Wednesday, September 25, 2013

DANCE Parenting Class: October 6 - 19, 2013

Parenting is a dance you do with your kids. If you don't like their moves, take this class and learn how to change your lead!

Discover your children's strengths and increase their competence

Aim for high expectations based on your children's developmental level

Notice misbehavior and respond with reasonable, valuable consequences

Control your reaction to stressful parenting situations

Enjoy your children and take time to renew yourself
parents dancing with little daughter

Priceless Parenting classes are grounded on decades of positive parenting experiences from real life situations and backed by the latest scientific research in child development. The DANCE Parenting Class combines the powerful online parenting classes with discussion and questions/answers with the class author, Kathy Slattengren, M.Ed.

Space is limited. Register today for one of these classes.

Register now for $99!

Yes! I want to join this parenting class. I understand that I will get:
  • 11 audio/video parenting lessons, October 6th - 19th, 2013
  • Interaction with the instructor, Kathy Slattengren, on each lesson
  • Ability to schedule a 20 minute private call with Kathy Slattengren
  • Certificate of Completion for 8 hours upon finishing the course and filling out a questionnaire
  • Permission to share this course with my spouse or partner
Learn more and register for one of these classes:

I hope you are able to join me!

     Kathy Slattengren, M. Ed.
     President, Priceless Parenting

P.S. If you know someone who might enjoy taking this class, please do me a favor and share this with them.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Getting Your Family's Schedule Together

A couple parents have recently told me their biggest challenge is not having a schedule and routine. Being a parent really does force you to get organized.

Kids do better when they know what to expect and when. Once you develop your family schedule, you can always modify it but at least you have a place to start.

If you'd like to print out a weekly time schedule that you can fill out, click the picture below.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Teaching Kids How to Reduce Their Negative Thinking

Negative thoughts can crop up like unwanted weeds threatening to choke out everything else. The tricky part about these negative thoughts is that they often sneak in quietly. They can start wreaking havoc before they’re detected.

When you notice your children getting frustrated and angry, you can bet there are some negative thoughts behind their behavior. I witnessed this one day when my son was in second grade working on a homework writing assignment. He made a mistake and erased it. He made another mistake and erased that. His anger and frustration grew with each attempt and soon there was a hole in the paper. Finally he scribbled out something to turn in and quit.

person thinking

What I didn’t know then was how to help him out of the downward spiral he was in. Suggesting taking a break just made him even more upset. He ended up turning in his poorly completed assignment and received a poor grade.

Noticing When Negative Thoughts Are Spinning Out of Control

In his book, A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit, Tim Ryan tells a story about a friend's eight-year-old son, Mason. Mason was reading out loud to his Mom and struggling with it. Ryan writes "I happened to be visiting with them, so when he started crying, I decided to ask him what was wrong and he said, with tears streaming down his beet-red face, 'This book is just too hard for me!'"

Ryan realized that Mason's emotions were getting in his way of reading. "Mason was tired, fussy, and upset with himself for not reading well. His pride was hurt, and he felt his inability to read meant that he wasn't smart. As his emotions got more out of control, each time he tried again to read, he quickly gave up."

Wanting to help, Ryan waited until Mason stopped crying and then asked if he wanted help in understanding what just happened. Ryan explained to Mason how the emotional part of his brain was overriding the thinking part of his brain needed for reading.

He described how he demonstrated this: “Then I started clowning a little and using my hands to demonstrate. One hand played the role of the part of the brain that helps in reading, and the other played the role of the brain governing emotions. I explained that when he got all revved up, the emotional part of the brain interfered with the part that helps him read. I made some weird noises and had one hand take over the other hand. Again and again, I made a silly noise and let the ‘emotional’ hand dominate the ‘reading’ hand.”

Ryan then worked with Mason on following his breathing as a way to help calm his mind and body. This simple technique is an easy way for kids to get control of their thoughts. Focusing on slowly breathing in and out is a great tool for returning to the present moment and stopping negative thoughts.

Once kids understand how their brains react under stress, they are in a better position to recognize when it is happening. Dr. Daniel Siegel provides an excellent way to help kids understand how the emotional part and the thinking part of the brain interact. He demonstrates using his hand as a model of the brain in a short video. Teaching your kids this simple model will give them a useful tool for remembering how their brains respond to strong emotions.

Practicing Focusing Your Mind

Being able to control negative thoughts takes practice. To help your children get better at controlling their thoughts, it’s helpful for them to practice focusing on their breathing for five minutes every day.

Teach your children these three steps:
  1. Sit down for a few minutes with the goal of focusing on your breathing
  2. Notice when your mind wanders due to internal thoughts or external stimuli
  3. Remember the goal and go back to focusing on your breathing
Let your kids know that everyone’s minds wander. This is normal and all they need to do is remember the goal of focusing on their breathing and come back to it.

This breathing practice also allows your kids to notice the constant chatter going on in their heads. By focusing on their breathing, they have a tool for intentionally turning off the chatter. Noticing negative thoughts is the first step in purposely changing them.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Getting Your Kids to Eat Healthy

A mom wrote that she is struggling to get her kids to eat healthy. What kids eat can easily turn into a power struggle. Ultimately your children control the food they swallow. However, you control the food that is available to them.

Battling over food takes a toll on relationships plus makes meal time unpleasant. It is your job to provide healthy food and to teach your children why their bodies need healthy food. However, it is your children’s job to decide what to eat and how much to eat. This is an essential skill for all children to develop.

These are some ways we've found helped our kids eat healthier:
  • Let them help prepare food. As preschoolers they helped with things like slicing strawberries and tearing lettuce.  As they got older, they helped make dinners.
  • Make smoothies using fruits and vegetables - delicious and healthy! 
  • Plant a garden.  My fussy eating young son would  gladly eat snap peas that he picked himself from the garden!  All the neighborhood kids love the raspberries and blueberries we grow.
  • Let your children pick out a special fruit they'd like to have at the grocery store. 
  • When your kids are hungry before a meal, put out something like carrots and grapes which they are welcome to snack on before dinner. 
  • Let them do their own age-appropriate cooking. 
What has worked well for you in getting your kids to eat healthier? 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Help Me Do It By Myself

One parent wrote their biggest parenting challenge is "He's a toddler who wants all his independence but doesn't understand that he still needs help with things and he is very stubborn." Although this demand for independence is a sign of healthy development, it’s also exhausting for parents!

Toddlers and preschoolers are anxious to learn to do things for themselves but often need some guidance. This need for help along with the fact that they haven't mastered emotional regulation yet leads to frustration and meltdowns. Sometimes it's all a parent can do not to have a meltdown right along side them!

Find ways to encourage their budding independence by giving them as many tasks they can successfully handle. This is the perfect age to start letting them help out with simple chores. They love to help and practice new skills ... and soon enough they'll be old enough to handle these chores on their own.

For more ideas on parenting young children, check out the online parenting class for ages 5 and under.