Category: Happy Family

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

Toddler Tyrants: Understanding “Mine”

Toddlers feverishly defend their piece of the world like little tyrannical monarchs. “Mine! Mine! Mine! Don’t you dare ________.” Parents recoil in embarrassment. Onlookers shake their heads and wave judgmental  … 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

Parenting Promise for 2024: to be braver, stronger, smarter than you think

Brave, strong and smart. Heart, body and mind. What do you want for your children in the new year? Everything! What do you want for yourself? To be enough! Each  … Read more

Toy Favorites for 2023

It’s that time of year for holiday toys!!! Kids, and parents, love new toys. I love new toys for the classroom. Not because we NEED them but because they catch  … 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

Family Time 2021 Toy Favorites for babies and toddlers

Holiday toy shopping lists…ugh! What do children really need? They need time, space, interesting objects that do interesting and various things depending on who is playing. Each child needs the  … 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

Toddler Shock: where is my sweet, cooperative, easy-going child?

Toddlers are motion and emotions, power plays and exponential growth. Toddlerhood is a stage unlike any other, with the possible exception of becoming a teenager. Actually, becoming a toddler is  … 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

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

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

Parents: braver, stronger, smarter than you think!

Brave, strong and smart. Heart, body and mind. What do you want for your children in the new year? Everything! What do you want for yourself? To be enough! Each  … 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

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 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

Co-parenting guidelines: what to do when parents disagree

We’ve all heard “it takes a village to raise a child”. Surely, it takes a village full of hands and more time than any one person has in a day  … 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

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

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

Grandparenting: better than parenting?

Mimi, pop pop, bubby, sabba, nana, peepa… grandparents! Grandparents come with many names and countless ways to be a grandparent. The grandparent-child relationship is unique, without all the pressure of  … Read more

Life with kids: fear, doubt, guilt, uncertainty but frenzy is optional

Fear – Doubt – Guilt – Uncertainty are all a mixed bag that sabotage everyday parenting interactions. Fear for imminent danger, like tigers in your bedroom, is “real”. In those  … Read more

10 Reasons Why Taking Care of Yourself is Good for Your Children

Motherhood is a self-less act. It requires placing someone else’s needs above your own, from sleepless nights to time-consuming carpools. Motherhood is a lifelong journey of nurturing, guiding, consoling and  … 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

for parents: Hands Up and ride the roller coaster

You might think raising kids is like driving a car and all you need to avoid the crashes and huge insurance claims is to pass the test, follow the rules  … 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

Powerful parenting

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. Parenting can get very confusing in today’s world. Here are 5 valuable tips on how to approach the overwhelming amount of parenting information available to parents  … Read more

Time out for mom

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. The kids are screaming at each other. They’re becoming so demanding. I want to scream. I’ve read all the parenting advice I can take. Nothing works.  … 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

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

Discipline part 1: how to manage challenging behavior

Discipline is especially challenging when your kids catch you off guard, explode without warning or surprise you with new precociousness. Out-of-control kids are not a fluke of nature; out-of-control kids  … Read more

Singing in the Rain

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. Summer in Florida is hot and it’s wet. You can complain all you want but surely it’s better not to hear complaining children’s voices. So, here  … 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

Back-to-School: 5 ways preschools give children exactly what they need

Preschool is a magical place made just for kids – child sized furniture (and bathrooms), interest centers with a child’s favorite kind of play, predictable routines that flow with the  … 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

Discipline part 2: rules and routines that guide and teach

The first part of successful discipline is managing the moment: setting clear limits, disengaging from emotional power struggles and taking decisive action to “mean what you say”. You don’t always  … 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

December Stress: 5 Minutes of Christmas Joy Every Day

December can be a stressful month for kids and families. All that Joy to the World takes its toll on schedules and wallets, not to mention trying not to pout  … 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

2017 Toy Shopping Favs for Toddlers

Toy shopping is fun! It allows us to reconnect with play and silliness and hopefully to connect with what is unique and original in the children who will receive our  … 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

Are You Stuffed with Too Much Stuff?

By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. ‘Tis the season for stuff! You buy stuff, build stuff, wrap stuff, ship stuff, return stuff, and buy more stuff. And then we say we love  … 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

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

Multi-lingual home

Question: I have two girls aged 4 and 5. Their father is Italian and speaks to them in Italian and we live in Italy and they attend Italian nursery school,  … 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

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

Shared parenting

Question: I recently moved in with my boyfriend, he’s got two children from his previous marriage 8 year old son, and 5 year old daughter, and I have 2 children  … 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

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

Finding time for it all

Question: I work full-time – gone from home 11+ hours a day. I have 2 young boys, 4 and 5 yrs old, and an older husband who runs his company  … 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

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

Parental fighting

Question: I don’t know how to spare our children from the fighting. I feel like being with my wife equates to having an argument. Every strategy I’ve tried (reasoning, listening,  … 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

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-sisters fighting

Question: My 12-year-old stepdaughter is extremely verbally abusive to my 13-year-old daughter. She has even gone as far as to have a group of girls physically attack my daughter. My  … 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

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

Single parent dating

Question: How can a single busy, professional parent raising two special daughters find more time to socialize and meet that special someone? – Tim Answer: Juggling adult needs and the  … 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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Differing parenting styles

Question: I have been going out with a woman with a 6-year-old son for quite a while and am on the point of moving in full time. I get on  … 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thumb sucking

Question: How can I get my 3 year old boy to stop sucking on his finger (versus his thumb). He sucks on it when he is tired or for security  … 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

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


By Karen Deerwester, Ed.S. Shout it from the tops of the highest mountains. Announce it at all the NBA playoff games. Pipe it into every shopping mall in America. WE  … 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

Bathtime Crying

Question: Since the day my 4 month old’s umblical cord fell off and he has been ready to bathe. He screams the entire time, he hasn’t had a bad experience  … Read more

Sibling Rivalry

Question: I have a 2 and 3-year-old. How do you discipline when the younger one is the bully, and has a very demanding personality. She throws tantrums when disciplined while  … Read more

Working Moms and Daycare

Question: Has there been any conclusive evidence supporting claims that children raised by caregivers other than their parents tend to be more aggressive? I have waffled over this decision too  … Read more