Maria Sanders

Licensed Social Worker
& PCI Certified Parent Coach®

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched; they are felt with the heart.”
— The Little Prince

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A little bit about Maria

My love for babies and children became clear when I was five years old and my little sister was born. In my teen years, I babysat and was a camp counselor. As I zeroed in on my Social Work career, I committed to working in schools where I felt most inspired and impactful. As a parent, this love and passion has grown and deepened. Children are amazing – always growing, always changing, and always challenging us to grow and change too.
I was a school social worker for almost 15 years, working with many students with developmental disabilities. I also spent several years working with families through early intervention, as a teacher and a social worker. When my oldest daughter was born I made the decision to be a stay at home mom. In my first few years of parenting, my heart was in the right place, yet I also felt a bit overwhelmed, anxious, and sometimes doubted the decisions I made. Coupled with the stress of day-to-day living and balancing work with family there were times when I felt like I could use advice and support.
Through countless conversations with other parents I saw a need. What I heard parents saying is they lost the unique joy and meaning in parenting. 

Parents said they need support from someone who is non-judgmental , someone who knows about the latest research in child development and most importantly, someone they can trust.
My search for my perfect work began internally. I explored my unique strengths, interests and passions and realized, I needed to work with parents. After much research, thought and deliberation, I discovered the Parent Coaching Institute ( I am now a PCI Certified Parent Coach®. I have built upon my experience as a school social worker, teacher and parent to share methods, approaches, and behaviors that work. I take the time to learn about each individual family I work with and customize a personal plan that brings the parent closer to their family goals. I am passionate about helping people and maximizing the joy of one of the most rewarding experiences we can do on this planet - raising our children so they can enjoy a bright future!
My house is full with my husband, two daughters and our yellow lab. We live in New Jersey and enjoy trips to NYC, weekends at the farmer's market and BBQs in our backyard.



Coaching can either take place over the phone/video or in person. Depending on your unique needs, sessions can last anywhere from eight to twelve sessions at one hour per session. I recommend one session per week in order to allow for quality focus and maintain momentum.

Our sessions are broken into four stages, which include: The Discovery Phase, The Dream Phase, The Design Phase and The Destiny Phase.



Let's have a quick chat to see if we are right for one another and if parent coaching is a service you are interested in.


Parent Coaching

Parent coaching is a dynamic collaborative process between the parent and the coach where the parent's vision is brought into focus and then steps are crafted week by week to help the parent connect with his/her goal. This process can help you to deepen your relationship with your child and end common battles such as homework, bedtime and chores. It can reduce your stress level, and help you find more joy and satisfaction in your role as a parent. Together, we will unravel your challenges, clearly articulate your goals and develop strategies and a plan of action.


Parent and Teacher Education Workshops

Maria Sanders provides professional development and consulting services to schools and organizations seeking to expand their staff skill sets.

Engage your school community, your pediatric practice or your parents network by offering an array of parent education workshops.

*Conscious Parenting

*Collaborative Problem Solving®

*Conscious Teaching

*Screentime Issues

*Empowering the Parent: Anxiety in Children

*and many more


Speaking Engagements

If you would like me to speak at an event, company or for a group about parent coaching, conscious parenting, Collaborative Problem Solving or a related topic, please contact me. I would be honored.


Success Stories

Thank you so much for giving us the right tools to help us be the parents that are able to help our children thrive, and aid us in raising our girls to be happy well-adjusted kids. From the first few minutes of our first phone call to the last, Maria stepped right in asking the right questions that addressed the issues head-on and guided me to think of the solutions and steps necessary to get the results I envisioned. Not only did Maria help with my concerns about parenting, but she helped to self reflect on my life to better every aspect of it. She was flexible with her schedule, always available for us, trustworthy, dependable and more importantly, she regularly encouraged us that we were doing the right thing for our daughter and for our family.

–  Mom of 2, Montreal, Canada

We worked with Maria Sanders over the course of several weeks when we could no longer cope with our 5 year old's behavior after a new baby, a recent move, and a new school. Maria is a true professional with an incredible ability to guide parents throughout the process of adjusting their behavior and home environment to better help their child. She helped us develop strategies to handle our own frustrations, which in turn helped our son and family tremendously.

Her coaching has been invaluable and our lives have been transformed. We cannot recommend her enough to any family who needs to work through a challenging situation. She is warm and friendly but also highly experienced and full of great ideas. We looked forward to our weekly calls so much and talking to her felt like talking to a friend. We give her our highest endorsement!

– M. & L. Parker - Montvale, NJ

When I came to Maria for some guidance, I was feeling despondent. I wasn't new to this parenting gig with 2 kids aged 2 and 9, but I was struggling. The challenges were with sleeping schedules, finding time for both my kids, weaning, you name it! Most importantly, I was also forgetting to take care of the caretaker!

Maria had helped me once before when my 9 year old was small and had speech delays. Her style was so nurturing and yet firm with him. I really appreciated her way of working and knew her to be a trusted advisor.

First, we worked together to create some goals. They were a mixed bag - some specific and others more general, but with Maria's help I learned to break them down into manageable actions. Maria helped me identify this hurdle and soon I felt empowered and encouraged to achieve these goals. Before working with Maria, I was just overwhelmed by them. It only took a few short months, but by the end I had crossed everything off my list, and it felt wonderful.
Maria is a compassionate, skilled and empathetic coach who I would highly recommend to everyone looking for parenting help.

– Jane, mom of 2

As a member of our school's leadership team in charge of community building, I am delighted to say that Maria's presentation was well received by the school community.  Maria Sanders gave me the insight to connect with my children on a deeper level and encouraged me to look beneath the surface at the root cause of some of the unique challenges we face as parents.  Having two children with very different personalities, I feel refreshed and motivated to continue strengthening the bonds between the whole family and coming up with solutions that work for everyone.  Her talks a must listen for parents of children of all ages.  I also found some of the tools I learned to carry over to everyday life and connecting with one's spouse.  Thanks Maria!

                                                                           - Wendy, Union Congregational Nursery School, Leadership team


The parents of St. James Preschool were so lucky to learn from Maria’s thoughtful and candid presentation.  It was filled with real world examples that provided tangible tools for more peaceful relationships with our young children.

                                                                        - Elizabeth, Parent and School Board Member, St. James Preschool 




What is parent coaching?

A parent coach is a highly trained individual who, through a supportive relationship and intentional coaching process, helps parents navigate challenges with their children and gain clarity to strengthen their family lives. 

A parent coach listens intently, asks key questions, provides information, and offers specific suggestions to help you implement new attitudes and strategies in your life for you and your children.

A parent coach is a supportive companion who champions your highest aspirations for yourself, your children, and your family. Parent coaching services are for parents, couples or families who would like to engage in a harmonious, joyful, purposeful family life. Parent Coaching is a co-creative, gentle, non-judgmental and empowering platform for parents . With my guidance, you will find what is working in your family dynamic so that you can experience more of it.

How is coaching done?

It is flexible based on your needs. I can work with you either in person in my Montclair, NJ office, over the phone, and/or by web conference. Remote coaching has many advantages: You don't have to hire a sitter or make special plans to leave your house or desk. I can accommodate to fit your schedule - lunch hour at work, during your child's nap time, or in the evening when things quiet down.

Interested in a more in-depth education about a particular topic? Have a group of friends that would love to get together for a simple “Q&A” with a parent coach? Whether it be a short class or an informal question and answer setting, small group lectures are a great way to learn new information at an affordable price. Venues are variable and include, but are not limited to: mommy&me classes, private homes, local establishments.

Are you like the Super Nanny?

Not at all. Television programs like Super Nanny invade the home and highlight the things parents are doing wrong. As your parent coach, collaboratively we will uncover the areas that are working well for you and your family and develop a plan to incorporate those strengths to address other challenging areas. My approach is highly respectful, affirmative, and will help draw out your creativity, helping you discover unique solutions and provide long-term positive changes.

What are common issues you have addressed?

  • How to motivate your children without bribes or rewards

  • Getting kids to cooperate with being ready for school, meals, or bedtime

  • Having kids do their homework or household chores without struggles

  • How to handle school issues/ behaviors

  • Getting kids to turn off the tv/computer games

  • How to approach and implement discipline

  • Sibling issues: fairness/fighting/ jealousy

  • Appropriate mealtime behaviors

  • Resolving parenting differences and creating a united parental unit

  • How to create a satisfying balance between family, marriage, work, and social life

  • …and so much more.

What is the difference between coaching and therapy?

Coaching is a collaborative process by which you, the client, choose the goals you want to work on or the situations you want to improve. I will then help to keep you on target and provide support, consultation, and suggestions to help you achieve your goals. The intention for coaching is for improvement, achievement, and greater fulfillment. Therapy’s goal is for greater improvement in functioning but it presumes that there is a lack of functioning or impairment as the starting point. If at any point the issues transcend our task, I will make a referral to the appropriate mental health provider.


The Blog

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Maria Sanders gave me the insight to connect with my children on a deeper level and encouraged me to look beneath the surface.
— Wendy, Union Congregational Nursery School, Leadership team

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