My New Life


The early years of a child’s life are the most important for their long-term development. Sometimes, the abundance of information out there can feel overwhelming and difficult to navigate. My New Life is here to support parents and help make sense of the science behind early learning. I’m Jessica Rolph, mother of three and CEO of Lovevery. With the help of experts from around the world, we break down all the child development science into usable nuggets of knowledge that you can put to the test in your own home.
Play Trailer
Introducing: My New Life
Apr 5 2020
1 min
Mindfulness for parentsCalm is contagiousA glimpse inside the Waldorf philosophy
Dec 29 2021
17 mins
Dr. Becky on the importance of empathyGet your baby talking with The Speech Sisters
Language milestones are a hot topic. When should my baby be speaking? And how many words? So much is tied up in our ability to communicate with our little people. On today’s episode of My New Life, we call in the experts to get your baby talking!    While the timeline for those treasured first words varies from child to child, there are some time-tested tricks to help the process along. Spoiler: Don’t be afraid to sing to your child. Jessica Rolph, your host, is accompanied by speech language experts Bridget Hillsberg and Brooke Dwyer, aka The Speech Sisters.   Key Takeaways: [1:54] How much is nature vs nurture when it comes to a child developing language? [3:13] Bridget and Brooke talk about their babies’ language development. [4:47] The Speech Sisters’ number one tip for parents: imitate. [6:05] What’s the difference between baby talk and imitating?  [8:01] Another tip for parents: Act it out. [9:25] Listening, labeling, and demonstrating play an important role in encouraging language development. [12:37] What constitutes saying the first word versus babbling? If you know what they mean when they say it, does that count as a word?  [13:23] How much should a child be talking? What’s typical? And when should we worry? [16:04] Bridget and Brooke share stories about children who received early intervention to assist in their language development. [18:25] Can a child learn language through screens? [21:17] How much of a child’s language development stems from parent intervention versus screens or some other outside service? [23:15] Parents have a tremendous impact on their children’s language acquisition.    Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Learn more about Bridget and Brooke on SpeechSisters.com Speech Sisters on Instagram
Dec 1 2021
25 mins
Sensory play & what it does for your child’s brain
Some children make a lot of noise as they move through their day. They tend to like big movements: bear hugs, wrestling, getting messy. Others are quieter. They can sometimes be bothered by subtle things: tags, temperature, too much light. These children might retreat if their senses get overloaded. Sensory preferences fall on a spectrum.   Jessica Rolph is accompanied by Dr. Allie Ticktin to talk about how to navigate these differences. Dr. Allie is an occupational therapist with a specialty in sensory integration and early childhood development. She is the author of Play to Progress, Lead Your Child to Success Using the Power of Sensory Play.   Key Takeaways: [2:07] Allie talks about how sensory needs can vary from child to child. [3:19] How do you know if a child’s sensory needs are within the normal realm, versus when it’s time to get extra support? [4:07] Why is proprioception one of Allie’s favorite senses to work on?  [5:32] Allie shares tools to provide more proprioceptive input to your child. [9:25] What senses other than proprioceptive should be on a parent’s radar? [11:25] How do we respect our child’s need to be clean?  [13:40] Why do parents need to engage these senses for children’s learning? [14:52] How can we have sensory-rich play that engages all of these senses? [15:38] What are open-ended toys and why you should choose more of those? [18:38] What is a sensory toolbox? Does it vary based on the child’s needs?  [20:42] The first step is regulation; a child who is not regulated can’t learn. [21:04] How can you tell if a child is playing with something or if it’s helping them regulate?  [22:15] What is in the calming toolkit? [24:14] Allie’s advice to parents: Allow your child the space to play and to explore.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Play2Progress
Nov 17 2021
27 mins
Kindergarten ready: You may be closer than you think
The human brain has about 100 billion nerve cells, all of which are present at birth, but have few links between them. Those links are formed by experiences children have. The idea that the right inputs can strengthen a brain’s architecture informs much of the product design at Lovevery. But there’s lots of debate around how early we should start laying the foundation for academic learning.   Jessica Rolph, your host, welcomes Sarah Chesworth to today’s episode of The Perspective Series, to help us navigate Kindergarten prep in the baby and toddler years. Sarah is a former Kindergarten teacher and early childhood educator.   Key Takeaways: [1:43] How does Sarah explain the debate between academic and play-based learning for 2 and 3 year olds? [2:46] Should we be exposing our 2, 3, or 4 year olds to any academic skills? [3:25] What are some categories of concepts that Sarah feels like children need to have to be ready for Kindergarten? [4:48] What are some ways that math and spatial understanding can show up in play? [6:29] Sarah talks about the distinction between healthy brain development in early childhood and the role that academics play. [9:23] What early number skills might Sarah look for in children entering Kindergarten? [10:48] What are some ways that parents can build empathy skills? [12:04] Sarah speaks about the development of fine motor skills. [13:00 ] Sarah describes the space she created for her daughter and the ways that she’s incorporated play and academics. [15:01] Sarah extends her advice to parents: Listen, read, play, sing, and snuggle.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Learn more about Sarah Chesworth
Nov 3 2021
17 mins
Setting our kids up for success
We all have big dreams for our little people, and there are so many ways to define success: finding purpose in life and work, reaching goals (whatever those might be), surrounding yourself with loved ones, to name just a few. Psychologists have pointed to a variety of practices that can help our kids achieve these things. Spending time with your child is a major one; others include letting your child make decisions and prioritizing kindness.   Jessica Rolph welcomes Esther Wojcicki to today’s episode to talk about raising successful children, her area of expertise. Her daughters, Susan, Janet, and Anne, are some of the most powerful women in Silicon Valley. They are respectively, the CEO of YouTube, a professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, and the Founder and CEO of the genetic testing company 23andMe. Esther, also known as the Godmother of Silicon Valley, is the author of How to Raise Successful People: Simple Lessons for Radical Results.   Key Takeaways: [2:17] Did Esther set out to raise CEOs? [3:24] Esther explains the acronym TRICK: Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration, and Kindness. [5:19] What does trust look like in our modern-day society? [8:00] Perhaps we shouldn’t be so worried all the time. [8:50] Esther explains why allowing babies to self-soothe can be a demonstration of trust. [12:02] How can parents of toddlers show respect? Just listen! [14:15] Don’t do anything for your children that they can do for themselves. [15:12] Esther speaks about collaboration in the home. [17:30] The profound impact of kindness.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Visit Raise Successful People
Oct 20 2021
20 mins
A more accessible Montessori
Many new parents struggle with decisions around learning outside of the home. When is the right age? Is daycare or preschool the answer? If extended family isn’t available or other help isn’t affordable, should parents keep their children at home while also juggling work or all the many other responsibilities? Then there’s the decision regarding what learning philosophy to follow.   Jessica Rolph, your host, welcomes Nikki Johnson to today’s episode. Nikki struggled with these decisions and landed on a homeschooling arrangement that aligns with Montessori. In addition to homeschooling her four year old, Marley, Nikki is an attorney and entrepreneur; she is also behind the Instagram account cultured_montessorian. Nikki and Jessica examine Montessori through a modern lens, from screen time to clutter.   Key Takeaways: [1:40] What went into Nikki’s decision to start homeschooling her child? [2:40] What made Montessori a good fit for Nikki’s daughter? [3:48] Has Nikki seen any evidence of greater equity and inclusivity moving forward in the Montessori community? [5:08] Nikki talks about the ways Montessori benefits children of color specifically. [6:54] How does Nikki carve out time from her clearly very busy schedule as an entrepreneur, lawyer, and teacher to her daughter? [10:27] Where does Nikki come down on screen time for Marley and how does this fit in or not fit in with Montessori? [12:51] Are there any other ways that Nikki has interpreted Montessori through this more modern lens? [14:59] Nikki’s daughter has a sensory processing disorder; she shares how she has tailored her learning to support that difference. [17:10] Nikki shares how she approached decluttering and keeping her home environment more minimalist. [19:01] What is the rhythm of a typical day for Nikki? [21:35] Nikki spent time living in a homeless shelter as a child. How does that experience inform the home life that she has created for Marley? [23:28] Nikki encourages families to do Montessori in whatever way works for them.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Check out Nikki’s Instagram @cultured_montessorian
Oct 6 2021
23 mins
Understanding RIE parenting
Feeding, diapering, dressing, soothing. At times, it feels like we’re merely surviving those early months. When in overdrive, pausing to observe doesn’t always come naturally, but looking and listening before responding to your baby or toddler can lead to some surprising discoveries about your child, and yourself! Something called RIE parenting is founded on that principle. RIE was created in 1978 by a woman named Magda Gerber. The basis of Magda’s RIE philosophy is respect for the child, and it asks us to examine our power in caring for these little beings.   Jessica  Rolph, your host, welcomes Hannah Olavarria to today’s episode, she has been trained in the foundations of RIE and is half of the parenting duo behind Upbringing, along with her twin sister, Kelty. Hannah shares how she has been incorporating RIE into their parenting and coaching for years.   Key Takeaways: [1:58] What does RIE represent? [2:49] What is Hannah’s experience with RIE as a mother? [5:03] What does the RIE method for parents of babies really look like? [8:23] Hannah talks about the RIE way to speak to a baby. [11:55] Some RIE practitioners object to tummy time and Hannah gives her perspective on this. [15:20] What does a typical “Yes space” look like? [18:13] Hannah breaks down Upbringing’s 10 Freedoms, starting with the Freedom to Struggle. [19:15] Hannah explains what the Freedom to Choose looks like for a baby and a toddler. [23:07] There is no one parenting philosophy that fits all parents.    Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Upbringing Upbringing on Instagram
Sep 22 2021
25 mins
Because it moves! How girl & boy brains differ
“Trucks are for boys and dolls are for girls.” Our ideas around femininity and masculinity have significantly evolved in recent generations, but there is still lots of room for growth. Today’s guest argues that understanding the differences between genders — specifically, the ways in which girl brains differ from boy brains — can actually break down those gender stereotypes.    Dr. Leonard Sax is a physician and psychologist, as well as the author of Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences, where he discusses key differences in how boys’ and girls’ brains are wired, including differences that show up even when the baby is in the mother’s womb.   Key Takeaways: [2:02] How are gender differences relevant to parents of babies and toddlers? [2:50] Girls’ brains develop much earlier than boys’. [3:54] Leonard Sax explains differences in the visual and auditory systems among boys and girls. [10:15] How do auditory differences play out in the home with toddlers? [13:33] Leonard makes a connection between boys’ auditory needs and ADD diagnoses. [14:33] The acceleration of the academic curriculum and the correlation to ADD and ADHD diagnoses. [16:48] Leonard claims American doctors are more inclined to prescribe medication as the first resource. [17:46] Leonard talks about varying rates of brain development among boys and girls and how parents should approach this matter. [18:31] Every child is unique and is a mixture of masculine and feminine. [19:20] The most important factor in raising a happy child, according to Dr. Leonard Sax.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Learn more about Dr. Leonard Sax
Sep 8 2021
24 mins
"How to Talk" authors on what to say to your toddler
It’s remarkable how choosing your words carefully can mean the difference between a moment of connection or disconnect. Today’s guests are experts at effective communication with young children. Joanna Faber and Julie King are co-authors of the book, How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7, and they have just released a second book: How To Talk When Kids Won’t Listen: Whining, Fighting, Meltdowns, Defiance and & Other Challenges of Childhood.   Joanna and Julie share helpful tools to communicate with young children thoughtfully, avoiding orders and threats.   Key Takeaways: [2:04] How do you get your kids to listen to you? [5:13] Joanna shares a few examples of how to be playful when communicating with your child. [6:03] Julie explains how it can help to give in fantasy what you can’t give in reality. [9:15] How can we phrase our instructions so that children want to follow through? [10:08] Do Julie and Joanna recommend giving children time-outs? [13:30] What to do when your kid is hitting a younger sibling? [15:31] Learn the distinction between punishment and expressing your feelings strongly. [16:32] How can you help your toddler make amends and feel better? [18:22] What are some strategies for whining?   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7, by Joanna Faber and Julie King How To Talk When Kids Won’t Listen: Whining, Fighting, Meltdowns, Defiance and & Other Challenges of Childhood, by Joanna Faber and Julie King
Aug 25 2021
20 mins
Co-regulating emotions with Mr. ChazzA Montessori perspective on potty learningPerspectives on toileting with author of 'Oh Crap! Potty Training'A medical perspective: Alternatives to going all-natural
Natural is a loaded word when it comes to parenting. While it feels good to make choices that stem from nature, following an all-natural course and all the rules that come with it, can lead to stress. There are a lot of conflicting messages out there when it comes to what is healthy for our children: Is it ok to delay vaccines? Is it ok to use formula? What happens if your birth doesn’t go as planned?   Jessica Rolph is joined by Pediatrician Dr. Mona Amin on today’s episode to discuss alternate vaccination schedules, natural birth, cesarean deliveries, early nutrition, and even the nature vs. nurture debate. Tune in to hear the of straightforward medical advice that has made Dr. Mona’s podcast PedsDocTalk hugely popular.   Key Takeaways: [1:49] Dr. Mona’s advice about babies, vaccines, and alternate schedules. [6:55] Dr. Mona addresses parents who are concerned that there is a link between autism and vaccinations. [8:16] What about the concern that babies on their first pediatric appointments are just too young to get so many vaccines? [10:08] Dr. Mona shares aspects of her personal birthing experience and what she learned from it. [13:34] There’s evidence that babies born by cesarean miss out on this transfer of essential bacteria from their mother. Is there anything that can be done about that? [17:01] Dr. Mona provides her perspective on the homemade vs. packaged baby food debate. [21:09] Dr. Mona talks about the age-old nature/nurture question. What is more important, genetics or the environment? [23:25] Learn why owning your parenting decisions is so crucial.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Listen to Dr. Mona’s podcast PedsDocTalk
Jun 30 2021
25 mins
Perspectives on feeding: Getting real about sugarPerspectives on feeding: Picky eaters
Child nutrition and early brain development are profoundly linked. What goes into our babies, is essential to their brain growth. But that’s not to say achieving those optimal inputs is easy! The picky-eater routine can wear down even the most steadfast parent, and If we’re not careful, mealtime can become a battleground.   Jessica Rolph, your host, is accompanied today by Specialist Pediatric Dietitian Dr. Bahee Van de Bor. Learn valuable tips for parents challenged with keeping their strong-willed babies healthy.   Key Takeaways: [1:48] Did you know a child may need up to 10 encounters with a new food before trying it? [3:04] What approaches to feeding help nurture an adventurous eater? [5:35] What are some common reasons why toddlers become picky eaters? [9:54] Dr. Bahee shares her perspective on disguising veggies (for example, hiding foods like cauliflower or broccoli in other foods). [12:07] Is it recommended that parents insist on their children trying new flavors, even when they reject it? [13:11] How to avoid creating pressure around mealtime. [14:43] Dr. Bahee gives a few strategies to try with children who only want sweets. [16:05] Can snacking have a negative impact on the child’s health? [17:39] How should parents approach their children’s variation in appetite? [18:11] Dr. Bahee expands on how to transform a picky eater into a more expansive eater.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com You can learn more about Dr. Bahee at UK-KIDS-NUTRITION.com Dr. Bahee’s free download: 5 ways to help your child try new foods
Jun 2 2021
20 mins
Perspectives on feeding: Baby-led weaningBaby sleep: Alternatives to 'cry-it-out'
Host Jessica Rolph welcomes Certified Pediatric Sleep Specialist Lauren Heffernan to the second episode of our new season, Perspectives. In this season, you’ll hear curated perspectives on topics like sleep, feeding, and parenting philosophies, so you can make informed choices for your family.   It is rare to find a new parent who doesn’t wish for more hours of sleep; long nights seem to be part of the bargain. When those long nights start dragging on, it can feel like sleep training is the only way out. Lauren proposes a different approach. She is the founder of Isla Grace: Attachment-Focused Sleep. She prefers to avoid separation and the cry-it-out method of sleep training.   Key Takeaways: [1:31] Lauren speaks about her own experience sleep training. [3:56] She explains how that experience informs her practice as a sleep consultant. [6:35] Supporting your babies’ emotions when you are sleep deprived is challenging. [8:20] Why it’s difficult for parents to sit with those big emotions from their child. [9:26] Lauren answers a question from a listener: My baby only falls asleep when I breastfeed him and wakes up throughout the night for more breastfeeding; how can I stop this without the cry-it-out approach? [12:48] What happens when night weaning gets derailed. [13:38] Bed-sharing and how to practice it safely. [16:08] Lauren explains “bridging” between crib and toddler bed. [17:04] How to reframe inconsistent napping. [19:45] If you are getting extremely frustrated and exhausted, try a shifting pattern or ask for someone to support you. [21:06] Lauren’s bottom-line advice to sleep-deprived parents.   Mentioned in this episode: Brought to you by Lovevery.com Isla Grace: Attachment Focused Sleep
May 5 2021
23 mins