Mindful Parenting…Solutions for Parents

Hand in Hand Mindful Parenting

Mindful ParentingAlong about twenty years ago, mindfulness came into my life. At the time, my own children were young and day to day living was anything but mindful.

After learning biofeedback techniques to overcome anxiety due to mitral valve prolapse, Jon Kabat-Zinn came into my life through his book

Full Catastrophe Living.

It was life changing and helped introduce me to yoga, which helped to prepare me for my inevitable open heart surgery 6 years ago.

So when I came across Kristen Race‘s book,

Mindful Parenting

I jumped in to see how I could relate my mindfulness practice with my “work” as a grandmother. Nothing is more important to me than family, children and grandchildren.

Kristen Race has helped me to effectively live the mindful life with my granddaughter in today’s fast paced world.

She explains in clear and simple terms how our brains work and how our stress effects  our own overall well being and that of our family. She goes on to give many helpful techniques to implement in our busy lives. Her tips help you to find the balance that is essential to manage stress. Balance is an integral part of living happier lives through “mindful parenting” and “mindful” grandparenting.

This is a book I will continue to read and dog ear the pages for years to come. It is one I will recommend to friends. As a therapist myself, I will recommend it to parents as a must read to help them parent mindfully!

Disclosure: This was a sponsored post. I was given a copy of “Mindful Parenting” for review.

I Have a New Blog!

I am excited to tell you all that I have a new blog,

blog and grandmothersToday’s Grandmum at ChicagoNow.

I will be continuing to post on both blogs,

Parenting in the Loop and Today’s Grandmum.

It has been thrilling to be chosen to join the great group of bloggers at ChicagoNow.

It is my hope that you will click on it and enjoy some of the great topics from some of Chicago’s finest bloggers.

When I began this blog a little more than five years ago, it was a very new endeavor for me. At the time, I was a new grandmother and I was interested in everything baby and newborn.  As a former, mother/baby nurse, newborns were hardly a mystery but I had to admit that much had changed in the years since I had my own children. Fortunately, it seemed that all my questions about baby products, foods, diapers, sleep training etc could be answered with a click of my mouse.

Not only were products available but young moms, who had real experience with these products were posting their opinions on their blog.

It was somewhat overwhelming.

But then, I began to realize there were no grandparent opinions. I am not quite sure what I was looking for but there was not anyone over 40 blogging about their parenting and grandparenting  experience. The reality is that there are many grandparents raising their grandchildren due to varied circumstances. Where were they?

So my decision was made…I would attempt to blog about parenting as a grandmother.

and

Parenting in the Loop was born!

I have met so many wonderful parents, grandparents and people in general, who are on this journey and are willing to share it.

At the click of my mouse, I can talk to virtual friends all over the country and the world.

It has been a truly gratifying experience and it has helped me share my knowledge now that I am somewhat “retired” from nursing and social work, although I remain available online and on Skype for parenting support.

I welcome you to my blogs and Facebook. I am always grateful for your comments.

Happy Friday!

What are “STEM” Toys?

Do you know what “STEM” toys are?

 

 

Toys

Toy Fair 2014 NYC sounded like the place to be for anyone who loves toys, buys toys or sells toys.

As a grandmother, I am particularly interested in toy quality and what is educational as well as age appropriate.

I am not particularly bothered by toys that target gender because I buy and encourage my grandchild to play with items whether they are considered “boy” or “girl” toys.

The princess rage does not bother me either…I try to watch the princess stories so I can explain the positive qualities that each character possesses along with the issues that the villain presents to my grandchild.

This all being said…I came across some interesting posts that were driven by visits to the Toy Fair 2014.

toysI was not familiar with the acronym STEM- which refers to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Apparently this word describes characteristics, which parents like when shopping for play items.

Samantha Murphy Kelly, describes several toys which teach children architecture, programming and construction…including creating your own robot.

Quite a change from Barbie, as she says!

Another favorite mom blogger of mine Liz Gumbinner from Mom 101 and Cool Mom Picks devoted a piece to toys that she felt were not so gender specific.  Why are we so committed to pink for girls and primary colors for boys or fireman outfits for boys and princess gear for girls?

My wish is that toy manufacturers would catch up to parents, and grandparents, who are looking for toys that do not single out gender but instead help to create a world wide open to boys and girls in their world of play.

 

Related:

7 STEM Toys That Put Barbie to Shame

 

Smart Toys for Girls-No Princesses Pink Aisle by Samantha Kelly Murphy

Listening to your Children

listening“Are you listening to me”?

Since I returned to Chicago two weeks ago it has been frigid, with a mixture of snow and ice…

I cannot remember when the cold has been this bad for so long…it seems like many years since I made sure I had a blanket and supplies in my car just in case it was needed!

At least, I no longer have a diesel engine car which would freeze and just refuse to go anywhere in the cold.

During the past few weeks, I have taken a hiatus. With all the cold I was beginning to think my brain has frozen along with my keyboard…

A few days ago, I came across an important piece about active listening

There just doesn’t seem to be anything more important than actually listening to our children and grandchildren to help them develop empathy, feel validated and remain willing to talk to us.

As a social worker and nurse, listening skills were paramount while caring for others… listening both with my ears and my eyes. Body language can also tell you how a person really feels and whether their words are contradicted by their bodies.

When I was growing up in the 50′s…there was a mantra…”children should be seen and not heard”.

I was never quite sure what was actually meant by this statement. What I do know, is that as the youngest member of my family, I always made myself known.

Over the years, it seems this saying has disappeared and to that I would say, “good riddance”!

Children speak to us in so many ways…through solo play with their toys, through our interactions with them, through body language and through behavior such as crying and tantrums.

Listening to your child with your undivided attention can derail a tantrum…really!

Making sure you understand what he is trying to tell you with his actions and his words is a very powerful tool…it actually shows your child that you care about how he is feeling.

I know, I feel so appreciative of someone, who really listens to me and is not trying to formulate a response while I am talking.

Children appreciate real listening as well and will continue to seek you out as they get older if you are a good listener when they are young.

So…try active listening…it is not easy. Beforehand, you may have to step back and center yourself rather than scream out loud as you step forward with open ears, eyes and arms.

listening with hugs

Related article:

Active listening improves communication in the parent child relationship.

 

Moms and Sons…

Old Spice has exploited moms and sons and their relationships.

What do you think?

I would be interested in hearing from moms of sons on this one.

Are you that attached to your sons? If you have more than one son, is your attachment stronger toward one son than the other?

This commercial is kind of creepy but is there an element of truth to it?

Are moms wary of their young adult/adult sons developing relationships with girls/women?

After watching this commercial…what do you think about the depiction of the mom…so crazy ….RIght?

Not only does she act crazy but she looks crazy as she watches her son grow up…

Sad…sad…sad!

I have no sons…but I hate this commercial because of the way it depicts the mom.

I know moms of sons. I sometimes think they helicopter too much but not necessarily more than moms of daughters… yet I remember my friend in the early 80′s, telling me that she had to let her pre-school son be a boy as he was climbing around the playground somewhat recklessly compared to our daughters. I was nervous for him but understood what my girlfriend was saying.

She did not want him to be a “sissy”.

Old Spice is this grandmother’s, father’s aftershave so…

Moms, you really have nothing to worry about if your son is using Old Spice…

moms and sons

 Related links:

http://m.blogher.com/hello-oedipus-old-spice-made-some-ads-you

http://selfishmom.com/2014/01/07/old-spice-and-sad-moms/

http://www.momfluential.net/2014/01/07/bad-old-spice-ad/

 

 

 

Fostering Emotional Health In Our Children

Children and Emotional Health…how to foster emotional health in our children is, to me, one of the most misunderstood areas of child development.

children

I am the first to say, I wish I knew or I wish we knew more about child development while raising our own daughters.

While we are raising our children it is sometimes difficult to put aside the “ways” of  own parents. They sneak into our relationships with our kids, especially when the going gets rough and we are tired.

Crying craziness…

When children are crying and their emotions are running high it has a tendency to push our buttons… at that moment it is so hard to step back and gain control of ourselves much less our little one.

children

But that is just what is needed in order to recognize our children‘s emotions as valid and acceptable. Now, I am not talking about “no discipline”.

It is really all about discipline.

Parental or adult discipline of children should be designed to help children engage better with others and to modify or control their behavior. Providing appropriate discipline to children is one of the most essential responsibilities of a parent. And providing consistent and positive discipline helps children grow into responsible adults.

According to the Committee for Children (2004), the purpose of discipline is “to encourage moral, physical, and intellectual development and a sense of responsibility in children.

Ultimately, older children will do the right thing, not because they fear external reprisal, but because they have internalized a standard initially presented by parents and other caretakers. In learning to rely on their own resources rather than their parents, children gain self-confidence and a positive self-image.”

via Child Discipline.

Discipline is really about “teaching” and modeling behavior…in order to teach as a parent you have to be in control of yourself and your own emotions…this is not easy when our child is having “a moment”.

Allowing your child to express his feelings and accepting his feelings is a time for us as parents and grandparents to teach them that their feelings are real and acceptable unless they are behaving destructively or in an unsafe way.

Tantrums can be unsafe…first control the environment and then deal with the tantrum itself. It is sort of like a panic attack…until the panic subsides there can be no teaching.

In the beginning, fostering healthy emotional development for our children means listening and trying to decipher our babies’ cries rather than immediately suppressing or ignoring them.  It means that throughout childhood, anger, grief and sadness are acceptable feelings for our children to express anytime anywhere (although never in a destructive or unsafe manner).  Granting our children this freedom to be their whole selves — unconditional acceptance — will lead to far fewer enraged or depressed adults in the future.

via No Angry Kids – Fostering Emotional Literacy In Our Children | Janet Lansbury.

 

Fostering emotional health in your child and unconditionally accepting a child’s emotions within a healthy framework is essential to growth and development.

In order to accomplish this, a parent or caregiver has to first, recognize their own emotions and be able to model acceptable behavior for their children.

child

Sandy Hook – Resolve in Remembering

sandy-hook-victims

Remembering Sandy Hook …One Year Later

“What Would Daniel Do?”

It has been one year since the Tragedy at Sandy Hook. During that year I have been following Daniel Barden’s family on their Facebook page which remembers Daniel. I have read the many anecdotes that Daniel’s father has shared…and shed tears for their loss and the world’s loss.

This little boy was special, as were all the little children and adults, who lost their lives one year ago.

If you are reading this you might want to consider joining The Sandy Hook Promise.

Sandy Hook Promise

To help prevent future gun violence. The fact is this could happen anywhere anytime. No one of us is immune when it comes to gun violence.

Many of us are wearing bracelets “WWDD”.

I believe Daniel would want to help those who are grieving the loss of a child or family member.

Let us not forget these little ones who died because they went to school on December 14, 2012

Daniel, I Will Remember You

A beautiful video remembering Daniel…

 

Christmas Wishes to Jennie

Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo

Merry Christmas Jennie!

And so, my gift to you is a super easy, really one bowl recipe for gingerbread—or should it be called  gingerbread cake? Perhaps I should eat one more slice to try and decide.

via gingerbread cake {a one bowl recipe} – In Jennie’s Kitchen.

If you are at all like me, I am always looking for a gift that is very special at Christmas time when it comes to my family and friends.

Since I love food and trust me most people do…I look for unique cookbooks by unique cooks.

Homemade with Love

is one of those cookbooks.

Jennie Perillo is one of those cooks.

As the year 2013 comes to an end, I am looking back at some of the wonderful people, I have met this year.

Jennie is one of them.

Last spring, I was introduced to Jennie through a group of Instagram bloggers from NYC.

She was launching her first cookbook, Homemade with Love. At first, I was drawn to her by her story.

Jennie had lost her husband suddenly. She and her two daughters were left without their anchor. Jennie found solace in her love of cooking.

As she grieved for her husband, she began to create Homemade with Love.

During her publicity tour, Jennie stopped in Chicago where I live. She did a book signing at a small bookstore.

As luck would have it…I read about the book signing after the fact.

I was so disappointed…

Well, I took to Twitter and sent Jennie a message asking if she was doing any other signings.

“No”!

But I was welcome to stop by her hotel and she would sign my copy.

I was more than thrilled.

Not only did Jennie sign my copy of Homemade with Love but she invited me to a media luncheon which she had prepared in her hotel kitchen. I was actually tasting some of her recipes and they were easy enough to make in this tiny kitchen.

Homemade with Love

I had fallen in LOVE.

I knew when I read about Jennie and read Homemade with Love…I was being reintroduced to my love of cooking again.

You see, I had been an empty nester after taking care of my own family and my mother and now I was helping to parent my granddaughter…I needed to cook again for a family.

Jennie came into my life and resurrected my love of cooking at a moment when I needed a new inspiration to cook again for a family.

Jennie, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and New Year full of new horizons.

Thank you.

Jennifer Perillo

Learning Consequences in Childhood


happy consequences happy child

“Like many parents, ‘consequences’ is one of my buzzwords.

via Truths About Consequences | Janet Lansbury.

How does a child learn about consequences?

In some instances, it is literally a painful learning experience. For example, when a child accidentally touches something hot he will feel the pain or consequence of being burned.

Sometimes it seems, we as parents and grandparents  try to teach consequences by punishment.

Is this a good way for a child to learn consequences? I am thinking, not so much.

If you want your child to be in bed at a certain time and they enjoy story time before bed then they must learn to get ready for bed leaving enough time for a story or face the consequence of having no story.

Child  and his dad

It takes time to set up a ritual and a proper time frame…young children must learn the steps to get ready for bed within defined time frames. This takes effort, for me the “stick-to-it-ive-ness”  of this effort is the most difficult part.

I know that young children are comforted and feel secure with rituals, even if they balk at them. They actually want us, as parents and grandparents, to take charge, just as we want help when we are tired and feeling overwhelmed.

So, why not step up and help them? It will pay off with happiness on both sides of the equation.

happy child

If your little one does not stick to the bedtime ritual time frames then the outcome will be “lights out” and no story time . This is a consequence of the child’s own behavior. Your child can learn can learn that it is not a punishment yet it is a consequence of not getting ready for bed in a timely manner.

Of course,the time frames must be monitored by the grown-up and the child must be given enough guidance about how he is doing in achieving his goal of getting to bed with enough time for a story. Perhaps, you have to set an alarm on your phone to keep you and your child on the schedule.

It will be rewarding in the longterm to have a child that understands that a negative consequence is not a punishment for his “bad” behavior. However, it is a result of  not following directions and doing what he needs to do to get the things that he wants to have…like story-time before going to sleep.

 

Children, Holiday OverIndulgence…Grandparent Style!

20131210-155124.jpg

 Do your children have Santa Claus for a grandparent?

Is there an overindulgent relative in your child’s life?

And do they disregard your requests about gift giving?

I am not quite sure how to handle this type of situation except to be very direct in your requests as a parent.

It seems that there are many parent ideas about what is appropriate when it comes to their children.

In some cases parents do not even agree with each other when it comes to defining what is “overindulgent”.

It seems that grandparents may be the biggest group of overindulgers when it comes to  children, Christmas and Holidays. At least, that was the recent consensus of a group of parents discussing the holiday stresses at my grandchild’s preschool.

It seemed that the grandparents were not deterred by requests of their sons and daughters in their gift giving habits.

As a grandparent, I can understand both sides since I was also a parent of young presents and childrenI remember requesting certain things for my children and making suggestions to their grandparents. I guess I was lucky in that my husband agreed with this approach. So for the most part we did not get “stuff” that was inappropriate and not useful.

Some suggestions

  • Be honest about your feelings
  • Have gift suggestions
  • Perhaps suggest college fund donations, even small ones so as the kids get older and more appreciative of money as a gift, this might become a habit of their grandparents.
  • Be thoughtful and respectful
  • Be empathic and understanding that your relationship with your kids is different than your parents’ relationship with them which is what helps to drive the overindulgence.
  • Be realistic if you have really difficult grandparents…and try to make the best of the situation.

Aunt Annie’s Childcare: When grandma won’t do it your way- Part 1: The overindulgent relative.