positive parenting strategies and tips

As I discussed in my last post, positive parenting stresses the importance of children understanding parents’ expectations and rules. This is done so kids develop good morals and values. When children misbehave, parents are encouraged to have empathy and find the cause of the misbehavior. The focus of this post is how to implement positive parenting strategies and tips.

Positive Parenting Overview

Positive parenting focuses on children learning the importance of appropriate behavior. Parents and children show one another respect, and there is open communication. When speaking with children, it is important to use positive language and positive reinforcement.

Expectations should be age and developmentally appropriate. They should also be given in advance to prepare children for upcoming situations and set them up for success. When possible, children are given the opportunity to learn from their mistakes through natural consequences. Discipline in the form of logical consequences needs to be reasonable, related to the action, and respectful.  Consequences also need to be consistent. As opposed to yelling, parents should speak firmly and clearly. To get more detailed information about positive parenting click here

10 POSITIVE PARENTING STRATEGIES AND TIPS

 

(1) Model appropriate behavior

Our kids look to us to see right from wrong and appropriate versus inappropriate behavior. We cannot expect our children to follow the rules and emotionally regulate if we aren’t displaying healthy behavior. Therefore, it is important to model:

Understand that kids deserve empathy too- Just as we will have bad days and bad moods, so will kids. If your child is struggling, allow them to express their feelings. Give them an opportunity to explain why they are acting out, or if they are young, try to help them through their outburst. Young kids don’t have the ability to communicate and so they get overwhelmed and frustrated. It is important to help our children to deal with their emotions rather than rush to consequences. Encourage them to come to you and to identify their emotions using “I feel_________.”

There are times when your kid will have to ride out their feelings (just like adults), but other times there are strategies (example- breathing exercises, drawing a picture) that can be used to deal with their emotions in a healthy way. There also should be designated areas that your child can go to if he just wants to scream or cry or process feelings alone (parentingforbrain.com, 2020)

(2) Stay calm

I know this positive parenting tip is a very difficult one for many of us, myself included. However, I know from personal experience that if I begin a conversation with my husband or my child when my emotions are already elevated, it will inevitably turn into a very heated discussion/argument.

If your child has acted out and everyone is feeling upset, it is best for everyone to get some space and decompress individually. Your child should be told to go to a space that is designated to process feelings and help to calm down. Instead of a time-out being seen as a punishment, it should be used as an opportunity to take a break and come back together with a calmer headspace. Your child will be more receptive to having a conversation when given this time.

My daughter has a beanbag chair in her room with other toys that help her to emotionally regulate (a squeeze ball, a toy that you blow air into, a weighted blanket). She is asked to go to her “calming corner” as opposed to me calling it a time-out.

There are times when a time-in is necessary. If I see my daughter is upset and needs help to process her feelings, I may ask to take a break first so I’m in a better position to listen to her calmly. Once I’m calmer, I’m more equipped to help her through her feelings and process what is bothering her.

It is important to understand that being calmer doesn’t mean that people don’t still feel emotions. I can be calmer but still feel angry or hurt. However, giving ourselves an opportunity to process our own emotions first before speaking with another is always a good rule of thumb.

Depending on the expectations set in advance and the cause of the behavior, consequences may be given. However, it is important to give your child the opportunity to calm down first and process his/her feelings.

(3) Prioritize connection with your child

prioritize connection with your child

Children do not need materialistic things to feel loved. They need time with YOU. We all have busy lives and are juggling endless responsibilities, and I know it feels like we are being pulled in a million directions all the time. However, even 15 minutes of quality time with your child a day does wonders for their well-being. When your children feel that they are getting attention and that your time with them matters, it strengthens your bond with your child. This in turn helps them to feel loved and safe, and to feel that they can come to you with their feelings.

I have mentioned in prior articles that I implement what I call “fun-time” with my daughter. For a minimum of 15 minutes a day, I play with daughter without my phone or any other distractions. She has my undivided attention. Furthermore, she gets to pick the activity we choose to ensure that it is something that she will truly enjoy. She looks forward to this time together and knows that no matter what is going on, it is something she can count on daily. Quality time should never be taken away as a form of discipline.

Positive parenting is about teaching and helping our children to learn and grow, but part of parenting is having fun with our kids. Attention should be given emotionally as well as physically and verbally. Tell your child often that you love them. Give hugs and kisses, but be respectful if they are not as affectionate and follow their lead. Laughing and playing with our children is important for their development and it is a beautiful part of parenting (ptaourchildren.org, 2019).

(4) Allow kids to make decisions

Children from a very young age try asserting their independence. It is important to give them opportunities to have input or make a choice. Would they like an apple or an orange for a snack? Would they like to wear the boots or sneakers? What book would they like to read? The more opportunities kids have to voice their opinion, the more empowered they feel. This lessens the likelihood of power struggles. Additionally, it helps foster independence, self-sufficiency, and self-confidence.

(5) Pick your battles

A positive parenting strategy is focusing on all the ways your child behaves instead of their negative behaviors. When it is possible to ignore a negative behavior, do so. That doesn’t mean to turn a blind eye to behavior that is unacceptable. Rather, ask yourself if it is a big problem or a small one. Sometimes ignoring unwanted behavior will get a child to stop doing it rather than giving them attention for it. If it is necessary to point something out, try to keep the feedback to a minimum. Save the more lengthy acknowledgments for positive behavior. Kids want attention and will act out to get a reaction, as a negative reaction is better to them than no reaction at all. If you react more to the positives and less/as little as possible to the negatives, they are more likely to behave in a positive way.

(6) Encourage kids to be self-sufficient and figure things out for themselves

encourage your child to be self-sufficient

As much as it hurts us to see our children struggle, there are times when we have to take a step back and let them work through their own problems. Teaching self-sufficiency is a crucial component of positive parenting.

For example, my daughter lost her shoes a week ago. I often help her find her stuff because she tends to misplace her things regularly due to her difficulty with focusing. However, I realized I am doing her a disservice by not allowing her to look for her own stuff. I told her that she is capable of finding her shoes. When she started to get frustrated, I suggested she retrace her steps and kept encouraging her to look for them. She eventually found her shoes, and the look of accomplishment on her face when she found them was priceless.

If your child is struggling to do a math problem or to tie his own shoe, give them an opportunity to do it themselves. Don’t rush to step in and help. Even if your child doesn’t figure it out, they will learn the importance of trying to do things themselves. It also teaches a valuable lesson that we aren’t perfect and that trying is what matters.

(7) Find opportunities to say yes

There are times when there needs to be a hard “no,” and I am by no means encouraging indulging our children’s every wants and requests. However, when possible, try to say “yes” instead of “no.” This encourages children to respect and honor our boundaries when we save our “no” for the important matters. If your child asks for something that can’t be done at the present time, offer an alternative or redirection. For example, “I would love to go to the park! Would you like to go tomorrow or on Thursday?” or, “That looks like a really cool toy. Let’s add it to your wish list!” If we say no to everything, it loses its meaning and importance.

(8) Give warnings

We want to set our kids up for success and increase appropriate behavior. Therefore, try to give warnings to allow kids to be prepared and to help with transitions. Before my daughter has to leave somewhere, I try to give her a fifteen, five, and then two-minute warning. My daughter has difficult with directions and time management, so giving numerous warnings is helpful for her. The amount of warnings you give will vary based on the age and/or development of the child.

(9) Have patience

positive parenting strategies and tips

Positive parenting strategies and tips don’t result in changes overnight. When we aren’t using a more forceful means of parenting our child, our child may not cooperate at first. We need to understand that behavioral changes will not take place overnight. It is an adjustment for both parent and child, and parents need to give themselves compassion and understand we might feel more emotionally charged at first using this type of method. Having patience for ourselves and our children will help to make this type of parenting change.

(10) Be open to what your child is saying

Rules are meant to help our children and keep them safe, but with positive parenting, it is important to allow our child to have input. There are times when things are non-negotiable, but children should be allowed to offer their perspective. This gives them a voice and makes them feel like their opinions matter. There are times when my daughter has made a valid point and I’ve changed my mind. Other times I listen to her, but kindly and firmly tell her that my decision stands. Encouraging our children to state their opinion and speak up for themselves does not mean parents should allow children to dictate or be argumentative. However, the goal of positive parenting is for kids to understand why parents are setting rules and expectations so they can learn for themselves how to make proper choices.

 

 

Implementing positive parenting strategies and tips is not easy.  Quite the opposite. Positive parenting takes a lot of patience, understanding, and open communication. However, the benefits of positive parenting are instrumental. Our biggest responsibility as parents is to raise our children to be well-adjusted, kind, self-sufficient individuals. Positive parenting encourages parents to model healthy coping mechanisms and prioritize their own well-being, allowing both parents and children to thrive.

positive parenting solutions and tips

Not all children are the same, and what works for one child may not work for another. Even if all aspects of positive parenting aren’t best for your child, you can select which positive parenting strategies and tips work best with your parenting style. Tailor your parenting to your child, and remember that parenting is fluid. Learning different parenting styles and strategies help you make informed choices, and that is essential for parenting.

what is positive parenting

I vividly remember how I felt when I first saw my daughter. The love I felt for her was all-consuming. I knew I wanted to be a good mom, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to go about doing that. Every child is different, and therefore each child needs to be parented differently. This post will explain the different parenting styles and provide a guide to positive parenting.

The Four Types of Parenting Styles

4 types of parenting styles

In 1966 the developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind came up with four types of parenting styles. These styles explain how a parent interacts and disciplines their child. It is important to keep in mind that parenting is never clear cut. Elements form multiple styles of parenting may be used, or different styles might be used as different times throughout a child’s life (verywellmind.com, 2020).

1- Authoritarian parenting

There are high expectations and low amounts of nurturing with this parenting type. Parents use their authority to set rules and expectations, and do not allow questions or input from their children about these rules. As a result, the communication is usually from parent to child. They expect obedience and typically use yelling, spanking, and shaming to discipline their children. Punishments are used to deal with negative or unwanted behavior.

2-Permissive Parenting

This parenting style is the opposite of authoritarian parenting. There are low expectations and high amounts of nurturing. The relationship between parent and child more resembles a friendship than a parent and child relationship. Children are given complete freedom to make their own choices as there are no limits or boundaries. Parents give love and affection and communicate with their children, but there is a lack of guidance or rules.

3- Uninvolved/Neglectful Parenting

Low expectations and low nurturing characterize this type of parenting style. There is limited communication and parents are uninvolved in the child’s development and choices. Parents primarily ignore the child’s behavior and use no means of discipline.

4- Authoritative Parenting

There are high expectations and high levels of nurturing. Parents have open communication with their children and encourage verbal discourse. There are clear rules and expectations, and children’s feelings and well-being are prioritized.  Parents provide a warm, loving environment. Discipline is provided, while explaining the importance of rules and their consequences.

GUIDE TO Positive Parenting

Positive parenting falls under the umbrella of authoritative parenting.  The goal of positive parenting is to teach appropriate behavior rather than focus on negative behavior. The priority is placed on open communication so that children develop a good internal moral compass. As opposed to blindly following rules, kids are encouraged to understand the reasons behind these rules.

Advantages of Positive Parenting

(Parentingforbrain.com, 2021)

  1. Kids are more confident
  2. Children have more mental health and wellness
  3. Kids are more self-sufficient
  4. Children have better problem solving skills
  5. Kids develop healthy coping mechanisms
  6. Kids are more well-adjusted
  7. Children have more morals and values
  8. Kids have less behavioral issues
  9. Kids are more resilient
  10. Children have more academic success
  11. Kids have better social skills
  12. Kids are able to emotionally regulate and have self-awareness

ways to be a positive parent

guidelines FOR POSITIVE PARENTING

Look at the cause of the behavior

(positiveparentingsolutions.com, 2019)

When a child is acting out, there is often a reason behind it. Positive parenting stresses getting to the root of the behavior and having empathy in the process. For example, the next time your child is misbehaving, ask yourself what the cause could be. Did your child miss her nap? Is he hungry? Did something happen at school, with a friend, etc.?

There are other possible causes for misbehavior. A child needs to feel that he/she is getting attention/quality time with their parents and that he/she is encouraged to make choices. Power struggles often ensue when a child is not given the opportunity to assert independence.

Speak respectfully and firmly to your children

Positive parenting stresses that respect should be given to both the parent and the child. Using words such as “please” and “thank you” set a good example for how your child should speak to you and to others, while also giving them respect. Although parents who use this type of parenting speak in a kind way, that does not mean that they are not setting rules or boundaries. 

speak firmly without yelling.

Yelling is something many of us do as we were yelled at as kids. There are going to be times we lose our cool and yell. However, the situation will usually then escalate or the child will reacts out of fear rather than learning a lesson from the situation. When possible, try speaking in a calm, but firm voice.

There are two things to keep in mind when speaking with your children:

  1. Positive language– Instead of telling your kids what NOT to do, try stating what they should do. For example, instead of saying, “Don’t run,” try saying, “Please walk.” Instead of saying, “Don’t throw your shoes,” say, “Please put your shoes in the shoe rack.” Explain what to do as a positive statement instead of a negative one.
  2. Positive Reinforcement– Just as positive language should be used, it is important to acknowledge positive behavior and reinforce it. Often we see our kids behaving in ways that we like, but we tend to mention the unwanted behaviors instead of all the ways that they behaved appropriately. Some examples of positive reinforcement are: “You’re working so hard on solving that math problem!”, “You were so helpful when you loaded the dishwasher!” “I saw that you were about to jump from that step, but you stopped. You should be really proud of yourself!” Try being as specific as possible by avoiding generic statements such as “Great job!” or “That’s wonderful!” Commenting on a child’s specific positive behavior shows that you noticed what they did and illustrates the exact behaviors that should continue.

There are two Types of consequences in positive parenting

(mother.ly.com, 2020)

  1. Natural Consequences– If a child is rough with a fragile toy, it will break. If a child does not put on warm shoes when it is cold outside, their feet will get cold. When homework is handed in that is incomplete or done incorrectly, the child will get a bad grade. Through natural consequences a child can learn how to make better choices. We can explain to our children why we think there is a better option, but there are times when we should allow our children to learn from their mistakes. This avoids you having to battle with your child, and your child is given the opportunity to figure things out for themselves.
  2. Logical Consequences-. When a consequence is given, it needs to be logical. Consequences should be given in advance as much as possible so that a child understands the outcome of their choice. It is okay to give a warning first, but there should also be a reminder of what will happen if it happens again. Some examples are: If your child leaves his toys on the floor when he is told to pick them up, those toys get taken away. If your child does not ask permission to turn on the TV, your child isn’t allowed to watch TV. There is no dessert if your child refuses to eat his food. If your child is not listening when having a playdate at a friend’s house, your child has to end the playdate.           
Logical consequences should be respectful, reasonable, and related.

Speak respectfully when giving a consequence. There is no need to say, “I told you so,” or to make the child feel shame. Additionally, consequences need to make sense and be directly related to the action. Lastly, consequences should not be extreme, such as telling your child they have to go to bed early for a month for going to bed a few minutes passed their bedtime.  If consequences are done in an unreasonable, disrespectful, or unrelated way, the child will not learn from their actions.

Expectations and rules need to be age and developmentally appropriate and clear

It is important to make sure that your child understand the rules of the house. Rules should be simple, with consequences stated ahead of time. For example, before going to the store, your child should know to stay next to you and that they are to keep their hands to themselves. Make sure that your expectations are clear and ask your child to repeat them back to you to ensure they understand.

It is important to keep the child’s age and development in mind when setting expectations. If you have a child with poor impulse control and hyperactivity, asking your child to stay next to you while you do a full grocery shopping is unrealistic. If your child will stand next to you while you pick up a few items, then state that as your expectation.  

Explaining the expectations in advance allows kids to feel prepared and ensures that everyone is on the same page. This lessens the likelihood of outburst or negative behaviors.

Additionally, the amount of language you use should vary based on the child’s age and development. Try to keep your instructions to a couple of words with a young child. It is also helpful to get down to your child’s eye level when speaking with them.  

It is a good idea to explain why you have these rules. For example, “I want you to keep your hands to yourself so nothing gets knocked off the shelves,” or, “Washing our hands before dinner helps us to stay healthy.” If your child understands the importance of these rules, they are more likely to comply.

Be consistent

Do not give a consequence unless you are willing to follow through with it. If there is a lack of follow through, it minimizes the importance of your rules and sends the message that you will continue to set consequences and not implement them. This will only increase the likelihood of unwanted behavior. You deserve to be respected and taken seriously, and therefore consistency is crucial.

positive parenting is timeless

 

 

Positive parenting is about helping children to figure out the appropriate way to behave. This type of parenting does not take place overnight, as both parents and children need to adjust. However, when working with our children, instead of combatting with them, we can build a stronger parent-child relationship. Positive parenting gives parents and kids the tools they need to flourish. 

 

 

living life like a child

 

Being a parent has been an eye opener for me in so many ways. I have had the privilege of watching my daughter grow. It is amazing to see how my child views the world. Whether you are a parent or not, I believe we should all try to use a child’s lens more when living our lives.  This article illustrates the power and freedom of living life like a child.

WHAT IT MEANS TO LIVE LIFE LIKE A CHILD

 

(1) Kids don’t judge

They look at everything with an open mind and heart. They do not have any preconceived notions or opinions. As adults, life has jaded us in many ways. It is understandable that our prior experiences have shaped our views. However, if we try to not judge a book from its cover, perhaps we can embrace new experiences and people rather than judge them.

(2) Kids are curious

Kids want to learn and understand everything around them. They ask questions because of a genuine interest in everything. Although trying at times, it is wonderous to see how much they want to learn. As adults, we often assume we have all the answers or don’t have the time or energy to seek out information. What if we took the time to discover why the sky is blue? There is so much each of us don’t know and imagine how much there is to discover.

(3) Kids have endless enthusiasm

I laugh as I write this one, because this is something that every teacher has said about Brielle. My daughter is excited about the simplest of things. A balloon! A box! Having a playdate (since COVID I think anyone would be excited about socializing, but I am referring to once upon a time when we could socialize without fear of a deadly virus)! Living life like a child means being excited about all that life has to offer. The little and simple stuff in life is not so little and simple to a child. I think we all could learn a thing or two about that.

(4) They are innocent and without prejudice

Innocence is a difficult subject for me. Some children have no choice but to lose their innocence at a young age for reasons beyond their control. I grew up in a toxic environment, and therefore didn’t get to stay innocent for very long. I am referring to children that grow up in loving, stable, healthy environments. Living life like a child means hatred and prejudice simply don’t exist to them.

I remember the first time my daughter saw a man in a wheelchair. She asked me what it was and why he was using it. The man saw her looking at him and asking. My first thought was that her questions were making him uncomfortable. It took me a few seconds to realize that wasn’t true. I was the one who was uncomfortable.

I realized that if I shied away from her questions or told her not to ask them, it was sending her a message that others that are different than us are to be avoided. Worse, it could portray that differences are something to be disliked or feared.

I learned that people are happy to answer your questions if they are coming from a place of innocence. Brielle learned that some people aren’t able to use their legs the way that we do. She has since asked and learned about hearing aids, skin tags, Tourette’s Syndrome, muscular sclerosis, and autism.

I recall the first time my daughter met a person of color. She was very young and a man came to our house to do some construction. She said hello and immediately asked him why he was dark. He got down to her level, smiled at her, and told her that not everyone has the same skin color. He then told her that all those differences are what makes the world special. My daughter, wide eyed, nodded and took in every word. She then gave him a hug. I have never forgotten that moment.

My initial embarrassment that she asked that question turned into gratefulness. I was grateful that her innocence allowed her to learn something that I wish everyone knew and understood. I once again realized that my discomfort could have prevented her from such a profound experience.  The prevention of asking and understanding differences is what brews ignorance, and ignorance is what breeds hate. Living life like a child means embracing differences and not avoiding them.

(5) Kids find humor and joy everywhere

Living life like a child means laughing all the time. My daughter finds humor in pretty much everything. Her laugh is contagious, and I find myself laughing. There isn’t a day that goes by where she doesn’t burst into giggles or hysterical laughter. She finds joy and humor in the simplest of things.

My silly faces make her laugh, a chapter from a book makes her laugh, pumping her legs on the swings makes her laugh, and rolling down a hill makes her laugh. She sometimes laughs at her laughs. It isn’t a teasing laughter; rather, it is a laughter that comes from the heart. What a wonderful world this would be if adults laughed more at ourselves and found more humor and joy in life.

(6) Kids don’t care what others think

I am often self-conscious. On the contrary, Brielle laughs, shouts, giggles, dances, sings, and is herself without constraints. She lives her life like nobody is watching, and more importantly, she wouldn’t care if they were. Some kids are shyer than others. However, living life like a child means that when they are doing something, they aren’t worrying about what other people think. Imagine how much more enjoyable life would be if we all lived like that.

(7) Kids love to play

Adults are consumed with responsibilities. Kids, however, play. They focus on having fun and enjoying themselves. Living life like a child means connecting with others and learning through contentment.

Understandably, kids are able to enjoy themselves more because of their lack of obligations. However, kids don’t feel guilty for doing things that make them happy. They don’t feel selfish because they take the time to do things that bring them joy. Adults (myself included) should take a page from the kid handbook and incorporate hobbies and other forms of self-care into our lives without guilt.

(8) Kids feel their feelings without reservations

When a kid is happy, it is obvious. Likewise, when a child is feeling frustrated, mad, or sad, their emotions come pouring out of them. Meltdowns and temper tantrums are common among young children because of their frustrations at being unable to properly communicate or express their emotions. Children want to share how they are feeling.

Adults, however, feel the need to often hold back our feelings. Many of us were taught at a young age that it is important to “be strong” or “not cry like a baby.” Those words shaped our perceptions and in turn, many of us grew up burying our feelings. Living life like a kid means that it is okay to not be okay. Kids will freely express their emotions without reservation. It is only when adults try to constrict those emotions that kids do otherwise.

I am certainly not saying that parents shouldn’t try to calm a child down when they are having a temper tantrum. However, if we take the time to understand why a kid is behaving a certain way or struggling, it will help them to be better equipped to deal with those emotions. Most importantly, teaching them healthy coping mechanisms to handle their feelings rather than sweep them under a rug encourages kids to continue to embrace their feelings.

Kids are authentic with their feelings and emotions. We should try to live life like a child and allow ourselves to feel more and restrict ourselves less. Life would be more authentic, genuine, and real if we all freely expressed ourselves.

 

 

Kids are an example of all the things we once embodied. Their innocence, curiosity, excitement, and pleasure in the simplest of things are a reminder of how much beauty there is in this world. If each of us made a vow to try to live life like a child, we would be opening ourselves up to a world of possibilities.

There is a lot of pain and cruelty in this world, and I am not suggesting that all bells can be unrung. However, there are things right in front of us that can bring us joy, if we allow ourselves to see it. We are no longer children, but we can try to view life through a different perspective.

Lay in the grass or jump in a puddle (it really is fun!). Sing your favorite song on top of your lungs. Learn something new. Take a moment to appreciate something simple, but that brings you joy. Try to be open to something without judging it first. Living life like a child will make us better adults and better people.

bridgeway academy homeschool cost
Last year, my husband and I decided at the last minute that I was going to homeschool Brielle. After discussing several options, we decided to enroll Brielle in an online school called Bridgeway Academy. This article is a review of the online school and the cost of the Bridgeway Academy Homeschool programs.

BRIDGEWAY ACADEMY HOMESCHOOL COST AND PROGRAM OPTIONS

Bridgeway serves grades PreK-12, and they have multiple schooling options.

The first option is individual learning.

You can customize your child’s education with different publishers for different subjects. You are also able to customize to your child’s learning style: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. There is the ability to choose different learning styles per subject as well.

The price varies depending on the specific customization you choose, but generally the Bridgeway Academy Homeschool costs are between $750-$1200. You can check out their different options here:https://www.homeschoolacademy.com/home-school-programs/elementary/grade-level-kits/enroll/ (elementary);https://www.homeschoolacademy.com/home-school-programs/middle-school/grade-level-kits/enroll/ (middle school); andhttps://www.homeschoolacademy.com/home-school-programs/high-school/grade-level-kits/enroll/ (high school).

The major con for this program is that it is NOT accredited, which means they do not keep track of grades or give you a report card. As a result, your child would need a placement test to determine their grade if you chose to re-enroll your child in public or private school.

The second option you can choose is the actual Bridgeway Academy, which is the part of the school that is accredited.

There are four options you can choose: Total Care Textbook, Blended program, HOPE program (which helps children with learning disabilities), and Records and Support.

bridgeway academy homeschooling

(1) The Total Care Textbook program

is primarily textbook learning. It is the program I chose for my daughter. There are some Elephango resources (addendum lessons that are online) for certain subjects, but that is the only online learning children do. You are responsible for grading all tests and papers for your child and inputting them onto their system. You also are responsible for submitting a physical education log with a minimum of 3 times per week and 30 minutes per day of physical education. The cost for this program starts at $2,045 and increases as you go through middle school and high school. You can view more information here:https://www.homeschoolacademy.com/private-homeschool-academy/elementary/total-care-textbook/ (elementary);https://www.homeschoolacademy.com/private-homeschool-academy/middle-school/total-care-textbook/ (middle school); andhttps://www.homeschoolacademy.com/private-homeschool-academy/high-school/total-care-textbook/ (high school).

(2) The Blended/Total Care Online program

is a combination of online and textbook-based learning. With this program, your child will work online for lessons across all subjects, while also continuing text-based learning. With this program, your child advisor will grade all tests and papers, but you will still have to upload their physical education time. The cost for this program starts at $2,595 and increases as you go through middle school and high school. You can view more information here:https://www.homeschoolacademy.com/private-homeschool-academy/elementary/total-care-blended/ (elementary);https://www.homeschoolacademy.com/private-homeschool-academy/middle-school/total-care-online/ (middle school); andhttps://www.homeschoolacademy.com/private-homeschool-academy/high-school/total-care-online/ (high school).

(3) The HOPE program

is the same as the blended program, with the addition of Healing Sensory Therapy. They assess your child to determine their learning disability. Then your child gets 9 months of individualized learning disability therapy 4 times a week from Essential Learning Institute along with the blended/total care curriculum. Each session is 45-60 minutes long. The cost for this program starts at $4,490 and increases as you go through middle school and high school. You can view more information here:https://www.homeschoolacademy.com/private-homeschool-academy/elementary/hope-learning-disabilities/ (elementary);https://www.homeschoolacademy.com/private-homeschool-academy/middle-school/hope-learning-disabilities/ (middle school); andhttps://www.homeschoolacademy.com/private-homeschool-academy/high-school/(high school).

(4) Records and Support- 

This option allows you to use a homeschool program of your choice (from any program), and Bridgeway will keep your records, provide support if there is a technical issue, and give full accreditation. The cost for this program starts at $950 and increases as you go through middle school and high school. You can view more information here:https://www.homeschoolacademy.com/private-homeschool-academy/elementary/records-support/ (elementary);https://www.homeschoolacademy.com/private-homeschool-academy/middle-school/record-support/ (middle school); andhttps://www.homeschoolacademy.com/private-homeschool-academy/high-school/record-support/ (high school).

ONLINE HOMESCHOOL REVIEW

As I previously mentioned, with any of these options you can customize your child’s program to fit his or her learning style. Bridgeway Academy also allow you to have several different payment plan options, which you can view on their website in the links above. Each curriculum also comes with a list of electives, and you pick up to two of them. You have the option of whether you want the electives to be graded, but they still provide your child with additional educational opportunities.
After much discussion and research, we decided on the Total Care Textbook package for Brielle. With the blended program there was too much screen time, which Brielle did not respond to well. Before you get to discuss your child’s curriculum with your advisor, your child first needs to complete a placement exam. This exam is online and is done in two parts: math and language arts. It is a progressive test. For every question your child gets right, it gets harder and harder. If you get most of them correct the test will take approximately 2-3 hours to complete, but your child can take as many breaks as he or she needs.
After the test is completed, you see the results and set up a time to speak with the advisor. During that conversation, your advisor will go over the different options you have for math, language arts, science, and social studies (as well as electives). Since Brielle had extremely high scores in math, we decided to have her take the second-grade math and the other subjects were for first grade. Additionally, there are two publisher options to choose from for all major subjects.

After choosing your curriculum, it takes approximately a week for your materials to arrive at your house.

The package contains all books, manipulatives, and a selection of novels your child will read throughout the year. As I mentioned earlier, the main difference between the Total Care Textbook program and the Blended program is that in the textbook program, you are responsible for keeping track of your child’s progress and submitting grades. For the blended course, their online system keeps track of your progress and grades.
For both programs, the instructor guide and lesson plans come with daily work for each subject. It also includes additional support/alternative lessons you can do with your child. Every week or two your child will have tests in math, science, and social studies, as well as writing assignments and tests that need to be graded in language arts.
I personally felt that the Total Care Textbook program worked very well for the most part. There were some initial struggles at the beginning with figuring out how to navigate the Bridgeway system on the computer, but once Brielle and I got into a groove, it went smoothly. Homeschool lasted about 2-3 hours every day, and the rest of the time was devoted to play time. I made up a daily schedule (that I give for FREE when you subscribe!) to provide Brielle with structure, which kids need desperately during such unstable times. Brielle is a kinesthetic learner, so having manipulatives was extremely helpful along with the textbook.

The major pros to Bridgeway Academy are that you have the flexibility to teach your child on your own schedule.

You can decide how much time to devote to each subject, and you can decide the pace for your child. We were able to finish the curriculum by the end of April, and we took off for several weeks to accompany my husband on work trips. That convenience is a big plus. Another pro is that the cost of Bridgeway Academy is more affordable than many of the other online accredited homeschool programs.

In my opinion, the one major con with Bridgeway Academy is that there is no instructor led option.

You can purchase elective classes that meet one time per week for approximately two months, but those are offered at an additional cost. You are responsible for being the full-time teacher. It is your responsibility to teach your child all the subjects. There are NO teachers that support your child’s needs or give you a break.

This year we had more time to plan which homeschool program we would use for Brielle. We enrolled her in Georgia’s online public school, Georgia Cyber Academy. It is free, which is a huge plus. They also have teacher-led online instruction, but the amount of computer-led instruction is an issue. We are trying to work something out with the teachers where the screen time will be more limited. If Georgia Cyber Academy is not a good fit, it is comforting to know that I have the option of enrolling her in Bridgeway Academy again.

I hope you found this information helpful! Remember that each homeschool journey is unique and there is no right or wrong way. Give yourself compassion and grace while homeschooling. Also remember that it takes time to adjust to a new way of teaching and learning.
UPDATE: We pulled our daughter out of Georgia Cyber Academy.  They were unwilling to make any accommodations regardless of her IEP. Brielle is now back at Bridgeway Academy.
living in the moment with your child

One of my biggest parenting challenges is living in the moment with my daughter. To be fully transparent, I always struggled with my daughter’s current age/stage of life. I spent most of my child’s life either staring in the rearview mirror or looking ahead.

I WASN’T LIVING IN THE MOMENT WITH MY DAUGHTER 

When my daughter was a newborn, I remember feeling so exhausted and overwhelmed. I had to put my daughter’s pacifier back into her mouth throughout the night in addition to breastfeeding. I wanted her to be able to put her pacifier in her own mouth.  Also, I wanted her to be able to sleep for longer stretches without needing milk. It felt like my world had completely turned upside down.  There was no room for me or my needs because taking care of her was so all consuming.

When she started sleeping for longer stretches, I still didn’t live in the moment. I wanted her to get a little older so she could communicate with me. I thought parenting would get easier when she was more verbal and also more mobile.

When she became a toddler, I couldn’t wait until she was potty trained. I was tired of changing diapers and her endless response of “no” to everything I said. I thought that once that stage was over, I would then be able to live in the moment.

Her Sensory Processing Disorder(SPD) was diagnosed at 4, and by then I already suspected she had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) .  I understood why independent play and impulse control were challenging for her, but it didn’t make it any easier for me. 

I yearned for time to myself when I wasn’t constantly getting tugged, grabbed, pulled, Called for, Whined to, and needed.

constantly being grabbed

Despite all the years of wanting her to get older, at the same time, I cried every year on her birthday. When she became an infant as opposed to a newborn, I cried. Each time she was about to turn a year older, I cried. I both wanted to reverse and fast forward time, but never could embrace the current time.

When my daughter started school, I was a complete mess. Despite wanted some breathing room, I was beside myself that now my child had an entire new world separate from me. We had done everything together, and that was no longer the case. I cried when she went to school three days a week part time, and five days a week part time. When she went five days a week full time, I was inconsolable. I got what I thought I wanted all along, but it turned out that once I got it, I wanted nothing more than to give it back.

When Brielle became school-age, I started dreading her getting older.  I remember her eating cheerios in her highchair, jumping in her jumperoo, and holding her arms out to me and saying “mama” for the first time. Truthfully, I would give anything to be able to rock her to sleep in my arms one more time.

I am haunted by how the years seemed to fly by.

I want to yell at myself that I didn’t cherish it more. My daughter is going to be nine years old, and the things I used to complain about are now the things I miss so deeply.  It is the ultimate cosmic joke.

The expression that comes to mind is, “Be careful what you wish for.” Not only do we fail to live in the moment with our kids, we fail to embrace whatever stage we are in in our own lives. As children, most of us wanted nothing more than to get older and to feel like an adult. Once we were adults, we wanted nothing more than to stop aging. Not only do we fail to see that life isn’t greener on the other side, we make the mistake of thinking that reversing time or moving time forward will make us happier. Spoiler alert: it is not the case.

I NOW APPRECIATE WHAT IS IN FRONT OF ME, EVEN THOUGH IT CAN BE DIFFICULT AT TIMES

the present is living in the moment

I spent too many years not living in the moment with my child. I’ve realized that I need to savor the joys that come with whatever stage of life she is in currently. My daughter will never be a baby again, but she also will never be this age again. I have to appreciate what is right in front of me because the present time is indeed a present.

Embracing the present does not mean that you are going to love every second of it. Far from it. It is perfectly okay and normal to be cranky and want more sleep when dealing with a screaming baby. It is okay to have the desire to put cotton balls in your ears if you hear your toddler whine one more time.

Each stage of life has its challenges, but it is also important to appreciate the beauty of each stage.

Take the time to savor the moment when your child is sleeping peacefully in your arms. When your child wants nothing more than to be with you, remember that there will come a day when friends, significant others and the outside world will compete with you for that leading role. It is difficult and frustrating to be needed so deeply, but it is also such a privilege. Learning to hold space for both is the key to living in the moment.

As for me, I am doing my best to learn from the error of my former ways.

I strive to live in the moment. I appreciate the benefits that come with having a child who is not yet a pre-teen, but not a little girl either.

Now I can have deeper conversations with my daughter. She is more self-sufficient, but she wants to be with me and still looks to me for comfort and safety. My daughter is learning to rely on herself, but she still needs me.  

She is currently homeschooled, so I get to have extra time with her.  I still struggle with lack of free time, but I appreciate that I get this time with her.  When she went to school, I felt that by the time she got home, had a snack, and did her homework, it was time for her to get ready for bed.

Now we have all the time in the world together, and I am trying to live in the moment and appreciate that as much as possible.

Brielle now loves reading, so she will sometimes sit next to me on the couch as we each read a book. Other times she will sit with me and I’ll read her a book or we take turns reading to each other. She also loves writing, so I got her a journal and we will each write in our own journals. My daughter still looks at me lovingly and tells me that I’m the best Mommy in the world. I cherish that, as I do all the benefits that come with living in the moment.

Parenting at this age is not a piece of cake, as she is more defiant and argumentative. However, the truth is that every stage of parenting is going to have challenges. For every obstacle you get passed in one stage, a new one inevitably pops up in the next stage. The truth is, parenting will always have its challenges. Those challenges simply change with time.  Learning to accept that allows one to embrace living in the moment as opposed to trying to change it.

I will always look back wistfully at the years passed.

mother and daughter bond

I will sneak a peek at her baby books and cry at old photos. However, I am now taking the time to savor  all the benefits that come with loving and accepting exactly who my daughter is currently. I can miss who she was, but I wouldn’t change who she is now for anything. With that acceptance I have found a peace of mind that I never had in parenting prior. I cannot control the passing of time, but I can control how I choose to spend my current time. I hope that is something that resonates with each of you so that you too can live in the moment and embrace it.

things i want my daughter to remember

As my daughter gets older, I often reflect upon her childhood. Growing up with an abusive mom, I understand the significance of my role as a mother. I know that her upbringing will shape her values, beliefs, and perceptions about herself and her relationship with others. My hope is that when my daughter grows up, she will look fondly upon her childhood. I hope I will instill in her morals, kindness, and self-confidence. These are the things I want my daughter to remember about me:

(1) She received my full attention

Life can pull all of us in many directions, and as mothers we have to juggle quite a bit. However, I always set aside quality time to spend with my daughter. No matter how hectic my day was or how many outside distractions, I was intentional in my time with her. I want my daughter to remember that there wasn’t a single day when she didn’t receive my full attention. The amount of time might have varied, but we always did something together without me looking at my phone, checking my emails, or thinking about something else.

I implemented “fun time” with her, which is a minimum of 15 minutes a day together doing something of her choosing. We played tea party, teacher, house, teacher, tic-tac toe, hangman, etc. Whatever it was, I gave her my undivided attention. There were many times throughout the day when I couldn’t give her my full focus. However, during fun time she had all of me.  I hope she will remember that when she grows up.

(2) I cared about what she had to say

I want my daughter to remember that her thoughts mattered to me. When she spoke about Frozen for the 100,000th time, I listened. I listened to every single word of her conversation with her imaginary friend. When she told me that she wanted to be a horse trainer when she grew up, I listened. I cared about every hope, every thought, every dream, every feeling. No matter how big or small, I want my daughter to remember that I wanted to hear what she had to say. 

(3) I made her feel safe and comforted

I cry as I write this one. Of all the things I want my daughter to remember about me, this one is of utmost importance. I did not grow up having a mother who made me feel safe, and I wanted that more than anything. Being the person who makes my child feel safe is such an honor and a privilege, and it brings me so much joy to know that I was able to give that to her.

I am the one she goes to when she is afraid. She comes to me when she feels hurt. I am the one who reads her books about not being afraid of the dark and teaches her belly breathing. I am the one who helps her relax when she has a hard time sleeping at night. She reaches for my hand when she needs comfort.  I am the one who wipes away her tears, kisses every boo-boo, and wraps my arms around her when she needs reassurance. I am her safe place.

(4) She is loved unconditionally

unconditional love

While I’m crying, I might as well write about this one too. Again, this was something I lacked growing up, and it was something I vowed to give to my daughter. I want my daughter to remember that no matter what, she is always loved. There is nothing she could ever say or do that would change that.

When I am feeling angry at something she said or did, I always make sure to tell her that my feelings of anger do not take away from my love for her. If we have a difficult night and she is giving me a hard time at bedtime, I always make sure to tell her “I love you” as the last thing I say to her for the night. There are many uncertainties in this world, but my love for her is not one of them.

I have no doubt that the conflicts between my daughter and I will only intensify as she hits puberty and teenage years. I want my daughter to remember that no matter our disagreements or frustrations, my love for her is unwavering.

(5) Our bedtime routine

I have put her to bed almost every night since she was born. I want my daughter to remember that our bedtime routines have changed with age, but we always have one. When she was younger I would rock her in the rocking chair and sing her lullabies. Now, I read her the next chapter from whatever book we’re currently reading, kiss her stuffed animals, and then we kiss each other’s hands and forehead. We always say our bedtime prayers and “I love you.”

(6) WE DID THINGS JUST THE TWO OF US

We have a secret handshake, we like to snuggle together in the bed and talk about our day, and we listen to yoga music and put our legs up on the wall for ten minutes (it’s very good for relaxation). We also take walks around the block when it is nice weather, and we will stop and look at the lawns, the flowers, and the house on our block that frequently changes its outside décor. While walking we also like to play a game. We quote a line from a book we’ve read together, and the other one has to guess what book the line came from. I want her to remember all those little things that we did, and that they were special because we did them together.

(7) I homeschooled her

homeschool

This is the second year that I’ve homeschooled my daughter. During this time, I want my daughter to remember how much she has grown and learned. I want her to remember that she is capable and that her Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) do not define her. 

My hope is that she looks back fondly upon this time. For example, during lunchtime I sometimes take out a blanket and spread it on the living room floor so we can have a “picnic lunch.” I made up a funny song when she couldn’t remember the definition of “antonym”, “synonym”, and “homonym.” To reinforce what she’s learned in math, sometimes I’ll set up chairs around the blackboard and she gets to be the math teacher for me and her stuffed animals. She gets to take frequent breaks and jump around and “shake out her wiggles”. When she feels like she isn’t able to figure something out, I show her another way of learning it. Sometimes it clicks and sometimes it takes days or even weeks, but I want her to remember that learning differently does not mean she can’t learn. The sky is the limit for her.

(8) Our family traditions

I want my daughter to remember the hearts taped on her door on Valentine’s Day, the balloons with little notes stuck inside them on her birthday, and the decorations all over the walls. I hope she remembers how we would change the décor in the house for every season, and how she would help me put the old décor away and set up the current ones. When she grows up, I hope she remembers how we all (me, my husband, and my daughter) sat down together every night at dinner and talked about our days. I want her to remember how we had movie nights with popcorn, how we snuggled under blankets and lit a fire when it was cold outside, and how we drank hot cocoa with marshmallows. 

(9) Our Jewish traditions

I want my daughter to remember the role that Judaism played in our lives. Some of these traditions include how we lit candles every Friday night for the Sabbath and had a special dinner. We played dreidel and ate potato pancakes on Hanukkah, we sang our hearts out when we had our Passover Seders, and we said our prayers every night before bed and prayed every Sabbath. I hope she continues to have a love of Judaism and her faith helps her throughout her life.

(10) Cooking together

I want my daughter to remember all the times we spent cooking together. Whether it was making granola, preparing a special meal for Daddy’s birthday, or making cookies, we each wore our aprons as we cooked together.  I taught myself to cook, and it was important to me to teach her how to cook. She has sensory issues and didn’t like her hands to get sticky. When cooking she had to put her hands into the ingredients at times to mix  (e.g., granola mix).  As a result, she now doesn’t have that problem. We always have fun together in the kitchen, although she is never a fan of the cleaning up part! My hope is that my daughter remembers those times.

(11) Being silly together

We have always danced together. When she was a baby, I carried her and danced (and once almost tripped over my pants that were too long!), and as she got older she would hold my hands and dance. Now we crank up the music, shake our booties, and act like complete fools. We also sing together (and not well, may I add) and tell each other jokes. I want my daughter to remember that I wasn’t afraid to be silly and make a fool of myself in the name of fun.

(12) I was her biggest cheerleader 

daughter's biggest cheerleader

I was fortunate to be able to stay at home so I could witness all her firsts (e.g., first smile, laugh, sitting up, crawling, walking, etc). When she went to school, I attended every school event, volunteered in the classroom whenever there was an opportunity, never missed a Friday school service, and literally cried the one time I didn’t know the school invited parents to participate and therefore I wasn’t there.

When she took dance class I watched on their TV every class she took, watched on the bleachers every gymnastics class, and cheered every soccer game she played. I taped every time she received a new taekwondo belt and clapped (probably a little too loudly, but I clapped for all the other kids too). I want her to remember that I was her biggest cheerleader and supported her every hobby and passion. Most of all, I was so proud of her for trying, regardless of the outcome.

(13) I was her biggest advocate

I want my daughter to remember that I was her biggest advocate. When her kindergarten teachers suggested that she wasn’t capable of doing the work the other kids were doing, I wouldn’t hear of it. I took a home video of her doing the very work they claimed she couldn’t learn. After my meeting with the principal consisted of him checking emails instead of listening to my concerns about my daughter’s lack of support, I pulled her out of the school.   

I found out she could get an Individualized Education Program (IEP) through the local public school. I emailed and fought with the support team to get an initial meeting and subsequent evaluation. Then I did intensive research and made sure they tested her on all areas of concern that I had. When it was time to write up the IEP and they showed up with all of two goals, I spend the next two weeks coming up with all the goals and recommendations that she needed. They are now in the IEP.

I have kept the door open to her returning to school. We are looking into private schools, but I will not send her anywhere until I know that the school will implement the IEP completely and will give her the support she needs too thrive. 

(14) I made mistakes and I owned up to them

I actually want my daughter to remember that I am not perfect. I want her to know that when she grows up it is okay and normal to not have it all figured out. Motherhood isn’t a walk in the park, and I won’t always say and do the right things. I also want her to know the importance of taking responsibility for your mistakes, and that there is no shame in saying you are sorry. She may be my child, but she deserves an apology no matter her age. In doing so, I hope she will understand and remember that I did my best and was always willing to admit wrongdoing.

(15) It is okay to not be okay

I do not discuss my adult problems with my child. However, I want my child to remember that it is normal and healthy to not always be okay. I have tried to teach her healthy coping mechanisms and ways to work through her feelings. In addition, I model for her that it is crucial to allow yourself space to feel whatever you are feeling. I want my daughter to remember that I encouraged her to talk about how she was feeling and not bury those feelings. My hope is that she also remembers the importance of honoring those feelings instead of judging herself for them.

(16) I took my role as mom seriously 

daughter's role model

It is my job to guide and teach my daughter. From the time she was born, I have taught her through play things such as language, numbers, writing, and reading. Even more importantly, I teach her the importance of being a good person. I want my daughter to remember that my priority was to teach her morals and values, not to be her buddy. We have fun together and I love spending time with her, but I am her parent. It is up to me to let her know that she should be picking up her toys, taking her schoolwork seriously, and showing respect and gratitude. I want my daughter to remember how seriously I took the role of being her mom.

Part of my job is to encourage her to believe in herself. My daughter struggles with playing independently. I have encouraged her to be her own friend and figure out ways she can enjoy her own company. Although I am her source of safety and comfort, it is also my job to teach her to be her own source of safety and comfort too. She needs to love herself, and I am not a replacement for that.

(17) I encouraged her to be her best self

As a recovering perfectionist, I am very mindful of not instilling a perfectionistic mentality into my daughter. I want my daughter to remember that I encouraged her to always try her best, but I did not compare her to others. I want her to always strive for growth and to be the best version of herself that she can be. That said, perfection is not a goal nor an option.

(18) We always Read together

From the day she was born, I have read to my daughter. Now that my daughter is older, she reads to me as well or we rotate reading pages to each other. I still make sure to read to her every night. She is an avid reader, and I want my daughter to remember all the wonderful memories surrounding reading together.

(19) She could tell me anything

I want my daughter to remember our talks. When something was on her mind, she would often tell me she wanted to have a “meeting”. We would go into my room, sit on my bed, and she would tell me what was on her mind. I tried my best to offer comfort, advice, or just listen, depending on what she needed. I may not have always gotten it right, but I tried. As she gets older, it is important to me that my daughter knows that she can always come to me. There may be times when I feel it is important to state my opinion because I want her to make informed decisions. Regardless of her life choices, I will always be there for her and try my best to support her.

(20) Life is what you make of it, and it is often unfair

I want my daughter to know that life will knock her down. It is up to her if it keeps her down. My daughter doesn’t know any specific details of my childhood now, but one day I will tell her. I want her to know that despite my struggles I kept trying.

She knows she has difficulty concentrating and has difficulty controlling her impulses. When she asked me why some things are harder for her, I told her that life is often unfair and there isn’t always a good answer. I want her to remember that I always encouraged her to play the cards she was dealt. Most of all, I want her to know that her mother was a fighter, and that she is a fighter too.

 

 

I am sure I will add to this list as my daughter gets older. My greatest wish is that above all, she remembers and believes that I was a good role model. I hope she looks fondly on her childhood and wants to instill the same kinds of memories with her children. One thing she will never have to remember, though, is how deeply and fiercely she is loved.

 

the hypocrisy of parenting

Our job as parents is to support and guide our children through life. That is no easy task. We are constantly questioning what is best for our children. However, despite our best intentions, there are times when we do not follow the golden rule of treating our children like we would like to be treated. This is where the hypocrisy of parenting comes in.

I believe that we are all guilty of unintentional hypocrisy. We may send mixed messages, ignore our child’s opinions, or have a separate set of rules for ourselves than our children. These actions can make children feel confused and unsure of how they should act in the world. 

Before I go any further, I want you to know that this is something that every parent does.

I am by no means trying to make anyone feel badly about themselves or their parenting skills. Parenting is hard enough as it is. We are often consumed with guilt, which only gets amplified because of a world that often shames our choices. That said, we can always strive to learn and grow as parents. My hope is that this article brings awareness to allow some room for growth. No mom shaming is being written by me. Ever.

I am guilty of many (if not all) of the examples written below. With that said, our children are very much aware of the double standards that we set for ourselves and for them. We will always make mistakes as parents, but my hope is that we can learn from those mistakes, while giving ourselves compassion.

The Hypocrisy of Parenting: 8 Confusing Messages We Send Children

 

(1) Kids aren’t allowed to have bad moods.

There isn’t a person on the planet who hasn’t had a bad day. Sometimes there is no explanation. Other times it is situational. It may be that we didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Our boss was unfair to us. Our spouse didn’t appreciate the effort we put into cleaning the house. A person stole our parking spot. We all feel cranky sometimes.  Sometimes it just has to run its course.

Children are no different. They will experience bad moods, frustration, crankiness, and/or acting ornery. This is where the hypocrisy of parenting comes in. We expect others to show us compassion and empathy when we are feeling “off” or when we had a bad day. Yet when kids get cranky,  we usually tell our children to stop. We inform them that it isn’t okay to be grumpy. If there is a cause, we may try to help our children through it, but eventually we will reach a point where we tell our kids that enough is enough. We are not going to put up with their attitude.

Just as we need to sometimes ride the wave of whatever it is we are feeling, so do our kids. Kids are allowed to have bad moods and bad days, just like us. The hypocrisy of parenting is when we don’t give our children space to feel that way.

(2) WE INSIST OUR CHILDREN CLEAR THEIR PLATE WHEN THEY SAY THEY ARE FULL

As adults, we are able to stop eating when we feel full. Yet there have been many times my daughter says she is full, and I insist she eats everything before getting up from the table.

I understand that some kids will claim they are full as a tactic to skip dinner and go straight to dessert.  That is a different story. However, if a child insists they are full and doesn’t want any more food (dessert or otherwise), why do we tell them they need to keep eating?

It is important to keep in mind that not allowing kids to make these types of decisions can lead to problems in adulthood. In fact, this hypocrisy of parenting can lead to obesity for children when they get older because they develop an inability to control their apatite properly (dailymail.co.uk, 2020) . 

(3) We don’t try to understand why our kids are acting out of control.

emotional regulation

It is often difficult for kids to express themselves. As a result, children are prone to temper tantrums due to the frustration of being unable to articulate their feelings. They also lack the skills to emotionally regulate themselves. If you think about it from their perspective, wouldn’t you get out of control if were unable to explain how you were feeling? Heck, many adults struggle with expressing their emotions. 

Temper tantrums are grating on even the most patient of people. However, if we take the time to understand WHY our toddlers are throwing a tantrum, it can make it easier for both parents and children. Instead of trying to get our children to stop, what if we took a moment to take a deep breath, and tried to understand what the cause was of the tantrum? Perhaps it was exhaustion. Perhaps they felt frustrated because they lost their favorite toy. Whatever the reason, young children or children who have difficult expressing themselves have the same feelings as we do- they want to feel understood.   

The hypocrisy of parenting takes place when we don’t take the time to understand why our kids are acting out. As grown-ups, if we get extremely frustrated, we want empathy.  We want the people we care about to take the time to understand why we are feeling triggered. In fact, a huge part of marriage is taking the time to understand our partner’s triggers and hold space for them. Even if we don’t agree with why someone is acting a certain way, we do our best to respect their feelings. Children deserve the same treatment.

(4) We rush to judgment.

let your child be seen and heard

I get angry when I feel judged. I am sure you do too. We all deserve the opportunity to be heard. Children deserve that opportunity as well.

Raise your hand if you have gotten mad at your kid for doing something without giving them an opportunity to explain themselves. I’m raising my hand too. What if we didn’t rush to judgment and  saw if there was a reason for those actions? We are guilty of the hypocrisy of parenting when we jump to conclusions, but we don’t want others to rush to judgment about us.

Again, if your child is doing something outright dangerous or inappropriate, I am by no means advocating that behavior. What I am suggesting is that we are often black and white with our children. There is right and wrong, but we forget that sometimes we need to allow a little bit of grey. Before we jump in to correct or critique our child, perhaps we can give them some space to explain things from their perspective.

I remember a particular time I was guilty of this.

My daughter is not allowed to use paint without permission. I came into the play room and found my daughter painting. I felt my blood boiling that she disobeyed a rule. She was told to immediately put away the paint. After giving me me the saddest look, she put it away and walked into her room. She said nothing.

A few minutes later she came back downstairs. My daughter was crying and told me that she wanted to surprise me with a special picture on a canvas. She tried markers first, but it didn’t look good. She knew she was supposed to ask permission to use the paint, but she couldn’t because then it would ruin the surprise. Let’s just say that I felt like something that should be scraped off the bottom of a shoe after she explained herself.

Did she break a rule? Yes. However, I was quick to rush to judgment and assume she was being defiant. She had very sweet intentions, but I was quick to make assumptions. Had I given her the opportunity to explain herself, I would have handled the situation differently. I would want the chance to explain myself, and she deserved the same.

(5) We don’t let our children openly speak their minds.

As adults, we are supposed to use our voice and be our own greatest advocate. We are guilty of hypocritical parenting when we expect our kids to blindly follow what they are told.

I want to stress that there is a line between arguing/debating versus giving your child a chance to share their perspective. Some things are absolutely non-negotiable in life for all of us. However, as long as a child is being respectful, I believe we should encourage our kids to speak their minds. I think teaching our kids to blindly follow anyone of authority is a very dangerous and slippery slope. If we don’t allow our kids to speak up now, how can we expect them to use their voice as adults or if they are in a compromising situation?

I went to a private school that served pizza on Fridays. In third grade, I realized that they were giving us extremely small slices, yet charging us regular price. Although the people doing this were in a position of authority, I felt what was going on was wrong. I decided to start a petition that we should receive bigger slices. Unfortunately the school did not comply with my request, but I was proud of myself for standing up for what I believed in and taking a stand. Even though I was a child, I felt (and still do) that I should speak my mind.

There have been several times when I have said something to my daughter and she has suggested or said something that changed my perspective. There are other times when I will listen, but tell her that I am standing by my decision. I want her to know that I care about her opinion, while understanding that giving her a voice doesn’t mean that she dictates how I parent.

(6) We expect our children to immediately drop what they are doing for us.

I do not like to wait for my daughter. When I tell her she should get off of her iPad, finish an activity, etc. I expect her to immediately comply. However, I am absolutely guilty of hypocritical parenting because if my daughter wants my attention, I will usually tell her she has to wait for me.

I’ll take it one step further. When my daughter tries to get me to stop what I’m doing, I will get angry at her for demanding. I am in the middle of something, and I expect her to be patient and wait. So why do I not allow the same for her?

What I’ve started doing is giving her notice that I’d like her to finish up what she is doing. Obviously if there is an urgent matter, she is expected to stop immediately (just as I would do under the same circumstances). Otherwise, I let her know in advance and will give her ten minute, five minute, and one minute notice. Similarly, I will typically ask for ten minutes to finish something up. If either one of us need more time, we let the other one know.

(7) We Don’t Let our children make their own decisions.

let your child make some of their own decisions

For example, many of us enroll our kids in extra-curricular activities. Have you ever enrolled your child in an activity without asking your kid which one they’d prefer to do? 

I had a neighbor who loved baseball. He told me he dreamt of being a professional baseball player, but he wasn’t good enough. From the time his sons were young I would watch him practicing with his sons in the street. I remember one day commenting to the older son that he must really love baseball. His response was, “Not that much, but my dad really does”.

Some of us are guilty of thinking that just because we like something, we think that our children should feel the same way. We forget that our children are their own individuals with their own likes and dislikes. Just because our dream was to be a doctor, doesn’t mean our children are going to be doctors. We should not project our hobbies and aspirations onto our children.

(8) we trivialize their feelings.

If something is important to me, I want my opinions and feelings to be acknowledged. However, if we feel our kids are upset about something that we deem “silly”, we will often minimize their feelings and say it isn’t a big deal.

We need to remember that kids deserve respect too. They deserve to have their feelings validated no matter what. We sometimes fall into the hypocrisy of parenting when we feel our kids are blowing something out of proportion, so we tell them to let it go. Our kids deserve to feel that it is safe and encouraged to express their feelings no matter what. We may think they are blowing things out of proportion, but we have no right to tell our kids how to feel. I know I wouldn’t want to be told my feelings were silly.

 

 

The hypocrisy of parenting is something we all are guilty of doing.  So often, we do not treat our children the way we would want to be treated. We must stop holding our children to a higher standard than we can attain ourselves.

things i wish i knew before becoming a mother

There are so many times I’ve thought to myself, “I wish I had a crystal ball so I could know the future”. However, when it comes to motherhood, I wish I had a time machine so I could talk to the version of myself before I became a mom. That woman (aka me) didn’t have a clue! For those that are navigating the intricacies of motherhood, this post is for you. Here are the things I wish I knew before becoming a mother:

THE 15 THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I BECAME A MOTHER

 

1. You can never be fully prepared to be a mom.

Sure, you can have the basics like a crib, changing table, and diapers, but the true complexities of motherhood? No way. You can read every baby and parenting book out there, take every course, and speak to every mom, and you still won’t be prepared.

I don’t say this to freak out any mothers-to-be.

I say this because parenting isn’t one-size-fits-all. Every kid is different, and the moment you think you’ve got the parenting thing under control- BAM!- something new happens. Your kid is always changing, and their preferences and needs will change. What worked today may not work in a month (or even tomorrow, as is usually the case in my household). The only way to be a mom is to actually be a mom.

I was one of those pregnant women that thought I could study my way into motherhood. I did well in school by studying, so why not apply that same principle into motherhood? So I read. A LOT. Guess what? Those books didn’t prepare me for the helplessness I felt the first night when I tried every technique I read, and nothing would make Brielle stop crying. I had to figure out what worked for her, and that took trial and error and a lot of tears (on her part and even more so on mine). Motherhood is a constant work-in-progress.

2. Parenting is HARD. SUPER HARD.

It is the most physically, mentally, and emotionally draining thing you will experience in your life. It will test you in every way possible, and it requires endless patience.

I wish I knew before becoming a mother that parenting will always be a challenge. I thought that taking care of a newborn was the most demanding thing, until Brielle became a toddler. Then she became a little kid, and I had a whole new set of challenges. Parenting doesn’t get easier. It just gets different.

3. Parenting is the biggest responsibility you will have in your life.

Being responsible for the well-being of another human being is a privilege, but is an overwhelming responsibility. It is one that should be taken seriously. That doesn’t mean you should feel you have to do everything right (because that is impossible), but it does mean that the precious life of an innocent child is in your hands. It is up to you to do your best to guide that child into a self-sufficient, well-rounded, kind, compassionate adult.

4. You will love your child more than you ever knew was humanly possible.

love your child more than you will ever know

I know I’ve probably terrified many new and expecting moms with the first three. However, of all the things I wish I knew before I became a mom, this one matters most.   The love you will feel for your child is immeasurable. You will feel like your heart actually grew because you won’t understand how it is possible to love that much.

I want to clarify something though. You know those movies that show moms feeling this instantaneous love the moment they hold their child? That is simply not the case for all moms. Hormones are soaring, you’ve just endured pain that can only be described as torture, and some women struggle with postpartum/peripartum depression (PPD). Just because you don’t feel that kind of love at the beginning, doesn’t mean you won’t.

When I had Brielle, I was overwhelmed.

I was in complete shock (she came 6 days early), and I was in a panic.  I looked at Brielle and I felt connected to her, but a part of me also wanted to run. FAST.

I remember hysterically crying to my father-in-law 3 weeks after I gave birth. My husband had to go back to work when Brielle was 1 week old, and I couldn’t get Brielle to stop crying (she had acid reflux, had her days and nights mixed up, and she had a set of lungs on her. She actually made herself hoarse on many occasions). I was sad all the time, I wanted my old life back, and I felt guilty and like a failure for feeling that way. I was too overwhelmed and depressed to fully grasp the extent of my love for her, but once I did, WOW.  

5. Educate yourself about postpartum depression.

I wish I knew this before I became a mother because I would have recognized the symptoms. I was extremely depressed for many months at the beginning of Brielle’s life. Some of it was due to my husband’s lack of presence, some was due to the challenges of being a new mom, but a lot of it was hormonal. Had I spoken to my OB-GYN or a mental health professional about it, my quality of life during all those months would have probably been a lot better.  

“Peripartum depression is a serious, but treatable medical illness involving feelings of extreme sadness, indifference and/or anxiety, as well as changes in energy, sleep, and appetite…Peripartum depression is different from the “baby blues” in that it is emotionally and physically debilitating and may continue for months or more. Getting treatment is important for both the mother and the child. ( Psychiatry.org , 2019). Please know that there should never be any shame about seeking help if you are struggling.  

6. Privacy is a thing of the past.

Once you have a baby, time to yourself is limited. I couldn’t take a shower or go to the bathroom without my little bundle of joy accompanying me. She would cry hysterically if I wasn’t within her view at all times. My body was no longer just mine. I had a baby come out of me, and she was now breastfeeding around the clock. Although I wouldn’t take back those times with her for anything in the world,  it was a huge adjustment. I was being touched, vomited on, and producing milk constantly. Even when your baby gets older, your kids will still be all over you, and you will often have an audience in the bathroom.

7. Self-care and boundaries are crucial.

You can’t set boundaries with a baby, but you can implement a self-care routine for yourself. I wish I knew before I became a mother that it is crucial to practice self-care.  Parenting is demanding, and you cannot pour from an empty cup.

Figure out a time to Implement self-care.

It can be when the baby is napping or when your husband is with the baby. It can be when the baby is in the playpen. Don’t take it for granted, as it is easy to overlook it with all of life’s demands.

When your child gets older, continue to practice self-care. Remember that looking out for your mental well-being is a priority, no matter the age of your child. You can also start to state boundaries with your children such as, “I don’t like when my arm is grabbed.” or “I will be able to help you in five minutes.” Your needs matter, and it is up to you to verbalize them. Obviously, boundaries have to be set with children based on their age and ability.

8. Remember who you are separate from being a mom.

I wish I understood the importance of this before I became a  mom. For a long time, I completely neglected my identity besides being a mom and wife. I am a Stay-at-Home-Mom, and those responsibilities completely enveloped me and my identity.

Hobbies and other things that bring you joy should be done daily, if only for a few minutes. There should be time for YOURSELF and who you are as a person, separate from your family roles.

9. You will not enjoy motherhood all of the time.

I feel that so many moms believe they are supposed to soak in every moment of motherhood. There are times when that is not the case. I don’t relish when I am trying to get something done and my child is screaming for me. My daughter having a meltdown is not something I find enjoyable. I don’t soak in when my daughter refuses to listen to me or acts disrespectful. I can love being a mom without loving every moment of motherhood. It is so important to know this before becoming a mother.

I’ll take it one step further. There are moments that I miss the freedom that comes with not having any children. When my daughter was first born, I missed it like crazy. However, that does not mean that I ever regretted being a mom. There is not a single moment when I felt that way. I always love my daughter, and I will always choose her. I can miss and occasionally look back wistfully at my pre-motherhood life and still not want to trade being a mom for anything in the world. You can feel both, and that IS OKAY. That does not make you a bad mother. It makes you human.

10. Motherhood will give you strength you didn’t know you had and make you feel fears you didn’t know existed.

I lived in New York my entire life (with the exception of living in NJ for a year) and moved to another state because I felt it was best for my daughter. People literally took bets on when I would return to NY because I am such a creature of habit.  I argued with every member of her student support team to get her tested and have an IEP created (and I am an introvert and have social anxiety). Additionally, I dealt with my husband’s addiction while taking care of a newborn and raised her by myself because it was what I needed to do. I am capable of things that I probably wouldn’t be capable of otherwise because of my love for my daughter. She is the reason why I strive to be the best version of myself.

Alternately, she is the reason why I fear so much. You don’t know the meaning of worrying until you have a child. I worry if she knows how much she is loved and how my choices will affect her. I question if I am doing it all wrong. No matter her age, I will always worry.

11. Your child will teach you more than you teach your child.

It is a parent’s job to teach and guide their child. However, Brielle has taught me far more than I could ever teach her. She taught me the true meaning of unconditional love. She taught me how to be a better person. My daughter taught me the importance of working on myself to be the best mother I can be. She taught me that perfection is an illusion. Brielle taught me what matters most in life. She taught me how strong I really am, and how powerful a mother’s love truly is. Most of all, she taught me that I can be the kind of mother she deserves, regardless of the fact that I didn’t have that kind of mother myself. She taught me that I get to make my own present and future regardless of my past.

12. You will see beauty and joy that you didn’t see before.

Getting to view life through the eyes of your child is the most amazing gift and privilege. I didn’t have a happy childhood, and so I cherish this even more. Seeing my child smile and hearing her laughter is a blessing and one that makes every difficult moment of parenting worthwhile. It is a gift that I will never take for granted.

13. You will struggle.

motherhood is overwhelming

This is something we all experience, and I wish I knew this before I became a mother. There will be times when you will want to draw the covers up over you and hide. You will feel overwhelmed, sad, and/or a plethora of other emotions. People experience feelings of sadness, loneliness, anxiousness, fear, etc. Having a child doesn’t make those feelings go away. You have an added stressor now that you have a child. Motherhood is a struggle in of itself, and when you add that to the revolving door of responsibilities, it amplifies those emotions.

It is okay to struggle. It is okay to not always be okay. You are not superwoman. The best thing you can do for yourself and your child is be honest that life isn’t always sunshine and roses. Show your child that life can be rough and don’t pretend that you’re always okay. Model healthy coping mechanisms to help you deal with your struggles and to teach your child healthy ways of dealing with life’s obstacles.

14. Motherhood can be isolating

I felt very lonely when I became a mom. I didn’t have any friends with newborns, and there weren’t any groups for new moms in my area.  Moving to a new place without a support system made it even more isolating for me. I have heard countless stories from moms who felt extreme loneliness after having a child. “Surrounded by new life – screaming, crying, unappeasable new life at that – can be far from the idyllic picture of new motherhood often portrayed. It can actually be an incredibly lonely and isolating time in a mother’s life. For many women the postpartum period can be a time of hardship, confusion, drastic change and intense loneliness” (CT Examiner, 2019).

15. Your priorities change.

Having a child really does change everything. Every decision you make, every action you take has an effect on your child. It is no longer just about you. Your child needs to be your number one responsibility and your priority.     

I wish these were things I knew before I became a mother. I wouldn’t have been so hard on myself, and I would have understood that it was okay to struggle. Motherhood is a beautiful thing, but is not for the faint of heart. Grasping the complexities of motherhood is what allows mothers to truly embrace it. It is only then that we can accept it fully, with all its dips and peaks.

What do you wish you knew before becoming a mother? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

avoid raising an entitled child

WHAT IS AN ENTITLED CHILD?

We love our kids. That is a given. However, in our quest to shower our kids with love and the best things in life, we often find ourselves raising entitled children.  How does a child become entitled? They seem unappreciative and act demanding, ungrateful, and selfish. In a nutshell, we took a wrong turn somewhere along the way and found ourselves in Entitled City.

TIPS AND STRATEGIES TO AVOID RAISING ENTITLED CHILDREN

Do you ask yourself, “Why is my child so entitled”?  Here are 10 strategies on how to avoid raising entitled children and stop entitled behavior dead in its tracks:

(1) Gifts are a privilege

Kids need their basic needs met- food, clothing, and shelter. Many of us didn’t have many materialistic things growing up, so we want our children to have what we lacked. Remember that gifts don’t fulfill what our kids really need. Love and memories are what matter most. Memories are far more valuable than tangible objects.

Of course, that doesn’t mean your children shouldn’t get any books, toys, or games. However, be mindful that too much of anything is not a good thing. If your children never want for anything, they will never learn to truly appreciate what they have.

(2) Institute chores

age appropriate chores for children

In order to avoid raising an entitled child, teach your child that they have responsibilities in the household as well. This teaches them self-sufficiency and the value of contribution. Chores will obviously vary based on age and ability, but even young children can do chores. This allows them to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. Increase responsibilities with age and ability, and remember that doing their chores for them is not doing them any favors.

I don’t believe that a child should get paid to do chores, as there are certain obligations that we do simply because they are necessary. I don’t get paid to wash the dishes, and my husband doesn’t get paid to mow our lawn. That said, it is a different story if you want to give your child money for doing extra chores that are not their responsibility. Teaching your child the value of earning money is an important lesson as well.

(3) Give back

We often don’t appreciate what we have until we see how blessed we are. Children don’t always realize that many others lack the things they get so readily. It often takes seeing others who have less than we do to not take things for granted.

Let your child give back and spend time helping others. Whether it is volunteering at a soup kitchen or taking care of animals at the shelter, they are making a difference and see the value of giving. If your child has a ton of toys, let them gather up the ones they no longer use and donate them. Learning that giving is better than receiving is a life lesson worth learning at any age. They will feel good about themselves for helping others. This will help them to appreciate what they have and put their own good fortune into perspective.

(4) Make sure to spend quality time with your children

spending quality time with your child

The amount of time isn’t as important as the quality of time. Teach your children that love isn’t something reflected by the amount of toys they possess. Rather, it is shown by the connections people share. Set aside time each day to focus entirely on your child, without any distractions. Allow your child to determine how you spend your time together. It gives them a sense of control and independence, while teaching them that love cannot be bought. This time together should never be taken away as a punishment.

(5) Do not encourage entitled behavior

If your child doesn’t use their manners, acts demanding, or starts whining, simply state, “I will not discuss this with you until you are respectful.” Then ignore or walk away if necessary. Engaging will only send the message that this behavior is tolerated. When setting expectations, make sure they are age/ability appropriate.

Remember that although it is easier in the moment to give in and buy that candy bar when your child is throwing a tantrum in the store, it is also rewarding inappropriate behavior. It sends the message that your kid is entitled to get what he/she wants at any cost. In order to stop raising entitled children, remember that the values we instill in them now lay the foundation for their adulthood.

(6) Don’t solve their problems

As parents, it is heartbreaking when we watch our kids struggle. We want to step in and do whatever we can to make it easier for them. However, hardships are a part of life. If we don’t teach our children how to handle difficult situations now, how will they be equipped to deal with them as adults? They will grow up expecting that it is other people’s jobs to do challenging things for them. More importantly, they will have no coping skills for life’s challenges.

Talk to your kids about the fact that life isn’t always easy. It is okay to not always be okay. Model for your child ways you give yourself love and support during difficult times. Be a source of support when they are struggling too. Remember that you can support your child without fixing their problems. Instead, brainstorm about what they can do during difficult circumstances so they have the tools to help themselves. The harsh truth is that we will not always be there to soothe our kids and take their pain away. They must learn to rely on themselves.

(7) Teach the importance of intrinsic rewards

Good acts and behaviors are rewards in of themselves. We cannot give our child something every time they behave or say the right thing. It is okay to acknowledge their good behavior, but stress that they should feel proud of themselves. The next time your child makes a good decision say, “You should be proud of the way you ______________. How did that make you feel?” Allow them to take pride in their decisions and feel a sense of responsibility for their actions.  

(8) Actions have consequences through choices

Allow your children to make their own choices (within reason and based on age/ability), and to deal with the consequences of those choices. For example, if your child shows no regards for his belongings, remind him that he will misplace his toy if he isn’t mindful of where he puts his things. If he then loses his toy, the natural consequence is that he cannot use the toy it until he finds it. Do not help him look for it or repurchase it for him. Your child will learn that he is responsible for the outcome of his decisions.

(9) Teach your child empathy

importance of empathy

First, model empathy by showing concern for other people’s feelings. Demonstrate what you can do to support a person, even if it is just picking up phone and listening.

Next, encourage your child to consider other people’s feelings as well. For example, if a classmate has a family member who is ill, ask your child how they think their classmate is feeling. Discuss ways to comfort others during those difficult times (e.g., telling your classmate you are sorry about their grandmother, making a get well soon card). When events come up, discuss the impact it has on others. Help your child to consider other people’s feelings instead of solely focusing on their own.

(10) Model good behavior

You cannot expect your kid to be well-mannered and appreciative if you walk around demanding and rude. Our children watch and listen more than we realize. Being a kind, giving person goes a long way towards instilling compassion and kindness in our children.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Our kids will grow up one day, and it is our job as parents to avoid raising entitled children. We must give them the tools they need to be well-adjusted adults . Setting them on the right path now will take them from entitled children to caring, empathetic, and grateful adults.

anxiety coping tool

A Great Anxiety Coping Tool 

I got a DM from a woman saying that she loved my writing and asking if I was interested in hearing about a product. To be honest, I’ve turned down previous affiliate marketing offers in the past and was prepared to do it again. However, she caught my attention when she said that this was her daughter’s product and that it was a coping tool for anxiety. 

Now I know you may not know this, but I have a slight interest in advocating awareness about anxiety.

Okay, I see your mouths dropping; perhaps it is more than a slight interest. As an anxiety sufferer, and as a mother to a child who has bouts of anxiety, I feel awareness about it is crucial.

Therefore, I figured I had nothing to lose by getting some information about it. The truth is, she had me as soon as she said, “My then 10-year-old daughter has anxiety and wanted to help others.” My hesitation about affiliate marketing with a company went out the window as I heard about what this girl is trying to accomplish. Hook, line, sinker. I get to spread awareness about anxiety and promote a product to manage it, while supporting this amazing girl? That’s something I will proudly stand behind.

Without further ado, I am excited to introduce you all to SUNCards! 

SUNCards are a deck of cards developed by a girl named Eva. She started struggled with anxiety when she was 8 years old. When she was 10, Eva worked on a school project called Children Helping Our World. It tasked them to create a nonprofit that could be led by kids that would improve the world. Her parents encouraged her to think about her own life experiences to come up with an idea for the project. Her idea was to help other kids who are anxious and scared by teaching them tips and tricks to help them get through tough situations. That’s when SUNCards was born.

SUNCards uses evidence-based strategies like cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, positive psychology, and random acts of kindness to help kids cope with their anxiety. Even though this product is directed towards children, adults will also be able to appreciate and use them as well. The cards say they are useful for anyone ages 4-104.

SUNCards is the 2020 NATIONAL parenting project award winner. Each deck comes with 50 cards. There is a lovable monster on each card, and the cards contain three different styles:

Sunshine Cards 

There are 20 total sunshine cards which have positive sayings and confidence building affirmations.

Action Cards 

There are 28 action cards which have helpful techniques to help kids manage their anxiety and/or refocus on something positive instead of their anxiety, worry or trouble.

Spread the Sunshine Cards 

There are two in each deck and are intended to help you with random acts of kindness.

How to use SUNCards

*IF YOU CLICK ON ANY OF THE PICTURES BELOW, IT WILL TAKE YOU TO THE LINK TO PURCHASE THE CARDS!

If you are feeling anxious, you select an Action Card and use the technique.

There are many different types of actions the cards tell you to take, such as “Relax and take 10 deep breaths. Deep breaths calm you down,” “Find distractions to take your mind off of your worry. Play a game, read a book, find a friend,” and “When things get overwhelming, take a moment for yourself. Put everything else aside and focus on what makes you happy,” among many others. You may find that multiple cards will be the way to relieve your anxiety. Also, depending on the circumstances, what works for you in one situation may not be what works best in another. 

affiliate marketing company action card

Select an action card and practice the technique. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the cards and also help you to determine which cards will work best for you. In order to increase the effectiveness of the cards, it is suggested that you use these cards to practice coping skills when you are not feeling anxious. Learning new tools is a process of trial and error, and practicing will allow more awareness and capability to calm yourself.

Once you are calm, select a Sunshine Card to give yourself a boost of confidence for a job well done.

You can also use them any time you are feeling down and are seeking positive affirmations. Some of my favorite Sunshine Cards are: “Being scared is not a bad thing. It just means that you are about to do something super brave,” “Your anxiety doesn’t define you. Be the person you are meant to be and happiness will find you,” “If you fall back one day or your path gets blocked, you will not be stuck forever. Keep moving forward,“ and “It’s OK to not be OK. Just know that it will get better.” 

sunshine card

What truly warmed my heart is that Eva has partnered with a few non-profits and instituted a “get a deck, give a deck” program where for every deck purchased, another one is donated to a non-profit to help kids. In August of last year, she was able to donate over 1400 decks to non-profit organizations.

Not only are the cards useful for your children, but you can feel good knowing that by purchasing a deck you are allowing a child to receive a deck who couldn’t afford to have them otherwise. All children deserve tools and support to cope with anxiety, and Eva is helping that happen.

HOW I USED SUNCARDS WITH MY DAUGHTER

I used these cards with my daughter to see how they work firsthand. The other day she came to me scared and anxious that she lost costume jewelry I had given her. 

It had belonged to my grandmother, so she was very anxious that it was “gone forever”.

There are many techniques I normally use with her when my daughter is feeling anxious, but this time I pulled out the SUNCards. She selected several action cards and implemented the different techniques. In this particular situation, the technique that worked best for her was the action card to replace her thought with another thought, which helped change her feelings. The card looks like this:

change thoughts to feelings

When I asked her how she could change her way of thinking about losing the jewelry, she paused for a few moments, and then said, “It is somewhere in the house. It will turn up.” Once she changed her thoughts, she felt reassured and started smiling.

Best of all, she changed her perspective about it on her own.

That gave her a huge sense of accomplishment. We then did a breathing exercise suggested on another action card.

anxiety coping tool

When she felt better I had her select a Sunshine Card. She beamed when she read the one that said that nobody in the world is like her.  Instead of a snowball effect of worry and panic, these cards brought her empowerment and comfort.

affiliate marketing company positive affirmation

Although these cards and no techniques are a replacement for professional treatment, this deck is helpful for kids of all ages. They are small enough to be portable, so kids can take them with them and pull them out anytime. I like to think of them as a portable anxiety security blanket. They are easy to use, have great suggestions, and teach self-awareness and acceptance. I highly recommend them, and I think they are a useful anxiety coping tool no matter the level of anxiety.

If you would like to purchase a deck of cards, click on the picture below:

anxiety coping tool

I can’t wait for your kids to try this great anxiety coping tool for children and adults!