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Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

Everything You Need to Know About Giving Your Kid an Allowance

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Experts answer all the common questions parents have about giving an allowance, including when to start and how much to give.

When do you start giving your child an allowance?
Wait until you feel your child is mature enough to grasp the concepts of saving and spending, most likely around age 4.

How much do you give?
Some experts recommend giving $1 monthly for every year old (e.g., $5 a month for a 5-year-old), but only if it makes financial sense for your family. Otherwise, decide on your annual allowance budget per child, then figure out the frequency. Consistency is key.

How should you give the allowance?
Ron Lieber, author of The Opposite of Spoiled, popularized the three-jar approach, in which kids split up allowance into pools: one for spending, one for saving, one for giving. It’s a good starter path for younger children. But older kids have cash flow issues just like grown-ups, says Joline Godfrey, author of Raising Financially Fit Kids—maybe one month they have multiple friends’ birthdays. Consider giving a lump sum for, say, six months to cover expenses you’ve decided are their responsibility. Encourage them to budget it with saving and giving in mind too.

Should you link allowance with chores?
In a word, no. Most experts agree that tasks like making the bed and clearing the table should be expected, not rewarded. Kids might earn money for “bonus chores” that go above and beyond the norm, like babysitting or helping with a big yard project.

What about with grades?
Nope. “An allowance is a tool for practicing financial skills—not a salary,” says Godfrey.

 

This article was written by Kathleen Murray Harris from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Parents Are Sharing Their Best Hacks For Streamlining Their Morning Routine

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Because nobody wants to be completely stressed out that early.

Between getting yourself ready for work and getting your kids ready for school, mornings can be a real nightmare for parents. But as one mom on Reddit shared, even small shortcuts can help make a world of difference.

In a thread on the r/Parenting board, user sandarthegreat posted her tip for freezing pancakes in advance to make breakfasts simple and easy. The mom also asked other parents to share their best hacks for streamlining their morning routine. “Now that I’m a single parent, I need all the help I can get,” she wrote. “Parents who’ve been here before, what are the tips and tricks you can’t live without? What is something you wish you’d known? What’s one thing that always makes your mornings run smoothly?”

Fellow parents then replied with their own smart strategies to minimize the pre-work madness. Here are some of the best pieces of advice from the thread:

Freezing ahead is your friend.

Give your kids more responsibility.

Take a tip from boxers.

Have your kids race against a song.

Defrost breakfast AND lunch.

Plan a “menu” for lunches.

Take care of as much as possible the night before.

Start the week on a high note.

Invest in an Instant Pot.

Skip PJs.

Trick your kids into eating healthier (and quicker).

Meal prep for the whole family.

Have all of the small tasks taken care of.

Get a head start on your kids.

 

This article was written by Joseph Barberio from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

How Working Moms Can Ease the Burden of Commuting

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Even though this article was originally written with working mothers in mind, this is great information for all parents!

If you commute to work, you may not realize how much of your time is being eaten up on a daily basis. The average commute in the United States is 25 minutes, which may not seem like much, but factor in the ride home and multiply it by your 5 working days per week—and now you’re spending more than 4 hours a week getting nothing done, when you could be spending that time on your career or spending it with your kids.

Fortunately, there are some strategies you can use to maximize the value of this time, helping you achieve your goals as a mother and as a career woman while still getting you to work on time every day.

Making the Most of Your Commute

Upgrade your commute with these important strategies:

Keep your vehicle maintained. If you’re going to be driving for several hours a week, you need to maintain a general service schedule for your vehicle. Keeping your car maintained will ensure you maximize your fuel efficiency, get better performance (especially on days with excessive rain, snow, or other hazardous conditions), and minimize the possibility of breaking down, which can ruin your day (if not your week). If you’re shuttling your kids to daycare or school on top of your commute, this is even more important.

Listen to podcasts or audiobooks. Driving doesn’t have to be a waste of time; you can use this as an opportunity to listen to your favorite parenting podcasts, or listen to an audiobook that can help you in your career. Over the course of a week, you can learn new skills, improve yourself, and be far more entertained by the doldrums of your otherwise boring commute.

Take conference calls (with a hands-free device). If you have a hands-free device, you may be able to take or initiate conference calls. If you have a daily stand-up meeting to keep your coworkers informed and up-to-date, this is the perfect opportunity; you can knock out half an hour of meetings with your half-hour commute, so you can put that half-hour to good use on more productive tasks.

Bike on nice days. As long as the weather is decent, you can bike to work. If you live in a city with bike lanes, you might be able to get to work faster than you could in a car. On top of that, you’ll be getting a workout, so you don’t have to hit the gym after work, and you’ll cut back on greenhouse gas emissions. The only potential problem here is working up a sweat—but if your office has the facilities for it, you can always clean up before the workday.

Consider public transportation. If your city has a functional and accessible public transportation system, consider taking advantage of it. In the long run, it’s going to be cheaper than driving a car, though it may take you a little longer to get to work than usual. The advantage here is that you won’t have to use your hands or pay strict attention while traveling; instead, you can catch up on emails, read, or do other work while commuting.

Start a carpool. For similar benefits to public transportation, consider starting a carpool with any coworkers who live nearby. If you take turns driving to work, each of you will get regular opportunities to knock out your work while commuting. On top of that, you’ll cut back on the wear and tear of your vehicle and reduce your environmental impact.

Eliminating the Commute

Of course, if you wanted a more drastic approach, you could strive to eliminate your commute. If you own your own business, you can try working from home, or setting up a few days of the week as “remote” days. If you work for a company and your role is something that could be managed from home, talk to your supervisors about the productivity and morale benefits of making the position a remote one. Even if you only get one remote day per week, it could free up hours of time over the long run.

 

This article was written by Natalie Bracco from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

The 15 Best Pinterest Hacks to Make Back-to-School a Breeze

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Even though this article was originally written with working mothers in mind, this is great information for all parents!

Prepare for school without any of the craziness.

Believe it or not, back-to-school season is already upon us. In some parts of the country kids are already loading up on yellow school buses and starting new chapters of their academic lives. Which means that many working moms are currently experiencing the “morning madness” that comes with trying to prepare for work while also preparing children for school.

It may seem like the only way to get it all done stress-free is to wake up hours in advance, but there are plenty of simple parenting hacks that can save you time and help you start the school year organized. Here are some of the best hacks on Pinterest for a smooth and enjoyable first day of school:

1. Keep the bathroom organized.

There will be no questions about where the toiletries are with this simple solution. All you need is a labeled empty jars and your kids will have everything they need for an efficient trip to the bathroom before heading out in the morning.

2. Nail the first day picture.

Everybody loves the classic “first day of school” photo, but we don’t all have the time or crafting skills to make a completely original sign from scratch. That’s why it’s perfectly fine to borrow from the Internet. Hey, you can even print out all of elementary school years in advance so you won’t have to worry about it again next year.

3. Get your paperwork in check.

Now that the school year started, you are sure to be getting swamped with permission slips, hand-outs and notices from your kids. Create a stylish filing system to make sure you don’t find yourself scrambling to find something important the morning before it is due.

4. Create the ultimate morning checklist.

Put everything you need on a checklist and make sure nobody leaves the house without a final check and approval. Because nobody wants to use their lunch break to drop a forgotten item off at school.

5. Get the family on the same page.

This family bulletin board keeps everything you need to know in one place. Post everything from soccer practices to lunch schedules to teacher contact information. And when your kids ask you a basic question, you can just point to the board.

6. Make snacks easy-to-assemble.

Prepare all of your non-refrigerated lunch items in advance and keep them ready at a moment’s notice with this handy organizer. Just drop them in the lunch box and you’re done. It’s a great way to help little ones learn how to pack their own lunch—and it works for afternoon snacks as well.

7. Make school supply organization stations.

With this easy station, kids will never waste time looking for school supplies again. Put everything they need into a container (a divided shower caddy works well) and leave it on the table.

8. Turn leftovers into lunch.

Kill two birds with one stone by taking leftovers from the night before and packing them in a insulated thermos for a home-cooked hot lunch.

9. Keep track of extra-curricular activities.

If your family’s schedule is getting out of hand, then try planning it out and posting it where everyone can see it. Now nobody has an excuse to forget about a practice or field trip.

10. Plan a week’s worth of outfits.

Use this closet organizer to select all of your kids’ school clothes in advance on Sunday and save yourself some time in the morning.

11. Make a one-stop spot for sporting goods.

Make sure no important gear gets lost or left behind with a designated sports storage section. Keep it stocked with everything your kids will need for gym class or practice after school.

12. Let your kid’s teacher know you care.

It’s never a bad idea to get on a teacher’s good side. You may not have time for a lengthy chat with the teacher after dropping your kids off, but this sweet and simple craft will score you a great first impression. Plus, if your kids are old enough, you can make them do it or a similar project.

13. Stick to quick and easy breakfasts.

Every minute matters in the morning, so plan out breakfasts that are simple and can be made ahead of time. This banana and Nutella wrap fits the bill and will surely be a big hit with your kids.

14. Make a morning chore board.

This chart will help your kids understand exactly what they need to do before school in the morning. It also helps you keep an eye on what still needs to be done before they head off to school.

15. Prepare a locker kit.

Help your middle schooler out with a kit of all the locker essentials she may need while at school. It’s much easier than her coming to you with a new request every single time she needs something.

 

This article was written by Joseph Barberio from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

5 Fast Ways to Subdue Your Child’s Worst Temper Tantrum

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Help your kids calm down without losing your cool.

Tantrums occur when a child’s system of managing her feelings and thoughts collapses. It’s an expression in external action of internal feelings over which the child is seeking control. The best thing you can do as a parent is learn to understand the reason for the tantrums, to face the outburst without losing your composure and to help your child find a better way of displaying her intense emotions.

Temper tantrums may look similar, but the reasons for them vary considerably. A typical sign of a problem is when the child has trouble tolerating being told “No” in response to something he wants. This is often seen as the cause, but it’s usually evidence of inner difficulties that need to be deciphered in order to help the child. A tantrum that follows a parent or caregiver saying “No” is usually just the tip of the iceberg. Internal and external stressors prior to that have paved the way for the tantrum. Look for meaning beyond how the child reacts to the word “No.”

Children with ADHD, learning disabilities or sensory problems deal with additional frustrations compared to other children, so they’re more likely to have tantrums. Similarly, children with anxiety, phobias, depression, experiences of traumatic events or a tendency to feel over-stimulated may fall apart when they’re overwhelmed with excessive worries and fears.

Use these tips to help interpret and subdue the emotions behind your child’s temper tantrums:

1. Help your child name feelings. Early on, teach youngsters feeling language, like happy, sad, mad and glad. As they grow older, give them the nuances of anger, such as irritated, frustrated, disappointed, annoyed and hurt. Vocabulary is important in helping the child to assess how angry he feels and why. Naming the emotions gives him the opportunity to express himself in words rather than physical actions when he’s upset.

2. Acknowledge the anger. It’s important that you tolerate angry feelings and not try to dissuade your child or teen from having these feelings. Your child or teen shouldn’t feel that you’re afraid of his emotions or that you’ll judge him harshly for having them. A child or teen needs to know that having and expressing anger doesn’t make him a bad person.

3. Remain calm amid the storm. As a parent, the best way to help your child during a tantrum is to remain calm. Children need to know their tantrums aren’t so powerful and scary that you can’t withstand them. It’s important for the child to know that her anger doesn’t overpower you and that you’re able to hear and endure the anger. Experiencing anger can actually frighten your child, and she needs to know that having and expressing such emotions doesn’t frighten you, too. This will help her to know that she can share her feelings with you.

4. Teach self-regulation. When the tantrum behavior slips outside the home, embarrassment becomes a part of the equation. You may need to take fast action in order to prevent humiliation for both you and your child. If possible, attend quickly to what the child needs or remove the child from the situation. Leaving a public place is not a way to punish the child—it’s a way to quickly reduce the 
stimulation and stop the outburst. Later, when everyone is calm, speak to your child about the situation. If the child is very young, her attention span is likely to be short, but a quick description of the problem along with a simple and easy rule like this can work: “Being upset belongs at home where we can solve problems.” Containing her anger and delaying its expression until a more appropriate time can only be internalized by a child if the parent also follows the tenets of self-regulation.

5. Help to ease transitions. Children who have difficulty with unexpected or planned transitions between activities may tantrum at those times or immediately afterward. You can prepare a younger child for a planned transition by advising him there are five minutes left before the change. You can give an older child an idea of the sequence of activities for the day so he feels prepared for what’s ahead. 


Tantrums that last more than half an hour and are unusually intense with flailing limbs and shocking shrieks where the child or teen seems to be unaware of the world around her may end in the youngster being exhausted, falling asleep, and later not remembering the tantrum. These actions and emotions, especially in children four years and older, are not typical and need special attention. Some young people who have tantrums, particularly later in life, may have a neurological disorder such as a bipolar disorder.

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D, is a psychoanalyst with specialized clinical training in infant-parent, child, adolescent, and adult psychotherapy a unique practice that covers the life span. Dr. Hollman is widely published on topics relevant to parents and children such as juried articles and chapters in the international Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, The International Journal of Infant Observation and the Inner World of the Mother. She is the author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence—Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior, winner of the Mom’s Choice Award, and the Busy Parent’s Guides series of books: The Busy Parent’s Guide to Managing Anxiety in Children and Teens—The Parental Intelligence Way, and The Busy Parent’s Guide to Managing Anger in Children and Teens—The Parental Intelligence Way (Familius, Aug. 1, 2018). Learn more at lauriehollmanphd.com.

 

This article was written by Laurie Hollman Ph.D from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Tips for a Child to Overcome Dental Phobia

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Even though this article was originally written with working mothers in mind, this is great information for all parents!

If you are out of the house for more than 8 hours a day, it can be quite difficult for you to control your kids’ dental anxiety, fear or phobia. TV, YouTube and conversation with other kids can be prospective sources of such phobias. However, it is very important for you to remove such apprehensions of the child for their own good. There are many emergency dental specialists in Brisbane, who can cure oral health issues among kids with anxiety without causing them any additional pain.

Dental anxiety can happen for a variety of reasons. Some children are afraid of their first visit to the dentist mainly due to a fear of the unknown. For others, a past experience can be responsible for a child’s refusal to visit the dentist’s clinic. However, there are a few steps you can do that can help your child.

Recognize the Fear: Talk to your child and observe its behaviour. Note down the causes of phobia you see. Once you understand them, it will be easier to find ways to get out of them.

Find a Good Dentist: While looking for the right dentist focus your search on a person who is specialised in treating anxious patients. Call them first and try to understand whether the communicator on the other side is accommodating or dismissive. The moment you are assured of the doctor’s attitude, you can decide to pay a visit along with the child.

Discuss the Cause of Anxiety: If your doubts are not completely gone after calling the clinic, it is time for you to talk them over with the doctor. Try giving the dentist a direct call to clarify all your suspicions. Confirm an appointment, only if you are completely convinced that the treatment procedure is tailored for children. Pain is the reason most children are afraid of the dentist as cartoon and TV have shown the dentist as a person who is always drilling teeth which is only a small part of what a dentist does.

Accompany Your Child for The Visit: Never send an apprehensive child for a dental appointment alone. Always accompany them. If possible, get the appointment at a time favourable for you to be with them. The child will be more confident if a parent is around.

Resort to Relaxation Exercises: Controlled breathing and different other exercises can help the child remain calm during the treatment. You can find the relaxation exercises on different relevant websites. Distractions can also be helpful in keeping the children relaxed during the treatment. As an accompanying parent, you can try and distract the kid. Note that most experienced dentist will know how to distract the child and make them feel comfortable.

It is always a tough exercise for a working mother to juggle between work and understanding child psychology. Hope the tips offered in this post will be of much help to the parents.The dentist is one of those things that your child might never enjoy as people rarely do. This hygiene will allow them to have a great smile and avoid costly dental procedures later in life.

 

This article was written by Emily Green from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

5 Ways to Head Off a Discipline Problem So It Won’t Derail Your Day

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Why making space for kids’ feelings can be a game-changer.

It’s that familiar scene. Child care pickup. Your child is thrilled to see you and then 20 minutes later, he melts down because you cooked chicken for dinner instead of pasta. As a working mother, tantrums can feel all the more painful because they’re ruining those precious few moments you get with your little ones.

It doesn’t have to be that way. In the past five years, I discovered dozens of new discipline ideas, while reporting my book The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever—And What to Do About It. Here are just a few of the winning strategies I found for stopping a discipline problem in its tracks. The next time you’re at a loss, try one of these.

1. Pause

First of all, shed any guilt you may feel about not spending enough time with your kids, as compared to your mother or your mother-in-law. The truth is, modern parents spend more time with kids than at any time since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping time use data. Even as women flooded into the workforce between 1965 and 2015, mothers’ time spent caring for children rose from 10 hours to 15 hours a week. Dad’s time on child care leaped from 2.5 to 7 hours in that same time period.

Take a breath. Or two. When we pause before responding, we’re giving our nervous systems a chance to regulate. Then, we can better access the part of our brains that is creative and solves problems. We can find better strategies than yelling or ordering a time out. We might even lead our children into a more regulated state themselves.

Use that pause to shift your perspective. Yes, the family’s priority is getting dinner on the table and moving into the bedtime routine. But your child’s interests and preferences also matter. It doesn’t cost you that much time to take a minute to empathize and say, “I know, you really love pasta!” before moving smoothly on with your evening. That moment of acknowledgement is more likely to ease your child out of a tantrum than saying, in an annoyed voice, “We had pasta three times this week already!”

2. Deploy Humor

Children are sometimes so … childish! They giggle at farts and still half-believe that possibly, monsters may inhabit the patch of woods down the street. Harness their love of humor! If you tickle their funny bone, you can distract them out of a power struggle before they dig in too deep.

For example, when our children were just learning table manners, my husband Brian made up an alternate family—the Bewis family—that was filled with badly behaved boys. We could invoke the Bewis boys when we saw a child eating with their hands, or leaving the table without picking up a plate. “I hear the Bewis boys never clear their plates,” we would say. They’d giggle and retrieve their plates while making up their own stories of terrible goings on in the Bewis household.

You can also use make believe to empathize with a child’s impractical yet deeply-held desire, rather than trying to force him or her to comply with yours. For example: “Oh, if I had a magic wand, I would wave it so we all could go to Disneyland tomorrow! That would be so much more fun than school.” Being understood defuses your child’s growing upset. You don’t need to be the one to rain on your child’s parade—life will do that soon enough.

3. Give Choices

This is such common parenting advice, it’s almost a cliché. Bear with me. Often, when we give a child a choice, we’re only offering two things that we want the child to do—neither of which they want. As they grow, they see right through that farce.

Instead, open your mind to what your child wants. Sure, it may be impractical. Consider whether it’s truly impossible. Be creative about whether you can accommodate their wishes. If there’s no harm done … say yes.

Who cares if they wear the same favorite pants three days in a row, as long as they’re not obviously dirty? And if French toast is a healthy meal for breakfast, why not have it occasionally for dinner? Does it really matter whether your child gets dressed before coming down for breakfast? Maybe it’s okay for him to pop back upstairs to change out of pajamas—or even sleep in the clean sweats he’s going to wear to school. A child who’s doing what he wants moves a whole lot faster than one who’s being forced by mom.

I’m not talking about becoming a short-order cook or a servant to your child’s whims. But as your children get older, they increasingly want to contribute ideas and influence what the family does. If your children always hate what’s for dinner, invite them to suggest some meals, or even go shopping with you. Create a rotating schedule of dinners that everyone has agreed to in advance. The more they’re involved in the process, the less they’ll object. Yes, this takes more time at first, but your hard work will pay off when you have an 11-year old who can plan and cook the family dinner.

 

The Good News About Bad Behavior

 

Katherine Reynolds Lewis is a Washington, D.C.–area journalist, mother of three and author of The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever—And What to Do About It, *available from PublicAffairs, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Courtesy of PublicAffairs

4. Connect

There are so many opportunities to connect with our children. The drive to school or walk to the bus stop. The time after dinner when we’re all full and happy. An early morning snuggle before the rest of the family wakes.

But often we fail to take advantage of these fleeting moments. The to-do list or the window to check email seems more pressing. Resist this temptation. Work when you need to work; be with your family when you can. Don’t let the two contaminate each other unintentionally.

Every time you focus just on your child—playing Candyland or listening to a long story about a favorite YouTuber—you are depositing into the bank of your relationship. That undistracted time will serve as a reserve for you to draw on the next time there’s conflict in your relationship, or a power struggle starts to loom.

It doesn’t have to be a half hour or hour of your time. You’ll see the pay-off from even five minutes throwing the ball, or a sincere thank you for something they did to help you. Start keeping track of the times when you truly connect with each child, and see if you can boost that number over time—like a plank challenge or other goal you set for yourself.

5. Plan Ahead

Sometimes, all of our best efforts fail. A hungry or tired child simply cannot do what’s needed in a situation. Or something unexpected happens and your little one spirals out of control. Maybe everyone screams—or cries. That’s not a disaster. It’s an opportunity for you to learn.

Take stock of the experience at a later time when everyone is calm. If your kids are old enough, ask them what it was like for them. Brainstorm what might help in the future to prevent such problems. Routines are a huge boon to smooth family life, and keep discipline problems from erupting even before they begin.

An earlier bedtime can help with the morning routine. Reminder signs on the wall can spark a child’s memory without Mom nagging about backpack or teeth brushing. Small children can help make signs for the daily routines, either taking photos of each step or crayoning their own interpretation.

Don’t worry about having a consequence or a reaction for every instance of childish misbehavior. You can usually count on the same problem cropping up again, by which time you’ll be ready with your brainstormed solution.

 

This article was written by Katherine Reynolds Lewis from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

This Shockingly Simple Move Stopped My Kid From Constantly Interrupting Me

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If you’ve had enough of “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mooooom!” this little trick is for you.

We’ve all been there: You’re at the playground trying to chat with a fellow parent, when your kid unceremoniously interrupts the conversation because he wants to tell you something urgent about squirrels. Or superheroes. Or whatever else he’s thinking about. You discuss the rules of conversation, and he agrees to wait patiently for his turn to speak next time, but the excitement of his thoughts is overwhelming and he’s soon interrupting again.

I’ve been in this boat for years. No matter how much we discussed it, my seven-year-old son just couldn’t help himself. It was like Pavlov’s dogs—the moment I got on a phone call, he needed to talk to me. So I asked my friend Cheryl Butler, a mother of 8 (eight!!) well-behaved, polite children and host of the Mighty Mommy podcast, for her advice.

Cheryl suggested this simple trick: “Teach your child to place his hand on your wrist if he wants something while you’re busy talking to another adult. Then you put your hand over his to acknowledge him and continue your conversation without stopping to ask what he wants. After you finish, turn to your child and give him your full attention. This way you reinforce two critical life skills: good manners and patience.”

It’s a technique that avoids lengthy lectures and is based on cognitive behavioral therapy: After training your child to wait for you to finish what you’re doing, you’re rewarding him with your undivided attention.

It seemed almost too simple to work, but I decided to try: The first few times, my son chafed against having to wait, bouncing up and down excitedly saying “Mom, Mom, Mom, but Mom, I need to tell you something.” I did my best to ignore him, even taking a few steps away to put some distance between us. Then after I was done, I turned toward him, crouched down to his level, and gave him my undivided attention, making sure to commend his patience.

It took a few tries—Cheryl warned me that I’d have to stick with it—but within a few weeks there was almost no interruption. For the first time, I can actually finish an entire conversation with a friend before learning that fascinating fact about squirrels.

 

This article was written by Beata Santora from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Be A Guide, Not A Guard: How To Raise A Happy And Responsible Kid

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“Be a guide, not a guard” perfectly describes the kinds of parenting behaviors that create happy and responsible children. It’s a term I learned at a recent training session focused on reducing controlling parenting behaviors.

When I ask parents “what have you tried to help change your child’s behavior?” little breaks my heart more than hearing a long list of punishments. The story will go something like, “the rule is that he is to clean up his room but he never does it so we took away his tablet, then banned watching TV, we put him in time out all day, cancelled his play dates with his friends and then grounded him for a month. It doesn’t matter what we do, he doesn’t care.”

This is parenting like a guard. It is inflexible, rules-based parenting that requires punishment when a child doesn’t behave. The most anti-social children are often parented in this way. They don’t care about the meaning of the rules set; instead they decide whether to comply based on whether they will get hurt. Controlling parenting practices are also correlated to poor mental health in children and youth.

When we parent like a guard we are trying to stop behavior through control and dominance. In an attempt to get rid of the behaviors we don’t like, we use consequences. A guard expects trouble and treats people as such. A guard does not care whether you feel sad, confused or don’t feel like you belong. A guard only cares if you comply. As a guard we can’t be flexible and this means if a child doesn’t comply, regardless of the reason, our only option is to escalate the consequences until they do. Even if this means excluding them from the very systems we want them to belong to.

When we parent as a guide we work to encourage behaviors we want to see in our children. We help children belong in our world and all the systems that come with that. We use care and compassion in our parenting practices. When we see unwanted behavior that cannot work or is unacceptable in our systems, we look at what steps we can take to help that child learn to fit better in our world. We don’t use harsh consequences that will exclude the child from the system; instead we see their difficulty as a skill deficit. We don’t use escalating consequences; instead we look for ways for children to want to be part of the system and to want to please us.

As guides, we help children develop internal motivation to do what is right because it’s right, rather than to do what is right to avoid being punished. We want our children to comply because they want to be part of our community, they want to help us and because they understand the value of their chosen behavior.

How To Be A Guide

1. See your child’s perspective.

Being able to hold your child’s perspective is essential to being a guide. It helps parents understand how best to help their child. It helps us identify that difficult behaviors are often related to emotions or skills deficits. This doesn’t mean we accept all behaviors as okay, it means that we understand that there is a meaning to whatever behavior we are seeing.

2. Encourage behavior through praise and noticing.

Children love receiving genuine praise and being noticed. If they feel you genuinely care about them rather than that you are trying to control their behavior, they are more motivated to work for you. Children are less receptive to praise that functions to control behavior such as “aren’t you a good boy for sitting up straight today?” A genuine, “I can really see you are listening, and that makes me feel good,” is more effective.

3. Promote values-based living.

Show your child what matters through the way you live. If you want to raise a kind and responsible child, lead by modeling kind and responsible behavior. Notice when your child is kind and responsible and praise the behavior.

4. Be flexible where possible.

Give your child opportunities to choose. Avoid controlling choices unless there is a good reason not to offer a choice such as safety or legality. Guides raise kids who choose to be responsible. Guards raise kids who conform to avoid a consequence.

5. Promote intrinsic goals over extrinsic goals.

Encourage your child to do things for personal growth, for health, to create meaningful relationships and contribute to their community as opposed to doing things to achieve financial success, popularity, power or for their image. People with intrinsic goals are happier and engage in more pro-social behavior.

Next time you see your child doing something that you don’t like, whisper to yourself: “Be a guide, not a guard.”

Acknowledgement: Thanks and gratitude toDarin Cairnsfor introducing me to the helpful term “Be a guide, not a guard.”

 

This article was written by Motherly from Huffington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

7 Signs You’re Suffering from Working Mommy Burnout—and What to Do About It

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Even though this article was originally written with working mothers in mind, this is great information for all parents!

Chronic stress can lead to burnout, both in the workplace and in our homes. Here’s how to fight back.

In my psychology practice, I meet weekly with moms who work both inside and outside of the home. While their feelings are often the same—questioning their purpose in life, not sure if they should continue to do what they are doing and a constant feeling of exhaustion, the specific triggers for their burnout can differ based on their working situations.

The reality is most moms believe the other side of the “work” fence is better. If they are a stay-at-home mom they think they would feel better and less stifled if they were outside the home every day. Mothers who go to an office or a similar workspace might be overwhelmed and wonder if they should find a way to be home. When stressed, bored or frustrated, moms in either situation instantly begin looking for reasons to change their work status.

Whether you work at home or out, or even if you don’t work at all, it is a decision that is based on your particular family’s needs and values. But if you do work outside of the home, this can create a unique set of stressors that can add to your negative feelings. Chief among these stressors is guilt, and there is no guilt like mommy guilt. You feel guilty for leaving your kids in the morning, working late nights, not cooking homemade dinners more often, being on your computer even after a long day’s work, missing soccer games or play practice—the list goes on and on.

Many working moms have had their children ask them questions such as, “Are you ever going to stop working?” The feeling of being torn between two worlds, never having enough time and feeling as if we are not fully successful in either endeavor wears on us. But still we march on, trying to be in two places at once, trying to advance our careers while pretending our minds aren’t distracted by concerns for our kids and ignoring our own personal and health needs.

You may be thinking all these feelings are just part and parcel of being a mother. No one ever said it was going to be easy, right? With a little wine and some humor, you’ll be okay, right? And while stress is a part of all our daily lives, chronic stress wreaks havoc on our minds, bodies and our perception of being smart and competent mothers. Chronic stress can lead to burnout—both in the workplace and in our homes.

Read on to see if you may be suffering from working mommy burnout:

1. You constantly question why you do what you do, and no longer take joy in work you once loved.

2. You think what you do (paid work or staying home your kids) may not be worth the stress it causes or the money you earn.

3. You still wonder who you will be when you “grow up” because, even at this age, you don’t feel like you are able to achieve what you want in life—whether it is financial success, recognition, or enjoyment.

4. You feel time is running out to achieve your dreams, and you don’t know the next steps to take to accomplish them, in your profession or your personal life.

5. You feel like you should be working if you are at home with your kids and vice versa.

6. You wonder about the purpose of life in general and constantly question if doing something different will bring you closer to clarity.

7. You secretly have something you want to do in life—start a business, write a novel, go back for your graduate degree, run a marathon—but it feels too big to even attempt.

If two or more of the above symptoms sound familiar, you may be experiencing what I refer to as the working mom’s dilemma, which can lead directly to mommy burnout. The great thing is moms don’t have to accept these feelings as their normal. There are some easy-to-implement changes that can be done to cope with working mom stress.

Learn to ask for and receive help. You don’t have to do everything on your own to be a good mom, or a good employee!

Be protective and intentional about your time. Say yes to the most important things at home and work and no to the things you don’t have to or want to do.

Teach your kids independence while they are toddlers. These important life skills like clearing a plate, getting dressed or brushing teeth on their own will make a working mother’s life much better in the long run. If your child is already older, it is never too late to drill the independence lesson. Start today.

Set one achievable goal a day. Do your best to accomplish that goal, and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get to it. It’s a goal, not a life or death situation!

Being a working mom can be a challenge whether you love your job or have to work to make ends meet. It is also an opportunity to be a wonderful role model for our children and to do their best to achieve their dreams. Finding and making peace with our purpose as a working mom is essential to being able to enjoy life every day. It helps us to be present, to gain focus on what is most important and to integrate the challenges we all experience as part of our journey.


Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, MD, is a doctor of psychology and licensed professional counselor. She is the author of Mommy Burnout: How to Reclaim Your Life and Raise Healthier Children in the Process

 

This article was written by Dr. Sheryl Ziegler from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.