20 Years of Smart Parenting With You: Team Kramer Cover Story - April 2023
Since day one, Chesca Garcia and Doug Kramer have been big on spending time with their kids. It is evident in their social media, but we have our own receipts too!
Their eldest child, Kendra, was barely a year old when they first graced the cover of Smart Parenting in June 2010. We asked Chesca then what's her advice for first-time parents then, and she wrote in red ink, "Enjoy every moment because they grow up so fast."
Through the years, Smart Parenting never lost touch with Team Kramer. As the number one parenting media brand in the Philippines, it is our honor and pride to watch their beautiful family grow and flourish right before our eyes. With every milestone and life update that they generously share with their followers, new parents could easily pick up nuggets of wisdom and inspiration that they can carry with them in their respective journeys.
In April 2014, with three kids in tow, the Team Kramer debuted in a 'very special' Smart Parenting cover, according to Chesca.
As one of the 20 Smart Parenting Filipino Families That Inspire, Smart Parenting sat down with Doug and Chesca in their picturesque home in Rizal in March 2023, and the couple shared their greatest realizations as parents, their message to their younger selves, and their legacy to their team of five.
A team of five
Doug shared with Smart Parenting that he created #TeamKramer as a way to organize their family photos, but instead stumbled into becoming one of the first influencers in the family and parenting sphere. So Kendra had #KendraSuperstar, #ScarlettDoll, #Gavincredible, then #TeamKramer. So whenever we would click on that, it would be very organized."
Chesca added, "When we started the social media platform, it was really for our family so that our friends and our family members could see our children growing up and our family life. And it's been quite a ride."
On Doug: Mango. On Chesca: Mango. On Kendra: H&M. On Scarlett: H&M. On Gavin: Mango Kids.
They didn't expect that their following would grow so much. Together, Doug and Chesca have over five million followers on Instagram, while 14-year-old Kendra is close to hitting her 1 million mark. They also have close to a million subscribers on YouTube.
"And then there was sort of like a clamor towards I think, close to the Smart Parenting shoot in 2014. And Instagram at that time was our first platform. And a lot of fans were asking for longer videos. So when we started our Facebook page, we could do longer videos -- Tagalog time with Kendra, all of these cute videos, and looking back, grabe, Hon, no?" Doug paused. Chesca added, "Time flew by so fast."
Parenting three kids
What their followers love about Team Kramer, aside from their three kids Kendra, Scarlett, and Gavin being adorable, is that they are authentic and relatable despite being celebrities. Doug was a professional basketball player, while Chesca is a model and host. Now that their kids are also individually gaining their fanbase, Chesca shares how they are keeping them grounded.
"Investing in time builds trust, and with that, it's easier for the children to obey because they know the hearts of their parents." Chesca Kramer
"What has been the biggest blessing with our parenting is that we were able to really spend time with our children, give quality and quantity time with them. And now that they're all growing up and figuring out themselves as well, it's so nice that our children are so comfortable to come to us and to talk to us and tell us what is going through their minds, the condition of their heart and all of these things. So it's been really nice because we feel like we're growing up also with our children."
Winning their hearts
In several interviews with the couple, Chesca has been consistent in saying that there is no secret formula to raising their three happy and healthy children. It takes work, and for this entrepreneurial mama, to meet their needs means devoting time to talking and listening to each child every day.
"When Kendra gets home from school, I have that timeframe where I just really talk to Kendra. I'll sit down and ask her, "How was your day? What did you learn today? How is everything?" And then with Scarlett, even if I homeschool her and Gavin, I always ask her, "Scarlet, what's on your mind? What have you been thinking?" Or if I see that, you know your children, when you see that they're a bit down, or they're going through something, you're sensitive to that. So I'm able to ask them all the time. You know, there's never a day that goes by that I never asked my children, "How are you? How's everything? I always make sure I have a good hug and kiss for them."
On Doug: Zara and Uniqlo. On Chesca: Mango. On Kendra: Zara and Bershka. On Scarlett: Zara. On Gavin: Zara.
The safe space that Chesca has created for her children, plus the one-on-one dates with Doug gives them confidence as parents that their children will always come to them for advice, no matter how grown up they already are.
Chesca, who once said her ambition is to be committed housewife, puts it firmly, "Investing in time builds trust, and with that, it's easier for the children to obey because they know the hearts of their parents."
Overcoming struggles together
Although it seems like they know their kids to the core, Doug and Chesca admit they still face and overcome struggles every day, just like any other family. The couple will be celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary this year, but their family and their parenting remains a work in progress.
"There would be struggles. There's not a guidebook on how you can be parents. You're growing up with your children," Chesca said. "You give grace where grace is needed. Forgive yourself for the times you weren't so great in the way you disciplined your child, maybe in words or in actions, and the great thing about growing up with your children, you're also able to figure things out along the way."
They have been very open in talking about their financial challenges to the public, like how Doug sold Chesca's car so they can afford their first home, and they said, they are not privy to sharing these stories with their children. When they share with their kids these low moments - as Doug calls them - these are what keep them grounded.
"Yung struggles namin as husband and wife - like starting from scratch, building our family. Those are the things that when we share with our children, they never get tired of those stories. They love to hear it: our love life, how we started, and then you know pictures sasabihin ni Doug, "Alam mo Kendra we didn't have money at this time. This party of yours? We didn't have money at this time. We had to do this and that. It's something wherein we could really look back and really be thankful about and the children know," Chesca said.
Passing on the legacy
Turns out, their value of spending time with family traces back to how each of them also treat their siblings. Doug explained, "They've seen how Cheks is so close to her siblings, and then me, I have six other siblings, and they see how much time we spend with them and how intentional we are in getting together our family. So we would always tell the kids, you will never have a best friend like your sibling."
"So if there's any parenting advice that we can give, spend as much time as you can with your children, especially during the formative years." Doug Kramer
That's why they make it a point to go on vacations together, like their recent trip in Japan. "We want to make sure that our family is a safe haven for them," Doug said.
Keeping up with Kendra
Now that their firstborn daughter is a teenager, Chesca said she makes sure that she will be willing to listen to her and give her her best advice should the time come when Kendra goes to her and ask for love advice.
Doug added, "Kendra is going to regular school now. And you know, she's experiencing different kinds of people and personalities. It's no nice that she comes to Cheks, asking her questions. There's no hesitations when it comes to her wanting our opinion. We also noticed that they still crave for our time. So if there's any parenting advice that we can give, spend as much time as you can with your children, especially during the formative years."
"Struggle together. Enjoy those low moments, because during the times that you are enjoying, you know the benefits and the fruits of your labor, you will enjoy it even more because of the struggles that you went through." Doug Kramer
All the times they've spent with their children, they believe, are worth it because they are now reaping the benefits of having their kids trusting them with anything and everything. Scarlett is into sports, and won a silver medal in taekwondo last year. Gavin is now showing grit while training for basketball just like his dad.
Rest assured, the solid foundation that Team Kramer has built so intricately as a family, and the experiences and stories they shared with each other through time, will be their rock.
Reaping the fruits of their parenting
Time indeed flies so fast. It's been more than a decade since Team Kramer pioneered using social media to share their family values and experiences with Filipino parents, inspiring them to build strong relationships with their children.
Today, they continue to dominate the space and rightfully so as their now pre-teen children Kendra, Scarlet, and Gavin exhibit the fruits of Doug and Chesca's parenting.
Coming full circle, Smart Parenting asked Chesca what she would tell her younger self. "Well, as if hugging kissing, and spending time with them was not enough. I would say kiss them and hug them and spend time with them, even more, I can say, you know, even if we're always there with their kids, honestly, it's not enough."
She added, "So for me, kiss them more, hug them more, spend more time with them. Yeah, and maybe have more babies pa siguro kung pwede pa."
Doug reflects, "I would say enjoy the journey of parenthood and family. Because we move from place to place, from condo to townhouse to house, and then to our dream home as a family."
"Struggle together. Enjoy those low moments, because during the times that you are enjoying, you know the benefits and the fruits of your labor, you will enjoy it even more because of the struggles that you went through."
Photography by Jerick Sanchez
Styling by Team RAIN x EM assisted by Rio Camantigue and Elaine Villapando
Makeup by Justine Navato
Hairstyling by Jay Wee
Produced and edited by Ronna Capili Bonifacio
Video Producer: Cherrie Julian
Videographer: Jez Villapando
Video editor: Olan Pingco, Jr.
Art direction: Maria Stephanie Ocampo
Social media by Romae Zen Arganda
Growth Lead: Mika Presillas
Publisher: Iza Santos Cuyos
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