Let's Talk Kids Podcast | NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Let's Talk Kids Podcast | NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

From NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The Let's Talk Kids parenting podcast honors the expertise parents have about their own children and explores issues that are universal for families. From toilet training and sibling rivalry to establishing family values, Claudia Quigg provides thoughtful and accessible insights that are meaningful to families' needs.More from Let's Talk Kids Podcast | NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS »

Most Recent Episodes

Let's Talk Kids: "Timing Is Everything"

Two-year-old Nick was deeply engrossed rolling his new cars along his race track when his dad called him to the table for supper. Once seated, he played with his food and kicked his feet, all the while glancing over at the abandoned race track. His parents, deeply concerned about his nutrition, kept encouraging him to eat something. "Just two bites of your chicken," implored his mom to no avail. Nick was not having the chicken, nor anything else on his plate. The same resistance occurs when a toilet training child is pulled away from play for his hourly run to the bathroom. It occurs when our fourth-grader returns home from school and we hit her with the mess she left in the bathroom that morning. And it also occurs when we want our teen's attention when she's on the phone with her boyfriend. Dedicated parents care so much about their children that we feel real urgency about addressing our concerns with them. But if we want to encourage our children, it may be helpful to watch for

Let's Talk Kids: "Dragons Can Be Beaten"

"Brave is the new pretty." I saw these words on a plaque for a girl's bedroom recently, and it heartened me. I'm grateful to think that parents value the courage their children (male and female) will need to bring to our culture. Pretty early on, kids figure out that this world is often a cruel one. They experience a bite from another child at play group. Soon they watch as one child taunts another, and when they go to school they see real bullying in action. No doubt about it, life is not for the faint of heart. In order to live happy, full lives, our children must be equipped with courage. So the question for parents is this: How can we help them learn it? The first step may be simply naming it when we see it, recognizing and pointing out courage in them and also in others when the opportunity occurs. When they bravely bear an immunization at a check-up, we can remark on the courage they showed, commenting on their mastery over their own fear. We can be on the lookout for bravery we

Let's Talk Kids: "The Limits Of Our Control"

You can't throw a stick at a group of parents without hitting one who's actively pining for her children to be different from the way they are. While we love them the way they are (We do! We really do!), we can't help wishing they would change. We want them to change because we love them so much and we want their lives to be perfect, as if that were even a possibility. And so we try to change them when we see habits or natures that might trip them up down the road. But here's the rub. No person can ever really change the basic nature of another, including our children. We can threaten and bribe, hoping to motivate such changes. But in the end, these efforts will fail, and our disappointment will sink our loving relationships within our families. Because, ultimately, the only persons over whom we have much control at all are ourselves. It's a hard truth to accept, and once you become a parent you spend the rest of your lifetime having to learn it again and again. That is not to say that

Let's Talk Kids: "Parents Bring Peace"

Comedian Ray Romano quips that "having children is like living in a frat house - nobody sleeps, everything's broken, and there's a lot of throwing up." Kids can create chaos, without a doubt, but sometimes in the very midst of that whirlwind, parents bring peace. A young mom was sharing with me that her little one had some stomach bug that was going around. The result was that "throwing up" that Romano mentions. Nothing feels more chaotic than throwing up. It seems so wrong, an assault on the body. After all, food ordinarily goes DOWN, and an occurrence of it coming UP feels completely unnatural. Vomiting is such an upsetting experience that it's often followed by a child shaking and sobbing, with a racing heart. But this mother shared what followed that violent episode in her home. "I just sat down on the couch and started rubbing her head and her little arms. And I watched. Her breathing slowed, and her face relaxed. I could actually see some of the discomfort drain from her body."

Let's Talk Kids: "Boredom's Boon"

A mother explained that she plans a tight schedule for her kids, allowing for little "down time." In her experience, when kids have time on their hands, trouble results. And I get that. Like the old adage that "Idle hands are the devil's workshop," I remember plenty of times in my own house when kids with not enough to do would stir up misbehavior for its own sake. This parent has a good point, undoubtedly borne out by experience with her own three rowdy children. But sometimes I wonder about the value of boredom, too, thinking of hours of boredom in my own childhood that led to some of my most creative play experiences. Mud pie making was my effort to fill up those boring hours of a Saturday afternoon when my parents had their own work to do and I was on my own for a time. Making mud pies afforded me a quiet place as my mind was free to roam. I was able to think on more serious matters such as how to convince my parents to let me get a dog. Lots of high level scheming accompanied this

Let's Talk Kids: "A Case For Memorization"

My granddaughter recently delighted me with her recitation of a long poem about the American Presidents. While it may not have been great literature, it contained important information, which I believe she will retain for a lifetime. The mental discipline involved in her learning it inspired me to reflect on my own childhood attempts to memorize poetry. The need for memorizing a poem has been challenged during these days when anything can be found with a few taps on a smartphone. But there are those who recognize real benefits for the practice. Susan Wise Bauer, author of The Well-Educated Mind, argues that "memorizing poetry turns on kids' language capability. It not only teaches them to articulate English words; it heightens their feel for the intricacies and complexities of the English language — an indispensable attainment if they are to go on to speak, write, and read English with ease." She explains that the student who memorizes poetry internalizes the rhythmic, beautiful

Let's Talk Kids: "Three Questions For Dinner"

Family dinner conversations flow with the casserole to cement a family together like few other activities. Meg Conley, a writer for the Huffington Post, focuses on topics related to raising children. A recent article of hers inspired me. In it, she shared a practice she and her husband have implemented around family dinners. In an effort to reconnect each evening, they ask the same three questions at dinner: How were you brave today? How were you kind today? And how did you fail today? As they consider "How were you brave today?" Conley hopes her daughters will begin to lay down a history of their own capacity for facing up to hard things. She writes that she hopes "this question teaches them to recognize their own valor so that by the time they really need it, courage is an old and familiar friend." Like most parents, Conley and her husband also highly value their children's learning to be kind, recognizing that cruelty is a fact of life and that no one of us is immune to it. They ask

Let's Talk Kids: "Embarrassment Of Riches"

The extravagant generosity of family and friends results in a post-holiday embarrassment of riches for many American children. Toy chests already bursting at the seams are now challenged by the influx of a new slew of toys. New parents may be surprised to learn that Toy Management is a skill they'll use for years to come. Every family needs a system for making a child's favorite toys easily accessible. In the case of children's toys, less is definitely more. A child with three toys will play the daylights out of all three. A child with a hundred toys will wander around in a daze, complaining he has nothing to do. Smart parents describe a variety of ways to handle too many toys. First, box up toys which seem to be of no interest to your child and donate them to a charity which will distribute them to kids who may enjoy them. Make sure they're in good condition with all their parts and no broken pieces. If there are younger siblings in the family, pack away toys those little ones might

Let's Talk Kids: "The Time Between"

The week between Christmas and New Years has long been my favorite time of the year. When I was a child, it was a chance to enjoy nonstop the toys I got from Santa before the demands of a school schedule got in the way of my uninterrupted playtime. At this point in my life, I relish that "week between" as a chance to catch my breath before facing the demands of the New Year. It's a great time to reflect on lessons learned in the year just ending and to set goals for the year ahead. Some of life's great experiences for busy families happen in those "between" times. When you pick your child up from school to drive to a piano lesson, you may have 10-15 minutes of "between" time in the car to hear about your child's day and get a sense of what may need to be accomplished in the evening after piano. Those minutes reconnect you as you look toward the rest of the evening. When your child is sick and you pay a visit to the family doctor, there will be a moment between when you are sent to an

Let's Talk Kids: "Focusing On Family"

It was a noisy scene with lots of folks around having a generally good time at a holiday event. Wondering how such a little fellow would handle the chaos, I walked over to where two-month-old Jacob was propped in his bouncy seat near his mom. What I saw in Jacob amazed me. Instead of being overwhelmed by the party around him, he had a laser focus on his mom's face. He was relaxed and happy as he gazed adoringly at her face. Jacob conveyed to me this truth about babies in general: As long as they remain in orbit around their moms and dads, there is security in knowing their needs will be met. Noise and distraction fall by the wayside as they gaze beatifically at their loved ones. I can't help but contrast this to the hectic race many adults run this time of year, even when their children are right there beside them. We may be so focused on giving our children the "perfect Christmas" that we find ourselves frazzled and frantic with too much to do. We sometimes forget that what our

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