“Go Give a Hug!” – What Message Are We Sending Our Children?

“Go Give a Hug!” – What Message Are We Sending Our Children?

Forcing your child to say hello, shake hands, give a kiss or hug to a friend, acquaintance or relative. What do you think?

I just had an encounter last week at dinner where a complete stranger (restaurant owner) decided he could ruffle my 3-year old’s hair and then asked to shake his hand. My son felt visibly uncomfortable after the hair ruffling and I could see his whole body cringe when the guy put his hand out to shake it.

Everyone at the table chimed in that my son had to shake hands and say hello. Except for myself and his Dad. I firmly said he didn’t have to shake hands if you didn’t want to. I asked him if he was uncomfortable or sad and he nodded yes. He said he was sad the man had touched his hair.

Why did I do this? Because this is the first step in teaching CONSENT! Consent and respecting another person’s personal space and body is an extremely important lesson to teach our child. Those lessons start at a young age when they are 3 not when they are 13.

Would you allow a complete stranger to ruffel your hair? I don’t think so. Would you be happy if a relative (loved or not) grabs hold of you and gives you a big smooch? I doubt it. Would you feel safe/secure/relaxed/comfortable if your spouse/partner pushed you onto another adult who expected you to great them with a hug? Definitely not.

Let’s ask ourselves, why do we allow this behavior on children if we don’t allow it on ourselves as adults? The point of letting children choose whether they want to give hugs, kisses or even shake hands is not about letting them be rude or letting them get away with getting out of social etiquette.

This choice is empowerment. It’s letting your child know his/her space and body are their own. They get to choose who can come into that space. Isn’t that a completely natural and important lesson to learn?

This is the kind of message children need to hear so they know when to say no when a touch feels inappropriate. So they can know it’s safe to come to a grownup and that they WILL BE HEARD and helped.

They need to hear this message so that when they are young men and women they understand what NO means and that NO is an option they have a right to voice.

Some of you who read this might think this is an exaggeration. It’s just a handshake, it’s just a kiss, it’s just a hug. It’s only for her uncle, it’s only for their aunt, it’s only for the restaurant owner. Where do you draw the line? How can a 3-year old understand where the line is drawn?

To them it’s simple; they felt visibly uncomfortable yet their needs, feelings, comfort, security, and emotions were ignored/dismissed/set aside to abide by social niceties.

I will do my best not to be the parent who does that. I will do my best to be the parent who listens to my child, sees the cringe, recognizes the sincere discomfort and supports their choice ❤️

I hope you join me as we all try to be that parent who teaches that security, boundaries, limits, and consent are far more important than societal pressure and niceties ❤️

Let me know your thoughts. I’ll be talking more about this and other Positive Parenting topics on Saturday during our Live Parent Talk

❤️

 

5 Positive Changes I Made This Year That Transformed My Parenting that You Can Do Too!

5 Positive Changes I Made This Year That Transformed My Parenting that You Can Do Too!

I don’t know about you but 2017 has been a whirlwind of a year for me! After settling in from our move from Amsterdam to Munich last year and taking a breather. I started getting to know the local community, supporting local families and had a little baby join us this summer! It’s been a lot to deal with and my positive parenitng practies were being tested to my limites. Things needed to change.

Today I wanted to share with you 5 things I changed in my parenting this year that transformed our family dynamics.

First, while prepping for the first edition of my 6 week E-course Become the Parent you Always wanted to Be which ran earlier this year and is running again February 2018. I began reading in depth about how the child’s brain works. Dr. Daniel Siegel talks about Connecting Before Correcting. Which means connecting emotionally with your child in an emotional situation before correcting the behavior. Why is that? Shouldn’t we be disciplining and addressing the misbehavior? YES! But in the next step.Children need that connection first by ACKNOWLEDGING their feelings to connect with the emotional more active side of their brain and get their attention.Once they feel heard and validated even if you aren’t on their side. Your child will be more open to discussing the misbehavior and solutions.

We have been doing this in our family with my 3-year-old and I can see the difference in how quickly he calms down when he hears his feelings being acknowledged and then in his willingness to discuss the behavior and think of solutions with me.

Try this out next time your child starts having a meltdown by just acknowledging how sad he or she is.

The next big change I did to my parenting this year was to involve more SELF CARE. Happier and more relaxed parents means calmer, more patient parenting and a more peaceful home.

In previous years I always put myself last and got burnt out and PPD. This time around with a new baby I am working on giving some time for myself. For me personally, it’s getting 2 hours in the morning for one day each week where I can be baby free. I also make sure the kids are both in bed by 8 as much as possible. Even if they are up I hand them over to their dad. 8 PM is when my mama shift is over and I get to sit with a hot chocolate and watch some Netflix or read a book. I don’t answer phone calls, texts or emails if they aren’t urgent during that time. I’ve learned to say No this is my self-care time and I have to put myself first. It’s only an hour a day at most I’m sure everyone will manage fine without me in that time 🙂 One of the best baby gifts I got was a massage by Julie Leonard of Potentia.

You might be able to do the same, have a different situation or find pleasure in other things. Whatever it is, make SELF CARE a PRIORITY for this year. Even if it’s something as simple as sitting with a cup of tea in silence once a day. FInd out what you need for your self-care and add it to your list for the new year!

For several weeks now we have completely cut off any and all screen time for our 3 year old. The reason? Well in our particular situation screen time was limited to an hour and still made my son more hyperactive and he acted out more after screen viewing. It became a situation where the joy of some quiet time and fun cartoon watching wasn’t worth the meltdowns and tantrums that followed.

His behavior was really in line with the research that shows that children become more hyperactive after screen time as their body movement tries to catch up with their brain activity. For us after cutting screen time The result is that he is a much happier child who is exploring his other toys and is participating in more imaginative play.

This doesn’t mean you should do exactly the same BUT you should consider limiting screen time to just 2 hours a day for young children and no screen time at all for children under 2 which is the APA recomme ndation. If your child is struggling to fall asleep, go to bed or seems tired in the morning screen time might play a part. Check if your child is being exposed to any blue light screens such as mobiles or tablets before bedtime. These keep us awake more than regular screens like the TV. Avoiding any screens an hour before bed can really help your child settle into the bedtime routine will, fall asleep easier and sleep better overall.

Think about what small or big screen time changes you can make in your home that could make other daily activities more relaxed and less of a struggle.

Making many changes in our parenting or family can be overwhelming and too much to do that we end up not doing anything at all. This year I started a weekly initiative with the families on my Positive Parenting FB Page and Munich Community Group. Every week I put a small target for myself and my family to try to make life better and work on ourselves one little step at a time. It helps me keep myself from feeling overwhelmed or asking too much of myself, kids and husband. One week it could be as simple as, insist that 3-year-old feed himself this week. Or as complex as deciding to spend more time focusing on his fine motor skills so he gets the practice which would then involve looking up activity ideas, getting material and allocating time each day. Now, Think about your parenting goals.

Ask yourself how you can break them down so they’re not overwhelming. Then put the most important changes you want to make at the top of the list. From the top 3 choose the easiest one you can start with and make that this week’s goal.It could even be this month’s goal. Give yourself all the time you need till you feel you can move on to the next goal on your list.

Finally last but not least. One of the most powerful and impactful changes has been making a conscious choice to spend daily special time with my 3-year-old.

Every evening when he comes home from kindergarten I play 10 minutes with him while dinner is bubbling away. Then I go and finish preparing dinner. Before we added this little change to our routine I would great him while preparing dinner and attempt to talk and play with him while I was visibly preoccupied with something else. The result was a mix of tantrums, acting out for attention and plain feelings of sadness. Now not only does this send him a message that he’s a priority and of course I miss him while he’s away. He’s also much more agreeable and happier after that. I also spend a few minutes in bed with him each night talking about his day.This works because it’s a quiet and calm space and there are no toys or activities to distract from just having a conversation and connecting.

Look at your daily routine and schedule and see where and how you can fit a bit of uninterrupted special time with your child. Which also means no phone or chores 🙂 It doesn’t have to be something complex or hours long.Set yourself a 10-15 minute special target with your child.

Want to Find More Positive Solutions to Your Daily Parenting Challenges?

 

If you’ve connected with these Positive Parenting tools and you’re interested in making this year the year for transforming your parenting and adding Positive Parenting to your life, I invite you to join 9 other like-minded parents in my 6-week E-Course.

Instead of feeling lost, helpless and frustrated I want you to parent with solutions and confidence!

You’ll learn parenting tools to help you deal with daily struggles and frustrations you may be having with your young child. You’ll understand what your child is and isn’t capable of emotionally, socially and physically so you can provide the right age-appropriate solutions. You’ll feel more resourceful and confident in your parenting.

The theme we’ll discuss is all about behaviors and emotions. We’ll talk about techniques to stay calm, dealing with tantrums, crying, sleep, attention seeking behavior and how you can support your child in sharing and developing empathy.

This E-course is a mix of live sessions with me and recorded videos. 

Each course I take on only 10 families so I can offer you the best support and experience possible, follow your progress and give you feedback during your process.

Join us on this journey.

Happy parenting!

8 Positive Parenting Books you Should Read this Summer

8 Positive Parenting Books you Should Read this Summer

8 Positive Parenting Books you Should Read this Summer

Bright from the Start
by Jill Stamm


Positive Discipline The First 3 Years

by Jane Nelson

How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen

by Joanne Faber & Julie King

Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too

by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish


The Whole Brain Child

by Daniel Seigel


How to be the Parent you always wanted to be

by Adel Faber & Elaine Mazlish


Unconditional Parenting

by Alfie Kohn

Elevating Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting

by Janet Lansbury

Routine Chart Tips that Work

 


I know a lot of families just started school this last month and things get a little busy in the morning getting everyone out the door on time. Some of you may be feeling overwhelmed or frustrated in the morning because of this and I want to help you with that! Which is why I want to talk to you about routines.


The reason i want to talk about routines is that they are easy and effective and great for kids of almost any age



It’s something you can do tonight and can make a difference with your family within a week.



You can watch my talk here as well!


A great way to start is with a routine chart.


The chart gives kids what they need which is a visual reminder and a sense of independence when they do things themselves

Making a chart

  • Do it together involve your child
  • Talk about the stressful situation with your child if they are old enough already
  • Suggest a chart to help us remember what to do in the morning
  • Make it together by asking your child to list all the things that need to get done
    Gives children a great sense of accomplishment and pride!

Ideas fun ways to get this done

  • Pictures of your child, print and hang in sequence → great for toddlers
  • Choose pictures, Print out , cut , color and stick on a chart → great for 4-6 year olds
  • You can also have them in writing and have your child add activities they want or take things away —> great for older kids 7 and up

Practical tips on getting it done in the morning

  • Remind your child of the chart. Don’t give in to nagging
  • Make the chart the boss “what does the chart say we should do next”
  • Put a sticker next to each one that is done
  • Don’t have to focus on sequence
  • It takes time and practice

Try it out

 

I want you to make a routine chart of whatever area of your day is causing stress for you and your child. It can be getting ready in the morning or bedtime or even stating the steps to getting dressed in details.

Here’s a giant Pinterest link to give you a lot of ideas!

 

Link Pack for Expectant Moms

Link Pack for Expectant Moms

Over the last 2 years I’ve joined several mommy groups on social media. They’re a great place for moms to share experiences and ask for advice. Recently I’ve noticed similar questions being asked especially by new moms about how to start life with baby. I was inspired by Simone of the Montessori Notebook and decided to create a Link Pack just for new mommies with all the links you may need to start your journey into motherhood. I’ll try to cover some of the basic topics like sleeping, feeding, care, play and positive parenting of course 🙂

Daily Care
Feeding &  Sleeping
Play
Development & Milestones
Becoming a Parent & Self Care

There are lots of great resources out there. I personally found these to be very helpful. Make sure to check back as I’ll keep adding more links whenever I come across something relevant.