Monday, October 31, 2011

Very Few Things Are More Important Than.....

..... this but yet we tend to forget. If you have read my book, Redirecting Children's BehaviorKath's photo, you know that it is so important that it is in the first chapter of my book. Without this, we become cranky, irritable and start looking like yesterday's Halloween costume (scary thought)! Yet, when we do this one thing, we become patient, more fun and can handle any misbehavior our child flings at us in a more creative and loving way. What is this one thing? Taking care of ourselves.  

Parenting Practice: This week take 20 minutes a day five days a week or 1 hour a day three times a week just for you...this is my version of extreme makeover!  We would love to hear how what you do to take care of yourself. Please post your comments.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Develop Your Child's Internal Guidance System

When our children "misbehave," it is easy to be tempted to say, "Stop doing that!" or "If you do that again, I will send you to time out!" or "Do you want me to take that away from you?" One thing that all of these phrases have in common is that none of them cause the child to do internal reflection and are doomed for failure. They all represent some external control by us as the parent. Our goal is to have our child develop his/her own Internal Guidance System (IGS).

Parenting Practice: This week practice asking questions that cause internal reflection. For example,  to a child who flippantly says, "I'm SORRY!" ask, "Was that sincere?" or to a child that backtalks ask, "Was that respectful?" Or to a child who says something mean to a younger sibling ask, "Was that helpful?" Make sure you ask these questions in a light, curious tone of voice. If you say it in an admonishing or judgmental tone your efforts will be nullified.

We would love to hear how you develop you child's IGS. Please leave your comments. They inspire us.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Is Your Child Their Own Best Advocate?

Self-advocacy is the ability to understand and effectively communicate one's needs to other individuals.  It is all about educating the people around you on how you want to be treated. One of the most important skills to have in school and eventually in the adult world is this ability. How do we teach it to our kids? Great question! Here are some tips:
There are 3 steps to becoming an effective self-advocate Help your child:
    1. Know herself. For example,  your child might discover that she is easily distracted at school.
    2. Know what she needs. She may need to sit in the front row at school.
    3. Know how to get what she needs. Here are some areas to work on:
      • How to make good eye contact. 
      • Make a request with out blaming or complaining.
      • Listen to and understand the other person’s point of view.
      • Negotiate for what they want and need.
      • Not giving up when  road blocks occur for example, the person gets intimidating.
      • Know when, who and how to ask for help.
      • Be resourceful. If that person or situation doesn’t work, ask your child, “What else can you try?
Parenting Practice: Pick one or two areas to work on and have her practice with you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Four Best Times to Bond with Your Child

Of course you will want to bond with your child throughout the day but here are four times of the day that are ideal for creating bonding moments. They are as follows:
1. Early in the morning before we start our litany of what they need to be doing. With young children, you may want to have a special chair that you sit in together before they need to start their morning routine. It is best if this is done away from their bed.
2. Upon departure. It is helpful to have a "goodbye" routine. A routine that is unique for that child. For a toddler you may exchange a personal item that can be kept as a reminder of how much you love each other.
3. Upon re-entry. Again, a routine that is welcoming, one that makes the child feel that he belongs and is he is entering into a space that is safe, secure and unconditionally loving. Don't be talking on your cell phone or texting! Be sure that your face lights up when you see your child.
4. Bedtime. Create an unhurried routine that helps the child feel close and connected. Make sure children have their own special time, with you or your partner. Having to share you with their sibling usually isn't satisfying. Being put to sleep by a stressed, tired adult, whose intention is to get them to bed so they can have sometime for themselves is not nurturing. I know this is difficult, however it is helpful to squeeze sometime for yourself during the day so that you have some energy left to connect with your child at bedtime.

Bonding can be a tricky thing due to tight schedules and our own lack of bonding in childhood. We all could use some good tips to bond with our kids. Please share your special ways you bond with your child.