10+ Ways to Help a Child Who is Always Hungry

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Do you find yourself asking, “Why is my child always hungry?” Below, you’ll find more than ten ideas to help meet the needs of your always-hungry child.

Child Always Hungry? 10+ Tips For Helping

Why is My Child Always Hungry?

Most of us have a child in the house who is constantly hungry and always asking for something to snack on or eat. Here are a few ways to deal with that – ideas for tweaking your meals and things to keep in mind as you work with your ever-hungry child!

Make sure your child eats well at mealtimes

Eating enough at every meal will ensure your child stays fuller for longer, and doesn’t come back an hour later asking for something to eat.

Consider changing 3 mealtimes to a few smaller meals more often in a day

Some children prefer smaller meals – ‘grazing’ – to large meals. Decide which your child is and try to cater for it to avoid arguments at main mealtimes.

Make sure meals are nutritious

Junk food can fill a child up without ‘filling’ them up. Make sure meals and snacks are nutritious and fill your child up with foods that are nutrient rich.

Ensure hunger isn’t, in fact, just thirst

Offer your child something to drink first and give it a few minutes. See if the hunger settles or if it really is hunger.

Get enough sleep

The temptation to fix lethargy with sugar is high. Teach your child that sleep has a big influence on mood, emotions, and energy, and how to spot what your body is really needing.

Watch a larger child’s body’s expectations

Children with larger bodies may get used to the regular/frequent calorie intake and may expect to eat even if not hungry. Make sure hunger is really hunger and not just an expectation for food.

Watch out for emotional eating

Make sure eating isn’t based on emotion – hurt or boredom, or triggers such as cartoons or depression. Try to keep eating to set meal times, set eating places in the home and find ways to deal with negative emotions in healthy ways such as exercise.

Cater to your child’s tastes

Make sure dinner time involves one or two things the child actually likes, otherwise he will say he is full in order to avoid ‘gross’ foods, only to be hungry an hour later.

Keep an eye on growth spurts

It may be a growth spurt! Your child may just need a whole lot of calories for a season because they are growing. Feed them, keep it healthy and smile.

Make favorite snacks fun

Get kids involved in choosing what snacks to eat and spice them up. For example, chocolate eyes on apple slices make apples instantly delicious.

Determine if it’s really hunger

There is a difference between legitimate hunger and just feeling like food. If your child is used to eating frequently, she may crave food even if she’s not really hungry. Learn to help your child recognise the difference and create healthy eating habits based on real needs, not psychological needs or bad habits.

What ways do you handle a child who is always hungry? I’d love to hear your tips!

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6 of My Favorite Tips and Tricks to Deal with Sibling Rivalry

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If you are mum to two or more kids, you know that all siblings at one point or another {or at every waking moment} fight and argue with one another. It’s a part of sharing the same home, the same toys and a bringing together of different personalities, ages and maturity levels. Sibling rivalry is a given!

5 Tips To Help With Sibling Rivalry

Tips for Dealing With Sibling Rivalry

Here are some top tips to deal with sibilant rivalry and keep it to a minimum, all while raising smarter kids with higher emotional intelligence

Learn to pick your battles

Teach each child to learn patience and have insight. Help them learn to pick which fights are worth fighting over and which things are really that important to argue about. Children can learn to let go and walk away from the rest of the situations. Not everything is worth fighting over, and some things can be spoken about later on, when everyone is calm.

Empathy is key to peace

Teach your children the importance of empathy, of putting themselves in the other person’s shoes. Encourage them to try to understand what their sibling may be feeling, as well as why she may be feeling that way. Empathy is a biggie – learn to pause and look at another child to analyse what they are thinking, and  your EQ is bound to develop healthily!

Discuss and learn as a family

Have a weekly meeting around the family table, and bring up any recurring issues each child may have. Discuss why the arguments are happening, and let the kids take part in coming up with a resolution for future similar situations. Analysing a situation objectively is a great exercise in empathy too, as well as training a child to be aware of situations before they come up again. It also reinforces a sense of family, resulting in higher security for each family member.

Listen to all parties involved

When breaking up an argument, it’s important to get everyone to pause, calm down and then talk them through both sides. Give each child a chance to explain their side, without any interruptions, and let each child see the other’s point of view. It will {hopefully} be an eye opener, not the usual validation speech most kids feel and give us!

Teach sensitivity

Teach your children to defend each other – to be sensitive to each other, slow to anger and slow to speak, quick to practice self control and keep their voices under control rather than yelling. This is obviously easier the older they get, of course.  It helps to stop arguments and remind them of these principles. These discussions can occur over dinner, or in private in order to prepare for future fights.

Take time to connect

Take some time each day to connect alone with each child. See where they are at, make an awesome memory or two, and leave them to continue their day that much more secure. A child who is insecure or misses you may act up to get attention, even if it is in negative ways.

With practice and patience, you can help guide your kids through the years where all they want to do is attack one another. Week in and week out, you can be persistent in teaching them how to deal with their emotions, the emotions of other people, and their reactions.

How do you deal with sibling rivalry in your home? I’d love to hear some of your suggestions!

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The Top 10 Best Ways to Lift Your Mom Spirits

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Being a mother can be exhausting on every level. There’s everything to juggle – housework, kids, pets, extra murals and relationships. Sometimes it’s hard to take time to pause and just catch your breath, and do something that lifts your spirits.

Here are 10 of my favorite ways to lift a mother’s spirits!

10 Ways To Lift Your Mom Spirits Parenting Can Be Tough Sometimes, So Be Sure To Give Yourself A Break

Be With A Friend Who Gets You

Visiting a good friend who you can be real and honest with is always refreshing. If you need a pick me up, visit a friend and rant or vent and speak about what is on your heart and mind. This will give you some perspective on your thoughts and views, and help release some stress you may be carrying emotionally.

Read An Inspiring Book

Read a book by a woman {or man} who has a story that inspires you, or who writes about having been in a situation you are in. This can boost your motivation and help you feel that you are not alone in your journey.

Hire A Babysitter

Hiring a babysitter and buying yourself peace and quiet will do you a world of good. Take the time to do something you love, that will bring you peace and boost your spirits. Go on a date and reconnect with your spouse, have a glass of wine alone, or take a long bath. Whatever does it for you!

Maintain A Hobby

Take some time out to do a hobby that you find relaxing. Having a creative outlet outside your busy schedule will help you maintain a solid sense of what you love, and may be a great outlet for de-stressing.

Laugh Yourself Happy With Comedy

Find the comedy style that works for you, and get lots of it! Make time often to relax, watch some comedy, and laugh your way to a happier mood.

Try Something New

When did you last do something new and challenging? Taking on a new challenge can boost your excitement and passion levels, and improve your self confidence! Start something new as often as you can, and develop yourself into a more colorful, happier person.

Write A Bucket List

Imagine that you have endless money and free time, and dream! What activities and experiences would you like to do before you die? Dreaming stirs up passions you may have forgotten about, and inspires you to get out there and make exciting things happen in your life!

Get A Makeover

Sometimes all you need in order to lift your spirits is a new hairstyle. Or a pedicure. New colors of makeup. A facial or massage. Whatever form of pampering you love, make time to get out and get it done, and relax!

Set A New Goal

If you feel you are in a rut, take some time out to look at what is important to you and set some fresh goals. Setting goals with time limits will inspire you to work towards them consistently, and give each week fresh motivation.

Sleep

Taking a nap is a brilliant way to recharge and get some fresh energy. It’s also a great way to calm down, still your busy thoughts and wake up with new perspective.

How do you lift your spirits as a busy mom? We’d love to hear your tips!

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How You CAN BE a Great Mother

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Being a mother is the greatest role we can ever have. It’s a huge, beautiful responsibility to have a perfect tiny human in our care, who we’re given to raise and mould and train into grounded, whole adults. It’s a huge, tiring, awesome, stretching job that gives so much to our lives.

You CAN Be A Great Mother Take A Step Back And Look At All Of The Great Things You Are Already Doing

Ways You ARE A Great Mother

We all have our days where we are unsure of ourselves. Where the going gets tough. The patience wears thin. The doubts and mom-guilt creep up on us, and we wonder if we are doing a good enough job as a mother. Remember to give yourself some grace. We will all have our bad days, and crazy moments. But I am sure that overall, you will find yourself being a great mother and find yourself doing some of these:

Sacrificing in all those little ways

Not buying the clothes you’d love, giving up your last bites of food, spending that last bit of cash on something for the kids instead of yourself. Part of our roles is naturally to sacrifice for those little people we love.

Training and guiding in everyday life

Even in moments you don’t purposefully teach your children, you will find yourself teaching and training them in little ways, in different situations, whether it’s brushing off a skinned knee, brushing hair into a ponytail, breaking up a sibling argument, or cooking dinner with a child. You’ll find yourself training without noticing it.

Infinite patience in moments when you want to scream

We all have our moments where we need to count to ten. Breathe. Slow down to your child’s pace even though you need to run faster. Remember the times you do this!

Stopping to appreciate the little moments

Being present is a beautiful way to enjoy the little moments. Bedtime snuggles and giggles, story times, taking a walk together. It helps us connect, slow down and enjoy the age that your kids are at. They grow too fast!

Keeping your tone calm when you want to lose it completely

You know that tone, when you’ve spoken for the tenth time and you just can’t any longer… the Batman voice that you mutter, “I said get back to bed!” in desperation. Practicing self control is a great lesson to your kids. Notice the times you do keep calm, and give yourself some credit.

Building up with your words

Think about the times you speak kindly to your kids. It helps a child to grow in themselves and be confident if we aren’t nitpicking at everything they do, even if some things are pretty darn annoying. Remember the times you give them the grace and space to grow!

Being an example

Whether it’s in how to keep your own things tidy, or how to gracefully fall apart in a divorce and give them a lesson in having faith regardless, how you live and deal with emotional issues in life is an example to your kids.They are learning from how you deal with their own life, so be aware of when you show them greatness and give yourself credit.

Being consistent

Keeping to a routine is great. Keeping it together and dealing with your stress in healthy ways instead of drinking or sleeping all day, or partying all night, are awesome too. Adulting is hard, but keeping it together so that you can be a stable, consistent mom they can feel secure and safe with is vital. You can think of many ways you are consistent; focus on that and keep at it. Your kids are getting stability and security from it.

Being real

Telling your kids what you are battling with, and that the emotions you are feeling are part of being human, is important!  Teach them by naming your emotions – tell them you’re feeling scared, worried, unsure of yourself, and how you are processing the stress/praying about it/having faith that it will work out/jogging to get that stress out.

They will learn from how you feel, and how you react to that and how you process that. It’s vital for their own EQ development! Stop feeling guilty about feeling less than perfect – nobody is perfect – and look at how your life is an example to your kids. Use it as training material.

Saying sorry

You’re an example to your children on how to forgive and forget, even if it hurts a lot. They will learn from your example and use it in their own lives. Sometimes talking through the emotion, and then talking about how you will process it, can teach them to do the same the next time they want to kill their sibling over something.

What do you feel great about, when you parent? What makes you feel like a great mom?

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7 Tips for Teaching Kids About Money Values and Saving

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Having children is a great responsibility. Teaching kids about money, and encouraging them to save and be responsible and future-minded with money, is an exciting opportunity we as parents have. Not only can we be great examples as we budget, spend and save, but we can teach our children, according to their different ages, how to be wise with their money too. That they can manage their money wisely one day and have a deep understanding about how saving and managing money works.

Teaching Kids About Money 7 Awesome Tips To Help Kids Manage Their Money

My favorite tips for teaching kids about money values and saving:

Have Spend & Save Jars

Give your child a Spend Jar, which he can use to spend on whatever he wants to. As you shop, show and explain the prices of each item he wants to buy, and see if he has enough. Also explain that if he doesn’t buy the item today, he can put that money in his Save Jar (he can even make his own). Then he can buy something he REALLY wants, which may be bigger, later on. Teach him that delayed gratification can pay off later on in greater ways – he will get a bigger or cooler toy if he waits and saves for it a bit longer, rather than getting something NOW. This will help later in life!

Investment Games

Take some companies that your child knows, such as Lego or Pixar, and pretend to buy shares in these companies. Then check out each company’s shares as they rise and fall, and learn about investing as you play.

Search for Better Deals

You can teach your child to be slow to spend as you teach about checking for better deals before buying spontaneously. Show him how this can add up over a few items. Explain that shopping around for a better price is wise, and that you don’t have to give in to instant gratification because an item is right there in front of you. In a fast paced, instant gratification world, teach your child to slow down and be frugal. It adds up and pays off!

Play Games That Involve Money

One of my favorite games and book series is Rich Dad Poor Dad. They have a brilliant game for adults, as well as a children’s version called Rich Dad Cashflow for Kids.

Play games with your children that teach them about money, careers, incomes and clever business models.

Let Them Learn Through Experience

I recall buying a pair of roller skates when I was young. Then being horribly disappointed when I got home and saw that I had hardly anything left of my spending money. I cried for an hour. I clearly hadn’t understood or properly calculated what my change would be, and how little that could buy me. Sometimes it’s good to let your children learn from experience – it will make them wiser and more careful in the future.

Reward Saving

Sort of like banks, reward your child with a little extra if you can see they are saving wisely and diligently. It’s motivating to be rewarded for handling your money wisely.

Learn And Understand Money’s Value

A great exercise to do with your child is have them learn each coin’s value, as well as how they add together. Play matching games, and putting coins in value order. It’s a fun way to play with something that already has appeal, while learning about it’s value.

Teaching kids about money can be fun as well as an exciting investment into their future. Take some time each week to get creative and teach them about using their money wisely.  Most importantly, be a good example of a wise steward of the money you earn!

How do you teach your child about money?

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How to Be a Calmer Parent

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The words ‘calm parent’ have me smiling already. Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Parenting is noisy. Period. I have three young kids and I am constantly stopping to say ‘wow!’ at the crazy high volume levels in my home. Three kids, a movie playing, the washing machine going, and my brain fries over how crazily loud things are, and I usually burn something on the stove.

Parenting is loud! It’s also messy. You spend your time separating fighting kids, trying to reason with kids, trying to get kids to make up with kids, training kids to be responsible and manage their things well. It’s nonstop and sometimes exhausting! So when it doesn’t stop, how do we find a moment of calm? How do we learn to be calmer parents?

How To Be A Calmer Parent

Tips for How You Can Be a Calmer Parent

Have a routine in place

Routine is king! Once you have a routine, and your kids do too, things in your home will work a bit more like clockwork {a bit more.. not exactly.} Creating set times for events like bedtimes, homework , and chores, will help everyone know what to expect, and what is expected of them. Once you have that down pat, you can expect to sit on the couch at 8 pm with a glass of wine, next to your significant other, in silence. It is possible!

Get your kids to sleep through

I started this a year ago. First we started with small light rules; like before bed, everyone gets a last drink of water and has to go to the bathroom. If in the middle of the night they wake up thirsty, they can get a sip of water. They soon got used to drinking before bed, and sleeping through until morning. It’s surprising how habit forming it is to drink water a few times in the night. I had to train myself to stop that too, and I sleep better because of it!

Before bed, I make sure all my kids are warm and comfortable, we talk about happy things before they go to sleep, read a story and everyone has to stay in their beds. My three share a big room, so this is interesting. When my two year old was still coming to our bed a few times a night, I began taking him back to his bed.  I’d tuck him in again, make sure he was secure, comfortable, and happy in his own bed, with the right teddies etc. in place. I explained that this is his special bed. He loved staying there more and more, as I helped him to feel at home there and love sleeping in his own bed. Today he is three and sleeps right through.

Take some time out

Taking a few hours off every few days, to get away from the constant busyness of kids and home, is almost mandatory for sanity and some objectivity. Do something you love, that gives you peace – read, drink a glass or two of wine, sit in the sun, walk on the beach, visit a friend. Do something for yourself, by yourself. Come back home missing your family and all the fun and busyness that entails.

Revise your goals and family values often

It can be easy to get lost in the daily grind of housework and school runs and laundry and cooking dinners. The weeks turn into months so fast. Take some time to revise what your goals and dreams are for your family relationships, for your family finances, and think about where you want your family to go and grow. This will help you go through each day with a new perspective on your relationships and your role as a mom.

Remember who you are

In all the busyness of daily life, take time to work on yourself – keep some hobbies alive, work out when you can, eat healthily. In twenty years time, when your kids have left home, you’ll have a life outside of them and be the richer for it! Don’t lose your personal identity in all the busyness.

Keep the love alive

Take time out to go on dates with your man, to get away from the daily grind of life. You are in this parenting thing together. It’s hard, a lot of the time, to connect and keep your relationship close, when you are both so busy. Take the time to keep your love alive, remembering that you are running this home and family as a team, not two ships passing each other in the passage twice a day.

Make memories and create happiness

Although life is hectic and busy, and there are stresses and bills and exhaustion and pressure, there are also many moments we can get joy from, and memories we can make time to create with our kids. Build a home full of love and laughter. Go to sleep at night thinking of memories made, a family being nurtured and all the happiness there is to be thankful for. You’ll always have the bills and stresses to think of, but make room for the awesome things too. Live joyfully! You’re not just playing catch up all the time, barely surviving. You’re proactive and living purposefully!

Family is one of the greatest blessings in life. And being a parent is, for me, the biggest blessing! Find time to manage yourself, and find ways to keep it together, and be calmer. Your kids will thank you for it, and you’ll be much happier for it!

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Discover Your Parenting Style and How it Affects Your Child

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While not all people fit exactly into any set ‘boxes’ or styles of parenting, I find it interesting seeing the general differences between the styles of parenting out there, rated according to high-low warmth, and high- low control. It’s also interesting seeing how you and your partner parent differently, as well as how your parenting styles can complement each other’s.

I think boys need a healthy balance of firm, understood boundaries and a home filled with love, relationships and guidance. What do you and your partner value in your home?

Discover Your Parenting Style and How it Affects Your Child

Take a look at the 4 Parenting Styles and see where you and your spouse lie:

HIGH CONTROL HIGH WARMTH: AUTHORITATIVE PARENT

These parents are nurturing and discipline through guidance. They are warm and affectionate, and value open communication with their kids. They are responsive to their kids in general and value a close relationship. These parents expect a lot from their children and are flexible, assertive, have high standards and are democratic.

Authoritative parents set expectations, yet are reasonable. They are willing to discuss things and reason with their children, and act as guiding forces for their children to make decisions. The children of these parents are balanced both in behavior and responsiveness in educational and social structures; they are moderate in their responsiveness to levels of depression and problem behavior.

HIGH CONTROL LOW WARMTH: AUTHORITARIAN PARENT

These parents have high expectation of their kids. They are interested in strict obedience and are highly demanding. They lay down strict rules and are generally inflexible, and punish rather than discipline. The relationship is controlling, power-assertive and high in unidirectional communication. These parents expect a lot from their children and are rigid, have high structure, are autocratic and are ‘the boss’. Their rules are never to be questioned, with them stating their expectations and consequences very clearly. Children of such parents suffer from low self-esteem, poor social skills and do moderately well in studies, with some suffering from high levels of depression.

HIGH WARMTH LOW CONTROL: PERMISSIVE PARENT

These parents are affectionate and nurturing, but have few, inconsistent boundaries. They take role of friend rather than parent. The relationship is indulgent, and low in control attempts. These parents are non-directive, over-involved, lenient and have blurred roles. These parents expect little from their children. This style is the opposite of the authoritarian style; these parents are highly indulgent and flexible and act more as advisors and not decision makers for their children.

Children of such parents have a high self-esteem and a strong sense of personal identity, as well as good social skills, but these children could be involved in problematic behavior and may do less well in schools.

LOW WARMTH LOW CONTROL: UNINVOLVED PARENT

These parents are emotionally detached and self absorbed. They have inconsistent or no boundaries and little interaction with their children. These parents are unsupportive, rejecting, distant, passive and parent-centred. This style is also referred to as ‘negligent parenting’ and in extreme cases is parenting that does not encourage or demand behavior from children, as parents are very poor in responding to or initiating contact with their children. Punishments are negligible in this parenting style, with lack of basic understanding and support, making these children poor performers socially and academically, as well as exhibiting poor performance in choices and decisions.

As a parent, it’s interesting looking at these styles and seeing where you stand. You probably fall into two categories, not strictly just one. It’s also interesting seeing what style your spouse has, and how you can work together to complement each other’s styles – covering each other’s weaknesses, and highlighting each other’s strengths.

All 20 chapters of Raising Boys is available to download and read right here.

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4 Tips for Raising Boys Stress-Free

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Stress Free Parenting – sounds like an oxymoron, right?

For a lot of us, parenting is a stressful thing. It is a job, you could call it, which is such a big responsibility, and which you only get one shot at. It’s also something noone is trained for. You work it out as you go along. Sure, you can read books on it, get advice on it, but for the most part it is still a daunting, challenging job.

Nowadays, we as parents find ourselves busier and busier, with less time to do anything for any decent amount of time. Parenting can be one of those things – rushing kids from school to home, doing chores, putting on dinner, and then getting through the bedtime routine. A lot of the time it may feel like you just don’t have time to connect with each of your children effectively.

4 Tips for Raising Boys Stress-Free

So how do we live stress free lives, in the middle of a lifestyle of stress?

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST

Just like in an airplane, when you’re advised, in the case of an emergency, to give yourself oxygen first and then tend to those around you so that you are ABLE to help them effectively, the same goes for day to day living. Take care of the ‘golden goose’ – that’s you! You’re of no good use to anyone if you don’t take time to eat properly, exercise, socialise, regroup and take it easy on yourself. Mom guilt is a huge issue for many moms who are juggling so much, and you feel like you just aren’t doing anything well enough. Cut yourself some slack! Notice what you are doing right! Make a plan for the things you need to work on, but don’t be your own worst critic.
When you take time out to do the important things for yourself, you function better overall, as a person and as a parent. In a survey I read recently, I noticed that 88% of working parents suffer from stress related health issues. Take care of yourself first!

REALISE THAT BOYS WILL BE BOYS, AND THAT IS NORMAL

Instead of trying to change or control the noise and chaos that comes with having boys, try and see them in a different light – they were MADE to be noisy and messy and busy and full of testosterone. Give them boundaries, and then set them free to BE boys in every way that they need to be. Let them know that it’s okay to be loud in all those crazy boy-ways that they are. You’ll be less stressed as you aren’t trying to control all that energy all the time, and they’ll feel more secure knowing they are accepted as they are.

A GOOD, BALANCED ROUTINE

Take some time to sit down, and write all the things that you feel are important to touch on each day, or the things that you find yourself feeling guilty over – not enough bonding time with your boys, take aways for dinner often, too much TV time, etc. Make some notes on what you’d like your days to be filled with, and what you find most important to have achieved by the end of each day. A few small changes in the right direction could do wonders for your routine, as well as the effectiveness of your time spent with your son(s).

SIMPLIFY YOUR DAY & BOND

Take a few minutes to evaluate what you spend your time on each day, and see where you can cut back on unnecessary items in your diary. See how you can slow down the pace of your life slightly for a bit of bonding time with your son.  A small break every few hours to relax and do something you enjoy doing together, like a hobby, or having a milkshake together, does wonders for your relationship. Schedule in some bonding time with your son, where you do something together and talk about his day, where he’s at and how he’s feeling in the situations he’s in at the moment.

Tweaking your routine, how you spend your time, and what you focus most on in life, will help reduce  your stress and enrich your relationship with your son. It’s a productive and important thing to sit down and do! Take some time today to reevaluate your timetable.

All 20 chapters of Raising Boys is available to download and read right here.

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How Divorce is Affecting your Son and How to Help him Cope

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Unfortunately in today’s society, divorce is a lot more common than it used to be. Many young children are growing up in single parent homes, or going through the process of divorce between their parents, at home. At an age where they are piecing together their identity, throwing in the separation of their parents is a huge upheaval, which has great emotional effects on them.

How Divorce is Affecting your Son and How to Help him Cope

THE EFFECT OF DIVORCE ON BOYS OF DIFFERENT AGES

Some of the effects of divorce on children are:

shock

depression

denial

anger

low self esteem, and

a sense of responsibility for their parent’s breakup – especially in boys.

UP TO 2 YEARS

Boys as young as 18 months can suffer frequent and particularly terrifying nightmares.

AGES 3 – 5

In some studies, it’s shown that it takes many boys between three and five years to regain their stability after their parent’s divorce – more than twice as long as girls.

”Boys are more vulnerable than girls both to conflict in nuclear families and to the effects of divorce,” says Dr. Hetherington. ”The effects on boys seem to be more long lasting and more intense.”

AGES 6 -10

An ‘inconsolable sadness’ has been observed in boys of 7 and 8. Boys between the ages of 9 and 10 respond more in anger than sadness.

TEENAGERS

Research shows that divorce-related problems in teens can run from an increase in drug and alcohol use, to feeling shame and guilt over the actions of their parents.

In some single parent homes, boys sometimes feel they have to take on responsibility for their mother – her state of mind, health, finances and even her social life. As an adult, this can result in him being a person who has no sense of himself as a spontaneous human being – he can be too serious, and compulsive.

STEPS TO HELP A BOY FEEL SECURE THROUGH A DIVORCE:

KEEP IN TOUCH WITH DAD

If possible, see that the father stays involved in the boy’s life. Fathers or male role models are a huge part of a boy’s life; they are male figures boys learn masculinity from.

LIVING WITH MOM

If a boy lives with his mother, she needs to establish control in the home quickly. Boys thrive on boundaries, and creating a predictable, secure environment for kids is important. Some boys resist commands from a mother the harder she pushes them, so creating a level of healthy control and boundaries in the home as soon as she can is a good way to avoid this coercive cycle that could occur between a mom and her son(s).

AVOID FIGHTING

It’s already a huge deal for boys when parents get divorced. Avoid fighting in front of your son during and after the divorce. They don’t need to deal with adult issues like that – keep the fighting between adults.

That goes for bad-mouthing the other spouse too – your issues and views of the other person aren’t your child’s views or issues. Let them create their own views in time.

AFFIRM TESTOSTERONE

It’s important for moms to still tolerate and affirm their sons rough play, even if the father isn’t living in the home any longer. If she can avoid disrespecting the father, and still keep the view of testosterone in the home healthy, while letting ‘boys be boys’, it will go a long way in keeping a boy feeling secure in himself as a male. The way the mom handles the absence of the father is key.

Divorce is hard on children! Understanding how it affects them (certainly differently to us, as adults) can go a long way in helping us as parents, guide our sons through the process of divorce.

REFERENCES:

Miriam Stoppard – Know Your Child

NY Times article: The Sons Of Divorce by Linda Bird Francke

Helpguide.org article: Children and Divorce

All 20 chapters of Raising Boys is available to download and read right here.

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How to Turn your Son’s Negative Labels into Positive Ones

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In our culture today, a lot of people seem to label kids without even noticing it. After all, if a child is a busy body and a handful, calling him that is just the truth, right?

But how many people pause to think about the effects of our loosely slung words on little kids?

We are hardy, as adults, but forget that young children are still very impressionable, and are still forming their identities.

How to Turn your Son's Negative Labels into Positive Ones

LABELS

We begin before our sons are even born – if he’s feisty in pregnancy, he’ll be called a ‘handful’ and people will tell you that you’d better get your sleep in now, because he’s going to be a handful once he’s out.

Busy toddlers are labelled ‘brats’. Young children are labelled ‘bullies’ and ‘tyrants’.

Family members, grandparents and strangers all have their say over your son, and by the time he goes to school, he’s heard a whole range of labels about himself before he can even have a chance to figure out who he is.

TURNING NEGATIVES INTO POSITIVES

Labels are powerful. A parent who can take these labels thrown at a boy, and turn them into positive attributes, can give that boy a positive mirror with which he can view himself in an awesome light. Take the labels and turn them into traits he can use to view himself with, with confidence, instead of letting negative labels erode his esteem. ‘Stubborn’ can be renamed as determined. ‘Aggression’ can be reworded as assertive. ‘Defiance’ can be renamed strong-willed.

As parents, we can take these labels and use them powerfully. A boy will take whatever labels are given of him, and subconsciously live up to that image of himself, whether it be good or bad. A boy with negative labels will begin to behave unacceptably, reinforcing his behavior which leads to low self esteem and more unacceptable behavior, more negative labels, and so the cycle continues.

At the same time, a boy given good labels will increase in confidence and try to live up to the positive labels.

THE IMPORTANCE OF REINFORCING POSITIVE ACTIONS

If you have a few kids, you’ll recognise the situation where all of them are fighting in another room, and you rush in to split them up and lecture them. If this happens on repeat, it could be that you’re giving them the message that you only notice them when they misbehave – after all, when they’re playing well, you get to focus on other things needing to be done. Be aware of what attention they’re getting from you, and work on focusing on affirming their good behavior as well.

Speaking about what they do right, before you address what they have done wrong, is also powerful. Instead of noticing the fact that your son put his socks on inside out, mention how proud you are of him for dressing himself so well in every other way. We tend to notice the parts not done properly, without noticing all the stuff done well.

Let’s be more aware of the labels we, and others, place on our sons and work on turning them into positive labels that we can work with to mould them and their behavior into something positive!

All 20 chapters of Raising Boys is available to download and read right here.

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The Secret to Ending Your Son’s Negative Behavior

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We’ve all seen it; that moment your son does something naughty, and then looks back at you to see if you notice.

The first thing we do is we react, and even though the response may be negative, he still processes it as ATTENTION of some sort, and the fact is, he notes subconsciously that a certain action results in attention from you, and he repeats it in future.

Any attention, even negative, is better than none!

The Secret to Ending Your Son's Negative Behavior

So how do we undo this loop of negative attention?

Firstly, let’s look at some common ways your son looks for this negative attention:

Whining.

Antagonizing siblings.

Pouring dog water on the kitchen floor (with a grin).

Ignoring your request to do a chore.

Behaving badly.

Interrupting.

Throwing tantrums.

Jumping on a newly made bed he knows he shouldn’t be jumping on.

The list is huge; each family has their own list!

YOUR REACTION TO NEGATIVE ATTENTION IS KEY!

Your normal reaction to negative attention is to lecture, complain and/ or repeat yourself. This all boils down to one thing for your child: attention! Nice! So here are some ways to change this cycle & get your son after the right kind of attention

LOAD UP ON POSITIVE INTERACTIONS WITH HIM:

Don’t wait for times he is so wanting attention that he creates situations where negative attention has a chance to happen. Proactively make some situations happen BEFORE then – situations where you can connect with your child, point out positive qualities you like in him, or in what he is doing, and focus on some good things about him, as well as steer his attitude in the right direction. Situations such as:

– one on one time together doing something you both enjoy

– talking and connecting more daily

– focusing on good effort and behavior

It’s so easy to spend time doing other things not directly related to your son. Take time out to focus just on him. Even if you spend a lot of time around  or near him, it’s still easy to find yourself busy with other things,  saying, ‘just a minute’ or ‘I can’t now, I’m busy.’

Take some time to proactively be with your son, encouraging him and giving him opportunity to do things that he can be appreciated for. Positive attention snowballs – the more you begin with, the more he enjoys it and continues to do it! And the less he needs any negative kind of behaviour to get just ANY attention from you!

All 20 chapters of Raising Boys is available to download and read right here.

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3 Ways to Protect Your Son’s Emotional Health

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In today’s culture, tremendous pressure is placed on boys to behave in certain ways. They’re asked to display and express only certain emotions, and are judged and mocked it they display certain other emotions. We do this to boys without even realising it, and reinforce that message in small ways.

Boys are expected to be independent, active, aggressive, strong and to take charge. We encourage our sons to be open, honest, and to feel deeply and yet we feel hesitant when he’s ‘too’ sensitive, likes dance and drama, or shows any hints of softness or ‘femininity’

3 Ways to Protect Your Son's Emotional Health

Socially

Boys have a deep need to feel a sense of belonging in social groups. They want to fit in and feel accepted. Cultivating this sense of belonging leads to tight friendships, which is great, but in the wrong circles of friends, can lead to gangs. Boys constantly battle to work out their place socially, fighting to figure out where they fit in the tihg mold which society paints regarding what it means to be ‘cool’ or be a ‘man’.

Parents

In studies, parents are interviewed and asked how they would treat their sons and daughters differently, in certain situations. The parents thought they’d treat their sons similarly, but when answering, they realised just how differently they would treat their sons. In one group study, a father said he likes it when his son has strong views, and shows his independence, and that he would rather see his son looking like he is in control, rather than worry that he doesn’t feel in control.

How to help your son emotionally

Be a stable, supportive go-to place

Let your son know that he can come to you to discuss any issues he is having in life. Be a person of integrity whom he can respect and trust. Discuss your issues in life from an objective point of view for study, but don’t offload on him – you have friends for that.

Keep your relationship with him open and healthy

Prioritize spending time with your son – doing activities together as a way to build relationship and to talk while busy. Let him know how important he is to you, and that you value your relationship with him. As a family, work on ways to keep your relationships healthy and solid. Eat meals as a family, go on internet-free, mobile-device-free holidays together.

Understand the pressures he faces

Drive your son and his friends to their social events. Listen to them talking while you drive – the best place to learn how they think and feel. Have your sons’ friends over for meals and family socials, and get to know the  type of people your son enjoys hanging out with. Knowing his friends and understanding how they interact will give you more of an understanding into what he likes and strives for, as well as a deeper place of understanding from which to talk to him about his issues and social problems, and his feelings surrounding those.

All 20 chapters of Raising Boys is available to download and read right here.

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5 Invaluable Ways Fathers Influence Their Sons

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We all know the value of moms in boys’ lives, but let’s focus on the awesome things boys can learn from their dads.

As moms, we tend to focus a lot on nurturing our sons; we are soft with them, affirming, we don’t want them to get hurt, we are empathetic and supportive. Dads parent sons in a different way, and their influence in their lives is different to that of a mom’s.

5 Invaluable Ways Fathers Influence Their Sons Raising Boys

POWERFUL THINGS SONS LEARN FROM THEIR DADS

1. How to treat and view women in life

The way a boy’s father treats the women in his life plays a big role in how his son will view and treat women in future. As a father, be aware of how you treat other siblings in the home, how you treat your wife, waitresses, coworkers. Treating them and speaking about them respectfully will teach your son the importance of viewing women respectfully and honorably.

The type of magazines and movies you do and don’t watch, as well as discussing with your son why you choose to do so, will teach him how to value women and see them in a respectful way. The way you treat your wife, as well as how you argue with her, will teach him about respecting a woman, even when you are angry or disagree with her.

2. Discovering his strength and unique ability

I watched a dad and his twelve year old son pull up at the beach recently, in a Jeep, with two small sailboats on a trailer. They unpacked everything, set up their boats and then began discussing which direction to sail – up the lagoon towards sea, or down the lagoon to the bottom end of it. I had to compliment the dad on being an involved father, and encouraged the son to appreciate his dad’s involvement. It was a public holiday, and a lot of fathers out there were watching sport in front of their TV’s.

The son had started this hobby with his dad when he was eight years old. I watched them talking together, setting up their own boats, noticed how sure the son was of what he was doing, but still taking the lead from his father in small ways. Managing his own boat, setting it up, maintaining and caring for it as well as sailing it and getting a feel for his strength and agility on the water, is sure to give that teen a solid sense of what he is capable of, a gauge of his strength and ability, and a solid sense of self esteem from that.

Being under his father’s guidance, but seperate from him in a sense, gives him security but independence. A father’s involvement in his son’s life while teaching him that he has what it takes, that he is strong and capable, is indescribably powerful – I took a photo; it was that awesome to see. The years we have with our sons go by too fast. Find opportunities and hobbies which you can share with your son, and answer the questions he has in his heart –

“Am I strong enough?”

“Do I have what it takes?”

3. Outlook on life

Your son will pick up on your outlook in many different ways, in many situations, without you directly speaking about what your outlook is.
A few areas your outlook on life will reflect through are:

  • how you handle unemployment,
  • how you handle a lot of money,
  • how and if you budget,
  • what you prioritize in your life,
  • how you manage your free time and the materials you fill your mind with,
  • how you develop yourself,
  • how you take care of your body and health,
  • how you lead your family
  • your attitude in hard times
  • your faithfulness in the best and worst of times
  • how you plan for the future

Your son is learning from how you deal with each situation in your life. He’s learning stickability, faithfulness, resilience, patience, humility, to name a few aspects of character. Make sure your responses and attitudes to life’s lessons and situations teach him some powerful character traits!

4. How to lead a family

Your son isn’t born with an idea on how to raise and lead a family. He learns that from your example:

  • how you spend your evenings when you’re with family
  • how you spend your weekends
  • how you spend quality time with each family member
  • what you teach, directly and indirectly, to him
  • how you engage with people when you’re with them
  • how you manage your social media time
  • how you manage your spirituality
  • how you value and treat your wife/partner

5. Important identity messages

Figuring out his identity is an important part of a boy’s life, especially in his teens. Having a father around who is involved in his life, giving him opportunities to work out what he is capable of, testing and figuring out his strength, is valuable. You can reinforce your son’s identity in the following ways:

  • show him that he has an important place in the family: show him his value as a sibling, son, and family member to extended family. If your son is young, a sweet way to do this is to create a collage/series of picture frames with each family member in it, as well as extended family members; hang it somewhere where he can see it often, and tell him how he is loved and a part of this big network of relationships.
  • show him that he has a place in the world: in the teenage years especially, choosing a career path, working his way through crazy hormones and knowing what he is good at, can be a daunting journey. Help your son navigate these years and areas. Help him figure out what his strengths are, and what his weaknesses are too so that he can work on them. Help him to really get to know himself and love himself. Expose him to many different fields and industries so that he gets a solid understanding and feel of different professions, as well as their downsides and benefits. By the time he is of age where he needs to choose a profession, let him have tested enough areas to know what is best suited to his own strengths and interests. Let him walk into studying with a solid idea of where he wants to go, who he wants to be and what he wants to do. Show him that his contribution is important, and that he is valuable in the world.

The role of fathers in boy’s lives is irreplaceable. The years you have  your son with you at home are years in which to be attentive and strategic. Keep your relationship with your son a priority!

All 20 chapters of Raising Boys is available to download and read right here.

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How to Respond to Brother Rivalry in Order to Foster Better Relationships

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If you have more than one son, you are most likely familiar with the near-constant fighting, wrestling and competing that goes on in a home with boys. While it can drive a mom crazy, it’s interesting to understand what’s going on between siblings, as well as how to handle their fighting in a way that is ultimately constructive for their relationship.

How we intervene and respond to brothers fighting, will determine the kind of relationship they have with each other in future. There are a few ways we can respond:

How To Respond To Brother Rivalry In Order To Foster Better Relationships Raising Boys
Punish or Separate:

Years ago, old school methods were just smacks for each child involved, and they learnt that fighting resulted in a warm bum, so found other ways to deal with their conflict. Nowadays, most parents don’t resort to smacks, but timeouts are a good alternative. Siblings are separated as soon as they start fighting and are given a chance to calm down and think about their emotions and the situation more objectively.

Reason With and Resolve:

When siblings are fighting, the parent comes in and helps each party think through the situation, and see it from the other sibling’s point of view. This helps build objectivity, empathy and develop EQ. It’s also constructive to the relationship, as a resolution to the conflict is found, and the siblings can make up and get close again.

Force a Make up or Share:

When siblings are fighting, it’s sometimes easy to march in, force the child who has the toy, or has taken the toy away, to give it back or share. There are a number of situations that could have led up to that moment, and without asking what happened, we can jump to the wrong conclusions and force a resolution that both children feel is unfair. This isn’t conducive to sibling closeness or resolution, and may cause resentment towards you, as you react before finding out what the situation involves.

Research shows that brothers will both love and fight with each other. Both emotions occur at the same time in a child. As a parent, we can teach them how to love each other even when the punches are flying.

METHODS THAT HELP IN RIVALRY

Positive reinforcement:

When siblings do share or play well together, take the time to notice and affirm them. Don’t only step in when they are killing each other or making a huge scene. Give attention that is positive too. Reward good interactions with positive recognition of their agreeability.

Younger children:

Fights are an attempt to understand and figure out social relationships. Young children need help in earlier years to understand other people’s perspectives and emotions. They’ll need  coaching as to how to deal with their overwhelming emotions in the heat of a fight. Help them to calm down, and then speak them through their emotion and the situation. Teenagers, on the other hand, may feel the need to work out disagreements themselves without your ‘interference.’ As they can reason a lot better than they did when they were young, see how they reason and if it makes sense to you, and if so, leave them to figure it out on their own.

Recognize that it may be a fight for YOU and your resources:

Children may compete for your time, attention and money. Many siblings become obsessed with fairness, checking to see who gets the biggest slice of cake or the most lunch money. Children may constantly check and compare, to see who is receiving the most time or attention from mom or dad, and then react accordingly in a way that tips the scales in their favor. If there’s chaos with sibling rivalry in your home, stop and check who is getting more of YOU, and see if the other siblings are perhaps just reacting to that in an effort to get your attention.

Could it have something to do with birth order?

Oldest: Studies have found that first-born siblings are particularly vulnerable to stress, and tend to seek  approval from others. Take some time to calmly speak them through stressful situations that occur, as well as help them process situations they are in the middle of. Reinforce your approval of them, and look out for situations you can encourage and affirm them in.

Middle: the second-born and/or middle sibling may tend to feel inferior to the older child or children, since they don’t understand that their lower level of achievement is a function of age. They may come across as less confident in trying or learning new things, or managing themselves. Help a young middle child to see that when their older sibling was their age, you had to help them learn or do the same things that they are learning to do now, and that there is nothing wrong or slow with them because they’re not at the same level as the older sibling. Affirm their efforts where they are, and focus on spending a little extra time and effort boosting their confidence in small things they do well.

Youngest: always known as the ‘baby’ of the family, and often has a strong sense of security. He/she is usually not competitive. They are usually successful socially and have high self esteem.

A great book to read on this topic:
Leman, Kevin. The New Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are.

All 20 chapters of Raising Boys is available to download and read right here.

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How to Correct a Stubborn Son without it Breaking his Spirit

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We know what a boy’s will is – that stubborn hell-bent will that does what you’ve just told him not to do, that persists in doing that thing HIS way no matter what anyone says, that will that drives him to compete and win until near-death with a sibling.

As we train, tweak, mould, bend and fight with these wills while trying to turn out boys who are grounded, awesome men one day, we need to keep in mind not to break his spirit. A boy’s spirit is his sense of worth; it is extremely sensitive and vulnerable to rejection, harshness and ridicule. It should be handled with gentleness and care! So while fighting with these iron wills that seem to rebel against us at every turn, how do we take care not to hurt our boy’s spirits?

How To Correct A Stubborn Son Without It Breaking His Spirit Raising Boys

Watch Your Words

Words spoken, especially in anger when we are more likely to say things we later regret, are hard to take back. In fact, they’re impossible to take back. A word said in a moment can have an effect on a boy’s esteem and heart forever. Phrases like,

‘I can’t believe you can’t get grades like your sister,’

‘Why can’t you get anything right?’

“They were right when they said having two kids would be too much for me” etc.

are spoken in a moment, and have a hurtful effect on boys forever. If we fully understand the impact those words have, we’d be more open to take care of our words, and our anger, around our boys.

What Can I Do To Prevent Breaking His Spirit?

Count to ten…or thirty. If you’re in a heated argument with your son, and his iron will is defying you and stirring up anger in you, take a moment to get a grip. Breathe. Leave the room if you have to. Come back to the situation after a moment, when you are feeling rational again and can speak out of a place of calm calculatedness, not raw emotion.

Set Up A Time Out For Anger

Have a family agreement that in any conflict situation, the person feeling the anger, or the party receiving it, is allowed to call a Time Out, where all parties have to stop, and have a minute time out to gather themselves. Explain the long term hurtful effects of words on hearts, and let each family member really understand the impact their words have on others in the family. This will help each person want to control their emotions, and guard their words well.

What Can I Do If I’ve Already Hurt His Spirit?

Apologize, and talk it through as soon as possible. Repair the wound as soon as you can, before ‘infection’ sets in. Don’t be embarrassed to say ‘sorry’ if you need to.

All 20 chapters of Raising Boys is available to download and read right here.

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What that Kids Chore List is Actually Teaching your Child

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Managing a household is no quick, easy task! There are so many things to juggle as a parent while running a home, and the more people there are living in the house, the more noise, mess and work there is to be done! Apart from the housework there is, of course, the role as a parent to train our children to manage different jobs around the home and take responsibility for their possessions and place in the home.

Kids Chore List pro cons

Here are a few key reasons why giving kids a chore list is important:

Chores teach children responsibility
It may not be fun to do chores, but doing them teaches kids how to take care of things in their home and in their life, and later on they will know how to be responsible for a whole lot of things. Start small in teaching children about responsibility; do chores.

Chores teach children the value of money
Managing things in a home will teach a child the value of different items in a home – the price of dog food, the cost of a bowl that broke, the value of a toy that was lost.

Chores teach children the value of taking care of something they love
Giving a child responsibility for a chore will teach them what it’s like to take care of something. They will learn how to keep something they love clean and in good condition, or how a pet is fed and grows healthily. Taking care of things they own and use in the home will show a child that it takes time and care to keep things clean and in order.

Chores teach children about taking care of a home
Chores are great training for the future, when children will have households of their own to run. Chores are a great way to show a child all the different aspects involved in managing a home and family.

Children are a part of a household and should contribute
Unless you want a burnt out mom and entitled children, chores give children the opportunity to contribute to a family and home – they are part of the family and should help out and be responsible for chores in the home.

Chores teach children self respect
Children may drag their feet when it comes to doing chores, but after a period of time, they will learn the awesome feeling of being ABLE to manage certain parts of a home. There’s a level of self respect that develops when a child is responsible for a chore, and sees it through diligently.

Chores teach children discipline
Chores are jobs that need to be done, regardless of if one feels like it or not. This breeds self discipline, which is valuable later on in life when a child is an adult, needs to study, or get that extra bit of stickability when faced with an unpleasant circumstance.

Chores help children become hard workers
Working diligently at chores molds children to be hard workers. When a child feels a sense of pride in taking care of something, they will, in turn, work hard and see the value in working hard to take care of things they are responsible for.

Chores give children a respect for their stuff
When a child takes care of something, and can see how good it feels to see it well maintained, they will develop a respect for the things they are in charge of.

Chores teach children to be team players
Chores will sometimes mean working with others in your home. This helps children learn to work together amicably, and work alongside each other in the home.

Chores empower children
Chores teach children how to manage different areas in the home, which will help them manage their own homes one day when they are adults. Exposing both genders to different chores in the home will help children be well rounded adults, able to manage most, if not all, areas in a household.

Chores free up mom’s time
Training your children to do chores helps you get your home managed, your housework shared and some time freed up, all while teaching your children valuable lessons about responsibility. It may take patience, and you will have to overcome the temptation to take over and do jobs better or faster, but the beauty of training patiently is that over time, your children do learn to do their chores well, learn to enjoy doing them (eventually), and you do get to reap those benefits!

Other kids chore list resources you might like:

  1. Free Personalized Printable Chore Chart Template
  2. Clean & Build: Ideas For Making Chores Fun!
  3. Encourage Your Children To Be Cheerful Helpers

Kids chore lists are things parents often implement but have you even stopped to think why a kids chore list would be good for them? What are you teaching?

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6 Small Ways to be a Better Parent

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Sometimes it’s easy to feel like we aren’t good enough parents. There are so many demands on us, so many things pulling at our time and energy, that we may feel bad for not spending enough time with our kids, or ‘being’ enough for them. But know that there is only one YOU for your child, and that you’re doing your best, and that is just fine.

6 Small ways to be a better parent

Here are some areas to tweak, along with all of us parents out there, doing the best we can:

Ice Cream

Quit being so highly strung about diet and health. Sometimes ice cream for breakfast or after school, will make you the funnest parent of all time. While rules and routine are necessary and healthy for kids, sometimes taking a break from all that and doing something spontaneous is really fun for kids. In my home, I have been so hellbent on keeping routine reinforced, that my son recently came to me and said he is tired of doing everything right all the time, can’t we do something wrong? My daughter  asked me in the car yesterday why I’m so mad every morning. Really? From my side, I don’t FEEL mad every morning, but from her five year old perspective, she sees her mom rushing three kids out the door every morning and views that as ‘mad’. Which makes me far too serious for a young child. So .. ice cream randomly is good for them!

Guide & Train Your Kids

Training children from young can be one of the most rewarding things later on. Setting up chore charts and patiently training each child to manage his/her own responsibilities teaches them to take care of their possessions, teaches self discipline and self control. As they get older, it’s a pleasure to see each child in your family become more responsible with their own things, as well as more responsible around the home. You’ll start to feel like more of a team player than crazy, burnt out mom juggling everyone and everything.

Related: How to get the Kids to Clean Up after Play

Keep life fun

In-between the daily school runs, dinner making, bath time and everything else that must be done, try and keep life light and fun. Kids aren’t aware of the adult pressures we have – financially, relationally, etc. They like painting and soccer and flowers and bunnies. Keep that in mind when you fetch them after  school irritated by your ex, stressed about finances or tired after a long day at work. Try and see the day from their perspective and keep that focus on the small, awesome things.

small ways to be a better parent

Tweak those boundaries

Research has shown that boundaries, especially for boys, are necessary and vital. A child gets a sense of security and purpose when you set understandable and achievable boundaries in place in your home. The firmness and set schedule is actually really good for a child, although it may feel rigid and tight and no-fun some days. You can keep it age-appropriate and as fun as you can.

Related: When Young Children Push Boundaries

Be attentive & Load on the attention

Especially if your child’s love language is words of affirmation and time, he/she will thrive on your spending time with them. Generally though, all kids love your attentiveness – noticing the daily little things they say and do, taking the time to sit and check their homework and help them, checking their art and making a fuss over it, etc. It can be easy to overlook so many little things a child says and does in the busyness of the day, especially if there are a few children in your home.

Delight in your kids

In the busyness and stress of life, take time to remember that children are a blessing and a delight. Recall how excited you were when you found out you were pregnant, or when they were born, their first steps and first moments trying new things. Delight in who they are becoming and in who they are now. The time will pass all too fast. Give them the message in small ways that you deal with them each day, that they are a delight to you and in your life. Regardless of all the stresses and busyness in life, be sure to let them know that they are loved and enough, and that you delight in them!

Cut yourself some slack, give yourself some credit and keep on being the best parent you can be. In the end, your child will become an adult, with good memories about their childhood and you, regardless of how crazy life may feel sometimes!


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Quick Tip: Teach your Child Independent Play

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When my oldest child was an only child, and was very young, I remember spending almost every moment that he was awake, with him. He’d need my constant attention, even when playing. I couldn’t take ten minutes to do anything else without him running off from his activity to find me, or get into mischief.

As I had more children, I learnt the benefits and value of teaching children to play by themselves – partly because it gave me some free time to do chores, and partly because it was actually good for them to learn to play alone.

Quick Tip Teach your Child Independent Play

TRY: The Blanket Method

I did this with my three young kids when I had clients over for an hour at a time. Each child would get their own blanket, and pick an activity to do. I’d set a time for 20 minutes, and then all the kids would rotate toys. At first they only sat still for five minutes, and they distracted each other, but each time they sat for a while, I’d reward them with a small sweet and some affirming words, and they soon learnt to focus and play alone.

I also downloaded an app that monitored noise levels, and set off an alarm whenever the noise levels hit a certain level. It worked like a charm; apparently children listen to an app sooner than mom telling them to keep it down. Funny and true! Check out the app here.

WHY: Benefits Of Playing Alone

Kids who learn to play alone get to focus in-depth on the activity they are doing, and build on the concept they’re busy with. When left alone, they easily just touch on an activity for a short period of time, and then get distracted or bored, and move on. Sitting alone where you are ‘forced’ in a sense, to sit and focus, helps a child practice self discipline, as well as just how to focus on one thing.

It is tempting, especially for sanity, to stay with your child so that he can play peacefully. But ultimately it is valuable to teach him/her to play alone and focus, as well as learn self discipline. This will help them in other areas in life too, where its’ required of them to sit in one place, and do a certain activity, even if they aren’t interested in it completely.

Let’s help our kids learn this valuable ability early on in life. The peace and time alone is good for them too!

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The Working Mom vs The Stay at Home Mom – What’s it like?

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Recently when I still homeschooled my kids, friends of mine who work would sometimes comment on how lovely it must be to be at home all day. I’d look at them in surprise, and they’d continue.. about how wonderful it must be to have all that time to clean the house, have some time to myself, go out for coffee with friends, shop, gym, drive kids around to sports, and just have a life while most people work all day.

It always surprises me when I hear them say that. They really don’t have a clue, I think, while picking kids paint off my jeans and scratching at a dry patch of baby porridge on my left sleeve.

The Working Mom vs The Stay at Home Mom - What's it like? do you know?

The truth of the matter is, being a fulltime stay at home mom is hard work. There’s a whole lot less free time than any working person could imagine. Your day starts with busyness – hungry kids and missing shoes and little teeth to be brushed. Nothing a working person doesn’t do either.

But while a working parent drops off their kids at school, drives to work, pours that second cup of hot coffee and sits in silence checking emails, or stands on a balcony talking to colleagues, back at home a SAHM is standing in a busy kitchen, with the washing machine going, wiping kids faces, doing Maths verbally with an older child at the table, while washing dishes. Her coffee is in the microwave, getting cold for the third time, and a toddler has just knocked over the bag of dog food, which has spilt all over the kitchen floor. While the baby cries in her high chair, mom sweeps the dog food up, gets food on her pants while wiping kids mouths and hands, can’t hear the news on the radio over the noise of many little voices talking and crying, and she manages a bite of cold breakfast as she picks up the crying baby, and carries him outside with a basket of washing to hang. It’s messy, it’s loud. And the coffee is cold.

Lunchtime comes, and at work, the pressure is on. There are calls and emails and meetings.

At home, the SAHM has just finished school work with some older kids, is picking up a baby who’s crying in his cot after a nap, and is worrying over whether or not her oldest child will ever grasp the concept of fractions. She’s feeling insecure, but determined, mulling over whether or not to look at a new curriculum for Maths, which might be better suited to her child’s learning style. Then she thinks about finances and weighs up if it’s doable or not. She gives the baby kisses on his tummy while changing his nappy and laughs with him, relishing a sweet moment, and then piles all the kids in the car to buy some groceries. The drive is a noisy one, with everyone talking, two kids fighting and mom shouting at the fighting kids. The baby has a pooey nappy that leaks, and she spends ten minutes outside the store in the parking lot, wiping a car chair with wetwipes, looking back constantly to make sure none of the kids are running in the street. After cleaning the seat, and a nappy change, everyone’s good to go. Mom needs to find a bathroom to wash her  hands, and the kids have grimy hands from touching the car tires. After finding a bathroom, wiping handprints off the bathroom walls, and getting everyone’s hands clean, mom goes shopping and the kids fight again, asking for treats every few breaths. Baby pulls a pile of baked bean tins into the trolley while mom’s mulling over which brand of cereal is the healthiest. She’s trying to recall what the brand is she saw advertised on TV the other day, that helps with energy and is low GI. She’s concerned about her oldest child, who she suspects has stomach issues, and a wave of worry consumes her. She thinks about the budget, crosses two items off the list, and puts in the expensive but healthy cereal.

It’s loud and messy and mom wishes she could have a hot cuppa. Mom talks to the older kids about self discipline, and not walking away from her trolley and  out of sight, and calmly talks to a  younger child about not asking every five seconds for treats. She’s irritable and tired, but she keeps it together.

Related: How to RECHARGE your Mommy Batteries the Natural Way

They leave the store, and sit at an ice cream place for ice creams. A few coins left over for a treat. The kids are excited and mom pauses in her tiredness and noise overload to share in their excitement and enjoy the moment. Their cute happy faces and their loud voices as they talk to each other excitedly, are very cute to watch. She’s going to miss these ages one day. They are divine. On the way home, a middle child pukes in the car.

The working mom is stuck in traffic. She has a headache, the sun is scorching hot, and she just wants to get the kids from aftercare, get home and shower.

The SAHM mulls over the stove, wondering what foods which kids will eat, and what foods everyone will moan about, and starts cooking with her oldest child. She talks to her about the chore chart on the fridge, and sends the kids off to do their chores while she cooks. Once dinner is ready, she goes around the house, and teaches each child how to do their chores a little better, but affirms them with hugs and gushes and thanks them for trying and doing so well. Training needs patience, she reminds herself, wanting to do everything herself in a tenth of the time. She wipes squirted detergent off the basin and wall, sweeps up a random missed bit of dog food, wipes a section of the counter and then dishes up. She’s tired, her feet ache, she still has food on her sleeve she forgot about this morning, and her hair has pulled out of her ponytail slowly and looks a mess. She warms up her coffee from this morning, and starts drinking it while everyone eats. She makes sure everyone eats dinner together as a family, and even though feeling asleep on her feet, starts a conversation with her kids about their day, reads an article to everyone about self discipline and then spends ten minutes discussing examples with them. They come up with some good points, and discuss how they could practice it in future, in different circumstances.

Related: Raising Boys and Raising Girls

By this time, the working mom is home, doing dinner too. She’s tired, her heels are killing her, and she tucks her kids into bed, checks their homework books,  puts on a load of washing, hangs up the load from this morning and starts the dishes. Exhaustion.

Being a working mom is hard. I am one, I get that. I have been a SAHM and a working mom, and know both. They are both hard. But I have to say that there are moments of peace and silence and productivity and sanity I get while being a working mom, that I didn’t get while being a SAHM. And there are many sweet moments and moments of training my kids, that I miss being able to do with them now that I work.  Being a SAHM is hard, in a word. It’s constantly busy, messy and LOUD. Very noisy. It’s a constant tweaking of systems and routine, constant training and very little to no ‘me-time’. It’s constant weighing up things you worry about, wrestling over insecurities, making progress in relationships. It’s also full of random moments of wonderful time with the kids, relationship building, kisses and hugs and moments together.

So the next time someone who works asks me what a SAHM does all day, I wish I could put all that into one easy sentence. I just say that it’s hard, not as easy as one would think, but so very rewarding.


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Tips to Help Kids Sleep In and What to DO if they Don’t!

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If your child is anything like my six year old, the crack of dawn will hit, and he’ll wake up instantly. Sit up in bed, wide eyed. And then run to my room, announcing “Mom, it’s daytime, get up. Now! Come mom! It’s daytime!” The sun is barely up; as in, any adult desperate for sleep could easily reason to themselves that it’s still dark.. but he won’t relent until you are up and with him, in the kitchen.

Groan. So how do we get our young kids to sleep in later? Honestly, I don’t think there are many ways, but after a lot of mulling over it, I managed to come up with two pretty obvious ones..the only ones that have worked in my home – here they are:

sleep in kids!

1. Dark curtains

These do actually work like a charm. It seems that even sensitive inner body clocks can be fooled by dark curtains, when the first rays of daylight appear. They’re worth getting! Even for fifteen to thirty minutes more sleep. Even for five minutes extra sleep, for that matter. Get some. Get them now.

2. Later bedtime

This is hard. By early evening, every last drop of a parent’s energy is depleted, and bedtime can’t come soon enough. The idea of extending bedtime would drive me to despair, but going to bed later does mean sleepy kids the next morning, so chances are they’ll sleep in later too. Which is the lesser of two evils for you – later bedtimes, or early risers?

WAYS TO ENTERTAIN EARLY-RISERS

No matter how we try, some kids will just wake up early. Period. Like mine. So here are a few ways to get a few extra minutes in, without having to get up THAT early… :

1. Pre-pack lunches and clothes

When you do finally stagger out of bed, make sure your pre-school-run time is as stress free as possible. Pack school lunches the night before, and get school bags ready by the door, or in the car. Get your children’s clothes ready at the bottom of their beds for the next morning. Get pairs of socks together. Find randomly distributed shoes and get them ready. Do the crazy stuff the night before.  This will help keep the stressful rushed stuff under control when you surface in the morning and need to get everyone out of the door in time.

2. Set up fave activities near you

For very early risers, set up an activity or two on the dining room table, or on your side table if you prefer to keep an eye (or ear) on your child while he plays. He’ll soon get used to the idea of playing quietly for a few minutes when he wakes up, before you get up.

3. Set up snacks near you

If your child is old enough to make cereal or toast, you can get into a routine where he makes something for himself to eat if he wakes up early. My six year old happily makes everyone in the household peanut butter toast some mornings. Sometimes, strangely buttered toast handed to you in bed tastes like heaven. Just saying..

4. Keep the IPad near you

An educational movie or game on the IPad, near you, can buy you some sleep-in time. You can still hear what they’re doing on it, and watching, and you get to stay horizontal for that little bit longer.

I hope some of those tips helped! If you have any other tips you use to get your preschoolers to sleep in later, and how to manage when they DO wake early, leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your tips!

 

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30 Questions You Should Ask Yourself In The New Year

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The new year is almost here. It’s a good bonding experience to sit down together as a family, and reflect on the old year that’s coming to a close, as well as plan ahead for the new year. Taking some time to evaluate your year as a family or an individual is a valuable exercise!

30 Questions You Should Ask Yourself In The New Year

30 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY ABOUT THIS YEAR

  1. What were your favorite parts of, and experiences, this year?
  2. What did you not enjoy this year?
  3. Is there anything you did this year, that you’d love to do again?
  4. Which of your personal character traits came in handy this year?
  5. Who are you most thankful for?
  6. How did your relationships change this year?
  7. What was your favorite moment spent with siblings?
  8. What new thing did you discover about yourself?
  9. If you had to describe this year in 5 words, what would they be?
  10. What goal did you start preparations for?
  11. What thing that you worried a lot about, turned out okay?
  12. What was your favorite compliment that you received this year?
  13. What books or activities made you lose track of time?
  14. What 2 friends did you enjoy spending the most time with?
  15. What one thing would you do differently?
  16. What one thing are you most proud of yourself for?
  17. What did you try for the first time this year?
  18. What new habits did you start this year?
  19. What would you do differently if you could go back to January?
  20. Who had the most positive influence in your life this year?
  21. What extraordinary thing did you do this year?
  22. What small bits of routine did you enjoy most each day?
  23. What family moments did you enjoy most this year?
  24. What did you struggle with, and how did you solve it?
  25. What frustrated you this year?
  26. What do you wish you had done more of?
  27. What do you wish you had spent less time on?
  28. What important relationship grew the most?
  29. What important relationship suffered the most?
  30. What made you laugh the most this year?

These questions can be downloaded and printed here.

Answering these with your children can be an enlightening time as a family. If your children are too young to answer a lot of these, they can still learn from your answers, and you and your spouse can evaluate yourselves, as well as your family unit, and make plans for a better, more productive new year.

Take some time out this week to do these 30 questions together. And enjoy the rest of the year!

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How To Make Christmas Memories With Your Family

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The festive season is a  special time of year. It’s a season to connect with each member of your family, and create memories and traditions that your family and kids will remember when they are older. Creating memories as a family also gives your children a secure foundation and understanding of their identity in the family.

How To Make Christmas Memories With Your Family
Here are some ideas for creating some special family memories this Christmas:

FAB WAYS TO MAKE CHRISTMAS MEMORIES WITH YOUR FAMILY

  1. NEW PAJAMAS
    On Christmas eve, give your child his/her new pyjamas to sleep in. There’s nothing nicer and more blissfully comfortable than new pj’s, and waking up in them to open presents!
  2. BAKE AND DECORATE COOKIES AS A FAMILY
    Baking cookies together is a sweet way to connect as a family, and decorating them is loads of fun. You can make trays of cookies, and then put them in jars for the rest of the festive season, or wrap them and give them away as delicious presents to family and friends. Spend some fun time connecting over colorful icing and different shaped cookies!
  3. WATCH A CHRISTMAS MOVIE TOGETHER
    Make a tradition of watching your family favorite’s Christmas movies together. Snuggle up with cozy blankets, snacks and treats, and wait for bedtime before Santa’s arrival, with hot chocolate and family snuggles.
  4. WRITE A LETTER TO YOUR CHILD
    Take some time each Christmas day, to write a letter to your child telling them of all the things you are proud of about them from the past year. Tell them about your view of them, the memories you have of the year. These are letters your child will treasure in future.
  5. GO CAROL SINGING WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
    Make it a tradition to go carol singing with family or friends. Your child will love learning and remembering the songs each year, and there is something special about doing this tradition with people you love. And by candlelight – even better!
  6. HANG UP THE CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS
    Something really exciting to do as a child is hang up Christmas stockings, in excited anticipation of the treats to arrive in them, overnight! Build up the excitement over what they can get in their stockings, and personalise them. There’s nothing as awesome as a stocking with your name on it, full of goodies in the morning!
  7. SET UP TREATS FOR SANTA
    Before bedtime on Christmas eve, help your kids set up treats for Santa and his reindeer – some cookies, milk, a note, and some fairy lights to light a path to help him find his way. In the morning, let your child find crumbs, a bit of spilt milk, and a note in reply to theirs.

Traditions and special family routines are a special way to create family memories. Make a list of yours, if you haven’t already, and be sure to follow them and add new special ones, each year. Family is a blessing, enjoy every moment you have together!

Some awesome crafting ideas!

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4 Reasons Having Fewer Toys Is Better For Your Kids

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Do our children really need so many toys?

If your house is anything like mine, my kids have far too many toys. There are toys in every bedroom, and a lot of them have pieces or parts missing. We also have a ‘random’ box for all random toys and bits that we pick up, which are lying around during clean up times.

Once in awhile we have to haul out all the toy sets and repack the random pieces back into the right places. I am so often tempted to throw out all the extra toys, the ones that have missing bits, or the ones that are never  played with.

Do our kids really need so many toys?

less toys for kids

4 REASONS HAVING FEWER TOYS IS BETTER FOR YOUR CHILDREN

1. VALUE
If a child has a few treasured toys, they’re more likely to value them and treasure them. It won’t be as easy to discard them in light of a new toy-distraction. It’s better to have a few favored toys than masses of toys that a child will lose interest in quickly.

2. RESPECT
Learning to take care of a few toys first, is a great test run for children. If they show respect for the toys they do have, and show that they can be responsible in taking care of them, then that could lead to a few more toys being bought. Teaching children to respect the toys they do have is a valuable lesson.

3. FAMILIARITY
There’s beauty in the familiarity of a favorite toy – in returning to it often and building on concepts and designs and ideas each time your child plays with it. Having a few toys helps a child focus well and develop ideas as they play with their toys often, as opposed to touching on many toys infrequently.

4. MONETARY VALUE
When a child has a few toys, and wants another, it’s a good opportunity to take them to the store, pick a new toy and explain the value of that toy. Let him/her help count out the money to pay for it. Better yet, have the child earn it by doing chores or extra jobs around the home, or as a reward for a goal or good behaviour.

Alternatively, if your child does break a toy or refuse to take good care of it, you could work out a system where they need to replace the toy and pay for it. This will help them realise the practical monetary value of the toy, as opposed to a vague idea that it’s just something mom or dad will replace in a flash if broken or misused.

girl loves her bear

What do you think about the number of toys a child should? Do you think it’s good to have many different toys to be entertained by? Or fewer toys to really get into and develop well with? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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When Being A Bored Mom Makes You Feel Guilty

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We all feel that mom – guilt some days. The days where we are rushed off our feet, in between school runs, cooking, work and errands. Or if we are home full time, the days where we are juggling housework and homeschool lessons, noise and shopping. When we get to bed at the end of the day, we find ourselves feeling guilty at how little one on one time we actually spent with each child.

Mom guilt also kicks in on the other extreme – for those of us in the position to stay home with our children full time or half day, we find ourselves surrounded by toys and cheerios, teddies and bibs, and have moments where we feel. so. bored. Yes, we adore our kids, but especially when they are very young, we can find ourselves bored at the constant rounds of nappies, soft books and cartoons. We’d give anything for an adult conversation or a coffee date with a friend. Bored. Frustrated. Wishing you could do something more constructive with your time. And mom guilt kicks in. Because you love your kids, and you see the value in being with them, but you also feel frustrated and bored as hell.

So how can you turn it around? How can you change your feelings of frustration and boredom into something else?

When Being A Bored Mom Makes You Feel Guilty

Remember that quality is key, not necessarily quantity.

Studies have shown that between the ages of 3 – 11, quantity of time spent with children is not necessarily as weighty as we think it is. Rather, it’s the quality of the time you spend with your kids that is important and effective. Better a shorter amount of time spent with your children, where you are upbeat and present and purposeful, than many hours of burnout and lethargy and aimlessness. Kids need time alone to play and learn through play, and sometimes it’s okay to stop being a ‘helicopter mom’, put the mom guilt aside, and take time out for a coffee while your kids play freely.

Don’t neglect yourself.

Keeping yourself stimulated and mentally challenged can do wonders for your outlook on your day. Compartmentalising your day or week into time slots where you take time out to work on yourself, on a hobby or just reading a good book, can put your time spent parenting into perspective. If you find yourself frustrated with the mundane parts of parenting, take a step back, give yourself some me-time, and step back into parenting with a fresh outlook on how really awesome your time spent with your child is, even if it is cuddling in front of a cartoon, or blowing bubbles on a little tummy while changing the hundredth nappy. Your little ones will grow up so fast, and soon they won’t be this age, and you won’t be doing what you are now. Enjoy the mundane things, they will pass too soon and you will miss them.

Related: How to recharge your Mommy batteries the natural way.

If a schedule keeps you sane, make one.

If you need to structure your time with your kids, do so! If you have very young kids, it may feel like your time revolves around playing catch up with housework and little feet, but creating a schedule for everything will help you feel more purposeful each day.

Remember your value as a mom.

These days fly by so fast. It feels like just the other day that I was at home, changing millions of nappies, cooking endless meals no one liked and aimlessly cleaning and feeding and changing kids. I was lonely and it felt like it would all continue forever. Now, I have a six year old who can climb the back gate, a five year old daughter with awesome attitude and imagination, and a two year old who is learning new words every day and makes us all smile with his cuteness. I’m never bored. Noone likes my food still, but that may change in a few years when they are all teens and can take turns cooking what they like, for all of us. Hah! Never forget, even in the boring times, in the times you are in yoga pants covered in baby food, dying for a morning off to sleep, how valuable your role as a mom is. It is worth it, and it gets easier. These are the good times, and one day you will miss them. All of them!

When Being A Bored Mom Makes You Feel Guilty

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Building A Positive School-Home Relationship With Kids

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Day to day life can be crazily busy when you have school-going kids. After the school run, there’s homework, chores, cooking dinner, bathing. It’s hard to connect with your children when you are managing so many areas. So how does one make the link between school and home a positive, secure one?

home school relationship

CREATING A POSITIVE SCHOOL-HOME RELATIONSHIP WITH KIDS

FAMILY TIME

Make a set time each week where the family does something together. Maintaining that special bond as a family is so important for a child’s sense of place and identity in the world. Keep your family unit strong, make it a safe place away from the busyness and stresses of school.

MAKE ONE ON ONE TIME TOGETHER

Make time for each child. Even if you have to schedule it to make it happen, do it! In all the busyness of each day, it won’t just happen by itself. One on one time keeps that relational connection healthy and alive, and is so necessary!

ESTABLISH CLEAR BOUNDARIES

Children thrive on boundaries – on the security that understood, fair boundaries bring.
Set some boundaries in your home, and keep consistent in reinforcing them. Knowing where they stand is great for kids and their security.

SET UP A ROUTINE EVERYONE FOLLOWS

Routine is king. Having a predictable routine in place is great for kids security too, as well as a good place to train children in self discipline, responsibility and independence. It is also a good way to train your children to take on chores around the home, that are age appropriate. This helps them become more independent and responsible, and helps you share the housework load as they grow older.

CHORE CHARTS

Chore charts are great for younger kids. Having a visual checklist of things to be done is motivating and makes jobs fun. Write up some chore charts for each member in the home, and then spend some good patient time training your children in using them effectively. Rewards are a great motivator!

WEEKEND LISTS

Week days may be calm(ish), but sometimes weekends are a whirlwind. The less structure or expectation there is on what is to be done, the wilder kids seem to get. A great thing to do first thing on a Saturday morning, is make a list for the day, for all activities to be done. If you have young kids, you can make it in picture form. Kids will love ticking off each item, and it will keep everyone purposeful and moving in a good direction. You can time it wisely and get productive things done while, for instance, the kids play Lego or are outside. Having a list for the day gives kids a sense of direction.

QUIET TIMES

If you have your kids home in the afternoons, you can do this, otherwise it’s great for weekends. Set up a time slot for each day, where each child has to be on their own in their special place, doing an activity. The quiet time will be good for them, as they get to have a quiet break away from friends and siblings and busyness, to calm down and reflect or think about the day. It’s great for mom to have a breather too, and good for the kids to learn self control and focus.

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I think the ultimate goal in a home is to create a safe, secure atmosphere where kids can grow up with healthy boundaries and a deep relationship with siblings and parents. If you’re rushed and disconnected, take a break and write down what you’d like to incorporate into your daily routine in order to create an awesome space away from school.

home school advice

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How to Survive Post Natal Depression

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Post Natal Depression (PND) affects about 1 in 5 moms who have had a baby. Having a baby is a huge life change, and it is normal for a new mom (or mom to a few children) to feel overwhelmed by the changes in her body, hormones, emotions and routine. How do you know if what you are feeling is normal, or if it can be classified as PND? Read further for more on PND, how to recognise the symptoms, and what to do if you do have PND.

How to Survive Post Natal Depression

SYMPTOMS OF PND

A few symptoms of PND include:

  • Feeling depressed:
    you may feel low, blue and aimless, at the same time every day, morning or evening, for example.
  • Unable to enjoy things:
    you may feel that you don’t enjoy being with your baby, and may feel guilty about that. You may stop enjoying things you previously used to enjoy.
  • Thinking negative thoughts:
    depression changes how you process things, and how you think. You may think negatively about situations in your life, feel that you aren’t being a good enough parent, that your baby doesn’t like you, that you can’t handle life.
  • Feeling anxious:
    you may feel anxious about things related to your baby – if you are feeding it enough, if it is healthy and happy; you may worry about yourself – that you will never feel better, or if you are not good enough to be a parent.
  • Feeling suicidal:
    you may feel like you just can’t cope any longer, and want ‘out’.
  • Avoiding other people:
    you may lose interest in being with friends and family, or feel too overwhelmed or exhausted to want to be around company, and want to withdraw. You may also feel ashamed of your ‘low’ and be unsure of how to deal with it around others.

HOW TO DEAL WITH PND

PND can be a daunting thing to process, if you are diagnosed with it, but know that you aren’t alone, and that many moms have it too. Here are some tips on dealing with it, to help make it easier to live through:

  • Connect with other people:
    don’t be afraid or ashamed to talk to friends and family about your feelings. You will most likely find a lot of them will be able to relate to some of what you are feeling and thinking. Connecting with others also helps you get out of your deep thoughts, and feel part of the world. There’s nothing quite like connecting with others; it’s healing in a way.
  • Get enough sleep:
    sleep deprivation only aggravates PND symptoms, so try to get in as much sleep as you can, and take up offers of help from friends and family. Try and get naps in too if you can.
  • Get exercise:
    exercise naturally boosts your mood, and getting out in the sunshine and fresh air, while walking, for example, will keep your energy levels up, keep you fitter and get you active and out of the house for a bit.
  • Eat healthily:
    take care of yourself – you don’t need to necessarily cook up a storm, but choose foods that are healthy and that give you energy, as opposed to fast foods and quick snacks that aren’t nutritious. Keep off mood-spiking sugary foods and carbs that give you a mood-drop later.

A good book to get on helping you through PND is on amazon: The Postnatal Survival Guide.

MAINTAINING YOUR NEW HABITS

Learning to deal with your PND in a healthy way is something that ideally will be come a habit. Learn to love yourself through this time, prioritize yourself and your health on every level. Prioritize making friends, asking for help, eating and exercising well, and being kind to yourself on hard days, and in tough moments. Remember that you are not alone, even though you  may feel that you are!

How to Survive Post Natal Depression

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5 Time Management Hacks For Busy Moms

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Let’s be honest.. juggling a few children’s extra murals, lunches, homework times and chores can be chaotic, at best. Then there is still housework to do, errands to run and shopping to be done. How does one keep up with all these activities we have to do?!

Here are 5 time management hacks every juggling mom will find useful:

5 Time Management Hacks For Busy Moms fb

5 TIME MANAGEMENT HACKS TO INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY

1. PERSONALIZED CHORE CHARTS FOR EVERY CHILD

It’s impossible, as a mom, to do every person’s chores, in between driving children to and from school, extra murals, etc. As best as possible, get each child independent in certain areas – create an age appropriate chore chart for each child, and train them (patiently, it may take a few practice rounds to get the habit in place) to manage their own chores, in a set time frame. When each child is managing his/her own chores around the house, productivity and tidiness are sure to follow! (take a look at this customizable chore chart)

2. MOM CHORE CHART

If you find yourself running from one disaster to the next, playing catch up all day, then a chore chart will help you strategically get through the must-do’s each day, like laundry, shopping and fetching kids from school. If you fit each activity and chore into a set time slot, and stick to it, you’ll soon get a good idea of how long each activity takes, and can tweak your chore chart for maximum productivity each day.

3. GROUPING ACTIVITIES TOGETHER

Are you driving all around town taking 3, 4 or 5 kids to different extra murals and activities? While extra murals are important for children, maybe it would work out better if some of your children did the same extra murals, in the same term, in the same location or area, if possible. Alternatively, you can limit each child’s extra murals activities to one every second term, and alternate which children get to be involved in one. That halves the load while still ensuring your kids get to be involved in activities. It also gives you more time with the children not involved in activities.

4. AVOID TIME WASTERS DURING THE DAY

Try to keep your daytime hours free of time wasters – the obvious ones are time online on social media – twenty minutes on Facebook could be better used packing the dishwasher before you head out of the house. Laundry can be done 30 minutes before the kids get up in the morning. Dinner can be cooked in bulk every third day. Charting which activities or chores are time-fillers in precious daytime hours, may help you keep the important things in mind, and come up with creative ways to slot the time wasters in during non important hours on the outskirts of the day. You can sit on Facebook in the bath once all the kids are in bed!

5. SET UP A PREDICTABLE STRUCTURE EVERYONE CAN FOLLOW

Children love boundaries, and thrive with them in place; they like knowing what to expect, and are surprisingly good at getting into great habits with practice. Once you have written up your own chore chart, and have one for each child, and have slotted your non-crucial activities into the morning or evening, you’ll find you can be strategic with your daytime hours and fit the important activities into them. Having a chart that everyone can see and follow, sets expectation for everyone and helps each family member keep to their ‘end of the deal’.

Juggling everything each day and week is not easy, which is why ‘routine is king!’
Take twenty minutes today and write up a basic chore chart for yourself and for your children, and then write up a family schedule. See where you can shuffle extra murals and other errands around, so that your time is used most efficiently!

5 Time Management Hacks For Busy Moms

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Is Your Child Teachable?

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We know that encouragement is powerful, but sometimes it’s difficult to be consistent when it comes to encouraging our children, especially when we teach them. How does one be encouraging, yet still correct a child?

Is Your Child Teachable?

Change Your Approach

I homeschool our children, and this year my six year old is working on handwriting – specifically on writing letters and numbers. He is strong willed, and often argues with me when I try and teach him the correct way to write letters, before I even start showing him. He’ll insist he knows how to do it properly, and then goes on to write the letter incorrectly.

Sometimes, he’s not all that teachable, and it frustrates me. I have this urge to correct him, to take over and get him to just watch me, so that he can do it the ‘right way.’ I have done this a few times, and each time he loses interest and discontinues the lesson. So I have learnt that something is really wrong with my approach. Yes, he needs to learn to be teachable, but I also need to learn a few things about my approach! The point is not to correct, but to encourage and gently guide.

Show Them The Value Of ‘The Skilled Artist’ Help

I heard a great analogy regarding teaching children today: A man had some guests over one evening, and showed off his children’s art to them. The guests were amazed at the level of art the children had produced, and thought the kids must be gifted. The man smiled, and then explained that the children’s original level was very simple. But with the gentle guidance of a professional artist, holding their hands on the pencil/brush while they navigated tricky bits, like drawing eyes, the children’s pieces became spectacular works of art.

Comments like, “You’re doing a great job; this part is a bit tricky, how about we do it together” helped the child feel positive about his ability, and open to being helped, and the result was a work of art that the child could not have naturally done, yet achieved with the help of a gentle skilled helper.

There is something powerful in being teachable. The key is to encourage the child’s natural effort, and then point out that with some loving guidance with the tricky bits, he/she can reach a level of skill that they couldn’t achieve alone just yet, and that in receiving help they’d learn how to be able to do it alone next time. Improvement and growth sometimes comes by accepting help from someone who is further along than you, and is powerful for your personal growth.

The key is encouragement and gentleness.

How do you encourage your child? How do you encourage him/her to accept help, and be teachable?

Is Your Child Teachable

 

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Help Your Child Be More Creative

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By the time my oldest child was five, I realised he just wasn’t as ‘creative’ as my four year old. He’d sit and color in for a minute, get bored and leave. It was the same with painting and drawing. I realised that there are so many other ways for a child to be creative, apart from the usual ways. So I looked for other ways for him to get ‘creative’. We tend to limit ‘creativity’ to the usual painting, drawing and coloring, but there are so many ways to get a child to express their creativity, apart from these three typical ways.

Help Your Child Be More Creative
Here are a few other ideas to inspire creativity in your child:

INSPIRING CREATIVITY IN YOUR CHILD

1. STAMPING

There are a huge variety of stamps available in almost every art store. Take your child along and see if any themed stamps grab their attention! These could be used to decorate school books, love notes, scrapbooks or birthday cards. (we love these Melissa & Doug ones!)

2. FINGER PAINTING

Finger painting is awesome messy play for kids. Try finger painting something besides the usual – glass, wooden planes or mirror frames. (Homemade finger paint recipe)

3. CANVAS PARTIES

We went to a party recently where each child got their own canvas to paint. Strips of tape were randomly taped across the canvas at different angles, and then painted over. Once dry, the tape was pulled off and the effect was awesome! A colorful canvas with clean white lines – very effective! Kids also enjoy painting with other kids in an open yard. There’s something fun about messy painting with other kids!

4. TOOTHPICKS, MARSHMALLOWS & JELLY TOTS

Building random structures with these three is super fun for kids. It’s amazing how creative they can get when they compete against time, and one another, to build the tallest tower, or strongest bridge.

5. SIDEWALK CHALK/PAINT

Sometimes the problem with ‘creative’ things is the fact that you have to SIT to do it. Sidewalk chalk/paint allows your child to get active and still be creative in a super fun way!

6. PAINT MODEL PLANES

A child who gets bored easily may find painting something they are interested in, an entirely different experience! Pick a theme they like – model cars, planes, teacups, etc and see if he/she enjoys painting those items instead of a picture in a book.

7. GARDEN FURNITURE

There is so much you can make and do in the garden with old tyres and some paint.

tyreswing

8. MAKE UP STORIES & PLAYS

A child who isn’t interested in paints or color, may be mad about words… so try getting your child to come up with his/her own story, or write and direct a play with siblings and friends. There are many sides to creativity, and not all involve color.

9. DECORATING CUPCAKES

There are countless ways to decorate cupcakes! Take your child to a local baking shop and let him/her pick out icing colors & decorations they’d like to use, and then have a fun afternoon being creative in the kitchen.

10. MOSAIC

You can make some incredibly beautiful designs with mosaic. There are hundreds of different colors, shapes and sizes of mosaic tiles to choose from. Take your child shopping at your nearest art supply store and see what grabs them as they browse and shop!

11. LIFE SIZE STENCILS & FLOUR

This activity is great for Summer – help your child draw and cut huge stencils out of large rolls of paper, and  fill in the stencil with flour, in the yard or on a pavement. A large lawn can become a huge canvas for a picture!

There are many more ways to get your child expressing and experiencing creativity! Take a drive to your local art shop, browse Pinterest and make plans with other moms… enjoy getting creative with your child!

Help Your Child Be More Creative

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How to Manage Multiple Kids

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Every mom knows how chaotic a home can become when there are kids in the house, whether there are one, or five. Kids make mess! There are more dishes, laundry, spills and noise which, of course, is awesome but also messy.

How does one keep the mess and chaos to a minimum? Here are a few tips that may help you.

how to manage multiple kids

TIPS FOR MANAGING A HOME FULL OF KIDS

1. RESPONSIBILITIES & DAILY HABITS

Give each child, and adult in the house, a list of their own responsibilities. Each person can be responsible for their own personal items, as well as for a few household jobs as well, such as unpacking the dishwasher, doing a round of morning dishes, sweeping the kitchen after each meal. Training younger kids will take patience, but it will be worth it!

This will take a while to get used to, but making it a daily practice will soon turn it into a habit for everyone, especially if you work as a team and encourage each other.

2. DAILY PACK-UP SESSIONS & BEDROOM-SPECIFIC BASKETS

Make it a habit to have one to two daily pack-up times, say at 10am and 3pm, where everyone stops for ten minutes, and does a quick tidy up. Many hands makes light (and super fast) work!

Have a different color basket for each room, and speed through your house, packing into each basket what belongs there, and then pack each basket’s contents away in their places in that specific room. Each person can be responsible for their own basket/room. This approach is amazing and fast, and can be made into a game for smaller kids.

3. POST MEAL HABITS

Some days are crazy; don’t forget the beauty of paper plates and outdoor picnics! Generally though, a great rule to have in the home that keeps things neat is to keep surfaces clear and clean, and keep dishes packed neatly in the sink/dishwasher. Getting each household member aware of these ‘rules’ is a great habit to keep in place, and each member of the household can have a certain task assigned to him/her, such as sweeping up after each meal, clearing plates away, packing the dishwasher, packing leftover food or wiping the table. Working at this together is much more efficient than mom doing it all herself each mealtime!

4. DESIGNATED PLAY AREAS

We all know the crazy days where every floor has toys or teddies strewn across it, and the kids have burned through five activities, lost interest and are now playing in another room, with a sixth activity. Kids can upturn a room in minutes! So choosing designated playing spots is a great way to keep mess contained. A large table can have 3 activities on it.

A playpen or tape across the floor in the lounge, can be a contained play area for teddies, tea parties or other activity. Outside can be turned from a boring yard into an awesome play area with random things you can buy for really cheap – logs and wood and rocks can make an obstacle course, sections of the garden can be turned into a child’s garden area, with small spades, forks and pot plants. Make a water-play area in the garden for messier play.

How do you keep your home in order, with kids around? I’d love to hear your tips too!

how to manage multiple kids fb

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Quick Tips For Managing A High Energy Child

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If you have, or have met, a high energy child, you know how tricky it is managing their energy every day, while trying to teach them, or get things around the house done. While interacting with them, you don’t want to hurt their spirit by being angry or harsh with them (let’s be honest, constant running around your kitchen can be annoying) and you also don’t want to send them the message that they are an irritation in your day or life. But you DO want a bit of calm, a way of toning them down.

Quick Tips For Managing A High Energy Child

Tips For Managing A High Energy Child

1. The early morning workout

Take your child for a run first thing in the morning. It’s a great bonding time for your child and mom/dad, and gets some of that energy out before any other activities in the day.

2. Schedule high energy activities in your day

Sporadic 5 minute jumps on the trampoline in the middle of activities will help avoid masses of energy building up and exploding in your house. Schedule fun, fast, high energy activities for your child to do a few times  a day, and then come back to the work to focus on. The break will help.

3. Keep off sugar and food colorants

While I am no dietician, I think we all know by now that sugar + children = ENERGY. Cutting out sweets and sugary foods, and replacing them with whole foods and veggies will stabilize your child’s sugar levels and mood. It may not take the busyness away but it will take the edge off.

4. Connect time

While some children are naturally very energetic, others act out in energetic ways in order to try and get your attention. Schedule time into your day to connect and talk to your child about his/her feelings, thoughts and plans for the day.

5. Set expectations for the day

Some children act up when they feel that there are no expectations, or boundaries, in place. Setting up a schedule or routine which you follow each day gives your child a sense of security, and he/she will know what to expect and settle a bit once they get used to it.

6. Maximize on the energy

Go with the energy. Set up activities outside (or inside) where your child is allowed to go absolutely wild – water gun fights, trampoline competitions, cops & robbers, etc.

Do you have any tips that work in your home, to help manage a child with high energy? We’d love to hear them; feel free to share in the comments!

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Reduce Screen Time With These 3 Easy Steps

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TV is one of those things I told myself I’d never allow my kids to ‘do’. I’d never use DVD’s as a babysitter for a moment of sanity, silence or for a hot cup of tea.

Hah! Laugh with me here, moms. 3 kids later, I can recite the Aristocats movie and {almost} tolerate those Barney songs. They allow me to make breakfast, take a shower and have a cup of coffee most days. But, in all honesty, they also rack up the mom guilt. When my kids sit watching a movie, it’s as if I can FEEL their brains turning off; their IQ’s flittering out of the window. As much as I love screen time, I hate it as much! Can you relate?!

reduce screen time ideas

HOW TO REPLACE SCREEN TIME WITH A CALM, SECURE ROUTINE

So here are some ideas on how to decrease your child’s screen time, and up the time they can spend doing something mentally stimulating and engaging:

1. Interest- led Activities

For a few weeks last year, I was teaching extra Maths from home, and had people over some afternoons, and NO SITTER. So I trained my kids to spend three twenty-minute stretches of time, working on activities they each loved. {Since then, I have my afternoons free, but I still use this occasionally instead of screen time, as my kids love it and I prefer it!} Each child has his/her own interests, so my daughter would paint, draw, do a puzzle and my older son would build with Lego, do some Math games in a book and play a construction game.

It took a few days of consecutive training for them to get  used to the idea of their staying in one place, for twenty minutes at a time until the alarm went off, but they got used to it and actually really enjoyed the time alone, seperate from siblings, to build/draw.
Find what your child loves engaging with, and set up a routine where they can be alone to really engage in that activity.

2. A Personal Space For Each Child’s Activities

Each child gets their own space where they keep their favorite activities. My daughter loves a blanket on the floor in the sun, and my son loves a table.
Find where your child feels most comfortable playing, and let them help set up  the space with you, with personal touches.

3. Create a Safe, Calm Play- Environment Your Child Will Look Forward To Being In

After a week of practicing our quiet-time play hour, my kids actually loved it. They calmed down quickly, settled into their spaces and focused on their activity. They also got used to not interrupting siblings in their spaces, and each had a favorite piece of music that I played in the background every 20min timeslot. My son loves David Garrit, my daugher loves piano music. Music in = mouths shut. A strange realisation, but it worked amazingly. Music, positive reinforcement of the habit of a quiet hour, and a lot of gentle encouragement worked wonders with my three littlies.
Children love a calm environment, doing activities they love, with calming music playing. Find out what music your child loves most – what they can listen to while focusing sufficiently on their activities, and what makes them feel happy/secure.

EXTRA: An App To Monitor Noise Levels

We use this app in moments I have phone calls to make or I need a bit of low-volume noise for my sanity. My kids respect it and see it as a game, which is really great!
Take a look at it HERE.

Screenshot 2015-05-25 14.20.43

Replacing screen time isn’t easy, and it won’t be instant either. It’s a fun habit that is hard to break, and your children will miss it! But replacing it with a new routine that they enjoy will make it easier, and you’ll feel great about it too! Take the time and patience to practice finding a routine, activities, music and the environment where you and your children will work best. It’s worth it!

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When Young Children Push Boundaries

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Being a mom of a 2, 4 &  6 year old, I have seen my fair share of boundary-testing. I’m nowhere near the end of this phase, but there are some key insights I’ve gathered on hindsight, if not in the moment, that I’ve mulled over with my husband and close friends.

For every boundary-test, there’s usually a good reason behind it, if we cut our kids some slack and just gently look for it! There are 3 main areas that are tested in my household, maybe you can relate..

When Young Children Push Boundaries

Boundaries That Kids Love Testing

Learning what NO means: ‘So if I do this, then…WHAT exactly?’

At a friend’s house the other day, my two year old watched me talking to my mom, stood up, and while keeping eye contact with me, proceeded to do the following actions one after the other, in 30 seconds:
-kicked the dog
-splashed in the dog’s water bowl
-picked the bowl up, and threw the water out onto the floor
-Threw a cup of water onto the kitchen floor… get this…. ALL WHILE WATCHING MY FACE for a reaction, while grinning. We’d already been through each of these previously as ‘NO’ things to do, so he knew…and watched me with a ‘Watcha gonna do about THAT!’ expression.

I was dumbfounded! He is by far the most testing of my three children, and it amazes me each time he does this type of testing, as it’s just SO BLATANT! I am firm and quick to correct him, and give him a firm talk, and alternative things to do, as well as a firm reason as to why it’s bad to do.

Where the  ‘NO’ line lies

Children this age are learning the word NO – as something coming from you, as well as a powerful word they can use for themselves. They’re learning what they like and don’t like, want and do not want, what they are allowed and not allowed, and the delicious grey area in between is a great place to test in, and see how far they can push.
I think it’s important to stick to your NO, to offer an alternative action/activity and to gently guide them elsewhere.

 The Meltdown – ‘But what I feel and think is right, and you are wrong!’

My four year old is going through this phase. She will have the most monumental emotional meltdowns over certain situations, which usually result in her crying inconsolably, while yelling at me or one of her siblings ‘that’s not right, I AM RIGHT, and you are wrong!”

Through the drama that is so real to her, Ive come to see it as more of a need to feel validated and heard, rather than a ‘oh my word, my child threw such a fit in the store the other day; kids this age are just so hectic.’

Am I heard and understood?

I think that’s the heart behind her outburst, mixed with a VERY strong dose of emotion, which we’ll get to taming slowly, but that’s not the focus really. She can, and will learn to express her anguish and need for justification in a more controlled way, but if I look at her words, and hear her reasoning, I find that the drama can be calmed down pretty well if I just answer her ‘question’ that she’s really asking in all of it – I do hear her, I get how she saw the situation, and I hear how she felt when her brother did … whatever.

The Authority Test – ‘Just checkin’ to see if you’re still in charge here’

My six year old is in this testing phase. It’s a tricky one. If he privately disagrees with something we set as a rule, or say, he is often tempted to sneak behind our backs, and do it his way. This opens up a whole area we touch on now with him as we reason through different situations with him: the importance of honestly, and respecting our decisions as parents, even if he disagrees.

But I want it more than I want to respect your NO.

I think the key to this is a patient process of working on explaining the importance of honesty and self control with your child. They are free to have a difference of opinion but should speak with us about it, not sneak/lie/steal if there is a difference.

On the whole, I think the act of testing boundaries is  a process of self discovery for every child. As we teach them to tone it down a bit as they understand themselves and us better, I think it important that we keep focus on their hearts, not solely on their actions. It’s easy to label the years as part of the ‘terrible two’s’ or ‘defiant three’s’ but it’s so much more than that, if you focus on their  hearts.

What type of boundaries do your children love pushing, and testing? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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How to Keep Your Patience With Your Kids

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If you’re a mom, you know how some days require a lot more patience than others! Some weeks I feel I’ll never have enough patience; like I’m seriously just annoyed far too often. Here are some tips on how to keep your patience when it’s tough going:

How to Keep Your Patience With Your Kids fb

1. Avoid burnout

Take care of the golden goose – it can’t lay eggs if it’s burntout and half dead. Prioritise yourself each week and get some quiet time to relax and get some peace. (read  more about SAHM burnout here)

2. Get enough sleep

I know it’s impossible. But a mom running on exhaustion is going to be snappy and impatient. Don’t be afraid, or ashamed, to ask for help. A family member or friend taking the kids once a week for a few hours, so that you can pass out and re-energize, will do you the world of good! Or plan to get to bed earlier than usual twice a week. It all adds up and helps.

3. Incorporate Quiet Time into your daily routine

Try incorporating an hour of quiet time into your day. Each child has an hour to do a calm activity in his/her own space, like reading, sleeping or watching a movie/documentary, and you get to do the same. It’s sanity-preserving for everyone, a fantastic break in the long day, before the dinnertime-bedtime rush.

4. Get objective and remember your reason

When you’re feeling impatient and exhausted and just ‘done’, try taking a few hours off and get away on your own. When you come back, you’ll see your kids in a fresh light – you’ll have missed them, and can appreciate how cute they are, and the break gives you some time to recall your reasons for parenting, and the importance of your role in the family!

5. Revisit your goals

Re-evaluating, or setting new goals for yourself, your children and your family will give you a fresh burst of daily purpose and energy. Sometimes, impatience breeds from burnout and a feeling of being on a never-ending ‘crazy train’. But having goals to work towards helps you view the hectic moments and days differently.

Have patience with all things, but most importantly, with yourself.

-Saint Francis de Sales

6. Give yourself some grace

Sometimes we are most impatient because we’re actually being hard on ourselves. We’re snappy and awful outwardly because of intense thoughts going on inside. When we cut ourselves some slack and give ourselves grace in whatever area we are battling with, a softness replaces the impatience. Cut yourself some slack, and chill!

Keeping your patience can be difficult sometimes, but managing and prioritizing yourself is an important part of being able to be a more patient person.

How to Keep Your Patience  With Your Kids

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5 Important Conversations You Should Have With Your Daughter

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(This post was written by Heidi)

Week 10 of 10 in the Raising Girls Series

(See Raising Boys Series here)

As our girls head towards their teenage years, small things begin to get more and more complicated to figure out sometimes – why they’re left out, how to juggle academics when there is the obsession with beauty amongst their friends every day, how to deal with irritating (and gorgeous) boys, how to manage time effectively; the list goes on.

As moms, we have a powerful role in our daughter’s lives as we lead them in making the best decisions they can.

5 Important Conversations You Should Have With Your Daughter - raising girls series [Read more…]

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Teaching Your Daughter About True Beauty

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(This post was written by Heidi)

Week 9 of 10 in the Raising Girls Series

(See Raising Boys Series here)

We live in a culture that constantly advertises to girls – billboards, magazines, TV adverts, movies – they show images of apparently perfect women and paint that as ‘normal’, and although we as adults know that they are not the ‘norm’, that their pictures are airbrushed and enhanced, most young girls don’t.

They think that those images are what women naturally look like, and as they feel that they fall so far below that standard or level of beauty, they begin to feel that they are inadequate, ugly or unattractive.

Teaching Your Daughter About True Beauty - raising girls series [Read more…]

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The Value of Teaching Children Stewardship

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Stewardship of personal items is important for children to learn, but how and when to teach them these values, is tricky. My two year old is rough with books, my four year old dog-ears the pages, and some days I find my 6 year old’s shoes in the garden, covered in mud. So when and where does one start training them to take care of their stuff, and how? After a  year of asking moms what they do, I came up with this system, that is starting to show results:

I have a 6 year old, 4 year old and {almost} 2 year old, and in the last year or so, I’ve begun ‘special jobs’ – training them (well, the older two) each morning to get their bodies and ‘things’ ready for the day.

The Value of Teaching Children Stewardship

Tasks:

Brush hair,
Brush teeth,
Wash hands,
Wash face,
Make bed,
Take vitamins,
Drink water,
Pack jarmies & teddies away,
Open curtains & windows.

Things I’ve learnt teaching my kids the value of stewarding their bodies and their personal things:

1. It takes super amounts of patience.

There are many days I’ll need to help my 4 year old, and we have repeated things every day for a year. Some days she’ll come out fully clothed and strutting around all proud of herself, and other days she’ll beg me to help dress her, from head to toe. Usually I’m in the middle of bathing my youngest, or frying eggs or hanging up washing, and it takes patience to go in with her and train her gently as opposed to being impatient with her as I know she can do it alone! My 6 year old goes most days without asking for help with anything, and I know her time will come, and I’ll most likely miss helping her put on shoes, or brushing her hair, one day! The ‘harder’ times seem to never end sometimes, but when they are gone, you miss them. Sometimes a little patient reassurance/guidance is all they need 🙂

2. Never underestimate the value of a daily & weekly checklist!

Never underestimate the power of a tick! Each child has his/her own checklist behind the bathroom door, with little pictures of each task, and if I find them distracted, or jumping on the bed instead of brushing teeth, instead of getting irritated, I just call ‘okay, what’s next?’ and they’ll run to the bathroom to take a look at the chart. I leave taking vitamins to near the end of the list, so that they have something ‘fun’ to work towards. We also give them a reward every Saturday for a full week of ‘special jobs’ completed – one child loves chocolate milkshake, the other a walk at her favorite beach.

3. Stewardship and a sense of ownership take time, but they do happen!

I’m beginning to see a sense of pride in my 6 year old. It’s taken a LONG time, and he has his days where he will fight me on every job, and I’ll need to bring him & his siblings out of some imaginative game and back to the bathroom to brush teeth or put on shoes, but some days, I see it… he’ll bring me to his room and show me how he has packed his cupboards with his favorite toys and books, or I’ll hear him making beds and lining up teddies during his pre-bedtime reading slot. He has this sense of ownership and order that makes me see all the patient training beginning to pay off, and it’s so sweet to see!

If you’re training little ones at the moment, I encourage you to keep at it, and persevere! It gets easier each month, and certainly each year, and it’s beautiful to see them growing in so many small ways!

Do you have any training tips you’d like to share with other moms? I’d love to hear more in the comments below!

The Value of Teaching Children Stewardship on powerful mothering

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Keeping Communication With Your Daughter Easy

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(This post was written by Heidi)

Week 8 of 10 in the Raising Girls Series

(See Raising Boys Series here)

Life is so fast paced. It is easy to get irritable with little kids who walk too slowly, take forever to potty train and who nag, whine and tantrum. How do we learn to manage our emotions, change our view of things and connect to our little girls in a healthy, secure way?

Learning to love our daughters in ways they appreciate is so important. Sometimes we get lost in our fast paced adult world, and forget just how little they are, and that they see and process things at a different speed.

This week, I moaned most of the time while walking with my 4 year old, who stopped to trace lines along a wall or stopped dead to stare at caterpillars in the grass. I was in a rush, and she was stalling, constantly! We can greatly improve communication with our daughters if we slow down and learn to look at things through a child’s eyes.

If I had done this, I would have taken twice as long to get to our destination, but I would have seen the things she saw – the furry caterpillars, broken bird egg shells, cracks in walls that are fun to trace with your fingers, little snails crawling up reeds. I would have sent her a different message too – that she was important, and that what mattered to her, mattered to me too. I missed it all in my adult rush!

We can learn to slow down, and live a little more at their pace.

Keeping Communication With Your Daughter Easy - raising girls series

To keep communication with little ones easier, it’s handy to keep these things in mind: [Read more…]

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3 Game-changers That Will Improve Your Day

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Life with young children is hectic. Amidst the fun and laughter, it’s a whirlwind of noise, mess and busyness that is NON STOP. There are certain things that can make or break a day, that can drain you or energise you. What things do you set in place that improve your day and keep the non stop busyness manageable?

Here are my top 3:

3 Game-changers That Will Improve Your Day

Wake up earlier than the kids

Okay, you can stop laughing now. I know. This is a hard one. But getting up before they all do gives you that eerily awesome silence.. to think clear, long thoughts, speed through some housework/breakfast prep and get yourself ready for the day. This is infinitely better than trying to get showered and dressed at the same time as littlies, who are calling for help with tying their shoes, or finding a jacket, while you’re in the shower.
Waking up gives you that step ahead of everyone else, rather than playing ‘catch up’ after everyone when you wake up late.
Madness can be avoided by setting your alarm, and getting out of bed earlier than they do. You’ve done it, it rocks..  I know you know what I’m talking about!

Stick to a set QUIET HOUR each afternoon

This is surprisingly possible, even with young children. It requires a bit of relentless training and patience on your part, but children seem to actually enjoy the predictability of quiet hour, and of your enforcing it religiously. A week in, and you’ll get half an hour. Three weeks in, and you’ll get an hour, {with a push}. I make sure I get the busy stuff done beforehand, so that the quiet hour is a nice lull in the day, and each child has his/her activity they love getting into, in their own space.

Regroup for a quiet moment before bedtime

I find this so calming, totally mandatory for my sanity and a good way to avoid the overwhelm of the day following me into the night. Just a few minutes of calm, to slow down my thoughts, relax and breathe before I end the day, make a world of difference to my tension levels and my mindset when I wake up. I read a book for ten minutes, have a conversation with my husband and get my mind off kids, housework and social media. I think about the future, about the kids objectively, and make a few strategic notes. Getting some quiet time before bedtime makes a huge difference to my mindset!

What things make a world of difference in your day? I’d love to hear! Share in the comments below!

3 Game-changers That Will Improve Your Day powerful mothering

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Spending Time With Your Daughter – Loving Time Through Play

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(This post was written by Heidi)

Week 7 of 10 in the Raising Girls Series

(See Raising Boys Series here)

Is there anything sweeter than spending time with your little girl? Her giggles and innocence, love of anything pink and shiny, joy over shared milkshakes; holding hands and going for walks, favorite dolls, pink blankets, gorgeous, tiny shoes… little girls are divine!

If your daughter’s Love Language is time, she’ll love spending time with you, and lots of it. (although she will love time with you regardless, I’m sure!)

Spending Time With Your Daughter – Loving Time Through Play - raising girls series [Read more…]

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How to be a Positive Mom during Hard Times

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You know the crazy times – you’re burnt out, the car breaks down, the vacuum cleaner breaks, your husband loses his job, you dig a deeper debt hole buying take outs because you don’t have time to cook… what things make you feel crazy?

It’s easy to slowly revert to feeling hopeless, pessimistic and emotional when something BIG disrupts your sense of normal; so how do we keep a positive mindset when things aren’t easy?

How to be a Positive Mom during Hard Times with powerfulmothering.com

KEEPING POSITIVE IN HARD TIMES

A few things to guard in your life, to help keep optimistic:

Guard your thought life!

Where your thoughts go, so does your mind, your mood and your words.. your thoughts are powerful and affect what you ponder on daily . They affect your view of circumstances and life. So grab negative thoughts as they start, challenge them and be proactive about making a change.

Negative thought: “I just can’t keep up with all this housework” can easily lead you to feeling burnt out and overwhelmed.

Challenge it: Is this true? Is there any time-wasting activity I’m doing that’s actually taking away from me managing all I have to do around the home? Can I cut down on social media time, or can I drop a weekly activity, or shorten it, and reschedule my housework activities?

Proactive step: Take twenty minutes to write down a housework task list if you don’t already have one, as well as time wasters you can focus on reducing, and look at how you can better manage your time and tasks. When you see things scheduled, it’s often easier to see what needs to be done, and when. This will give you an objective view of it all. Sometimes being subjective and reacting to whatever task needs to be done, feels overwhelming, like you are always playing ‘catch up’. It can be made simple!

Revise your negative thought: A schedule and wise time management will help you feel a lot more in control of housework. The next time you have that negative thought, immediately replace it with “No, I actually can keep on top of all this housework. This schedule rocks, I’ve got this!”

CHANGE “I CAN’T” INTO “I CAN” AND PRETTY SOON YOU WILL SAY “I DID” – Unknown

What challenges in your life can  you look at differently? What negative thoughts can you rewrite?

Get some objectivity & plan

TAKE TIME TO BE OBJECTIVE AND STRATEGIZE WITH YOUR SPOUSE

I don’t know about you, but often, especially when I spend a lot of time apart from my husband, I make mountains out of molehills. I conjure up crazy images of the future, of how problems will escalate and how the world will END. I can’t see ways out of issues, and I get over emotional. And then I sit down with my husband, and a logical chat about everything will make me realise that he has fantastic insights and answers.. to everything. I’m grateful for his logical mind. It helps to tackle issues together, as a team.

So: talk about issues! About how to repair the broken car, juggle a second job or afford to pay some unexpected medical bills. Whatever the issue, it helps to be objective and look at the problem together and come up with a solution. A problem shared is a problem halved. Sometimes all we need to get calm and feel in control of crazy situations, is a bit of objectivity and a partner to plan a solution with 🙂

DEAR PROBLEMS, I WON’T STAND THERE AND COMPLAIN ABOUT YOU, I’LL SOLVE YOU AND KEEP MOVING” – Unknown

Guarding my thoughts, changing negative thoughts into positive, empowering thoughts and planning solutions to our problems are my top plans of action when I feel myself beginning to drown in negativity, in crazy times. What’s key for me is keeping positive and being proactive about the way forward.

What do you do to manage hard times? What works best for you? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments below!

How to be a Positive Mom during Hard Times

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Training Our Daughters

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(This post was written by Heidi)

Week 6 of 10 in the Raising Girls Series

(See Raising Boys Series here)

Do you ever come across tasks/skills that you wish you had been taught growing up? How to darn socks or take up hems properly. How to ice a decadent cake. How to budget and cater for a large group of people. How to iron properly. How to change a tyre. Whatever your thing is, isn’t it good to know that you still have the ability to learn that, and teach that to your daughter? We are not the product of our upbringings. We can change constantly, learn whatever we weren’t taught, and pass on gems to our little girls.

Training Our Daughters - raising girls series [Read more…]

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Building Confidence In Your Daughter

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(This post was written by Heidi)

Week 5 of 10 in the Raising Girls Series

(See Raising Boys Series here)

When so many people and things are pulling at and molding our children’s confidence each day, how do we, as parents, help shape their confidence in a positive way? 

Whether you are a full time mom or have a full time job, how do you fit in meaningful, purposeful time with your daughter, in which you help build her confidence?

Building Confidence In Your Daughter raising girls series [Read more…]

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10 Beliefs every Girl should have about Herself

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(This post was written by Heidi)

Week 4 of 10 in the Raising Girls Series

(See Raising Boys Series here)

We know that our words over our daughters are powerful and effective, that they mold her ‘lens’ through which she sees herself and the world. So how can we, as parents, ensure she gets the most positive outlook regarding herself?

Girl’s self esteems are molded over the years, there is no doubt about that. While we can’t control everything our daughters see and hear, nor always what affects them negatively, we can ensure that the input from our side is as exceptional as it can be. Our goal can be to make sure we give our best to them so that they leave home with solid self esteems and self beliefs.

10 Beliefs every Girl should have about Herself - Raising girls series [Read more…]

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How to Revive your IQ after Having Kids

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In between nappy changes, phonics lessons and making dinner, how can Moms get their original IQ’s back? How do we make time for intelligence and personal growth?

IQ death. I know what it’s like. I started off studying a Math degree. I ran a business, spoke to masses of people, interviewed people, taught kids. I worked with numbers, loads of data and drank lots of hot coffee. In the evenings I read piles of books, and painted on weekends. And then the best thing ever happened to me.. I had a baby. And another.. and another.

And as my free time dwindled to nothing, and my coffees {if they even got made} were cold, I noticed this strange feeling, somewhere around the time sleep deprivation made my memory mush.. I felt stupid! Like a part of my brain had died. I woke up one day and realised that I had not painted in .. well, too long. The books on my bedside table, which I repeatedly packed away because they were never used, and then unpacked because I liked the feeling of books by my bedside, were covered in dust.. it was my own fault, but the death of intellectual stimulation snuck up on me over 4 years, just like that. Can you relate?

How to Revive your IQ after Having Kids

THE WAY BACK TO A HIGH IQ

So how do we, as busy baby-juggling moms, get back to a place where we’re using our minds, challenging ourselves and growing?

1. DIARIZE SOME TIME EACH MONTH TO GET AWAY AND WORK ON A HOBBY

Diarizing is key – if it doesn’t get booked in advance, and planned by all parties involved (ie. hubby-babysitter), chances are it will be overtaken with more pressing things.. like mountains of washing. Diarize it, and then GO! – to a writing workshop, a weekend away at a conference, a morning out at an art studio… what do you love doing, and how can you plan to get more of that activity into your life?

2. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF 15 MINUTES

– Love writing? Keep a notebook {or a few} around the house and write a line or two when you have a moment. By evening, you’ll have some awesome ideas and thoughts down, and can work on them from there. Some famous authors have written awesome books like this – a line at a time, snuck in here and there.

– A MENSA book in the bathroom is nothing to be ashamed of…

– Reading a few pages before you fall asleep, or when you wake early, adds up fast. You can get through quite a few books each year this way..

Let go of the “all or nothing” approach. We all don’t have an uninterrupted hour or two a day to work on our hobbies/crafts/studies. Short spurts are what you have.. use them!

3. ONLINE COURSES & CLASSES

Online courses are fantastic. There are a number of schools and uni’s that offer classes online, and some of them are free too!  Some courses you can do at your own pace, which works well for moms! You can study anything from Social Psychology to Creative Writing, Advanced Math to Beethoven’s Piano Symphonies.

USING WHAT YOU HAVE

Just think of how much you can fit into a day, if you take all the small 10 minute time slots and use them productively on something interesting or creative.

  • How much could you fit into a week, if you read in the evenings?
  • How much could you fit into a year if you get away once a month for a mom-time hobby retreat?
  • How much you could fit into a year if you used each day, month and weekend building on your hobbies & interests.
  • How many courses could you fit into a month if you diarized wisely? Interested in child psychology? Or oil painting? How much could you get done in a year?!

We so often overlook the small moments we have, waiting for a long chunk of time to appear, and it never does! So, in between doing the awesome job you do as a mom, think today about what you’d love to do more of this week.. month… year.

Recall the hobbies and interests you had pre- kids, and make a plan to get back into it. In no time at all, you’ll be feeling your mind working AMAZINGLY on things you find interesting.. or you’ll be feeling your creativity blossoming as you get back into a novel, or a project.

And while you’re doing all this growing and learning, you’ll be a more inspired, creative mom who Im sure your kids will learn from.

Begin. TODAY!


How to Revive your IQ after Having Kids PowerfulMothering.comRead more:

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10 Life Changing things a Father can do for his Daughter

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(This post was written by Heidi)

Week 3 of 10 in the Raising Girls Series

(See Raising Boys Series here)

A father holds a special place in a daughter’s heart. ‘A girl’s sense of self worth and personal dignity are directly linked to what she believes her father thinks of her’ – James Dobson.

There is no figure in a little girl’s life as weighty and influential in her later years, as a father.

As Dr. Meg Meeker says in her book: Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, of fathers:

“…we have a popular culture that’s not healthy for girls and young women, and there is only one things that stands between it and your daughter. You.”

10 Life Changing things a Father can do for his Daughter [Read more…]

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Could You be a YES Mom for a Day?

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I’m done being a ‘No’ mom. The highly strung mom who is constantly packing up after kids, constantly noticing the dirt marks on the floor, the piles of washing to be done, the mom always looking for a moment of sanity for myself. It’s been months of this and today, I realise I don’t like myself like this. And neither do my kids.

No, you can’t share my {only} slice of toast, you’ve already had two.”

No, I can’t play cars now, I have washing to fold or your dad won’t have socks tomorrow.”

No, we can’t go to the beach this morning, the floors are dirty, and I’m overwhelmed with noise and exhaustion. Going to the beach with three littlies, sixteen bathroom breaks and losing shoes will surely kill me and any semblance of sanity I have left. It’s easier and calmer at home, so.. no!”

say yes to your child could you be a yes mom for a day

No more! Today I woke up to my ‘No mom’ self and hated it: all the negativity, the flailing for air. I’m done. So I put on a brave face, and changed my lens. Hey kids, this is me, your YES MOM. Hit me with it:

‘Can I have some more oats mom?’ SURE. I slide my half eaten bowl across the table, and begin to clear bowls while she eats. Im ravenous, but she’s hungry, and there’s none left in the pot. Ill survive.

‘Can you help me brush my teeth mom?’ SURE. {I know you have done this yourself for over a year, but hey, why not?} Instead of calling from another room for him to do it himself, I come in and help. I get a hug.

‘Can we go to the beach?’ Pause. I’m tired, I don’t feel like juggling everyone and everything and there’s enough to do at home to keep me busy all day… SURE! After an hour of packing a nappy bag, getting everyone dressed and ready, we make it to the car by 9am. 20 minutes in at the beach and I’m feeling relaxed, and have almost forgotten all the housework waiting at home for me. The kids are so relaxed and happy, and this is good mind space; this wasn’t a bad idea after all.

‘Can you come and run races with me mom?’ SURE! I excuse myself from the middle of an interesting adult conversation and run. My son thinks it’s the funniest thing; and it’s hard not to grin at him giggling.

‘Can I have a sip of your tea mom?’ SURE. My oldest sips it in delight and grins, then runs off leaving backwash in my mug. Loooveleh!

‘Can I help you grate cheese mom? I glance over at the dished up plates of food ready to be eaten, and think of how fast I’d do it, and how fast it needs to be done. SURE. She takes 3 minutes, and we wait patiently. She grins, feeling chuffed with herself.

‘Can you tuck me in again mom? She’s up for the fourth time at my bedside, and it’s an hour past bedtime. Im so tired I can’t keep awake, and I know I have to get up to work once she’s asleep. SURE. I tuck her in and whisper little sweet things in her ear, so as not to wake her siblings, and hope something in my whispering will settle her and help her fall asleep feeling secure.

Finally, they are asleep and I’m up and working, and I look back on the day. If you’d asked me in the morning what the day would have looked like had I said YES to all of the questions, I’d have thought it a crazy day. A day of my patience being tested, of waiting, of leaving stuff that needs to be done, of playing silly games I don’t feel like and just… exhausting. Instead, the more questions I said yes to, the more they asked. They reveled in my attention, in my positivity and in my being present. It was magical.

On hindsight, me as a NO mom is selfish, self absorbed and lost in the to do’s, in everything that’s taking up my visual space. I’m flailing for air, just making it to the next mom-time-out, to regroup. Everyone is testing me, stretching me and keeping me from running this home smoothly. I’m reactive, and a burnout in the making.

As a YES mom, I’m not in control of everything. I forget about what NEEDS to be done right now, and I answer questions as they come my way, while plodding through the to do’s as and when I can, but keeping my kids the priority, and our relationship in the forefront of my mind. The result… kids who feel they’ve connected with me, the mom who’s been calmer, funner and happier. They respond to that, and I do too. Maybe it’ll do us all good for me to loosen the reins a little, to stop trying to control everything and to just. be. present. Tomorrow I’ll wake up and be a YES mom again, and with practice and awareness, I think it’ll make the world of difference in my little family.

Could You be a YES Mom for a Day?


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Questions In Every Little Girl’s Heart

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(This post was written by Heidi)

Whether or not we realise it, each little girl has a resounding question in her heart, waiting to be answered. Knowing this question and actively answering it can be one of the single most important things we do as parents of little girls.

Week 2 of 10 in the Raising Girls Series

Week 1 – Cultivating Solid Self Esteem In Daughters

(See Raising Boys Series here)

Questions In Every Little Girl's Heart - raising girls series

Before my tom-boy phase as a preteen, I remember twirling skirts. Pink sandals, sparkly hair bands, glitter nail polish and swirling dresses that lifted and danced when I did. I remember the giddy light feeling of being blissfully happy, of being the centre of attention in my daddy’s world and of wanting to marry him when I grew up.

I remember waiting in anticipation for him to get home at night, waiting to see what treats he had hidden in his pocket for me, of sitting on his knee watching TV, wrapped up warm and safe in his jacket on his lap, and going for long walks in the fields with the dogs and our cat, happy to just be with him. Those days seemed to revolve around questions in my heart, ones that centred around how he saw me:

Am I lovely?

Do you see me?

Do you want to see me?

Are you captivated by what you find in me?

As I grew up into a snotty teen, and younger siblings entered the picture, and circumstances changed, so did my relationship with my father. Out went the skirts, in came pants and tree climbing, hanging out with male cousins, playing lego and cars, and in a blur, I was in the middle of my teenage years, worrying about make up and boys and whether or not I could hide my smokes from my folks. But those early years of little-girlness were unforgettable. And my ‘dads response to them was so important.

In each little girl’s heart, lie questions waiting to be answered; her identity and self image waiting to be molded and formed. Her parents are her world, and their answers are of huge significance. If you as a parent, are not aware of these questions, the small moments and opportunities to answer them may go by unnoticed. A little girl singing her heart out may not seem like a child asking ‘Am I lovely, do you see me, and I captivating to you?’

She may seem a child who is testing her boundaries, standing on the table AGAIN, singing while you are trying to watch your favorite TV program. The temptation to snap at her to get down before she falls and breaks something may be all too easy to succumb to. But pause a moment. I know parenting can be manically busy at times. If you could view your little girl in a new light, with a new lens, and see her not as a testy, defiant little person who seems to want to push her boundaries at any given opportunity (although sometimes this really may feel the case, especially if you have a strong willed child!) ; if you could see her as a little girl with a big heart, and a big question in it that needs answering, perhaps you would change how you respond to her each day.

We all know that people respond better to affirmation than to criticism, that they grow in the light of positive feedback, not destructive talk. How true this is for our children!

  • How are you answering your daughter’s questions?
  • How gently and affirmingly could you treat her heart if you spoke to your spouse about this, and worked together on it?
  • If you feel pushed to your patience limits, how would pausing and counting to ten (or twenty) to calm a bit before responding, change your attitude, words and actions towards your daughter?
  • How would talking before raising your voice change your relationships in your home?

Moms and Daughters

Moms and their daughters have a special bond. We bake, shop, dress up together; there is an underlying sense of familiarity and understanding that lies there, unspoken but felt. Mom, you have a powerful place in your daughter’s life, one from which you can speak security and life. Choose your time together wisely – plan it, come prepared, let her know you accept and love her, that she is worthy of love, that she is valuable and enough. Nurture her.

Dads and Daughters

Dads and their daughters seem to have an even deeper bond. Father issues in adult women tend to run really deep; no person can take that place of a father. If the relationship is good, it’s a foundation for security; if not, it’s a place of deep hurt later on. Dad, lead your daughter. Keep communication open, even in those awkward teenage years. She needs a strong self-image before she becomes an awkward teenager. Praise her often. Tell her you love her often. Teach her to respect herself. And be aware always of the question she needs answered.

Jon & Stasi Eldredge’s book Captivating is a stunning book on the inner workings of women & girls. If you want to understand your daughter in a much deeper way, check it out! 

We have a few precious years with our daughters, in which to mould them into responsible, secure adults who can step out into the ‘real world’. Let’s not forget that in each girl, regardless of temperament, lies a heart that loves to be loved, to feel significant, and to feel she is enough. Isn’t that how you feel sometimes too? Answer that question for her, in the most positive way you can, in each moment she asks.

Questions In Every Little Girl's Heart

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SAHM Burnout – How to Deal and Overcome

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Be Confident! Face SAHM Burnout Positively.

Most of us have felt it or faced it – burnout! – that awful, dark place where our lens of the world is skewed, and all we want to do is run for the covers, hide and cry.

SAHM Burnout - How to Deal and Overcome on PowerfulMothering.com

What can be done about SAHM Burnout, and how can you deal with it naturally?

Personally, I think there is a link between PND and burnout. In the early days of having a new baby in the home, (and sometimes not so early days – I had PND when my 2nd child was 6 months old EEK!) it’s easy to burn out.

REASONS FOR SAHM BURNOUT:

  • You’re running on very little sleep.
  • You’re on call 24/7 & perhaps breastfeeding, on demand.
  • The housework doubles, and doesn’t do itself..
  • Every outing is different – slower, well packed for, and time-limited.
  • Your marriage changes {let’s be honest}.
  • Friends with no children battle to ‘get’ the new you.
  • Your daily routine changes COMPLETELY. Time is no longer fully your own and  your sense of ‘control’ changes.

The list could go on.. There are many reasons why being a mom can trigger burnout. Your life changes, your routine stretches you in so many ways and it’s never ending; a constant, repetitive loop.

So how can you change things – climb out of the burnout and rework  your daily routine?

A few years ago I found myself in a CRAZY loop of exhaustion and constant GIVING, and no input. I found these things super helpful on my ‘road to recover’:

There are some proactive things a mom can do to help get out of SAHM Burnout naturally:

  • FOOD CHOICES & MEAL SIZES:
    Cutting out sugar & flour. I know, we read that everywhere, but what it practically means {it’s really quite simple & POWERFUL} is eating 4 small meals per day (cook in bulk), consisting of lentils/beans, a veggie & protein {a boiled egg counts).  I did this for a month, and after the 2 week sugar -withdrawal mood from hell, I felt AMAZING. It stabilized my moods completely – no highs and lows, just comfortably full, calm days.
  • EXERCISE & GET OUT:
    I made it a mission to get out every day, even if just for a walk with baby in the pram, to the street corner and back. Getting out in the fresh air and sunshine lifts  your mood and gets you ‘out of your head.’ If you can squeeze in something small, like squats or the plank {really, 1 minute in the kitchen while the kettle is boiling} you’ll feel like a winner. Every second counts, right?
  • SOCIALISE:
    Call a girlfriend, go for a coffee date.
    I realised I had a problem when I spent day in and day out at home, doing washing and running after baby {babies} and never getting out or seeing another living soul over the age of 2, besides my hubby in the eves. I felt left out of the world, like they’d forgotten that I exist and that life was speeding by without me. So I made a concerted effort to call a friend on the phone {leave Skype/Facebook messaging alone, it really isn’t the same as a real voice!} at least twice a week, and to get out with a friend once a week. Getting out in the real world, as well as connecting with another human being, made such a difference, and was a fab break from the housework – baby cycle that never ends or gives you a break unless you take it..!
  • ASK FOR HELP & PRIORITIZE YOUR MARRIAGE:
    I battle to ask for help.. ever! So when I felt like I was drowning in misery and exhaustion, I still found it hard to ask for help! When my first child was 6 weeks old, a dear friend of mine drove an hour to my house, took the baby off my boob, ordered me {in my leaky-boob jammie top, tears and messy hair} to sleep solidly for a few hours, and sat in the lounge with my baby, and a back-up bottle in the fridge. It was the first solid sleep I’d had in weeks, and I felt like a human again. True story. On hindsight, I’d have asked for help everywhere that I could get it, especially for date nights and afternoon naps. There were doting family members who’d have loved to have taken baby for a few hours a few times a week so that I could sleep for an hour!

If you’re suffering from SAHM Burnout, know you are definitely NOT ALONE! Motherhood and running a home is a full time job that places high demands from us, and it’s not easy! It takes careful checking, tweaking and rechecking your daily and weekly routines and moods to see what works best for you – what combination of habits and routine keeps you feeling happy and healthy.

How do you deal with SAHM Burnout?

What helps keep you functioning sanely as a mom?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Products that are helpful:

Other posts of interest:

 

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Cultivating Solid Self Esteem In Daughters

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(This post was written by Heidi)

Self esteem is a fragile thing. We know that. We have all been pre-teens, teenagers and are adult women, with certain things that affect our self esteem. So how do we raise our daughters to be self confident women, who have a deep sense of certainty about who they are?

Week 1 of 10 in the Raising Girls Series

(See Raising Boys Series here)

Cultivating Solid Self Esteem In Daughters - raising girls

[Read more…]

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3 Steps to Create Balance in your life as a Mom

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As a mom of 3 I know how hard it is to keep balance in your life!

Between housework, work, raising children & being a supportive wife, where does a mom find the time to learn something new, revive old hobbies, listen to an intellectually stimulating podcast, take a short course on something that interests you, read a good book / the Bible, go on a date with your spouse… the list is endless – there are so many areas & things we don’t make time for, and one day you wake up and see the massive imbalances in your life, and go WOAH!

Life 1, Mom 0.

So how do you go about making the scales even? How do you, Mom with no time EVER, rearrange things so that you are a more interesting, calm, social, spiritual, {insert desired quality here} person? Here are some thoughts. I am, by no means, a balance expert {wouldn’t ‘balanced mom’ be an oxymoron?! hahaha} Like I said, I have 3 young children and am … imbalanced & learning 🙂

3 Steps to Create Balance in your life as a Mom on PowerfulMothering.com

HOW TO CREATE BALANCE IN YOUR LIFE AS A MOM:

1. Write a list of areas you’d like to prioritize more

Knowing what frustrates you and where you’d like to improve, and writing it down, is a huge step towards making a positive change in your life and daily schedule. Areas you may need help finding balance in:

SPIRITUAL – take time out to read the Bible, pray and get peace and direction. A day | hope | mood – changer.

MARRIAGE – take time out to discuss how much time per day/ week you and your spouse would like, to make your marriage stronger. It is the #1 relationship in your life… prioritize it!

FRIENDSHIPS – take time out each week to call /visit your besties. Life happens {usually in a fast blur that pauses every few weeks, where you realise you don’t have a social life} so be sure to make time for the relationships in your life that count. Keep them alive!

INTELLECTUAL – take time out to do something that stimulates you mentally. Start a course on one of the many online schools/varsities that offer free classes. Listen to interesting podcasts. Slip in 5 minutes here and there on a good book. Start a hobby, or attend a workshop every few weeks/months.

Keep your brain alive! If you want to be as witty as Donna in Suits, your mind will need a break from teaching phonics or doing dishes for the third time today.

PERSONAL – before the busy blur that is having kids and being a home maker and wife {and career woman too, if you are one}, what did you have in your heart to DO and BE? An artist? A professional..? A children’s books author? A guitar player? Take the time out to remember these things and write them down.

2. Diarize time for each area area in your calendar(s), and break it down into specific activities/to do items.

Knowing you’d like a date once a week is great; actually booking the babysitter and diarizing it in your and your hubby’s diaries for Friday 6pm sharp is a good step to ensuring it actually gets DONE and isn’t overwritten with sudden things, like a night out at inlaws or random work at home.

3. Ask for help

Sometimes we have far more support available to us than we realise. Don’t be shy or ashamed to ask for help if you need it – a ten minute breather before kids’ bedtime to compose yourself after a long day; an hour a week off to have a long bath alone with a bottle glass of wine; an afternoon off every second week to meet with a girlfriend or attend a workshop/class.

Balance is a tricky thing – it never happens naturally! All things unscheduled tend toward chaos. So grab a notepad, hide in the bathroom away from the kids for a minute, and plan what & how you’d like your life to change!

Read these too!

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Essential Oils 101
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