Being a More Present Parent

Being a Present ParentBeing a More Present Parent

It’s summer, and our family has enjoyed some great summer barbecues, picnics, family gatherings, and camp trips. I hope you have, too. Whether you are working or playing this summer, do your best to be a present parent and enjoy the moment.

The past and future are alluring. It can be tempting to drift ahead to the future and start to worry about going back to school and changing routines. You may also find yourself feeling wistful about summers past and get stuck in memories replaying in your mind. Or you may be hung up on how much you should have done last week with all the daylight on your hands.

Being present is one of the most powerful things you can do as a parent. When you are present in your child’s life, you are establishing a strong bond with your child and that attachment to you meets your child’s developmental needs and increases your influence with them. It also allows you to enjoy all those sweet precious moments with your little ones. Being present also allows you to see the benefit in the challenging moments as well. It keeps you centered and helps you appreciate the gift of each breath, each loving thought, and each unique step in the great timeline of your life.

You are fully present when you are not just physically there, but also mentally, emotionally, spiritually alert and connected. People can tell when someone is there but “not really there” because they are distracted, texting, or caught up in their own thoughts. Little kids can tell when this occurs and are especially persistent and creative in how they call you back to the moment.  Before they do, I wanted to share 10 ways you can be a more present parent.

10 Ways to Be A More Present Parent

1. Give lots of hugs and affectionate touch
2. Use eye contact and attending body language
3. Forgive yourself and others, no matter how great or small the issue
4. Spend time in nature
5. Learn the vocabulary of feelings and needs
6. Do yoga / deep breathing / blow bubbles with your kids
7. Write about your feelings in a journal
8. Consume material (books, audios, classes, etc.) that increase your skills in parenting and personal growth
9. Reduce your time in front of the screens (TV, Computer, phone, etc.)
10. Organize your home

If you want to reconnect with the blissful optimism, noble calling, and deep gratitude you felt as a new parent, then dive into the transformational experience of being a present parent.

You may give your full presence to your child as much as you choose.  There is no gift like the present.  As you move toward a life attuned to this gift, you may find more harmony in your home because your child’s social and emotional needs are met. You may find more success and synergy in your life from enhanced skills and deeper relationships. You may find yourself realizing your dreams, making grand contributions, and setting an inspiring example for your child to emulate. By intentionally shifting your parenting toward being fully present in every endeavor, you can give yourself and your child an amazing, joyful life.

To get a sense of how present you are as a parent, just fill in the box in the upper right of this page and take the Present Parent Assessment. You will get instant access to the Assessment and Special Report which includes more ways to increase your presence as a parent. Enjoy!

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Honoring Dad for Father’s Day

Father's DayHonoring Dad for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is important because fathers are important. Sometimes fathers are very involved with their kids. Sometimes they are very involved in earning money for their kids. Sometimes they are a distant memory or idea.

As I consider my extended family, I see that there are many fathers around me. I am grateful for them, especially my husband. Dads in my generation are challenged with being great at both nurturing and providing for their kids. While this means that we moms get more balance and appreciation, or at least the potential for more if we allow ourselves, it puts new demands on modern dads that prior generations did not have.

This will be my first Father’s Day without my dad. He was a great protector and provider. It feels like just yesterday that he died. What that means to me is that there is no time like the present to complete your communications with the people that you love. Thank them and tell them what they mean to you. If you are thinking that next Father’s Day will be the time to do something really special, remember that tomorrow is never guaranteed. This Father’s Day, set an intention to get to the heart of your relationship with Dad and speak your love, gratitude, and forgiveness.

Six Meaningful Ways to Honor Dad for Father’s Day

Here are six meaningful ways to honor Dad for Father’s Day. I am so glad that we did these with my dad so that our relationship was clear of ill feelings and regrets, and we were able to build on love.

1. Forgive
When you are harboring anger or resentment against another person, it does more harm to you than to them. There is a saying that says, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.” Yikes! Release your anger and forgive. For your sake, not theirs. You don’t have to forget or condone what happened. Give it to God to deal with and trust that it is in good hands. Once you let go of the fight, you can use all that extra energy to make your life amazing.

2. Do a Bonding Activity
Is there something that your dad likes to do that you would enjoy doing? Get out there and create an experience that you and he will cherish. While you are at it, take some pictures and video.

3. Say “I love you.”
In our little nuclear family, we say “I love you” all the time. We never said “I love you” to my parents or grandparents. It was just assumed. They certainly didn’t say it to us. I worked up the courage to put it out there and not expect anything in return. I even had my coach hold me accountable. And even though it was very uncomfortable, I did it. I said it. It became a habit which made it easier to express other things. If you don’t already tell your dad you love him, give it a shot and see what happens. It’s about your growth.

4. Give a Framed Photo
I love pictures. Our family was very blessed to have a lot of pictures and video, originally shot with Super 8 film, that captured our family history and some great memories. Choose a photo with dad in it, any solo or family picture that honors dad, and get a complementary frame for it. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive. It can be an older photo from the collection or it can be something recent. Either way, it is usually a hit.

5. Write a Thank You or Tribute Letter
This gift is an especially powerful way to speak from your heart and complete your communication with dad. I highly recommend that you do this and make it at least a page long. Name some specific situations and experiences to increase the impact. You may have to force yourself to write it out, but it is extremely beneficial to get your thoughts on paper. If you really want to take it to the next level, read it out loud to your dad and even capture it on video. Open your heart to give and receive love. This one simple activity could be life-changing. Just do it.

6. Listen
Throughout the festivities of Father’s Day, be sure to give your dad the gift of being heard. Listen to the stories that you have already heard a million times before. Ask questions that get to deeper levels of communication about his feelings and needs. Listen with empathy, releasing judgment, fixing, advising, and sympathizing. Just listen. This may be one of the greatest gifts you can give dad on Father’s Day.

Even though I am not a father, I love celebrating Father’s Day. Mother’s Day is my day, but Father’s Day reminds me that it takes two. Parenting is one of hardest jobs ever, and anyone doing it deserves honor.

To find out more about staying conscious and present in parenting and partnership, please fill in the box at the upper right of this page. I look forward to staying in touch with you along this journey of parenting.  May you and the dads you know have a Happy Father’s Day!

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Authoritative Parenting During a Public Meltdown

Authoritative Parenting During a Public MeltdownAuthoritative Parenting During a Public Meltdown

The end of the school year provides plenty of social events for parents to practice authoritative parenting.  Last week my daughter’s preschool had a year-end family picnic.  We were all looking forward to it, especially our older son who had attended there years before.

Things were fun and zany as the above picture indicates.  We were having a great time until our three year-old daughter saw her little friend’s toy phone and wanted it.  I was slowly persuading my daughter to return it to its rightful owner when her little friend took advantage of the distraction and retrieved it from my daughter’s hand.  The wailing, kicking, and pouting ensued and continued for a while.  I looked around for help, but my husband and son were elsewhere.

While we all deal with our kids’ meltdowns in our own way, I wanted to share with you what I did because it gave me peace of mind.  I was glad I used authoritative parenting methods and stayed present and hopeful despite my daughter’s display of big emotions.

Six Authoritative Parenting Tips For Public Meltdowns

  1. Stay Calm
    You are most effective in helping your child to manage her big emotions when you can manage your big emotions.  Staying calm helps you think clearly.  When you panic because of fear, embarrassment, or shame, you cut off your connection to higher brain function, and your thinking goes reptilian.  Be responsible for your own emotional state and model mastery for your child by taking a few deep breaths, accepting the situation, and staying calm.
  2. Clearly Communicate Boundaries
    My daughter started lashing out at me because she really wanted her friend’s toy phone.  I told her firmly and lovingly to be gentle and hitting was not okay.  I reminded her that it was her friend’s turn to play with the phone.  I was using my words, but there comes a time when words are not enough, so…
  3. Decide What Action to Take
    I decided that if things did not shift, I would restrain her and remove her from the middle of the group of friends until she was calm.  It was for everyone’s safety since she was kicking and looked like she was going to make a grab to get the phone back.  We both needed some space to cool off.
  4. Stop Talking and Follow Through
    This is often where many parents get side-tracked and start yelling, threatening, and using up a lot of energy.  I have found it effective to simply stop talking, take another deep breath to ground yourself in love, and follow through with the course of action you decided to take.  Doing this in a calm, compassionate way keeps you anchored in peace instead of vindication.  You are also less likely to escalate the scene and look even more foolish.
  5. Circle Back Later
    Keep an eye on the situation and look for opportunities to connect with the others involved.  I talked with my daughter’s friend’s parents and found then to be very sympathetic and understanding.  Also, a few days later, I checked in with my daughter’s teacher who acknowledged but didn’t dwell on the encounter, saying that happens with three year-olds.  I really appreciated their comments.
  6. Love Yourself
    All the while, my conditioned mind was saying nasty things to me like, “Everybody thinks you are a mess,” “You’re the worst mom and you have the worst kids,” “You don’t know what you are doing because you can’t control your kids,” or “If you just punished her, she’d be sorry, and this would be over.”  I have learned that love, not guilt or shame or pain of different sorts, can bring about responsibility and connection in the long term.  It starts with us, the parents.  Love yourself first.  Be gentle with yourself.  Embrace your humanity, accept responsibility, and forgive yourself.  It is hard to enjoy being a parent when you are beating yourself up on the inside.

Authoritative Parenting is about being both connected and setting clear boundaries.  When you follow through in a loving, intentional way, you will experience more success and fulfillment with your kids.

If you would like to increase your presence and effectiveness with Authoritative Parenting, please fill in the box in the upper right of this page.  You will get instant access to my Present Parent Assessment and special report with even more ways to be successful in authoritative parenting.

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Practical Parenting at a Business Seminar

Practical Parenting at a Business SeminarPractical Parenting at a Business Seminar

A week or so ago, my practical parenting skills were expanded to the context of business seminars. My daughter had a little runny nose and ended up being sent home from pre-school. I am so grateful I have some options when that happens. This time my options included taking her with me to a business seminar.

Practical Parenting Tips for Seminar Moms

I want to share some practical parenting tips for attending a seminar with your young child. Here are a few, and if you happen to have a few of your own to add, please comment below. In any case, here are a few things I learned during my six years of attending personal development and business seminars.

  1. Be Prepared
    I have done my best to travel light to seminars, but when it comes to kids, it is equally important to be prepared.  I had my three year old daughter’s stroller, snacks, blanket, and activities along with my own bag of tricks.  She also was a veteran traveler and had stocked her own tiny rolling backpack with books and a few toys.  She was very cute to watch.
  1. Adjust Your Expectations
    I tend to be a front-row center kind of gal.  With my daughter and all our related paraphernalia in tow, we ended up sitting on the far aisle toward the back.  I still learned and actively participated to make the most out of my investment.  The best part was watching my little girl participate, too.  I also changed my expectations with regard to all the people I intended to meet.  I am just not as nimble with a young child, stroller, lunchbox, etc.
  1. Relax
    Because I had adjusted my expectations, I set a new one, to really enjoy the time we had together at the seminar.  I loved having my little apprentice with me.  We had a great time, and she was very welcomed.  She felt so at ease that she was able to fall asleep stretched across two chairs with her head on my lap.
  1. Work with and Thank the Staff
    Usually, the staff is enamored with little kids.  I appreciated how supportive and encouraging they were, and I thanked them for it.  One staff person helped us find seats and squeeze in the stroller to fit.  He made things much easier.  When my daughter and I smile and say thanks, and we stand a better chance of not being asked to leave.
  1. Don’t Push
    The audience was invited on stage to dance when we came back from the breaks.  My little girl loves music and dancing.  I thought she would love participating, but I didn’t want to scare her with being on stage in front of 700 people with loud music and spotlights.  The first time, we walked toward the stage, and she just watched from the floor.  I didn’t push her because I wanted her to choose to go up there or not.  The next time we came back from a break, she was the first person to the stage.  She loved it.  She chose it.
  1. Set Boundaries
    While she was dancing on stage, a man started dancing beside her, almost with her.  I was right by her side and remained very vigilant in case I needed to intervene to protect her personal space.  Do not mess with a mamma bear.  In addition to that I held her hand through the crowds.  I watched who she was interacting with.  I only let my close friend carry her.  I let her high-five people, but that was the extent of it.

Going to this seminar with my daughter was wonderful.  I was grateful that my positive approach and consistent discipline had worked so well.  I had a great day, and so did she.  I hope these practical parenting tips were helpful to you.

If you have attended a seminar with your child, please leave comment below.  I would love to hear about your experience and any practical parenting tips you would like to share.

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Communicating with Children about Mother’s Day

Communicating with Children about Mother's DayCommunicating with Children about Mother’s Day

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.

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Practical Parenting on Back Pack Free Friday

Practical Parenting Back Pack Free FridayPractical Parenting on Back Pack Free Friday

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.

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Back Pack Free Friday on May 3

httpv://youtu.be/pdUaNxi8IjE

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

P20 Back Pack Free Friday

WHO? Children, Schools and Families around the planet.

WHAT? Leave backpacks at home this day.

WHEN? Friday, May 3rd, 2013

WHERE? Everywhere!

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

  1. Be the Change! Prioritize adequate sleep, drink several glasses of water, eat healthy and exercise!
  2. Share Life Skills Related articles with others in advance of and on BackPack Free Friday May 3rd, 2013.
  3. Join discussions regarding Life Skills development with our Parenting 2.0 LinkedIn group and Parenting 2.0 Facebook page.
  4. Sign The Global Presence Pledge!

You can help us raise awareness for Back Pack Free Friday and be the change!

  1. Share this press release with local media and school administrators.
  2. Join our Backpack Free Friday Page on Facebook and share the videos. Post also pictures of your children and their backpacks.
  3. Tweet reminders once daily. ” Support Back Pack Free Friday May 3rd, 2013.” Include the hash tag #P20BPFF. http://youtu.be/V2ghYgSzPZ4
  4. Download the Life Skills Report Card.
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Secrets of a Happy Morning Routine For Kids Part 3

Happy Morning Routine For KidsSecrets of a Happy Morning Routine For Kids Part 3

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.

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Secrets of a Happy Morning Routine For Kids Part 2

Morning Routine For Kids Practical ParentingSecrets of a Happy Morning Routine For Kids Part 2

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.

3.  Sing
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.

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Secrets of a Happy Morning Routine For Kids Part 1

Morning Routine for Kids Practical ParentingSecrets of a Happy Morning Routine For Kids

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.

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