Author Archive

Learning to apologize

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Joel and Andrew, 4-year old friends, were playing with Lego when suddenly, Andrew howled, “I was just going to use that—it’s mine!”

Joel had snatched one of the pieces Andrew had in his pile beside him. When Andrew protested, Joel knocked down his building and Andrew began to cry. Joel looked at his mother wide-eyed.

What To Do?

“Oh, no,” thought Joel’s mother. Normally, he was not a selfish boy, but lately he’d done some very unkind things. What should she do this ...

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Coaching and Modeling Good Behavior

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Promoting civil behavior in children

“We’d love to have you visit us but whatever you do don’t bring any preschoolers with you,” a grandfather remarked at a dinner party one evening.

It seems he had been visited by his children and grandchildren and was still reeling from the event. “They never listened, didn’t want to do anything, were picky about the food and got into arguments about toys,” he continued. “Kids today are like that.”

How agonizing it must be for loving parents, ...

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Children at the holidays: All the Grandmothers’ seasonal writings in one location

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The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but all the excitement and traditions of the season can create stress in young children that grownups, in their own enthusiasm, can easily overlook. Here’s a collection of previously published articles by the Hanna Perkins Grandmothers about children and the holidays. It may help you see this special season as it really looks through a child’s eyes – so you can create the best kind of memories for the young people in your life.

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Keeping holidays focused on the children

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It’s happening again. We’ve all seen it before: A mother rushing along the sidewalk or through the mall, pushing a stroller and holding the hand of a 3-year-old who is pasted along her thigh, half-walking half-trotting in an effort to keep up.

The holidays are coming. The media is ratcheting up the excitement and the stores are inviting us in with glorious decorations, repetitive holiday music and store shelves overburdened with things to buy.

We are beginning to feel a little overwhelmed ...

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Toilet Mastery

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When are Children Ready for Toilet Mastery?

When a child’s needs have been adequately met during his first year (fed when he is hungry, provided a regular sleep schedule, cleaned up when his diaper is dirty), he is then ready to take on more of this self-care himself.

Therefore, in their child’s second year, parents should be alert to signs that he is moving in this direction and help him as he takes the steps towards mastery of eating, sleeping, and toileting.

Evidence ...

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Please don’t scare the little ones at Halloween time

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Every year, the month of October brings a crescendo of frights leading up to Halloween. It’s all meant in fun, but for very young children scary fun isn’t fun at all; it’s just scary.

This piece was written a few years ago and we’re bringing it back now as a reminder to parents, educators and concerned adults.


Dear Grandmothers:  A few years ago, my 3-year-old Phoebe helped me hand out treats on Halloween and we were having a lot of ...

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Picky Eating

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Dear Grandmothers: When we were kids, we had to eat whatever was on our plates without complaint, or we didn’t eat at all. My sister brings her children over for dinner and as soon as she sees what I’m serving tells me her kids won’t eat it, and starts making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for them. Why are kids today so picky?

Kids today are probably not any pickier than those of previous generations. Don’t you remember slipping your mystery ...

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Disrespectful children and authentic self-esteem

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When parents tell us they are unhappy about their children’s disrespectful behavior, we can think of several things that contribute to the problem.

First, disrespect seems to be a feature of the culture we live in. Facebook, movies and TV often show children behaving in snarky, sassy ways that get big laughs – so of course our young children imitate what they see and hear.

When they’re little, we may think that’s cute, but when they’re older it’s not funny at all.

Second, the emphasis on promoting “self-esteem” has ...

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A formula for a perfect kids’ summer

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Warm, sunny days! Aren’t they great after having been cooped up all winter? Everyone is so ready for fresh air and freedom.

And freedom is what we grandmothers wish for your young children during spring and summer.

Yes, we know we must be concerned for their safety and we understand that the work week continues for most parents. But please, we implore you, try to provide some sense of freedom and independence for them this summer.

Take advantage of this time – when ...

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The other thing about Easter: Scary church stories

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In a previous Easter season, a worried mother sent this note:

One of the kids at my son’s preschool told him about the crucifixion, and what happened, with all the exact details and he was horrified. Telling him about Easter Sunday did not make him feel better. He has been crying about this at night and is afraid of regular pictures of Jesus in a book. I hope it’s OK to ask this question because it’s about religion and everybody has ...

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