Masthead header

As children, we have all heard the words ‘don’t talk to strangers’. But the trouble is, that this advice doesn’t always work.

So what can we teach our children without making them fearful of everyone?

Watch my new video with Dr. Fernandes and Dr. Sharma and let me know what you think!

Here’s a new way to talk to your children about strangers.

SHARE TO:

Hurricane Harvey, HoustonI remember staying up all night watching the news when hurricane Ike hit Houston in 2008. I called my parents every 2 hours through the night. I couldn’t do much sitting in NYC, but somehow knowing that they were okay made me feel like I was doing something. While Ike was a devastating hurricane, it could have been much worse for Houston.

When the news reports of hurricane Harvey approaching started coming in, I began to worry as I always do. This time I was sitting in LA and I wanted that small voice in the back of my head to remind me that maybe this won’t be that bad. Except that didn’t happen. And it was that bad.

I know my experience doesn’t compare to those who actually went through this disaster first hand, but watching my hometown get devastated brought upon a sadness I had not experienced before. I will never forget that helpless feeling when I got text messages in the middle of the night from friends worried about the water rising in their homes.

I have just now started to process all the emotions over the past few weeks as friends and family rebuild their lives over again. What can you really say to comfort those who are hurting so much?

What I do know is that natural disasters do not discriminate. Whether you are rich or poor, republican or democrat-natural disasters affect everyone. They remind us that we are all in the same boat riding through the waves of life together.

We have gone through so much division in this country over the last year and it has worn us down. It certainly has for me. But watching Houstonians from all walks of life helping each other brought a sense of hope that I so desperately needed.

I heard an anchor on CNN say, “the worst of mother nature brought out the best of human nature”. Having a natural disaster hit so close to home has made me rethink my priorities. It has reminded me that I have to do better. This has certainly been one of those transition periods in life for me-where you come out on the other side a little different than before.

What I know now is this:

1) No matter how you do it, reaching out is important.

I get it. It’s hard to know what to say when someone is hurting or scared. So oftentimes we don’t say anything except react to their Facebook status. I’ve been guilty of this. But this isn’t enough. People need us to reach out. Even if it’s a simple text or message asking ‘how are you doing?.

Although I was not directly in the path of the hurricane, the messages I received from those (some whom I had not talked to in years) asking me how my family was doing–was so incredibly heartwarming. In fact, it was these people who inspired me to do the same for others.

When Sheryl Sandberg talked about the isolation she felt after losing her husband, she said this: “You don’t have to be someone’s best friend to show up. We leave people alone when they need us most. Often because we are unsure of what to do.”

No matter how you do it, reach out to others. Even if you are unsure, just take that first step.

2) Material things never last. Our relationships do.

For the past year since we sold our townhouse, our main focus has been on looking for a neighborhood where we will buy our future house (I do realize how privileged we are that we can even think about buying a house in Los Angeles). I’m embarrassed actually-because I’ve been so consumed this year with what I call ‘the house hustle’.

And then I watched my friends lose their entire homes. Not just parts of their homes, but their entire homes…gone in one evening. I cannot even begin to imagine what that feels like-to deal with the trauma of seeing the house you have lived in under water.

But even amidst their heartbreak, there was tremendous relief. Relief in the fact that their loved ones were still with them—many carrying them through these hard times.

In these last few weeks, I have been reminded that material things don’t last. They never will. It’s our relationships that do. And the best house for my family is the one that affords us time—time with each other and time to travel to see those that matter the most to us.

3) True healing comes in helping

I saw the same scene time and time again. A person or family was stranded in their homes and a group of strangers on boats arrived to save them. No questions asked. Just extending their arms out in the spirit of humanity. It brought me to tears every time.

What if we did that in our everyday lives? What if we helped people as urgently as the people on boats did for their neighbors?

When we are lost in our own emotions—whether we are going through loneliness or heartache—we can often feel like we are stranded alone in our own home. This is when we should reach out and help another. By shifting our focus onto someone else, we realize how connected we all are. Our healing comes in helping.

Before jobs, children, mortgage payments and responsibility, I was a young girl that just wanted to save the world. I now understand how vital and necessary that attitude was to my well-being. Now, more than ever, I am striving to make service a part of my daily life.

I have to admit, this hurricane shook me. I wish it never happened. But in this tremendous darkness, I am grateful to have seen small rays of incredible light.

With much love to all of the incredible people of Houston #HoustonStrong ❤️

SHARE TO:

Coming from a family of nomads, traveling has always been a huge part of my life. I’m extremely lucky to have lived in and seen more than half of the world before I was even 12! The perspectives gained and lessons learned through travel are hard to teach in a classroom. So I always knew that I wanted to prioritize travel for my children. As a family, we spend less money on material things and more on experiences.

When my first daughter was born, we flew all over the United States and even Australia and New Zealand with her. She was a perfect flying baby-only eating and sleeping during flight (I cannot take credit for this unfortunately-we just lucked out with a baby who seriously chilled out on a plane!).

And then she became a toddler.

Like all toddlers, my daughter loves to be active…and loud! But can you blame her? It’s just what toddlers do!

While toddler behavior can be cute at home…this same behavior while trying to get through a busy airport and sitting on a plane can make your stress level explode!

This past month, we took a six hour plane ride to the east coast and back with our 3 year old and 3 month old. I spent the weeks before the trip researching and frantically googling (is this a verb now?) the best ways to travel with a toddler. After reading a million blog posts (well…not a ‘million’ but you know what I mean) and spending a lot of money on Amazon (the husband was super excited about this)–I’m going to share with you what worked best for us. Because guess what? We survived! And here I am to talk about it.

Here are the best tips I found for traveling with a toddler: (As a note, I am not getting paid by any of these companies to write about them).

1) Roll through the airport. Like a boss.

This little car seat travel accessory that lets you connect your child’s car seat to your rolling carry-on is just genius! My daughter loved the idea of sitting in her car seat and riding through the airport. She even fell asleep in it! I mean seriously, come on. Who is this comfortable in an airport?

My sincere wish for the world is that everyone experience the comfort, style and luxury that this child experienced at the airport. So many people stopped us to ask how we came up with this idea and the truth is we didn’t! Thanks to this hack, we were able to zoom through with ease and most of all, with less stress.

2) Get the right headphones.

Anyone who has ever put headphones on a toddler knows that half the time they fall out or the child gets annoyed with them in less than 2 seconds. I had downloaded some videos for my daughter to watch during flight but didn’t really want the rest of the plane to hear the sweet sounds of Peppa Pig and her friends (I’m sure everyone would be thrilled about that). So during my search for headphones for toddlers, I came across this headband with headphones inside! Not only did it come in cute animal designs, but there are no headphones sticking into your child’s ear! My daughter loved to pretend that she was a unicorn during flight and literally kept these things on for the entire six hours. Awesome.

3) Make a busy kit.

Screen shot from: http://www.keepsmesmiling.com/p/my-busy-kit.html

Traveling with a toddler means that you better have something for them to do ALL THE TIME. Most toddlers cannot handle down time unless they are asleep. So when I came across this blog post for Busy Kits by Lorraine Akeman, I decided to make one for each flight. I filled a small bag with my daughter’s favorite activities-stickers, coloring books and small containers of play doh. Check out these mess-free coloring books which were so helpful to make sure the colors did not end up everywhere. My daughter called these ‘her bags of fun’ and looked forward to getting on the plane just so she could get her ‘busy kit’. Um…can we make one for adults too? Filled with wine and cheese? (just kidding).

4) Send out positive vibes.

I’m not sure if it’s the news lately or just the state of our world, but I had actually gone into this trip expecting for people to be mean to us. Crazy right? I expected other passengers to give us dirty looks or be disappointed when they discovered they were sitting near a toddler AND a baby. But what happened was the complete opposite!

Our fellow passengers went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable. Some even helped carry our bags for us! From the flight crew to those we met on our journey-everyone could not have been more compassionate. I credit some of this to the shirt my daughter was wearing, gifted to her by my friend Abha. It says ‘Kindness Wins‘.

Sometimes when you put out positive vibes, you get some back. And if you see a parent struggling on a flight, send some love their way. We are all only doing the best we can. Kindness Wins. Always.

 

 

SHARE TO:

Hey friends! I’m back with a brand new video with Dr. Fernandes!

From how to teach your child strong body language to an exercise that helps your children deal with emotions–we cover a lot in 3.5 minutes!

Check it out!

How do you talk to your children about bullying?

 

SHARE TO:

I was recently interviewed by the Los Angeles Times about managing screen time for children and families and was so excited to not only see the interview online but in print too!

We always worry about screen time for our children, but are we modeling healthy habits as well? I talked with Michelle Maltais of the LA times about how we can cultivate better tech habits as a family.

You can read the full interview here.

SHARE TO: