parenting mindfully

Do This And Stop Your Kids Next Meltdown!

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Bam! I threw the mac and cheese box on the ground. 


"Mommy, I want to see the noodles!" my four-year-old was saying over and over again.


After sitting in a plastic chair for 2 hours and watching elementary school graduation in 90 degree weather, followed by 3 hours at the local park for an end of the year party, I was d-o-n-e. 


I just wanted to make dinner in peace, feed my children, and get my butt in bed. My daughter, of course, had other plans. She wanted to help in the kitchen. She was curious if I was making her favorite noodles with the white sauce of the yucky yellow ones.


Of course, I intellectually knew that she just needed some attention and redirection. In that moment though, my anger came out as I threw the box on the ground and began to stomp away.


As my daughter started to cry, I remembered that I now had a choice. I didn't have to continue the power struggle. I didn't have to entrain my anger.


I got down on the ground and knelt in to give her a big old hug.


"I'm sorry," I said. "I am feeling tired and angry. 


I love you."


My daughter squeezed her little arms around my neck. 


The whole thing was over. The anger passed. The crying stopped. 


Want to stop a meltdown with your child? Offer a HUG. It isn't going to work 100% of the time, but it will work 90% (or more). 


And no, the hug doesn't reinforce the negative behavior. You don't have to punish your kid to make them learn. In the words of Jane Nelson, "connect before you correct!"


Happy Parenting Y'all,


Laura 

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. 


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!

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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%22Knowing 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.%22.png

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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