Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fast Food Reading Enjoyment

ImageAre you a parent that is surprised by the language in children’s books?  When we go to the library or bookstore, my lil one wants me to read whatever she grabs off the shelf and I end up changing a lot of what is actually written.  Even though the book ultimately ends in “Happily Ever After”, many of the children’s fiction books are filled with expressions of lack, limiting beliefs, victim/villain, bullying, sarcasm, self-consciousness over appearance expressed, and more.  Even a subscription to Highlights, that was a gift,  has stories that make me cringe and are edited when read them to my tot.  I know I won’t be able to continue my real time editing techniques much longer. She will soon be reading the words, rather than reciting what I read to her.

When I took a homeschooling course at the Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential, they advocated putting together homemade books with stories of the child’s experiences.  They could include family events, family pet, a vacation experience or even a day at the park.  The books can be a short story that describes the photos showing the child having a great time at the pool, swimming and splashing with friends.  The homemade books can be tailored to your child’s age and interests. My daughter loves these personalized books more than any others.

Recently I found a great book at the library called Fast Food by Joost Elffers. It’s cute and colorful and is about different modes of transportation. What makes this book unique is that the photos of the transportation vehicles are all made out of fruit and vegetables.  It is very clever and may even inspire your child to have a stronger affinity towards fruit and vegetables.


The Detriments of Praise. Good Job!! Good Sharing! Good Climbing! Good Drawing!

After reading a couple of the most impactful parenting books by Alfie Kohn, I became very sensitive to the phrase, “Good Job!”.  The research he presents on the detrimental impact of praise and rewards and how they influence a person socially and emotionally from childhood into adulthood, deeply got my attention. After my journey through his books, I realized that these two words lacked depth and meaning and are mostly said wherever babies and children are present. 

When is “Good Job” said to adults? When they show up at the office? When a deadline is met? When they do their taxes on time? When dinner prepared and served? How about, none of the above.  When a tot performs any socially expected behaviors, such as sharing, or “firsts”, such as drawing with their crayons or even stepping down the curb without a stumble, that seems to spark the flow of “Good Job!” for years.

After reading Alfie Kohn’s books, Unconditional Parenting and Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes, I clearly understood the damage of “Good Job!” and now notice it is said very often.  The over the top enthusiastic, “Good Job!” is exclaimed by parents, grandparents, older siblings and caretakers.  “Good Job!” is like a spotlight on the child and is most frequently said when the child is DOING, not when he is simply BEING his amazing self. What is the outcome of this? Overtime those overused words also shifts the motivation for why a child chooses to do an activity or contribute. Whether it is exclaimed for positive reinforcement or a very brief acknowledgement of the child’s ‘accomplishment”, the research reveals that the child will be motivated to get more remarks of approval and seek to do things in order to hear those two words from their beloved parents. The child becomes very addicted to hearing the praise of “Good Job!” and eventually looks to the parent to acknowledge his every action.
We all want to see our child simply share because he feels the desire ann compassion, rather than share because an adult is near to witness and offer the comment “Good Sharing!”.  Over the years, if he becomes accustomed to being told “Good Job” and he isn’t told that every successive times he rides his bike without training wheels, he’ll eventually wonder why or look to the next thing he does that warrant a “Good Job!” from Mom and Dad.  I still remember hearing these words when I was a child and clearly recall how amazing and approved of that I felt when I heard them.  

Studies that Alfie Kohn cites in his books reveal that stating the facts is an acknowledgement that creates connection, alternatively praise creates children who are addicted to and motivated by praise and approval. Alfie Kohn provides acknowledgement examples  in his books. For instance, instead of an evaluating statement such as “Good Job” or “beautiful painting!”, the alternative could be “You did it!” or “I see you chose to draw a purple flower and you added a big yellow sun. I love watching you have fun!”.  

For more information on the detrimental impact of praise and rewards, read Unconditional Parenting and Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes. Both books are authored by Alfie Kohn. 

(CIO) Cry It Out = Compassion Intentionally Obscured

(CIO) Cry It Out = Compassion Intentionally Obscured

Quite a few parents share they let their child “cry it out”, even on Facebook.  We felt moved to write this for all of the parents who have an off feeling about doing this and yes there is another way.

Compassion is Intentionally Obscured (CIO) when leaving a little infant or child behind closed doors to cry alone. Would an adult ignore another family member who is intensely or hysterically crying? When someone ignores anyone, especially a crying child, they are ignoring their heart.  To ignore another isn’t in our nature. We are born compassionate.

Alfie Kohn, Author of Unconditional Parenting cites a study, where the heart rate of infants increased the highest, not as a result of a startling noise, but when they heard another baby cry. Ignoring the pain of another is choice of disconnecting from the heart and a choice to suppress compassion that only an adult with reasoning capacity is capable of doing no matter how far fetched their justification for disregarding any soul.  Why does our society condone an overt lack of compassion expressed toward a pure and innocent child who clearly is frightened or uncomfortable and simply desires to be near his parents, held and comforted, when it becomes dark and the family goes to sleep?

Jean Liedhoff, author of the Continuum Concept, talks about tribes in the jungle where adults and children know they are ALWAYS welcome and wanted. Why does the “civilized” western world think it’s okay to shun an infant or small child, a pure blessing from our creator?  Parents who condone ignoring their child’s cries, because they have read that a child is “learning to self-soothe”, must wake up and realize that is complete nonsense.  Anyone, especially a child whose cries of fear and distress are met with no response, eventually shuts down or feels insignificant and insecure.  This is traumatic for a little child whose only figures of love and care have intentionally ignored his need for comfort and closeness.

In addition to the psychological trauma, how about the physical harm?   Dr. Sears writes, “The blood pressure goes up. The pressure gets so high, new blood with oxygen can’t flow into the brain. So the brain can be deprived of oxygen.  And that’s not all. It gets worse. The brain can be flooded with stress hormones, and we know that stress hormones can damage sensitive developing nerve tissue. So, night after night, weeks and weeks of crying can actually harm a baby’s brain.”

We say we want a world of love, peace, contribution and compassion. If this desire is really true we must start with our children and be their rock of everlasting compassion, otherwise the cycle of indifference, cruelty and disregard for life on earth will continue to be tolerated and familiar.

Our hearts deepest compassion goes out to parents, children, our children’s children.  We credit Jean Leidhoff as the inspirations for this article.

Tracy Roberts Regarding Praise and Rewards







In the third episode of the Tot’s Cafe Show, Tracy Roberts really surprises us the results of over praising, bribing and rewarding children.  There are limits and we find out what those are.  This episode is something you do not want to miss.

The Brain Episode on December 5

We are thrilled to announce our new season and episode on the Brain Development of a child through learning.  In this episode Janet Doman from the Institute for Achievement for Human Potential gives us the inside scoop of our child’s brain.

It will be posted right here on this site on December 5th at 8:00am PST.

Communicating with Compassion

In conversation, mom’s have happily shared the outcome when they extend compassion and empathy during a tot’s intense emotion. They notice the mood of their little one mostly shifts to completion and calm quite quickly. Now more and more parents have expressed to us the desire to be effective listeners who are naturally compassionate to their little one’s and loved ones.

Here is a wonderful opportunity for all to learn Communicating with Compassion in a 10 week phone conference course taught by Bernard Uzi Weingarten.  This tele-course will give you the skills of creating connection by understanding what it really takes to be an effective listener. You will quickly learn why the common phrase, “I hear you” is not effective listening and learn what really makes a person deeply know they are heard. Everyone wants to be heard and know they are understood, especially our little tots! Imagine the beauty of being the person that your child knows he can go to for listening and understanding.
And how to listen effectively is only the first part of what the course teaches. How to give advice without creating resentment; communication mistakes you want to avoid; and a very important section on how to avoid blaming and shaming. Best part is, class time is divided between learning the material and practicing it while Bernard coaches you. (And these skills are highly effective in dealing with adults, not just kids.)
To learn more about the course, please visit 
If you are intrigued and want to get an idea of the content and flow of the course, Bernard welcomes you to participate in the first two classes for free. You can join this week on Thursday Nov 17 at 2-3 PM EST (which is 11-noon Pacific) at no cost. There are also courses beginning every month, and the first two sessions are always free.
Email Bernard ( to join the class on Thursday or to get on his email list and receive his ‘nuggets of wisdom’ and notices of future courses and no-cost sessions. And tell him The Tot’s Café sent you!

European Photos Just In

Our friend Chimmy has really been having a grand time in Europe.  He even sent some photos of his travels in Europe just yesterday.  Guess which country that these photos were taken?

Chimmy saw so many sites and traveled all through the entire country!  He has had the most amazing and famous pizza in the world.  Chimmy has learned so much about this country.  He did not know that this country has been known to have human presence about 200,000 years ago.  Did you know that the capital of this country was first a small agricultural town in 8th century BC, and ended up to be a colossal empire?

The exciting part of the trip was traveling in the fastest train in the world. Our friend Chimmy had said, “The train went fast but I wasn’t scared.” Chimmy loved traveling through this country. “The land was gorgeous'” He noted.

We asked Chimmy if he would be back to visit this country in Europe and he said, “Most definitely!  This country was so rich in culture, ancient architectural marvel and the most awe-inspiring countryside, not to mention the delicious food!  I think too that the ladies would have enjoyed the latest in fashion too, some groovy clothes coming soon to America.”

As Chimmy’s travels have ended and he is not headed back home to the United States. We surly enjoyed exploring Europe with him.  Did you get which country these photos came from?

Below are the links to more countries Chimmy has traveled:
New Photos from Europe
Out of France and headed to…
Looking in Europe
Images of Europe from Chimmy
Exploration to Europe Continues

Thank you for participating in “Guess Where Chimmy Travels?”

Chimmy is a character based on the educational children’s book series, “Chimmy 5in1 Languages,” written by Patricia Paigerac and Chimmy illustrated by Ivan Ruiz. 

This was an interactive guessing game that is educational and fun to play with vivid photos that otherwise we would not see unless visiting the country.

To check out the Chimmy book series please visit: