The Gift of Listening

Kids talk more when we listen to them.
— Dr. Phil Schneider

All of us want to raise confident kids.

The kids who will grow-up to be secure adults, with healthy relationships and meaningful lives.

It starts EARLY and it's FREE.

We can teach our kids how much they matter, when we listen to what they say. We don't have to agree, and we don't have to meet their demands - but when we turn to kids to listen to their words, we send them a powerful message. We show them how much they matter, and how much we value their communication with us. If we do this, we can "keep kids talking" and we can plant values of self-esteem and self-expression.

These values, planted early and often, can spring into big kids, and young adults with self-worth. So they know that stutter or no stutter, they are intrinsically worthwhile. The world will listen to what they have to say and value it. We do that by showing them that WE listen and WE care and value what they say. This will build their self-esteem and their courage.

Two principles:

1- Good listening is good loving. We hear them and acknowledge that we WANT to hear what they have to say.

2- We need to work on honoring the essence of the message our children are putting out to us. Stuttering is the surface. Beneath that, they want to connect to us and share their experiences with us. We need to honor that so they always feel comfortable speaking with us.

Click below to listen to the podcast - with Peter Reitzes of


Check out our Instagram @schneiderspeech for more!


Get Playful for Learning Success

You can’t learn to swim if you’re scared of the water.
Once you’re comfortable getting wet, you’re ready to learn.
— Uri Schneider

How do we foster learning and growth? We need the right balance of "pressure" with "safety."
Only as we explore new territory, outside the familiar comfortable routines, we find opportunities to learn and grow.
As we confront challenges, engage in problem solving the puzzles, we are forced to dig deeper. As we are pressed past the boundaries of the familiar, we discover the world of learning.

But we need to feel safe enough to explore. And that makes all the difference.

If it's just PRESSURE, then we are too pressed and unable to really learn more than spit-back.

Check out our Instagram @SchneiderSpeech for more great content!


25 ways to ask your kids "how was school today?"

how to get more out of your kids

The school day is a vulnerable one. As parents, we look forward/hope/worry for our kids to be in a “good place” with educators who care about our kids, and ensure our kids are (1) safe and (2) learning.

As parents we want our kids to tell us more.
As kids, they can frustrate us with their one-word responses.

In the morning, we hand-them off, putting our precious kiddos in the care of others. And at the end of the day we want to catch-up, hear about their day, make sure they’re “OK” - and also make sure "“we are OK” with the arrangements so we can bring them to school tomorrow with the most comfort and ease.

(Til tomorrow, when we start “wondering” all over again… Repeat…)


  1. Use close ended questions more than open-ended questions.

    Closed ended: What was one thing you liked today?

    Open ended: Tell me all about your teachers? Classes? Friends?

  2. Make it fun and curious more than interrogation style machine-gun questioning.

    I wonder who did something kind today? or I wonder who had the best lunch today?

    As opposed to: Did you get any homework? What did you get on your math test —- English test —-science test? Did your art teacher say anything about your painting? Did that boy bother you again?

  3. Choose the time and place to inquire, typically sometime after the moment they get off the bus.

    Think about giving kids time to decompress, unwind and even “veg-out.” After . along day, they might be as wiped as we feel after a long day at work. We might be better of having a chat after some quiet time, a snack, and some soothing activity…

    Bed time, bath time and dinner time are all good times to consider for having a chat about the day.

Make it FUN and PLEASANT!

We were inspired with ideas from a recent article in Huffington Post.

  • Where is the coolest place at the school?

  • If you could switch seats with anyone in the class, who would you trade with? Why?

  • If you got to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you do?

  • If an alien spaceship came to your class and beamed someone up, who would you want them to take?

Click here for the original article.


Think these could work for your kids? Try it out and let us know how it goes!

VIDEO: Learning from Animal School

Educate each child
according to his/her way.
— Ethics of Our Fathers, Talmud

Education is similar to tending a garden of biodiversity. At first, we taking little sprouts and seedlings, and we invest a blend of nourishing care and supportive structures. We do this for days, weeks, months and years.

Then, we watch them grow-up.

If we’re lucky, we even take pride in their maturity and fruit-bearing years.

Diverse gardens require deliberate care.

Only with individualized care
can we reap the very best
individual - and collective - outcomes!
— Uri Schneider

Script of this most inspiring video

“Animal School” by R.Z. Greenwald

Once upon a time the animals had a school. They had four subjects ~ running, climbing, flying, and swimming ~ and all animals took all subjects.

The duck was good at swimming, better than the teacher, in fact. He made passing grades in running and flying, but he was almost hopeless in climbing. So they made him drop swimming to practice more climbing. Soon he was only average in swimming. But average is okay, and nobody worried much about it ~ except the duck.

The eagle was considered a troublemaker. In his climbing class he beat everybody to the top of the tree, but he had his own way of getting there, which was against the rules. He always had to stay after school and write, "Cheating is wrong" five hundred times. This kept him from soaring, which he loved. But schoolwork comes first.

The bear flunked because they said he was lazy, especially in winter. His best time was summer, but school wasn't open then.

The penguin never went to school because he couldn't leave home, and they wouldn't start a school out where he lived.

The zebra played hooky a lot. The ponies made fun of his stripes, and this made him very sad.

The kangaroo started out at the top of the running class, but got discouraged trying to run on all fours like the other kids.

The fish quit school because he was bored. To him all four subjects were the same, but nobody understood that. They had never been a fish.

The squirrel got A's in climbing, but his flying teacher made him start from the ground up instead of the treetop down. His legs got so sore practicing take-offs that he began getting C's and D's in running.

But the bee was the biggest problem of all, so the teacher sent him to Dr. Owl for testing. Dr. Owl said that the bee's wings were just too small for flying and besides they were in the wrong place. But the bee never saw Dr. Owl's report, so he just went ahead and flew anyway.

I think I know a bee or two, don’t you?

The duck is the child who does well in math and poorly in English and is given tutorials by the English teacher while his classmates are doing math. He loses his edge in math, and only does passably well in English.

The eagle is the child who is turned into a “troublemaker” because he has his own way of doing things. While he is not doing anything “wrong”, his non-conforming is perceived as troublemaking, for which he is punished.

Who does not recognize the bear? The kid who is great at camp and thrives on extra-curricular, but really just goes flat in academics.

The zebra is the heavy, tall, short or self-conscious kid whose failure in school, few realize is due to a sense of social inadequacy.

The kangaroo is the one who instead of persevering gives up and becomes the discouraged child, whose future disappears because he was not appreciated.

The fish is a child who really requires full special education and cannot shine in a regular class environment.

The squirrel, unlike the duck who “manages,” becomes a failure.

The bee, oh the bee. The bee is the child who the school just feels it cannot deal with, yet against all odds and with the backing of his parents, has enough self motivation to do well even though everyone thought he couldn’t.

I have had the pleasure of knowing many bees.

Each child is a unique blend of talents, personality, and ingredients… nowhere else to be found. Some children are skilled intellectually, others are blessed emotionally, and many are born with creative ingenuity. Each child possesses is very own exclusive collection of gifts. Children do not come with an instruction booklet. Effective parents are always learning, studying, and customizing the instructions for their individual child.

Each and every child is as unique as his fingerprints, a sparkling diamond of unparalleled beauty.

Don’t let your child be a kangaroo!

VIDEO: Practical Tips to Keep in Mind for Pre-schoolers who Stutter

Click the video above to check it out!

some tips and strategies for working with your pre-schooler who stutters:

1. Understand the whole child

  • What are their language skills?

  • Are they having trouble with language?

  • Do they have trouble understanding language?

Maybe they understand language very well, but they have trouble expressing themselves. You want to understand everything about their language.


2. Look at their temperament

  • Some kids are really rough and tough, ‘rock’em sock’em’. They just keep ticking, no matter what happens.

  • Some kids are really sensitive. They're sensitive themselves and they tend to be very sensitive towards others.

I'd work differently with a four-year-old with an easy going temperament versus one with a tougher temperament.

3. Provide CUSTOM therapy

  • Our goal, whatever approach we’re going to be employing is that we don't throw any approach or anything too rigid on anybody. We try to:

  • tailor fit the right therapy

  • borrow from the best research and popular approaches out there

But none of them are a cure-all for every childSo, it's a real decision-making process, engaging the parents, putting the parents in the driver's seat, and making sure that we're working with the child. 

4. Treat them like people

  • we need to make sure that the communication that we encourage between parents and children is naturalistic, not artificial and plastic.

In doing so, hopefully we can help them with the physical side of stuttering, and also help them with the communication values to keep talking and have the confidence they were born with!

Uri Schneider, Co-Director Schneider Speech