Andrea Nair: Connect-Four Parenting

Oct
07
2015

Finding Gratitude During Hard Times

Gratitude grows happiness.

being thankful in the hard times

(Advisory warning: This post uses words that may be disturbing to some people - particularly those who have experienced physical trauma or miscarriages)

It is well known that gratitude helps us live a happier life. I distinctly remember hearing this sentence during a psychotherapy workshop I attended when my children were one and three years-old. Shockingly, after the presenter said those words, I hung my head and wept. I could feel the eyes of the room move toward me, but I just couldn’t collect myself: I sat there crying.

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Oct
05
2015

15 Phrases to Use Instead of "You Make Me So Mad!"

Need some go-to phrases when everyone is upset? These are sure to help.

calming phrases to use with toddlers

When we are at the end of our ropes, it can be incredibly hard to stay calm when our children do or say something that is upsetting. Self-talk can so quickly shout negative messages in our minds like, “I can’t take this anymore,” or “I don’t have time for this!”

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Sep
16
2015

Family Travel & Technology = Perfect Road Mix

Modern-day road tripping is easier than ever

I grew up five latitudinal degrees south of the Arctic Circle. This meant long cold winters and long, long car rides. Flying was out of the question due to the formidable cost of doing so. We joked that it was cheaper to fly to Hawaii from most major cities than from our city to our capitol city! Each summer, our parents would load us, and our little dog into our truck and camper for two months of road tripping (my dad was a high school teacher).

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Sep
04
2015

Travel With Your Kids - and Save Money Doing it!

Don't let the fear of travel costs keep you at home.

saving money when travelling with kids

Our family of four has made travelling a priority in our life. Recently, we’ve been very fortunate to travel from just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada to amazing places like Italy, the Caribbean, New York, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Chicago, Park City, Utah, Banff National Park and Yellowstone National Park. We’ve also trekked back to my home-province of Manitoba many times.

In these journeys, we have discovered 15 tricks to significantly save money while we are away from home. These savings have increased our to ability to travel more!

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Sep
03
2015
Blissdom Canada

A friend who is new to blogging recently asked me if I thought it would be “worth it” for her to attend BlissDom Canada this year. With big eyes, I said, “Absolutely!” She quickly responded, “Okay, but why?”

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Aug
28
2015

How "Noticing" Can Deepen The Relationship With Your Child

Use these four suggestions to help your child feel valued, important and heard.

Three things happened in the last few days that have drawn my attention to one painful realization: I wish I could have a do-over with how I treated my children when they were toddlers.

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Aug
26
2015

A Behind The Scenes Look of Homeschooling And How It Works

What the logistics of educating our children looks like in our house.

what is homeschooling

As all the back-to-school advertisements grab my attention, I smile and look away. This is the first year our family isn’t involved in back-to-school because we are giving homeschooling a shot!

This feels quite foreign to me because I was a teacher for ten years before having children. There have been many years of my own public schooling, undergraduate and graduate degrees and teaching so heading into September with a getting back at the books mindset has been a lifelong way of doing things!

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Aug
04
2015

The Scariest Moment of My Parenting Life

Because You Can't think of everything

scary moments in parenting
I had my scariest moment as a parent last night.
 
I went into my boy’s room (they prefer to sleep in the same room) just before going to sleep as I usually do to open windows or adjust the fan. In the dark, I looked to where each of them usually are, but couldn’t see them. I gingerly pulled back each duvet cover to discover two empty beds.

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Jul
24
2015
letting kids learn from mistakes

I distinctly remember my first interaction with a toddler well before I became a parent. Her mother needed to run out to do some errands so I agreed to stay with the 13-month old girl for a couple of hours. As the door closed behind her mom, the girl and I were left staring at each other, both not sure what to do.

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Tuscany travel

In my career as a parenting educator, I spend time coaching parents on how to “fill their child’s buckets.” I call this filling the attachment, or ALIVE tanks. The thing is, I’d say the majority of parents I speak with, particularly moms, are trying to fill their children’s tanks while their own tanks are nearing empty.

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Jun
16
2015

Parents, Stop Saying "OK," OK?

This friendly word is actually counterproductive. Here's why...

How the word Okay is counterproductive to your parenting

In our quest to attach properly, attune deeply, and respect thoroughly, many parents (me included!) have adopted the bad habit of saying, “OK?” when asking a child to do something.

In our minds we are friendly and checking for approval to show our children how much we love and care for them. BUT, in our child’s mind, he or she is thinking, “GREAT! I get veto power,” and are likely to put on the brakes or shout, “NO!”

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Jun
11
2015

12 Vacation-Saving Tips to Reduce Jet Lag in Kids

Doing a long-haul flight? These tips will help get everyone on the right clock.

Treating_jetlag_in_kids

In preparation for an upcoming trip to Italy, I am gathering all the information I can about how to reduce the effects of jet lag on my kids. This will be the first time taking both boys to Europe, so I want to be as prepared as I can. As a parenting educator -and a mom! - I know that tantrums can escalate when kids are tired, so I’m hoping our first few days there are going to be okay!

According to my research and chats with seasoned parent travellers, here are 12 tips to reducing the effects of jet lag in kids:

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Jun
05
2015

Bravery of the Band: Spirit of the West

The band comes together to help John Mann through his early-onset Alzheimer's

The_Spirit_of_the_West

This morning I woke up not knowing I would end the night dancing like no one is watching only a few feet away from the band, Spirit Of The West.

My husband sent an urgent message in the middle of the afternoon letting me know that the band was playing tonight in a small venue in our city (London, Ontario). We assumed it was a cover band, perhaps “Spirit Of The Undiscovered West” and were absolutely shocked to discover the real band was about to play here.

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May
29
2015

5 Steps to Reduce Sibling Conflict in Your Family

Put your referee jersey away and handle sibling fights this way

how_to_deal_with_sibling_rivalry

Fights between siblings can be a source of stress for parents. Thankfully, there is a great deal parents can do to teach their children how to manage problems with their siblings. Communication, patience, and emotion control help families have disagreements instead of battles.

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May
21
2015

Parents of Toddlers: Here's What You'll Eventually Miss

It may be hard to imagine missing these years, but you will!

Parenting_toddler_years

When my boys were one and three, people would often smile at me and say, "Oh, I miss those years." I'd remember looking up through exhausted eyes and cursing them under my breath, as they lazily sat on the their chair sipping wine while their older children ran around unsupervised.

But yesterday, I really understood what they meant (and I'm sorry for cursing!) and wanted to share my revelation.

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May
15
2015

How to Handle Your Child's BIG Emotions

Don't Lose Your Cool. Here's what to do instead.

Handling_kids_strong_emotions

One of the hardest things for a parent to bear is the sound their angry or sad child makes. Our hearts can feel ripped open when our children experience intense emotions. A comment I often hear from well-meaning parents is, “I want my child to be happy so I do whatever I can to prevent him from being upset.”

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Apr
24
2015

This is What Every Stressed Out Parent of a Toddler Needs

Knowing more about the nature of toddlers helps parents interact with them better.

I won’t forget the day I slumped into bed, sobbing uncontrollably, thinking, “I actually don’t know if I can do this,” which was the moment I knew myself and my family were in trouble. This was spending another day as a mother of a one and three-year-old.

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Apr
20
2015

Get Your Toddler Out the Door - On Time & Tear Free

10 suggestions for getting where you need to in the morning

Smoothly getting your 1, 2, or three-year-old toddler out the door is a combination of planning ahead, clever language, getting enough sleep, and consistent routines. To make the out-the-door transition as smooth as possible, consider the stage of development your child is in and steps to completing tasks.

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Apr
10
2015

Temper Tamer: How to Make & Use a Calm-Down Jar

A calming tool to help children regroup

How_to_make_a_calm_down_jar

One of the hardest skills for any person to develop is how to stop an emotional and physical eruption from happening or how to cool ourselves down once it has. We call these explosions “tantrums” in children, but adults have these, too. I call an adult freak-out a bigtrum: big person tantrum.

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