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

Let's Talk Kids

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 »

Most Recent Episodes

Let's Talk Kids: "A Grateful Goodbye..."

Under the file marked "My Family's Quirks" is the knowledge that granddaughter Joslin has a rough time saying goodbye. She loves her family and friends with such fervor that whenever it's time for her to part from any of them, she struggles with her own bereft sorrow. Knowing this, we plan ahead to be sure we give her time for her farewells, offering up our own with calm reassurance and understanding. Joslin may have come by this trait honestly, because I also have a hard time with goodbyes, although I've acquired some self-regulation skills to manage my emotional responses which Joslin will also learn as she grows up. And so it is today that my heart is full as I share this final installment of "Let's Talk Kids." My professional life is taking me in some exciting new directions and I'm finding it difficult to meet a weekly deadline for this undertaking. It's been over 12 years since I began "Let's Talk Kids," and in each year I've produced 52 segments for a total of around 600. Each

Let's Talk Kids: "No Two Are Alike"

The Walters family has two sons, aged four and seven. These sweet boys look so much alike that I do a double take each time I see them. Their mom dresses them in matching outfits for holiday photos, and their parents hear a constant litany of how much they resemble each other. But appearance is where the resemblance ends. Having gotten to know these two children, I can tell you that their personalities are nothing alike. Geoff, the elder, is quiet and studious. He's a rule follower and a bit of a worrier. While he can laugh at a good joke, his outlook is generally serious and even contemplative. Younger brother Ethan, on the other hand, is all fun, all the time. This free spirit lives for the moment, never worrying about what's coming next. Less interested in early academics, he shines socially. He keeps his family and friends in stitches with his hilarious antics. These parents scratch their heads at the obvious difference between their two boys, and wonder how two young children

Let's Talk Kids: "Guinea Pigs, Hermit Crabs, and Tree Frogs"

Most expectant parents imagine they will be completely different parents than the ones who raised them. And then somehow, in the months following the births of their babies, words come out of their own mouths that they remember hearing a generation ago. Our past is inescapable, it seems, when it comes to raising our children. This is great news for grandparents who feel somehow affirmed by the perpetuation of their methods and values. But perhaps the most delicious aspect of all is watching our adult children deal with some of the same issues they presented to us as children. A few years back, a story tickled funny bones throughout our family tree. As she was growing up, one of our children felt the need to fill our home with as many animals as she could smuggle in. Despite the fact that we had two dogs, she begged for additional pets—Guinea pigs, rabbits, fish, hermit crabs, even a delicate, hot-house African tree frog. Her hysterical pleading included promises (I'll clean the tank!),

Let's Talk Kids: "Don't Just Do Something...Stand There!"

This one is for every adult who's watched in frustration as a parent or child struggled in some way. Perhaps you're a caring neighbor who sees the single parent next door work two jobs in order to provide for her kids. Maybe you're a grandparent who can't stand to watch a grandchild try again and again to get the right piece in the jigsaw puzzle. Or you might be a friend who sees a parent at his wit's end figuring out how to support a child's more peaceful behavior. If you ever find yourself a witness to such struggles, here is an idea for you from Dr. Jeree Pawl, a clinical psychiatrist who specializes in working with young families: Don't just do something, stand there! When I first heard this idea from Dr. Pawl, she'd already powerfully influenced my own approach. But this jarring notion of hers set me on my heels. What? Just stand there when people struggle? Here's the thinking behind it: Most of us respond to the distress of others by wanting to fix the problem. We hear an SOS,

Let's Talk Kids: "The Gatekeeping Game"

Every pair of parents has a subtle competition going on most of the time. Even when they're deeply committed to each other, daily life with a family provides no shortage of space for skirmishes. There's a natural "gatekeeping" related to parents' devotion to their child. Each parent believes he or she knows best on some issue of childrearing, which often results in disagreement. Mom thinks sugar should be restricted, and Dad thinks she's being silly. Dad has no tolerance for sass, and Mom thinks some of it should be overlooked. These differences of opinion are usually of little consequence. Kids adjust well to their parents' different ways of dealing with them, figuring them out early on. The challenge arises when one parent is sure his or her way is the only "right" way, resulting in the other parent being cut out of the decision-making process. That's where gatekeeping begins. Another source of gatekeeping occurs when parents compare how much each is contributing to the family. The

Let's Talk Kids: "Internalizing the Rules"

His face screwed up in remorse, Joe was one miserable five-year old. His buddy Brandon was crying and holding his sore arm where had Joe grabbed him to get the Lego guy they both wanted for playtime. A couple of years earlier, Joe would have been merrily playing with his snatched toy. But now, his joy at winding up with the coveted piece was marred by his sense of guilt at taking it away from Brandon. As I watched, I wanted to congratulate Joe's parents and teachers for the great job they've been doing. Not because Joe manhandled Brandon to get the toy, but because his remorse tells us they've been helping him to internalize social rules. Joe's well on his way to joining our civilization by practicing those social rules we all must abide by. Rules like "Don't take what's not yours," or "Don't use your hands to hurt someone else," or "Pick up your own toys." This capacity of children is nurtured through the early years by adults demonstrating these rules in their own lives, correcting

Let's Talk Kids: "Mud Day"

Most parents and grandparents remember with fondness their childhood opportunity to play in the mud. Building, slogging, lifting feet with a sucking sound, making mud pies—these sensual experiences of our youth call up pleasure in their remembering. But lots of kids today are prevented from messing around in mud, and there are several reasons why. Societal preoccupation with cleanliness and lovely landscaping where there are few mud holes in many kids' yards both present barriers for middle class kids. Low income children may lack a safe outdoor play environment and may also lack laundry facilities to allow for easy cleanup. Whatever the reason, many kids miss out on what was a source of not only joy but also learning for kids of previous generations. Children learn math and science concepts from mud play, as they add water or dirt to change the mud's consistency and experiment with mass and volume as they pack mud into containers. Physical activity like sliding through mud or mud

Let's Talk Kids: "It's Paw-ty Time!"

Standing outside in driving rain at 4 am, I'm reminded of something I already know well: teaching someone to manage his bowel and bladder habits represents a significant investment. Eight-week old puppy Davy came to live at my house recently. While we're quickly falling in love with this little guy, teaching him to potty outside has been a challenge. The whole experience puts me in solidarity with parents who are working to achieve that same sort of control with their toddlers. Training a puppy or a toddler offers many parallels. First, you look for signs of readiness. In a child, that might be the ability to pull down pants and express needs to others. With Davy, it's been his determination to keep his crate clean. Next you have to set up the environment. With a toddler, you might buy a small potty chair. With a pup, it's helpful to have a safe place outdoors. With puppies or children, you have to plan for the time commitment involved, watching for signs of the need to eliminate and

Let's Talk Kids: "Dads in the Present"

A long time ago, most Dads spent their days at work. When they got home to a welcoming home and family where a home-cooked dinner awaited, they may have heard about the day in the past tense: "Tommy cried all morning when you left." "Dad, I built the tallest tower with blocks today!." "Daddy, I fell down on the sidewalk and skinned my knee." Dads were dutiful listeners to the life of the family, but sometimes lacked opportunities to be present in the moment with them. Enter today's fathers who are figuring out how to be present in new ways. More flexible work schedules allow lots of dads to drop their own children at school and even to volunteer in classrooms. "Flex time" often affords dads the chance to stagger work schedules with moms to be at home with children so that a child may need child care for a shorter day. Dads are often more involved in hands-on activities with their kids than in past generations. They pack the diaper bag, cook kids meals, give baths, and support

Let's Talk Kids: "Happy Birth-day!"

Recently, I celebrated that universal holiday enjoyed by each of us who sports a belly button, reminiscent of our entry into this world. My birthday was nothing special. After all, each of us experiences that phenomenon on an eerily regular basis as the calendar pages turn ever-so quickly from year to year. But this year, I tried to imagine that first birth-day, the day I was born. I can envision a few characters in the cast who played out my birth story. My mother and father were there, as was our family doctor. I was there, of course, although my mother says I did little to assist in the process. Other than that, I don't know much about other "supporting actors" in this little scene. I can imagine a few nurses were part of the story. Surely one of them cleaned me up shortly after my birth, wiping my wiggling arms and legs free of the detritus that accompanied me from the womb. She may have been the one to weigh and measure me, and pay close attention to my signs of health. Another

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