Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bumby Box will Deliver Povi to Pre-Schooler in the Fall

From left to right: Jessica, Olivia, Lim, Povi and Gena. What an exciting partnership!

By Anna M.

We just launched our Kickstarter campaign and are delighted to have a wonderful partner to distribute Povi: Bumby Box. It's a super cool selection of toys, chosen by specialists, to bring educational play based activities every month by subscription. Povi will be included in the Bumby box for the pre-school age toy box, beginning in the fall.

Many synergies made this partnership happen. One of the intentions of Bumby's team, as Povi's mission, is to create a vibrant interaction in between parents and kids that may contribute for the emotional development. As Lim, creator of Povi says, "Is such a great honor to be picked by Bumby box, as they have so much expertise about toys".  Povi team is also very happy to partner with a company with strong values, such as being environment-friendly and connected to the improvement of society, through reinforcing the community.

Bumby box was founded last year in Oakland, California, by Gena Lindsay-Bourne and Jessica Boehme with the intention to make parents' life easier, bringing a solution for that time when it's quite challenging to pick the right toys and activities for the kids, transforming playtime in a fun and enriching experience. Povi fell into their very unique category of different and intriguing toy tuned with the emotional intelligence learning. As Gena says, "we are always open to new ways to approach story-telling, and Povi fulfills the role like puppets would, with a plus of engagement and interaction".

Bumpy box is very clear about its requirements: "Play based learning and cognitive development research always guide our choices when choosing activities and toys". "Povi brings parent and kids together and that is a great chance for them to work on building relationships -starting at home", says Jessica. "Research has shown that communication is fundamental to build strong foundations in children's development and supports self regulation", adds Gena.

As Gena explains, play based activities have been shown by researchers as a fundamental tool to strengthen critical thinking. She explains that open-ended stories, like the ones that Povi tells, are a good factor to help family bonds stronger so that they leave room for imagination and lots of conversations, so that parents can be aligned with what is really happening with their social emotional experiences.

Jessica notes that having the chance to discuss stories, may also help parents and kids to get access to something they wouldn't do normally, embracing social emotional learning in a fun way: "They can learn how to negotiate and be flexible.  Like empathy, the ability to compromise and find balance is something that we can share with early literacy. Kids can identify with Povi's storytelling and every day examples.  It's a great idea".

Gena adds that "hearing is learning", and that's yet another interesting feature that Povi brings with its age appropriate story packages. The many stories that Povi plays can be a bridge to learning opportunities.  For Jessica, Povi can be enjoyed by grown-ups and kids together, it's an cuddly plush toy with a concept; "I just think Povi is adorable with its big eyes! I can see it being part of a family tea party. But the most important fact is that Povi brings the possibility of parents and kids interacting and building memories together".

The awesome Bumby Box can be seen here:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Technology Comes To the Jugglers (a.k.a Working Moms!) Rescue

* By Seow Lim*

It was 5:30pm. I was still in the conference room. It was getting late to pick up my kids. I excused myself, left,  and started to drive, dialing into the conference call. At 6pm, I picked up my son. I greeted him, and tried to get off the call so that I could talk to him. Finally, the call was done, I turned to look at my child, and asked: "How's was school?" He looked bored and said, "Ok".

Do you see yourself in this picture? As a busy high tech working mom of two boys, I constantly juggled family and work. I worked hard so that I could give my kids better lives, at the same time I encouraged them to work hard so they could achieve better academic success. I thought that was the ultimate and only goal.

Two years ago, my son's school counselor told me: "Your kid is really smart, but he is not happy." I had tried so hard to be the best parent. So had I done wrong? I started looking for the solution. I took time off from my high flying career. I made sure I was home at 3pm when the kids got back from school. I started reading all the best selling parenting books, and having more in-depth conversations with my children. I joined many parenting groups online to learn from other parents. I started the Emotional Intelligence for Kids group on Facebook and received much support and many ideas from parents like myself.

After much reflection, armed with all this information, I finally found my solution - parents like me need to connect more often and more thoughtfully with their kids. From this realization, was born Povi. A product that I hope will help me and other parents connect and communicate meaningfully with their children.  I built a team and we first launched the Povi Family Connect app - both on Google Play and App Store. This app sends one thoughtful question, fail to registered parents. Our questions are designed by our developmental psychologist and we soon signed up 1k beta users on our app.

After a few months I approached all our beta users for their feedback. The response was the questions are great but they lacked 'context'.  While analyzing the app data, we also found out that kids were answering the question very differently and in interesting directions. No  wonder parents were telling us that they are learning a lot more about their kids than they did before. From this feedback we knew our app was very useful, but to take it to the next level, we needed to solve the "context" issue. This context would help parents ask the question without having to come up with their own context or background. Context, we decided should be built around stories. Not just normal stories but real life stories that kids experience in their daily lives.

Further, with more feedback from parents and teachers, we decided to narrow down our focus to younger children because we want to build the habit of talking with parents about emotions, feelings and problem solving from the early preschool age.

And then, because Povi was going to be sharing real-life stories (something kids and parents loved in our focus groups) we came to the decision that he needed to be cuddly. Povi took the shape of a cuddly plush toy, perfect for a warm and cozy story and conversation session.

Designed to help parents raise happier, caring and confident children, Povi is an EI (emotional intelligence) content platform + app of crowd-sourced content with a huggable storytelling buddy as the delivery tool. In other words, Povi is a connected toy with a mission, for children ages 3-8. Povi shares short stories based on children's everyday situations then engages young listeners and their parents in a discussion on emotions and feelings.


Bootstrapping, we manufactured 20 prototypes and started the Traveling Povi program.

This is a program when we send Povi with 5 expert designed stories to the homes of interested parents for a week. We have the parents and kids test Povi and send us their feedback.

We already received great feedback from parents and kids who have tried out Povi. Some testimonials we received:
  • Kids are very excited about listening Povis stories - don’t want to stop at one.
  • Povi motivated children to talk about similar personal experiences.
  • Parents appreciated that they learned something new about their kids lives and how their kids think through/process experiences.
  • The story starter is the most effective as kids jump right into discussion and commentary.
Our biggest issue is that kids in this first round of trial are so possessive of Povi they are reluctant to let him travel! We now need to build more!! Our goal is to build the next 5000 Povis so that there will be enough Povis to go around, helping busy young families connect and communicate.

The team behind Povi is are up of seasoned software engineers, a designer, a journalist, marketing specialists, toy veterans, psychologists and counselors. They all joined me because they believe in Povi's mission to help parents raise happier, caring and confident kids. I want to be able to make Povi a reality. I want to be able to especially help busy working moms like myself - to make it easier for you to get into thoughtful conversations that touch the emotions and feelings of your children every day.

Please help me make Povi a reality. Support us on Kickstarter on May 24, 2016. Like us so that you can also share us with your friends.

Why robots are not always the solution

*By Seow Limentrepreneur, successful high tech executive with track records of building businesses, a mom of two boys*

Working mom challenges

The first step towards Povi came out of my life as a busy working mom with a demanding career. It seemed like I was always busy going quickly from one thing to the next and juggling my career with parenting. I always tried to pick up my kids from school each day and tried to switch gears from work issues to my kid lives when I met them. But it was not easy. The stresses of work and chores at home resulted in less than optimal connection with my kids on a daily basis. I was always there for them, encouraging them in their academics and extra-curricular activities but something was missing.

Fast forward two years

My parenting has changed. I have more conversations with my sons everyday. I look for ideas from their world to start meaningful conversations. A simple example, when I saw a child crying at the library, I told them this story: "I was at the library today and I saw a little girl crying. She was lost and looking for her mom. I went to help her. Luckily her mom was looking for her too. What would you do if you were this little girl?" After some contemplation, my older son replied, "I would be really scared too but I wouldn't cry."

Another time it was something I heard on the news:  "On the news today, I heard about this old man with Alzheimer who got lost, and somebody helped him find his way home. Have you helped anyone today?" My son younger replied "Yes! I helped my friends chase bees away by throwing the soccer ball at them."

The stories and scenarios are endless and we all know them. But previously, at the end of the day, when my brain was tired, practicing these open-ended, reflective conversations with my kids was not easy. Now in my avatar as a reformed tiger mom, they love sharing their feelings! They both do it so differently and it amazes me.  I was so happy when my usually reserved teenager said to me, "Mommy, you've changed. Before, you just asked me about my school work. Now you really let me do what I am interested in and support me in it."

My 8 year old boy is more direct. Everyday, he asks, "Mommy, could you talk to me when I am taking my shower?" and at bed time if I haven't started a conversation, he says "Mommy, do you have something you want to talk to me about?" or "Mommy, I have a secret to tell you today." It's at times like this that I know that the habit of thoughtful conversation with my kids for the last 2 years have worked.

Others helped me, I can help others too

As I was looking for a solution to help myself to be a better parent, I realize that many parents are facing the same issues. We are too busy with our jobs and our lives, we are not connecting enough with our kids emotionally. 


How Povi evolved

The journey of finding the right solution or version of Povi to address the problem facing busy parents and hyper digital kids has been quite an exploration. It has taken us two years of multiple iterations of concept, prototype and user testing. 


At first, I was looking for the solution to the 'symptom' of 'dis-engaged kids'

I went to Berkeley Innovation Lab, a club in University of California Berkeley that helps industry do design projects. That's where I met Wendy. For two semesters, together with eight talented students, we idea-ted a design of our prototype 1. 
The problem statement for prototype 1 was: Kids are spending too much time in front of screens. It is affecting their time management, vision and posture. Could we have a solution that encourages kids motivation to develop good habit for to protect their vision and posture. Prototype 1 contains an electronic pet with expression and a Bluetooth earpiece with sensors. 
When we started doing the user research, parents liked the cute little electronic pet, but they didn't like the earpiece because kids would not want to wear it. Parents also mentioned that screen time is affecting the social skills of their kids that they are most concerned about.


Without the earpiece, we had to use Computer vision to observe the child to monitor their habit in front of the screen. We idea-ted to our Prototype 2. We developed the design of Povi Learning Robot that learns about kids habits and interacts with the kids. Povi could encourage them to develop good posture habits. Povi teaches them self regulations and time management and get them to interleave physical activities with screen time. 


However, as we continued to collect feedback from parents, we discovered the following:

1. There are too many gadgets that kids already have today. They are not looking for another gadget to interact with their kids.
2. The target price point of the robot (~$300) were too high for most families to afford.
Fantastic support from Povi's Facebook Groups

Our Facebook group named Emotional Intelligence for Kids have grown to over 3000 members then. This is the community that has been supporting Povi along the way. With active participation in many Facebook groups and talking to psychologists and teachers, reading tons of best selling parenting books on Amazon, and also working with my own children to figure out what's the 'root' of my issue, I realized that self regulation, time management, good vision and posture habits are all trying to correct the 'symptom'. The 'root' of my issues was I need to develop the connection with my own kids beyond "How's school?" "Did you do your homework?". I need to develop that habit that my kids want to share their deeper thoughts with me.

At the same time, with the help of many helpful parents online, I had conducted a successful survey that parents today are most concerned about social emotional development of their kids and they are looking for a better solution in. Our research shows that Social Emotional Learning in schools are showing results. But many parents believe that social emotional learning should happen at home.
So we created a Povi App that sends one question each day to parents. After we have signed up 1000 beta users on our app, I approached each and everyone of them to ask for feedback. Most of them thanked me for the expert designed questions. They found them really useful. However, they mentioned that it was weird to just ask the question, without any context. They found that they were having to come up with context before asking the question. This did not work for them. 

Additionally we learned that quite a few parents are writing their conversations with their kids into the journal but said that it would be much easier if we could just let them record the audio on the app. We found that how each child answers questions was very unique to them and extremely interesting. No wonder parents were telling us that they are learning a lot more about their kids using Povi's App questions.
Despite the positive feedback to the Povi App, we had the "context" issue to resolve. How do we provide the context so that our parents don't have to think hard to ask a thoughtful question? We talked to many psychologists, teachers and counselors. 
We learned a few key things from these final discussions:
1. Kids learn better with a physical object that they can hold and touch. 
2. Kids are much more open to discuss issues and emotions of others sometimes instead of their own issue directly.
3. We need to focus on specific age groups as kids' emotional need vary dramatically by age.
After much brainstorm, we decided on the following:
1. Focus on 3-8 years olds to build the habit of talking with parents about emotions, feelings and problem solving from preschool age. 
2. Context for questions should be built around stories. Not just normal stories but real life stories that kids experience in their daily lives. 
3. The physical form should take the form of hug-gable plush toy because that feels warm.
That's how Povi The Storytelling Buddy with the Emotional Intelligence Content Platform was born.
We take all the features that our users like in the Povi Family Connect app, marry that with a well-designed talking plush toy, and open our platform to content providers who have lots of experience with kids to help us bring more real life stories into parent-child thoughtful conversation.
We have iterated multiple times with the plush toy design; have tested our designs with over 300 parents and kids in person and 500 parents online. See the family of Povi we have made!


The yellow big eye Povi won the user test! And that's how Povi looks like today.

Robot is COOL, but Povi is WARM!
In the beginning, I had thought that the solution would be a really smart robot with computer vision and voice recognition capabilities that would get kids to open up. But a lot of user research and my gut feel made me question whether interacting with another digital device or robot was the solution. No, I want my kids to talk to me, interact with me and connect and share human emotions.

That's why Povi is cuddly, furry and soft and he speaks like another child!

There are still many features we want to add to Povi, our app and the content platform, including messaging to consult expert teachers and psychologists on the platform.

Our plan is to make 5000 Povi and sell them on Kickstarter on May 24th. Please help me make Povi a reality. Support us on Kickstarter.

Written by The Povi Team

P.S.: Seow Lim was joined in her mission for EI by a bunch of us who are inspired by her. She took a personal parenting challenge and actually created a product to help solve this. And what's more this is a problem that is so relevant today where a lot of us parents are so busy and our kids are precariously digitally inclined.

We are seasoned psychologists, counsellors, software engineers, a creative designer, a journalist, a user research specialist and toy industry veterans and we are hoping you will love Povi and Povi's mission as much as we do!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

IOT Meets Human Psychology

By Seow Lim

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects — devices, vehicles, buildings and other items — embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data, as defined in Wikipedia. These devices around us are collecting data about us. The Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence engines in the clouds are taking these data and learning about us, they are proactively looking for ways to make our lives more convenient. They predict what we want or need, and offer it to us before we even ask for it. This is the next growth engine of the Silicon Valley according to this New York Times article .

As we humans and the devices around us are getting more connected and more intelligent, our lives become more convenient, the machines are learning more about our needs and our thoughts. What about us learning about each other? What’s the best way to achieve that? Can technology help? Social media collects the videos and photos that we ‘Like” and ‘Share’. Search engines collect the keywords that we search. The sensors in a smart refrigerator find out the favorite grocery our family consumes. The Artificial Intelligence takes data and analyzes us. The accuracy and convenience advanced technology bring are astounding.

These technologies continue to innovate and improve. In the pursuit of deeper machine learning about human and our lives, are we neglecting human emotions? Sherry Turkle, a psychologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has spent the past 30 years observing how people react and adapt to new technologies that change the way we communicate. In her latest book,Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, Turkle argues that social media — texts, tweets, Facebook posts, emails, instant messages etc have replaced face-to-face conversation, and that people are slowly observing the consequences. Our ability to have valuable face-to-face conversations are decreasing, the “most human thing we do,” by splitting our attention and diminishing our capacity for empathy. Technology is here to stay, but we still want ourselves and our kids to learn emotions, conversations and empathy. We don’t want to be isolated, we want to be truly connected ‘emotionally’.

And technology can help. In the same way that other IoTs are making improvements to our busy lives, IoT can also help in enhancing our face-to-face connection to one and other — starting with the tightest connection — parent and children. Povi, is the first and only conversation starting innovation that deploys IoT technology into the form of a connected toy. Designed to help parents raise happier, caring and confident children, Povi is a huggable app-enabled storytelling buddy for children ages 3–8. Povi shares short stories based on children’s everyday situations then engages young listeners and their parents in a discussion on emotions and feelings. There are IOT from coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices, sprinklers, clothes, anything and everything you can think of. How about IoT for helping parents enhance their kids emotional intelligence, skills that tie to happier, more successful lives in the future?

I would love to give you a heads-up that we will be running a Kickstarter campaign on Tue, May 24, 2016. We would greatly appreciate your help to be one of our early backers to make Povi a reality.

You can choose to back our project for your family, a school, your team members at work or even non-profits.

We would greatly appreciate you also sharing this important message with whom you know will benefit from joining our community!

Thank you very much! Do email me at to catch up anytime!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Share Stories, Have Conversations and Build Kids’ Emotional Intelligence

By Mallika S.

Povi the story telling buddy is out and about! He’s visiting families, living with them for a week and sharing his mission of developing emotional intelligence. Povi’s stories start meaningful conversations. These are the type of conversations that help parents and kids discuss and build important emotional skills like empathy, confidence and resilience.

At one home, Povi got two five year-olds talking and sharing their experiences. Their mom told us, “Both of my kids mentioned that these stories were things that happened to them as well. And that Povi helped them become better people.”

At another home, a mom said, “You see one-on-one conversation disappearing. Kid has a tantrum you hand him your cell phone. I think to me this would catch my attention.  All parents want that and most feel they don't have this with their kids -- finding quality time and getting conversations started is a problem.”

The Povi team is passionate about teaching emotional intelligence and we love it when we receive feedback that proves our product promise is working. Povi can help start meaningful conversations and take us closer to our goal of making all kids emotionally smart.

Povi’s crowd-funding campaign will launch in May this year. We are hoping all of Povi’s supporters will fund and buy many Povis to share his message of emotional intelligence. Please like our Facebook page so that we can keep you informed the minute Povi is available for order.

Let's face it, our kids’ lives are not the same lives we had as kids. As one mom told us, “It’s a complicated time. So busy all the time. It takes away from the moments you should be having with your kids.”

According to Pew Research Center, 70% of moms with kids under 18 work outside the home. 90% of working moms say they always feel rushed and don't spend enough time with their kids. Research also shows that it’s not how much time you spend with your kids it's the quality of the interactions and the conversations. Povi hopes to be a product that fills a need to give parents an easy way to build a habit of daily meaningful conversations.

Another phenomenon in our kids’ lives is screen time. According to an article in Harvard Business Review in 2011, “Screen-time often replaces one-on-one human interaction. As the smartphone market continues to explode, more parents are passing their phones to their offspring as tools to educate or gadgets to pacify."

While the benefits of screen time are easy to see (academic progress and communication) the negative impact of kids being hyper digital is subtler. According to Dan Schwabel, best selling author, millennial TV personality and social commentator, "Technology has hurt their soft skills. Alphas (the generation after Gen Z) will have less human contact than previous generations.” Based on research he says, “students say that technology has hurt their soft skills – like communicating in person. Gen Alpha will be the most connected generation yet spends much less time talking to their peers in person. There will be clear psychological challenges with this generation as they will feel more alone, despite being so connected."

We see Povi as a new tool for parents in this new world of parenting. Povi makes it easy for families to create a daily habit of connecting around thoughtful conversation. By engaging kids with stories that mirror their lives and empowering parents with question suggestions that extend conversations, Povi helps teach emotional intelligence.

Povi is especially created for kids aged 3-8. If you live in the United States and would like to test Povi out with your kids, please email

Povi is looking for expert partners who want to contribute content in the way of stories that start conversations. If you’d like to contribute you can do that on our website.

And don't forget to like our Facebook page if you want to be among the first 5000 to own a Povi!

I would love to give you a heads-up that we will be running a Kickstarter campaign on Tue, May 24, 2016. We would greatly appreciate your help to be one of our early backers to make Povi a reality.

You can choose to back our project for your family, a school, your team members at work or even non-profits.

We would greatly appreciate you also sharing this important message with whom you know will benefit from joining our community!

Thank you very much! Do email me at to catch up anytime!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Nightcap: Our Forever Books

Once upon a time a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!

By Mallika S *

While taking the train down the peninsula from San Francisco, we passed San Carlos where I’d lived for many years when my kids were much younger. Looking out of the train window, the view of the familiar hills in the evening light evoked a feeling of time gone by and surprisingly a sense of dread.

I was carried back to those years as a mom of young kids, when I would commute back from work in San Francisco and disembark every weekday evening to this view of the hills and begin worrying about the long list of things to be accomplished between then and bed-time. Rush to pick kids up from daycare, wonder what to make for dinner, discuss what happened at school and why, help with homework challenges, sibling arguments and then bath and bed. This and more is what working moms do every weekday evening.

What brightened those busy evenings were two treats. First, we'd always stop at a local park, even if for just ten minutes. We covered all the parks in our area, experiencing the novelties each had to offer in the form of playmates, play structures, parents and pets. Writing this makes me want to visit them all again. The second treat was cuddling up with a book, or many of them, which is what this post is really about.

Reading together was always a great way to end the day and since reading was as much a treat for me as for my kids, it was great fun to explore each new book and then decide if it was a 'keeper', that is   a book that is good to read over and over again. After the hurry-scurry of the day, after the lecturing and yelling (which I did in spades according to my now full-grown son), after the cooking and cleaning-up, this was our nightcap.

When I was a child, I had only a few books! I still remember the 3 books I owned when I was in elementary school, which I read hundreds of times: Sujata and the Elephant, which I loved so much, because of the idea of having a an elephant who never forgets you was such a romantic idea. The second was Alice in Wonderland. Its magical realism can still carry me away and the cake always looked delicious to a perpetually hungry kid in boarding school. Hollow Tree House, by Enid Blyton was a favorite in those days. This one about an orphan making her home in a hollow tree and being supplied with delicious food by two friends everyday, was something I wanted to experience myself!

As a parent, my kids and I read our favorite books many times over and some at least fifty times each.  I’m coming to our list of favorites, but I must caveat, that with the passage of time, some of these favorites may just not be the 100% wholesome books I thought they were.

I was particularly distressed that the Berenstain Bears, my ‘go-to’ resource for teaching social emotional skills like courage or caring, are actually under scrutiny for various subtle negative stereotypes and messages they convey. In the book NurtureShock the author writes, “the books and videos always ended on a happy note, with siblings learning to value and appreciate each other, but the first half of the stories portrayed in vivid detail the ways that children can fight, insult and devalue their siblings.”

In another study referenced in the same book, the author points out, “Essentially, Ostrov (a researcher) had just found that Arthur is more dangerous for children than Power Rangers.” And that’s essentially because we cannot predict whether the young viewer or reader will take his message away from the beginning, middle or end of the story!

Here’s to not over-reacting, however, and let’s not throw our favorites out of the window just yet. Let’s use these and other wonderful books – in their totality to help us discuss sensitive topics with our kids, the end goal being more emotional intelligence.

Another example of a good book gone bad in recent times is A Birthday Cake For George Washington, that Scholastic Publishing announced it was pulling from its catalog. The book raised a furor over how it portrays Washington's enslaved household help. It showed them as happy, smiling workers. Here’s what Jeremy Adam Smith who edits Greater Good science magazine at Berkeley had to say: “You know, I read those books aloud to my son. And I also felt ambushed by some of the racist imagery in the books, which nobody had done anything to prepare me for. You know, what I did was I closed the book, and I said - how do you think it would make you feel if you were black and you were reading this? And we talked about that. And this was a lesson - I think I - we had this conversation when my son was about 7 years old. A lot of it went over his head. However, it was the beginning of a discussion that continues to this day, as he approaches 12 years old.”

Conversation accompanies reading books. If books capture the true spirit of our lives, then books must capture the negatives we confront in our lives. Isn't it our responsibility as parents to guide these conversations to help our children confront, absorb and synthesize messages – positive and negative - and to help them be shaped by the discussion around these messages.

Here’s to books and reading and snuggling down. These are our favorites - our “forever books". Loved because they carried us to worlds of fun, adventure or thoughtfulness, many with animal companions who spoke in kind and gentle voices.


Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

The Diggingest Dog by Al Perkins and Eric Gurney

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

Kipper’s Birthday by Mick Inkpen

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie By Laura Joffe Numerous and Felicia Bond

The Teddy Bears Picnic (first published in 1907!) by Jimmy Kennedy and Alexandra Day

Tiki Tiki Tembo by Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent

Where’s Julius? by John Burningham

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton

Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen


Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfizer and J. Alison James

Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant

Berenstain Bears by Jan and Mike Berenstain

Patchwork Elephant by David McKee

Grimms Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

A Bell for Ursli by Celina Chonz and Alois Carigiet

Curious George by Margret and H.A. Rey

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

* Mallika is an experienced parent who's still learning.

Please LIKE POVI on facebook and also join us at Emotional Intelligence for kids group.

I would love to give you a heads-up that we will be running a Kickstarter campaign on Tue, May 24, 2016. We would greatly appreciate your help to be one of our early backers to make Povi a reality.

You can choose to back our project for your family, a school, your team members at work or even non-profits.

We would greatly appreciate you also sharing this important message with whom you know will benefit from joining our community!

Thank you very much! Do email me at to catch up anytime!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Valentines or Not? That's the Question

By Anna M.

Tomorrow, by this time, both of my boys will probably come home with a package full of Valentine's cards and candies. It's a curious and fragile moment. They might be surprised about some demonstration of affection as they will also probably be resentful if there's a card missing, from someone they really care for. I suffer with them. It hurts not to be appreciated or to have to show that you like someone you barely know. And that, for me, poses the whole dilemma of Valentines cards and all the emotions involved in the activity, specially for kids.

The drama, though, is triggered days before the event. They share some excitement and some frustration about the whole process of writing cards or compliment hearts. Mostly because as the school instructs, if they decide to send cards, it has to be to all their classmates.  Because of that my 5th grader 11-years old decided not to deliver any. His idea is simple: "Nobody really minds mom, because we can't possibly give candy to everybody and it really doesn't mean anything", he says. I have my doubts that he is totally aloof. But then, it's on my call to respect his point.

As they learn in 2nd and 3rd grade, the date is an opportunity to share friendship and acknowledge the bright side of each of their colleagues. It's when they normally would call for my help: "Mom, how can I say something nice to someone I don't like"?, asks the 9 years old. I am always puzzled. But as a sensible and responsible parent I choose to support the school's strategy: "There has to be something that you like in that person. Just relax and think about that". So, few day ago, I saw him writing compliment hearts with very creative stuff. Something like "Dear friend, I really like your handwriting", or "You play soccer so well".

For me it's always a learning curve. Sharing the way you feel about someone (not spontaneously) is something I culturally don't understand. On the other hand, looking at the bright side of any personality certainly is a positive teaching. I feel like when practicing that emotion sharing, you open new perceptions on how to accept people's diverse personality and observe them closely. I like the fact that my younger kid had a chance of thinking about each of his classmates, in a moment of reflection.

But my 11 years old is not a believer: "I think that, for a kid in elementary school, Valentine's Day is just a commercial stunt to sell candy and other useless junk. If you really like someone, buy something that is meaningful to them and hand-deliver it to them.".  That said (he personally wrote this), I am grateful that this are his ideas. I hope that his best friends share the same vision.

*Anna is Povi's Content Manager, a chef and a journalist.

I would love to give you a heads-up that we will be running a Kickstarter campaign on Tue, May 24, 2016. We would greatly appreciate your help to be one of our early backers to make Povi a reality.

You can choose to back our project for your family, a school, your team members at work or even non-profits.

We would greatly appreciate you also sharing this important message with whom you know will benefit from joining our community!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Real Stories Inspire Povi Conversations

By Povi Content Lab*

Few weeks ago we launched Povi's Partner Program inviting parents, educators and specialists to make part of our team of story-tellers to write conversation starters for our new content project. The campaign brought some beautiful stories which we are going to share here. They mirror our goal, to bring better conversations to families.

We first would like to introduce you to one piece written by one of our new partners,  who is a proud advocate of dialogues and well spent time with his son. We hope this story will also inspire you to make part of our program or to collaborate to our blog.

The Day My Son Discovered How Much I Love Him

By Clark

I  like to say I'm a good dad, and strive daily to be a great dad. The wonderful memories of my son when he was a baby boy are just that, just pictures that I have carefully archived in my backed -up hard drive in my safe deposit box. He is now 10 years old and I'm slowly seeing a shift in his attitude and dependency and have realized it is the inevitable.

As many have said to me, "don't you wish they were still a baby?" And I do, at times, wish he was just a small child wanting to be with his parents because his parents kept him clean, played with him and fed him whenever he wanted to eat. But I know he must mature into the fine young man that I've prepared him for. And there lays the predicament. As parents, (and similar to technology), change is hard to adapt and if you don't adapt, you tend to get lost in what and who you are.

Five years ago, I wrote a list of goals for me as a Dad. I posted this list in my office in front of the computer. A few days ago, while arguing with my son over the simplest mundane things and after things cooled down, I asked him to read this list in my office. Firstly, of the hundreds, if not thousands, of times he's been in my office, he admitted to never seeing this list. He read goal number one:


Now, I won't tell you what the other goals are just yet.

Why? Because after reading this first line, my son cried so hard that any and all our past arguments were turned into a shared love that I cannot describe. The empathy he portrayed made me realize that although I missed his "baby years," I am still building his foundation to become a good, no, great person.

Right now, I am sitting in front of his old school and typing this story into my phone. A friend comes up to me as says hi. She has two adorable toddlers and for the millionth time, I say "enjoy it while they're young," and know exactly what it meant when I heard it when my son was a toddler."

I would love to give you a heads-up that we will be running a Kickstarter campaign on Tue, May 24, 2016. We would greatly appreciate your help to be one of our early backers to make Povi a reality.

You can choose to back our project for your family, a school, your team members at work or even non-profits.

We would greatly appreciate you also sharing this important message with whom you know will benefit from joining our community!

Thank you very much! Do email me at to catch up anytime!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Would You Rather Be a Monkey or a Human?

Art by Lim's son

By Seow Lim*

Ever since I started my transformation from a Tiger mom who only asked about, "How's your school?"  or "Did you eat your dinner?" to a much more interactive Povi Mom who always look for opportunity to connect emotionally with my kids, I have a lot more fun challenges in my life having to answer 'unexpected' questions from them.

One day, my 7-year old came back from school and finished his dinner. He was sitting there by himself, looking at his hands and feet. I knew that he was thinking about something. I let him have some quiet time by himself. I sat down beside him. I asked him: "I notice that you have been studying your hands and feet very carefully, are you wondering about something?"

At first he was a bit apprehensive to share his thoughts with me. I then asked:
_ "What do think if instead of hands and feet, you have four legs?" - I remembered that as one of the questions from our Povi Family Connect app.
His eyes lit up, and he immediately responded:
_ "Yeah, I was wondering what would happen to the world if our hands and legs look the same and everyone has 4 hands or 4 legs?"
_ "That's really interesting. What made you think about that?" I asked.
_"We are learning about animal adaptation at school, I am wondering why didn't human evolve like the animals with 4 legs. Then we don't have to use a pen to write.", he said.
_"What would you use to write then? Hmm...we learn how to write with our feet." I said.

He thought for a while, then he said:
_"Then pen might look different. It shouldn't look like how it is now." I then asked him if he could draw for me how he think a pen would look like if people were to use our feet to write. He took this opportunity to complain to me that his hands hurt a lot from learning how to write cursive in school, and how his fingers were bending. I showed my empathy to him about his effort that he was putting in and we talked about various different ways to make his hand feel better like stretching it once in a while or perhaps I could treat it with an ice pack every day when he gets home.

I continued the discussion about the difference between human and animals in brain sizes, and our feelings. He was telling me that he knows that ants talk to each other but we were wondering whether ants could tell each other if they were happy or sad. He told me that insects have such small brains they probably don't have deep feelings but he thinks that bigger mammals like monkey, dogs and cats much have.

A question came to my mine: "Would you rather be a monkey or a human?"

He thought for a while and finally replied:
_"There are pros and cons of both. If you were a monkey, you get to play all day, hang from tree to tree, don't have to go to school but you got to search for your own food in the jungle. Unlike human like us, we have to go to school, we can't play all day, we can't hang from tree to tree, but we don't have to search for our own food. I think Curious George (ed. note,  cartoon that he loves watching) has the best life. He has a city house and a country house. He has the Man in the Yellow Hat get him food all day. He does not need to go to school. He gets to play with everyone. He gets to be naughty and never gets punished. I like to be like George."

I was thinking to myself the whole time how should I respond to this conversation. Should I tell him that he can't think about play the whole time? Should I tell him how lucky he is to have Daddy and Mommy bring food to his table?

Remember what I learnt about Growth Mindset to praise on the effort, I decided to say: "I am glad that you are thinking deeper about such things. It is not always easy to see things from different angles which you did. There are always pros and cons in our lives, the most important is for us to be happy with what we have and to be able to work hard for what's important for us to be better."

During real time conversation with my sons, I can't be sure that I always can give the right responses. Seriously, it would be too stressful to always strive to give the best 'lecture' so that they 'learn the most'. I feel that the most important is to pay attention to them, encourage them for their thoughts and efforts and always give them support and lots and lots of love and hugs.

Do you have your conversation starter stories to share with us? Join Povi partner.

*Lim is CEO of Povi. Please like us on Povi Facebook.

I would love to give you a heads-up that we will be running a Kickstarter campaign on Tue, May 24, 2016. We would greatly appreciate your help to be one of our early backers to make Povi a reality.

You can choose to back our project for your family, a school, your team members at work or even non-profits.

We would greatly appreciate you also sharing this important message with whom you know will benefit from joining our community!

Thank you very much! Do email me at to catch up anytime!