How You Can Stop Yelling At Your Kids

Last month when you screamed at your kids you swore you would never do it again. Your throat was dry and irritated after. The shame you felt lasted ALL DAY LONG. 

You don’t want to yell. You hate that part of yourself as a parent. But no matter how much you say, “I won’t scream next time,” when next time comes, there you are yelling at that beautiful little kiddo of yours.

The reason you haven’t been able to stop screaming has nothing to do with being a “bad” or “good” parent. You simply haven’t had the right plan. 

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Here is where I can help. I used to scream, but it’s so rare that I reach that point anymore. Here is what has worked for me and what can work for you too.

Tool #1: Stop, Drop, and Breathe 

Remember in grade school when we would practice how to Stop, Drop, and Roll in case of a fire?! You need just as solid of a plan for the next time you feel like screaming.  

It isn’t enough to just hope that you won’t scream again. You need a strategy in place for the next time you feel like you are about to open your mouth and explode with anger.

Will you walk away and cool down in the bathroom?

If you are driving, will you pull the car over and wait until the anger subsides? 

Can you keep a calming book in your bag to read until you are grounded again?

Is there a funny term you can tell your children so they know you are angry and the special code means mommy or daddy need a break? Have fun with this one! Maybe the code is “flying squirrel” or “naked mole rat”?!

Can you Stop, Drop, and Breathe?

Create your Stop Screaming Plan now!

Tool #2: Plan Talk Time 

Oh man, I wanted to scold my kids for not picking up their toys when I had asked them FIVE MILLION TIMES.

Instead of yelling though, I went over to the white board where I keep Family Meeting Topics and wrote down the problem, “not picking up toys.” 

I knew that I would later have a chance to talk to my kids about the problem and that during that family meeting, we would brainstorm solutions to solve this problem. I didn’t need to yell because because I knew that we would have a constructive conversation later. 

Remember, not everything has to be done right now.

Tool #3: Dig Down Deep 

Maybe you didn’t feel heard as a child, so now when your child doesn’t listen, you feel like screaming?

Maybe you aren’t aware of what is developmentally appropriate for the age of your and by better understanding normal child behavior, you will feel less reactive to your child? 

Maybe your need for perfectionism is coming out onto your child and you are projecting perfectionism on them?

Or maybe you are so passive that your child is simply running wild in your home?

As the saying goes, “it takes two to tango.” By looking at our own part (sometimes with the help of a professional), we can defuse many power struggles.

And, above all else, keep working on your own sense of worthiness. You are enough. You are worthy. You are loved. The happier you are inside, the less screaming you will want to do.

If you are taking the time to read this post, Congratulations. You are obviously a thoughtful parent that wants to make some positive changes. Be easy on yourself. It takes time to form new habits. 

Make your plan now and print it out. Carry your Stop Screaming Plan with you everywhere you go and reference it the next time you feel like yelling?

Like these tips? Sign up for my monthly newsletter to get more tools that will bring your home from crazy to calm. 


Tools For Having Less Anxiety

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Yesterday was one of those, “I just want to lay down and not do life,” one of days. ⠀

My mind was anxious, my thoughts were negative, and I felt trapped inside my own body. ⠀

Here’s the important thing that helped me - I knew I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. I knew that all those feelings were normal for us humans. ⠀

Here are some tools that allowed me to get through yesterday without taking my discomfort out on my children or husband ...⠀

⠀1. I took some time for extra meditation. I kept my faith high that those feelings would pass and tomorrow would be a fresh start. ⠀

2. I wrote out my feelings along with a big gratitude list. In times of fear, I always turn to gratitude. ⠀

3. I made a warm cup of almond milk with coco powder. I sat quietly and put my attention on each sip. ⠀

4. I reached out to a friend and was honest about my experience. None of us have to be anxious alone, ever!⠀

5. I went to bed early. I called it at 8:30 pm and went to sleep.  Today, I started my day with gratitude and meditation. Today, is already better than yesterday!⠀

No matter how you are feeling, know that we all have felt that way too. Today is a new day. Today you can SHINE!

With love,⠀

Laura⠀

Books You Can't Put Down (or should I say, Turn Off!)

Imagine after a long day of cleaning, cooking, and juggling your kids, you finally lay down to read the book you’ve been waiting to dive into. Only, by the time you get to page 3, you're fast asleep. 

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Not only do you have no time to read during the day, but your exhaustion keeps you from getting much reading done at night.


If this sounds like you, don’t despair! 


I  have a really easy fix for this … 


I listen to all my books on audio! I listen to books while I 


  • Drive

  • Fold laundry 

  • Put on makeup 

  • Clean the house

  • And the list could go on and on and on! 


The result? I get through at least 2 to 3 books a month. These books empower me, make me happier, and bring more calm into my life. 


Today, I am sharing the Top 5 Books that I just couldn’t put down (or should I say, turn off). 

  1. Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

  2. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

  3. The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

  4. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert 

  5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho


Bonus: And the book I can’t wait to listen to next is Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo 

Threenagers!

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Your threenager was at it again ... screaming, stomping, saying “I don’t wanna!” and “You can’t make me!”

Yes, I’ve been there too. 

Yes, this little beauty ️ had an epic cry hours before this picture was taken. 

Yes, I have learned some effective tools that really work. 

And, Heck Yes, they’ll work for you too! 

1. Connect - connect with your upset child. Offering a hug is a wonderful way to dispel the tantrum. 

No, it isn’t rewarding the behavior. The hug soothes the nerves and then allows you to correct or redirect the behavior after. 

Positive Discipline says to offer the hug 3 times and if they still don’t want one you can simply say, “come find me if you would like a hug.”  

2. Role Play during a calm time what your child can do the next time she is upset. Would she like to find a special calm down space in the house? Draw a picture? Listen to music? Role Playing options ahead of time can empower your child to find solutions the next time she is upset. 

3. Remember that, “this too shall pass.” Your little one may talk like she’s 17, but she is actually tiny and her prefrontal cortex isn’t developed. She is learning autonomy, which is normal for this age, so in times of insanity try to remember that this is all very normal and it won’t be like this forever. 

Like what you see here? Want some more tips? Subscribe to my newsletter at the bottom of the page!

“Life is tough, my darling, but so are you.”

Remember when you were little and life didn’t seem so tough? I mean, sure, there was the time in grade school when those girls didn’t talk you for a day or the time when your dad got mad and yelled. But life wasn’t exhausting. Five-year-old you didn’t wake up thinking, “Dang! I have to do today …”

Adult you though, knows how tough life can feel sometimes. Adult you knows what it is like to wish you could just check out at 4 pm and put those kids to bed at 6 o’clock (remember when your kids were babies and they went to bed that early! Oh, those were the days …). Adult you knows what it is like to have wrinkles, back sag (is that a term? If not, it should be), and real stress about finances and future plans. Adult you feels the difficulty of life sometimes.

So, this post is for the adult you. The woman that is raising those children, rocking those family dinners, and trying to squeeze in a moment of time for yourself in the midst of it all. 

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In the words of Stephanie Bennett-Henry, “Life is tough, my darling, but so are you.” But today, let’s not just be tough like life. Let’s use that toughness to squeeze the joy out of the day. Here’s how I do it and how you can do it too -

1. Start the morning with a gratitude list! I write down 10 things that I am grateful for. I do this before anyone in my home wakes up so that I still have things to be grateful for (once they’re up there is no telling what craziness may ensue and my gratitude can quickly go to grumpy). 😂 

2. Give extra smiles on each errand throughout the day! I take extra time to talk to the clerk at the grocery store or connect with the teller at the bank. The joy I bring to those interactions is reflected back to me. The other day this teenager in a white truck drove right in front of me and swiped my parking spot in front to Tutu School. You know what I did? I said a blessing for him. I smiled! I give out positivity the best I can in each situation that I am in. 

3. Take a moment to give yourself some freakin’ love! Holly guacamole. How much time do we spend doing things for everyone else, worrying about what other people think about us, and judging ourselves both inside and out?! We are harder on ourselves than anyone would ever be on us. So, I spend at least 10 minutes a day in quiet meditation and think loving and positive thoughts about myself. Then, I look in the mirror from time to time and compliment myself. Give yourself the love you deserve!

Have a Rockin’ Day and Be Bold, My Friends! 

Dear New Mama,

After my son was born, I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from the hospital to grab some food. My husband waited in the car with the baby, and I (the one who knew how to do everything best), ran quickly inside for our needed groceries. 


It makes me sad when I think about that moment, not because the act of going to the grocery store was wrong, but because I didn't have the ability to ask for help. I didn't need to take that on myself after just having given birth. I didn't need to be the mom that did everything. I didn't know that I even had a choice.


Being a new mother is simultaneously one of the greatest and most overwhelming experiences. For me, I was full of hormones that often made me anxious, I was deliriously tired. And, I also felt the need to still show up and participate in life. If I could go back and talk to that new mama that I was six-and-a-half years ago, I would tell myself ...


It is okay to leave the house messy.


It is okay to lay in bed ALL DAY LONG.


It is okay if you miss the regularly scheduled events that you used to do before you had a brand new baby.


It is okay to do it "wrong", or different, or half-assed.


As long as you are taking care of that baby and also taking care of yourself, then nothing else matters.


I would tell myself ...


Drink lots of water.


Turn off your phone most days.


Lay in bed and snuggle, snuggle, and snuggle.


Happy Saturday to all the parents out there, especially the ones who are being hard on themselves. Today's mantra: I am enough. I do enough. 



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Girl, Stop Apologizing

Every once in awhile a book comes along that changes you! A book that inspires you to dig deep, take action, and reach for your dreams.

Rachel Hollis’ book, Girl Stop Apologizing, has inspired me to get up every morning at 5:20 before my kids get out of bed and work on my own book, to exercise daily, drink lots of water, and most importantly, to not give up on my goals.

Thank you, Rachel for your important work empowering women to live up to our full potential.

If you are looking to improve your business, marriage, friendships or overall health - this is a must read. If you have been feeling low lately and need a pick me up, grab a copy of Girl Stop Apologizing.

I’m loving this book and am almost done with another one of Rachel’s books, Girl, Go Wash Your Face.

Let’s keep inspiring and encouraging each other! @msrachelhollis 

Becoming You

“Just try and meditate for 3 minutes a day,” she suggested. I wasn’t sure if I could. I felt like I wanted to crawl out of my skin every time I tried to meditate. ⠀

I was afraid of being alone with my thoughts and feelings. Meditation felt too uncomfortable. ⠀

However, I had heard amazing things about meditation. I had heard it helped bring more calm and peace to your mind. I was willing to try. ⠀

That 3 minutes soon grew to 5 minutes. Then 5 became 10. Now, I happily wake up each morning to meditate for 20 minutes before my kids get out of bed. ⠀

My experience with meditation is that it is not about evolving into something that I am not. Instead, I befriend who I was all along (the part of me that just got lost along the way). Then, in turn, I show up as an example of peace and love in the world. I am present for my children. I no longer want to crawl out of my own skin. ⠀

What helps you meditate? Is it an app? Waking up early? I love to hear from you all!⠀

Quote by David Lynch⠀

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Gratitude For Life's Challenges

“I’m 99.9% sure you have this disease ... you will probably die from it,” the doctor told me and my mother as we sat in the wooden chairs of his small office. ⠀

I had horrible stomach pain my senior year of high school. After what felt like billions of tests, the doctors misdiagnosed me with a disease I didn’t have. It was, to say the least, a very difficult time in my life. ⠀

I have learned from that experience, and other challenges life has presented, to look for gratitude in the difficulties. ⠀

Because of that health crisis in my life I have a greater awareness for other people’s pain and health problems, I learned mindfulness and meditation because the pain forced me to seek a healthy solution, and I have gratitude for the many years that I have no longer had debilitating stomach pain. ⠀

Life will always have its difficulties. Looking for gratitude during the tough times gives us freedom and courage. ⠀

“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather,” Pema Chödrön ⛅️ ⠀

Have a blessed day and Find Your Calm In the Chaos of Daily Life 🌟⠀

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Containing the Paradox by Pema Chödrön

In our quest for happiness, sometimes we forget that we also need to experience the sadness. This is not to say that we shouldn't practice daily affirmations and positive thinking (those are of the utmost important). However, when sad feelings come knocking at our door or our children go through a rough time, we must remember that these painful times are also of great value - they give us the gift of empathy and understanding for other beings.

A good friend gave me this reading. I am grateful for the reminder to appreciate the glorious and wretched parts of life.

Containing the Paradox by Pema Chödrön 

Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, and energizes us. We feel connected. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others. We make ourselves a big deal and want life to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction. 

On the other hand, wretchedness - life’s painful aspect - softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is an important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose - you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all be so depressed and helpless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together. 

Atisha said, “Whichever of the two occurs, be patient.” Whether it is glorious or wretched, delightful for hateful, be patient. Patience means allowing things to unfold at their own speed rather than jumping in with your habitual repose to either pain or pleasure. The real happiness that underlies both gloriousness and wretchedness often gets short-circuited by our jumping too fast into the same habitual pattern.

Patience is not learned in safety. It is not learned when everything is harmonious and going well. When everything is smooth sailing, who needs patience? if you stay in your room with the door locked and the curtain drawn, everything may seem harmonious, but the minute anything doesn’t go your way, you blow up. There is no cultivation of patience when your pattern is to just try to seek harmony and smooth everything out. Patience implies willingness to be alive rather than seek harmony. 

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“Everybody Can Dance!” by Kara Navolio

If you have a little dancer in your life, this book is a must have! 💃 ⠀

Kara Navolio has written a beautiful and inclusive book, Everybody Can Dance. What I love about this picture book is that it celebrates people’s differences, has a great beat in the rhyme of the text, and the back of the book showcases different types of dance.


Congratulations on your meaningful work, Kara! This is a lovely picture book!!! ⠀

Pre-orders are available on Amazon, B & N and Indibound.

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Meditation

“There is only on way to maintain an unshakeable inner tranquility. We cannot think ourselves into that state; we cannot achieve it through the beauties of nature or music or art or other outer experiences, no matter how peaceful they make us feel. It comes only through deep, devolution-filled meditation that takes us beyond thought and emotion, anchoring us into the calm center of our being” - Sri Daya Mata, Intuition: Soul-Guidance for Life’s Decisions 


I have been meditating more and more this month. It changes everything inside me when I do. However, It has taken me over a decade to embrace meditation as a tool that I can use all day long. I used to meditate for a few minutes every morning and every night. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact, it was a huge accomplishment for me! I just find that when I weave meditation into little moments throughout the day (the times when I would usually check my phone, but meditate instead), my whole day seems to flow with Grace (and when it’s not flowing, I can be more accepting of what is). 



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LOVE

In a month full of Valentines and Romantic Poems, I thought I would take a moment and give a shout out to the most important LOVE of all … 


Loving the Divine Within.

My experience with self-love is that I didn’t know how lacking I was with it and how much I craved it, until I started to shine some light on it.

We live in a culture that is increasingly conditions-based. We define ourselves and others by the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the activities we do, and the places we work. What often gets lost in that conditional thinking is the Divine worth we all have within.

You might be saying right about now, “Great Laura, but what does this have to do with parenting?” 

It is my experience that my internal sense of self-love is directly proportional to how loving I am to my children. The more grounded I am in myself, the more available I am to give to my little ones.

So, today I invite you all to take a few minutes to meditate. During the meditation, imagine that you are giving yourself the biggest hug, send a loving light to every place in your body that needs extra support today, and make a mental list of all the things you love about yourself. 

Extra Hugs,

Laura 

Mealtime Woes

Mealtime woes with young children can make you feel like you’re looney tunes. 

I remember when both my children went from having big appetites to picking small bites of food off their plates (I’m happy to report they are becoming good eaters again ... there is hope )

It is normal for toddlers to go through phases where they reject food and here are a few tips to get you through those tricky times (with that said, if your child is refusing food often, it is always good to check with a pediatrician). 

Mindful Ninja Mom Tip #1 - Let your child participate in preparing the meal. Toddlers can cut steamed carrots with a child-safe knife, rip lettuce, or tear a crown of broccoli apart. The more involved a child is in making the food, the more likely she will be to taste it  

Mindful Ninja Mom Tip #2 - Stay calm! Try to avoid nagging your child for not eating or bribing him to eat. The more anxiety we project onto the meal, the more anxious our children become around food. If a meal goes untouched, you can simply wait to feed your child until the next mealtime or offer a healthy snack in between.

Mindful Ninja Mom Tip #3 - Create healthy routines around meals. Eat at similar times each day. Let your child help you set the table. Engage the family in dinner time conversations. Establish good rountines around meals and be realistic about your expectations for your young child. Like Melanie Miller said, “toddlers don’t have a lot of time for eating. Playing and being active are much more important.” 

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Shift Book Box

How do you teach children about socioeconomic diversity? How do you have conversations about “ownership, resources, and power, and how those things are distributed, perceived, and experienced in our world”? (Shift, Socioeconomic Diversity: Conversations to Challenge Bias and Rethink Wealth). 

In the month of December, a time that feels filled with materialism, the Shift Book Box was an amazing resource for our family - opening up a door to answering and discussing important questions about socioeconomic diversity, offering a selection of beautiful picture books, and providing guides for parents. 

I really have fallen in love with this book box and appreciate the meaningful picture books and parent guidance. I can’t wait to see what other important topics they will be exploring in the coming months. 

Learn more https://www.shiftbookbox.com

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How to Help Your Child When They Are Afraid To Go To Bed ....

Both my kids cried last night, afraid to go to bed. ⠀

This is more common for my four-year-old, but from time to time, my six-year-old will have a scary dream as he drifts to sleep and it startles him back awake. ⠀

Here are some tools that I used to help them get to sleep quickly and feel better...⠀

Tool #1 - I normalized their fears. I told them that I could relate to their fears and gave personal examples of times that I had similar fears. ⠀

Fear is so scary because it tells us a story that our fear is unique to us and will last forever. But fear isn’t unique. Fear tells us the same story, which is that we won’t get what we want or we will lose what we have. When we normalize fear, it takes the charge out of it. ⠀

Tool #2 - Bring in humor. After comforting my son and telling him about my own fears, we found the humor in the situation. My son’s fear was that he will die or that my husband and I will die before him. At one point he said, “die can mean two different things. It means not being alive or dying your hair” to which I quickly responded, “I know your big fear is that you’ll dye your hair.” We had a good laugh with that as he cuddled up into my arms. ⠀

Tool #3 - Offer some mindfulness tools that are at your child’s level. For my daughter, we spent a few minutes talking about things we are grateful for and giving appreciations. We also took some nice deep breaths. For my son, we imagined grounding cords going from us into the core of the earth. We also imagined a magnet outside the room sucking away any scary thoughts/dreams. ⠀

Tool #4 - Back tickles and cuddles. There is nothing better than a good snuggle when you are afraid. Spend a few extra minutes to help regulate your child’s nervous system and let their bodies get back to a state of calm. ⠀

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How to Parent Mindfully

I remember when my sweet little three-year-old tried to hit me. I was stunned and heartbroken. ⠀

I worried that I had done something wrong to make him think hitting was okay. At the same time, I was really angry that he had hit me. ⠀

I know now, that it is developmentally appropriate for toddlers to hit when they are angry. I also learned how to navigate that behavior in a kind yet firm way so that the hitting stopped. ⠀

For me though, learning to redirect the behavior, was just the tip of the iceberg. ⠀

Underneath, was me taking a deeper look at my reactions to my children. Seeing my old patterns of behavior. Discovering how to bring awareness to the feelings that come from raising humans. ⠀

This is where mindfulness has come into my daily parenting. I have learned how to observe my children’s behavior without reacting to it (that doesn’t mean that I don’t guide them and set clear rules, but I react less to them pushing my buttons and more from a peaceful space). ⠀

Here are a few practices that I use to bring more mindfulness into my home. I hope you enjoy them and can use them too! ⠀

#1 - Meditation 🧘‍♀️ Meditate Daily - for a long time, I used the app Headspace to learn how meditate (and I still use it from time to time). There is no right or wrong way to meditate and there are many books and resources available to teach meditation, but I like headspace because it allows me to time myself (which I needed in the beginning) and offered a guided structure to the meditation. Now I meditate a few times each day, coming back to my breath and my body. ⠀

#2 - Awareness ☀️- When my children are bickering or my daughter is pouting, I try and pause before I react. I bring awareness to the situation - What feelings are coming up in me? Has my daughter had a long day at school? Do my kids need some outside time? What underlying behaviors could be a play here? ⠀

Bringing awareness gives me the gift of insight rather than simply reacting to the situation. I then have a better chance of getting to the root of the problems and staying more calm! ⠀

#3 - Equanimity 🌊 - I can bring equanimity to my home when I acknowledge that all thoughts and feelings are valid. I don’t have to judge my son’s anger, my own anxiety, or my daughter’s frustration. All of these feelings will come and go like waves rolling in the sea. As I bring acceptance and love to what is, I find that everything soon changes. I can help support my children with whatever feelings they are experiencing (just like I can be kind to myself for my own feelings). ⠀

To be honest, I don’t find all of this super easy. In fact, that is why I take the time to write these posts and share my experience with others. I have times where all of this goes out the window and I get mad with my children. Nevertheless, I try each day to implement these tools into my life. I find the more I share it with you, the easier it is to keep practicing myself. ⠀

So, thank you for reading my posts and for walking this path of mindful parenting with me. I hope you and your family make time for some extra giggles today. ⠀

XO,⠀

Laura ⠀

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Making Agreements With Your Child

“She’s having such a hard time following the rules,” my mom said about my daughter. 

It’s true, the last few weeks have been hard for my little four-year-old. She had the stomach flu, caught a cough from her brother, and now has an ear infection. 

We have been giving her extra love for sure  But the comment from my mom made me think. What do us parents do when our children aren’t “following the rules”?

Here’s a parenting tip you can use ...

Have a family meeting about the concern. Start the meeting with appreciations. Ask your child to help you find a solution to the problem. Once a solution is agreed upon, test it for a week and then check back in to make sure everyone is happy with the progress. 

Have a parenting question? Email me and I’ll post the answer without breaking your anonymity. 



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Potty Learning with Tot on the Pot

As the founder of Mindful Ninja Mom, you can imagine my overwhelm when my four-year-old daughter wouldn’t use the potty. I had a head full of knowledge. I knew many of the potty teaching tips and tricks. But alas, I couldn’t get my little one to tinkle or toot in anything but her beloved diaper.

In truth, I had been fortunate with my first-born. He had come home from preschool at three-years-old and announced that he would no longer wear diapers. He insisted that I send him to school the next day in underwear and that completed our potty experience (at least for the peeing … with pooping it took a bit longer before he was ready to outgrow is diaper).

With my daughter, we kept hoping that she would have the same experience my son had and outgrow her diaper. When it became clear that wasn’t going to happen, I tried a variety of other approaches that I knew worked for many families. Unfortunately though, it wasn’t working for us. My daughter was way too scared to use the potty and nothing was going to change her mind (and I started lacking the confidence to help guide her). 

Nothing, that is, until we discovered Tot on the Pot! 


I can’t recommend Tot on the Pot enough! It has everything that my fearful little girl needed to brave the potty-

  • an engaging, relatable and motivating picture book,

  • a parenting handbook,

  • activity cards for celebrating each potty success, 

  • and a doll for role playing that came with its very own potty! 


As a parenting teacher, I already knew the value of role playing, however, I hadn’t experienced the effectiveness of having a doll to role play with that was anatomically correct and came with her/his own rightsized potty.


Patenting Tip: It is very helpful for children to role play with dolls and toys. In this case, role playing using the potty helped my daughter work out fears she had around using the potty, gave her a sense of control, and made using the potty a lot of fun! 


Prior to introducing Tot and her pot to my daughter, I read the Parents Guide which outlines the best potty training practices and provides a plan for the first few days of the potty training experience. The guide also has fabulous “Tot Tips” and “Some Extra Love,” that give helpful reminders to do things like be patient, incorporate special time during the potty training experience, and remember that your child is on his/her own potty training journey. 


After reading the Parents Guide, I introduced the Tot on the Pot picture book to my daughter a few days before we started using the potty. She loved the picture book and asked to read it multiple times a day (always a good sign of a well written book!). 


The first morning of “no more diapers!” I gave my daughter her doll, which she named Tot. I remembered all my tips from the Parents Guide, and as we waited for the her bladder to fill, we role played using Tot and her potty. 


As I mentioned earlier, my daughter is older than most children who usually potty train around 24 to 32 months of age. Additionally, she had built up a big fear around using the potty. When it finally came time to use the potty, my daughter was beside herself and no longer felt using the potty was fun like it had been earlier that morning. I was patient with her and waited with her while she sat on the potty. I reminded her of how Tot had used the potty earlier and read her a few of her favorite potty books. Eventually, she asked me to leave the bathroom and went to pee all by herself!!!


She was still a little frightened after going pee, so the activity card that came with the Tot on the Pot was brilliant!!! Our activity card was playing catch with a roll of toilet paper (there are a variety of cards that are included). Unlike traditional reward systems for using the potty, the activity cards that come with Tot on the Pot are imaginative and fun. They provide a social reward that the whole family can participate in (which is just what my daughter needed!). 


Parenting can feel overwhelming at times as we navigate the various stages of our children’s development. In a world that is full of information for parents and toys that are geared to make our lives “easier,” it is hard to know what is actually best for our little ones and worth our time, energy and investment. For our family, Tot on the Pot was the most helpful tool we could have hoped for in our potty learning journey. I am so grateful to Jackie Leverton for putting her expertise into such a thoughtful product. I highly recommend Tot on the Pot for children who are learning to use the potty (and for parents that are learning how to help them)! 


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Helping Kids Through Fear

This week I am focusing on helping kids with their fears.⠀

In yesterdays post, I shared how to model deep breathing for your child. ⠀

Today, I will share two tips for helping kids with their fears.⠀

Mindful Ninja Mom Tip #1: Normalize the Fear⠀

One of the most difficult things about fear, is that it makes you feel like you are the only one who is experiencing the fear. Because fear can be very isolating, it is important to let children know that their fears are normal.⠀

When my children share a fear with me, one of the first things that I do is share a time when I have experienced a similar fear. For example, my daughter went through a phase where she was terrified of throwing up after two bouts of sickness. It helped her to hear my personal stories of times that I vomited and how I felt scared too. She would ask for me to tell her the same one or two stories over and over again. That can feel overwhelming as a parent, but it is actually very normal child behavior. My daughter was making sense of her own experience by hearing my story. ⠀

Mindful Ninja Mom Tip #2: Don’t Avoid the Fear⠀

It is natural to want to avoid the things that we children are afraid of. Last year on our trip to Costa Rica, our daughter was afraid of the ocean waves. She didn’t want to go to the beach or play in the ocean. ⠀

Instead of avoiding the ocean altogether, I supported her in a way that felt safe. She told me that she would be okay going in the ocean if my husband or I was holding her. We started with one of us carrying her in the ocean. Gradually, she wanted to hold our hands so that she could jump in the waves. By the end of our trip, she was running through the water and feeling much more courageous about the ocean waves.⠀

Helping children face their fears in a supportive and safe way will help them build self confidence as they continue to walk through new challenges. ⠀

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