Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! Thank you for joining us for another interview in our ongoing series! For this interview, we had the pleasure of speaking with Constanze Niedermaier, CEO & founder of Whyzz LLC, and the author of the Mom’s Choice Award-Winning book, 33 Family Conversations about Global Challenges. 33 Family Conversations About Global Challenges provides parents with conversation starters about problems that are going on around the world, addressing topics such as pollution, global warming, poverty, gender equality, food waste, identity, and much more. It explains global challenges in straightforward terms and offers positive advice for how the reader can help change the world for the better. Keep reading to find out more about Constanze and how her award-winning book and company came to life!
MCA: Hi Constanze, thank you so much for joining us today, and congratulations on your Mom’s Choice Award! To start the interview I first have to say, I absolutely loved 33 Family Conversations About Global Challenges! Talking about difficult subjects with children is so challenging but also so important for their development. Studies have shown that parents who address tough subjects directly with their children can make their child feel safer, strengthen their bond as parent and child, and teach their child about the world around them. Thank you for creating such a wonderful guide for parents to tackle such tough conversations! I’d like to know a little more about the author behind such an incredible book, tell us about yourself!
Constanze: Some things that describe me: I am a refugee, immigrant, mom, wife, animal lover, award-winning author, global citizen, and mother of two beautiful, curious kids. I started Whyzz, a media company that provides tools and resources for meaningful family conversations when my first daughter was born. I realized that I would quickly be in need of creative tools to answer my little girl’s questions and raise a curious, global-minded child of the 21st century.
My whole family loves to travel and explore new places. Favorite destinations: Bhutan, Hong Kong, Italy, Kauai. Seeing my kids immerse in different cultures and getting overly excited by unknown places is one of the best things about traveling. I feel strongly about the need to raise global-minded kids by educating them from an early age about the world, how everything in it is interrelated, and by instilling in them the belief that they can and should make a difference.
MCA: Italy is one of my favorite travel destinations as well! Travel and books are such great ways to teach children about the world and open them up to new ways of learning, living, and being. What was your path to becoming a writer like? What inspired you?
Constanze: I love to research and come up with ways to look at the world from a different perspective. I actually never thought I could write books but my curiosity and my work for Whyzz didn’t make the task as daunting. The idea to start that project came from reading books with my kids every night and we often talked and discussed what was written in the book but also got swept away to completely different areas.
MCA: Tell us more about how your children have motivated your writing, specifically how they inspired your writing 33 Family Conversations about Global Challenges!
Constanze: My family is very lucky that we know really remarkable people that do great things to make a difference in the world. From artists to ocean conservationists, human rights activists, to advocates for native peoples’ rights. The way children are included in conversations when we spend time together really motivated me to bring their knowledge and insights to more families. But I also want to lobby for talking with kids about the world and its’ challenges from an early age on. I often hear that we should shield our kids from all the bad things that happen in the world but in my opinion, we should rather empower and reassure them. And give them an understanding of how everything in the world is interconnected and where their part in all of this is.
MCA: What are some of the key lessons found in 33 Family Conversations about Global Challenges?
Constanze: Children of the 21st century live in a “global village” and in communities with people from all different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. They grow up facing global challenges for people and the planet that affect all of us, not just an isolated few. And their future will require them to work with different people in unknown environments. We all want to leave our kids a better world, but that means we will have to involve them in how to face global challenges, as they are the future consumers, leaders, decision-makers, and inheritors of the earth.
No child is too young to make a difference! Why not give them that confidence early on? We owe it to our children to raise them to become global citizens who are aware of the challenges and the interrelations between everything that is happening in the world.
And I believe that empowerment and reassurance are two fundamental concepts in raising children. We want to empower our children to stand up for themselves, believe in their abilities, and make their own decisions. And we want to reassure them about a safe and happy life. I believe that a non-frightening explanation of what poverty means around the world, or the impacts of climate change, together with ideas about how to help solve these challenges is empowering and reassuring. It’s empowering because we tell them that their support is needed and valued. It’s reassuring because we are making suggestions on how to help.
MCA: Can you tell us the importance of honest family conversations?
Constanze: There are several aspects: If our children believe that we can’t or won’t talk about the hard stuff, they will go elsewhere for their answers. They will look to siblings, or friends, or worst the internet and social media. In 2020, parents found themselves having tough talks with their children about social and racial injustice while living through a global pandemic that changed lives overnight. Important issues such as social justice, poverty, global warming, disease, and hunger are overwhelming topics for children to understand on their own, as well as making sense of what they find online. Getting into a habit of regular family conversations, over dinner or in the car on the way to school or while traveling will make it so much easier to get insights into your child’s life, which especially during the difficult teenage years can be a challenge.
MCA: What kind of response from readers have you received?
Constanze: Readers like the easy way to start a topic. I have used everyday objects to lead into a conversation such as a PJ to talk about homelessness or rubber boots for overfishing. Another thing that was received well is the different ideas of what everyone can do to make a difference. The book is equally liked by parents as older children to read themselves.
MCA: Why is it important for your young readers to become global citizens?
Constanze: If we succeed in fostering global minds in our children, we’ll give them a chance for a bright future in which they make a difference for people and the planet Young global citizens are aware that everything they do has an impact on the whole world and that everyone, no matter their age, can make a difference. The interrelation of things is significant to these children, as is the ability to comprehend them.
MCA: What a wonderful message to leave us off with, thank you, Constanze! We look forward to seeing what’s next for Whyzz LLC, please keep us posted!
You can learn more about Constanze Niedermaier and her award-winning book, 33 Family Conversations about Global Challenges by visiting her MCA Shop pages.