Parenting with the HEART in Mind

Parenting tips and resources to grow the social and emotional capacity of your children and family.

Do you want to receive weekly tips in your email? Sign up here!

Subscribe Parenting

We don’t share your email with anybody. Unsubscribe anytime.

Weekly Parenting Tips

Parents need tools to develop their own resilience and confidence, as well as support their kids in growing their social and emotional skills. In Lorea’s weekly newsletter, you will find curated resources and tools for your parenting toolbox.

See Tips

Talk with Children about Racism and Injustice

In order to dismantle racism, we need to raise anti-racist children. This requires having difficult, yet important conversations about race, social justice and equity. Check out these resources to get you started.

Get Advice

Coronavirus Resources for Parents

The global pandemic has impacted families in significant ways. Parents are faced with the challenges of supporting their children at home, carrying their own job responsibilities, and maintaining a sense of harmony in their homes.

See Resources

Weekly Parenting Tips

February 28

Celebrating Women’s Accomplishments

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Women’s History Month, a month when we celebrate the many accomplishments of women around the world and throughout history. I will be honoring the strong and compassionate women who have supported and inspired me over the years, among them all, my mother. In March, I also celebrate my first daughter’s birthday!

You may be wondering why we still have special celebrations for women, when we should celebrate them every day. The thing is that we still live in a patriarchal society in the US and many other countries, and too often the contributions of women are not acknowledged or are plainly ignored.

This month brings an opportunity to teach our children, no matter their gender, about the many contributions that women have made for the betterment of society throughout history, and also those women who are making a difference today. Unfortunately, many schools still use books (and sometimes have practices) that are sexist, so we need to educate ourselves as parents in order to be better models and advocates for our children. This is as important if you are raising boys.

This week, I want to recommend you 3 books:

  • Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Chipman
I hope you have a chance to read and talk with your children about Women’s History Month.

February 21

Creating Special Moments

The other day my 5 year old started crying inconsolably. “¿Qué te pasa cariño?” I asked her. Her response left me cold: “You and papa are always working or talking to each other, my sister is reading all the time, and I don’t have anybody who wants to play with me.”

It was difficult to admit… but she was right. It had been a busy week, and I hadn’t been able to spend as much time helping her with her kindergarten assignments, let alone playing with her. Although my husband and I are at home all the time due to the pandemic and distance learning, the truth is that we hadn’t given her our full, attentive presence.

Later that week, this article by Dr. Laura Markham showed up in my inbox. It reminded me how important it is to have “special time” with our children, a time away from phones and chores where our only goal is connecting with our child.

I will be creating more special times with my children moving forward. I hope you do too.

February 14

Can I disagree with myself?

Have you ever felt ashamed because you realized something you used to think doesn’t ring true anymore? In an American culture that elevates confidence and often mocks mistakes, this may be a hard pill to swallow.

For the last few months, I have partnered with Social Emotional Learning (SEL), equity and diversity leaders to organize Lift Every Voice, a transformative event focused on storytelling as a process to build community and build bridges across differences. I can tell you that planning this event has taught me how much I still don’t know. It is difficult to admit, but acknowledging it allows me to grow and learn.

Research has shown that intellectual humility—the ability to recognize the limits of our knowledge and value the insight of someone else—may help us learn better and have more productive ideological debates. In this Greater Good Science Magazine article, you can read why cultivating intellectual humility can help you and your children develop perspective and a growth mindset.

The question is… are we willing to recognize what we don’t know?

February 7

Can I teach Black History to my children?

February marks the start of Black History Month in the US, a time to remember and celebrate the many contributions of Black people toward the advancement of humanity throughout time. It is also a time to reflect and recognize that the struggle for racial justice continues.

As parents, this is also a good time to continue developing our cultural competence and reflecting on our racial identity. For the last few weeks, I have been reading and discussing The Racial Healing Handbook by Dr. Anneliese A. Singh with a group of parents. It has been a powerful process, reflecting on the many lessons about racism, whiteness, and assimilation that I needed to unlearn, so new learning could take place. I can feel myself growing.

You may be wondering how to celebrate Black History Month in your family or even if you have enough knowledge to teach it to your children. If that’s the case, I have some resources for you. My colleague Amber Coleman-Mortley, Director of Social Engagement at iCivics and host of Let’sK12Better podcast, has curated a great list of resources to get you started. It is never too late to learn new things. From books to Spotify playlists and visual artists, you’ll probably find something to share with your family.

January 31

What’s going on with my child?

How are your children holding up? My 6-year-old is starting to lose motivation for distance learning; she complains about the assignments being boring and has a hard time paying attention during her Zoom calls. And when I tell her “let’s go for a walk,” she doesn’t want to leave the house. Can you relate?

You may have noticed that your children have a harder time focusing, show less empathy and patience towards their siblings, or have no desire to engage in physical activities. While there are many reasons to feel optimistic in 2021, the pandemic continues to impact our lives and affect the mental health of children and adults.

While these behaviors are normal, it is important that we continue to support our children to stay physically and mentally healthy—even when we just want to sit on the couch and do nothing—and monitor their stress levels. Children’s behaviors are their way of communicating that something is happening. Don’t ignore them, thinking that they will go way. Check in with your child and try to understand what’s going on for them.

In this article, Drs. Sheffield Morris and Hays-Grudo offer 10 strategies to help children reduce stress and build resilience.

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

In this 3 min video produced by PBS Kids, you can learn how to model anti-racism for your children.

January 24

Overcoming the Pressure to Always Do More

How was your week? Mine was not that great. I had no energy to get up in the morning and work out, like I regularly do. I struggled to focus on work and felt unproductive. Despite not feeling well, I felt guilty for having a slower breakfast or canceling a few calls. I know many parents have been in a similar situation. The need to be constantly productive is overwhelming!

Dr. Devon Price, author of Laziness Does Not Exist, argues that the pressure to overwork and over-commit is interwoven into American history. We have an unsustainable amount of tasks that need to be accomplished, “which naturally leads us to fail and see ourselves as lazy, even if we’re doing more than we’ve ever done before.”  So, how can we change this dynamic and stop this unhealthy pattern?

It takes a lot of work to change these cultural mindsets and unlearn these beliefs. Dr. Price recommends questioning situations and people that we label as “lazy” and reflecting on why we have that perception. Then, with compassion, we can analyze why these behaviors are happening. For more tips and a full interview with Dr. Price, check out this article published by the Greater Good Magazine.

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

If you want to understand why it is so difficult to have conversations about race and racism, check out Facing the Divide, a video series designed to bring psychological science to the conversation regarding the connections among race, racism and health. It is produced by the American Psychological Association.

January 17

Can We Be the Parents our Children Need?

Last year tested so many of our parenting abilities: exercising patience, showing empathy, balancing our attention between work and family, and staying resilient despite all the challenges. Well, 2021 is no different. Although we can see a light at the end of the tunnel, the everyday challenges of parenting are still the same.

“Our children look to us for guidance, and when we don’t have answers or solutions, it often elicits feelings of helplessness,” says clinical psychologist Bethany Cook. In turn, we look for the “golden ticket answer,” trying to move away from these emotions and feel less out of control.

So, how do we support ourselves and our kids to look forward with so much uncertainty? In this article, Cook and other therapists share how they talk about expectations for 2021 with their own children.

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

This is a good time for parents to talk with their children about civics. This episode of NPR Life Kit provides guidance for talking with children about politics and start getting them excited about civic engagement.

January 10

Talking with Kids about Traumatic Events

2021 had only one job: to be better than 2020. And yet, we started January with violence and an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, a possible second impeachment and more. If you are having a hard time figuring out how to discuss these topics with your children, you are not alone. Where do you even start?

Although these conversations are difficult, don’t skip them. It is important that we educate our children, so they can start to understand the injustices and double standards that we experience in American society and the importance of fighting for justice and democracy.

Start with yourself; notice and name your feelings—anger, sadness, anxiety, shame. Once you have processed these emotions, discuss these recent events in a way that is appropriate for their age. Here are some resources:

In this article and this one, you will find some tips to discuss these traumatic news events with young people. Although both articles are written for teachers, the advice is fitting for families as well.

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

The organization Embrace Race, which I have shared before, has many great resources to raise anti-racist children. In this post, they share read-aloud books to raise a brave generation. Check it out!

January 3

Setting Yourself up for Success in 2021

Happy New Year! I hope you were able to find some joy during the holidays, and enjoy those precious, small moments with your children. Our family took a much needed break away from screens, and we were able to enjoy many outdoor walks.

After saying goodbye to such a difficult year, you may be wondering where you will find the strength or patience to continue parenting in 2021 with all the challenges that this pandemic continues to bring. The struggle continues to be real.

In that wondering, you may be tempted to set up New Year’s resolutions—trying to eat healthier, exercise more, yell less, reduce social media consumption or finally finish that project. My friend and colleague Josh Freedman, CEO of Six Seconds, says that “most New Year’s Resolutions get the emotional motivation wrong because they are driven by fear and failure“, so they fail. We start, and we miserably fail.

If you are setting up New Year’s resolutions, I would recommend you read this article. Josh describes the neuroscience behind change, and provides 3 questions to help you understand your internal drivers, so you can set yourself up for success.

May we have a healthier, safer and more equitable year.

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

I am reading The Racial Healing Handbook by Dr. Anneliese A. Singh with other parents from my daughters’ elementary school. We’ll be meeting once a month to discuss the book and equip ourselves with the tools to discuss racism with our children, and act to dismantle it. If you are interested in doing something similar at your children’s school, get in touch.

December 13

Losing our Holiday Traditions

Shelter-in-place orders are back in California. This time until January 4th. This means cancelling holiday gatherings and changing plans, which will cause disappointment, hurt feelings, even grief for children and adults alike.

Psychologists suggest that we look for the silver lining in stressful situations that are out of our control, and focus on areas where we can make choices. Maybe the holidays won’t be what we’d like this year, but we can still make them special and meaningful.

In this great article from the Greater Good Science Center, you can read more about this and other tips for coping with the loss of holiday traditions.

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

Are you looking for good holiday gifts? Consider buying race and social justice books for your children this holiday season. Here’s a list with great recommendations.

December 6

Are Kids Too Selfish?

I have heard many parents complain about how selfish their children are. These parents realize their kids have so many resources at their disposal, and yet they constantly ask for more. This situation can become a source of stress between parents and children with negative consequences for the quality of the relationship.

On the other side, researchers have found that gratitude make children happier, more optimistic and more satisfied with their lives. However, kids aren’t natural-born gratitude experts. Gratitude can be developed over time, but it requires continuous practice.

If you want to help your children to be less self-centered, support them to develop their gratitude abilities. Check out this article with a list of gratitude questions to get you started, published by the Greater Good Science Center. The effort is worth it!

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

In this video, National Book Award Winner and Boston University Center for Antiracist Research Director, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, discusses how to teach children the complicated history of racism in the U.S.

November 22

Gratitude for Self

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful, the readiness to show appreciation and return kindness to others, not only over Thanksgiving but year round. In your expressions of gratitude, are you including yourself?

Gratitude should also include appreciating who you are and what you have accomplished as a parent. In this great article, Dr. Laura Markham provides tips to recognize and appreciate our strengths as parents, so we can enjoy parenting more.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Stay safe.

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

Check out this fantastic TED Talk by Dr. Amanda Kemp.

November 15

Parenting with Gratitude

Research shows that gratitude can improve both our physical and mental health, making us more resilient in the face of stress. And grateful people are more apt to learn and grow from difficulty.

Even though this year has been difficult, the opportunity to practice gratitude abounds. If you need ideas to engage your children in practicing gratitude, here’s a great list. The article is written for classroom teachers, but easily adapted for use at home.

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

10 Keys to Everyday Anti-Racism is a great article with practical tools that can be used to work against prejudice and inequality, published by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. Take a look!

November 8

Arguments on the Rise

Are you arguing more often with your spouse or partner since coronavirus? If you are, you are not alone. With many families spending all day and every day at home together, co-parents are feeling constrained and conflicts are simmering. While these are challenging times, we can find ways to bolster these relationships and overcome conflicts. Check out these 5 tips from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

I recently discovered this great organization, Embrace Race, which is focused on helping parents to raise children who are thoughtful, informed and brave about race. They have a ton of free resources. Check it out!

November 1

Go Vote!

“When you’re being civic you’re thinking about your relationship to other people and the larger society. What’s your responsibility? How can you make things better?” says Amber Coleman-Mortley, blogger at Mom of All Capes and author of the popular podcast Let’s K12 Better. In her latest episode, she talks about talking with children about the election. Have a listen!

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

Go vote! Seriously.

October 25

Boo! Halloween is almost here

We know that this year’s Halloween celebrations won’t be the same. However, children are still excited to get their costumes on and eat some candy. If you are in need of ideas to have a safe Halloween, check out some tips here.

Every year, we still see costumes that are offensive–people wearing blackface or dresses depicting another ethnicity or race. When we wear offensive costumes, we ruin the fun for others. Do you need resources to get educated on the topic? Check herehere and here. Work with your children to pick or make costumes that are fun and tasteful, and in case of doubt, choose something else.

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

In this podcast, Amber Coleman-Mortley, blogger at Mom of All Capes and author of the popular podcast Let’s K12 Better, talks about Civics, Race and Kids. Have a listen!

October 18

How are you really feeling?

Emotions are running high in most families–arguments over distance learning assignments, wearing a mask while outside or spending too much time in front of a screen are common nowadays. We (parents) keep trying to “make things work”, and yet living through this pandemic is tough.

My colleague and SEL parent education consultant, Jennifer Miller starts her day by asking her family, “What’s in your heart today?” A simple and important question that helps us to take the temperature of our own and our family’s feelings.

When we do this kind of check-in with our families, we are teaching children to identify their emotions and self-regulate more effectively, and we are creating an opportunity to discuss any concerns before starting the day. In this great article, Jennifer explores a few tools that you can use to take the temperature of your family’s feelings. 

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

A new “Sesame Street” special about anti-racism called “The Power of We” is now available. The Power of We: it features Elmo and Abby Cadabby, who are joined by 6-year-old Muppet Gabrielle and her cousin, 8-year-old Tamir. Come along with these friends as they learn how to become “upstanders” to unfair treatment based on skin or fur color. You can watch in on PBS.

October 4

Supporting Distance Learning

I got the stinky eye from my 8 year-old daughter when I tried to “help” her with a math assignment this week. It is very hard to watch our kids struggle, and sometimes fail! However,  during Back to School Night, educators at my child’s school reminded parents of the benefits of productive struggle: “It is okay to let your child struggle with an assignment. Let them figure it out on their own.” For more information on productive struggle and other tips to support your children’s learning at home, check out this article from Edutopia.

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

What do you know about Hispanic Heritage month and the contributions of the Latino community? Check out these great resources from PBS to learn about and celebrate the traditions, stories and contributions of Latinos and Latinas in the US, and around the globe.

September 27

Anxious, anyone?

Stress and anxiety levels keep increasing as parents continue to navigate the everyday challenges of dealing with a global pandemic, fires up and down several states, and unhealthy air that keeps us (even more) indoors with our children. What other challenges will parents face this year? For this week’s resource, check out this video below from Six Seconds, where Josh Freedman shares tips for managing stress and anxiety. 

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

What white parents get wrong about raising antiracist kids — and how to get it right. In this Washington Post article, you can learn the misconceptions parents carry about how children develop racial bias and what to do about it.

September 20

Parenting as an executive

“Many moms are caught in the day-to-day, unpopular middle management grind. The space where we’re living someone else’s dream, monitoring outcomes, maintaining schedules, ensuring the health and wellness of all members…” says Amber Coleman-Mortley, blogger at Mom of All Capes and creator of the popular podcast Let’s K12 Better. Her advice—moving from middle management to executive leadership. That is, delegating tasks and empowering the children to be active contributors. For more details, read Amber’s great post.

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

This week, I will be talking with friends at HITN Learning about how to raise children who appreciate diversity and act against racism. Join me on Thursday for a great conversation! Details here.

September 13

Raising an Adult

Distance learning, working from home, no after-school activities… parents and children are spending A LOT of time together these days. The question is–are parents taking this opportunity to raise kids who are self-sufficient, can handle setbacks and advocate for themselves? Or are they solving their problems and protecting them from failure? If you want to raise resilient and strong children, you need to do the former. Here are some tips from Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

How Mindfulness Can Defeat Racial Bias. In this Greater Good Science Center article, Rhonda Magee talks about how cultivating moment-to-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, and surroundings can a solution to implicit racial bias.

August 30

Social Skills for Zoom

“Socializing is a muscle” says Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. For shy and introverted children, having to “exercise” their social skills again through zoom meetings or in-person instruction, may feel like climbing a mountain with no gear or training. If your child is showing unexpected behaviors, consider what they are trying to communicate through their actions. Going back to school can create stress and anxiety for many children, especially those who are introverted.

As a parent, you can support your children’s social development by discussing their challenges and providing developmentally appropriate choices. Check out these great  tips to support your child by Christine Bader, author and co-founder of The Life I Want, a storytelling project with Eva Dienel.

Anti-Racist Parenting Resource

NPR Podcast CODE SWITCH–It’s the fearless conversations about race that you’ve been waiting for! Hosted by journalists of color, this podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. It explores how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between. This podcast makes ALL OF US part of the conversation—because we’re all part of the story.

August 23

Back to School!

How are you feeling about the start of the new school year? While some parents may feel relieved that the kids will have structured learning time, others are overwhelmed trying to figure out how to balance distance learning (or a hybrid model) with their own job responsibilities. No matter how you feel, remember that these are very challenging times and that we are all learning as we go.

In order to ease the transition back to distance learning, check out these practical tips to support at-home learning. Here’s to a great start of a school year like no other!

Anti-Racist Parenting

Based on popular demand, I will be sharing one resource each week to help you discuss topics such as racism, discrimination, and equity with your children, and help them (and you!) develop the necessary skills to build social justice. While the 3 bridges to an equity centered SEL, which I created for schools’ use, can be a starting point to understand the necessary shifts, the work is complex and we will need to pull as many resources as possible to make this work happen. Here’s the first resource:

My Racial Equity: A Guide to Racial Literacy. My Racial Journey is a 10-week, guided curriculum aimed at helping us challenge the ways we participate – often unknowingly – in racism by developing basic knowledge and skills about race. Developed at the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development and with the Office’s Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education (P.R.I.D.E.) Program.

Resources to Talk with Children about Racism and Injustice

Coronavirus Resources for Parents

The spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is significantly impacting the lives of many families across the globe.  I will be posting an updated list of curated resources for you and your family to help you discuss coronavirus with your children, ways to set up a work from home/home schooling environment , and how to take care of yourself and each other during this difficult time. If you need any support, please send me a note. I am here for you.

Subscribe to Parenting with the HEART in Mind

A weekly email with curated resources for your parenting needs.

Subscribe Parenting

We don’t share your email with anybody. Unsubscribe anytime.