(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.
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!”
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).
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!
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?”
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.