Got Parenting Muscles?

How strong are your Parenting Muscles?

Parenting Muscles, Insightful Kids,

Muscles get stronger with training and use. You go to college for several years to train for a job or profession. You hire a personal trainer to get into shape. You follow a training regimen in order to compete in a particular race. You join Toastmasters to develop your speaking skills. You take dance lessons to learn to dance. My question is… how much training have you had for the most important job of your life? Parenting.

Take this “Parenting Muscles” Quiz to find out how strong your Parenting Muscles are. Answer True or False.

  1. My kids do what I want with ease.
  2. My kids never argue with me.
  3. I feel that I can get my kids to easily meet my expectations in the home and in public, ie: bedtime, chores, schoolwork, manners, errands, etc.
  4. I am totally calm and at peace on the inside when parenting.
  5. I feel completely in charge when it comes to my kids.
  6. I can be completely in charge in a loving and kind way every time I parent.

What I find is that some parents find themselves a little helpless in getting their kids to do what is expected. These parents negotiate with their kids, try to reason with them, argue with them, and end up giving in to what their kids want. These parents are afraid to upset their kids, and they desperately want to be the “nice guy”. I know, because I was THAT parent.

If your score above included more False than True answers, then you may benefit by training your parenting muscles. The way your kid responds to you is YOUR responsibility. It’s not your partner’s fault. You would never expect the push-ups your partner does to make your arms stronger! You are a grown up. You have the ability to foster the type of relationship you want with your kids. Take full responsibility. All of the info is out there.

Stop blaming your kid for how they’re acting, or blaming your partner for not making the kid do what you wanted when you’re the one “on duty”. Thing is, when you’re on duty, you are the one in charge. If you are looking to your partner to lay down the law, then so is your kiddo. You need to be the one they look to for their expectations when they are with you if you ever want their respect. Truth is… boundaries and expectations make kids feel safe…. but that’ll be its own blog post.

Parenting Muscles… you’ve got them, even if they’re not strong. It’s not hard. Google it. Google the situation you would like help with. Try some of the suggested techniques until something works. I ended up hiring a Love and Logic Parenting Coach. She helped me figure out what I would say in every possible variation of the conversations I was planning to have… like going to school, getting off the computer, doing homework. There were several meetings to deal with each one of the behaviors, and it worked! Hiring a parenting coach was the very best thing I have done for my relationship with my son and success in parenting him in a firm but loving way.

Grow your Parenting Muscles and become an Empowered Parent that can guide your kiddos to success in life.

Happy Parenting!

Candice A. Torresdal

How to Go from CoSleeping to a Big Kids Bed Easily

Cosleeping can be magical, but so can sleeping in your very own bed!

CoSleeping.jpg

Cosleeping is cute when your kids are young, but I was ready for my son to be sleeping in his own room long ago.

We coslept in a family bed way longer than I thought we would. For those of you attachment parenting parents or parents of cuddly kids, there comes a time when your kiddo may sleep better in their own bed, or you’re just ready to have your bed back. When that time comes, try this technique to make the transition smooth!

My son is 9, and I finally figured out a way to get him to choose to sleep in his own bed all by himself. It’s amazing! I tried everything for years now… I would lay in bed with him until he was asleep and sneak out, but the moment he stirred, he found his way to my room. I tried to bribe him with gifts. I read books about sleep training. I even hired a sleep coach at one point. The thing is, I learned over and over that you can’t bribe a child to feel safe, and you can’t consequence a child into feeling safe, and you can’t train a child into being safe…. and that is what this issue is, not feeling safe all alone or not feeling safe in the dark, or both.

Here’s the nugget of wisdom… It’s important to develop a safeness and security for your kiddos if they are scared of the dark or scared to sleep alone. As they are falling asleep, there is a magic window of time where their brains are sponges. You get to bypass their conscious mind and tell their subconscious exactly what it needs to hear. So, once you’ve done your bedtime routine, read some books, turned out lights, sung songs…. do this.

As they get into that relaxed sleepy state, quitely and slowly tell your kiddo… “as you lay in bed and let your whole body relax, you begin to fall asleep and know that you are so loved, you are so safe, you are protected… as you get all cozy in your bed and feel your fluffy pillow under your head, you are safe and protected and just so loved… you can easily let your whole body relax and get a perfect night’s sleep and wake up refreshed… your bed is so cozy and you are so safe and so loved… I love you so much…(maybe list more people who love your child)… and you’re just so loveable… and you are so safe, you feel so safe, you know you are safe, and you are so protected, etc”. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Trust me… if your kiddo isn’t sleeping in his own room, and you are ready for him to, this is magic!  So, here’s my success story with this… one night, lights are out and it’s time to drift off… and in the same voice I use to sing an original song, I started softly repeating the above words. About 5-10 minutes into it, my son quietly said, “Mom, can I sleep in my own room?” And, he’s been in his own room everynight since, and it’s been his choice everynight. The fact that in about 10 minutes he elected to sleep in his own room after years of trying everything under the sun, still amazes me.

This is a safe and effective way to help your kids know, on the deepest level, how loved they are and how safe they are even when they are in their own beds. Give it a try and let me know how it goes! Do this everynight until your kiddos are begging you to sleep in their own beds!  And it can be easily done in addition to whatever other things you are using to transition from cosleeping to individual sleeping.

Looking forward to hearing how this sleeping magic works for you!

Lots of Light,

Candice.

Candice A. Torresdal is the author of My Brain is a Thinking Machine, a self mastery book for kids; and Yawning Yawning, Time for Bed, a bedtime book for younger kids. 

A Peak Inside Magical Bedtime Story, Yawning Yawning, Time for Bed

BEDTIME can be a magical time… check this kids’ book out!

Thank you for joining me! I loved showing you around my kids’ book and hope you make the time to share special moments with your kids before bed.

What do you do to make bedtime magical? How do your kids feel as they drift off to sleep?

May your bedtime routine become magical, if it’s not already!

Lots of Light,

Candice.

Buy my books here… 

 

Mindset for Kids

Mindset if For Kids Too!

Could you imagine who you would be if you were taught the power of positive thinking when you were a kid? What if you were rewarded for empowered thinking the same way you were rewarded for good behavior and good grades? And, what if you were given negative consequences for dis-empowered thinking just like unacceptable behavior and grades? Who would you be if empowered thinking had been hard wired into your way of being at a young age?

mindset, positive thinking, self mastery, personal development, kids

Mindset is not just for adults!

Let’s give the future generation a head start by teaching them now how to master their minds. It begins with you! First, walk the talk. Be sure that you are modeling each step so that the expectations are very clear for your kids or students. Simply think out loud whenever you have a positive or negative thought. Say what you are thinking to model bringing awareness to your mindset and then continue speaking your thoughts as you shift to more positive, empowering self-talk.

Mindset Rules

First, set the rules. All households and schools have set rules for behavior and clear consequences when the rules are broken. As we expand into a more aware experience of our world, we can expand these expectations, or rules, to our mindset as well. You need to be very clear on what is acceptable and what is not. Tell your kids or students that it is not okay to say “I can’t” or “I never”. Then give them acceptable statements like “I can ask for help” or “what can I do about this?” etc.

Mindset Consequences

Lastly, give your kids clear consequences for any negative, dis-empowering mindset, like self-talk or giving up. My favorites are include extra chores and pull-ups or push-ups. And, I explain the chores by saying that perhaps they need more responsibility to see that they are able to figure things out and get things done. I explain the physical consequence by saying that maybe strengthen the body will help strengthen the mind.

Resulting Mindset

Honestly, if you implement mindset rules and consequences, your kids or students will very quickly get the message that it’s not okay to have limited, dis-empowered thinking. You will see them quickly shift their mindset into a more empowered, positive approach. This is amazing to watch, and it changes the entire mood of the room. Kids become problem solvers, looking for ways to make things work and ask for help when they can’t figure things out. This increases their self-esteem, as well as, their success in what they are doing, because they don’t just give up.

Let’s help our kids and students develop a mindset that will empower them and set them up for a successful future!

If you’d like a great book for kids on mindset, try this awesome kid’s picture book My Brain is a Thinking Machine. In a fun social story, kids learn how to pay attention to the good thoughts and what to do with the rest.

Lots of Light,

Candice T. Aguirre

Love & Values

Want More Love & Values?

You have so much love, values, and wisdom to share with your kids, but if your day is anything like mine, there just isn’t enough time to get it all done. I realized that at the end of the day, I wanted to be sure that my son knew a few things like: I loved him unconditionally; what matters most in life; and other nuggets of wisdom.

love, values, wisdom, bedtime, sleep

Learning Love & Values Automatically

Kids learn by what they see everyday and by repetition. So, you not only need to practice what you preach by modeling the type of love and values you want your kids to have, but you have to be consistent and repeat, repeat, repeat. No one is perfect, so kids are not always getting messages of love and values. And, we have to add others to this equation… that’s other parents, teachers, classmates, siblings, family members, tv, games, etc. So, how can we be sure our kids go to sleep with their head filled with Love and Values, rather than performance on a spelling test, spilling milk at dinner, fighting with sibling, a Mindcraft game, etc.?

Love & Values Made Easy Way

As I finished putting my son to bed every night, I would turn off the lights and sing him the song… Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star. And, he would drift off to sleep. Then, I would go to my room and use audio technology as I fell asleep, that makes positive suggestions to change programming in the subconscious. And, one night I decided to just substitute the words for the song, Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star. I found myself saying all the things I wished I had time to say during the day, and my son was getting these very powerful messages at the very best time to receive them… in that sleepy state where you can bypass the conscious mind. And still, every night, I sing to him about how much I love him; what I’m grateful for; all the things he can be proud of; praise his effort, hard work, and kindness; and whatever else comes to mind.

What You Can Do Right Now

Take advantage of the very magical time as your kiddo is falling asleep to share with them how much you love them and what your values are. As they get sleepy, they become sponges to anything you say. This is a wonderful time to tell them how much you love them, apologize, tell them how precious they are to you, tell them all the things you are grateful for, remind them of all their strengths, praise their effort, hard work, problem solving skills, creativity, and ability to be a kind sibling and good friend.  You can sing all this love, values, and wisdom to the tune of your favorite lullaby. It’s never to early or late to start! If you need help getting started, I put my lullaby of love and values into a book, called Yawning Yawning, Time for Bed, and it is available HERE.

Your kids are too important to miss out on what you have to share with them, and what you know is too important not to share!

Lots of Light,

Candice.

 

Big Emotions & Kids

Big Emotions Can Be Scary!

Big-Emotions blog

What Do You Do When Your Kid Has Big Emotions?

Big Emotions are intense and scary for anyone… your body is out of control including your hormones and neurotransmitters. Not only are big emotions scary for the person having them, they can scare those around you. Anyone can struggle when they were not taught how to handle big emotions. Your job as a parent is to recognize and understand your own big emotions, learn to deal with them in a healthy way… and then teach your child to do the same.

Steps to Handling BIG EMOTIONS – (When everyone’s calm)

  1. Discuss what BIG EMOTIONS are: Anger, Sadness, Frustration, Overwhelm, etc.
  2. Discuss your experiences with BIG EMOTIONS and how everyone has them.
  3. Make a list with your kid of how to handle BIG EMOTIONS in a healthy way.  (take a walk, say how you feel, go to a quite place, get some fresh air, breathe, get a drink of water, get under a heavy blanket, cuddle with loved one…etc.)
  4. Set Boundaries. Make sure it’s clear that it’s never okay to hurt anyone or anything when angry. Discuss how people do and say things they don’t mean when they are angry, and then they often regret it.
  5. Role Play. Take turns and try on some big emotions and handling them in a healthy way.  My favorites are…
    • BIG EMOTION: Anger – getting outside for some fresh air and a walk
    • BIG EMOTION: Sadness- going to a quiet place, under a heavy blanket, and a cuddle.
  6. Think out loud while role-playing and during the day so that your kids can hear what you are thinking as you handle your emotions. “Wow, I’m so mad. I forgot the tickets. I need to take a few breaths… just give me a moment to calm down… maybe a walk too… ”  The more your child hears your inner dialogue the more it’ll become theirs.

Steps to Handling BIG EMOTIONS – (When they are happening)

  1. Recognize big emotion and if needed, set boundaries.  Ex.  “I can see you are very angry, I will talk to you when you are calm.”  (or “no, it’s not okay to hit. First calm down, then you will have my full attention.”)
  2. Make sure they are safe until calm… even if it takes 45 minutes. Do NOT give them attention until they have calmed down. Do NOT yell at them. Do NOT scare them. They are already scared… just give them space to calm down.
  3. Once calm, praise them for calming themselves down, even if it took an hour. Then help them clean up as you talk about big emotions. (see “Steps to handling big emotions – when everyone’s calm”… above)
  4. If your child gets as angry as my 6-year-old, you may need to take a moment for yourself to get some fresh air, listen to some soothing music, or even get a baby sitter for a few hours to recover.
  5. Do NOT punish your kids once they have calmed down. They need praise for calming down and encouragement that they can probably calm down even quicker next time.

*my son (age 6) can get stuck in a meltdown/violent attack, and I want to share a quick story.  Yesterday on a drive home, my son started to melt down, because I said no to going on a walk. As I drove, he hurled a large blue ice block at my face, then a second. I quickly pulled over in the car, and I was desperate to calm him down. After what seemed forever as my face and ear throbbed in pain…  I tried repeating “I love you, I love you, you are safe” as I blocked his hits and tried to keep him out of the front seat… and my son went from being violent towards me to weeping on the floor. Meeting his anger and violence with love quickly melted his aggression… it was really amazing to witness. In the future, I will be experimenting with this and also be sure to NOT keep large heavy objects next to him in the back seat of the car.

What everyone needs to know about BIG EMOTIONS

  1. Big Emotions are NOT bad. Emotions are normal, and they are your body/mind’s way of communicating something.
  2. Everyone has BIG EMOTIONS.
  3. Feelings do NOT need limits and boundaries…. but behavior definitely does.
  4. NOT everyone deals with them in a health way. Even adults develop unhealthy coping strategies like comfort eating, drinking, smoking, etc.
  5. It takes practice. Practice when you are calm and when you are not calm.
  6. The more you model good coping strategies for BIG EMOTIONS, the better your kids can learn from your example.

Be gentle with yourself and your kids as you learn to step into a deeper place of feeling and managing those BIG EMOTIONS. You CAN do this!

Lots of Light,

Candice T. Aguirre

Candice T. Aguirre is the author of Yawning Yawning, Time for Bed a magical nighttime social story sharing love and values while teaching the bedtime routine. Read or sing to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star and insert your own values and bits of wisdom along the way. A great way to make a big impression on your children at a very magical time… that is… right as they relax to fall asleep and their brain waves change, allowing them to absorb what you tell them on a very deep level for learning that lasts.

Got Parenting? What Kind of Relationship Do You Want With Your Child?

Your Parenting Style Is Your Relationship with Your Child

parenting, conscious parenting, kids, trust

Parenting with love, anger, fear? Everything you do and say is forming the type of relationship you have and will have with your child. Are you in a dictator relationship where they do what you say no questions asked? Are you in a manipulative relationship where they will say and do what they know you want to hear in fear that perhaps you won’t approve of them or love them if they have their own opinions? Or, are you in a conscious relationship where your child can have their own likes and dislikes, their own opinions, and come to you easily with their needs and problems? Perhaps it’s a combination of the above or something different entirely. Either way, you have the awesome opportunity to be the person your child trusts and loves enough to go to with their joys, fears, successes, failures, embarrassments, needs, worries and more throughout their life.

Parenting Style of My Childhood

For some reason, I grew up feeling like I was never good enough… like I had to be perfect… I couldn’t make mistakes… and that I just wasn’t worthy. My parents were good parents, but we never talked about emotions and we were shown conditional love… meaning if we had bad behavior, they would get angry with us. Thing is, I got the message that it was not ok to mess up, and when I mess up they get mad. So, when I did have struggles and even messed up as a young adult more than once, I didn’t know who to turn to. I could have really used a loving parent to lean on, but I was too ashamed and afraid of the judgement I would receive if I opened up… probably more a result of religious dogma and fear, but nonetheless, my truth at the time.

Your Parenting Style and Your Kids

My son is now 6, and I love him no matter what. I am sure to tell him that all the time. I do also make a point to always validate his feelings and set limits on his behavior. Interesting enough, that is not the norm. I was at a back-to-school orientation night, and the director was asking us in the audience to list some qualities that we value in our homes. And, I raised my hand and said “unconditional love”.  She disagreed in front of the entire auditorium and went on to say that it’s pretty hard to love a kid when they are doing the wrong thing. I was shocked at the matter of fact way she discounted what I said. I had truly learned to love my son even though he doesn’t always do the right thing… I had to… my son was just that kid who did the wrong thing often, and I hated the person I was becoming, getting mad and reacting to unwanted behavior rather than responding to it. It was not working for either of us. I’m happy I had the opportunity to learn how to love my son even when he’s not doing the right thing. Besides constantly helping him to identify his own emotions, I feel like I am constantly reassuring him it’s ok to have emotions and make mistakes while teaching him appropriate ways to handle them both.

Love Based Parenting Style Could Change the World

What would happen if all kids got the message that they were loved no matter what? If kids knew they were loved even if they got bad grades, or tried drugs, or had sex or got pregnant? I’m not saying you have to like what they did, I’m just presenting what it would be like if kids who got themselves into a mess actually had an unconditionally loving parent to turn to for help. Perhaps that kid wouldn’t even get into a mess… they’d talk to you about their struggle with their teacher or that subject in school and they would come talk to you about wanting to have sex or about how they may be feeling pressured to have sex. Then, these secure kids would grow into adults knowing they are loved even though they are not perfect, so they can skip the many years of having to learn to love and accept themselves as they are (because they already do) and get right to making a contribution to our world.

Conscious Parenting Can Begin Early

Do you love your kids unconditionally? Really? Can they be who they want and still get your attention? How often does your child come to you with an embarrassing situation or an intimate feeling or thought? How often do you share either with them? I was recently talking with a friend whose husband is a good guy but is sadly distancing himself from his daughter. He had taking her on a hike but decided not to bring water. He talked about how he spent many hours as a kid helping out his family and didn’t have water… and he was proud of how tough it made him. Problem was, in talking to her daughter, my friend finds out that she was really thirsty on the hike, but she didn’t say anything to her father. Was she embarrassed that she needed water… did she think he wouldn’t approve since he could go without water? Whatever the case… this little girl was unable to acknowledge one of her most basic primary needs and communicate that to a person she is supposed to love and trust. What is this teaching her about her needs? That her needs are not important… to not speak up… to comply so that others will love her! Wow, this is so dangerous. All because a father wants to teach their child something. Note to this father and other parents like him: Your child will NOT be coming to you when they are being pressured into sex or drugs if they can’t even express that they are thirsty!

Parenting Made Simple

Love is the answer. Don’t worry so much about what you want to teach your kid. Worry more about modeling how to think constructively, plan ahead, and love with your whole heart. Model how to handle your emotions eloquently. Model how to have fun in a safe way and how to say no when you want to. If you want to teach them something, then ask them how they are feeling? Ask them to check in with their bodies to see if they are hungry or thirsty or feeling like some exercise. Ask them, before the hike, if they’d like to bring water or a snack? (Then when they take a friend for a hike, they’ll consider their friend’s needs and ask them if they would like to bring water, etc.) Empower them with the tools of how to be prepared, how to love, how to understand what they are feeling, and of how to use their voice. Do this by modeling it for them and talking with them about it on a daily basis. Your kids are our future!

Love yourself and your kids enough to be the person they turn to when they need someone most.

Lots of Light,

Candice T . Aguirre

Saying Goodbye to Unwanted Behavior

Had Enough of an Inappropriate Behavior?

kid behind desk

This Behavior Has Got to Stop!

Ok, it’s no secret that I reached the point where I had do something to help my son understand that his behavior is NOT appropriate. Every time we entered the chiropractor’s office, my son would crawl on the floor, hiding, then making loud non-nonsensical vocalizations that were just to make noise. He would continue to try to play a game of peek-a-boo with the receptionist, by jumping into the air and then back down to the ground, hitting and kicking the desk and making more sounds. No actual words actually came out of his mouth. He would pay no attention to the others in the office, often getting in their way and/or bumping them too. My son is almost six, so this behavior is NOT appropriate. And, no matter how much I tried to get him to stand up and say “Hello” as we entered, he would not do it.

AH – HA Moment

This was not the first time my son had unexpected behavior. I had already started listening to parenting materials, reading books & blogs, and even taking classes. What I’m going to share with you is something I learned along the way, blending information from it all. I did have an ah-ha moment in an ABA class, which is all about methods to teach appropriate behavior and reduce inappropriate behavior, specifically to kids on the spectrum. That day during class, I created my PLAN. In all the visits to the chiropractors office, I just assumed my son would know to walk in nicely, say hello and not make a scene. But, this is not the case. My son needed massive amounts of prepping, reinforcement and practice.  The appropriate behavior would need to be broken down into steps and pretaught to him. Additionally, he was obviously needing some playfulness, so I took that into consideration when I made my plan. I also realized that his inappropriate behavior was also actually being reinforced… as the receptionist would smile warmly and laugh and giggle at him. She was not aware he was not in control of himself or had the struggles he does, so she just though he was playing a game with her. Anyway, I also realized that if I don’t teach my son exactly what to do in new situations, then any behavior is fair game.

MY PLAN – Behavior Extinction

First, I created a social story with several steps and pictures that explained exactly what the “expected” behavior was. I reviewed it with him many times and told him he would get a star for every step. Then, we practiced it 10 times in one afternoon…. that is, I entered the office with him 10 times and supported him through each of the steps, giving him stars along the way. Steps included things like ‘stand up, make “eye contact” and say “hello”‘. I also talked to the receptionist about our plan and got her on board with it. Now, weeks later, I still gently prep him with some verbal reminders on the way to the front door, and I am there for support if he forgets the next step or to make eye contact or to answer a question. I also added a playful element to replace the peek-a-boo with the receptionist. I talked to him about it first. Then to “practice”, I hid 2 small objects in the car near his seat for him to find. They were peeking out from behind things like the seat belt or the car seat. Then, I told him I would do this before I picked him up from school, so he could find them when he gets in the car. I finished it with reminding him the office is not a place to play, and that we need to enter appropriately with the “expected” behavior we had discussed. Even if I had taught a replacement behavior, it may not have been so successful if I didn’t meet his motivation of playfulness and peek-a-boo with the receptionist.

  1. Create a Social Story with pictures and words of every step
  2. Review with Child Beforehand
  3. Lots of Repeated Supported Practice and Reward Every Step (I gave a star)
  4. Replace the motivation/meet their needs another way (peek a boo in the car instead of the office)
  5. Less Supported Practice ongoing as needed and fade out rewards

Now that this behavior is basically extinct, I’m focusing on the next biggest challenging behavior. I am so grateful for all the tools I’ve learned in all the classes I’ve been taking, along with all my teacher training. Parenting a kid with a strong will and unique needs is not a walk in the park. Best of luck to you.

Lots of Light, Candice.

How to Change Any Behavior

Kids are Talking… not misbehaving!

behavior challenges, behavior as communication, anger, misbehavior,

ADULTS – STOP YELLING, START LISTENING…

If one thing can raise our blood pressure or make steam come out of our ears as parents and/or teachers, it’s unwanted and unexpected behaviors. We’ve all got that in common, as kids come prewired with a lot of behaviors. The thing is, there’s a key piece of information that we have not been given… but it’s the most important thing you need to know as a parent and/or teacher. That is this: Behavior is NOT a discipline problem, it’s actually communication. Yes, the kids around you are speaking! They are scared, upset, worried, anxious, insecure, tired, sad, angry, happy, blood sugar is off, etc… First thing is to realize that behavior is a means of communication, not a lack of obedience. Let go of the power struggles and LISTEN!

DECODING BEHAVIOR 101

Don’t get mad for behavior… acknowledge it and talk to your kids. “Hey, I can see you’re really upset, what’s going on?” Remember, it’s okay that your kids get upset. It’s actually very normal and all people do. Now is the time to teach them it’s okay to talk about what is making them upset, and show them they can trust the people in their life to help.

QUICK BEHAVIOR STORY

My 5 year old son was acting out after school, and it got worse as the week went on. He was irritable, angry, short, and almost impossible when we got home. I finally talked to him. He has some expressive language deficits among other needs, so it was not easy…. but I finally understood from him that he was upset that all the other kids got to eat a treat for a birthday, but he didn’t. See, I had asked the teachers to not feed him outside food with a list of ingredients I wanted him to avoid, like food coloring, sugar, etc. My hope was to help control some of his ongoing struggles. When I realized how much pain the restricted diet was causing and even potential emotional damage, I let it go. He immediately shifted, and I was shocked at this new happier kid. We eat very healthy at home, and he still makes healthy choices, but for my family, lifting the diet restrictions in the classroom was the right choice. My son didn’t want to feel even more different and was so happy to just fit in. He has no allergies, so this was an option for us. Other ways to modify this if your child does have allergies would be to find a sweet treat that is acceptable to you and your child. Both of you agree ahead of time that this will be the treat in the classroom and your child will be better prepared when they don’t get what the other kids get.

CHANGE ANY BEHAVIOR

The difficulty of changing any behavior will vary for every kid and every situation. Some kids and/or situations will require just a conversation or some observation to understand what they were trying to say with their behavior. And, other kids and/or situations may need to be taught specifically what the desired behavior is. In fact, research says, if you want to change any behavior, you’ve got to TEACH A REPLACEMENT BEHAVIOR. You can really change any behavior; yes it’s possible! You can’t just say, “No, don’t do this/that”… you’ve got to actually teach what the “expected” and/or appropriate behavior is and give positive reinforcement. With my kid, when I really want to put an inappropriate behavior on extinction, I will create a social story about the expected behavior, walk him through every step of the right behavior, then use some repetition to practice it, rewarding him with every step (we use stars). We do this over and over and over until it’s muscle memory to do the “expected” behavior. Read more about it here…

What are some behaviors you would like to change with your kids? Have you tried talking to them? Have you taught a replacement behavior? Let’s talk about it.

Lots of Light, Candice.

How to Have Problem Solving SuperKids

Problem Solving is a Superpower

problem solving, kids, empowerment, emotional intelligence, anger

Introduce the Superpower called Problem Solving

Talk with your kids about how things arise in life that we may consider problems, and that everyone encounters these problems. Be sure to let them know that it’s very normal and while everyone’s problems are different, everyone does face the same challenge of how to handle their problems.  Then let them in on a little secret… which is: this ability to handle problems is actually a Superpower that anyone can have… and it’s called Problem Solving! And, the best part is, the more they practice their problem solving superpower, it will grow and get stronger… and soon they will be able to solve any problem that they face in their lives. Ask them how they like the sound of that.

Teach the 6 Steps to the Problem Solving Superpower.

When a problem arises…

  1. STOP! 3 deep breaths. Count to 10.
  2. Decide what the problem is.
  3. Brainstorm Solutions.
  4. Make the best choice.
  5. Do it!
  6. Didn’t work? Start over.

Those are the steps. Simple right? Well, some kids need the coaching before problems arise so that they can handle them appropriately and even come up with solutions themselves. My son is one of those. So, go over these steps with your kids and practice them with your kids, especially on small problems like forgetting something at the grocery store or running late. The more you practice the steps, model the steps, and coach them with the steps through their problems; the more they will become second nature for your kids. Have fun with this! Remember, every time there’s a problem, you want their mantra to be… “I can handle this… I’m going to use my problem solving superpower!” This helps them focus on what they have control over, and empowers them to handle their problems.

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat… and Your Kids will Have Awesome Problem Solving Superpowers!

Happy Parenting,

Candice.