The Etiquette of Disciplining Other People’s Children

We’ve all been there: a child throws a toy at your child at an indoor playground or your child pushes a kid on the ground.  Next the parents intervene. The question is how?

Should you get down into a kid’s face it you don’t know and yell at them because they hurt your child?  I would very strongly advise against that.  More times than not your child will be perfectly fine in an hour. Also, the child who hurt your child didn’t mean to do it with a serious intent to harm.  Small children don’t understand the concept of consequences to their actions. Little kids see a toy they like in a sibling’s or friend’s hand that they want and they will hit, push, snatch. Sharing is a wonderful skill to discuss and teach our children at a very young age, however they don’t really start to understand sharing until after they are three years old.  The child who hurt your child was probably simply getting what they wanted. 

If this is a situation where your child is being hurt at a playground or public place you probably don’t know the child. The child could be on the spectrum, having a bad day, not feeling well, or have sensory issues.  These are other reasons why not to aggressively discipline.  By aggressively discipline I mean to discipline with intent to punish.  Yelling, getting in close proximity of a child’s face, shaking your finger, and any form of physical contact would be considered aggressive.  I would not recommend using any of these forms of discipline with children you don’t know.  While I have been known to lift up and separate my children when they’re not getting along I certainly would not want some stranger at the park lifting my sons!

I have been a teacher for 15 years and I was in charge of disciplining other people’schildren in my career. I recommend thinking of disciplining as guiding rather than punishing. In a moment when your child is crying hysterically because they just got hurt and you’re the first person on the scene, I would recommend asking in a firm tone that the other child “Please stop” and take your child away from the situation.  If the child continues to bother your child, then I would just go somewhere else.  Their parents should be disciplining them if you’re somewhere public and this is happening.  If the parents of the other child are not stepping in to help-removing your own child will put a stop to the situation without getting the other parents involved.

Another situation you may find yourself in is that of catching something at school or day care. Teachers are so busy with their students that they don’t always have their eyes on each and every child all the time. You might catch something when the daycare teacher is changing a diaper.  For example, I have seen a child hit another child with a book while the daycare teacher had her back turned.  In this case, I would just let the teacher know. It is their job to handle the situation.  Don’t blame them that they didn’t catch it, they were probably doing their job and meeting the needs of several of their children.

Lastly, if you are in a social situation such as a play date or party where it’s a small group and you know the parents when a situation arises that needs a behavioral intervention I would just let the parents know what happened in a calm voice. I’ve told friends that their child pushed my child. I just left it up to them to discipline their child.   However, if my boys have a friend dropped off at our house and I’m watching while an incident happens I go into guidance mode.  I might tell them “no thank you” and redirect to another activity. I might remind them “We keep our hands to ourselves.” If I see we are having trouble sharing I will change the activity the children are doing (this is a great time for snacks!).  If the other child gets hurt by your child I would definitely recommend letting the parents know upfront, as it builds trust.  

This article has actually been inspired by a recent occurrence I had in which my child harmed a stranger’s child at a playground innocently. He was playing too rough. The parent aggressively yelled in my child’s face. I did not apologize to the parent because I went into protective mode. I understood why she was upset, I was sorry he hurt her children, however my son is only three years old and he’s learning the ways of the world. He makes mistakes and sometimes he plays too rough. I immediately took him away from the play area where the incident happened and kept him away from there for the entirety of our playground trip. He was really upset after this happened and cried for a while because the parent got in his face and yelled. The parent continued to follow us around and glared at us. Please if a child harms your child, at a young age, know that there was not an intent to do harm.  Kids are learning and growing every day.

 I have been on the other end of this when my son was 18 months old and a child at elementary age pushed him.  I was the only parent who intervened. I firmly told the child to “stop” and explained that my son was “just a baby who wanted to play in the same area with him, could he include him?”  The child included my son from that point on.  Their parent did not intervene at all situation and I could tell that child was not familiar with babies. 

If you keep in mind that discipline is really about guiding children and not punishing them you’ll be coming from a positive place and really teaching children an important lesson.  I will make a list below of tools you can use and strategies to handle these delicate situations.

  • Physically remove your child from any situations in which he or she is being harmed.  Don’t yell at other people’s kids while your child is crying.   Protecting your child should be your first priority.
  • If you see a young child not sharing or including your child, walk up to them and introduce your child to them. Say something like “This is Alan, he would really like to play ball with you. Do you think you could play ball with him?”
  • Never touch another person’s child, just focus on removing your child from the difficult situation.
  • Remember that young children are growing, learning, and do not think about consequences. When you approach another person’s child come from a place of guidance.
  • If you know the parents of the child who has been playing too rough with your child, let them know what happened.
  • As a teacher I always used a firm “No thank you” to diffuse situations quickly.
  • Remind children we keep our hands to ourselves and redirect.

Tie-Dyeing Tips for Large Groups

This week at camp my boys tie-dyed for the first time. Growing up this was one of my favorite camp activities! I attended summer camp from the time I was five until I was 15, and even after that I was a counselor.  So seeing my little boys making their tie-dyed napkins at camp was definitely nostalgic for me.

In the past as an art teacher I have done tie-dying for field day. I did it with all 850 of my students! So this advice is for teachers or group leaders that are doing a tie-dye project with a large amount of kids.  I hope these tips and tricks make it easier for you!

  1. Figure out where your T-shirts are going to come from. They need to be white T-shirts. Either the kids can bring them from home or see if there is a budget for these. The PTA might be able to come up with some money for it especially if it’s going to be a huge order of 500+ T-shirts.
  2. There are all kinds of dyesavailable. I recommend buying dye in large bottles rather than small spray kits.  I used old-fashioned RIT dye from the corner market and it worked perfect!
  3. For sizing T-shirts the P.E. teachers held up T-shirt samples to each student as they did attendance and wrote down the size before ordering. This was a lot more efficient than waiting for a written slip from home.  
  4. Have large buckets, rubber bands, and rubber gloves ready.
  5. You’ll need either a tarp or deep sink to place your buckets of dye.  Another option if the weather is good is to work outside on grass.  
  6. Have samples of different tie-dye techniques ready to show the kids.  This is also really good opportunity to practice these techniques!
  7. Have the kids rubber band and fold their T-shirts on their own or with help from an adult.
  8. Place the T-shirts in the dye bath of their choice and once the dye has settled in put the T-shirts in plastic bags with the kids name on it to take home.
  9. Another option is to have the T-shirts placed in plastic bags per class and give them to the classroom teacher to allow dry or wash.
  10. With our T-shirts we used five colors of dye, however red white and blue works great or school colors is another option.  Having limited colors can simplify and streamline the process. I do not recommend asking students to choose which color of dye they want-if you’re working with a huge group like I did that would take a lot of time!

I hope these ideas will inspire other art teachers and group leaders to have fun tie-dying with their students. My students always looked forward to this every year! They wore the T-shirts throughout the year, and they were always excited leading up to this project.  Below I have included some pins for more tips, techniques, and inspiration!

Dealing with Daycare Separation Anxiety

This past spring I felt that my home business was growing to the extent that it was taking a lot of time away from my children and my personal time. If I wanted to go even further with the business I would need either a nanny or daycare to free up time for me to grow. Over the summer we started sending our boys to our synagogue’s day care program. My older son, Ben, attends services with my husband every week there. So for Ben it wasn’t a new place or new people. For Adam who stays home with me – this was a totally new experience for him.

While I stayed home last year the boys went a couple hours here and there to the day care center at our gym.  So they have experienced a small amount of separation from me. An hour or two a few days a week was the standard amount time away from each other.  I recommend if you are nervous about starting day care with either a baby or a toddler who has never been before start them slowly.  When I was teaching full-time I would typically drop Ben off at the daycare or nanny for a couple hours 2 weeks before the school year started. This way it was not an unfamiliar place when he started going full-time.  This short amount of time that the child spends at the daycare or nanny can also alleviate any separation anxiety for the parents as they transition back into full-time work.  The parent gets to know the teachers or the nanny better, they get used to saying goodbye, and having time without their child.

As we started daycare the first two weeks this summer Ben was really excited, but then separation anxiety did start setting in.  What helped Ben was having some time with Adam in the morning to play and get settled then. So the teachers at the daycare center coordinated a time first thing for the boys to play outside together. This 20 to 30 minutes helped Ben get over his separation anxiety very quickly. This works well if you have siblings or a friend who’s child your child is already friends with.

For Adam, he has always had separation anxiety.  He doesn’t even want to walk into the door in the morning. I simply pick him up and have a routine with the classroom teacher to get him settled in quickly. I lift him into the classroom, hug and kiss him, give him to the teacher, and she takes him over to his favorite toy to distract him immediately, calming him.

I don’t recommend elongating the goodbye, or feeling guilty. If your child sees you feel badly dropping them off at daycare then they will feel that there’s something bad about dropping them off at daycare. If you just keep it quick, happy, and set up a routine they will transition into their day better.  Stick to this transition routine, and stay positive. For a young child like Adam who is only 18 months old and has been home his entire life up until now, a short daycare day is a huge change in his life.

In the morning after I drop off Adam I go to I drop off Ben. I simply give him a kiss goodbye and he starts  playing with his friends. When I walk back past the baby room I peek into Adams classroom and he’s busy happily playing.  Daycare and preschool give parents a chance to teach their child that school is cool from a young age. If you keep it upbeat and positive, they will come around to it being an upbeat and positive experience.  As a teacher, I will tell you that separation anxiety as at its highest during drop off in the morning. Most kids settle into school and have a great day. The following morning the separation anxiety returns. I know that Adam is having a great time playing with his friends, helping his teachers and his room, and is being taken care of while I’m out with him. I don’t feel guilty dropping him off because he cries in the morning. I know he’s going to be okay.  I have seen kids of ages  five or six have terrible separation anxiety in the morning and later during the school day are happily playing with their friends.  The worst separation anxiety I ever saw was from a six-year-old who when I taught her in the afternoon was a complete joy to have in my classroom.  Try to set up a plan with the classroom teacher every day to get your child settled in and comfortable. Work with your classroom teacher or the school counselor if the separation anxiety is extreme.

Another tip I have for older toddlers joining daycare for the first time is when you are home with your child talk positively about the teacher and their friends are making. Our daycare put out a newsletter with photos of what’s happening in the classroom each week, so I gave the photos to Ben and talked about his friends with him when we got home. We talked about how much fun he has playing with them every day. We talked about the fun things he’s learning in school.  Now he loves going to school! In fact,  yesterday he left the school building crying because he had to leave school!

If you’re returning to work immediately after your maternity leave and leaving your child to day care or with a nanny as I did when I left Ben at 4 1/2 months- there was no separation anxiety. Babies don’t understand that we can actually get up and be somewhere else. He went to school every single day for half a year with not a tear in his eye.  He was too little to understand. The older they get, closer to nine months to a year old they start to understand that mommy goes away. Remind them that mommy always comes back. Start with leaving them with dad while you go for groceries show them mommy goes bye-bye and comes back. Take a date with your husband or start daycare in small increments like I recommend. Small amounts of separation can ease a later larger transition.  I believe that consistently separating this past year from Ben helped him get over his separation anxiety quickly, he knows mommy always comes back. As I said that out loud just now he replied “yes.”

Legoland Fun in San Diego

If you follow My Petite Picassos on Instagram you’ll know that we recently went to Legoland, California. We had an amazing vacation and the boys had so much fun!

Compared to other theme parks in SoCal Legoland is really affordable!  We were able to go for $123.99 all together!  We had a Bogo coupon for buy one adult hopper ticket get another one free. Hopper tickets allow you to go in between Legoland and either the aquarium or the splash park. We chose the splash park, however we were only at Legoland one day and we didn’t end up going there.  Kids under three years old are free at Legoland so the boys got in with for free. This was a lot cheaper than last year when I paid $300 a day for myself and my husband at Disneyland. Legoland is not as magical as Disneyland nor as large, but it definitely is a great theme park!

We went on a Saturday in July and while it was crowded it was not overcrowded. We downloaded the Legoland app to find out which rides had the shortest wait time. We only waited a long time for a boat ride. Even though my boys are young toddlers they were able to enjoy a variety of rides and activities. They had several boat rides and cruises through at the same park that the boys could go on, a carousel, a train ride, and little car rides. A lot of the boat rides and such are going past full Lego exhibits such as the Lego towns/monuments or fairytale stories.  I loved seeing Las Vegas made out of Legos, so much detail-they even had a pool party at one of the hotels!


It was more challenging to find things for Adam to do than Ben. Ben even got to ride some rides by himself! A lot of rides are appropriate for ages three and up however they do have a whole Duplo Town for little guys . Duplo Town is where we rode the train and there was a large playground.  When my husband to take Ben on rides I would walk around with Adam and take him to the area where you can build with large Legos or go in search of characters. One of the favorite places in the theme park for the boys was the area where they could build Lego cars and race them!

Th hands on activities kept the boys busy for at least 45 minutes to an hour and we found ourselves prying them away to check out rides or get something to eat.

New Schedule

Hey there. I’m going to start posting every Saturday. I will continue posting recipes, art activities, and parenting articles. I’ve been working really hard on my business from home. Now I would like to have a little fun and return back to my blog.  If you’ve been following me on Instagram you know that the boys and I went to Legoland recently, I will be posting about our experience and tips for Legoland trips.  I also plan to write an article very soon about separation anxiety and daycare. So those are two articles you can look forward to and please continue to follow me on Instagram!

One is One, Two is Twenty

One is one

That’s what my mom told me my cousin said about having two littles back to back.  Today it dawned on me as we did a 6 hour drive to San Diego how much easier it would be with one child and how much more attentive to that child I would be.

For a short 18 months I was Ben’s mom, only Ben’s mom.  Ben’s mom who had books in the backseat of the car and gave him one every morning on our drive to daycare.  Ben’s mom who sat on the floor and played with him everyday after work.  Ben’s mom who had weekly arts and crafts activities planned to the last detail for the nanny to complete with him.  Then I became a mom of 2 under 2.

If it had been just Ben for this trip we are on I would have had a bunch of handmade busy bags made for him, I would have sat in the back seat playing and reading to him, and I would have had home cooked snacks like quinoa muffins for the trip.

Instead Ben and Adam were occupied with a little Mickey Mouse on the IPad, lollipops, and singing to each other.  I sat in the front seat unable to do much when one got antsy – other than talk calmly to my child as their father pulled off on the closest exit.

The mom I’ve become forgets to pack bibs and a dressy top for the trip because I’m so busy trying to keep an eye on two very active toddler boys.  I hardly get to play on the floor with them because I’m running after them with the dustpan and folding laundry.  Two toddler boys = buried in laundry!  They may not have quinoa muffins, but I did make the pb and honey sandwiches and stock the back seat with all their favorite snacks.

It’s hard not to think that I was more attentive to Ben as a mom of one and he reaped the rewards of that, however he is reaping far more having a little brother who has brought so much happiness into our home and hearts.  I wish I could be that perfect mom that I was to Ben to both of them-but it’s a different kind of balance for me now.  Rather than working full time as a teacher and coming home-giving Ben 110%, I’m working part time building a business around my boys’ schedule. I was for a year a full time stay at home mom and I do feel I was more attentive to my boys than I am now, but I have an opportunity that I need to take advantage of-and in the long run could pay off in more than one way for my family. I do catch my moments during the week that I am able to sit and play instead of clean or cook, some nights they even listen to me read stories, and swim classes on weekends are one on one time with mom.

About a year ago I signed up the boys for a mommy and me art class. Ben didn’t want to go in the class as there was a playground he was more interested in and Adam started to sympathy cry.  Both boys crying I brushed it off, walked inside the class to a bunch of stares from moms who had one quiet, on task child.  A dad looked at his wife and said “And you want a second?!?!” Yeah I’ve had kids fighting in the cart in the checkout line, and both crying when they clunk heads on the trampoline—but they’re best friends.  Adam made our family complete-maybe it’s messy, and we’re running late to EVERYTHING, and I don’t have a bib in my diaper bag on our trip to San Diego.  Maybe that’s our imperfect perfection.

I don’t know how moms of 3, 4, or more manage.  The laundry piles must be up to the ceiling!  I’m amazed by my friends of 3+ -they’re a lot more brace than me.  I’m happy with my two boys-they’re best friends and I feel that my family is complete.  I’m done with vomiting through my first trimester and sleepless nights with a newborn.  Im glad I experienced the first ultrasound, the first time I held my boys in my arms, and the first steps-but I look forward to finding Liza again.  She’s lost somewhere between work and piles of laundry.  It’s temporary, but I’m making way for me time.

Am I complaining?  About laundry and not enough “me” time-yes.  About being a mom-NEVER.  Balance-it’s all about balance.  Balancing was easier with one, and went totally out the window with two-but since they’re so close in age it’s coming back sooner than later.

One day I’ll yearn for this busy, sometimes chaotic time back.  My cherubs will grow into teenagers who will be busy with friends and school.  One day they will be men with families of their own.  My laundry loads will diminish and I’ll get to that bucket list, just not now.

Marking Our Milestone


Ok, he’s not a baby anymore, he’s a toddler.  In the Jewish tradition you are not supposed to cut your son’s hair until 3.  At the 3 year old birthday mark on the Hebrew calendar (it’s a lunar and much older calendar than the Christian calendar) the boy has his haircut and there is a party to honor him coming into more spiritual awareness.  Prior to cutting Ben’s hair we met with my dear friend Maritza Nolasco to get photos of him done.  It was extra special having Maritza take these photos as she and I experienced pregnancy for the first time together down to a couple of days difference!  She has been a great supporter on my path to and through motherhood.  We started with some outdoor photos  in her yard and then followed to the pool to get some photos of his gorgeous hair as he swam!  milestoneIMG_0191IMG_0194IMG_0206IMG_0293IMG_0294

Even Adam got in on the photo fun and we have some incredible shots of the boys together.  If you live in Las Vegas and are looking for a professional photographer, who’s great with kids and very patient I suggest looking up Maritza on Instagram or Facebook!

These photos will mean so much to me in years to come.  It will remind me of this special time I am having with m boys, it marks a change in my firstborn from being a baby to a child.  I love his long waves, wheat blond from time spent in the Israeli never-ending summer sun, but I will love his short hair too.  He will look handsome and more grown up.  No more tangles and knots as I comb through it and no more “she’s so pretty” in the grocery store.  He will be a BIG BOY at last!



Father’s Day with My Petite Picassos

Father's DaySo yes I am slowing down on the blog but when something relevant happens I do want to share and we just had an epic Father’s Day!  It started off with Ben making this cute framed photo craft at summer camp. In fact, if you follow me on Pinterest you’ll see that there are a lot of cute ideas posted for making photo presents for dad. 

Prior to Father’s Day, about two weeks ago, I made with the boys Father’s Day gifts for my dad and for my husband. We used acrylic paint and paint markers that I purchased at Target to make handprint and footprint art pottery. My dad is an avid golfer, so we made his around the theme of golf. My husband just adores his children so we made his with the theme of hearts and a little Hebrew rhyme (my husband is from Israel).

This project just took one afternoon. I recommend if you get into multiple footprints like I did that you do first the lighter color of paint.I did my dad’s plates first with the boys using the silver paint. Then we did my husband’s plates with the red paint.

I glazed the plates and cups with dishwasher safe Mod Podge which takes a month to cure. On Father’s Day I made my husband breakfast and surprised him with the play and the coffee cup.

After breakfast we went to swim class for Ben. He’s been working really hard on swimming for the last few months and has moved up a level and this week he moved up again! It’s actually funny that on Mother’s Day he moved up, then on Father’s Day he moved up again!  When he goes up a level they give him a ribbon and he can pick a toy from the treasure chest. He picked bubbles. He carried his ribbon and bubbles around for the rest of the day, he was so proud! The swimming skills came in handy later on when we went over to our friends’ house for a pool party. We  had a great time swimming and afterwards finished the day with ice cream at dusk. It was a long and fun Father’s Day! It was great to spend time with friends and enjoy the outdoors in the Las Vegas heat! The boys slept in this morning because they were so tired from all of yesterday’s events!

What did you do on Father’s Day? Did your child make some DIY art projects for their dad? If they did please share them in the comments below.

Ben showing off his ribbon.


If you’ve been following My Petite Picassos on Instagram you know my boys started summer camp last week.  I’ve started working full time on my business that I’ve been building during nap time/after bedtime for four months.  This is a busy and exciting time for our family.  I’m going to be taking it easy on blogging over the next few weeks as we transition.  I will be on Instagram and Pinterest regularly.  I will share about Father’s Day and Ben’s third birthday on the blog pin upcoming weeks but it will be sporadic for July.  

Weaning My Toddler

Yes, toddler.  More and more moms I find are breastfeeding until 2 or 3 I find.  Ben I weaned at 12 months.  It was easy – I simply cut one feeding a week and replaced it with homemade baby food.  He was in daycare which helped-we had some independence from each other.  Also, I was pregnant.  After that he slept through the night and moved to his own room.  He’s a great sleeper-12 hours straight.  Naps are pretty great too.

Adam on the other hand has been more challenging.  He never wanted to sleep in a bassinet or crib.  I’ve been co-sleeping with him since birth.  He exclusively breastfed until 10 months old when I allowed him to try soft and easy to dissolve foods from our plates.  He likes food-but he likes to breastfeed more.  He’s very attached and sleep? What sleep?!?!  I’ve been in a zombie fog for 17 months now.  I’ve gently and slowly replaced nursing with food over time.  I started that at 10 months old.  Then Adam reverse cycled and wanted to nurse more at night to feel close and make up for what he was missing during the day. A lactation consultant suggested I nurse more during the day and he will let up at night.  So I did.  I also gave up on the idea of weaning for 2 months.  

At 14 1/2 months I decided I’d had enough with not sleeping.  Adam had been sleeping part time in a crib and I felt like he might sleep better if I just made sure not to fall sleep with him in my arms and put him back in the crib.  Best. Laid. Plans.  Haha-I’m exhausted so that didn’t work.  Instead I would have to get serious about weaning.  I day weaned except nap.  He did not reverse cycle this time.

About 3 weeks ago I decided to cut bedtime nursing and wake up nursing.  Strangely bedtime nursing has been easier to cut back on.  I wait until he’s really tired, I rub Wink Naturals Pure Breathe and Sleep Rub on his chest, and rock him to sleep.  He goes down after 5-20 minutes.  He stays asleep until 3 am which cuts out another 1-2 feedings.

Morning and nap are next to tackle. Not sure which will happen first.  The boys started daycare summer camp last week and he naps there 5 days a week-but I’m not there.  Morning is tough because he wakes up MAD if he can’t nurse.  

Weaning a toddler can be tricky.  It’s so ingrained into their lives to nurse once they’re past 12 months.  Many of my friends who nursed toddlers chose to stop cold turkey.  Im trying to avoid that as it’s painful emotionally and physically I’ve also heard.  Yes, I’m taking the long, winding road-but one day I’ll reach the end.

First day of daycare-lunches and backpacks packed and ready to go!