Best gift

Best gift

I realize that this sounds cheesy but it is a reality. The best gift you can give your child is your presence.

We can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Making sure our children and other family members are taken care of purchasing the perfect gift. When you get to the center of what they really want, it is you.

It can be really hard to actually be present in mind and body. I have caught myself several times thinking about everything I need to do instead of being in the moment.

So to make the best of this holiday season, try your best to be physically and mentally present when your child is there.

Now, let’s be real. You are not going to damage your child if you are not 100% present all the time. Remember it takes 10 to 15 minutes of child-led (directed play) for a child to feel connected through the day. If you are having an off day you can reset by spending a few minutes playing with your child.

Not sure about you but I find that it is really hard to be present when I overloaded. So when you are taking a break or do something for yourself, remember you are recharging so you can be present in a truly authentic manner.

I hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season

Brenda

Why? What I am doing wrong?

Why? What I am doing wrong?

What am I doing wrong?

 

I get asked this question a great deal. This week I had this questions posed to me by a few people.

This is when I wish I was able to be right there in the room with you.  I would want you to see the look in my eye when I am talking to you.

 

What would I say..

Well here is what I would say…”You are not doing anything wrong!”.

You may see a little tear in my eye or it may roll right on down my face.

 

Here is the thing..

Parenting is not easy! When you see another person that appears to have their “sh!t together” and they are rocking this parenting thing..I will guarantee you that they have had many days where they doubted themselves and they may be doubting themselves right now but their strength is with putting on a brave face and acting like the world is fine.

So let’s stop comparing ourselves to others and let’s get to why is your child not doing what you would like. (this can be sleeping well, toilet training, sharing..)

The number one reason I see children testing limits or doing things differently with their parents…(Any Guesses????)…

Well here is the answer… Your child feels safe with you..or your child wants to be with you that extra few minutes..or your child is not quite confident and needs the confidence from you…or…(you get the point).

 

There are so many factors in play that will influence how your child responds to a situation. Parenting is a game of trial and error!

Things will get better and when it feels like you are doing something wrong..remember someone else feels that as well and that trying different things will result in a solution for your family. 

 

 

A Perfect Time to be Thankful

A Perfect Time to be Thankful

As we enter into the Thanksgiving weekend here is Canada, i want to take the opportunity to express some things that I am very Thankful for.

I have a long list of things that I am extremely Thankful for. The following is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

I am Thankful that..

1. I cook supper. That means I have food to cook supper with!

2. I have a messy house. It means I have a house!

3. I hear “Mom” “Mom” “Mom” on repeat. I am a Mom!! I did not think I was going to be blessed with this opportunity less then 10 years ago.

4. I get frustrated with my Mom telling me what to do. It means that my Mom is still here and I am blessed to have her.

5. We laid my Dad and Father n Law to rest. They are at peace and not suffering.

6. I miss my friends and family. It means I have friends and family!!

7. It takes 10 minutes to get out the door. I am usually going out the door with my amazing family!

 

So now you get my point!

There are so many thingns that we do that we can be thankful for if we just look at the reason the situation happened.

As parents (Really as a human) there are going to be many times that you are disappointed, upset or frustrated. When you look back on those things with a different perspective it will bring out the things that you can be Thankful for.

I hope you have a Wonderful and Thankful Weekend filled with turning what feels like a chore into a great memory.

Feel free to comment below with your reasons for being Thankful.

As Always, Be The Parent You Want to Be!!

It’s not you, It’s me!!!

It’s not you, It’s me!!!

 Does the following scenario sound familiar to you…

You are trying to interact with your child; but, your child is whining, complaining, not following the direction, dropping to the floor, etc. You begin to feel frustrated, your voice gets “sharp”, you are snapping or yelling. 

You are so not alone!!!!

There are often times when I am scratching my head going “why are you acting this way” then it hits me like a brick!

This is typically when the reality that my son is feeding off my emotions, frustrations, and energies kicks into high gear.

Time to reset!!

How do I go about resetting??

The very first thing I do is acknowledge to my son that I do not like the way I am talking right now.

Then I tell him I need to take a minute.  Typically, I just stand there and take some deep breathes. If I am really frustrated then I take a time out by going to the bathroom or walking to another room.

When I have my composure back I then apologize for my voice tone or behaviour. Then I take a couple of minutes to connect at my son’s level. (Stop, Drop, Connect) This is often enough to get his behaviour back in the desired direction. 

If things improve then I have to let the previous behaviour go (easier said than done). This is when I replay the song “Let it Go” in my head :). 

What do you do if your child has not been able to reset?

There have been many times when I have pulled myself together but our son is “too far gone”. He is immersed in his emotional release (aka tantrum) or undesired behaviour. Now it is time to help him.

I label his behaviour and talk him through his frustration or I give him the space to unload.

I will ask if he needs a minute or if he wants a hug.  He usually takes the hug and then he resets.

You may be thinking this all sounds great but how can it be that easy?

In all reality, it is not always that easy.

When you are in the midst of these behaviours over and over again (toddlers and preschoolers are famous for that) it certainly does not feel easy.

There will be times where the resetting can take place after an epic 30 minute emotional release. This is when it is really important that you remind yourself that the calmer you remain the easier your reset becomes.

The positive thing that can come out of you resetting like this is that your child learns how to reset by following your example. 

I have to admit the first time I saw our little man stand, take a deep breath and ask for a minute (“need break”) my heart swelled!!

 

If you have further questions I would love to hear from you. If you are a member of Parenting Foundations feel free to send me a private message or post in the private group. If you are not a member but would like to hear more about it, please comment below.

“Turn off my brain”

“Turn off my brain”

The first time our son said “Mommy can you help me turn off my brain” my heart felt like it weighed 1000lbs. I scooped him up and gave him a huge hug. We chatted for a bit and I introduced a few techniques to teach him how to stop the racing thoughts he was experiencing (more on this later).

Our son has always been a young one that thought things through or over thinks. I have had to have many conversations with him that his friends have just not asked. Saying things like “that will not happen” or “do not worry about that” just does not work.

Here is an example of something he has said:

I am giving him his snuggle before bed and he was about 5 years old. I was going out with a friend that evening. He says “what happens if you do not come home?” and I reply “I will”. Then he says “what if you do not?”. Knowing him I then said, “Your Daddy will take care of you”. You can imagine the next question, “what if something happens to Daddy?”.

Okay, time to pick up my heart off the floor and cancel my night out.

That would have been one solution. Instead, we talked about the plan of who would care for him if something happened to one or both of us. This helped him and he was able to go to sleep. Taking the time to process and not get frustrated was key in this situation.

It does seem like a number of these conversations come up at bedtime. I could be extremely frustrated by bedtime stalling but instead, I choose to see that bedtime is when he lays there and thinks. (This could be a family trait 🙂 )

 
So what do I do to help him??

Well, I have taught him some strategies to change his thought patterns. How do you do this with a child?

1. Hear what he has to say.

2. Be Empathetic: “that sounds scary”, “wow that is hard”, “that is a yucky thought”.

3. Offer comfort: “would you like a hug”.

4. Get him to think about something funny or guide him to happier thoughts.

5. Turn on a guided meditative story so he has something else to focus on.

6. Check in after a few minutes to let him know I am there

7. Move on

 
Some additional strategies:

1. Talk Time: Have a time you set aside each day for your child to discuss anything that is bothering them. We do this at supper.

2. Worry Box: your child can write down or draw (or have you write down) their worries and put the papers in a box.

3. Worry Dolls or Rocks: Give your child a small rock or doll to tell their worries too. Then the item gets placed in a safe place (under their pillow or and the dresser). The item takes the worries from the child.

4. Deep Breathing: “smell the flower and blow out the candle”.

5. Guided meditation: There are a number of good apps that can help you teach your child how to meditate or you can lead by example.

 

If you have a little thinker and would like more support feel free to join Parenting Foundations Membership or book a free 15-minute call to learn how you can work with Brenda from Parenting Foundations.

Tantrums on the go!

Tantrums on the go!

Traveling with young children is an amazing opportunity to create so many memories with your children. The most memorable memories for you may be when your child is throwing himself/herself down on the floor in the airport or screaming bloody murder of the plane! Unfortunately, these things do happen!

Toddlers are going through some major developmental changes, which can contribute, to their increased tantrums. At this stage of development, our little ones have discovered that they can do things themselves. They have gone from having things done for them, to trying to figure out how to do things themselves. During this learning period, children will often throw a number of tantrums out of frustration, exhaustion, hunger, worrying about what is happening next, etc.

 

So how can you deal with these behaviours while you are traveling?

 

There are basically two types of strategies that you can use. These strategies can be broken down into 2 different types of reactions. The reactions are as follows:

 
1. Proactive Reactions:

A proactive reaction is when you consciously choose to do things that may help with your child’s feelings that can stop your child’s need to tantrum to express his/her feelings.

Some examples of Proactive Reactions are:

  1. Having snacks ready at any given moment. “Hangry” is a real thing.
  2. Giving your child reminders of what is happening next. Warnings of when they will have to transfer on to the plane. A warning before preparing for take-off and landing so the seat is in the right position.
  3. Play for a minimum of 10 minutes with your child. This is child-directed play! This can happen on the plane, in the airport, on the bus, in a vehicle, and so on. The child led play adds to your child’s feeling of connection with you. This simple act has a powerful impact on your child’s day.
  4. Bringing a transitional object with them like a blanket or stuffy that provides comfort when you can’t.
  5. Keeping to a routine that is similar to home when possible. This simply means having meals, snacks, and naps in the same order that they occur at home. I fully expect that these meals, snacks, and naps may be happening on the fly!
2. Reactive Reactions:

A reactive reaction is what you do after the tantrum has occurred or while it is in progress.

Some examples of Reactive Reactions are:

  1. Distraction is a common tactic used. There is a time and a place to use this technique. In the middle of a crowded area or in an unsafe place like the water or in the street. With the distraction, you may find that your child has a few more tantrums before he/ she seems ready to move on. I used to carry a few toys in my purse or backpack that I could pull out and use in these moments. If you are willing a movie or tv show can be a great distraction on the plane.
  2. Giving your child a few minutes on his/her own to calm down and process the moment. I personally find that timeouts are not always effective when we are in a strange place. An alternative is to you time in which is where you go with your child when he/she is taking a break away from the activity where the tantrum occurred.
  3. Letting the tantrum happen and then offering comfort when it is done. This can be referred to as offering connection. Children will often tantrum when they feel that their connection with a loved one has been affected.

 

As with all things related to children, you will find that some strategies work really well for one child and not well for another child. With time and patience, you will discover what works best for your child. I wish you all the best traveling with your child!