Our guest today is Chris Lake, a native New Yorker who works with toddlers with delays to help them meet their milestones. He trains staff and parents to do the same.
He earned his Masters in both General and Special Education.
In 2014, Chris started a nonprofit; 'Community for a Cause' and has successfully worked to aid New Yorkers as well as people abroad.
Chris is also a best-selling author, his book “How to Help Your Toddler Meet Their Milestones: 101 Developmental Behaviour Hacks.”
His goal is to give families and child care providers a time-tested blueprint of how to develop children using an evidence-based practice.
Connect with Chris Lake:
Buy the Book:
This episode is sponsored by Skill Samurai - Coding & STEM Academy https://skillsamurai.com.au/
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Many parents are concerned that their child might be falling behind. Others are just looking for ways to help their children thrive, not just in the classroom, but socially and well into their future careers. Each episode we explore the challenges facing parents in the modern world, from behavior, education, and nutrition to device and gaming addiction. We interview a range of leaders in the area of childhood development to help you successfully navigate parenting in the digital age. Here is your host, Jamie Buttigieg.
Speaker 2 (00:34):
Hello, parents at Welcome to another episode of The Parenting in the Digital Age podcast. Because there's no instruction manual for being a great parent. We find experts from right around the world to help us navigate all things parenting. Our guest today is Chris Lake, who is a native New Yorker, who works with toddlers, with delays to help them meet their milestones. He also trains staff and parents to do the same. Chris earned his masters in both general and special education, and in 2014, Chris started a nonprofit community for a cause and has successfully worked to aid New Yorkers as well as now people abroad. Chris is also a bestselling author, his book, how to “How to Help Your Toddler Meet Their Milestones: 101 Developmental Behaviour Hacks.”. Now, when I was, uh, reading through that, I was like, where was this book when I was parenting <laugh>? Uh, this is, uh, indispensable. Uh, uh, his goal is to give families and childcare providers a time-tested blueprint of how to develop children using evidence-based practice. Now, before we get into a fascinating discussion on toddlers, welcome Chris. Thank you for joining us. Please share with our listeners who you are and what you are passionate about. Jamie,
Speaker 3 (01:47):
Thank you so much for that glowing introduction. I am so happy to be here, joining you from across the world, <laugh>. Um, I am passionate about people. I'm passionate about progress. I'm passionate about children within your potential not being overlooked. I'm passionate about helping parents so that they have the, the bandwidth to do their job best, because we all know as parents and grandparents and uncles and aunts and children that parents have their hands full, and there's, there's not a lot that makes job easier. So, you know, in my, my field and what I've done, I've found ways to summarize what can be done. I'm here to help share that.
Speaker 2 (02:28):
Yeah, wonderful. Now we are, um, gonna dive into some of these developmental behavior hacks that parents can use. And there's gonna be, I know there's gonna be some real, uh, wonderful pieces of information that parents can go away with and use and implement to, to help really add value to their family and help their child succeed and thrive. But before we do that, tell us a little bit about community for a cause. You know, what, what, what made you start that? What impact do you guys have? Uh, just give us some background.
Speaker 3 (02:55):
Absolutely. So it's funny that because of the work I, I do in my day job, which is a behavior therapist, essentially, I'm a special education teacher slash behavior therapist working with kids with autism. And when I first got my master's and I had my first job as a head teacher, first class on my own, super proud, proud Papa Bear, I had a class eight kid, and one of the children there had lead poisoning. Mind you, every single classroom I've worked in across my 15 years has had kids who lead poison with exposure, every single classroom without exception. And I didn't start to notice, um, how bad this was until just a year before Flint, Michigan hit the national and then international, uh, awareness. And so the year before Flint, Michigan was on anyone's mind. My student had a very high level level, and it was alarming because in comparison to the kids with autism, I noticed he had much greater challenges, much greater difficulties, and it kind of broke my heart graduation, which they really worked super hard for practicing the gestures for wheels on the bus.
Speaker 3 (03:59):
And I actually literally made a, a wooden construct bus in the sit-in. Um, he was the only one who didn't show up. And we never got a call. I never saw a child again, but in my head, I assumed that he probably had a tantrum or a meltdown to end all meltdown. And the family simply said, you know what? Forget it. And that every day, man, that happens every day to so many different families, it's an untold story. It's not, it's not sexy or, or dramatic. It's not gonna make the movies, it's not gonna be in a new st, it's just, it's life. It's just the sad aspects of everyday life. And so that was a graduation. I had a summer off, and I'm sitting around asking myself with this unsatisfied feeling, what do I do with this feeling? How can I make a difference?
Speaker 3 (04:43):
So you fast forward a little bit, and I watched a food documentary. I'm very big on plant-based diets and, and seeing food as medicine. And I watched this food documentary called Hungry for Change. If anyone's seen it, you know, you know what it's about. If you haven't seen it, highly recommend it. And it was the first food documentary I watched. It wasn't just and trying to convince you not to eat meat, it was more talking about sugar and being attentive towards how valuable plants are. And in the documentary, Dr. Mike Adams is very casually at one point said, when you eat cilantro, it goes into your body and it removes heavy toxic metals. And I paused and I said, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. What did you just say? Are you telling me there's something you can simply eat that could helped my students? And that sent me down this rabbit hole of research.
Speaker 3 (05:29):
I ended up going to a bar, met someone else who worked with kids, and I was just nonstop obsessed, hyper fixate on this. So talking to her about it, and we decided, let's, let's do something. Let's throw fashion fundraiser to raise awareness. And out of that, we decided let's make a five one [inaudible] [inaudible] out of it. And out of that became community forecast. And, you know, it was originally created for children lead poisoning, which is why my book proceeds portion of them goes towards lead poisoning. And, and then from there I developed other chapters as well, because there's just things in general I see in, in New York and my world around me that I say, I don't like that, but I have a nonprofit. What can I do to change that? I create a branch for homeless relief. I create a branch for storm relief. I create a branch for sexual violence prevention, a branch for environmental protection. And you know, the goal is down the road to have as many branches so that communities can gather and collaborate grassroots lobby of c, b, and, and make changes for whatever cause they care about. And, and that's a long short of it.
Speaker 2 (06:25):
And that is, uh, quite an impact. Thank you for your impact because that is, uh, uh, uh, impressive. When somebody gets the fire in them and find some passion, it is incredible what they can do. Now, Chris, I recently read an article about, uh, babies being born just prior to and during the pandemic, uh, talks about the impact of isolation on bra, uh, on brain development, the impact of isolation on brain development, uh, and the impact on behavior. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So Chris, what, what can parents do to help their child properly socialize following the, you know, COVID
Speaker 3 (06:58):
Lockdowns? Yeah, absolutely. Great question. And I would say first and foremost, what all parents can do is be aware, right? You don't need to have all the answers, but it's important to be aware of your instincts. If you have a gut feeling like, Ooh, is that, is that normal? Should my kid be doing that? Is that something my kid should not be doing? Pursue that line of questioning. You know, don't, don't simply let it start end with between your ears, right? Don't believe everything you think is something that I'm known for saying, um, do your research go into, okay, what's normal for my 20 month old? What's normal for my 22 month old? What's normal for my, listen, you can break it down by week at a certain point when the kid's younger and you will find answers for what the standard is. Now, does your kid even perfect?
Speaker 3 (07:40):
No. But your child should be displaying some initial aspects of what is to be expected at certain ages. And it's not for you to beat yourself up if your child isn't displaying certain things, but it is for you to be aware, okay, my kid is three years old and still refuses to ever share their toys. That is not deal, right? And you don't wanna simply say, oh, they go out of it. This is a very big takeaway for all parents. I invite all parents to throw out this phrase, they'll grow out of it. That is a myth. That is magical thinking. No one anywhere, ever simply grew out of stuff. What really happened is one of two things. We're punished out of stuff, or our peer group shames us out of stuff. And that's how we grow. <laugh>, unfortunately, <laugh>, um, the only other alternative is if a child is per cash enough, they'll realize this doesn't work.
Speaker 3 (08:39):
And, and they'll come to a point in their own understanding that this kind of thing, for me, this kind of acting really doesn't work for me. But that requires a high level of maturity, but typically we'll punish out of behavior or we're ashamed at it. So if you see your child not doing something, say, well, I want them to do more of this. I want them to share more. Find ways to incentivize you. Find ways to catch them being good. So if you do see them trying, give them credit for trying. Um, if you see an opportunity where there's a toy and a kid stand next to them. You can physically guide them. This is what I talk about a lot in my book. You are allowed to put your hands gently on your child and guide them to do certain things that they have not yet figured out how to do, because they have not yet figured out how to do it.
Speaker 3 (09:20):
And because they aren't just going to figure it out, it's good for you to guide them, physically, guide 'em. And then as you do, say, this is Sharon, oh, I'm so proud of you, Jimmy, I'm so proud of you, Susan, thank you for sharing your toys. Give mommy a hug. I love when you do. Big boy, big girl. Things like she, those phrases, mind you, big boy and big girl, they go a long way with toddlers. Kids wanna be associated with being older, all kids, right? Um, there's this status that we aspire for in, in childhood, and that status is older, bigger, stronger, faster typically, and for some kids smarter. But let's be honest, uh, <laugh>, that's not the biggest priority, <laugh>. So the more you can identify a trait, a characteristic, a virtue as being big boy and big girl and encouraging it, physically, guiding it when you can and praising it specifically, they're gonna wanna do more of that.
Speaker 3 (10:14):
They're gonna wanna do more of that. Um, and the alternative is if you see them doing something that's not good, like they take a toy from a kid or, or they push a kid, they're in some way aggressive or they just shut down. You don't wanna get loud and excessively energetic about these things. Because unfortunately, what happens for a child's developing brain is they don't process it quite the way that you might hope they do. I, I tell my staff, I tell my teachers all the time, every single kid across the globe has the same exact David word. You wanna know what that is? Jamie, tell me their name. It doesn't matter why they're hearing their name. They love hearing it. And they especially love hearing it when you say it loud issue is we're only saying it loud when they're doing something wrong, right?
Speaker 3 (11:00):
That's how we were trained. That's how we were raised. It's kind of natural. And, uh, you know, <laugh>, it's, it's, it is, it is what it is. But, but once you are aware of this, you can switch the gears. You can say, okay, let me not get too loud when I see 'em doing this. Instead, let me like, bring the level down the time. Say, Hey, hey Jamie, let's not do that. That's not a good choice. Let's make a big girl choice. Big boy choice. And then when they do something that we want, say, wow, Jamie, that was great, I'm so proud and fake, right? You're gonna know you're putting it on and you're gonna feel a little ridiculous, but A, it's not forever. And b, it makes a difference. And promise me what I'm recommending isn't based on, well, I'm a dad, I did this. No, it's based on 16 years evidence based scientific research from applied behavior analysis. I've gone to conferences with this, you know, I've got, I've gotten my master's from this. But this is, this is something that we have to do data analysis, graphing on and, and update every single day to make sure we can prove to parents that the behavior we're doing for the kids autism works. What works for kids with autism, works for everyone else too. Works for everyone
Speaker 2 (12:01):
Else. Yeah. That, that is outstanding advice. Uh, there, like I can, I can see parents now just writing this stuff down, <laugh>. Uh, here's, here's another increase the parents struggle with, right? And, and I know as a parent of four, uh, picky eating, picky eating. Now, now I'm not gonna say, I'm not even gonna ask you, will kids go outta this cuz uh, I can feel a slap on the wrist. <laugh>, uh, what, what can parents do to perhaps decrease, uh, you know, picky eating and make sure the kids are eating a more balanced diet, right?
Speaker 3 (12:32):
Couple, couple things they can do. One, um, take a deep breath and recognize you're not alone. You're not alone. Um, research shows that between 19 to 50% of toddlers are picky eaters. So almost half are picky eaters. It's not anything that you're doing wrong necessarily, it's just that there's a lot that kids are dealing with at mealtime. Um, and one thing that you can do off the bat if you want offer, offer a balanced diet, right? That's one thing. You know, if your kid just wants crackers and chicken nuggets and fries, um, and, and that's what you're offering a Monday through Friday, it's gonna be really hard to offer. Broccoli comes Saturday. So the more you're offering a healthy diet, even if they're not eating it, the more normal it becomes in your household. You wanna make a healthy, balanced meal. A normal site, a normal vision.
Speaker 3 (13:21):
At least. I once heard a story about a mom who offered her kids veggies every single day for a full year. He never ate it. And one day she gave up and she just stopped putting veggies on a plate. And that day her son said, mom, wear the veggie. Even though he never ate it, it was no, he needed the visual. He knew that's supposed to be there. So what what research has shown is that the key is understanding that typically for, for picky eaters, not just toddlers, for specifically for picky eating toddlers, it usually takes eight to 15 exposures before they'll try the food. This is really important to remember because the average person doesn't have the bandwidth to try offering and being rejected. A certain food you're cooking, spending money on and thrown away eight to 15 times, they'll try it once. You're gonna try it twice.
Speaker 3 (14:07):
You might not try it three, four times. Definitely not five. So what I recommend for people to do is make it a Thursday night try. So you say for two months, every Thursday night, I'm gonna put spinach on the plate and make it a no pressure scenario. You know, a lot of times we want kids to eat. Both parents are sitting at a child staring at them, just looking at them waiting for 'em to eat the entire place. You know, awkward. That would be, if that was you on a dinner day with anyone else in the world,
Speaker 2 (14:36):
They're like begging, like half of these parents are begging, like, begging, please eat this. Or, you know, negotiating, right? You know, like is negotiating, right? Like, could, should parents negotiate, Hey, eat this and then you can eat this. Is that a
Speaker 3 (14:46):
Thing? Can listen, you can't. And I've done that with my daughter myself. You have to be very strategic about it, very strategic about it so that they, cuz kids will counter negotiate and you have to be aware. <laugh>, yes, smart, you take that, that qu bar. But, um, you know what I would do with my daughter at some point cuz she went through a phase where she was picky. And I'd say, okay, here's the deal, sweetheart. If you eat everything on your plate, then I'll give you some chocolate. And the amount of chocolate I gave was about half the size of a pinky nail. And what was on a plate was a full plate. And she's like, I see her shoveling. I'm like, okay, cool. You earned it. And I use that word intensive. You can earn this if you do this. Um, and we're gonna dive into rules in a bit, I'm sure.
Speaker 3 (15:25):
But if then statements are formulas that toddlers really digest well, it helps them, uh, see the buy in, what's coming next. A lot of times you don't tell Tyler who's coming next, so they're not about it. But if you give them ifn statements, they're more willing to, to pick up what you're putting there. Um, if a child's super picky, you can say, okay, take a bite of this and then I'll give you a little bit of this. Take a bite of this and I'll give you a little bit of this. Um, but you do have to be careful cuz if there's gonna counter negotiate, you have to stick to your guns. And that's the key. You need to stick to your guns. You can't say, oh fine, whatever, because kids only learn from what happens next, whether you like it or not. It's not really their fault to tell the program.
Speaker 3 (16:01):
If they learn that if I'm fussy and you're gonna give up, cool. I didn't want to eat that anyway, so I'm gonna be fussy. So that way you give up, um, an important aspect too. If your kid happens to see the food on a plate and they say, nah, I don't wanna do this, I'm taking that. Pick it up and throw it. You need to set that rule as a parent that that food stays on your plate. You don't have to eat it, but it stays on your plate. This is gonna increase the normalcy of that visage, that normalcy of that vision, that balanced meals are on my plate. And after they see it eight to 15 times, what will typically happen is a series of eight steps. And I'll break it down very quickly, please. Um, but step number one, as a child actually touches it, not touches it, throw it away or throw it on the floor, but they'll actually physically touch it.
Speaker 3 (16:46):
Now psychological, they're breaking the barrier. They've gone from ill yucky. I don't even wanna look at it till, all right, I'm gonna see what this, what this is all about. Lemme see what this feels like. Step two. They might pick it up, just pick it up again. They're not picking up to throw it on the ground, not picking up the throat, take up. They just pick it up. Cause again, they're now, they're engaging the food a different way. Three, they'll put it towards their mouth, not gonna touch their mouth, but they're actually like moving it towards their face. Again, this is a step. When you see, when you know the steps, you can start saying, okay, they're making progress. And as, as important as path to recognize a trend, not just look for the kids to reach letter Z, but recognize the kids at D G J moving forward and giving them credit for that next step.
Speaker 3 (17:26):
They're actually gonna touch it to the lips, almost kiss the food, and then they're gonna put it back down. You're gonna be really super annoyed because you're gonna ask yourself, why can't you feed it? But that's a big step. They're touching it to where they eat food, then they're actually gonna cross the teeth plant. Then they're gonna touch your tongue. And this next step, the seven step, which is the most frustrating for every parent I understand, is they're actually going to chew it. They're gonna put it in the mouth, taste it, chew it, and then spit it out. And you're gonna be like, that's when you're gonna lose it. You're gonna have this big explosive reaction. I'm gonna invite you all, suppress it, suppress it, suppress it, sit there and recognize. I said, this is exactly what's gonna happen. And you're gonna say this, you're gonna say, good job tasting the food.
Speaker 3 (18:11):
Very good job putting it in your mouth. Give them credit, make them feel good. Praise them for their behavior. What you praise you will see more of. Okay, now after you do this, the next step is they'll actually put it in their mouth and they'll swallow it. And mind you, when a kid puts food in their mouth and they chew it, they're actually swallowing the juice. It's the texture they're actually getting used to. The pallet is still soft. They haven't mastered how to actually chew. It's 32 steps to actually eat food. We take it for granted, right? Because we've been doing it for decades. But there's, you know, there's up down movement, there's quotational movement of the jaw. There's a tongue moving and pushing it down. Swallowing, reflect all that. Jazz isn't automatic. A kid has to learn how to process that. So when they do chew something like fruit, for example, and then they spit it out, they didn't spit all of it out.
Speaker 3 (18:57):
They swallowed the juices. And that's, that's the plus. They're moving in the right direction. They give them credit. So those are the eight steps, which you can find on my website. 101 behavior hacks.com. I have a free, uh, I have three downloadable picky eating guide. That eight step guide for parents to make them a little easier. It's also in the book. The other thing to realize is try to offer food where you can hide balanced meals. Sauce is a great way to hide spinach does not affect flavor. And the slightest, when you chop it up, chop it up, chop it up, put it in some tomato sauce, chop it up, chop it up, chop it up, put it in a smoothie. You can put spinach in any smoothie and they're not gonna taste it. They don't mind banana honey, almond milk smoothie with some spirit.
Speaker 3 (19:36):
Your kids are gonna love it. They're just tasting the banana and the honey and the, you know, the peanut butter. But, um, this one's gonna do, obviously, but find ways to hide it. They're like eggs. Make almond. If they're like rice, mixed stir fries, be creative. Um, and season your food. Please don't, don't, don't say you have to eat steamed bland broccoli to prove that I'm a golden parent. No one likes eating plain steamed broccoli. Don't see a food you wouldn't eat. Um, and also it helps to try to eat with the kids. If you make, if you make a family meal, a family pot, and so you're eating, mom's eating, the siblings are eating and the baby's eating. It's more natural and it's more comfortable. That pressure, that pressure cooker situation with your kids where everyone's staring at them waiting for them to eat every bite.
Speaker 3 (20:20):
It's just uncomfortable and they feel it. You would too. The less pressure you have, the better. My wife and I learned, it took a while for us to figure it out. Once we took our eyes off our daughter and just ate our family meal and just had a conversation about not her, she started picking up her spoon to eat. The pressure was off. So, you know, all this times to, in my book, um, and, and you can also email my email, my emails on, on my side. I invite people to reach out. I want parents to be confident. I want parents to have the proper tools to engage. So reach out folks, it's fine. We'll get through this together. <laugh>,
Speaker 2 (20:56):
Fantastic. That's very, that is very generous. Now we, uh, wanna talk a little bit about rule setting. Um, you know, I know again, something parents struggle with, but, uh, what, what is your advice to maybe firstly, setting rules within the household and for kids, but more importantly, how do we stick to them?
Speaker 3 (21:15):
Okay. Okay. So setting rules. And while that parents know you can set as early as your child is walking, and it's really never too early to set rule. You obviously don't wanna be a dictator about it, but the point of rules is so that kids are safe, typically, um, otherwise, so they can live a good life. And I, I've learned to use this phrase with my staff and my kids over and over again. We follow rules so we can be safe and live a good life. We follow rules so we can be safe and live a good life. Kids like to know the why behind things. Um, so if you set a rule and it feels arbitrary, they, they're not as likely to follow it. But how to set rules is to give them statements that they can easily digest. And there's certain phrases in particular kids very easily digest.
Speaker 3 (22:00):
And those are if then statements, which I mentioned before, first then statements and when, then statement. Okay? So it sets up this nice little dichotomy that they can recognize. So if you eat your breakfast, then you can have some chocolate. Gives you an example of a nice rule. If you clear your plate, then you can have this. If you drop your toys, then you need to pick them up. If you, let me think of another one. That's a big one. I'm thinking about like aggression, but that's not really something I wanna bring up. But, um,
Speaker 2 (22:37):
How about screen time? We, we, we like talk about screen time if
Speaker 3 (22:40):
Speaker 2 (22:41):
If you do, yeah. Like, you know, using that as a reward perhaps. Uh, use, yeah. You know,
Speaker 3 (22:45):
Is it, so like, if you want your child to do something, if you want your child to engage in a behavior, um, like if we read books, if we read books for five minutes, then you can do some screen time. And I always tell parents, be careful with screen time. Use it wisely. Um, in general, just avoid giving the child pure free unmitigated rain with screen time. Um, that's when it gets dangerous. But if you're, if you're with your child and you're watching cartoons and or educational programs, that can be great, great time to connect, et cetera. Um, but again, you wanna, you wanna set up the reward or consequence. If you do X then, then here's the reward. If you do, y here is the reward, um, with first then statements. This gives children a sense of time. Kids don't have control over their schedule and they're extraordinarily aware of this.
Speaker 3 (23:28):
So when we say, okay, it's time for bed, and they got no heads up, there's going to be a fight, you know. But if you say, okay, first we're gonna clean up our toys, then we're gonna get ready for bed. The child has a bit more of a heads up. I, I like to also give, um, countdown methods. That's helpful. If you're at the park for example, and they're having a great time, and you know, we have to leave soon, it's not really easy for a kid to digest. Okay? It's time to go. Now imagine you're on vacation, uh, beautiful beach and fish shells breaking a margarita. And as you're having, you order your second round and the wait it comes over about to give you a second round. If someone cut smoke says, Hey, we gotta go next door and help move boxes up to the second floor walk right now.
Speaker 3 (24:08):
Right now you're like, what are you talking about right now? And they take you by the hand and walk you towards this place where you're gonna walk boxes from the U-haul to a second floor apartment. You're like, no, what, what are you talking about? You're going to field a certain way, right? But if someone said, Hey, check it out, you can finish that margarita. But after you finish that, then we have work to do. And, and you talked about this earlier, you like, yeah, not all right. Um, I'm gonna, I'm gonna save this margarita though. Okay, here we know. But then we're gonna do work first then. So tell your child, okay, we got 10 minutes before we leave the park. And what I do with my daughter, I do with my students as well, is I'll show them the timer on my phone and I'll let them start it.
Speaker 3 (24:42):
Okay? Press start. This gives them a little agency in the, in the time mechanism of the process, it gives them a little power. Okay? And then I'll show 'em, okay, 10 minutes, go pledge. And again, I will continue the countdown so that it decreases the anxiety. Okay? We have five minutes left, two minutes left, one minute, 20 seconds, 10 seconds. And I'll count down from there. And I've done this with my daughter since she was very young. And I would say nine outta 10 times when I say, okay, it's time to like, okay. She was very okay with it. I've done this with students as well. It, it's a game changer. And now I'm gonna give the disclaimer, this is not a silver bullet. Um, but, and it won't necessarily make sure that there's zero changes whatsoever, but it does help, it will mitigate the child's anxiety.
Speaker 3 (25:27):
So the heat of the response will be lower. So again, if then statements first, then statements. When, then statements. And using countdowns are really great ways to set rules. You can use certain milestones to introduce new rules and like, Ooh, I didn't even think about setting rules in my household, and that's okay. Cause you don't tells us what to do with talent, right? We're all just figuring this out. Um, birthdays are fantastic times to introduce new rules. Okay? You're five, which means you're a big boy and you have to make your bed when you wake up in the morning. Okay? You're six and you're fill in the blank. Whatever you want. Sit down with your partner, sit down with yourself, and just make a list tonight, today, whenever you're hearing this about what rules would I like my child to actually follow? What rules would I like my child to follow?
Speaker 3 (26:12):
You can set 'em, you're the parent, you are the authority, you're the head of the household, right? <laugh>. So you get to run that domain. Um, and, and again, keep it, keep it reasonable. You don't need your child to be cleaning the gutters, but if you want them to clean their room, that's cool. If you want 'em to bring their dishes to the sink, that makes sense. If you want them to help fold their laundry, whatever things you can give them a little bit of, um, responsibility, accountability. That's the key. Because we're growing people, right? They're kids, yes. But they're going to be adults. And our job is to raise functioning humans. And we don't raise the adult once they're 17, 18, 19 starts right now, starts right now, small.
Speaker 2 (26:52):
Yeah, you're right. And when they get out into the real world, there are boundaries, there are rules, there are responsibilities. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, uh, you know, it's, it's kind of like prolonging or delaying the inevitable. I, I think get into it nice and early and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, how about things like charts and reward charts? What's your view on all that sort of stuff?
Speaker 3 (27:09):
I love that. And kids love that too. Sticker charts. Kids are a huge fan of, for the life of me, I couldn't tell you why kids love stickers, but they do find whatever works for your child, right? Every child has their own preferences. If they like stickers, if it's screen time, if it's, if it's, you know, a promise of what's gonna happen on the weekend, um, let, let that be the use. You can also extend things too. So if you don't want your kid using too much screen time, you can say, okay, after you've earned five stars from doing five different things around the house, then you can have 10 minutes of screen time, 20 minutes of screen time, and you, or you can play with X, y, and z apps. You can make it so that after you do, after, if you gain 20 stars throughout the week for any of these four chores, then this weekend you get to pick what we have for dessert.
Speaker 3 (27:55):
Then this weekend you get to pick what our activity is. Then this weekend, you get to pick what we're gonna watch when we have family evening, you know, movie fun, whatever, whatever your house fund is, whatever your house schedule is, make it so it matche with your core values and your household. But, um, given the opportunity to earn things as earlier, you teach a child that life is based on earning and is an exchange system, the more successful they'll be, the more behaved, well behaved will be for you and, and, and stress that as well as you can. Um, another fun hack you can use when it comes to rules of child misbehaving is pinning their last name on them. Uh, I've found this has been odd, but fun, uh, trick. So if a child is acting a way that you don't, like, you can kind of cut through it. Say, Hey, like my last name is, like, for example, okay, so if my daughter's acting, so even though she's still, I feel like, Hey, you're a lake and lakes don't act like this. And if you do this early, you have in their head for the rest of their lives, certain, certain character sets that they will follow and identify with. And it's, it's a fun hacker you can play with, uh, <laugh>. If it works for you, great. If it doesn't stick with the if and first and when, then count them chart <laugh>.
Speaker 2 (29:07):
I love that. No, I love that, Chris, because it, it builds a, uh, a standard, a sense of pride mm-hmm. <affirmative> in about how you behaved, how you act, how you carry yourself, you know, I think that's a, a marvelous suggestion. So let's, let's go back for a second on sticking to it. So now we know how to set some rules, some boundaries, some excitement around the activity. The if then love the if then if when, uh, statements, you know, as parents, we sort of, uh, you know, we'll, we'll call our kid and say, Hey, it's time for bed. Uh, we've given the notice, and then they give us those eyes, and then we, you know, melt a little little bit and then we get a little bit soft. You know, how do we avoid that? Is, is there a hack for that? Like, is it just Jamie, you have to be more self-disciplined, uh, you know, uh, or, or is there something that I can tell myself I don't, I don't know. How do we stick to them? How, how is, is there, is there a way?
Speaker 3 (29:56):
It's not pretty. Uh, I'll be honest with you, it's not pretty. Uh, you used the word discipline. I a hundred percent agree with that. Um, there's a, there's a discipline to parenting, you know, there really is. And the more disciplined you are as a parent, the greater the rewards. Unfortunately, like with any discipline, it's, it's work and there's labor and you have to get through it to get to it. You know, it's like if you wanna have a, if you are a body builder, for example, there's no are shortcuts, but even though it's hurt <laugh>, but you do the work, right? You do the work and then you get the results. And it's not like you work out for four weeks and all of a sudden you have a fantastic body. No, you work out for four weeks and you have a fantastic body. When it comes down to when a kid gives you those eyes, you have to really be aware that what behavior they give you equals in their head.
Speaker 3 (30:48):
I'm sorry, let me rephrase. Whatever behavior is maintained, persists. So whatever a child finds useful, they will continue to do. As long as the child finds it useful, they will continue to do it. So if a child gives you that, that that classic, you know, they puts and boots eyes, eyes where it gets really big in water, and you feel your heart to melt. It's your job to say, we talked about this. These are the rules. This is the routine. I use that word every single day, not as it work, but at home. You know the rules, you know the routine. This is what time, it's, you know the rules, you know the routine. This is what time it's, and I tell parents same thing. My mom used to say, kids cry. You know, when you, when you stick to your guns, expect that your child will fight.
Speaker 3 (31:27):
And that's natural. That's this part of being human. We don't like being told what to do. We don't like someone saying, you don't have a choice right now as to what's gonna happen next. You need to kind of expect that even though they're gonna cry, that their love isn't lost, that your, you're actually being a good parent. That's the work of being a good parent, and that they're gonna get over it pretty quick. I'll give you a perfect example. Yesterday we'll drive my daughter to daycare, and she sometimes fights on the way, like when we're getting in the car, she's like, mommy, I don't want you to put me in the car seat. Daddy needs to coming in the car seat. We were already running late. And I said, listen, if mommy, if you don't let mommy put you in the car seat, then you're not gonna eat that cheese stick.
Speaker 3 (32:08):
She really wanted to eat this cheese stick. And I said, that's, that's gonna be the consequence. Like, we're running late, I don't have time to get out. The car comes back, da, da da. And she just got super fussy, super fuss, said, okay, sassy, you know the deal. We talked about being cooperative. I'm gonna put you in the car seat right now, but you don't get a cheese stick. And I said, mom, gimme the cheese stick. I took it. She looked at me and she cried. She reached out for the cheese, stick your mouth and no. And she cried. And I said, I told you, if you don't cooperate with mom, you don't get this. If then, if, then I, and I went to the front of the car, drove, drove her to daycare, and she cried and cried and cried for all of maybe 20 seconds.
Speaker 3 (32:43):
And then she stopped and she got real mellow. And then at the end of the car ride, she was in good mood again, smiling. I'm making silly faces with her, and she's fine. And the trick is to recognize, like, you can get through the tears, you can get through that sadness and to start treating it as irrelevant if you, if you allow yourself some space. And it's not easy. I understand it's not easy at first. You're gonna feel like being mean. You're gonna like, this is wrong, a kid. It's okay. And I invite all parents to really ask yourself, what's the word mean means to you? Because in, in the last 20 years, that word has shifted in this destination. And I think some parents understand that I'm being mean as my child in any way is not smiling. If I do something and my child is not just perfectly happy, the groom, that's not me.
Speaker 3 (33:24):
If you're being a good parent and a child wants to drink alcohol and you say no, and they cry, you're obviously not being mean. You're just crying, right? Um, I tell people to define "mean" as this act yourself. And I enjoy my child's pain. No, they're not being me. Am I enjoying neglecting my child? No, they're not being me. Am I profiting from my child's pain? No. Am I profiting from my child's neglect? No. Okay, then congrats. You're not a sociopath. You're not mean. You're probably just asking your child to grow. And your child in response is saying, but I don't want to. And that's natural, right? Because the, the transition from intimacy to toddlerhood is one where an infant is hardwired to cry to get what they want. And that makes sense. We need that. The baby's hungry. We need 'em to cry. If they're gassy, we need 'em to cry.
Speaker 3 (34:10):
If they need to be changed, they cry and we run and give them whatever it is to alleviate their concern, because that's what you're supposed to do. But between 12 months and 18 months, we start realizing, okay, kiddo, now you have to do for me. I've been doing it for you for a year, 18 months. Now you gotta do for me. And kids like, no, what are you talking about my entire life? You do whatever I want when I cry. And that's the battle of the terrible two, it's really 18 months to four years old. What that state that's period is, is child fighting for that infancy fighting fit. I don't want to grow up, I wanna be an infant, but an old infant is ugly. You know, the cute, when they're young, you don't want a six year old infant. You don't want a 12 year old infant.
Speaker 3 (34:50):
And I work with kids with autism, I see old infants, and it's sad. It breaks my heart. And, um, you know, they're all still cute at three, but at eight is when parents usually happens. Cause almost no kids Q to eight, sorry, sorry folks. We get what we are looking between 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. But, um, you stick to your guns by saying, I understand what the child is aiming for. And my job is to boost them to not be mentally. My job is to make them move in the opposite direction. And there's no growth without this. There's no growth without the child. Yeah. And that's true for everything on earth. Um, your kid, when they're crying in response to you asking 'em to grow is their discomfort. And the more consistent you are with this, the easier it gets. That's the thing. If you cave to the kid, they don't win, right?
Speaker 3 (35:33):
The kid isn't winning. When you cave, everyone's losing in that scenario. You just, just, it's just not apparent, right? Then if you, if the kid simply learns that work, do it again. That work, do it again. That work. If you're at the grocery store and they scream and scream and screaming, give 'em chocolate kid that work. Let do it again. Your job is say, no, no, no, I need to know. The world will not accept this. This is not safe for them when they're 6, 12, 18, 24. How will this develop when they're older? I always look at my kids that I'm working with, they ask them stuff. How does this behavior look at this kid when they're 17? I always ask myself, what's, what's the version of this 17? And if for me it equals they're getting arrested, then my job is to not feel bad about them crying when I'm asking to grow up.
Speaker 3 (36:14):
So just put it in perspective, guys. And remember the first time, it's gonna be hard. You're gonna feel bad afterwards. Give yourself a hug. Have a glass of wine, whatever you gotta do. It does get easier though, because once you stick to your guns and you do it the second night in a row, the third night in a row by the fourth night is done. And that's the thing. If you just deal with the, if you deal with that discomfort upfront, you won't have to deal with it for months of year. You can, you can, you can extinguish so many challenging behaviors in a week. If you're just willing to accept the fact your kid's gonna cry on you and they're gonna make a mess and snot out their face and make you think you're the worst person in the world because you said no. But really it's time to go to bed. No, but really, it's bad fun. No, but really, you need to brush your teeth and I'm going to now physically help you do this. And that's the other thing. Okay. When your child is refusing and they're digging the heels in, the good news is, for almost every parently listening, I imagine you're bigger than your child. Pick them up. You're allowed to. That's not me. You're allowed to, you're allowed to physically guide your child to do things <laugh> to what you would have done forever. <laugh>.
Speaker 2 (37:23):
Yeah, absolutely. That, that's so important, man. I'll tell you, you know, that it's, it's an interesting segue on the tantrums. I wanna talk about this for a minute. When my son, who's now 18 mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, uh, congratulations, he made it that fast <laugh>. Um, we, we had, we had a drink and we did share. Cause in Australia, the legal drinking age is 18. So we shared his first beverage and we said, Hey, congratulations, you've made it this far <laugh>. And, uh, you know, he had a, a meltdown in a supermarket when he was about three mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it was a really, really big meltdown. And, uh, it did a couple of things for me. One, it caused me to look at myself and say, what am I doing as a parent? Because I blame myself. And, and I think that's right. You know, like largely the behavior that exists in our children is a reflection of how we've guided them, how we've helped them, and how, you know, the boundaries we've set.
Speaker 2 (38:09):
And I changed a lot of things, uh, at, at that, that age or that turning point. And, and I'm proud to say he never did it again. Beautiful. Ever Beautiful. And, and it was, and, and you, you said a lot of things. It, there's a lot to break down in what you just said there, Chris, but, uh, one of the important things that stands out to me is that discipline, that execution, you know, and not, because sometimes I get it, you know, at four in the afternoon you've had all day, it's sometimes just easier to give in, right? Because you're tired, right? Right, right. So like, I, I get all that stuff, but you know, inevitably at some point as a parent, we're gonna experience tantrums and, uh, you know, we've all gone through this at some point. What can we do to decrease that? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, is there a way to decrease tantrums?
Speaker 3 (38:51):
So in the moment, right, for very first thing I tell every parent, every staff member I work the same thing. Take a deep breath. The most important thing in a scenario when your kid is losing their cool, is that you keep yours. Take a deep breath, and I really mean that. Take a deep breath. Bring your energy down. I've worked with some very, very aggressive kids in my time, and I've learned across all of them that if I'm upset, it doesn't help. It doesn't help. The next thing you want to do is wait. Because when a kid is really tantruming and they're screaming, and their, their face is red and what's happening neurologically, their amygdala and hypothalamus have taken over. And those control your hormones, your body temperature, and your emotions. So in that moment, the child literally is out of control. So if you're yelling at that kid, calm down, calm down, relax.
Speaker 3 (39:43):
They're not processing. Plus, mind you, no one in the history of anyone has ever calmed down or relaxed when someone yells at them, calm down or relax. <laugh>, for some reason we persist to do this. I I got all this stuff, but, um, but, but wait, breathe, get close. Get to his eye level, right? Kneel down, sit down if you need to be as still as you can, look at them. Have a very plain, if not pleasant face, and just breathe and look them in the eyes because they've never experienced this response to that emotion before. And so it's going to make their brain say, huh, what are they doing? All right? When they do finally take a breath and they're able to either say something that's not at high screaming pitch level or, or, or receive, you let them know the rules. Say, okay, so we don't cry to get what we want.
Speaker 3 (40:34):
I tell my daughter that almost every day, and when I do, she'll pause and that's when she says, please. And I say, yes, that's much better. But that's the number one thing to establish. We don't cry that we want, because again, whatever behavior is successful will continue. So if they've learned the screaming and stomp on the floor, banging my head or anything else, will immediately get me chocolate and iPhone, tablet, et cetera, they will do that every day that they can't. It works. Other thing you want to do is, again, very commonly explain the rules. This is not behavior that we do. We are in the store. I understand that you want this and that you're not happy. However, this is not how you behave. You do not cry, you do not scream, you do not act this way to get them here. Be super hyper logical, super logical, let 'em know next time when we come, if you ask me nicely, we can get it.
Speaker 3 (41:27):
But today we do not. The important thing is to not give them whatever, whatever it is that they wanted, no matter what happens after, even if they calm down immediately, you can be like, I'm very proud of you for calming down, but we're gonna go home now and at home. You can have X, Y, or Z. We're not getting that toy, that chocolate, whatever it may be, because that's not how we behave. And because you behave in a way that is not appropriate, especially for a lake, especially for an insert last name here. We need to go home. And if that means you have to drop your shopping items and and leave 'em at the register, go, you can pick the child up and say, you know, I'm gonna give you a hug. I love you. I like using the phrase of my daughter want, she's feeling in content.
Speaker 3 (42:08):
I love you no matter what I want my child to know, just no matter, your behavior is not dependent on me loving you. Um, but, but rules still have consequences regardless. And it's important for a child to know that there are consequences. Um, and you can have the child earn something else at home that they really like, but it's really important that you say, this is not available to you today because of how you act. Let them associate this behavior. It means I don't get things that wrong. You know, when my child is silly and she might try to hit, she doesn't try to hit me, but when she tries to hit mom, I let her know. Like, when you hit people, that means you don't get to play with things and people leave, you know? And, and one of the things my wife did that initially stopped my dog from hitting was literally just walking out the room.
Speaker 3 (42:48):
Didn't matter what she said it was when she's just this pause, got up and walk out the room. Like my child was like, wait, mom. Well that's really what happens though. Cause again, fast forward to when your child is 17, 18, if you hit someone, you're gonna lose your freedom depending on the severity of the situation, if police are available. And that's what you're trying to make sure your child learns at earlier age, at the earliest ages. So they avoid anything that comes with that. Um, but that's, that's gonna be really the, the, the big takeaway is calm yourself as much as you can. Keep your child very calmly, get on their eye level, that's really important. Get on their eye level. Let them know that this is not behavior that works. This doesn't work here. You don't act like this. I'm sorry, you can apologize.
Speaker 3 (43:29):
I'm sorry. I understand that you feel upset. I feel upset sometimes too when I can't get something be really logical, you know, digest for them the emotion they're having to say, I know you're having a big feeling right now and big feelings are difficult. Maybe I can help you work through them, but now it's time to go. And when we go home, we can talk about something that you like, that you can have, but we're not gonna do anything here. We're involving X, Y, and Z, whatever the issue was. It's really critical that they don't get access to that thing that they had a tantrum about. So that way next time they have, oh, they think themselves, that didn't work. I gotta, I have to act more mature. I have to act better. Maybe if I act nicely, daddy will get something. And then the next time.
Speaker 3 (44:07):
So that's, that's the homework for in the moment for future reference. If it's a store, whatever scenario the child is triggered at, right? If it's just a supermarket in general, when they have a child's eye level candy waiting as as, as these landmines the parents, uh, <laugh> across the world, <laugh>, what you can do is warn them on the way in. Like, sweetie, just remember we talked about this last time. We don't cry to get what you want. So for something that you really want, please ask me nicely. And if you ask me nicely, then daddy will buy it for you. But you have to ask me nicely. You have to use your manners, and that changes the whole game for them. And then get it for me. That's very good. Good job. Here you go. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (44:45):
And, and the other, the other part that coming back to your conversation around earning it, you know, Hey, we're going into the center. You haven't earned it this week because this, you didn't make your bed, so don't ask me in the shopping center, because that won't be the reward today, right? Even if you do ask. Nice. Right? So there's a consequence around that behavior and, and it sets us up as parents, uh, for, for more success and, uh, certainly sets our children up, uh, you know, to really understand the laws of the world. And, you know, I've got a 15 year old daughter and just reflecting on what you were saying there with your young daughter, uh, I'm having the same conversations at 16 where like 15 where she, she wanted to go out and I said no, and, uh, she started getting argumentative and I simply turned to her and in a calm voice, and I said, you know, this behavior is not gonna get you what you want, so come to me with a different argument or a different logic.
Speaker 2 (45:35):
And I turned and walked away. Two hours later she comes out and goes, dad, well here's what, here's what I'm gonna do for you. I'm gonna do this, this, this, and this. And, and, you know, and so it's the same, the same tools that's even at 15 years of age. Exactly. Right? And, and I mean, I could have, I could have gotten down to that level and gotten in the mud and gotten all argumentative, but you know, I wanna teach her in the same, same, um, teach her the same lesson. Because when you're in the workforce or when you are married and, and in a relationship, the these behaviors aren't acceptable, right? And they're not going to, they're not conducive to healthy relationships. So yeah. That's wonderful. Uh, uh, you'd said something interesting too there, Chris, about, you know, sort of, you know, when they're in that moment, uh, having a tantrum, uh, it's like that break state looking at them being calm, doing the exact opposite to what they would expect almost.
Speaker 2 (46:21):
And I'm not sure if this is good parenting or not, so don't judge me here, but I think when, when my daughter was about that three, uh, years ago, she had a meltdown. Um, uh, I grabbed a glass of water and just threw her face <laugh>. And I'm not recommending this to anyone, but, uh, but what she did, she took a big breath and she was just so shocked. She stopped <laugh> and I was able to have a conversation. Not great parenting maybe, but of fact, it was the opposite. It was effective at the time. So, uh, this is why I interviewed guests from around the world, and I'm not being interviewed here, Chris <laugh>. I'm trying to learn. Okay? Uh, we, we are, we are having such a great conversation. We've gone well over time and I love that. Uh, thank you there, there's so much information.
Speaker 2 (47:06):
And what I love about our conversation today, Chris, is there's practical, tangible tools that parents listening can take away, use and really improve their family unit right to no answer. Thank you for your generosity and your time. Now, couple of things before we finish up. Firstly, a question we love to ask all of our guests, uh, a little bit light and a little bit fun, is if we had a time machine and you were able to go back to your 10 year old self, what's one piece of advice that you'd like to share with Young Chris Lake?
Speaker 3 (47:33):
Never skip leg day. Um,
Speaker 2 (47:36):
Speaker 3 (47:36):
Speaker 2 (47:38):
Uh, that's, that's the best you got?
Speaker 3 (47:40):
No, let's see. A couple different things. I'll say drink more water, stretch before you work out. And let's see, let's, what's a good one? I would tell myself, you got me thinking right now and I have an answer. You know, I feel like you asked me that earlier and I'm blanking right now. Hold on a
Speaker 2 (48:00):
Second. No, you know what I, I'm gonna take drink more water because that's something that we don't talk about often enough. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, uh, we talk about all things parenting and that's kind of one of the things that gets overlooked. You know, just for pure health and brain development and bodily function and, and quality of life. Drink more water. That's a great
Speaker 3 (48:17):
One. It's important. It's definitely important. Um, oh, I know what I'll tell myself. I would say read a book every month on something I'm curious about. Read a book every month because while school, you know, encourages us slash requires us to read books, I think a lot of kids get turned off because if the book isn't something that they're at all interested in, they say, well, I don't like this. I don't wanna read. But there were so many things in the shot I was interested in. And I would love to go back in time and say, Hey, you know, you love neuroanatomy. For example, you love computer coding, for example. Just read one book a month. You don't have to read it a week. Give yourself that, that space of time. Just enjoy it and take, but fill your head with knowledge. Just the more knowledge you have. I mean, in America we have a, uh, poet, Maya Angelo, and she just said, "all knowledge is spendable currency depending on the market". And it's true. You know, the more knowledge you put in your head, the more valuable you just naturally are. Um, so I'd read a book every month. That would be the biggest advice I'd give my 10 year old self.
Speaker 2 (49:13):
Yep. That's definitely powerful. I resonate with that. Um, where can, well maybe tell us a little bit about the book first and then tell us where, uh, listeners can find you online. How can they reach out website. So just give us a bit of a, an overview of the book from your, in your words.
Speaker 3 (49:27):
All right. So help your toddler to meet their milestones. 101 Behavior hacks is basically a guide for parents to know exactly specifically what to do and what to say across a variety of dimensions to help your child develop, um, in the face of challenging behavior. But also like if you wanna increase your child's speech, if you wanna increase your child's ability to socialize, if you want to increase their manners, there's, there's certain key phrases and foremost that I've found across work with hundreds of kids for the last 16 years that just simply work. It simply work, it's all evidence based. Um, and, and I want parents to have the conference to know that they can make this world of being a parent easier. It's, it's not a silver bullet. We do have to keep with it, right? Just like anything else, I practice a guitar.
Speaker 3 (50:10):
If we sing tonight that I actually want to learn, I'm not gonna master it tonight in one shoot, right? You have to keep going. You have to keep going, keep going. I tell parents about the Las Vegas rule in my book where, um, they only win. The house only wins by about 2%, right? And Vegas, most casinos run 51% of the time and the average person who goes wins 49% of the time, but that 2% is the reason that they make on average 2 million a day. So I tell parents, well, you don't have to be perfect cuz no one is and nothing is. Aim to win more often than enough. There are gonna be days when you just don't have it. There's gonna be days where you're just exhausted. There's gonna be days when you're sick, there's gonna be days when your partners sick and you're carrying their weight and or vice versa. That's okay, we're human. It's fine. Yeah, it's okay. Forgive yourself. Give yourself that bandwidth of space too. Forgive yourself and love yourself, et cetera. But, um, but win more often than enough. You know, be sure that you are seeing that progress. You are sticking to your guns more often than not, and that will go a long way.
Speaker 2 (51:10):
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And that's good behavior for them to model as well. So, uh, uh, good words. Um, where can listeners track you down, buy your book, uh, reach out to you? How do we find you in the, uh, web? That's
Speaker 3 (51:23):
Right. All right. So you can find me on the web at 101behaviorhacks.com. You can buy a book on Amazon. It's available in Amazon Australia site available Australia, um, Amazon Uk avail available amazon.com. It's available on Kindle as well. I I do have a free Kindle fee book promotion that is going, but it is for a very, very limited time. So look for it shortly. And otherwise you can find me on IG Chris Lake. You can find my charity community for a cause in IG as well. You can find me at Twitter, see Nigel Lake, and you can find me on Twitter community for a cause as well. Look me up, hit me up, ask me questions. I really aim to help.
Speaker 2 (52:02):
Yeah, and we, we definitely can see that in, uh, your generosity today. Chris, thank you for your impact. Thank you for your time and, uh, I hope we can, uh, uh, meet each other once again sometime down the track. Thanks again, Chris Lake.
Speaker 3 (52:14):
Thank you, Jamie. Appreciate everything. Appreciate your platform. Appreciate the laughs, man. That's the most fun I've had
Speaker 2 (52:19):
<laugh>. Cheers. You you're welcome, man. You're welcome.
Speaker 1 (52:25):
If you enjoyed the show, please connect with Jamie on LinkedIn or Instagram. You'll find links in the podcast description. Parenting in the Digital Age is sponsored by Skill Samurai Coding and STEM Academy for Kids. Skill Samurai offers afterschool coding classes and holiday programs to help kids thrive academically and socially while preparing them for the careers of the future, visit skillsamurai.com.au.