teaching social graces

My preschooler has started noticing differences in people -- the size of their noses or other body parts, their age, their clothing, etc. -- and has been making rather indiscreet comments about his observations. When I talked to him about it, he was sort of bewildered about why it wasn't okay to talk loudly about things like this in public, because a big nose is no better or worse to him than a small one. He sort of has a point, so what's the best way to explain this social grace to him?

Oooh, first, let me say how much I love that you are even asking this question. Your son sounds deeply honest, aware, and insightful, as do you. I agree that he does have a bit of a point. And I also appreciate your concern as you navigate through this topic with him.

Here's what I'd probably say:

overzealous playgroup participants

There's a toddler in our playgroup who is constantly tackling the other kids, much like a football player. He doesn't appear to be angry when it happens, and his mom steps in immediately to issue a firm NO and remove him from the situation. But within a few minutes he's running across the room to "attack" once again. What can we do?

What do I do when my young child becomes physically aggressive?

I'll tell you one thing that many of us wish would work but usually doesn't: Saying things like, "Stop that!" or "Don't do that!" from across the room.

When your young child starts using his or her body in a way you are not happy about, you'll probably need to use your body to intervene. If your child is hitting, you'll gently catch his hand and hold it still or push it against something that is okay to hit. If your child is kicking, you'll gently catch her leg and move it in another direction. If your child is throwing, you'll gently aim his arm at a safe target. If your child is flailing around, you'll gently hold her arms and legs wrapped up in yours until she gathers her self control again.

watch out for questions that are actually criticisms

Are you wearing THAT?

Do you really want to do that?

Are you aware of how that looks?

You don't really feel that way, do you?

Why are you doing that?

Feel kinda slimed as you read these? Me, too.

sneaking in veggies

Here's my recipe for a delicious smoothie that your kids will never know contains the equivalent of two huge salads!

2 c. fresh fruit juice (I like OJ best)
2-3 bananas (either fresh or frozen will work)
1 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen)
4 c. lettuce or salad greens (I use the organic stuff from Costco that comes in a big tub. It's already washed and ready to eat.)

optional: a peach or mango if you have one handy
whey protein powder

Blend it up, adding water if necessary. The blueberries will disguise the green color. My teenage daughter has the most discerning palate in the world, and she could not taste the lettuce -- even after she knew it was in there!