The process of communicating with children about Mother’s Day makes it even more meaningful to mothers. I love Mother’s Day, and I think it is important to recognize moms for who they are, what they do, and how much they love. To make Mother’s Day even more special for you and your family, take a moment to talk with your child about how this one day is a reminder to cherish your mom and appreciate the life she has given you.
Seven Tips for Communicating with Children about Mother’s Day
1. Say Thank You
Moms need acknowledgement in a huge way. When I hear my children and husband say thank you, I feel so fulfilled and on purpose that I want to give them even more. Saying “thank you” is much more empowering than giving subjective praise like “You are a great mom” or even “I like the way you cook me breakfast”. Praise is a two-edged sword because when you take it to heart, it puts your self-worth into other people’s hands. When they say “good job” it’s a good job. When they say “not good enough” it’s not good enough. Acknowledging effort by saying “thank you” helps the receiver of the thanks to see that their contribution made a difference. Acknowledgement enhances internal motivation. Tell your child to watch mom and say “thank you” for every specific thing she does. It will attract more of what you and they want.
2. Jump In and Help
Notice the details of every thing that mom does. You will be surprised how much she does. If you really want to make Mother’s Day special, jump in and help. Do not wait to be asked. Take initiative, be proactive, and as quickly as you can, do the things that she usually takes care of, before she can get to them. She will fall over with disbelief and a big smile on her face. It may not last, but it will feel good for at least a day. Tell your child to play a game of guess what mom is going to do next and see if they can do it first. It will be fun.
3. Give Gifts
This one seems pretty obvious because the stores are stocked full of flowers, candy, and other gifts for Mother’s Day. Or how about a nice book to encourage her? Gifts are one way of expressing love, so you might as well get this way covered as well. It truly is the thought that counts, right moms? And be sure your gift is nicely wrapped. Tell your child to present the gift to mom with a Happy Mother’s Day greeting and a big hug.
4. Show Affection
Speaking of hugs, this is a day for public displays of affection. It almost can feel like Valentine’s Day. Tell your child to hold hands, give hugs and kisses, and cuddle with mom. It will raise her oxytocin production, lower her stress, and help her enjoy her special day.
5. Listen with Empathy
Nothing is more connecting and fulfilling than having someone listen to you, and for women, this is very important. Take time to give mom special attention and really listen to what she says. If she starts out a little negative, ask her questions that focus on her on her dreams, pleasures, and whatever makes her smile. Without fixing, agreeing or disagreeing, give her the gift of feeling heard and understood. Tell your child to let mom talk, and listen and smile.
6. Acknowledge All Mothers
It might be easy to just your own mother, so keep in mind all the other mothers and other women who may not have their own kids, but who have participated in the raising of humanity. Thank them, too. Tell your child to smile and say thank you when they see other moms or women acting in a motherly way.
7. Intend to Remember
Be intentional about communicating with children about honoring mothers after Mother’s Day. Mothers are mothers for life. Even a little shift of awareness beyond Mother’s Day can make parenting more meaningful and fulfilling. Tell your child to plan one way to acknowledge mom on Monday, and help them remember.
I hope that the way you are communicating with children about Mother’s Day takes your parenting to a higher level. I also want to acknowledge and thank my mom, grandma, and daughter for our picture of four generations of strong females in the Villanueva line.
For more information on communicating with children and how to be more present with your family, please fill in your name and email at the upper right side of this page. I would love to connect with you. Happy Mother’s Day! I wish you all the best in your growth as a parent and as a person.
When our family observed Back Pack Free Friday on May 3, I had some practical parenting logistics to work out.
The Practical Parenting Concerns behind Back Pack Free Friday
If you haven’t heard of Backpack Free Friday, it is an international campaign organized by Parenting 2.0, an international consciousness movement “Where every adult is recognized as ‘raising humanity’ and children’s Life Skills Averages are as valued as their Grade Point Averages.” Parenting 2.0 on LinkedIn is the top ranked parenting group gathering more than 2900 members in over sixty countries.
Parenting 2.0 calls attention to practical parenting concerns like learning and social skills, stating that “Students do not learn or socialize well with others when they are tired, dehydrated and hungry – add to this a pack of heavy books on their backs. Back Pack Free Friday draws awareness to the importance of children’s foundational care in their daily lives.”
Practical Parenting and Personal Care
The life skill of personal care is a practical parenting issue. It is essential for us and our kids to learn to care for ourselves and know when we are in need of rest or support. Most of the time, we tough it out and push through, and teach our kids to do the same. Sometimes it can lead to long term pain and suffering.
My son is in third grade and at times, his back pack can feel heavy with library books and folders and water in it. When I mentioned Back Pack Free Friday to the coaches in his after-school program, one coach told the story of how his school didn’t have lockers so he had to carry all his books around. His back ached because back pack was so heavy. He said he complained to his mom, and she told him he had to keep carrying his books because there was nothing she could do. Talk about feeling powerless to relieve your child’s burdens!
This doesn’t only apply to kids. As an adult, my husband carried a messenger-type bag which he wore cross-body or on one shoulder as he commuted from home by train to the office and back. He started experiencing back pain, and his doctor advised him to switch to a rolling back pack. The pain went away. While that was a few years ago, just last week he had low blood pressure from dehydration.
For more on Back Pack Free Friday, you can listen to my interview with Wendy McDonnell on Family Matters Radio.
Practical Parenting Outcome of Back Pack Free Friday
When my son left for school without his back pack, he said he felt relaxed. I was grateful for that because brain-wise, kids learn better when they are relaxed versus when they are stressed, tired, hungry, and deydrated.
When he came home, I was very surprised that he had a fever. My first thoughts were, “Was he dehydrated? Did I manifest this?” Because he had diarrhea, and not constipation which is a symptom of dehydration, I realized that the fever was from some sort of bug. I gave him some fluids and sent him to rest.
He also came home without his homework folder, since he didn’t want anyone to take it. He had asked a classmate to put it into his back pack for safe-keeping.
I realize back packs are useful for our kids to have. Here are some practical parenting reminders about back packs:
• Back packs are to weigh no more than 10% of your child’s body weight
• Wear back packs on both shoulders
• Be sure back packs are the right size for your child
• Adjust the straps so that the back pack fits properly and does not hang more than 4 inches below the waist
• Take care when lifting and lowering the back pack
• Distribute the contents of the back pack evenly, putting the heavier items closer to the body
• Pay attention if your child complains about a heavy back pack
• Notice if there are any red marks caused by the straps
• Check back packs daily to see what can be taken out
My son went back to school with a lighter back pack on Monday, and I benefited from a greater awareness of how to support my child in his daily life.
For more information on practical parenting and how to be more present to your child’s needs, please fill in your name and email at the upper right side of this page so we can stay in touch. I wish you all the best in your growth as a parent and as a person.
P20 Backpack Free Friday May 3rd, 2013
How heavy is your child’s back pack? The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons advises that back packs should weigh less than 10% of a person’s body weight. Packs heavier than that force a person to stoop forward to compensate for the additional weight, potentially causing back, neck, and shoulder problems. Ideally back packs should be worn using both shoulder straps and adjusted to fit the body. Care should be taken when lifting and lowering packs as well.
Not only do our kids lug around books, folders, binders, but they also carry their lunches and water. Sometimes that water makes it round trip because our kids are still learning the Life Skill of personal care and drinking adequate water. We need 6-8 glasses of water a day or half our body weight in ounces. For example, a child that weighs 80 pounds needs 40 ounces of water a day. A person that weighs 120 pounds requires 60 ounces of water to be properly hydrated which supports healthy brain and body function.
If you get dehydrated, not only does it mean dry skin and thirst, it could lead to overeating because thirst is often mistaken for hunger. My husband came home after seeing the nurse complaining of headaches and dizziness. It was due to low blood pressure from low blood volume because of dehydration. The solution: drink water!
Our kids need to support to learn the essential Life Skill of personal care. They are under pressure to learn and socialize, and they would benefit from being in top form. Parents need to remember to attend to their own personal care, too.
If your child does take her back pack to school on May 3, do your best to keep it light and pay attention to what our kids carry throughout the day.
P20 Backpack Free Friday May 3rd, 2013
Lifting the Burden off Children and Schools
WHO? Children, Schools and Families around the planet.
WHAT? Leave backpacks at home this day.
WHEN? Friday, May 3rd, 2013
WHY? To literally lift the burden off children and schools.
Students do not learn or socialize well with others when they are tired, dehydrated and hungry – add to this a pack of heavy books on their backs. Backpack Free Friday draws awareness to the importance of children’s foundational care in their daily lives. This is the day caring, conscious adults around the planet stand in unity to affirm the importance of children’s mandatory curriculum.
Back Pack Free Friday and Parenting 2.0
The Backpack Free Friday Campaign is coordinated by Parenting 2.0, an international consciousness movement that aims to effect positive change in every avenue of human interaction by advocating a more proactive educational process for foundational life skills. Parenting 2.0 on LinkedIn is the top ranked parenting group gathering nearly 3000 human development professionals and Life Skills Educators in over sixty countries.
In 2012, Parenting 2.0 made history by gathering Life Skills educators across multiple disciplines and continents for the first professional conference to recognize Life Skills as distinct, foundational skill sets teachable by third party experts, P20 Talks. In August of 2013, Parenting 2.0 Ambassadors are hosting regional gatherings around the planet to share P20 consciousness and promote the value of proactive education for traditionally non-academic Life Skills.
Replace Occupy with Exemplify and you have the formula for Parenting 2.0.
Backpack Free Friday
- Be the Change! Prioritize adequate sleep, drink several glasses of water, eat healthy and exercise!
- Share Life Skills Related articles with others in advance of and on BackPack Free Friday May 3rd, 2013.
- Join discussions regarding Life Skills development with our Parenting 2.0 LinkedIn group and Parenting 2.0 Facebook page.
- Sign The Global Presence Pledge!
You can help us raise awareness for Back Pack Free Friday and be the change!
- Share this press release with local media and school administrators.
- Join our Backpack Free Friday Page on Facebook and share the videos. Post also pictures of your children and their backpacks.
- Tweet reminders once daily. ” Support Back Pack Free Friday May 3rd, 2013.” Include the hash tag #P20BPFF. http://youtu.be/V2ghYgSzPZ4
- Download the Life Skills Report Card.
Are you wishing for a Happy Morning Routine For Kids? In an earlier post, I shared some practical parenting tips for a Happy Morning Routine For Kids in Part 1. I followed that up with Part 2 and additional Secrets that I found very effective in getting my family up and running in a joyful way. But behind it all are my “Top Secret” Secrets that are the foundation for a powerful day.
What Is Behind A Happy Morning Routine For Kids?
Behind every happy morning routine for kids is a Present Parent. A Present Parent is grateful, conscious, has positive focus, lives in integrity, and is intentional. A Present Parent also understands that her inner world creates her outer world. If you want to have more outer world success as demonstrated in a happy morning routine for kids and for yourself, the person to start with is you. Look at what is going on in you that creates your outer world rush.
A Happy Morning Routine For Kids Starts With Your Inner World
If you are beginning to wonder why I am focusing on you instead of telling you how to establish consequences that will fix your kid, allow me to expand. A Present Parent teaches with integrity. If you have a tendency to cut things close and rush around, then it is very likely that you are modeling that way of being for your child to follow. Also, if you tend to cram a lot of things into a short time frame, lose focus, or freak out when things get tight, you are demonstrating to your child that that’s the norm. It doesn’t have to be that way. [As a side note, achievers tend to run late because they are squeezing in one more thing before they go.]
If you want to change your outer world, you must start with your inner world. Your inner world is the mental, emotional, and spiritual realms. It is critical to work with your beliefs, thoughts and feelings to create your desired outcome.
Your Patterns and Beliefs
Recognize Your Patterns. What do you believe about yourself when it comes to being early, on time, or late? Where did your habit of running early, late, or just in time come from? Did you learn it from your parents? Was it cultural? Do you believe that this is just who you are?
Even though this way of being may cause you stress, there is an underlying reason for you to have it. Look deeper to see why you are holding on to it. What is the benefit you are getting out of continuing the pattern of rushing? Do you get to be the hero? Do you get to assert your power? Does it give you an adrenaline buzz?
As you dive into your beliefs, be gentle with yourself as you come to understand what is going on underneath this way of being. Suspend any judgment against those who raised you, and suspend any judgment against yourself. This is discovery. It’s all great. You are great. Love yourself throughout this entire process.
Change By Choosing Your Thoughts
Once you have an awareness of what your beliefs, thoughts, and feelings are in this matter, you are able to change. You are not your thoughts. Your mind runs these thoughts, some of them empowering, most are not. If you want to change your results, then start by changing your thoughts. To do this simply assert and focus on a new thought. Often, there is just as much evidence to support one side of the story as there is to support the other. You get to choose which story you tell. Since that’s the case, why not choose a story that empowers you?
The way you set yourself upon a new course is to begin by recognizing your patterns and then decide to change. Decide what you want. That is step one. The following steps are your inner world training for mental, emotional, and spiritual fitness that will allow you to be successful in the physical realm. Are you ready for them? They will change your life. If so, check out Secrets of a Happy Morning Routine For Kids Part 4.
If you would like to find out more about being a Present Parent, please fill in the box in the upper right hand corner. You will get immediate access to the Parenting Presence Assessment and a special report on how to increase your presence as a parent. I wish you all the best in creating a successful morning routine for kids in your home.
Are you wondering how to have an easier morning routine with kids? I shared some practical parenting tips to get kids out the door and off to school in the morning in an earlier post, Secrets of a Happy Morning Routine For Kids Part 1. In addition to those strategies, I wanted to share few of my secrets that have made our mornings fun, light, and on time.
My Secrets for a Happy Morning Routine for Kids
1. Use an Analog Clock with Sticky Notes
Children, especially the younger ones, have a hard time pacing themselves and managing their time because they only live in the present moment. There is only now, no past or future. The idea that they need to get ready for school in an hour or less is the furthest from their minds. Help them to get a sense of time by using an analog clock. Use sticky notes to mark off when they need to accomplish steps, like 7:15 Wake Up, 7:20 Get Dressed, 7:30 Eat Breakfast, 7:45 Go to the Car. Use words and pictures to illustrate the steps. When they lag behind, say “look at the clock. What does it say?”
2. Use a Timer
When children are racing the clock, it becomes a game. When it’s a game it’s more fun. It’s amazing how quickly kids will move when a ticking timer is going.
I wake up singing. My son wakes up singing. I know where we get it because my mom sings in the morning. It lightens things up and raises our energy level. If you are worried that you don’t have a good singing voice, sing anyway. If you really are feeling insecure about it, then hum. You will feel happier and more at ease and that happiness will be reflected in your child.
4. Choose a Theme Song
When we head out the door for school, we have a theme song that we sing. It’s a modified version of the Black Eyed Peas “I Gotta Feeling”. We took a little creative license and changed some words. In essence it goes like: “I gotta feeling that today’s going to be a good day, that today’s going to be a good day, that today’s going to be a good good day.” How could you not have a good day after that?
5. Acknowledge Progress
Be sure to be your own best cheerleader and acknowledge progress. No matter how slight, progress is progress. Celebrate your wins. Let your child know that the family is succeeding. It reinforces your new pattern of being early in your morning routine for kids.
When you follow these tips, you can create a morning routine for kids that you and your whole family will love waking up to.
If you would like to stay in touch and receive other practical parenting tips, please fill in the box in the upper right hand corner. You will get immediate access to the Parenting Presence Assessment and a special report to give you a boost. I wish you all the best in creating a successful morning routine for kids in your home.
Would you like to establish an effective morning routine for kids? Are you frustrated with getting your child ready for school? Do you find yourself nagging and dragging to avoid being tardy?
These practical parenting tips for a happy morning routine are fairly common sense. Having said that, I will be the first to admit that common sense gets overruled by panic when the clock is ticking, and you are afraid of being late. Rushing invites catastrophe mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Instead, play with these practical parenting tips for a smoother, easier morning routine for kids.
Practical Parenting Tips for a Happy Morning Routine for Kids
1. Assign a Place for School Bags
Reduce stress by knowing exactly where backpacks, lunch boxes, and other school bags go.
2. Use a Checklist
Have a simple list (with pictures if your child is still learning to read) that your child can reference for what to do to get ready the night before and in the morning.
3. Pack the Night Before
If it’s not in the bag the night before, it’s not going. You may have to discipline yourself on this one.
4. Prepare an Outfit the Night Before
It just takes a minute to choose outfits the night before. Take this a step further and set up outfits on Sunday for the whole week.
5. Agree on a Procedure
Be clear about the procedure to follow to get your desired result. Do this when you are not in a rush. Set the intention to cooperate, be joyful, and be early because it’s better for everyone. Have your child participate in creating the procedure. That makes it easier for him to follow it.
6. Allow Consequences
I calmly let my son know that I was committed to being on time and would take him to school in his pajamas if he was not dressed. The furthest I got was carrying him to the car and putting his school clothes beside him. He was in his school clothes by the time we got to school.
7. Hold Your Tongue
Let your actions do the talking. Your lecturing and nagging just gets you all worked up and drains your energy. Decide what you are going to do and follow through without a monologue.
Following these practical parenting tips can make for a smoother morning routine for kids. Give them a try and see what happens.
While these practical parenting tips can help speed you and your child along in the morning, I would also like to share few of my secrets that have made our mornings fun, light, and on time. Check these out in Secrets of a Happy Morning Routine For Kids Part 2.
If you would like to improve your ability to stay present and enjoy your mornings instead of worrying about the future or feeling guilty for not being as prepared as you would like, please fill in the box in the upper right hand corner. You will get immediate access to the Parenting Presence Assessment and a special report to give you a boost. I wish you all the best in creating a successful morning routine for kids in your home.
Mothers Day books are a great gift to give to the moms in your life. Each year givers are challenged to come up with something special and original to honor their mothers. It can be a daunting task. However, giving Mothers Day books is a very effective way to make a great impression.
Mothers Day Books Add Value
First of all, you are giving something of intellectual value. Mothers Day books are educational, entertaining, inspirational or all of the above. Non-fiction can be humorous. Self-help can be encouraging. Parenting books can be productive. I personally would lean toward books that are encouraging and inspiring. Most moms could use a lot more encouragement and inspiration. Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs on the planet. For added effect, choose a pretty book with bright feminine colors. It catches the eye and says “gift” instead of “textbook”.
Mothers Day Books Will Last
Second, giving Mothers Day books will pretty much ensure that you will be remembered for that gift for years to come. Very rarely do people throw books away. They also hold up very well compared to flowers and candy. You also get to inscribe it.
Write something that is personal that really acknowledges the receiver of your gift not just for Mothers Day, not just for being a mom, but for being a great person overall with many different dimensions to her life. Write a line or two about something specific that you admire about her or that you are especially grateful for. Close your inscription with love and admiration. When you sign your name, make sure your name is signed clearly and is easy to read. A squiggle can be interpreted as a sign of carelessness. A legible signature demonstrates intention and care. You definitely want the recipient of your gift to know that you care.
Mothers Day Books Can Be Shared
Lastly, when you give Mothers Day books, you also have the added potential of the book being shared with others. When that happens, not only will the new readers benefit from the gift you originally gave, the giver also gets to experience the joy of giving. And because you inscribed it legibly, you get additional credit for giving such a great gift. Who knows? It may even become a treasured possession and end up being an heirloom that is passed down to generations.
How To Present Mothers Day Books
To increase the perceived value of Mothers Day books, be sure that you present it appropriately. Put it in a lovely gift bag with lots of tissue paper. Handle it with care and be sure to pause, look deeply into her eyes, take a deep breath, smile, and tell her Happy Mothers Day. Finish the presentation with a hug and kiss.
If you would like to find out more about how to enhance your presence and connection with others, please fill in the box in the upper right of this page. May you have a great time with your Mothers Day books and a great day celebrating motherhood!
Positive Discipline Makes You A Better Parent
Positive Discipline is a very powerful way to teach children to be responsible. One of its side benefits is that it makes you a better parent. Yes, I am referring to how it makes you more effective and how you become more skilled at getting your children to cooperate. Jane Nelsen’s work teaches that. But primarily, I have found that Positive Discipline also gives you an opportunity to grow your character and become a better parent and person.
Positive Discipline helps you be more loving and patient.
I believe that all parents love their kids. Sometimes that love gets strained when kids misbehave. Positive Discipline teaches that a misbehaving child is a discouraged child. Read that again slowly. How does it feel? As a parent, I have wondered if my child had malicious intent. When I think that thought, I become angry and vengeful. I start having feelings I don’t want to have as a parent because they lead to more angry and vengeful situations. When I think of my child as being discouraged, I feel compassion. It softens my heart. It makes me more loving and patient. It keeps me in line with my parenting intentions, so I don’t do things I regret later. This method of child discipline keeps you grounded in love. When you come from love, you are coming from the most powerful position on the planet. It is a pure and noble position of strength. Your children will feel it, and more importantly, you will feel it.
Positive Discipline clarifies your intention.
My intention was to have positive, successful, responsible kids. So I wanted a way of disciplining children that would help me create that result. To achieve a particular result, you must be clear about what you want, and then follow a plan to get there. It helps when other people have walked that path before you and can teach you how to create that result. When I first heard about Positive Discipline, I thought to myself, I want positive kids, so Positive Discipline sounds like a match. As I studied, and more importantly, applied Positive Discipline, I found that it was a match. I felt great using its methods. It felt great knowing that what I was doing was designed for a positive outcome. Just having a name for what you are doing helps you to be clear about your intention. Your kids are relying on you to be clear so that you can support their growth and development.
If you would like to know more about Positive Discipline and how it aligns with being a Present Parent, where you are fully present for and with your kids, just fill in the box in the upper right corner of this page.
Parents Help Children Get Ready For Kindergarten
How can you help your child get ready for kindergarten? Barbara Allisen has the answer. I had a chance to chat with Barbara, a kindergarten teacher, author, and speaker. She helps parents and care givers support children ages 0-6 years old to be powerful learners.
We had a wonderful conversation about how kids can get ready for kindergarten, and I came home with an autographed copy of her book, 123 Kindergarten. Thank you, Barbara, for your generosity!
What Does It Take To Be Ready For Kindergarten?
It turns out that being ready for kindergarten is not about knowing your letters and numbers. It is about inspiring a love of learning, curiosity, and confidence in our children. The heavy push for academics and scholarly settings for preschool may have some fans, but remember that success and being ready for kindergarten, and then eventually college, is most closely correlated with a love of learning, knowing how to learn, and confidence in their ability to learn.
In her book, Barbara talks about self-help skills and emotional readiness, communication skills and language readiness, social skills, physical development, and academic readiness. There is quite a bit involved in being ready for kindergarten.
Barbara has a host of resources to help parents help children to be ready for kindergarten. Her website is 123Kindergarten.com, and every day on her blog, she posts a “Play of the Day”. For those of us (meaning me) who are play-challenged, the “Play of the Day” is a great head start. She also has a Radio Show on Mondays at noon Eastern called “Learn and Play with Mrs. A” on the Rockstar Radio Network.
I recorded a short video with Barbara so you can get a sense of her passion and spirit. She wears her mission on her sleeve, literally. Well, actually it’s not on her sleeve, but on her clothing. You will see ABCs and 123s on her apparel because she is a living, breathing testament to success and being ready for kindergarten. Those letters and numbers are also an invitation to parents to engage her in conversation about this topic which is so important to her. She wants every child to succeed and is giving parents and care givers the tools to support them.
The tools are there for you. Give your children what they need to be ready for kindergarten.
To get access to parenting resources, to find out how to be ready for kindergarten or to increase your presence as a parent, just fill in the box in the upper right corner. We wish you all the best in your journey as a parent.