positive discipline

Do This And Stop Your Kids Next Meltdown!

a book you can't put down-6.png

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,




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. 

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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. 


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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Last night my six-year-old had a scary dream. At first he was hesitant to tell me what it was about, but I explained that although talking about our feelings can feel hard at first, it makes them less scary later on. ⠀

After he told me about the dream, I asked him if he would like to try a trick that I use when I am scared. He eagerly said, “Yes!”⠀

I invited him to think of a color. I said that I often like to use the colors gold or white. He said he would pick pink because pink is for flowers and the heart. 🌸 ⠀

I asked him to imagine that there was a pink light surrounding his body and radiating out of his heart, hands and feet. ⠀

I suggested he bring the pink light to anywhere in his body that felt scared - like his wiggly feet or racing heart. ⠀

He kept saying, “I can see the pink light!” And, “It is making me feel happy!”⠀

Then I told him that we could pretend there was a magnet outside his window, sucking any bad dreams away from his room. He loved that idea! ⠀

In the end, he went to bed, feeling safe and reassured. ⠀

I don’t push meditation or mindfulness on my children. I don’t want it to be something that is imposed on them or that seems parent driven, but I do incorporate it in meaningful and helpful ways when I see an opportunity. ⠀

Last night was one of those beautiful examples of sharing my own meditation practice with my son. ⠀

Quote by Chidvilasananda


Feelings Are Always Okay ...

Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen teaches children that feelings are always okay, but what children do with those feelings is not always okay. ⠀

I recently shared how to make an Angry Wheel of Choice with your child. ⠀

The Angry Wheel of Choice gives children options for processing their anger. Making it with your child, invites a conversation around what appropriate ways to express anger are. ⠀

I made my first Angry Wheel of Choice with our son when he was three-years-old. We created it because he started hitting me when he was angry. ⠀

Working with his wheel, I would reiterate that his feelings of anger were okay, but hitting was never okay. ⠀

When he would hit me, I would simply state, “I don’t deserve to be treated that way” and walk away if I needed to or offer him a hug if he was in a state to receive one (remember, Nelsen also teaches that behind every misbehaving child is a discouraged child). ⠀

My son quickly learned new ways to express his anger and his hitting ceased. ⠀

You can learn more parenting tips on my website www.mindfulninjamom.com⠀

Check out my free parenting webinar by clicking the link in my Instagram bio ✨


Angry Wheel of Choice

We have been focusing on anger this week and I highlighted the book, When Miles Got Mad by Abbie Schiller and Samantha Kurtzman-Counter in an earlier post. ⠀

Today, I will showcase the “Angry Wheel of Choice” from Positive Discipline which you can make with your child when he is calm. ⠀

Below you can see two wheels that I made with my son. One was for myself as a model and the second was after reading the book, When Miles Got Mad (we also made one for him which isn’t displayed here). ⠀

For “Mommy’s Angry Wheel of Choice,” my son and I sat down and talked about all the things I could do when I was angry. After making our list, we picked the 6 ideas that we thought would work best when I was upset and put them into a pie chart ...⠀

1. Breathe and Count to 10⠀

2. Walk Away⠀

3. Draw a Picture ⠀

4. Visualize Something Nice ⠀

5. Meditate ⠀

6. Dance and Sing⠀

After making my Angry Wheel of Choice, I helped my son make his own. ⠀

We hung them up in our home and I continue to model using them when I am upset. ⠀

We also made one for Miles in the story, When Miles Got Mad. Making one for the picture book was another great way to model and normalize anger/solutions for working through anger. ⠀

When people are angry, their prefrontal cortex isn’t functioning like it normally does. This makes it hard for both children and adults to use calming activities when they are in this mad state. ⠀

My son doesn’t always use his Angry Wheel of Choice when he is mad. It would be unrealistic if I expected him too. Instead, he is learning what calming activities are available to him when he is upset. And, often he does use them ... which in my opinion, is fantastic!!! ⠀


Raising Mindful Kids

I recently saw an interview from a parenting expert that claimed parents need to toughen their children up to the world at a young age. ⠀

It broke my heart to see all the parents chiming in agreement with this parenting expert. ⠀

Children do not need to be tough. Boys don’t need to keep in their tears or forget about their feelings. Little girls shouldn’t just be left to argue it out because they are “girls.” ⠀

In an ever shifting world, it is our job as parents to demonstrate softness, love, stability, and respect. ⠀

How do we do that?⠀

- We are kind yet firm with our children. ⠀

- We establish routines in our homes. ⠀

- We hold family meetings where everyone has a voice. ⠀

- We play often with our little ones: filling our homes with love and laughter. ⠀

Quote by L.R. Knost⠀


How To Help Kids With Their Anger

Of all the feelings my children experience, anger used to be (and, honestly, still can be) the hardest one for me to process. When I was a child, I didn’t learn a lot of effective tools for navigating my own anger. Ultimately, that led me to suppress my anger and become less tolerant of other people’s anger. ⠀

As a parent, children always provide plenty of opportunities for us to work through our own stuff. This is a perfect example of me relearning how to steer through the muddy waters of anger, so that I can better teach and understand my own little ones. ⠀

So, what resources are available to help teach kids effective tools for processing anger? And what tools can us parents use so that we don’t react when are children are upset? ⠀

As many of you know by now, one of my favorite resources for helping children understand their feelings is picture books. Picture books give children the gift of understanding that they are not alone with their feelings and they provide parents with a container for discussing their children’s feelings.⠀

Here is a list of five of my favorite picture books for talking about anger. I will highlight these books throughout the week and use one book to showcase how it might be used with your child.⠀

5 Picture Books About Anger -⠀

Cool Down and Work Through Anger by Cheri J. Meiners⠀

Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard⠀

I Was So Mad by Mercer Mayer⠀

When Miles Got Mad by Abbie Schiller and Samantha Counter⠀

When Sophie Get Angry - Really, Really Angry … by Molly Bang⠀

Stay tuned for an in-depth look at using one of these books with your child to help him work through his anger.


Connections Foster Gratitude

With Thanksgiving comes the topic of gratitude. And although I know we all have so much to be grateful for, I thought I would take today’s post as an opportunity to talk about what we can do when we aren’t feeling grateful.

Do you ever wish you could swap your family with another family? Perhaps a family where the children are better behaved and have good manners ALL the time. Wouldn’t it be nice your new family would also come with a nicer and cleaner home? Sounds lovely, right?!

Unfortunately (and fortunately), unless you are planning on being on the television show Wife Swap, your family (and little rascals) are the ones you have to work with.

So, what can we do to make the best of our current family? How do we find gratitude for the beautiful children in the moments when we just feel way too overwhelmed?

The best way for me to find gratitude for my children is by connecting with them (and I mean really connecting with them - no multitasking, texting or driving). It has to be time that I am really engaged with my kiddos. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be very long before that one-on-one time makes a big impact for me and for them. When I got my Positive Discipline Certification, we learned that 5 minutes of special time with our children will make a big impact.

Yesterday was a perfect example. My son was angry and started cutting an old cardboard box up. Instead of engaging in his anger, I took the opportunity to ask him if he had ever heard of a diorama before. Immediately, his anger gave way to curiosity. Before long, we were on our way to making the coolest dinosaur diorama. That special time turned our entire day around and carried us well into the evening!

Favorite Parenting Books

Favorite Parenting Books

There is a plethora of parenting resources available to us, which is wonderful, but can make it difficult to know which parenting books and websites are worth investing our time, energy, and money in. 

I have made a list of some of my favorite parenting recourses and listed them below. I have found them to be a great fit for our families values and beliefs around parenting - being kind yet firm, nurturing the whole child, allowing everyone in our home to have a voice, and bringing calm into our daily family activities.

Positive Disciplineby Dr. Jane Nelsen. 

There are a series of Positive Discipline books available based on your families needs and the ages of your children. A great book to start with is the Positive Discipline Book. 

“Inside you’ll discover how to:

• bridge communication gaps

• defuse power struggles

• avoid the dangers of praise

• enforce your message of love

• build on strengths, not weaknesses

• hold children accountable with their self-respect intact

• teach children not what to think but how to think

• win cooperation at home and at school

• meet the special challenge of teen misbehavior”


There is also a wonderful Positive Discipline blog that I reference often to answer my parenting questions - https://www.positivediscipline.com/blog

Here you can find how to approach common parenting problems such as back talk, how to follow through with children, and what to do when a child is acting out.

Siblings Without Rivalry: How to help your children live together so you can live tooby Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

If you are a parent, an educator, or simply want learn how to better your own interpersonal relationships, this is the book for you! 

I LOVE this book. I laughed, I cried, and I learned so very much about raising my two young children. 

Faber and Mazlish have several more books, but next on my list is How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk.

Check out their website - https://www.fabermazlish.com

Dr. Daniel J Siegel, M.D.

Dr. Daniel Siegel is brilliant at teaching the science of the brain to parents so that they can better understand their children’s developmental process. He has many books and I’ve enjoyed every book that I have read thus far. 

Dr. Daniel Siegel has a wonderful video that explains what happens to the brain when a child gets angry. I can’t recommend the video enough - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gm9CIJ74Oxw

Siegel's website is also full of great parenting suggestions, a complete list of his books, and wonderful resources - http://www.drdansiegel.com/home/