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10 real-life parenting lessons we can all learn from Daniel Tiger

I am not kidding when I say that when I’m in a rough situation, that cute familiar little tiger voice starts playing a situationally appropriate song in my head and guess what? Not only do I listen to it—I also start singing along with it.


These songs are catchy and honestly have been helpful for me in tricky parenting situations. But not just for me (?), also for my kiddos.

And despite the questionable things that go on in Daniel Tiger—like, why does Miss. Elaina force her friends to be so formal with her? And why doesn’t Daniel wear pants?—it still is a show we love watching together. Just like how I loved watching Mister Rogers with my family when I was a girl.

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Plus, studies tell me I don't have to feel as guilty for this screen time because Daniel and his friends will teach my kiddos empathy and compassion.

So, if you see me on the playground dealing with a child who doesn’t want to leave by softly singing to myself, “When you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath... and count to four!” join in, will ya?

Here are a few other lessons I’d like to thank that cuddly little pantsless tiger for.

1. How to calm down

Give a squeeze, nice and slow... take a deep breath, let it go.

Sometimes, we just need a reminder to stop the madness around us and take a minute to breathe—to refocus and gather ourselves. Sometimes this means I need to walk into another room when my children are having a moment, so I can collect myself and keep my cool. When I remember to do this, it pretty much always works—for them and for me.

2. How to sit with sadness

It'’s okay to feel sad sometimes. Little by little you’ll feel better again.

To me, Teacher Harriet kills it on this one. Sadness is a big feeling that our kiddos are going to experience. (Which makes me need to sing this song to myself just picturing my children sad. ?)

And of course, my kids have seen me sad before too. We’re all humans, and we’re going to get that piece of bad news that guts us, we’re going to have our hearts broken, we’re going to come face-to-face with disappointment, but little by little, day by day—we’ll pick ourselves back up again.

3. How to communicate effectively

Use your words...use your words!

Okay, Daniel Tiger fan or not, what parent doesn’t say ,“Use your words, please” 300 times a day? I know I do. But when you sing it, guys... it’s even better. ?

I hope I’m teaching my children to talk to me and to communicate with the people around them with words—instead of say, their hands, like they can do with each other when they’re frustrated (there’s also a frustrated song to sing, natch.)

Honestly, sometimes they just need a little reminder to talk it out.

4. How to celebrate differences

“In some ways we are different, but in so many ways we are the same.

Teacher Harriet, at it again. I love singing this with my girls because they (especially my 3.5 year old) are at the age where they’re starting to notice how some people look different from them, sound different, wear different clothes, etc.

And I, as the adult they look to, am always trying to convey that yes—not everyone is the same on the outside, that’s correct. But, we all are inherently good humans whose hearts are filled with love and kindness—and we should all be treated as such. And plus, being different is often what makes us so awesome.

5. How to embrace new experiences

When we do something new, lets talk about what we’ll do!

Doing new things can still be scary for me. I’m shy and get nervous in situations I’ve never been in before or with people I don’t know well. So I’m reminded that duh—my children are going to feel this way sometimes, too, and that it’s always good to have a quick chat about something that is brand new to them before it happens. I mean—who doesn’t like a heads up? Mommy Tiger must, because she nailed this one. (#MomminHard.)

6. How to take care of your responsibilities

Clothes on, eat breakfast, brush teeth, put on shoes and off to school!

We have sung this song so. many. times in our house it’s unreal. I can seriously fill in for any character on Daniel Tiger if they need a stand in. ?

We’re often rushing around in the morning and this song has saved me from yelling or losing my cool many, many times. And somehow it actually gets my kiddo to get dressed and ready for the day. (It doesn’t always happen seamlessly, BUT, it definitely helps so I’ll count it as a win.)

7. How to clean up after yourself

Clean up, pick up, put away, clean up every day!

Scene from my house.

Me: “Okay, honey, it’s time to eat dinner so let’s clean up these blocks.”

Daughter: “No thanks.”

Me: “Please? I’d like some help and it would be great if you were my big helper.”

Daughter: “But you can do it, Mom.”

Me: “You know what Daniel Tiger always says—clean up, pick up, put away!”

Then she continues singing the song and starts putting the blocks away. These lyrics are like magic fairy dust, I’m telling you.

8. How to potty train

When you have to go potty, STOP and go right away. Flush and wash and be on your way.

This episode was so helpful when we were potty training my daughter. She already liked Daniel Tiger, so she had a connection with him, and when she saw him trying out the potty—she wanted to, too. She’s been potty trained for a while now, but lately doesn’t want to be bothered with flushing or washing... so, we’ve resurrected the song and put it back in the ol’ rotation to assist with that.

9. How to share

You can take a turn, and then Ill get it back.

This has been a popular one in our family, too. Sharing is so hard to teach and so hard to ask little ones to do, I often don’t even push it with them. I feel like little toddlers aren’t quite ready to fully understand the concept of sharing so I don’t like forcing them to.

However, once my daughter got to be a certain age and she and her cousin would fight over every toy they could lay their eyes on—I figured this could be a good one to become familiar with. I’ve heard her sing it to her cousin a few times—and it’s really, really cute. (Much cuter than hearing them argue.)

10. How to say sorry

“Saying ‘I’m sorry’ is the first step, then how can I help?”

I say sorry to my kids whenever I snap or do something that hurts their feelings. I think it’s important to show them I’m human and I’m going to make mistakes—but that I love them more than anything and want to make it right. So, I love that this little ditty isn’t just about saying ‘sorry,’ it’s about taking that next step and asking if that person is okay, or what you can do to help them feel better.

Often children are forced into saying ‘sorry’ to someone and don’t even fully understand why they’re saying it or maybe don’t feel ready to say if but they’re being told to—so they do it. This one is *hopefully* teaching them that it's not just about apologizing, it’s about being okay with admitting you were wrong and asking what steps you can take to make it right. ?

Guys. I’m obviously a DT super fan, but can you blame me? The Tigers are doing something right and I’m just happy to be their protégé. I can’t wait until Baby Margaret can contribute to the parenting conversation—she’s going to do big things!

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance (INARA)

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