Lighten Up for the New Year

Motivation, Routines, Self-care, Tips & Tools
My yoga instructor offered an interesting challenge for her class this month: Lighten up. It was not meant to be the typical New Year’s resolution to exercise more and lose a few pounds, but to look at my life with more levity. We’ve heard about how a positive outlook on life invites better health and happier relationships. But as adults, with all our busy-ness it’s easy to see the glass half empty: to notice the problem instead of the opportunity. It can become an unnoticed, established pattern for our lives. With the responsibility of parenting, it can feel hard to get it all “done”: work, chores, homework, activities. Children can often give us a different perspective.
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Using “What” and “How” Questions

Growing Responsibility, Motivation, Tips & Tools
Words. Even though much of how we communicate (more than 70% in some studies) is through our non-verbal expression, words still make a difference. We all know from experience that what we “send” is not necessarily what the receiver “hears.” Another way to think about words is to ask, “What is the word inviting from the other person?” What kind of pathway is opening or closing in response to the words I’m using?
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The Power of Asking (instead of telling)

Connection and love, Growing Responsibility, Motivation, Mutual Respect, Tips & Tools
why don’t kids do what we tell them to do? Radical thought: maybe because we are telling them. When you tell someone what to do they don’t have to think. They can listen or not listen – but then it goes away. Your daughter doesn’t have to think about or notice the mess, or her unfinished homework, or the chore she didn’t do or remember to write a thank you note. You are doing the noticing (and reminding) for her. In fact, when we parents do all the noticing and telling their brains don’t have to engage much at all! What a life!
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Are we there yet???

Feelings and emotions, Motivation, Routines, Tips & Tools

Contributed by Jody McVittie, MD

Part of my memory of early family vacations include very annoying choruses of, “Are we there yet?” from the back seat. In my more sarcastic moments my internal voice was saying, “Are we stopped yet?” “Does it look like it?” and other variations of maternal snarkiness. I’m not proud of it, but I know that I didn’t always keep my thoughts to myself.

Gradually though, I learned to hear those choruses differently. They were voices of a trio that had not been involved in planning; three children who felt like baggage just being “transported” to …

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How does your family play?

Connection and love, Feelings and emotions, Motivation, Self regulation, Tips & Tools

Contributed by Jody McVittie, MD

What comes to your mind when you think of play? Do you have childhood memories of moments of joy and reckless abandon with friends or family? Memories of giggling so hard it hurt? Or getting “carried away” jointly plotting something creative (but perhaps unrealistic). What is play anyway?

Greenspan and Wieder in their book, The Child with Special Needs, define play as: “(to) connect, to share the pleasure of doing something together, to experience mutual joy” (without forcing interaction). Another way of saying that is simply “to have fun together.” The purpose is not …

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Contributing Kids Become Capable Kids

Connection and love, Growing Responsibility, Motivation, Mutual Respect, Tips & Tools

Contributed by Melanie Miller, M.Ed.

Summer vacation is just around the corner, which could mean scheduling childcare, visits from Grandma and Grandpa, day camps and maybe even a summer camping trip for the family. It can all feel overwhelming during a time of year when we’re supposed to enjoy a little fun and relaxation.

This summer try something different. Summer is for families, so why not allow the whole family to be a part of the season’s planning?

Our children need to feel a sense of significance and can gain this by contributing to the greater good of the family. …

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