121: Stuff vs. Experiences: The Holiday Survival Guide, Part One

img_1871Welcome! To listen to today’s show, scroll down to the bottom of this post and click the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

On November 4 of this year, we heard our very first Christmas commercial, prompting my youngest and I to freak out a little bit.

I mean, November 4! We’re still eating Halloween candy on November 4, we’re not ready to even think about Thanksgiving, never mind the crazy end-of-the-year extravaganza the holiday season is nowadays.

So my question is: how are you feeling?
Are you stressed out about the holidays?

If so, you’re going to love these next weeks of We Turned Out Okay.

We’ve got conversations coming up with guests who share practical advice for feeling better right now, and the 2-part Holiday Survival guide to give you the support and solace you need to bring your family through this season with smiles on all your faces.

Today: I share an embarrassing story, because I want you to learn from my greedy mistake that experiences matter lots more than stuff.

It’s so easy to forget that at this time of year.

Click weturnedoutokay.com/121 for show notes and key links, and enjoy the show!

The year Max (now 16) was four, my youngest brother scraped together what I’m sure was an excessive amount of money to give our son a really wonderful present: 2 railway cars for his Thomas the Tank Engine set.

Somewhere in the lead-up to that Christmas, I got the impression that he was going to give even more, though. When I asked him about that on Christmas day (I’m literally cringing as I write this), and he stumbled through his response that he just didn’t have any more cash, I realized how incredibly greedy I was being.

Mortified, I vowed that I would never make anybody feel as uncomfortable as my poor brother felt that day again!

Watching Max enjoy the trains with his uncle, I learned on that long ago Christmas that it’s the experiences that matter so very much more than the stuff.

And that’s what today’s episode is all about.

As you head into the holidays, consider what experiences you can give your kids, instead of tallying the material goods they’ll be accumulating.

I know you want to give your kids everything – I totally understand that!

But please remember me, and the lesson I learned from wanting MORE trains.

Please remember (as the picture up there says):

Kids spell love T-I-M-E.

Key Links:

Check out touringplans.com, a website that helped us have the Disney/Universal Studios vacation of our dreams – by helping us figure out an itinerary that saved us tons of waiting time.

If you’re struggling with the day-to-day of child-rearing, my book might save you some stress:
click here to check out Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics: Key Tools to Handle Every Temper Tantrum, Keep Your Cool, and Enjoy Life With Your Young Child.

120: Helping Kids Be Givers: A Your Child Explained Episode

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll down to the bottom of this post and click the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

There are so many great reasons to help our kids give, no matter their age. Today we dig into not just why but how to help even very young children become “givers.”

For many years now, my two boys set aside just a little bit of money each month – an idea given to us by the mom of a friend of theirs. This particular mom also happens to be a midwife, and Max and Jay are helping fund her trip to Haiti, to train midwives and deliver babies, contributing nearly 200 dollars with this little bit of money each month!

There were tears in this mom’s eyes when I handed over their donation; that is the power of giving.

But it doesn’t just have to be about money. Small kids can contribute in several other ways – listen to this episode for some other ideas to help you help your child become a giver.

Click weturnedoutokay.com/120 for full show notes – including links to tutorials for making no-sew fleece blankets and doggie beds out of old sweatshirts – and key links for this episode!

If money is short, what about time?

Simply bringing young children to visit the inhabitants of a nursing home brings so much joy to those who live there.

Through the co-op that my youngest belongs to, we’ve learned of 2 other interesting, low key ways that young children can give:

1) make easy, cozy, security-providing fleece blankets for kids, and then contribute them to Project Linus, an organization that gets blankets into the hands of small kids who are in the grip of an emergency

2) make dog beds out of sweatshirts, and donate them to a local pet shelter

I know that it’s so easy to think about giving right around Thanksgiving, but my hope is that the ideas in this episode will help you make your child a giver all through the year.

I just want to say how grateful I am to you for listening! If you’re reading these words, and they’re helping you with some aspect of raising your kids, I want you to know how grateful I am – both because you’re here, and because I can help you.

I wish you and those that you love a wonderful Thanksgiving!

119: “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?” Navigating Parenthood with Mom/Dad/Author Duo Annemarie Kelly-Harbaugh and Ken Harbaugh

Welcome! To listen to today’s show, scroll on down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

Today’s guests, Annemarie Kelly-Harbaugh and Ken Harbaugh, did some pretty amazing stuff before they became parents. She helped troubled young people in a program that functioned mainly way out in the woods, he was a naval officer who flew reconnaissance missions and responded to disasters here at home and internationally.

They had each encountered their fair share of storms, which helped them prepare for the challenges of parenthood.

Just like all of us, Ken and Annemarie have seen some storms in parenting; what’s cool about them is that they don’t just ride out the storms – they learn from them.

In fact, they’ve written a book – Here Be Dragons: A Parent’s Guide to Rediscovering Purpose, Adventure, and the Unfathomable Joy of The Journey – and are on the show today sharing some of their best lessons with us.

I’m excited to bring you today’s episode this week especially, because Thanksgiving comes up in our conversation.

And so does so much else.

Click weturnedoutokay.com/119 for full show notes and key links, including those to Annemarie and Ken’s awesome blog and book!

DadvMom, the Kelly-Harbaugh home on the web, is just hilarious – and at the same time, tender and sweet. This parenting duo’s website is super fun and relevant, click here to check it out.

You can also grab Here Be Dragons at the website, but in case you’d like to check it out in Amazon, click this link.

118: How to Help Kids Cope With Anxiety Over New Situations – A Your Child Explained Episode

person-1627709_640Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll down to the very bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

When Ninja Parenting Community member Melissa shared about the anxiety that her kids can feel in new situations – as well as that she herself experiences this anxiety – I knew this was going to be a great Your Child Explained episode.

Who among us has not felt anxiety in new situations? It’s so easy for kids to feed off of our worries.

I hope you learn lots as Melissa opens up about the toughest parts of the family’s day, feeling overwhelmed, and lots more that you will totally identify with – I know I did.

Click weturnedoutokay.com/118 for my recommendations and key links!

With so much going on in this busy household, Melissa wishes for time together as a family to practice mindfulness (a great tool for bringing peace into a crazy day, and also for just feeling better).

But, how best to do that?

I suggest that Melissa use a whiteboard, a calendar, or even just a simple piece of paper to get control of the family’s time by writing down who has to be where, and when.

Incorporating mindfulness into dinner, perhaps by inviting everyone to share something they are grateful for, or something good that happened that day, also comes up.

The great thing about these suggestions is they don’t take a tremendous amount of time – but they do save a family’s time and sanity, because there’s a central schedule and also the opportunity to recognize what’s good in our lives.

Key Links:

Click here to listen to my conversation with Andre Nguyen, in which he teaches us how to take great family photos with our iPhones! During our conversation today, Melissa shares that Andre’s episode was the first she ever heard, back during the summer of 2015.

Want to alleviate your own anxiety? Check out the Ninja Parenting Community! We’ll be in beta for a little bit longer, which means that you can have a parent coaching call just like Melissa’s. I can help you with your toughest parenting problems, and you get to belong to a vibrant community… It’s a win-win! Click here to check it out.

117: Three Ways to Talk to Your Kids About The Election

Welcome – to listen to today’s episode, scroll down to the bottom of this post and click the triangular “play” button…

The gist of this show is, we take care of each other. It’s going to be okay.

This morning I woke up to pandemonium, with Canadian loved ones seriously offering their homes… Some of the calmest people that I know terrified and freaking out… My Facebook feed – like yours, I’m sure – filled with tears and panic.

Because half the country was pro–her, and the other half of the country pro-him, we were all going to know some people who hate and fear the results of yesterday’s presidential election.

What resonated with me most: parents asking “how do I tell my kids about this?”

Here’s how I talked to my boys this morning: I posted a quote to ponder.

In the recent Boston Globe Magazine Women & Power issue, Axcelis Technologies CEO Mary G. Puma was asked how she handles crisis. She responded that a mentor of hers used to say (here comes the quote):

“Never waste a good crisis.”

Meaning: how can we move forward?

I wanted this episode to use today’s “good crisis” as a catalyst, to help us all bring our kids through tough stuff.

So, I got in here a little earlier than usual in hopes of making you feel better if you are, shall we say, not your usual calm self.

Click weturnedoutokay.com/117 to read about the three ways you can help your kids, and talk to them about this election!

1) Most of all, our kids need us to be calm, and to communicate safety. Especially for the very young, they will neither know nor care what is causing us to flip out – all they’ll know is that we are flipping out.

As former assistant secretary of National Homeland Security Juliette Kayyem said in episode 110, “your kids are feeding off of you… So, if you’re in front of the TV yelling at CNN that the world is going to hell in a handbasket… Trust me, you just made a neurotic kid.”

If you voted for Hillary (as I did), this is a tough moment to be calm! I get that. Like a friend of mine (who lives up here in Massachusetts, where we just passed a law legalizing recreational use of pot) posted on Facebook, “I would like my marijuana now please.”

But in our homes, we are the leaders. Our kids look to us for safety and security. We must provide it.

2) Cultivate empathy; this one may seem counterintuitive, but stay with me because it’s really important.

It’s so easy to trash the other side in this election, to conclude that everyone who voted for Hillary is a member of the liberal-media-loving, nanny-state elite.

Or that all Trump voters are racist, misogynistic fanatics.

But if we can put ourselves in those voters’ shoes – in other words, if we can think with empathy – we can maybe ask ourselves why. Why did they vote that way, seriously?

Why did 11,000 people (according to Reddit, later determined to be untrue ) vote Harambe the guerrilla as our next president? Probably not because they lost their minds, as my sixteen-year-old thought, but still they did it and it does seem like a pretty crazy thing!

But when I put myself in their shoes and realize that, from their perspective, they simply could not bring themselves to vote for any of the candidates on the ballot, it seems less crazy, more of a comical protest.

Not that you want to share all that with your young child… Think of this as part 2A, really about our mindset.

2B does pertain to our kids, though: we parents can cultivate empathy to communicate to kids that were all on the same team.

This past Saturday in the Boston Globe I read a fantastic article, Whatever Happened to Empathy?, by Jaci Conry. (It’s great, you should read it! Click here to do so.)

I found myself thinking about it today because, especially if we are upset by the election outcome, we really need the support of our families and friends right now. We need our kids on our team; in Jaci’s words: “parents need to make teamwork and caring a priority.”

Also, our kids need to be able to walk in others’ shoes. The article continues: “[Our kids] must also learn to develop empathy for the people they encounter in their daily lives: a server in a restaurant, the bus driver, the school secretary.”

When they’re really small, we want to give our kids the message that “we are a family and we take care of each other”… As they get older we want to expand that idea out.

We want to get to a point where our children understand that even people who voted for the candidate we didn’t want to win are still people.

Empathy is the basis for so many wonderful human traits; cultivating it in our own mindset and in our children’s lives is really important now.

3) Encourage kids’ questions.

Kids are such open books; if we say to them “what are your concerns,” they’ll tell us. Often times, especially in younger children, their concerns have to do with their own and their families’ basic safety; because kids are so egocentric, it’s hard for them to understand how something nebulous like a presidential election could impact their lives.

But it’s easy for them to become worried when they see us scared and upset.

So, answers to most of young kids’ questions in a situation like this will be some version of “we are here to keep you safe.”
I really, really hope this helps you through these next weeks and days.

We WILL get through this. We will help each other, and we will be okay.

In the meantime, don’t waste this crisis (if you see it as such) – use it to help strengthen the bonds you have with your children by communicating calm and safety, focusing on empathy, and encouraging their questions.

116: How to Navigate Your Child’s Digital World with Mom and Kids-and-Media Expert Devorah Heitner

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll on down to the bottom of this post and press the triangular “play” button.
Enjoy the show!

What worries you about technology and your kids?
Is it online predators? Cyber bullying?
The idea that they’ll disappear into their little devices and you’ll never see them again?

My guest today, Devorah Heitner, is an expert at helping us understand technology and our kids – and ourselves.

Because like it or not, we are raising digital natives; we need to get this right!

Devorah has appeared on the Today show, NPR, the Discovery Education Channel; she’s been featured in Time magazine and Real Simple. Most recently, she’s written Screenwise, a book about raising kids in this digital age, highly recommended!

Today – election day if you’re listening in real time – Devorah is on the show to help us understand both raising kids in our digital world, and how to teach civility in this era of utterly uncivil political/public discourse.

To read more about my conversation with Devorah, view her amazing TED-X talk, and to listen to our conversation, go to weturnedoutokay.com/116!

Earlier in her career, Devorah did something really interesting: she helped privileged college students connect with underprivileged third-graders.

As she became interested in technology, the lessons she learned while watching those connections stayed with her, because the very fact of the connections had to do with a key human trait:


Devorah’s TED-X talk, “Empathy is the App,” shares about her research with middle schoolers, kids just a little bit older, most likely, than your kids are right now.

She talks about how much it hurts when your friends are posting pictures on instagram of a birthday party that you weren’t invited to; about kids learning not to continually text-spam when they’re not getting a response; about how tough it is for kids when their parents get so buried in their phones that they ignore the child standing right in front of them.

Each of these issues’ solutions is the same: empathy.

In fact, empathy comes up in just about every part of our conversation, from her new book, Screenwise, about raising kids in the digital age, to how we parents can model the correct way to disagree (hint: it’s not the way the political candidates have been disagreeing!)

I hope you enjoy our conversation. I know it’s one I’ll return to again and again in my quest to remember that empathy must be the basis for how I interact with the world.

Key Links:

Devorah’s book, Screenwise, is a must read if you are raising kids in this digital culture.

Along with her son, Devorah recommends the Finn Caspian podcast.

Also, check out Black College TV, which comes up in our conversation today!

115: Knowledge is Power – Part 3 of The Modern Parent’s Guide to Surviving This Election Cycle

vote-1286584_640Welcome! To listen to this episode, scroll on down to the bottom of today’s post and hit the triangular “play” button.
Enjoy the show!

About this episode:

In the final chapter in our three-part series (click here for Part 1 about good sleep, and here for Part 2 about the antidote to anxiety), The Modern Parent’s Guide to Surviving This Election Cycle, I share about how you can become as educated as possible on the candidates…

Because knowledge IS power.

I’ll be voting a week from today – I share in this episode about why voting at all is so important to me, having only been able to vote in the last three presidential elections – and I hope you will vote too.

In this series, I’m also working really hard to be completely unbiased… I don’t care WHO you vote for.

I just care that you go in with good information and actually vote.

Click weturnedoutokay.com/115 for notes and links to the unbiased websites I worked so hard to find for you (we stay well away from the candidates’ own sites, as well as any site that hints at bias); get informed and then please go vote!

Key Links:

Politifact.com is the Pulitzer-prize website that catalogs the truths and lies of many political candidates, not just those running for president. Their “Truth-O-Meter” Pants-On-Fire rating is a really fun one, and I love that they share their sources so I can go back and look for myself.

Click here for On The Media’s Breaking News Consumer Handbook, about how to cut through the rumors and innuendo when news is new. Click here for the wonderful show about NPR and whether it’s biased or not.. This lesson has served me in such good stead, allowing me to decide for myself how truthful someone is being, because sometimes even a supposedly unbiased source unwittingly injects bias.

NPR.org receives an equal amount of accusations of bias from both the right and the left. If the definition of compromise is “no one is happy,” then the definition of bias might just be “an equal amount of accusations from both the right and the left.”

I really, really hope that this 3-part guide to Surviving This Election Cycle helps you sleep better (Part 1, weturnedoutokay.com/109), feel better by taking the right kinds of actions (Part 2, weturnedoutokay.com/112), and know that, even if your candidate isn’t the winner, we’re going to be all right.

So, how are you?
If you’re hanging in there, tell me what steps you’re taking to weather this election cycle!
If you’re struggling, tell me what’s wrong and maybe I can help you feel better –
either way, go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact.

And please go vote on November 8!

114: How Your Family’s Schedule Makes or Breaks Your Time Together – A Your Child Explained Episode

agenda-1616853_640Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll down to the bottom and hit the triangular “play” button.
Enjoy the show!

This past Tuesday, my conversation with mom and broadcast journalist Cheryl Tan ranged among many important topics, including how to talk to our kids about current events and tough stuff, and how to feel better about this election. (Go to weturnedoutokay.com/113 for my conversation with Cheryl.)

One aspect of our talk resonated with me as a great subject to dive into in a Your Child Explained episode: a family schedule that works for everybody.

Click weturnedoutokay.com/114 for notes from this episode on why creating a great family schedule is so important, and for key links!

In our conversation Tuesday, Cheryl explains her family schedule like this:
– 2:15 AM: wake up, go to work while husband runs the morning at home
– 3 PM: get kids off the bus, attend to homework/dinner/sports
– 8:15 PM: get everybody to bed, including herself

That may not work for everyone. (It sure wouldn’t work here in the Kolp home!)

But the important thing is: it works for Cheryl, her husband, and their three sons.

The key thing when putting together a schedule for our families is to try and keep consistent mealtimes, awake times, and sleep times.

Notice: I’m not advocating for a rigid schedule, one that has no room for flexibility. I think that kind of schedule would be the death of us all!

But trying to keep more or less consistent is definitely a goal to shoot for.

Looking at it from inside our kids’ heads, they like consistency because they know what to expect; in fact, when we parents are fairly consistent, it serves to help the kids when we have to go out of routine.

So, what does your schedule look like? Please share!

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, and let me know!

Key Links:

Click here for my conversation with Cheryl Tan, from Tuesday, October 25, 2016.

113: How to Talk to Kids About Current Events and This Election – A Conversation with Mom and Veteran Broadcast Journalist Cheryl Tan

2014-12-24-16-25-57-3Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button.
Enjoy the show!

I knew I wanted to speak with a journalist regarding next month’s presidential election, so I was thrilled when today’s guest, veteran TV reporter/anchor Cheryl Tan, agreed to come on the show!

Cheryl has appeared on CNN and Fox News, and currently hosts her own entrepreneurial TV show, Hampton Roads Business Weekly, the Standout podcast, and teaches entrepreneurs how to connect with journalists in her online community, PR Pro.

Speaking with Cheryl helped me realize that “the mainstream media” – feared by some, considered distant by others – is made up of real people. They are sons and daughters, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, and like Cheryl they want to tell people’s stories.

In today’s episode Cheryl shares about the crazy schedule-juggling that two married journalists go through while raising three boys, how to talk to kids about current events, and Cheryl shares advice that she’s not sure you’ll love, but nevertheless is her best idea for parents of young children…

Click weturnedoutokay.com/113 for notes in key links on today’s episode!

Here is Cheryl’s favorite schedule from when their kids were younger and she and her husband, both journalists, had to figure out how to raise kids and work at the same time:

– 2:15 AM: wake up, go to work while husband runs the morning at home
– 3 PM: get kids off the bus, attend to homework/dinner/sports
– 8:15 PM: get everybody to bed, including herself

That’s six hours of sleep, not too bad in terms of maintaining your sanity while raising young kids!

Cheryl liked that schedule so much because everybody got what they needed: work time, family time, and time for sleep.

Having spent so long in the news-media industry, Cheryl sees real importance in helping young children understand, in an age-appropriate way, what is happening around them.

Kids absorb vibes naturally, and if they’re feeling anxiety in the air and not understanding it, they’re very unsettled kids indeed…

Cheryl recommends speaking to them, answering questions, helping them feel safe.

In this part of our conversation I get to share about a day when my oldest, Max, came home upset from kindergarten, where there was some conversation about a recent shooting.

Through our conversation, Max was able to find a few solutions to help him feel safe – while it was hard for me to talk about a shooting with my little guy, I’m glad I did. It was what he needed.

Towards the end of our conversation, Cheryl shares her best piece of advice for parents of young children, adding that she is not sure that you will love it:

ENJOY this time with them. They will not be little forever!

Key Links:

Click here to check out Cheryl’s awesome podcast, Standout.

Go to CherylTanmedia.com/contact to share comments with her or ask any questions.

The Ninja Parenting Community – the online community I built for you, if you’re struggling with some aspect of raising your young children, is still in beta!
That’s good news for you, if:

– you want my expert advice on how to help your child navigate these first years of school, how to have a less anxious child, or how to keep sane while raising kids

– you want to be part of a community of supportive parents of young children

– you want access to the Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics expansion pack, my course which digs deeper into every chapter of my book by the same name

– you want to pay less, and get more out of your membership

Click here to read more about the Ninja Parenting Community. I hope to see you soon in the forums!

BONUS: Parenting Your Young Child in this Mixed-Up, Crazy World – FREE Online Class I’m Teaching Tonight! Plus: My Winning “Fearless” Story

Welcome! To listen to this bonus episode, scroll on down to the bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button.


Here are the top 2 reasons to listen to today’s episode:

1) With all the fear in the air right now, you might benefit from a story about becoming fearless – so, here it is!

I told this hilarious and inspiring story last week, about becoming fearless while sitting in front of my mom’s sewing machine as a young woman, and it took second place in the Massmouth Story Slam competition! I’m semifinals bound, and super excited : )

(My 4 1/2-minute story is, shall we say, not expletive-free… Grab some headphones or listen away from your kids. I hope you enjoy it!)

2) Speaking of fear, according to this article last week at Vox.com, 55% of voters were “disgusted” with the campaign… back in September.
I’m betting that that number has gone up a bit as this election has changed from PG to R-rated.

And if we are that freaked out – how are our kids?

When our fear and upset level goes up, so does theirs.

You can make both you and your kids feel better by coming to my FREE online class tonight:

How to Parent Young Children in this Mixed-up, Crazy World

I’ll teach you how to:
– Coach your kids through the election insanity
– Help them feel less anxious
– Lessen your own anxiety

You can make “Everybody Sucks 2016” a little better for yourself and your kids –

Go to weturnedoutokay.com and sign up for tonight’s class!

I can help you help your kids through the election craziness, tonight at 7 PM Eastern standard Time.

See you in class!