Question: My 6 yr. old son seems to be a very sweet, aware, sensitive and intelligent boy. But yet he is having behavior problems at school. He talks and makes  … Read more

Talking about puberty

Question: My 9-year-old “baby” girl is starting to develop! She is so little, and I have never even thought about discussing the facts of life with her. She still carries  … Read more

Time to play and the fun of independent play

Ahhhh, the unhurried play of playing alone with nowhere to be and no one telling you what to do! Solitary play is one of the mainstays of childhood – a  … Read more

Falling asleep on her own

Question: My 11-month-old daughter has been waking up at various times in the night for the past month. She has not been able to put herself back to sleep, without  … Read more

Lies about school

Question: I have a 12 year old stepson. He lives with his father and me. His mother has every other weekend visitation other than that she is not involved. His  … Read more

Dropping off at daycare

Question: We have recently moved. My daughter is only 15 minutes away from our old home, but the move required a new daycare facility. She is five. My husband has  … Read more

Cried at preschool

Question: My son is almost three and he started pre-school a few weeks ago. He does well saying goodbye, but as soon as he steps into the classroom and I’m  … Read more

Needs mom after bedtime

Question: I am the father of a wonderful 2 1/2-year-old girl. My wife and I are having a difficult time with her sleep patterns. She used to go to sleep  … Read more

Child hits mother

Question: I have a daughter, who will be four years old next month. She is very bright with amazing memory and artistic talent and tends to expect everybody to understand  … Read more

Explaining the facts of life

Question: Please advise on any resource books for explaining the facts of life for a 10 year old and one for a five year old. K.H. Answer: There are many  … Read more


Question: I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter who bites. She seem to bite her self and other childern. It doesn’t seem to be just one child it’s all.I  … Read more

Child prefers caregiver

Question: My daughter is 11 months old. I went back to work 2 months ago. For the past few weeks she has been reaching for the babysitter when I drop  … Read more

‘Needy’ behavior

Question: My 5 year old recently has become extremely sensitive and somewhat “needy” of mom. I work 4.5 hours per day, 5 days per week and have since he was  … Read more

Positive discipline

Question: What are some positive approaches to discipline of a 5-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl. Is spanking ever an option? What is the best type of approaches when a  … Read more


Question: I’m a recent widow and have recently changed jobs and my son three-year-old son and I moved. My son has turned into a monster. He has never misbehaved…but all  … Read more

Potty training regression

Question: My girl is 3 1/2 and she has been toilet trained for about 1 1/2 years about eight weeks ago she has started pooing her pants again. She doesn’t  … Read more

Friend doesn’t want to play

Question: My 10-year-old son has been playing with a friend he has had for the last four years and just in the last 3 months or so his friend never  … Read more

Uninvolved Student

Question: My 12 year old middle schooler has gone from a excellent student to a uninvolved student. Her teachers have stonewalled me about communicating, insisting it is totally up to  … Read more

Overactive toddlers

Question: My son is 33 months old, but he is totally out of control. One day last week he awakened at 5 am and went to bed at 11:30pm, no  … Read more

Potty training regression 2

Question: My daughter is 2 1/2 and has been potty trained since her second birthday. My husband has recently taken a new job that requires him to be gone 3  … Read more

Music lessons

Question: My daughter is 11 and has been taking piano lessons since she was 5. She has a gift. She’s able to play by ear and it’s only in the  … Read more

Child has problems sleeping alone

Question: My daughter has recently started getting up at night and will only go back to sleep if a parent sleeps with her or if she is allowed to sleep  … Read more

Child prefers mom

Question: My son only wants mommy. When Daddy tries to put him to bed, he tells him he wants Mommy. When we go somewhere where he doesn’t know everyone he  … Read more

Resisting potty training

Question: My wife and I have a home daycare one of our children has potty trained themselves into there diapers. We will put him on the potty during the times  … Read more

4-year-old lying

Question: I have a 4 1/2 year old little girl who is starting to become defiant, untruthful, sneaky, and has done some hitting to myself and her father lately. We  … Read more

School uniforms

Question: Do you agree that school uniforms are good for all students in all schools? – Deven Answer: I can agree that student uniforms are a good thing but it  … Read more

Ready for daycare

Question: My child, just under 2, stays with me during the day while I work from home…would she be better off to go to a day care part time for  … Read more

Aggressive behavior

Question: I need HELP. I have a two-year-old who seems very aggressive. She beats on her 8-year-old sister with whatever toy she may have in her hand at the time.  … Read more

Stopping Grumpy behavior

Question: My 9 year old son is 80 percent of the time grumpy. He is happy when he is doing the things he likes to do, but if I ask  … Read more

Childhood friendships

Question: My daughter is 12 years old, and the usual preteen type. While she is somewhat quiet, she generally makes friends easily. The problem is once she makes a new  … Read more

Mom working fulltime

Question: Is there a certain age where it is better for a mom to go back to work? I have a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old and I am trying to  … Read more

Preschool behavior

Question: My son is 4 1/2 years old and he is being disruptive at pre-school. He plays up in quiet time and sometimes hits other children or jumps on them.  … Read more

An unhappy child

Question: I have a six year old daughter, nothing makes her happy. If she is excited about something, it last for just a second and before we can do what  … Read more

Step-children acting out

Question: I’m a step-mother of two children one girl (10) and one boy (8). I’ve been the step-mother for two years. Their real mother has abandoned them, they have not  … Read more

The Art of Giving

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. Children everywhere will be doing a lot of receiving this holiday season. Whether it’s Santa delivering gifts under a Christmas tree or eight presents next to  … Read more

Toy Buying for Real Kids

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. You’ve seen this year’s toy-buying lists in all the popular parenting magazines, age-by-age suggestions of must-have toys. Unfortunately these can lead to a houseful of forgettable  … Read more

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees: talking to kids about money

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. Babies don’t arrive by storks and money doesn’t grow on trees. Sometimes it seems easier to avoid certain discussions than to try to teach children the  … Read more


Question: I am writing about my 12 month old daughter, Rhane. She has started whining very loudly until she gets what she wants and it is turning into a noisy  … Read more

Trusting the Sitter

Question:How do I convince a friend that her two year old is fine? I babysit for her and when she is in a hurry in the morning we have a  … Read more

Behavior issues vs. ADHD

Question: My just 6 year-old has a friend that is 8. they have been playing together for over a year. The 8 year-old is delayed emotionally so it seems that  … Read more

Afterschool childcare

Question: My daughter is 11 years old and an only child. She is in 6th grade in a 6th – 8th Middle School this year. Up until this year there  … Read more