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Jen Lilienstein

Jen is the founder of Kidzmet.com—a website that helps kids discover who they’re meant to become by connecting them with compatible enrichment teachers and tutors based on personality, strengths/interests and cognitive style.

How many children do you have?  I have two children—Lana is an extroverted and energetic 6 year old and Dash is our shy and silly, yet methodical 2.5 year old.

How did you come up with the idea for Kidzmet?  As I started to enroll Lana in enrichment activities, I began to realize that the teacher made a bigger impact in whether or not she enjoyed and looked forward to each class than the activity itself. She loved one swim instructor and dreaded another. Adored yoga with one teacher, then decided she didn’t like it anymore after another. We had a challenging music class experience with a teacher I thought was fabulous, then had a fabulous experience the next session with a teacher that Lana connected with well. In every case, some students and parents in the class thought the teacher was phenomenal. It all came down to the strength of the teacher/student connection.

I wanted to make eHarmony-type student/teacher matches based on compatible personalities, interests/strengths and cognitive styles…and, at the same time, use the kids’ profiles to help parents encourage their kids’ unique strengths through activities at home. My ultimate goal is to make sure that every Kidzmet kid—regardless of personality, intelligence strengths, or cognitive style—feels that they are SMART and can connect with local adults that are uniquely qualified to help them develop their talents and strengths.

What is your favorite parenting tip?  Be less of a tiger mother and more of a butterfly parent by  listening to our kids and allowing them to show us the types of education and methods of learning they’re hungry for when they’re young “caterpillars” so that we can give them what they need to transform into beautiful, unique “butterflies” as adults.

How do you get your family to eat healthy food or exercise?  Our rule is that we have to have a protein and fruit/vegetable component of every meal. The kids can offer suggestions for which type of protein they’d like to eat and which fruits/vegetables appeal as long as we weave each into breakfast, lunch and dinner. We also try to “eat a rainbow” and make our plates as colorful as possible.

With two energetic kids, exercise hasn’t posed a problem. Between “walking the walk” by taking the kids to Kids’ Club at the gym while I hit the treadmill, turning up the music and doing dance parties at home, visiting local parks, or just playing “sharks and minnows” in the backyard, we incorporate activity in a way that flows instead of saying “now is the time we exercise for 30 minutes.”

How do you recharge your batteries?  Honestly, I love what I do for a living now and am passionate about helping kids identify and develop their own passions (especially as public school curricula are becoming more and more narrow…so work for me is what recharges me at the moment.

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