Tag

parenting

Dear Alison, I know you’ll have effective ideas for me because I remember how good your workshop ones were. You helped me see how important the connection with my son is. I would like to move a step forward by asking specifically – How do we as parents and caregivers adjust to and cope with children who are new to the school system? Those children who come home utterly exhausted, showing new behaviors or emotions that have never been present before. How can we guide them and be completely available to their needs when we only see them just in the evening? The needs we aren’t available to fulfill during the day. It can be hard to accept the changes in personality and behaviors in our children when we have laid a strong foundation already. I’ve worked really hard at it. He has a fantastic teacher and there is great communication…

My ten-year-old doesn’t want to do his part. Dear Alison, We’ve got a debate in my house…kids and chores. What are your views? I understand and agree with both sides. 1. Let kids be kids while they can.  2. They should be doing chores to learn responsibility. Is there a happy balance? Our kids are between 2 and 10. The two-year old loves to help. Not the most productive but I never discourage her. I want my kids to view chores as something that just gets done because they are a member of this family. I don’t want chores to be a battle. How do I engage my oldest son in work around the house? Thanks, Jesse McTaskmaster Teaching Life Skills Dear Jesse McTaskmaster, Great questions we’ve debated in our home, as well. I’m glad to see this topic of chores being highlighted online in recent years, as important to…

Have you ever gazed at your sleeping child, and wondered how she got so big, so fast? As a parent, do you find that certain days drag on, but the years pass too quickly? If only we could press pause on the perfect moments. Remember those long, lazy days when we were kids? When we did so much, yet accomplished little? We ended the day feeling tired and fulfilled. We played hard; simply living in the moment. Here’s how to capture that joyful feeling, while slowing time. This may sound too simple, but this one action will make each day feel gratifyingly full, and life will seem less hurried. Choose any random time in your day. Stop. Notice the sights, sounds, smells, as well as sensations. Once you focus exclusively on the wonder of that particular moment, time appears to slow a little. But that’s not all. Create several of…

Before we get to the ways you can create this for yourself, I’ve got a few questions. Do you think most people have a bit of ‘geek’ in them? Do you? (Would you ever admit it? Lol.) Me? I am a ‘parenting-geek’, if there IS such a thing! I talk parenting, I think parenting, I listen to parenting. I’m in multiple online parent forums. And as you may know, I connect regularly with other positive parenting specialists–I even call some friends. As you might expect from parenting educators, they’re a pretty nice bunch. While other moms are researching their next resort trip or pinning tasty-looking Paleo recipes; I’m over here chatting with people in Facebook groups, reading parenting-related blogs, and generally keeping my pulse on the topic. It just so happens that I’m an active member of a number of coaching and entrepreneur groups, too. In fact, we’ve even talked kid…

My daughter started acting out of character. After several hours of grumpiness, and what my dad would have called “sass,” I had had enough of feeling like a punching bag. Repeatedly, I fought the urge to take her behaviour personally. (Because feeling walked on is about me. Her mood is about her.) Yet, I was so close to asking, “What’s your problem anyway?!” simply out of frustration. Granted, I really DID want to know what the problem was–so I could help her find a solution–but my snarky tone would not have invited a loving exchange. Instead, I took a slow breath in, and a slower breath out; to give my nervous system the message that all was well. “There’s no emergency here. Her behaviour is only what I see on the surface,” I reminded myself. “What need might she be communicating?” “Observe. Listen.” Breathe some more. Okay, so now I…

When The Whining Starts It’s close to bedtime here. My kindergartner comes partway down the stairs to tell me about how he hurt himself. He used that whiny voice that grates on a parent’s nerves so easily. “Why is he telling me this?? It’s only a little bump!” I found myself starting to say in my head. Flashback to when I first started parenting–and even way back to when I was teaching public school–the typical recommended response was to discourage the “whining” and “attention seeking” by reassuring the child he’s fine or even ignoring it all together. The idea was that if they got no attention (i.e. reinforcement) of that behaviour, then eventually the behaviour would be extinguished. Kinda makes sense, right? Uh, yeah. Maybe for dogs. Guess what? It never extinguished the behaviour in students nor my kids. If anything, it became more frequent! And I’ll tell you why.…

It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a community to support the parent. – Alison Smith Parenting can feel real lonely sometimes… When my kids were little and I was a stay-at-home mom, I was seldom alone. However, when I had a rare moment with my own thoughts, I realized I was really lonely. Have you ever felt that way? I missed being able to have a whole conversation with a friend without interruptions. I so craved interaction with other grown-ups that I found myself hoping for a chat with cashiers, the librarian, and anyone who would listen. Going for groceries alone became a treat, just so I could feel like a normal human again…and finish a complete sentence! It’s so important for us parents to connect with others. Parenting is hard enough. The effects are amplified by feelings of isolation. Sometimes we feel isolated…

We want to be good parents and we want to give our children as much of our focus and time as we can. We know that giving our children our time is important for their optimal development. Yet we’re swamped with demands and juggling our family’s schedules and individual needs. We can certainly look for areas to simplify and be conscious of how we are prioritizing our time as much as we can. Yet, beyond the basics of keeping our children safe and healthy, we know we’ve also got a duty to care for their mental, social and emotional needs. As a conscious and dedicated parent, we expend significant energy observing our children’s behaviour and needs, evaluating our parenting strategies and adjusting our approach, while also managing ourselves. That’s a lot on our plates. Is there anything we can do to make better use of time with our kids? To…

If only our kids would cooperate with us, our job would be so much easier, right? I get how frustrating it can be. I also know that if we are not careful how we gain their cooperation, we can create future problems for ourselves and our kids.

These last few weeks have been a big adjustment for our family, as I imagine it has for many others. We have had a major work change for one member, public school starting for another and our youngest has started his first foray into public, group childcare. Needless to say, we have seen more than a few effects from these big changes. For our youngest, it has been difficult adjusting to being away from his home and family. It became apparent through his meltdowns at home and his clinging, begging and crying at drop-off, that he was struggling. Add to that, he outright told us that he did not like daycare! We made sure there was no actual problem with the choice of childcare venue, of course. But since he was drawing on every argument and method of convincing us that a small human could muster, and every day he…

We all get triggered. There are behaviours that set our teeth on edge or make us feel as if the Incredible Hulk is about to bust out and trash the house in a green rage. Here are just some of the things that drive lots of parents crazy: Whining Hitting another child Sass Refusing to cooperate Sounding ungrateful What sends one person into a fit though, may not bother another. That is because the behaviour itself does not cause our emotions. It is how we interpret that behaviour. This interpretation stems from the beliefs we hold about ourselves and the world. Digging deep here is how we weaken the power these triggers hold on us. We know we may be getting triggered when we feel Angry Embarrassed Judged Anxious Sad Indignant These are some pretty powerful emotions. You may know from reading or watching other content that I have produced,…

Why you may not be getting the support you think you’re asking for. I’ve got a little something for you today that’s helpful even for the work world, or with spouses and friends. We’ve all had those moments when we’ve asked for help, only to hear the chirping of crickets. No one steps up. But what if this is a pattern? What if we never seem to get the support we need? I used to wonder why this was an issue for me. Since then, I’ve learned a few things about why this happens and I’m excited to share them with you so you can stop feeling lonely and unsupported. You can ask for support. And actually get it. Are you getting the support you need? Have you ever said to yourself (or maybe even out loud) “Why doesn’t anyone put their dirty socks in the laundry basket? Why do…