The two most important factors in reaching kids

Happy Thursday!

Two stories today, as I’ve been thinking back on some of the successes I had as a preschool teacher.

I once helped a selectively mute girl find her voice.
(Selective mutism is when a child can speak, but only chooses to with trusted people.)
She had literally not spoken for six months in our classroom at that point, since the beginning of the school year.

I helped her find her voice with puppets, and the Three Billy Goes Gruff story.

Wendy really, really wanted to play with her friends! She wanted to be part of this puppet show.
But she was so scared.
Finally, drawn on by her own interest in being part of the story and playing with her friends, Wendy decided to give it a try.
It felt good to help her put on one of the puppets, be there with her to say the lines and to hear her repeat them.As I say she had literally not spoken for six months in our classroom at that point.
And she found her voice!
After that puppet show, Wendy opened up to us.

She often giggled, spoke with friends. She began sharing her thoughts with both children and adults in our classroom.
Each time she did my heart would sing.
I once helped a little boy come out of his own world and enter ours.

Continue reading “The two most important factors in reaching kids”

Helping kids love themselves and their bodies

A favorite band of mine, The Samples, has a song called Could It Be Another Change in which they sing:

You can’t love no one…
You can’t love something…
You can’t love nothin…
You can’t love anything
Till you can love yourself…
You can love yourself.

This has been on my mind a lot recently. I’ve been thinking about the messages we give our loved ones based on how we feel about ourselves.

I think in part it’s been on my mind so much because recently I was invited to be an expert speaker in a conference, Kids’ Healthy Bodies, hosted by Sarah Scheldt, M.Ed. (The series begins February 15 and will run for 14 days; click here to get your free ticket!)

My friend Sarah has pulled together a list of impressive speakers to share real-life strategies on how you can have empowered conversations with your kids around their bodies, health, and so much more! Continue reading “Helping kids love themselves and their bodies”

356: The consequences of pushing ourselves too far – Talking with educator Sarah Scheldt M.Ed. today!

Due to the content of our conversation, today’s episode is going to be a good one to listen AWAY from sensitive ears… I think you’re going to love today’s conversation, I know I did! But some topics may be a little intense for, well, littles.

Greetings! I am super excited to bring today’s guest to you, educator and parent coach Sarah Scheldt, M.Ed.!
In today’s conversation I’ll introduce you to Sarah, so you can come to know her and the incredibly helpful, giving person she is.

Today Sarah discusses:
– How to handle your kids’ toughest days and biggest feelings
– How to take care of yourself in the midst of everything going on in your life
– Handling when we do push ourselves too far

Early on in the pandemic Sarah wanted to reach parents outside of her classroom of kids. So she created an amazing free Virtual Summit on “empowering kids.” I felt so honored to be included in the expert speakers for that summit!
Sarah’s second free online series, Kids’ Healthy Bodies, starts on February 15!
(Yay! Click here to sign up!)

In our conversation today Sarah shares on how this upcoming free Virtual Summit will help you get a handle on talking to kids about potentially tough topics like their own bodies, sex, consent, and stopping child sexual abuse.

I’m honored to be a part of this series as well, talking about what to do if you have been the victim of sexual abuse… and you are now raising kids. Continue reading “356: The consequences of pushing ourselves too far – Talking with educator Sarah Scheldt M.Ed. today!”

355: Five ways to help you keep going right now

Greetings! Today I’ve got five ways that parents I work closely with are keeping going…

Because even though we can see some hope on the horizon, circumstances on the ground are, shall we say, not ideal.

So if you need a little help getting good behavior from your kids, feeling seen and heard and cared for in your life, or feeling happy inside, here are five ways you may not have considered yet to accomplish those tasks.…

Plus the Parenting News Segment returns today, with reports on how to not use social-emotional learning for evil, and also something called “toxic positivity.”
Join us!
Here are the links that come up today: Continue reading “355: Five ways to help you keep going right now”

349: Kindergarten Evals, Parent-Teacher-Conferences, and Lessons I learned from being hospitalized last week

As a child development expert one of the most important jobs I have is to give parents permission to disagree with teachers or other authority figures in their children’s lives.
Starting at around the 50-minute mark we talk about that. It’s coming up for many podcast listeners and Ninja Parents right now, and it’s important to discuss!

But first, I share three super important lessons that I learned the hard way recently, by ending up in the hospital with diverticulitis. It’s the illness I had nine years ago that brought on the tendon condition that I lived with ever since, so there was some serious PTSD in getting it again!
It was no accident that I got it now, in the pandemic with pressure mounting societally, in our home, and with the families I serve.

I got it by failing to adhere to these lessons, which I will list for you right now:

1. On the Human-Dehumanized Axis, stay close to the Human side.
Maybe it means unplugging, but it definitely means connecting more on a human level.
Be sure that, when connecting with folks having to do with your child, that they are very human too.

2. Remember that sugar is an inflammatory food.
What we need is good nutrition! I’m a living example of what happens when you don’t get that.

3. Understand your own worth.
How you think about yourself matters. I forgot that, and had to undergo a very painful and scary illness as a result.

Most of all, in thinking about these three lessons I want you to think about where you are “coming from” with regard to them.
This isn’t about me telling you “here’s a list of stuff you need to do.”
It’s about coming from a place of human connection.
It’s about coming from a place of good nutrition, most of the time, without worry or pressure.
It’s about coming from a place of feeling worthy – both for ourselves, and for what we model for our children.

Here are the links that come up in today’s conversation:

I am a featured speaker in the  Virtual Summit, which you can enjoy for free by clicking here:

Click here for episode 279, my conversation with picky eating coach Jacky Lemenzo

For the first time since creating the We Turned Out Okay Playbook, as a result of my hospitalization I’m doing it myself (instead of just writing it for others)!
Click to learn more about the Playbook!

Click here for episode 270, my conversation with creative coach Dan Blank.

Thank you for being along on this journey with me! You rock!
Cheers! And thanks for listening/reading to this, episode 349, which you can view on the web by going to:

Karen Lock Kolp, M.Ed.
Creator and Founder of

Listen to the podcast in your favorite podcatcher!


Spotify: (Search “We Turned Out Okay Podcast”)


The vampire and the sun god

My husband, Ben, and I are complete opposites in some ways.
For one, he loves summertime – the long days, the bass fishing, the warmth.

Whereas I love wintertime – the long nights, the skiing, the cold.

In our 25 years together we have often joked that we live in the perfect place, New England, where we each get what we need six months out of the year!

Well, we are now entering my favorite time of the year. The weather’s getting colder, the nights are getting longer, I can be outside midday without fear of headaches due to heat and humidity…

I (if you hadn’t realized it yet) am the vampire in the title of today’s letter.
I absolutely love the dark, clouds and fog, and cool/cold weather.
I know, I’m totally weird! And I am fine with that.
Thankfully so is Ben: )

But he struggles at this time of year. He’s very seasonally affected by the lack of light.

So on mornings where we are up before dawn, every light in the house is on.
Ben even has a special light, which I refer to as his “moth light,” which he sits nearby for about 20 minutes each day, usually while he eats his breakfast.

All this light can be a problem for me – it seems so harsh!
It’s tempting to be super grumpy about it with Ben, or tease him for his sungod-like ways.

But I’ve been thinking about how, after all, he’s only trying to get what he needs. Continue reading “The vampire and the sun god”

343: Basics Bootcamp Part 1, and State of the Podcast

Today’s episode is about how good boundaries help in even the most extreme meltdown-type situations… I love this image for that. The tantruming child in the middle is literally supported by the adults’s “good boundaries.”

Welcome! In this episode I share a recent case study from my online private coaching practice, the Ninja Parenting Community (NPC), where the mom of a four-year-old was dealing with extreme temper tantrums, and fearful that her son would never learn to obey the rules. Even the ones for safety.
She struggled to see how good boundaries could improve that situation – until they did.

Here’s something I have learned during the coronavirus pandemic:
Basics matter.
Understanding how to do the most basic things, like getting a child to obey you, is even more important now than ever. And yet the basics are elusive during the pandemic.
Today we dive into using a super basic thing, good boundaries, to get your child to obey you.

Also I share about what’s happening with the We Turned Out Okay Podcast… changes are coming, ones that will make the creation of the show sustainable for your host : )
It’s interesting, because good boundaries also come into play in talking about the changes to the show.
Join us!

Key Links and Notes: Continue reading “343: Basics Bootcamp Part 1, and State of the Podcast”

The real reasons to be kind instead of judgemental

This is the latest in my summer-long series, taking you on my journey of recovering from overwhelm and burnout and learning ways to sustainably keep going. Click here for the first installment, “Feeling guilty,” and click here for last week’s’s installment, “I didn’t think it was going to work, but it did.”

I want to talk about judgment this week, and its antidote, kindness.

Maybe at first glance it’s hard to recognize the juxtaposition of these two ideas, or even in recognizing it, to understand how one contradicts the other.

Listening to this week’s podcast episode, my conversation with wonderful therapist Shannon Connery, PhD, helped to crystallize this idea for me, because Shannon uses herself as an example, telling her story of casting judgment on someone in the grocery store, the mom of a small baby who wasn’t wearing a mask.

As she and this mom moved through the grocery store, Shannon felt judgmental about the mom’s choice to not wear a mask.


Shannon thought about all of the reasons why the mom should wear a mask, and made unkind conclusions about the fact that she wasn’t wearing one.

Then an elderly couple came toward them.

The mom whipped out her mask, and put it on at the last possible moment before encountering this couple, and suddenly Shannon understood:

The baby became super upset, screaming, and gesturing and reaching for that mask.

And the mom started to cry. Continue reading “The real reasons to be kind instead of judgemental”

327: Can I train my child to play independently?

OkayCon FREE Virtual Summit happening now

If you’re not sure how much more of this whole stuck-at-home stuff you can take, go to for a new, relevant interview each Monday and Wednesday, and a watch party each Monday and Wednesday evening throughout April! We will get through this together <3

I recorded this before our current “double pandemic” (of Covid-19, and Fear). But it seems especially relevant now:

Can you, or should you, train your child to play independently?
Do you negatively impact a child by playing with them often?
Do you feel guilty, whether you say “yes, I’ll play,” or “no, not right now”?

One member of our Ninja Parenting Community brought up these, and many other questions regarding independent play (her questions reference an only child… but this applies to all parents.)

Join us today to listen as I share the answers to these questions!
(Click to view the video and see the notes.)

Key Links:

What we’re doing here at WTOO to help you through the pandemic:

All during April’s OkayCon 2020 Virtual Summit we’re having live watch parties, so we can keep each other company in this era where we all need that!
Sign up to be notified about the guests and watch parties:

Find out details about the summit itself:

Like me, you are probably feeling all kinds of fear, anxiety, and worry right now.
Besides which, you are also likely sheltering in place with kids – whose behavior is leaving a lot to be desired at the moment!

That’s why I am offering a special membership rate, just $1 for your whole first month! It’s the Friends & Family rate, available for a limited time at the following link:

Our first Pandemic Parenting News:

Click here for the NYT parenting article in which a bouncer, a referee, and a therapist all help you stop your kids from fighting.

Click here for the hilarious and wonderful essay “We, The Hard-Working, Newly Homeschooling Parents of America, have Rewritten the Common Core Standards.”

Click here for the Boston Globe article “Seven activities keeping my family sane during isolation.”

Click here for @childlifesaver’s wonderful post, “How to help kids wear masks,” in Instagram.

Wishing you well throughout this unprecedented time! We will get through it together <3

Continue reading “327: Can I train my child to play independently?”

324: Why your child’s behavior may be worse now than usual, and what to do about it, with Janine Halloran, LMHC

Today we are bringing back – for the fifth time! – beloved guest, an expert in teaching kids coping skills, Janine Halloran LMHC of

We discuss:
– How Janine is thinking about school work and all this extra time at home with kids and family
– The kinds of questions her clients are bringing to her right now, in spring 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic
– Why a child’s behavior is most likely worse than usual right now
– What you can do about that, if that’s the case in your home

Join us!
(Click the following link for the video of our talk, and also notes from today’s conversation:

How are you staying positive? Let me know!

In our Facebook group:

in Instagram:

in Twitter:

All during April’s FREE OkayCon 2020 Virtual Summit we’re having live watch parties, so we can keep each other company in this era where we all need that!

Sign up to be notified about the guests and watch parties:

Join the We Turned Out Okay Facebook group, where the watch parties are happening each Monday and Wednesday all through April, by clicking here.

Find out details about the summit itself:

We will get through this together : )
Karen Lock Kolp, M.Ed. of

Helping parents change kids’ behavior from bad to good, feel happy inside, and TRULY enjoy family time : )

PS Join my email newsgroup for lots of useful, free parenting tools, as well as lots of info on OkayCon, our Virtual Summit that is ongoing right now: sign up at

If you need some extra support, especially right now with all the madness, I’m offering special membership rates if you want to join our private coaching community, NPC. Click here for details and to join, so I can personally help you through this extremely challenging time!