Connecting the key to Parenting

Children learn about the world and relationships through the parent/child connection. A positive connection can allow the child to feel safe and secure. This security can allow the child to learn about themselves and future relationships.  Connectedness is the foundation for establishing confidence in a child. Also, connectedness supports emotional regulation and resilience (which are extremely important skills).  Day to day connectedness allows your child to have more fun, improved typical child behaviors and increased corporation.

  1. Set rules and boundaries at home that help the child feel supported but also successful
  1. Hugs, hugs and more hugs. Physical touch on the child’s terms builds a sense of belonging and can calm their central nervous system
  1. Eat some meals together. Let’s avoid feeling the pressure of a big meal. It could be a grilled cheese or even a simple snack.  Sit without your computer or phone and give a few minutes of uninterrupted attention
  1. Play together without directing the play to “make it better or to teach a lesson”.  Just play!
  1. Once in a while, whisper a sweet nothing to your child. (I love you or you a very special to me)
  1. Create a special ritual. (At bedtime you can sing a short song together or you wink at your child when they are walking into school)
  1. Listening to their concerns or stories and repeat back what they have said (You do not have to fix their upset or solve a problem) Just listen!

Simple tools to make a meaningful connection with your child



Children can learn so much from participating in all household jobs. Why didn’t I call them chores? Because chores are seen as negative and they are often said as a punishment. As a child, helping to care for the household with your family members is empowering and connecting.Participating with home jobs helps children learn about what they need to do to care of themselves and for their future lives (helping to make them self-sufficient). When children contribute to family life, it allows them to feel part of the big picture and fills them with confidence for their future. Housekeeping indoors and outdoors teaches children communication, time management and has the possibility of enhancing all areas of development.For example, builds receptive language by following directions and strengthens fine motor skills by using their hands. When you all work together it fills a child with a strong sense of belonging. This feeling will help to build confidence and decision making in their future.

It’s best to start by choosing activities that match with their age and abilities. Even young children can assist around the house. You want to set up a nonjudgmental environment so that the child feels successful. If we complain or pick at the job they will feel incompetent and hesitant to keep helping.

Below are ideas for household activities by age:

Toddlers (2-3 years)

  • Pick up toys with a parent
  • Carry out recycling
  • Set placemats on the dinner table
  • Throw out napkin at end of meal and put plate in sink
  • Use a spray bottle of water to wipe down table and chairs
  • Pull up the blanket on their bed
  • Place dirty clothes in hamper

Preschoolers (4-5 years)

  • Set up and clear the table for meals
  • Help with preparing meals, with parents help
  • Put clean clothes away and sort socks
  • Wash dishes and place items in dishwasher
  • Wash counter and table
  • Help with grocery shopping and putting away items

School-age children (6-11 years)

  • Clean out their backpack
  • Water plants inside and outside
  • Help with clothes, folding and washing
  • Take out trash and recycling
  • Help with choosing meals and preparations
  • Assist in cleaning out the car
  • Vacuum or sweep floors
  • Clean the bathroom sink and cabinets
  • Yard work with parents

Finding Winter Happiness

Are you slogging through winter dreaming about warm weather and flip-flops? Well what if I told you that you can find happiness during the winter too. It is the act of embracing whatever is in front of you today. Below is a list of ideas to help transform your mindset. It’s free, accessible and brings you toward happiness. You are in control!


  1. It’s freezing out………Great I get to wear my cozy sweater
  2. The roads and sidewalks are slippery……….Great I can slow down wherever I am going
  3. I’m stuck in the house……Great I can clean out that closet or room that has been weighing me down
  4. My kids have been sick…..Great I can take care of them to show how much I love them
  5. My car is filthy…..Great when it gets cleaned I will really appreciate it
  6. I miss my ice coffee…..Great I can sample a bunch of different teas all winter to find the one I love
  7. I want to sit outside and have my dinner…..Great I can invite friends over for soup and bread
  8. I hate shoveling……Great I needed fresh air and some exercise
  9. We lost electricity….Great I can light a candle and curl up to read a book
  10. I miss my flip-flops……Great I am wearing them to the nail salon!


You get the idea. Change your mindset changes your mood. Let me know how it goes! I know you can do it.




How To Be A Calm Parent


  1.  Refrain from giving more than one chance.
  2.  Learn to rephrase your communication.   For example, instead of saying “take your feet off the couch” try saying “do you want to take your shoes off or sit on the floor?”
  3.  Parent more by moving yourself (physical) rather than by your words (verbal). For example, when a child is pulling books off a shelf walk over and say, “lets put the books on shelf” instead of yelling across the room many times.
  4.  Before responding take 2 deep inhales and exhales. It is ok to pause. It is in the pause that the patience comes.
  5.  Take time for yourself everyday. Do something you like to do or just sit quietly.
  6.  Take time to connect with friends or spouse once a week. Socialization may seem hard but it is extremely important.
  7.  Get out of house everyday. Run an errand, go to the park or visit a friend.
  8.  Set up boundaries with bedtimes/ dinnertimes/snack times. Try to be as consistent as you can.
  9.  Fill a pitcher of water in the morning and drink it by nighttime. Hydration keeps you from becoming irritable.
  10.  Combat boredom. Make sure there are age level toys available for your child to play with but not too many. (Avoid overstimulation)
  11.  If it is very noisy in the house dim the lights and speak in a whisper. If it is quiet mix it up and play different kinds of music. Changing the environment will assist in changing the mood.
  12.  Focus on the positive rather than the negative. This will change your frame of mind.

Mindful Parenting

There are key factors in mindful based parenting:

  • Noticing your own feelings when you’re in conflict with your child, what is happening with you? ( hungry, in a fight with your spouse, tired?)
  • Learning to pause before responding in anger, first take three deep breaths, discipline (to teach) is not a race
  • Listening carefully to a child’s viewpoint even when disagreeing with it (listening doesn’t mean you agree), “I know you want cookies(pause) we have yogurt or apple”
  • Recognizing that all things are temporary. Children are constantly changing, often shedding habits and behaviors with each passing week. It’s best to add “…for now” to the end of your observations about your child. “She’s not sleeping through the night…for now” or “He refuses to eat anything but Chicken nuggets…for now”
  • Accepting your child as flawed. When we spend time with our children day in and day out, it’s easy for us to hyper-focus on a problem behavior or compare them to other children (“His cousin says please and thank you.”).
  • Accepting yourself and your parenting as flawed. Your job is to provide unconditional love and safety for your child, not to anticipate her every whim or keep him from having negative experiences. If you find yourself constantly striving toward some unrealistic ideal or scrutinizing your every move, it may be time to throw away the parenting books and focus on listening to your own instincts.

John Kabat-Zinn (Leader in mindfulness) contends that “…our love for children is expressed and experienced in the quality of the moment-to-moment relationships we have with them. It deepens in everyday moments when we hold those moments in awareness and dwell within them. Love is expressed in how we pass the bread, or how we say good morning, and not just in the big trip to Disney World. It is in the everyday kindnesses we show, the understanding we bring, and in the openness of our acceptance. Love is expressed by embodying love in our actions. Whether we are facing good times or hard times on any given day or in any moment, the quality of our attention and our presence is a deep measure of our caring and of our love for our children.”


Help your Child have LESS Behavior


All children will have tantrums and there are small tips that we can start doing today that help them have less (they will always have some…sorry)


  • Refrain from talking about the negative things your child does in front of them (Tell daddy how you kicked mommy today)
  • Offer choices for everything (do you want an apple or yogurt?) Refrain from letting them choose from the cabinet…they will always choose the snack you do not want them to have
  • Make all your phrases statements and not questions (“time for bed” instead of “do you want to go to bed now?”)
  • When your child wants to show you something like how he/she jumps ask him/her to show you five times…..This fills their tank and they learn you really like what they do
  • Refrain from having your child see scary things (parents or any adults fighting, the news, tv or movies with any adult content)
  • Focus on more positive stuff than the negative stuff


Give these a shot. They may not feel natural at first but you will be encouraged when you notice how they work. These tips will help your house to feel lighter too!


How to Make your Kids Happy

Just because an amazing baby comes into your life doesn’t mean your spouse should be pushed to be last on your list.  In fact, your baby needs you to put the love you have for your spouse first.  You are both going to need this united front when it gets hard in the parenting trenches. I know you feel overwhelmed and watering a plant even seems likes like too much to ask but your baby will benefit from watching your marriage thrive even through the difficult times.

How is this possible?

1. Connect Daily

Try to carve out a conversation that is not about the routine of the day.  Talk about the news, a song or even a funny joke. Connect as a couple not as parents.

2. Set alone time in the day

By establishing a consistent bedtime for your baby it means you have found daily alone time. Just sitting quiet together is an important time to recharge.

3. Sit together

Sounds easy enough? Slam yourself up against your spouse on the couch when you are on your laptops or watching TV. It makes a huge difference.

4. Kiss hello and goodbye

No explanation needed on this one.

5. Plan nights out

When the night comes you will inevitably begin to feel like it is not worth all the trouble to get out. Guess what? Force yourself- it is worth every second.  The next day you may even feel exhausted but your happy relationship will be your reward.



Why am I dragging my child to Soccer?

This is the time of year when we as parents start to question why we signed up our young child for soccer, art class, skating or any other activity.  These activities can be loads of fun. However, we never would have anticipated dragging our child kicking and screaming or pulling along a sad whimpering child complaining how they do not like what they have picked.  It’s hard enough managing the schedule but then to feel like you are forcing your child to run around on the soccer field is when we become totally overwhelmed.

First, let’s think of why we are doing these activities.  We want our child to learn a sport or skill, their friends are doing it, our children have asked us to be part of the fun or isn’t that what parents are supposed to do. All of these reasons make sense and come from a place of wanting the absolute best for our child.  Now that we are in this mess how should we proceed?

If your child has signed up for a team or a series of classes it is in their best interest they stick with their commitment.  This can mean many things. They may sit on the sidelines or you may even sit in the class with them.  For each child, life is full of a series of steppingstones. Your child needs these first stones to make it to the next one.  Be patient. Accept that your child’s temperament plays an important role when starting new things.  Yes, bring them crying and be neutral about what they actually do in the activity. The more you become upset and wordy the longer these reactions will be.   As parents our responses can make or break a tough time.

Also, use the coach or teacher to encourage and support your child.  This may take a phone call before the activity (talking about your child’s difficulties in front of them will make it worse).   Make a photo book of the activity and positively talk about it.  Have fun at home with the same activity to help build your child’s comfort level.  Remember, no pressure, no expectations. At a young age these activities are for fun and experience at any level.



How to Have Your Own Bag System

How to Have Your Own Bag System

[ 0 ] May 7, 2013 | 

Managing everyday life can be overwhelming at times. It’s a constant struggle keeping up with our own, let alone keeping track of our children’s lives as well.  Every activity requires “stuff.” The only system that has helped me (or my kids) not to forget the “stuff” is the bag system. Created purely by accident but greatly needed, over time I have developed my homemade bag system to sort the chaos. And it doesn’t hurt that I love bags and collect them from all over.

bagsIt starts with a handful of bags—canvas bags, grocery store bags, shopping bags, and bags that were given to my husband at golf tournaments—then assign an activity that we do, to each bag. When children are little, our job as parents is to organize the bags but as they get older the kids take on the responsibility of keeping the bags filled.

What’s in the bags? Anything that the activity requires. The lacrosse bag carries the stick, mouthguard, extra socks, water bottle and extra hair elastics. Seasonal bags stay tucked away until that season returns. The summer bag has towels, sunscreen, hats, magazines, lip balm, goggles, and the favorite floating ball. My winter bag has skates, hats, mittens, helmets, lip balm, a small towel to wipe the skates and extra socks. Although bags need to be updated each season (as kids may outgrow an item) they come in handy when the season seems to creep up on our busy routines. I like not spending my whole day searching for winter items when the first skating invitation comes our way.

Over the years, I remember bags of all the other activities that have come and gone: my work bag, diaper bag, girl scout bag, and yoga bag. This system helps me from forgetting anything, as long as, I remember to refill and add items as needed.

Good luck setting the bag system and let me know how it goes!

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Ease Transitions to your New School or Daycare

Ease Transitions to your New School or Daycare

[ 0 ] August 26, 2013 | 

Is a teary drop off at preschool our problem or the kids? What? You mean it could be us (the parents)? In my work, and as a mom, I have found that during most of the difficult transitions and changes it is about me having a hard time letting go of control.

mother_and_child_holding_hands-t2No denying the fact that our kids will get older each year and each year we will have to let them go—and grow—a little at a time. In the beginning of their precious lives, we are in control of every drop they eat and every muscle they move. As preschool or daycare enters the picture, losing control becomes our greatest hurdle. Once we get our emotions in check (and understand we are not alone) we can find ways to make it easier and healthier for our kids to transition into preschool.

  • Our children read our verbal and nonverbal cues so our facial expressions and words we use to say, “It’s school time” should be positive and best delivered with confidence and a cheery smile.
  • Transitions will be easier when drop-off is done quickly—no lingering. Delaying is hard on the kids and makes us weak. And we must absolutely say goodbye. Trying to sneak out of school or even our home without closure will create more anxiety in our children. They may become clingy because they never know when we will be leaving next.
  • Preparation is the key. We must let our kids know what to expect out of the day. Use statements like “I will be back after you _______.” (Fill in the blank with…finish painting, have a snack, wake up from your nap, etc.)
  • Leave a lovey or something of ours (sweater or a small purse) to help children feel comforted. Plus, you can say, “When I come back for you I will get my sweater.”
  • Partner with your children’s teachers (in all grades). If your child hears you talk negatively (at any age) about their teacher trouble will likely ensue. Our kids are always listening.

What can I guarantee, if you say a quick confident goodbye even if you feel torn up inside? Your child will gain trust in you and he/she will grow in confidence each day. Remember leaving with a smile gives a nonverbal message that you and I will be OK. Then call a friend and cry over your coffee cup, like I did.


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