Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

What are we trying to accomplish?

Sunday, January 31st, 2016


It happened again. 

The other evening we are at a restaurant.  A family of four enters; the two little boys don’t even glance up from their cell phones as they are being seated. Shortly after orders are placed, the parents join the independent activity on their cell phones.

Yes, times are different but what hasn’t changed is the invaluable connection to the most important people in our lives.  As Einstein fears, are we at the stage where technology is surpassing human interaction?

  • How will our children learn they are part of a family that matters more than anything else?
  • How will they come to know the wonder and craziness of extended family if they don’t listen to the rich family stories?
  • How do parents teach values if children are listening to what is deemed newsworthy by popular culture?

When It Comes to Infant Language Development, Not All Toys Are Created Equal.

Parents – you are the perfect toy!

Of all the changes we would love to make in society but can’t – this one is completely in your control.

Please forgive me if I’m not impressed that your one-year-old knows how to swipe an iPad.  It would be so much better if they know how to turn the page of a book.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Creativity – How to Raise a Child You Want to Meet in 25 Years

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun. 

Mary Lou Cook

Parenting now includes ‘cruise director’ to the ever-growing list of required skill sets. Buying highly rated educational toys, enrolling babies and toddlers in music, art and dance programs are must do activities to ensure our children are creative.

Children don’t need things to be creative; they are all born naturally creative. This was proven in 1968. Dr. George Land took 1,600 five–year-olds and gave them a creativity test used by NASA to select innovative engineers and scientists. He retested the same children at age ten and again at age fifteen. What he found was that 98% of the children at five years old tested in the genius level category of creativity. The percentage at age ten dropped to 30%, and at fifteen, the test results dropped to 12%. The same test was given to 280,000 adults; 2% were in the genius level category. Dr. Land concluded that non–creative behavior is learned. We’re all given the gift of creativity; we have to work to keep it.

Creativity is one of the most desired qualities for a CEO because in its highest form, creativity is about problem solving. This is best illustrated by Einstein’s own response to his discovery:

“When I ask myself how it happened that I in particular discovered the Relativity Theory, it seems to lie in the following circumstance. The normal adult never bothers his head of space-time problems. Everything there is to be thought about, in his opinion, has been done in early childhood. I, on the contrary, developed so slowly that I only began to wonder about space and time when I was already grown up. In consequence, I poked deeper into the problem than any ordinary child would.”

What parents can do:

Recognize that boredom is good.  In our ‘cruise director’ role, we need to fill every moment with an activity, play date or some form of distraction.  But boredom is a good thing.  You don’t have to figure out what they need to do, just tell them screen time of any kind of off limits.  You may consider giving them a household problem to solve.  Since we don’t often do this, you may have to ease it in.  Consider ‘book end’ blocks of time with structured play, starting with shorter times at first. Let kids know what to expect, play for 20 minutes, and then I will call you to help fold the laundry.

Designate a play space and remember, one man’s trash is another’s treasure:  Don’t toss old hats or jewelry. Instead create a costume box and buy an inexpensive door mirror.  We did this and family parties always lead to dress up with kids and adults.  The same is true for oatmeal containers, tissue boxes and the most treasured gift of all – a large cardboard box!  Keep it simple and don’t worry about creating a ‘pinterest’ worthy space.  While that impresses other parents, it does nothing for kids.

Appreciate, but don’t reward creativity.   You want to build their confidence and encourage creativity,  but rewarding them isn’t the way to do it; in fact it has the opposite effect.

Don’t manage the activity.  You may build the fort differently, but not necessarily better.  Ask them to explain what they’ve done and how it works.  Very often, they will invent something new.

Change up the routine. If you always drive to complete errands, consider taking public transportation instead.  Kids LOVE simple changes in routine, especially when they are active participants like putting in the bus fare.

Help kids pursue their passions. Pay attention to your child’s interests and make these materials and activities available to them.  If they love taking pictures, consider a trip to the library to find books on the topic or take a trip to a gallery.

Take the time for your own creativity. Kids learn best from watching you.

Now that school is out, summer is a perfect time to start a new habit!  Be on the lookout each day this week for more creativity tips on Parental Wisdom’s Facebook page.

Thanks and have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Mom & Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter













Aren’t we just big kids?

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. ― Plato

In Feb 2006, Sir Ken Robinson presented a very popular TED Talk.  Seen over 31 million times “How schools kill creativity” suggests that schools treat children’s bodies as if they are only there to support their little heads.  It is a funny and compelling talk, but sadly not much has changed since then.

Since children aren’t in a position to change the situation, we must.  The challenge is that we are in the same boat.  While we would love to rescue children from constant preparation for tests, the stress associated with constant test taking, and disappearance of childhood, we are too busy working harder with less.

The answer is play.  Play is in our DNA.  If we understand the need for children to have recess, aren’t we just big kids with the same needs?

The airlines tell us to put on our oxygen masks before we do the same for our children.  Let’s get those masks on now.

Do less and you will do more.

  • Less email and more in person conversations.
  • Less meetings and spending more time walking around and building relationships.
  • Less heads down in work, and more time making sure we are doing the right things.

Give yourself recess and time to play.  The result will be a clear head and the happiness that comes from simply having fun.

With that, there’s no telling what you can do – perhaps even teach your kids a game or two.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Constraints help us be more creative

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Next week, parents and teachers join forces to celebrate Read Across America Day, annually held on March 2. This nationwide observance coincides with the birthday of Dr Seuss, who is known for writing children’s books.

Teachers dress up and plan activities demonstrating the fun of reading.  Though geared to students, there is a lesson we can all learn from Dr. Seuss.

In 1960 his publisher at Random House, Bennett Cerf, made a wager with Theodor S. Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) that he could write an intelligent, entertaining children’s book only using 50 words.

Geisel won the bet and $50; one dollar for each word. Despite the limitation of words, over 200 million copies of Green Eggs and Ham have been sold.

Kids of all ages can learn how constraints help us be more creative.

Constraints are often used as an excuse for not moving forward.  Instead, let’s embrace them and come up with creative solutions.  Don’t buy your child a creativity kit, which is an oxymoron, but rather give them things you have around the house and ask them to create something.  You might be surprised at the result. Talk about how limitations helped the ground crew bring home the astronauts from Apollo 13.

In business, we look for reasons that stand in the way of us being innovative.  We don’t have the time or money, or we haven’t vetted out ideas properly, or don’t have the right talent. I’ve written this before, but if we wait till all the lights are green before we leave for work, we will never begin.

As our children’s greatest role model, what is it that you would love to do?  Get started despite the constraints, and your children will follow your lead.

You may even want to fry up Green Eggs and Ham!

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®


When is a minute not equal to a minute

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Some of the best ideas I get seem to happen when I’m doing mindless manual labor or exercise. I’m not sure how that happens, but it leaves me free for remarkable ideas to occur.  – Chuck Palahniuk

The January 25th WSJ featured an essay entitled, Why Mom’s Time Is Different from Dad’s Time.

The premise is that even though moms are working more and dads are contributing more, even if the time is equal the tasks are not.

So when does a minute not equal a minute? The answer is when the intensity of the task takes more focus, thought, single mindedness, etc.

When divvying up tasks, most moms will take the dishes because, “The dishes don’t talk back to you.” 

Reading through this, my thoughts trailed back to my childhood.  As the second eldest in a family of six kids, I remember my mother doing the dishes and singing Everybody’s talking at me.

In our multi-tasking, attention grabbing, never quiet present day society, we would willingly gravitate to the tasks that are, for lack of a better word, mindless.

I know I do…call me crazy, but I LOVE ironing!  My mind wanders, but yet at the same time there is attention to detail on the task at hand.

Most would agree that Moms are the CEO’s of the household and in that role, need time for quiet reflection.  So dads, volunteer for bath time after dinner, so moms can get lost in the dishes.

For fun, here are two links:

1.   From the past the classic Honeymooners show “A woman’s work is never done

2.   Present day link from Buzzfeed “Why dads can’t be Trusted to do Anything Right.”

Now, if you will excuse me…the ironing pile is calling.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Is it really possible these days to be bored?

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

“I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of.

Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.” – Louis CK

Is it really possible these days to be bored?

I remember learning at a very early age never to say that I was bored.  When I said that, all sorts of menial labor projects came out of nowhere.  Fortunately, I got wise and was no longer required to dust the bottom legs of the dining room chairs or shine my father’s shoes.

Today we really don’t get bored. We simply pickup an electronic device and get ‘busy’ which I suppose is the opposite of bored.  But is being busy all the time a good thing?

Raising kids in our always connected world is a challenge because being bored is actually a good thing.  It gives a child time to think, day dream, create something new, something novel, something that is their own, and more importantly, time to interact with family and friends. 

Please comment below and share some ‘unplugged’ ideas for kids.  That is, if you are lucky enough to hear your children say, “I’m bored.”  I for one would love a little boredom!


Have a great week.

 Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Creatively connecting the dots

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

There were a number of stories in the news recently that although different, connect in the ways they address children and creativity. 

Creativity on whose terms

For an assignment on persuasive speech, 15-year-old Jessica Barba created an anti-bullying YouTube video and Facebook page about a fictitious 12-year-old girl who commits suicide after being bullied at school.  Her assignment was done so well, the Longwood High School Principal suspended her for five days.   Her father, Michael Barba was very proud of her creativity.  The assignment was, after all a persuasive speech.

No texting while parenting

Two words might be the secret to building a relationship with your children – pay attention.  As simple as that sounds, you might notice parents paying less attention to their children on the playground, in the grocery store and in restaurants.    

I was at a farm stand when a dad and his son came in.  A farm stand is an incredible opportunity to talk to children about cultures, food, colors, weights and measuring, smells and senses and the great things you can make together.  Instead, the little boy took out a hand-held game and the father was on his cell phone.  The loss here was a creative moment and great connection with each other.

Tablets on tables?  

Have you noticed that kids are growing up with poor social skills?  Here comes yet another way to hinder their development.  Restaurants are putting tablets on dining tables to help guests choose their selections, get their check faster and calculate tips.  They noticed that people are reading on their phones anyway.  But the tablets will also give parents a way to entertain the kids so the adults can talk. 

Nothing to do

The answer to the question ‘there’s nothing to do’ was answered; monthly deliveries of packages with things to do for kids, for a meager price upwards of $150 per year.  

As far as I know, creativity doesn’t come in a kit and boredom is a good thing, but no one gets that anymore.

We are having a creativity crisis in this country.  If you look at the situations above, only Michael Barba (dad in the first story) believed in his daughter and supported her creativity.   Too many parents are missing the moments in relationship building and encouraging creativity in us and our children.

That means less stuff, paying attention more and having time to daydream and play; best done outdoors.


Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

An apology to my son

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

I would like to open this blog with an apology to my son. 

Now an adult, Michael is intelligent, curious, loves to learn new things, and very closely follows the things he is passionate about.

So why the apology?

From the 4th grade on, at the end of each school marking period, our house was not a happy place because report cards were distributed.  I knew the less than stellar grades didn’t reflect his real ability.  My frustration would heighten especially as he promised the marks would get better because, “This is the new Michael.” 

That never happened.

What did happen was a consistent yet subtle change.  His room was filled with books on the topics he loved; philosophy, religion, mathematics, military tactics, leadership and most of all, music.

When we played Trivial Pursuit, all the adults wanted Michael on their team.  When we watched Jeopardy on TV as a family, I would count all the money he would have won if he had been on the show rather than sitting comfortably in our living room. 

While I was worried about grades and the status of good grades; he knew better than me that education was more about the love of learning.  What was at stake was my relationship with my son.

For this reason I want to share a manifesto written by Seth Godin, my favorite author.  I encourage you to download, print, read and share – Stop Stealing Dreams (what is school for?).

Godin writes that the education system was designed when education became compulsory and children were moved out of factories.  The objective was to create very obedient factory workers when these same children grew up and would return to the factory.   That approach will not help create new ideas or help find someone’s passion.

The world has changed dramatically, but education has not.  That is a much bigger problem, but like any problem, we can solve it if we understand what is really wrong.

Einstein is quoted as having said that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.

Your problem is much easier to solve.  Don’t let an out of date education system, ruin your relationship with your child, or destroy your child’s dreams.

Friend us on Facebook

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Do we really need another bake sale?

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

“May you live in interesting times.” Chinese Blessing

With shrinking education budgets and cuts in sports, arts and afterschool programs; we need to get creative with fundraising.  Well, here’s a unique product that is relevant for parents and kids!

Consider a fundraiser that provides security, safety and peace of mind in a……



The unique digital device to ensure safe travel and proper medical treatment for teen athletes’

Sport Teams, Schools and Sport Associations



for a complete tour, visit us at

Be sure to use Coupon Code PW2010 for FREE SHIPPING!





Unique storage device for your important travel & medical information.  This state-of-the-art credit card shaped flash drive may be used in every computer, net book or iPad’s USB port.  With two versions providing either 2GB or 4GB of memory, this is the digital device to keep what you need accessible and not reliant on the Internet when you are on the go!

Price of 1 to 5,000 is $14.50 for 2GB; $22.50 for 4GB which your organization can sell for the suggested retail price of $19.95 for 2GB & $29.95 for 4GB.

You can also include your school or team’s logo right on the Travel Stix® as well as encourage local businesses to donate funds to support your event and pay for the customized Travel Stix®.  Your logo is free when using coupon code PW2010, provided your order is a minimum of 100 Travel Stix®.  You can allow contributing local businesses to include coupons and web site links that we can pre-embed on your customized version.  This is another way that the Teen Sport Travel Stix® enable you to maximize your fundraising efforts.

TRAVEL STIX® was created by an attorney who is also a mother of two active teens.

Visit and be sure to use the coupon code PW2010 for free shipping.

If you have any questions, you can also contact me.

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Temple Grandin, PH. D.

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Kudos to HBO for presenting  Temple Grandin.

Not only was the movie was uplifting and interesting, but I felt something that doesn’t often happen with most shows; I was left wanting more.

Fortunately I found the real Temple Grandin as she presented a lecture at TED.  Ted is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.  TED started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.

Click here to see her presentation video. Temple Grandin at TED 2010 We need all kinds of minds