How to be a Positive Parent when Facing Change
1). Listen Fully
2). Validate their feelings.
3). Consider the Positives
4). Let go….
“I want to go to my new school!”, squeals my (almost) 3 year old. In a few short days she’ll be transitioning to a new daycare . My husband and I have been prepping her for this change for a couple months… and prepping ourselves as well. Due to multiple changes occurring within this month ahead (hello baby number 3, kindergarten here we come) we figured why not just throw in one more thing. Changes all around! No man left behind! Let’s go all in!
If you’ve read any of my most recent posts you understated that for me, change usually brings anxiety. But, we are not here to talk about anxiety today. I’m taking a break from anxiety for a while. Instead, I’m focusing on being proactive, positive, and peaceful. I’m keeping in mind that I can only control so much. The rest I must leave up to faith, hope, and trust. I have come to realize I really do know very very little about predicting the future. Psychic readings are not my calling. <huff>
Let’s take some time, shall we, to focus on these 3 “P” words: Proactive, Positive, and Peaceful. Given that there is much to be said on each one of these “P” words I am going to break it down to 3 separate posts over the next 3 weeks, which will be just in time for most of you as you get ready to send your kiddo off to a new school year. We’re going to start with the first, and most important, in my opinion –
Not an actual picture, a mental picture. Children function through images. They develop understanding through seeing and doing as opposed to hearing. Learning through hearing is an acquired skill that develops more through development and growth. When children are young, they need to see and do in order to fully grasp ahold of a concept. This helps them feel empowered and in control.
Here are 3 simple ideas for how to do this:
- Draw a picture together
- Enact a scene using dolls and other toys.
- Dress up and act out a scene together of the first day.
How to get started:
- Start out by reminding your child about the upcoming change.
- Tell her that today you’re going to draw a picture/play a game together about the first day of school.
- Allow her to select the materials to get started.
- Ask questions along the way to help shape her mental picture, such as what will it look like, what colors will the room be, what will her teacher be like, what will she play with, what will she eat, etc. There are no limits really to how imaginative you can become. *It is important, though, that this picture be one grounded in reality. You want her mental picture to closely reflect what will actually happen.
- Also helpful to include here is a play by play. “Mommy will bring you to school and walk you to your room where we’ll meet your new teacher. I’ll get you settled in your room then mommy will leave for work. After work I will come back to pick you up. I’ll be so excited to see and hear what you do on your first day!” Always great to end with something you can both look forward to.
Parenting in the summer is not exactly a day at the beach.
Summer days can seem loooonnngggg when parenting patience is short!
Okay Mamas, we are about four weeks into summer time here in Texas….
How’s your Summer going??
Hopefully you have had time to play at the pool, sleep in, maybe go see one of this summer’s great movies….
Mine, oh, thanks for wondering…..I am enjoying being able to sleep in a bit, having more time with my boys and more time to spend with friends. The boys enjoyed a couple camps to kick the summer off and now they are in the long haul at daycare when I am in the office. The movies this summer have us anxious for the next one and we love our long summer days playing in the pool. We are looking forward to our family vacation next week and the birth of my first nephew any day now. So far my summer is going pretty good! Continue reading
It is more than a little ironic that Yoga is the activity I turn to on a daily basis to cope with the ups and downs of being a parent. The more I think about it, the more I realize YOGA is the perfect metaphor for parenting.
I can almost hear each reader’s audible ugh as I type this post. YOGA….
Ya either love it, hate it, OR BOTH. Some of you haven’t tried it yet. Some of you never will. Kind of sums up having children does it?
I can’t recall exactly when my love affair with yoga began, but let me assure you; it definitely was NOT love at first sight. Truth be told, my first date with yoga TOTALLY sucked.
First of all, before the date even started, Yoga wanted me to be quiet-STRIKE 1- I like to talk. Correction: I LOOOVE talking. Besides, how are we going to know if we like each other if we don’t talk?
Our love connection was off to a very rocky start.
Next, YOGA proceeded to tell me to “be still”. Seriously? Who the hell does this YOGA think he is? Doesn’t he realize I’m a mom & dishes don’t wash themselves? I’ve got things to do. Furthermore, when I am still…I start thinking. I think too much…waay toooo much. Strike 2.
The final strike came when Yoga wanted me to set an intention. An intention for what? Staying alive? Fine. My intention was pretty much to try super hard not to throw up or pass out OR die a heaping hot sweaty mess in the middle of all of these toned and tan & oddly serene strangers.
Ok…you win YOGA. I intend to survive this class.
As it turns out, I not only survived the first date; I came back for more.
YOGA and I proceeded to “date” on and off for the next few years. We even broke up a few times (my decision), before I realized that I really missed it..and loved it….and NEEEEEEEEEEEDED IT.
So now we are back together…at least for the time being.
Anyway, I digress. My point was to tell you how lessons learned in YOGA mirror that of my experience in parenting.
YOGA ASKS THAT WE:
- Show up. Most days, making it onto your mat is the hardest part.
- Set an intention to guide your practice. Intentions are unique and change on a daily basis depending on your child’s sugar intake & the amount of caffeine you have ingested.
Today, I want my children to be responsible, compassionate, passionate about learning, and kind. Tomorrow I intend to not screw them up too much. By Wednesday, my intention is usually not to throw up, pass out or die trying.
- Focus inward…. How does the vision I have of myself, others and the world shape my choices as a parent. How am I reacting to their successes & failures? What parts of my own childhood am I replicating or running from and why?
- Rest. It is a sign of strength. I repeat..RESTING IS ALWAYS A SIGN OF STRENGTH, never a sign of weakness.
- Be flexible. The more rigid you are, the more it’s gonna hurt.
- Focus on small daily progress. The practice doesn’t change. You do.
- Don’t look around. When you do, you give your energy away. This is not a competition & comparisons are a not helpful.
- Be present. Looking behind or ahead only distracts you from making the most each moment.
BREATHE…You Only Gott A Breathe…When you feel like giving up (& you will want to), you only gotta breathe. As long as you are breathing and staying present, you are doing it right.
Other lessons from “Yoga”…
- You will never do it perfectly no matter how hard you try. In fact, you will often fall. You will look super weird and awkward…crazy even. The good news is, so does everybody else!
- It sometimes feels like it will never end.
- It’s crowded & sweaty….Everyone else is working hard too.
- Everyone has an opinion about how to do it & people are really quick to point out that you are doing it wrong. Tell them to shut the * up and get back on their own mat.
- You mostly go it alone-unless you count the other awkward, hot sweaty messes around you.
- You may or may not have a teacher. If you do, you are lucky. But keep in mind, he or she is just a guide. …She/He doesn’t have all the answers either.
Namaste…the sweaty hot mess in me honors the sweaty hot mess in you.
Summer is here ladies and gentleman!
Are you Ready??
It seems like the first day of school was just yesterday. Time flies by hence why I often find myself wishing time would stand still. Truth is, time really does fly by. Seems like just the day before yesterday I was stroller walking with my neighborhood mom tribe. Well, with two more days of 1st and 2nd grade here at my house I am about to have a 2nd and 3rd grader. Time stand still!
With summer comes excitement, a bit of anxiety and a dash of dread. We get to sleep in! Go to the pool! Have street parties with kids out playing under the sunset. Grocery shopping might have to be after the hubby gets home because I dread taking kids to the grocery store. My work to-do list will be on the back burner till August. And then the dreaded “I’m Bored” will invariably sneak in at some point.
But before all that, before the last bell sounds, I am setting the summer screen-time standard.
What is that? Well, I have one little boy, I am not naming names here, that could sit and play x-box 360 for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 12 month in a row, 365 days a year. So I must set the summer screen time standard right out the summer starting gate. This will be part of their Hello Summer basket I give them Friday to celebrate school being out.
To be honest I function and feel like a better mom and wife when I have structure. And in truth my kids are better kids when they have structure. This way they know what is expected of them before they ask “Can I play electronics?” and hundred million times. This way I have to use my frustrated voice before 9am. This way they will not think sneaking downstairs and leaving the volume off will get them a few more minutes.
OK. Mom Confession.
This will not happen EVERYDAY. There WILL be days that I too need a break from all the structure. But I know that setting this expectation up front will make for one less power struggle on our Mommy Mondays.
Another thing I do every summer is have the boys make a Summer Bucket List. Check back so I can share what we come up with.
Here I am again – It’s a Sunday morning (my kids favorite time of day to throw their wildest tantrums). So I’m trying to breathe deep and remember why I don’t want to scream and yell when they are well, screaming and yelling. All I want to do is have my coffee and eat some oatmeal. Is that really too much to ask? According to a toddler, yes it is. Much, much to much to ask.