Posted in Article

Let the Children Lead

I just met a young mother of two girls. The oldest is around the same age as my son – two and a half years old. She told me about the complain from school regarding her daughter. The main complain was due to her inability to concentrate and memorize the school works.

I was speechless – both to the fact that this toddler is being ‘diagnosed’ by the teacher of being unable to concentrate and by the reality that I had to deal with such issue against this young child in front of me.

I asked further on the school works mentioned. Apparently, at Nursery A, all students have to memorize and understand the concept of numbers from 1-20! They are ought to understand and shall make no mistakes when the numbers are presented in random. It was not merely memorizing, because the students, or should I say, these toddlers have to decode the symbols (of numbers) into the right numbers. If they fail to do so, they have to attend an extra 15-minute session after school.

One conclusion from me: it is too much for that little girl.

When I look at my son, I could see the differences. He is not at formal school, he doesn’t have the capacity to understand numbers bigger than 5 and simply, he uses all his time to play.

Despite the questions and ‘warm’ advice to send my son to school, I shake off the dust. What do we need to pull out from a toddler beside the reality that they are doing work when they are playing? How do I send the understanding that play is not merely a non-sense, but it is a serious work for children?

I am not an expert, because I do see the need to learn continuously. Therefore, I keep myself occupied to read, to seek out and to learn more on children development, children education and parenting. One important thing that I learn from Maria Montessori is the importance to let the children lead their way and we ought to follow it.

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Posted in Article, English

5 Tips to Travel with Young Children

Traveling is always fascinating. You can explore new places, learn new languages, meet new people and recharge yourself. But, the story is different if you travel with children, especially young children.

My family love to travel and for the past two years, we always travel with our little son. He is now 28 months old and he has been travelling with us since he was 6 months old. Based on my personal experiences, I would like to share 5 practical and easy tips to travel with young children.

1. Come Earlier

Yes, there are always chances of having delayed flights, but it is better to be safe when you bring young children with you. Come earlier and check-in, then you can enjoy the look-around, meals and do all the cares you need (clothes or diaper changes).

Sometimes you also need extra time to re-arrange your extra luggage. It happened to us once when we traveled to Australia and since the time was quite tight, I was doing the re-packaging for 4 times and finally gave up. I told the officer that she better charge with an extra luggage charge, so we could run to the waiting room and get ready for departure. We lost several liquid gifts (read: body lotion) that we bought for our relatives because of the extra weight. We could not think of any other solution and need to prioritize the small window of time that we had.

2. Arrange the Best Time to Fly

If you are flying out for a short flight, then you need to worry a little. One or two hours of flight is manageable and most young children will be able to pass it quite easily (some are not though!). But, if you are flying a long haul, choose the time when during typical days your children are sleeping or resting. It will be easier for everyone.

I noticed that for a long-haul trip, evening or midnight flights are preferred by many parents with young children. I compared that with our option to fly out in the afternoon and I could see less numbers of young children in that flight. If you are prepared with the necessities (next point) and getting yourself and your children ready, then believe that everything is manageable.

3. Enough Supplies

You are the best person who understand what your children will need along the way. Bottles and milk, food and water, diapers, extra clothes, blanket, wet tissues, and others. Having extra supply is always better then getting panic to do last-minute shopping.

I remember one time when I walked to the airport waiting room, I saw a young mother with her baby and their family. The older woman said that the baby needed some changes since the smell was so strong. The young mother said that she packed all the diapers in the luggage and none left in her bag! Oh dear!

4. Prepare Some Activity Supplies

Let’s put gadgets aside.


It is better to bring supplies that your children love. Storybooks, notes (for them to draw and scribble), colored pencils, stickers (magical!) and their favorite toys. It is important not to bring too much and be creative along the journey.

The younger the age of children, the shorter the capability to concentrate and be engaged in any activities. Therefore, as parents, you better prepare numbers of selections in your bag to ‘entertain’ your little ones along the journey.

5. Be Relax

The worst nightmare of every traveling parents is having their children cry for hours in the plane. I am sure if you ever hop in planes, you know how difficult it is for parents to calm their crying babies.

The more panic you are, the tense the situation. This is why you need to bring enough supplies and activity tools.


Just be relax. All children cry here and there, and sometimes inside the plane.

I am wishing you all a happy holiday and have a Merry Christmas!


Posted in Article

When My Child is Angry

Anger and how children express it is always an intereting issue to discuss about. Along the way, I collected some familiar phrases that parents and caregiver love to say when they see the little ones angry:

“It is not good to be angry”

“You’re too young to get angry. What do you know about stress? ”

“If you keep on getting angry, the devil will keep you as his children”

“God doesn’t like angry children”

“I will report you to your teacher for being angry today”

And so many more.

Maybe most of us, the adults, have forgotten that we also had numerous angry moments when we were young and still unable to express ourselves in a more appropriate way. Sadly enough, we put our adulthood cap and glasses to our children when they started to express their anger.

Anger is a normal emotional expression. Everyone is experiencing anger every now and then. Especially when their norm or values are being crossed by other people. Anger is also a mask for small children to hide deeper emotional burdens. When they feel embarrassed and no-one notice it, they may burst into anger. When they feel sad over big issues, they may express it by being angry.

It is important to always sit down with your children whenever they have passed their storm of anger and figure out of what had happened. We do that with our children, but more often we sit down to advise them – that it is not good to be angry. We tend to forget to deal with the roots. And it is like expecting for another cycle of storm to strike.

How to deal with angry children?

1. Depending on the age of your children. The younger the age, the shorter period of you to “talk and advise” them. The more mature age group has bigger windows of discussion and setting the values.

For young children, use the bedtime storytelling as a way to share the appropriate ways of expressing their anger. Choose the related books and prepare yourself with the process. You can pick one of the recent angry moment (or they will forget!) and tell them of how it affect others, especially when your children are very into physical attack – hitting, kicking, biting or hurting others.

For bigger children, it is important to teach them the alternatives of expressing their feelings, including anger. Introduce them journaling activities, free drawing, sports or other possible activities that they can relate to themselves. By teaching children that they do HAVE ALTERNATIVES, they will feel empowered to take the appropriate move when they feel angry.

2. When you see your children are angry, give them the “space”. For young children, simply carry then out from the original situation that cause the meltdown, and bring them into someplace safe – so they can cry, shout or scream their lung out. You don’t have to stare at them, but be sure that they do not hurt themselves or throwing things around them away. Once after this storm has passed, then you can start talking to them.

3. Discussion time. It is not a judgment moment! It is a good time for you to help your children in recognizing their feelings, name them correctly and teach them to express their feelings in a more appropriate way. Tell them that angry is a normal feeling that own by all of us. But the problem lays on how they express your anger.

4. Be a living model. If you as parents kick the door when you’re angry and you do it “unconsciously” in front of your children, then you put them at-risk of adopting the same approach. You may call it unconscious, because the option has been so embedded inside of you. Time for you to change your approach and living as a role model for your children. Anger management is not a battle for certain people, it is a battle for all of us.

5. Don’t forget to tell your children that they are loved and worthy. The assurance of being loved and worthy will always serve as good foundation for your children to change their negative behaviors and adopt the more appropriate ways of dealing with their anger.

Keep up the good work, parents!

Posted in Article, Creadushop, English

Please Welcome: @Creadushop!

Hi everyone!

Thank you for following my blog and FB page on Children Counseling updates. As a part of our commitment (yes, me and my husband), we would like to also provide educative and inexpensive tools for children through our own online shop @creadushop

We believe that play is the nature of work for children (yes, I am started to be influenced by Montessori approach). But not all toys are good for our children – some are just too brights, too noisy or too many accessories for them. These kind of toys will not promote concentration nor provide positive stimulation. Children might be interested at first – pressing the buttons, looking at the sparkling lights, listening to those blaring music – but not for long. When they get bored, they would just stop playing with the toys.

Balok Kreatif

On the other hand, if we provide those young mind with the right tools, they will use the opportunity to explore, manipulate and having the sense of achievement – all through playing. With one pack of animal figurines, children can do a lot of things. They may learn to name the animals, where they live, what they eat or what they can produce. The same pack can be used when our children learn to draw their first animals. It can also be used in a matching game – where adults show certain animal cards and ask the children to find the correct match among their animal figurines.


If you need creative and educative toys for your children, please contact us. We also provide handmade and custom made toys or activities for children (update on the blog soon!).

IG/Twitter:@creadushop – Email:

WA: +6285102605799


Posted in Article, English

Temptation of Posting Our Children

For those who have children, the temptation to post their children on social media is very overwhelming to resist. The tendency to be known and to let others follow the updates of our children is there, naturally. We are all connected to social media, and yet, not all of us are having the understanding of using social media – when it comes to our children.

I am admitting that I love to post my son on my social media. I used a lot of his photos in this blog and my personal Instagram account (@cecilly_ivy), but mostly not head-shot photos. People started to ask me on why I like to post his photos without having his face to be seen. I was just laughing or avoid to answer softly, but my reason is because I am afraid with the pace of social media and how it invites us all to post our children as the objects.

This post is written because I am a parent who is, somehow, lost in between my motherhood and my professional life. The issue of internet/gadget addiction among children is already overwhelming. And now, the ‘addiction’ from parents to post their children online is also overwhelming.

Social Media

If you ask why, the basic answer is: we open the private door of our children too widely for the society. People know our children, as if they know them privately. Some people will appreciate the comments and what-so-called attention and online love. Some others appreciate the sense of being famous. And some others just post the photos without having any knowledge whatsoever.

I have seen thousands of photos online showing the school badges of their children, showing the grade and class of their children – as if it is okay for the outsiders to know all about their children. I’ve seen photos of children posted by their parents when they are sleeping, not appropriately dressed nor in a good condition to see (with the open wounds after having accidents, for example).

Maybe we all need to ask some important questions before we post our children’ photos:

  1. Will they be happy or ashamed if I post their photos? Reflect that question to ourselves and try to answer.
  2. Will I put them in danger? The risks of being kidnap, rob or hurt when strangers know their schools, homes, routine and the price of their wardrobe?
  3. How can I handle comments from others regarding my children?

PS: I am thinking to delete some of the obvious photos of my son online. What do you think?

Posted in Article, English

Smart Parenting VS Smartphone Parenting

Last week, a two-year-old boy and his parents came to my clinic at the hospital. He seemed to be a strong and steady boy, but he was unable to speak. He was babbling all around and according to his parents, he could only say a very few words clearly. In the situation like this, I always asked the most important question: What are his activities at home?

The usual answer would be: watching TV or playing with iPad/gadgets – for hours. And sadly, that was the answer. Since he was a baby until after his first year, he would spend time with his gadgets, because he could only sit still when he had his screen time. Until his parents were told by others that having screen time for too long is damaging, then they decided to change the habits. Now, he would need his screen time during mealtime, but his parents would allow no more beyond that.

I am writing this, not to judge anyone – since I do not have the knowledge of why parents maximize the screen time to their young children. I am writing this to share my concern – as a psychologist, and moreover, as a mom.

Indonesia is having the highest amount of screen time in the whole world! This fact is not really surprising if you are familiar with the habit of how Indonesians live their daily life in front of the screens. The tense stories of Bollywood soap opera to the saddening life of Korean actress consumed hours of our daily lives. Also, with the high numbers of free online games and apps – everyone is connected to their virtual world, including young children.

Hands - Montessori

Parents would claimed happily if their young children are able to arrange the digital puzzle in their iPad, or excited with their digital drawing. It seems that digital life is more satisfying that our real life. When their children have to set the real puzzle, they might not be able to complete the task, because it is more complicated – scattered pieces, upside down pictures and not-so-clear pattern. No wonder their children get lost in the real world.

So what can we do?

What about we unplugged to reconnect? We can remember the old days of parenting, where children and parents are doing things together – cooking, singing, reading, laughing, doing laundry, biking, and many more. We can do the same old-day scenes once again in this virtual world. But this time, we have to make it. Since the world has changed a lot, we need to always adjusting.

At the moment, I am reading number of Montessori books and resources – from Montessori at home, homeschooling families or the activities for my baby. I am amazed with the fact that Montessori is very down-to-earth, very close at heart and not bombarding the children with too many unnecessary toys! It opens my eyes that almost all those fancy, colorful and loud toys are not always fancy to my eyes. They are not always educative toward children, even if they seem to be. I believe there are a lot of other approaches as well, but for me personally, I will take my time to explore more on Montessori and apply the method to my son. Approaches can be made and adjust according to our children pace and dynamic.

For all of us, parents – equipping ourselves to be smart parents will never hurt. Please, avoid the community of ‘Smartphone parenting’, because the damage to our children is unbearable. It is better to strive early in the beginning and enjoy the result once our children can do their activities independently. The joy would surpass all the effort and the sweat.

Parents, long way to go!

Posted in Article, English

Nights at The Hospital

Two weeks ago on Thu (9/6), my baby was started to have fever. His temperature rose with range of 37.6 – 38.1. As a precaution, I went to meet his pediatrician and she suggested to have blood test the next day, since she suspected virus as a cause.

Saturday, 11/6

His fever has went down to 36.5, but we still went for the blood test to pull dengue fever out. On the first trial, two nurses were holding his hands, while I was holding his legs. Out of surprises, my baby was so strong and he moved his arm on the process. The nurse lost his blood vessel and had to withdraw the needle – which means, they would try on the other arm! They did. This time with 3 nurses holding onto him, while I was on his head to calm him down. Thank God, they made it well. One nurse said to me: “Your son is a very strong baby”. I smiled to her and whisper to my baby, “That’s because of breastfeeding, you know”.

The result for dengue fever was negative, but his thrombosis was down to 167,000 (normal range is 150,000 – 450,000). Again, as I consulted to his pediatrician through phone call and WhatsApp (to send the picture of red spots in both arms), she suggested me to bring my baby to the hospital. We delayed the process because he was so stress after the blood taking in the morning. I tried to put him to bed at 19.30, but he was too tense and unable to sleep until 21.30. When his grandmother came at 21.45, he was into my mother and we decided to go to the hospital.

That night, 3 nurses and me were holding my son while they put the IV on him. His cry was a killer! I was about to cry with him. After IV was set, he tried to pull it off and cried for another 10-15 minutes. He was all wet with tears and sweat. When I reached him and hugged him super tightly, he finally fell asleep in two seconds.

Sunday, 12/6

The result for dengue fever came back negative and his fever was off. He had his body temperature at 36.5 for most of the time. That afternoon, he bit off the IV hose and the liquid was all over his face. Out of my panic state, I put the IV hose back unto him. Stupid decision and I regret how stupid I was. The consequence was too much. Nurses had to pull out his IV needle and move it to his right arm. They tried twice and could not find the blood vessels – yes, all 5 of the nurses. I wanted to curse at them because they did not know what they do and how it affected my baby. Finally, they decided to call a nurse from baby ward to help my baby. Finally!

You can see how professional someone is from the way they do their work. This baby ward nurse told me to keep on breastfeed my son – who was half asleep from his crying, while she was looking for the blood vessel. She then pointed out one at his left leg. She asked her colleagues why did not they do that on the first place – instead of hurting my son twice on his right arm. They replied without remorse, “Because we thought that he is an active boy, so it is safer to have the IV on his arms”.

Another crying out loud period came. I had to endure the scene. My baby was held by 6 nurses this time, while I was kissing and holding his face. He was all wet once again – for the third time that one afternoon.

Sick children

Monday, 13/6 

The appointed pediatrician came. She checked on my son in 5 seconds, quoted from the blood test that dengue fever was still negative. Still, she suggested my baby to have another blood test on Tuesday.

Out of nowhere, when I walked my baby out of his room – one GP that happened to be my neighbor walked past us. He did not see us at first, but suddenly made a maneuver and asked me on my baby. I told him everything and he said that it is NOT dengue fever. He told me all the scientific knowledge in short regarding dengue fever. He even checked my baby and shouted out: “This is measles! Bring him home. Look at how stressful he is! If the result tomorrow is still negative or his thrombosis was up or going down a little, bring him home. I assure he will be fine”.

Somehow I was relieved. But yet, another night was there awaiting us.

Tuesday, 14/6

That morning his IV was stopping because he moved a lot and somehow it got stuck. The nurses had to inject certain liquid to make it works again – according to my sister-in-law, the procedure was painful 😦 Again, my baby was crying out loud. But then the redness in his skin was showing so clear! We asked the nurse to takephotos of his body to show it to the doctor.

After 5 minutes of being quiet, two lab staff came to take his blood. I asked if they can come again later. They said that they can go now and leave the nurses to take the blood! Oh forget it – after what they did to my son the day before? Finally, I let my son to be in sweat and tears again – hoping it would end soon.

Right at 12 noon, his doctor came. She asked if the redness is still there. I said yes and shot her with a statement that it should be measles, instead of dengue fever. She said yes and released my boy. I hope she did her work better the day before! I really wish that …

Anyway, all the bad stories were there. I’ve seen that my baby is no longer a baby that I used to know. He is a different kind of baby now. He is more mature after all. As Javanese people believe, when your baby is very sick one day, believe that it is his process to be a more mature being.

I have to agree with them.

I dedicated this post to all the parents with sick children, especially the ones with chronic diseases – for their strength and never ending support and love for their children.