Guest Contributor, Neil Patel

Family Learning – by Neil Patel

Video can be life changing

As a father, I’ve found video to be an incredibly powerful tool to educate myself and my family. When it comes to parenting, and helping instill my commitment to “learn something new every day”, video has been one of our most effective tools.

Issabella, my daughter, used to suck her thumb daily. At the age of 5, and the night before she started kindergarten, she came to my wife worried that she would embarrass herself with her new friends by sucking her thumb. My wife, Nina, tasked me to help her stop. Instinctively, I thought video of the long term effects of sucking her thumb – what her teeth might look like as she got older as well as the impact this habit could have on her thumb – would help in parenting.

The videos are quite confronting.

It was an emotional, but impactful, moment – she cried – and she made the decision to stop that day. Did I mention she was FIVE? 

She asked me if she could still suck her thumb at bedtime, I told her absolutely “it is your decision”. The very next morning, she came to me, proud as punch, “daddy, I didn’t need to suck my thumb last night!”. With the help of her twin sister, Mackenzie, she’d gotten through the night without sucking her thumb.

That was the last time we talked about the matter and she never sucked her thumb again.

As a family, we use video to create quality family time. Our kids have learned how to cook via video.  Each Saturday we cook together at home. We will pick a Jamie Oliver recipe, then find videos on Youtube to help the kids learn skills in the kitchen; how to cut onions, vegetables — and even how to “easily” separate the egg yolk from white.

As we entered 2017 it was decided that we would start the day with something new in our family routine.  Enter the daily TedTalk.  Stay with me here.  Each of us choose our topic and from Monday to Saturday we get our daily dose of “Ted”.

This has been incredible — effective in teaching our kids important life skills as they grow to become great people and something we do together. In the blink of an eye Ted has become the best part of our morning, and something we can do as a family for the rest of our lives no matter where we live.

Try watching a daily TedTalk and see the impact it has on your family.

I would love to hear from anyone who is using video — or anything really — to help their family bond and learn new things.


Neil Patel is the Founder and CEO of Kabuni, a company that is changing the way we decorate our lives. (It’s not only for the wealthy!)  Supporting designer and artisans – while giving back to the community – Kabuni is worth a moment of your time.  (you will be hooked)  Neil and I met by chance, and immediately felt we’d be lifelong friends.  He’s an inspired leader, a visionary and … all around beloved human.  His commitment to family and leadership are awe-inspiring.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Alexandra Greenhill January 24, 2017 at 6:38 am

    What a great concept! We found Vancouver made viral youtube sensation series helpful to curb silly behavior – you could just laugh it off! And yes, seeing videos really helped get the kids used to the idea of going to school/kindergarden – we watched every Caillou, Franklin etc goes to school video we could find and school entry was no problem. Hadn’t considered TED talks, but I can see it working so well. Thank you for this Neil Patel and mybackyard…

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