Holding hands

Friday, March 16, 2012

Daylight Savings with LESS STRESS

It’s daylight savings and you know what that means! Getting your child up in the morning and to bed at night, often two of the main battles of the day, will be even more challenging than usual…

We can reset the clock by simply pushing a button. It’s not as easy to reset our child’s body clock (or ours for that matter.) That’s because the change to daylight savings time disrupts our circadian rhythm, the cycle of our physiological processes over 24 hours. This disruption can cause problems sleeping and eating normally beyond just the time they're happening.
Adjusting to daylight savings time can take a few days or even longer – think major jet lag.

Here are 3 stress to success strategies you can utilize this week to help make the adjustment easier for all of you…


In my parenting tele-class last week I showed how your child’s behavior is a communication of stress and overwhelm. This disruption in circadian rhythm is a form of stress so EXPECT IT to show up in some additional behavior challenges. Then you won’t be taken by surprise!


Clear your plate as much as you can this week and give yourself and your child extra time at BOTH ends of the day. That way YOU will feel less stressed and be able to have more patience to give your child a bit longer to do what they need to do.

Invest an extra 5-10 minutes of mommy or daddy time with your child: In the morning when (s)he is waking up and in the evening between dinner and bed (This is where the extra time you built in in #2 comes into play)

This investment will deepen your relationship with your child while saving time and energy in the long run!

What Do Art and Behavior Have in Common?

What do Art and Behavior Have in Common?

Sometimes what we feel is messy. Sometimes it goes outside the lines, spills on the floor or gets our clothes dirty. Sometimes what we feel isn’t nice. When did you decide your feelings had to be nice?

Making a space for your child to express him or herself creatively requires ignoring the mess for a while in order to allow the creative process to unfold. Sharing the art-making experience with your child is a wonderful way to be close. In the same way, making a space for your child to express him or herself emotionally requires ignoring the splattered behavior and messy words temporarily (as long as everyone is safe) and tuning in to what your child is expressing. What if that acting out behavior was simply the picture of an overwhelmed child?

Emotional expression, like creative expression comes from the right brain, which “thinks” in images, intuition and imagination. The left brain “thinks” in logic and language. Children are emotional creatures. They’re wired that way for survival which means their right brain is in the drivers seat when it comes to their behavior. That’s why children use behavior, and words that aren’t nice, to communicate or paint a messy picture of what they’re feeling. They simply don’t have the words to tell you.

Your child’s behavior is an out-picturing of the feelings inside him or her whether “good” or “bad.” It’s not personal any more than the dripped or splattered paint during art-making is personal. I know that may a new way to see it, but just try it on for now. An even better relationship with your child awaits on the other side.

Let me show you what I mean. In this first vignette, mom takes Sam’s behavior personally, causing her to be even more stressed out:
Mom: “Time to get ready for bed”
Sam: “No! I’m not tired!”
Mom: “You need to do what I say and get ready for bed.”
Sam: “I hate you!”
Mom: “That’s not nice! You need to apologize to mommy.”
The battle between mom and Sam escalates leading to frustration, and perhaps yelling and tears....

In this vignette, mom validates Sam’s feelings and helps him become calm - leading to a peaceful bedtime:
Mom: “Time to get ready for bed”
Sam: “No! I’m not tired!”
Mom: “It’s time to get ready for bed.”
Sam: “I hate you!”
Mom(takes a deep breath): “Wow what a big feeling - you sound/look mad!” (Mom gives him the words to match how he seems to be feeling)
Sam: “I am mad!”
Mom: “Tell me!” Mom has stepped off the battlefield and has tapped into Sam’s right brain in order to connect emotionally. Using the 5 senses she asks questions like:
Show me how big your mad is (using her hands)
What color is it?
How loud is it?
Is it hard or soft?
After a while, Sam feels better and mom is able to take his hand and lead him calmly up to bed.

The creation of art can be messy. Why do we feel the need to clean up our child’s feelings and make them neat?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tired of Hearing Your Child Say, "NO!"

So, I'm wondering...are you tired of hearing your child say "NO" to you?

Do you run into resistance every time you ask your child to do something like, "Get dressed for school," "Come to dinner," "Pick up your clothes," or "Leave your brother alone"? Perhaps your child just ignores you as you repeat yourself 20 times! But often, it's an outright, immediate and defiant, "NO"!

It's time to Stop, Drop and Breathe.

When your child says "NO," it can make you want to push right back and try to exert control! The problem is that no matter how reasonable the thing you're asking of your child is, simply the act of asking it triggers a split second reaction to the "threat" of change or transition in your child's little survival brain. The "NO" is like a spark. It's the same as if a saber-toothed tiger suddenly appeared!

Breathe and stay with me here while I share something important...

In that defiant moment is where you have the greatest opportunity to teach your child the values you want most for them: responsibility, respect, empathy and cooperation. But not if you ignite the spark! Your power as a parent lies in cooling the fire rather than fueling the fire.

So how do you do this?


#1 STOP - stop talking

#2 DROP - drop down to your child's level (or step back)

#3 B-R-E-E-A-T-H-E - If you say it like this, you'll BREATHE OUT FIRST which is what you want to do to stop your stress reaction. Then take 3 more deep breaths IN AND OUT. This will pull you back from the end of your rope.

It doesn't matter how many parenting tools you have in your toolbox if when you need them - you can't open your toolbox or even find it! When you Stop, Drop, and Breathe you cool the fire and allow your child the space to make the transition so they can listen better and feel connected to you at the same time.

To find out more about how to go from stress to success when dealing with resistance, defiance, disrespect and just plain not listening come to my free tele-class this Tuesday, March 13th.
Just go to http://www.parentingbeyondwords.com/312teleclass