toddlers

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 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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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. ⠀

Follow me on Instagram for more parenting tips!

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When Your Child Hits ...

Every parent hopes that their young child will not hit another child, but the fact is that hitting in the toddler years in not uncommon (especially if you have siblings). ⠀

When a young child does hit another child, a normal parent reaction is to want to reprimand the hitter. Parents want to scold and punish their children in order to teach them that their behavior is not okay. ⠀

Punishment, however, is not necessarily the best approach (nor is it often very effective). ⠀

So, what can you do if your child does hit another child?⠀

If your child hits, immediately comfort the child who has been hit.⠀

Giving attention to the child that has been hit models empathy for your own child.⠀

Invite the child who has hit to help comfort the injured child. Maybe they want to help get the injured child some ice? ⠀

Involving the child who has hit teaches another important lesson in kindness and respect. ⠀

Later, when you have some alone time with your child, talk to him about alternative ways to express his anger. This is a great time to role play with you little one. Role play healthy solutions to anger. ⠀

Click the link in my Instagram bio for a Free Parenting Webinar. ⠀

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5 Tips for a Calmer Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is about family, friends, food, and fun! But, if you have children, it can also be overwhelming getting them prepared for the day, while trying to get yourself ready with meals and potentially traveling.

Here are 5 tips for a calmer Thanksgiving …

1. Before going to dinner or having people over to your home, have a mini meeting with your children to create agreements around behavior. Let your children remind you of your family rules and let them know what you will do if they aren’t following through on the agreements. For example, if siblings are fighting then let them each identify a space to have some cool down and calm down time. Letting them be part of the process gives them a sense of power and also ensures that your family is on the same page.

2. If a problem does occur, take a moment to connect with your children before you redirect their behavior. For example, if your son is mad that he can’t eat pie yet, let him know that you see how angry and disappointed he is. Then, give him a choice for something he can do.

3. Bring calming activities for the car ride - coloring books and picture books are a great idea. Thanksgiving can be overstimulating for children, so have something that can help reground them.

4. Find five minutes today to get down on the floor with your children and play. The more connected they feel to you, the easier it is to help them when they are having big feelings.

5. Have you taken a moment for yourself today to BREATHE? Find a quiet place to sit and tune into your body. Take some deep breaths and imagine sunlight radiating through your body. Ground into yourself and give yourself some LOVE.

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