I’ve been thinking a lot about surviving and thriving in the “little kid” years lately, and about how incredibly important those early years are.

The attachments that are formed. The self-esteem that is developed. The relationships that can be built.

But all at the same time, even if you have the best intentions to be deliberate and to “be there” during those years, sometimes those years are downright TOUGH!

Right now the “three musketeers” (Dave, Lu and I) are traveling with my brother and all his “little kids” and man alive, I miss this stage!

They just moved to Thailand and Lucy and their daughter are best of friends so we decided to make spring break an adventure!

I know that may seem weird that traveling with a gaggle of “little kids” could make you miss that stage.

Because, of course, little kids can be extremely tricky to traipse around the world with!

Although these ones in particular seem to be pretty delightful, I do remember that mine, although with moments of shining glory, weren’t quite as delightful a grand majority of the time.

The “Little Kid” years

I do remember the hanging-on-by-my-fingernails parts.

The whining, The complaining. The tantrums. The sleepless nights. The sheer physical exhaustion. The red-hot faces just bawling their eyes out.

But gosh, I think sometimes perspective from a vantage point looking back gives you such a wider perspective of the grand “glistening picture” of all those years feeling like you just might sink.

I think there are a couple things that helped me still see the glowing parts of little kids amidst the mayhem.

But even with those thoughts in my back pocket, boy howdy there were days I wanted to rip my hair out.

One of the best pieces of wisdom my mother ever gave me:

Little kids (toddlers) have not developed a sense of self control yet

It takes a while.

Oh that one sure turned on a lightbulb in my so-exhausted-in-the-depths-of-the-little-kids-trenches mind I tell you!

It helped me understand the mischief, the ballpoint pen on the couch (or all over the body!), the toothpaste all over the sink…you get the idea.

But oh! there’s so much delight in little kids mixed in with the mischief!!

In the “In the Arena” podcast we published last Tuesday, we talk about that and so much more as we delved into this whole business:

Little Kids: Surviving and Thriving

(This Tuesday we talk about adult kids, and I’ll talk more about that soon!)

My sisters and I go into all kinds of detail about surviving and thriving in the “little kid” years. We talk about everything from sleep-training, to brain building, to coping with tantrums, the importance of connection and the attachment theory, and changing your own behavior to help change your child’s behavior.

There is so much we can do and so much we can model to help kids learn and grow.

And so much we can do to help ourselves learn and grow too!

So that we can not only survive, but thrive these precious years that truly pass by in a blink.

Happy listening!

Come join us and give your thoughts on our Instagram page!

Sending all kinds of love and encouragement as you take those moments to delight in those little kids!


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  1. I cannot wait to see your posts about Thailand! I remember that your family traveled to that region before. We lived in Kuala Lumpur
    for four years and my daughter still considers it “home” as it was the country she had lived in the longest before we were transferred back to the states. She is delighted that we are taking her back to Asia for her high school graduation! I will be following along and taking notes. You guys always find the best spots :)). Happy and safe travels!!!

  2. Just popped into your “Keeping it Real” section after reading through this. I have 5 at home right now and it. is. crazy at my house. Thank you for taking the time years ago to post about the chaos and the crazy. I felt so seen! haha! All the interruptions, feeling like I’m stretched too thin and never finishing anything 100% because I’m supposed to be 5 different places, doing 20 different things

    … and my 2 yo just found play doh somewhere (?!) so I need to finish this up…

    I’ll hopefully get to listen to that podcast at some point. Thanks for sharing!

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