23 Must-Read Parenting Blogs You Might Not Have Heard of But Will Adore!

mom reading phone

If you’re a busy mom trying to do your best as a mom, wife, home manager, chef or food fixer, business owner or whatever titles you carry, you’ll seriously love this epic list of amazing parenting blogs for every season of motherhood!

mom reading phone

I love the age we live in where so many real moms can start a blog and help other moms with their struggles. Even the wildly popular blog Scary Mommy was started by a regular mom who wanted to share her humorous view of parenting with the world… and it paid off big time!

There are many, many mom and parenting blogs out there. Some are just personal diaries of that mom’s own parenting adventures. But there are many others that create content that skillfully balances their own life and experiences with the purpose of helping others solve their biggest parenting challenges.

The sad thing is too many of these rather amazing blogs aren’t as well known as they should be. And that’s the purpose of this post – to spread the good news of these great and sometimes lesser known parenting blogs.

It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to understand positive parenting, increase your breastmilk supply, raise a happier teenager, or stop your toddler’s never-ending tantrums – these blogs will help you do it!

And because I found most of these bloggers on Pinterest, I’ve included their Pinterest profile page links with each blog so you can easily follow them on Pinterest as I do. You can follow me on Pinterest here!

So when you find yourself in a rare moment of quiet, pop over to one of these great blogs on parenting to help you find the solutions to your biggest parenting and mom challenges.

Amazing Blogs on Parenting for Every Mom

Happy You Happy Life

Kelly is a busy mom and family therapist who shares a wealth of knowledge and personal experience of raising kids without losing your joy or mind in the process! There are many very helpful posts to help moms get rid of anger and yelling, stop living on mom auto-pilot, and learn the simplest ways to connect with your family despite busy schedules.

Follow her on Pinterest here!

The Pragmatic Parent

This blog is full of practical parenting advice, hence the name! Corinne talks to you like you’re a close friend and her advice is so simple to follow. Plus, if your kiddos are struggling with sleep issues at any age (I know I am!) she’s a bit of a sleep guru and has even written 4 books on the topic! Here’s my favorite post on toddler sleep issues!

Follow her on Pinterest here!

Playful Notes

Raluca is a fun traveling mom who’s passionate about peaceful parenting. If you’re a mom on the go, this is the blog for you. Here you’ll learn how to reset your relationship after a parenting mishap, get your kids to want to clean up their toys, and lots of resources on enjoying traveling with kids without losing your mind.

Follow her on Pinterest here!

Living Well Mom

If you’re a mom who’s looking to get healthier but don’t know where to start… Erika’s your new best friend! She is a very down to earth mama who wants to live a healthier lifestyle and wants to help you achieve your health goals too. You’ll learn how to use essential oils for your family, get the tastiest healthy recipes your family will actually eat, and find hacks to help you destress as a busy mom!

Follow her on Pinterest here!

The Incremental Mama

Erin created her lovely blog to share mom survival and thriving tips to help moms stop feeling overwhelmed and find more balance in very simple ways. And she should know… she was a working mom to four kids under four! We could all learn from her! Plus, she shares recipes, home organization hacks, and lots more mom and parenting advice!

Follow her on Pinterest here!

Chicken Scratch Diaries

Brandi has created a blog after my own heart, and I’m not just saying that because we share the same name! She shares amazingly helpful parenting advice that stems from a practical and loving biblical foundation. Learn the best way to handle things like unwanted back talk and how to make time to connect with your kids. She even gives advice on how to take parenting advice from the internet in this wonderful post!

Follow her on Pinterest here!

Smart Mom Ideas

Elna @ SmartMomIdeas happens to be a busy mom of twins so she knows all about juggling as a mom! She shares her best tips on raising twins, advice for first-time moms, and literally everything in between to help you be your best at this mom life. You’ll walk away from her blog feeling just a little smarter than you did before.

Follow her on Pinterest here!

Sleeping Should Be Easy

I just love the resources Nina gives on her blog. Her posts are so easy to read and her tips are extremely practical and always involve a positive parenting approach. If you have little ones and find yourself asking yourself, “what do I do now?” you must read this blog. You’ll learn easy “what to do when” tips like what to do when your two-year-old wakes up at night for hours, what to do when your baby goes on a bottle strike, or how to survive the newborn days with a toddler.

Follow her on Pinterest here!

Sammy Approves

Sammy’s blog is a great resource for moms looking to go deeper with their kids. She has so many inspiring posts that help moms learn practical ways to build more confidence in their child, help alleviate homework related stress, and even how to overcome the dreaded toddler tantrum in public! Oh and she shares tons of super easy and tasty recipes too!

Follow her on Pinterest here!

Self-Sufficient Kids

This blog is a powerful one for parents who want to go beyond the day to day parenting stuff and are looking for simple ways to raise self-motivated and positive kids. She shares insight into why positive affirmations are great for kids and us, how to get your toddler on a chore routine that works, and how to develop a healthy growth mindset in our children.

Follow her on Pinterest here!

A Mother Far From Home

Rachel’s been blogging for many years and has created some amazing posts to help moms make their mom life so much easier! She’s even created some great courses on baby sleep and developing child routines with your kids. I love her posts on the one thing to keep doing to encourage good behavior and how to cope with the dreaded mom burnout.

Follow her on Pinterest here!

The Soccer Mom Blog

Stacey has literally thought of everything in her blog. She even has a page entirely dedicated to slime making recipes! You’ll also find super easy family recipes and tips to help you become a better parent and love yourself as a mom which is so important. I love this post on how to help your child develop better concentration which is so helpful.

Follow her on Pinterest here!

Project Hot Mess

Krystal is truly an amazing lifestyle blog made perfect for moms. And don’t you just LOVE the name! She touches on so many important issues like confidence and thriving in your everyday life. Good stuff! She also shares a wealth of parenting tips like how to return to work after your maternity leave. And offers the most practical advice like why having family dinner nights every night isn’t necessary.

Follow her on Pinterest here!

Inspiring life dreams

Frances’ blog is really named appropriately because when you arrive there you feel inspired to live better. She shares tips on how to parent with more intention with posts like how to be more kind to your child and also what to stop worrying about as a parent. She even has a great post with videos from celebrity moms sharing their natural beauty routines. Love it! She’s also a wonderful author of a ton of great books!

Follow her on Pinterest here!

The Military Wife and Mom

Lauren is a military wife and mom as her blog’s name reveals. She’s passionate about helping military moms cope and thrive in military wife. As a military brat myself who lived all over the world growing up, she provides really great information. But she doesn’t just write for military moms but all moms. She shares posts like how to handle back talk, how to get your kids to eat their vegetables, and how to raise truly kind kids.

Follow her on Pinterest here!

Lemon Lime Adventures

Dayna @ LemonLimeAdventures has created a wonderful and inspiring blog where she is helping so many parents. She is a formal educator turned homeschool mom and blogger. She shares a wealth of knowledge on topics like Sensory Processing Disorder and offers an endless supply of fun and educational activities for kids!

Follow her on Pinterest here!

Pint-Sized Treasures

Alison is a passionate mom of six pint-sized treasures! She loves being a mom and sharing all her experience and wisdom with other moms. My favorite posts are 5 ways moms accidentally create cranky toddlers, the secrets to keeping your house clean with kids, and how to win your child’s heart and why it really matters!

Follow her on Pinterest here!

Your Modern Family

Becky is a former teacher and child therapist and mom of four kids. Her blog is a lifestyle blog that provides tips and resources for parenting, motherhood, marriage, saving money, recipes, and more. My favorite posts are how to help our kids overcome worry, what to give your kids instead of toys, and why it’s not the best idea to put a TV in kid’s rooms.

Follow her on Pinterest here!

Seaside Sundays

This blog is a wonderful resource for moms wanting to be a better mom and manage their busy homes. You’ll find posts on parenting tips like getting your baby to sleep through the night, activities for kids and how to be more frugal and save for money. But one thing that sticks out is the extensive amount of posts on the subject of infertility or rather “fertility.” We suffered with infertility for over 4 years before getting pregnant the first time and would have loved to read this blog back then! These are must-reads if you’re dealing with any fertilitity issues.

Follow her on Pinterest here!

Paper Heart Family

Brenda started her blog as a way of helping other moms through the daily challenges of pregnancy and baby and toddler life. These are probably the most stressful stages for new moms! You’ll learn how the easiest ways to tire your kids out before bed, how to survive labor without an epidural and self-care routines for moms who suck at self-care.

Follow her on Pinterest here!

The Millennial Stay at Home Mom

I just love Kermilia’s blog with all the mom life topics she covers like how to transition from co-sleeping the easy way (been there!), finding real joy in stay at home mom life and creative ways to keep your toddler entertained with a new baby. She even has really helpful posts on starting and running a blog!

Follow her on Pinterest here!

The No-Guilt Mom

Jo Ann has so many creative and helpful posts to help moms solve their biggest problems and enjoy life a whole lot more. From overcoming homework battles to raising kids that aren’t materialistic you’ll find posts to help you be a better mom. She even has an entire style section with posts to help moms look and feel more stylish and put together. Gotta love that!

Follow her on Pinterest here!

What Moms Love

Aly’s blog is so much fun! If you’re not one of those super crafty moms, you’ll suddenly feel like you want to be when you see all the stuff you can create with and for your kids. There are so many helpful product guides for new parents and endless activity ideas to keep your kiddos happy and entertained. She also shares great parenting tips like how to raise non-picky eaters from birth and amazing organization hacks for stress-free mornings.

Follow here on Pinterest here!

I hope you take a moment to check out these wonderful and inspiring mom blogs! They really are great and please take the time to follow them if you do love their blog.

Let me know in the comments which one is your favorite!

These parenting blogs are my absolutely favorite go-to blogs on parenting. If you're looking for parenting advice look no further! #parenting #parentingblogs #momadvice

Present Parenting: Simple Ways to Connect with Your Kids Every Day

how to be a more present parent

Raising children into happy, kind, and well-adjusted adults is a huge task and part of the enormous adventure of motherhood… and the struggle too. As parents, it’s our responsibility to effectively prepare them for adulthood and do our best not to screw it all up – a parent’s worst nightmare.

I think part of the reason there are so many kids and adults that don’t fall into the happy, kind, or well-adjusted category is because as a society we’ve got our priorities mixed up.

how to be a more present parent

We’ve become distracted parents trapped on the hamster wheel of busyness seeking mindless entertainment and endless ambition. Too often our kids are right there… but we’re too busy and distracted to notice.

And though we may be doing good work like running a business or a blog like this one that keeps us constantly connected, do we know what cost we’re really paying to have this life? Or better yet, what cost our are kids paying?

Do we have a true sense of what’s most valuable?

The Need for Present Parenting

Distracted parenting is a huge problem in our modern homes today.

Sure, there are many parents working outside the home and not physically there for their kids every minute of the day. And while we could try to question those parents’ choices on whether they work too much or not enough, that’s not my focus here.

Working to provide an income for your family by working outside the home is largely unavoidable for both parents in most homes today. It’s a part of our modern fabric. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that!

My real focus here is to explore and expose what we’re giving our kids in the fringe hours… before and after work and all the spaces in between.

What we’re doing when we’re on the couch at home with our kids.

What we’re really paying attention to from the sidelines at our kid’s soccer game.

What we’re showing as our top priority to our children day in and day out.

Distracted Parenting in Action

What do our actions say to our kids?

That we’re too busy to put down our laptops and phones to actually have a meaningful conversation?

Or do our actions tell a better story that our kids are the most important focus in our lives and that they matter and deserve the respect of our full attention?

I’ll be honest, even as I write this I’m struggling with conviction because I do not have this down perfectly. So, I’m largely writing from experience and truthful reflection of my own choices.

One day my daughter was sharing a story about a difficult situation she encountered at school that day. Ring the alarm – we’ve got a win! My preteen daughter is baring her soul to me!

But instead of fully listening that day… I was overwhelmed with a very busy week and needed to finish delivering all the laundry throughout the house.

She was met with my back and my less than engaged um-hmmms most of the conversation until Holy Spirit stopped me in my tracks and showed me in a second how disrespectful I was being to her. I’ll say this… I stopped, apologized, and never did that again!

It was never intentional, but I just got caught in my busyness.

I want my children to always feel respected, loved, and valued as I make small and big sacrifices every day to put them first by putting away my phone and sitting with them whenever I can. I want my kids to want to share with me first!

Present Parenting Starts with Us

It all starts with us. Even when our teen acts like they’d rather be anywhere but with us, we need to stay put. In times like this, our actions will replace our words.

When they see us at their games actually watching them play instead of staring at our phones it makes a difference. There was an article written about College Athletes and shared the impact their parents made that contributed to their success early on. And a resounding response was when they’re parents made a comment with these 6 simple words, “I love to watch you play.”

Notice it wasn’t, “I love to be at your games.”

Look, I don’t get it right all the time. No one does! The point is that we’re aware of it and make it our biggest priority to be present and fully aware when we’re with our kids.

Now let me quickly bring some balance here. I’m not saying you can’t sit at your desk and work on a project if your kids are home and must sit and stare at your kids for hours or play legos on the floor until you drop from boredom.

Honestly, a little “present time” goes a really long way. In fact, if you take a moment to really connect and have fun with your child every day, they’ll stay full and you’ll find that they often run off and do their own thing.

Your kids need you first to feel full, satisfied, and ready to take on the rest of the day. If they feel like they’re competing with your work, your phone, or anything else; they will either do one of two things. Hunt you down and totally overwhelm you, or retreat and isolate themselves because they feel unloved and unconnected.

The latter is extremely dangerous and if you find that your child is constantly isolating themselves, do your best to show up and be present right now. If this has been going on for a while, enter cautiously.

They’ve most likely already put up walls so just be cool about it and don’t act weird. You know how we can be!

4 Ways to Become a More Present Parent

The first step in becoming a more present and positive parent is to be aware of all the things and habits that work as barriers to present parenting. Things like our routines and work schedules and our phone habits. These done the wrong way can really stand in your way. Here are a few practical tips:

Create Work Boundaries

I shared that I’ve always worked from home since I became a mom. I’m very grateful for this but really had no clue how to balance my family and work time effectively. I was constantly doing everything all at the same time. I made myself crazy… and probably my kids too.

This led to yelling and constant frustration. I wasn’t creating meaningful connections with anyone or anything. But I got smart and learned over time to create boundaries and schedule both my work time and family time. I try my hardest to schedule my most focused work tasks around my kid’s sleeping times.

And when I’m working when the kids are awake, my mindset is ready for interruptions and noise so I’m not irritated when it happens. I also make sure they are doing something fun before I start. Here’s a post that’s full of fun ideas to keep your toddler busy and occupied while you’re working.

Schedule One on One Time

I’ve found that scheduling intentional “no-work” time with the kids where I can be totally focused is very helpful. Doing this changed everything! My kids feel like they’re are getting “me” every day and I’m actually able to slow down and really see them.

I also put down my phone and put away the laptop when my kids are home from school and it’s family time. I’m not perfect at this, but I try to keep them out of sight, for the most part, during this time. When I used to try to cram in some extra work during this very busy time of day… it always ended in disaster.

Ask Plenty of Questions

Finally, one of the best ways to foster connection and effective communication with your kids is by asking questions. Asking your kids questions is one of the most powerful tools a parent can use because it gives you access to their heart. And that’s what we want!

Asking a question is a powerful way to show you care about someone. Kids love to unload their day and tell you all the things that happened along the way. However, as kids get older they can seem to get less conversational if we don’t keep them connected.

One reason children stop talking and sharing is when they’ve been rejected one too many times in conversations with us. When they’re sharing something personal and we are absently mindedly responding with uh huh, uh huh and they know we aren’t listening. Or we’ve cut off the conversation in some way.

This has happened to me personally with my husband numerous times. When I’d be talking or opening up about something personal and he would chime in about something else, be on his phone, or not giving me his full attention.

It’s never intentional, but we all miss it sometimes. I know that I’m an adult and that though these responses are not the best to experience, I know how to offer grace. Our kids don’t always understand that rude behavior doesn’t mean they aren’t loved. It just means we made a bad choice.

The funny thing is, when I’d bring those times to my husband’s attention, he’d be totally surprised and unaware that he did them. That’s because he really is an amazing husband who’s just human. And because those moments made me feel rejected and no longer wanting to connect… your kid may feel the same.

This is why being totally focused helps to prevent these situations.

Watch for Individual Needs

If your child is asking to spend more time with you or mentions they’re starved for your attention, listen and make the adjustment. Count it as a blessing that you have a child that will even ask for your attention.

One of my children falls into this category and at times her need for my attention can feel overwhelming. But I know if she feels empty, I’m missing it somewhere. It also means I’ve fallen into passive parenting instead of intentional parenting and need to make the adjustment.

It’s easy to think that this high emotional needs child is a challenge, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth! I know if I can make winning her heart my highest priority, I’ve won the battle for my child. On the other hand, if I don’t pay attention, her heart is vulnerable due to her desire for connection.


Final Thoughts

I want you to know this post was meant to inspire, not to condemn. If you struggle in any of these areas, you’re human and now have the opportunity to make a change.

The world isn’t offering free passes to our kids when we mess up as parents. We have a responsibility to show up every single day because it means everything to those precious kids of ours. And change is never too late if coming from our full heart!

But on those days when all you can do is grab nuggets in the drive-thru for dinner on the way home and let your kids play their XBOX until bathtime, just know we all have days like that. And it’s OK.

If our mindsets are primed for connection with our kids on most days, your children will stay full for the days when time is very, very short. 

How do you connect with your kids? Share your best tip in the comments below!

 
 

17 Immune Boosting Foods to Keep Your Kids Healthy All Year Round

Natural ways to build your child's immunity

It’s flu season and you know what that means… germs! So what’s a mama to do when she sends her kid to school and doesn’t want them coming home with colds, bugs, and the flu?

The answer is to naturally build up their immune systems!

You may be asking yourself, “Why does my kid keep getting sick?”

The answer is our magnificent bodies have the ability to fight off harmful invaders on its own. But those soldier anti-bodies need to be strong in order to work effectively.

One of the best ways to keep our bodies healthy and able to fight off infection is to eat healthy immunity-boosting foods. Specifically living foods filled with phytonutrients.

Natural ways to build your child's immunity

Our kids and ourselves need to be eating as much of these foods as possible and ditching the starchy and sugary snacks and treats as much as possible.

I offer apples, oranges, strawberries, and grapes as snacks instead of allowing them to grab some crackers or a granola bar. If they are still hungry they can have some greek yogurt with granola. Usually, that’s enough to hold them over until the next meal. If I let them choose a snack, they gravitate right to the packaged snacks that I buy to pop in their school lunches as a treat.

Another important way to increase your child’s immunity is to give them a nutritional supplement like a multi-vitamin. Just be careful of all the additives and unnecessary colors that are added to vitamins. There have even been problems with children’s vitamin labels not matching the vitamins inside, resulting in dangerous overdoses in children.

I found these natural vitamin gummies to help keep my kiddos cold-free. My kids had very few colds and no flu during a very harsh flu season last year. And to top it off, I forgot to give them their flu shot!

18 Natural Ways to Boost Your Child’s Immunity

Here are 18 healthy food recipes to keep your kiddos healthy. Use these methods to build their immunity to prevent colds and flu and also use in the event they do catch something to speed their healing and recovery time!

Cold and Flu Prevention

Easy Immune Support Tincture

Easy Immune Support Tincture

Source – Raia’s Recipes

Love the glass droppers? You can get them here!

Immune Boosting Juice

Immune boosting winter juice

Source – Happy Foods Tube

Cranberry Kefir Fruit Snacks

cranberry kefir fruit snacks

Source – Raia’s Recipes

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

elderberry syrup instant pot

Source – Eating Richly

Popeye Smoothie

popeye smoothie recipe

Source – Oh The Things We’ll Make

Immune Boosting Tea

Overhead view of Immune Boosting Tea Recipe in a mug with a lemon slice in it

Source – Joy Food Sunshine

 

Elderberry Gummies Recipe

elderberry gummies to prevent colds and flu

Source – Must Have Mom 

Need those silicone gummy molds? Find them here! 

IMMUNE BOOSTER BEET, CARROT & ORANGE JUICE

IMMUNE BOOSTER BEET, CARROT & ORANGE JUICE

Source – Happy Foods Tube


Cold and Flu Speedy Recovery

Immunity Chicken Soup

Immunity boost chicken soup recipe

Source – Sonshine Kitchen

Immune-Boosting Friendship Smoothie Bowls

immunity boosting fruit bowls

Source – Strength and Sunshine

Mineral Rich Electrolyte Smoothie

electrolyte smoothie recipe

Source – Raia’s Recipes

Grape Juice to Stomp Out Stomach Flu

grape juice to get rid of stomach flu

Source – Must Have Mom

Tummy Healing Soup for One

tummy healing soup

Source – Strength and Sunshine

Herbal Tea Kool-aid Alternative

herbal tea kool-aid alternative

Source – Pistatio Project

Essential Oil Immune Booster Recipes

 

 

 

Natural Vapor Rub

All-Natural-Peppermint-Lavender-Homemade-Vapor-Rub

Source – Crayons and Cravings

Headache Bath Bombs

Heachache bathbombs

Source Crayons and Cravings

7 Oils for Colds

essential oils for colds

Source – My Organized Chaos

Which recipe are you most excited about trying? These are some super simple and natural ways to help ease the burden of the winter cold season. If you have your own recipe, please share in the comments below!

These essential oils will help you naturally boost your child's immunity and effectively protect them from the harmful affects of the dangerous flu season! Get all the recipes here! #kidsandparenting #wellness #kidsandparenting

 

It's back to school time and we all want to protect your child's immunity from all the germs that'll come in contact with naturally. #parenting #kidsandparenting #natural #greenlivingLooking for natural and additive-free ways to boost your children's immunity during the school year and flu season? Try these amazingly simple recipes... #naturalliving #momlife #parenting #kidsandparentingFlu season is here and there are natural and super effective ways to protect your child from getting sick. These natural remedies work to boost immunity naturally using essential oils! #essentialoils

Avoid the brunt of the cold and flu season by naturally boosting your child's immunity. These natural immunity booster help my kids stay healthy and well all year long! #naturalremedies #essentialoils #natural #healthy

How to Get Your Kids to Listen Without the Cycle of Yelling and Regret

How to get your kids to listen without yelling

Ever wonder how to get your kids to hear you without yelling? I know, it’s frustrating! But this simple strategy really helps to get your kids to listen without screaming your head off. You have to work it… but it really works! 

I’m not talking about when you shout upstairs for your kiddos to get in the car because you’re running late for school for the third time this week.

How to get your kids to listen without yelling

Or when your 12-year-old’s friend who lives down the block stops by and you kindly let her (and the whole house) know to come downstairs. I’m kind of loud in general… maybe you are too.

I’m talking about when your toddler decides to morph into Captain America for the hundredth time this week and starts throwing his shield across the living room and you kindly ask him to stop. At which he shows no visible signs of hearing and therefore you remind him again a little louder this time. 

Bam!  The shield slams into your wall once again and there goes your sanity and here comes the yelling.

This was me… every single day for years.

I knew something had to change because I wasn’t enjoying being a mom which I knew wasn’t right because I loved being a mom. But I just couldn’t figure out how to break the vicious cycle of yelling and regret.

Then through prayerful observation and help from my husband who could see what was going on all along, I saw that I was the cause of this cycle – not my kids. And that’s what I want to share with you in this post.

Do I still have a set-back every now and then and yell at my kids in anger? Sure, but those are infrequent and much less than they used to be. If you find yourself losing your temper frequently with your kids, I strongly encourage you to read and try these tips.

They really do work!

Why Yelling Doesn’t Get Your Kids to Listen

The first step to getting your kids to listen when you’re disciplining is to not be angry. Feels impossible, right?

I mean, sure they “hear” you, but our goal is for them to listen which isn’t the same thing.

Even if you need to step away, it’s important to release or control your personal frustration before diving right in. That’s because disciplining when you’re angry undermines your authority.

I’ve come to learn something along the way. Yelling really never worked, and kids lose respect for yelling parents. 

I thought it was working because when I talked normally, no one ever moved. Until I broke out in a nice yell. That’s only partially true because they simply learned to respond to the yelling.

Not only does disciplining when you’re angry undermine your authority, but you’re also teaching your child how to have loose and untamed emotions by watching you. Ouch!

Yelling like a lunatic and saying hurtful things to your children can have lasting consequences. And whether they tell you or not… those words run deep.

Our yelling is really more about us than it is about them.

This is so, so important for us as parents to let sink in. When we get overwhelmed at the situation and break out into a yelling fit we are acting no different than our toddler who drops to the floor in a temper tantrum.

And when we feel tempted to have a mommy tantrum… we need to give ourselves a mommy timeout.

This is really important to allow us to cool down so we don’t let our emotions take over and do or say something we’ll most certainly regret. And need to apologize for!

Lax Parenting is your Enemy

Lax parenting – without firm and consistent boundaries – opens the door to being challenged by your child at some point… really every point.

And we have the tendency be most lax when all is well and we’re having a stress-free day. Little things get overlooked over and over again. We’re afraid to make any adjustments so we don’t rock this peaceful boat we’re in.

For example, you’re in the grocery store with your toddler and things are going great. #MomWin

He asks if he can walk, and since you only had to run in for a couple things (another #MomWin) you let him walk.

In a nano-second, he starts to touch things. He’s just touching and not knocking things over… so what’s the big deal you tell yourself. Deep down, you’re terrified to do anything to end this no-chaos bliss thing happening. So you don’t tell him to stop.

But wait!! Here’s the kicker, he’s just mentally and physically recorded that it’s ok to touch stuff at the store.

Fast forward to your next trip to the store when you need to grab a cart full of stuff (no #MomWin). To top it off, your son didn’t get a full nap today and you’re so exhausted you think you might need glasses.

This time your son reaches out to grab and pull down every item he can get his hands on. You’re embarrassed, frustrated, and headed for a melt-down.

The key to setting boundaries is making them consistent. In the Good Times AND in the Bad! They need to know what to expect EVERY single time.

The Importance of Staying Consistent

Children desperately need consistency to learn. Not only do they need to know what to except, but that expectation you need shouldn’t change every day of the week. And we can’t be wishy-washy.

I use to be the Queen of the Threat. I’d rattle off statements like, “Do you want to go into Timeout?” or “Do you want a spanking?”

When in reality, I didn’t plan on following through. I was banking on the “threat” doing its job. But the truth is, our kids are just too smart for that. They can see right through our weakness. I think they can smell it too!

Inconsistent or nonexistent consequences do nothing short of undermining our integrity and authority.

In short, they learn not to trust what we say.

Here’s a quick tip – make sure to think about the punishment when you’re not emotional. If you rattle off that your teenager is grounded for 6 months… if it doesn’t fit the crime, you’re going to be in a dilemma.

Do I let her off the punishment early or make her stick it out just to prove a point?

Either way isn’t the best scenario.

Firm doesn’t mean harsh.

Not only should our discipline be consistent but it also needs to be firm. They need to know you mean business.

But by the same token, they shouldn’t be afraid of you. I know, this kind of goes against many old-school parenting methods. But instilling fear is never helpful. There’s a clear difference between firm and harsh.

You may feel this is beneficial when your children are small, but as they get older – they need to know you’re there for them.

Think of all the crazy things young people have to deal with in our current times. Having a parent who blows their top over every little thing will keep your child from confiding in you – when they need you and your wisdom the most.

Let me also mention, that when I say harsh I’m not talking about spanking either. Spanking, done in a loving environment, without anger, can be a very effective discipline tool. And should only be done in love. Although it can clearly be misused and over-used.

Harsh discipline is done when we’re angry and led by our disappointment, embarrassment, guilt, or some other emotion. And can happen in every form of discipline from timeouts, lectures, mean words, shaming, and spanking.

The whole point of discipline is to teach our children what’s right and wrong. And we do this out of our love.

Discipline Should Come From Love

We see so much destruction in the news today, and I wonder how many of those individuals had no boundaries in their formative years.

Discipline, done the right way, is an act of love. It’s one way we keep our kids safe.

The Bible provides so much practical wisdom on correction and discipline. And the focal point always comes back to love. Proverbs 3:11-12 

It’s our job, really our privilege, to shape our children’s lives in a positive way. Giving them the best possible chance at life by teaching them the proper way to conduct themselves.

I want to emphasize here that the actual form of discipline and punishment you choose is not as important as being consistent and doing what you say.

Not only that, but each child is different and will respond differently to various forms of discipline such as timeouts, removal of privileges, and so on. There is no cookie-cutter formula that’ll work for every kid.

This is an on-going process and one where we need to fully depend on the Grace of God to do well. And rest in that same Grace when we miss it because we all do!

Do you have some tried and trusted methods for getting your kids to listen? Share them in the comments below! We’d love to hear them!

Tired of having to nag and yell to get your kids to listen to you? There's a better and much more enjoyable way to get your kids to listen the first time! Read to learn how to get your sanity back. #kidsandparenting #parenting #motherhood

The Science Behind What Motivates Your Child to Succeed and Achieve Their Best

how to motivate your kids to succeed

We’ve all been there, you ask your kid to sweep up the floor after dinner while you go into the kitchen to start loading the dishwasher. You come back to see that your very capable child chose to use the “spot-cleaning” method under your dining room table.

how to motivate your kids to succeed

You take one look and know full and well he was rushing so he can get back to playing Fortnite as promised. Point blank – he didn’t even come close to trying his best. And moms have a sixth sense when it comes to knowing when our kid did their best at any moment.

I have one simple request in my home and that is when my kids put their hands to doing something, that they do their best. Notice I said their best, not the best. As your kids get older you tend to know when your kid is rushing or fluffing something off and when they’re actually struggling and need help… if you’re paying attention, that is.

Beyond our “mom-sense,” this is where having a strong relationship and connection with your child plays a huge role in parenting. Asking lots of questions helps you to see where your child is to figure out how you can actually help them do their best.

Why Should Kids Do Their Best?

It may seem like there’s a lot of emphasis on doing their best which as I stated earlier shouldn’t get mixed up with doing the best. That’s because the result of a person’s individual effort isn’t nearly as important as the process of effort they put in to actually achieve those results.

For example, it’s more noteworthy when a student works diligently to learn and stays accountable to do their school work and still brings home C’s on average. In contrast to a student who barely studies beyond glancing at a few pages prior to his tests and doesn’t take school seriously but still manages to bring home straight A’s.

The second student is likely to have a bent where learning and memorizing materials come more easily. Whereas the first student may not and might even be struggling with a learning disability or concentration issues that make learning more challenging.

Which child should be praised? The straight A student or the C student?

It is my personal belief and how I chose to parent my own children that praising results is a huge mistake over placing effort front and center.

The Dangers of Results-Driven Parenting

I remember growing up and having friends who did very well in school and also worked very hard but were scared to go home if a B showed up on their report card. This type of results-driven parenting can produce harmful stress in children which can contribute to depression in kids and teens.

When we focus on our child’s results – their grades, accomplishments, and whether or not they win in the game we are setting expectations for our child. And expectations are actually a really good thing. In fact, they’re the keys to getting kids, or anyone for that matter, to do their best.

But result-driven expectations are focused solely on ability and outcomes rather than the effort the child actually put into the process to succeed. When putting the sole focus on your child’s natural abilities or the outcome of a goal, it can be frustrating because these things are hard for your child to control.

Another problem with ability expectations is that if children attribute their successes to their ability-“I won because I’m so talented”-they must attribute their failures to their lack of ability-“I’m failed because I’m stupid.”

Psychology Today

The Science of High Performance

An unfortunate side effect of performance and results focused expectations is that we often unknowingly put labels on our kids. They could be more positive labels such as smart, driven, and high achiever. Or they might be less positive labels such as picky eater, shy, hyper, or learning disabled.

Even if we don’t outright call our children by these labels, we do so in subtle ways. For example, if your child is extremely shy you may introduce her to her new teacher by saying, “this is my daughter Cassie. She’s very shy so she may need some time to make friends.”

This innocent introduction is merely a parent’s gentle way of protecting their child from rejection or judgment… Our way of “helping” our kids along. But we often do more harm than good because our kids consciously and subconsciously grab hold of these labels (good or not so good) and live up to them.

She’ll naturally find herself holding back when in the presence of new people and because she’s been wearing a label of being shy, she most likely won’t push herself to grow in the healthy behavior of building positive relationships in her life.

Dr. Robert Rosenthal did exhaustive research on the topic of expectations of others and labels. He was fascinated to see how humans functioned when given arbitrary labels and whether or not those labels could change a person’s behavior. His research was on experimenter expectancy effects and the Pygmalion effect.

The Pygmalion effect is the scientific name for a self-fulfilling prophecy which is when a person believes something about themselves so strongly that they subconsciously work hard to make it a reality in their life, even if it’s not actually true.

This is so very important for us as parents to understand because it will help us set the right type of expectations for our children so they can most effectively achieve their best in life.

How to Set the Right Expectations for your Child

Whether we like it or not, we’re always establishing expectations for our children. They learn to anticipate our reactions to grades and performances and on a deep level work to meet those expectations. But setting the wrong ones can be detrimental to our children.

Focusing on their natural talents and gifting may seem like a good thing but if not guided properly can lead to an unhealthy sense of self-worth if their gift suddenly stops working or they’re prevented from using that gift for unforeseen reasons.

We need to be sure their identity isn’t wrapped up in their gifts and personal achievements.

Rather the healthiest and most effective expectations we can give our children are Effort Expectations. This is when we help our child focus on the process – the magic that happens in between the goal and the desired outcome.

When children (and adults) stay focused on the process of how we’ll achieve our goal we work harder and lean in at a higher level. The best part is, we know how hard we worked and if we come shy of that goal we still feel a high sense of satisfaction in how far we progressed.

When we only look at the endgame, we feel anxious and have a strong fear of failure. Those negative feelings are majorly reduced when we’re too busy putting the work in to achieve our goals.

An Experiment in Expectations

Now that we understand how to have the right type of expectations for our kids lets dive back into the science of why healthy expectations are so powerful.

Dr. Rosenthal conducted an experiment to test his theory on expectations. He had teachers give their students an IQ test that was labeled the Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition which basically measured whether a child was “ready to bloom” or not.

To protect the integrity of the experiment the teachers had no previous experience with this test and no knowledge of the experiment itself. After completion of the test, students who scored in the top 20% of this test were labeled as “ready to bloom.”

The teachers were given a list of children who scored in the top 20%. But here’s the twist, they were actually given a list of completely randomly selected names that fell in all scoring ranges.

At the end of the school year, all the students were retested to determine if any changes took place in their IQ scores. The results showed a tremendous increase in IQ scores in one group. Can you guess which one? Yep, the randomly selected “ready to bloom” students scored much higher whereas the students who weren’t labeled remained the same.

This is profound because it proves how powerful expectations are in the hands of teachers, parents, and other leaders. These teachers were told these students were above average (even though most weren’t).

As a result, they began to teach them as above average. In turn, when these children were talked to and interacted with as “above average kids” they simply rose to the occasion. A powerful concept indeed!

This is why we as parents must be aware of the labels we give our kids and the words we speak into our children. The bible says it this way:

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

Proverbs 23:7

It also says that life and death are in the power of our tongue. In other words, we have the ability to speak life into our children through the words we speak and the labels we give them. We can highlight labels that hold our kids back or encourage them to rise above those labels.

When we expect the best from our kids, you better believe they’ll be inspired to rise up to them!

Final Thoughts

Let me close with a personal example. This understanding of expectations doesn’t merely effect children, it’s for us too. We’ve all been in a situation where a boss, a friend, our parent, or even our spouse didn’t believe we were capable in some way.

It can feel demoralizing and extremely de-motivating. On the other hand, when we have people in our lives that believe in us, even more than we believe in ourselves, it can help us feel powerful and inspired to rise to what they see in us.

If you’re reading this and know you’ve been putting labels on your kids or doling out tons of results driven expectations do not feel hard on yourself. We’ve all done it. What’s more important is taking steps to change the narrative your child has been hearing.

Also, a parent’s job is to protect our kids, so never allow others (grandparents, teachers, etc.) to put negative labels on your child either. Simply tell them nicely that we don’t want to label our kids so please refrain from using that term with our child. It’s that simple.

Let me urge you to look beyond the surface labels in your child like talented, shy, picky eater, class-clown. And help them discover their purpose and achieve their dreams. Work to inspire them to push beyond their safe place and discover a place of their own greatness.

They just need to be told they can!

What to know the secret to getting kids self motivated to succeed? This surprising study shares insight that you can start using with your kids today! #kidsandparenting #parenting101 #parenting

How to Increase Breastmilk: The Ultimate Guide for New Moms

One of the biggest concerns for new breastfeeding moms is how to increase breastmilk. I know this was the case for me when all three of my babies were born.

I struggled with low milk supply and many other breastfeeding challenges that I hope to prevent for other sleep deprived, frustrated, and confused moms.

How to increase breastmilk

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re not in the camp of moms who were instantly blessed with a steady flow of liquid gold for their new baby. Or you certainly wouldn’t be wasting your previous time reading this!

You’re probably dealing with long days and even longer nights searching for the best breastfeeding tips and wondering if your baby is getting enough milk.

When you do pump, you produce a few meager ounces. This can be frustrating and depressing. Can I offer you some friendly advice first? Do NOT go down that dark road. It leads to no where.

Keeping your mind on the positive and having a positive expectation goes a long way!

Boost Your Milk Supply

Each of the natural methods to boost your milk supply shared here are proven safe and will only help you. A few do have side effects so be sure to read those before trying any new supplements and checking with your Doctor.

Just remember that every woman’s body is different and there are never any guarantees. If you find that your body just doesn’t cooperate, know you’re NOT alone.

I formula fed all three of my babies after breastfeeding and they are three of the healthiest, brightest, and smartest kids I know… if I do say so myself.  

There is never any shame in feeding your baby in any way that’s needed or chosen by you… a loving mother.

Now, let’s explore all the ways to increase your breast milk supply naturally. But first I just want to say that I’m not a lactation expert. Just another mom who cares a lot and does a TON of research!

Read: Breastfeeding videos for new moms that are actually helpful.

How to Know if Your Milk Supply is Even Low

Boosting your milk supply can be a tricky thing because it’s hard to tell why your milk supply is low to begin with. You may be tempted to start pumping to see how much milk you can make.

This is not necessarily going to give you a good gauge because every baby’s milk needs are unique and you may be making just the right amount of milk for your baby. And babies are much more efficient at removing milk from the breast than a pump. Many pumps just don’t work well.

Many moms also think their supply is low because their breasts don’t feel full or their baby is very fussy all the time.

These can be caused by things other than low supply. First, breasts that produce plenty of milk will often never feel full which is totally normal. And secondly a fussy baby can be cause by many things like reflux.

3 clear signs that your milk supply may be low are:

  1. Your Baby is not gaining adequate weight. (Weight recommendations.)
  2. Your baby isn’t wetting enough diapers. A typical infant should be wetting at least 5 diapers in a 24 hour period from 5 days old and onward.
  3. Your baby isn’t soiling enough diapers. A typical newborn should be soiling at least 3 diapers per day beyond day 5. This is sometimes less or more depending on your baby.

If you suspect your milk supply is low and your baby isn’t getting enough milk, make an appointment with both your baby’s pediatrician and a certified lactation consultant right away.

Boosting your milk supply is something you’ll have to work at and most likely experiment with until you find something that works for your body. This isn’t an overnight process… nothing is with parenting.

You just need to decide what you want to do and stick with it until you see results. And get all the help you need because you and your baby deserve it!

Here are many proven and highly recommended methods you can try to boost your milk supply. Remember, most of these won’t work overnight, so try them for at least a week to see how your body responds.

Fenugreek Breastfeeding

Using Fenugreek to boost milk supply is one of the most popular ways breastfeeding moms are increasing their milk. It’s been shown to increase supply within 24-72 hours, but that, of course, may vary from mom to mom.

Fenugreek is an herb. Its primary uses are as an herb or spice in Indian and Persian cuisine and as a galactagogue for breastfeeding mothers.

Fenugreek is safe but shouldn’t be used by those who are diabetic, have a chickpea or peanut allergy, or have asthma.

There are many ways to use Fenugreek. Here are just a few of the easiest ways:

  1. Take in simple capsule form. The capsules generally come in 610mg and it’s recommended to take 2 capsules 3 times per day with food. That’s a total of 6 capsules per day. (Dosing source) | Here is a capsule that gets high ratings from breastfeeding moms.
  2. Take in a tea form. Many moms swear by Mother’s Milk Tea and is an easy way to take Fenugreek. It has a slightly sweet licorice taste.
  3. Take in a powder form. You can use Fenugreek powder to milk in lactation smoothies to pump up the nutrients you’re getting while breastfeeding. The only downside to using a powder is the high price tag.

Brewer’s Yeast Breastfeeding

Brewer’s yeast is another popular and effective supplement to boost a low milk supply. Though it’s not known exactly why brewers yeast helps increase breastmilk supply it also has some other good benefits such as lowering blood sugar levels for diabetics, may help lower cholesterol levels, and helps nourish skin and hair.

It’s also believed to elevate moods and feelings of mild depression. And with so many moms suffering from Postpartum Depression, it’s worth a try!

It also has some possible side effects such as upset stomach, cramps, and an increased risk of yeast infections.

You can take brewer’s yeast in a simple powder form. This brand of brewer’s yeast has hundreds of happy mom reviews! Just add 1-2 tablespoons to your favorite drink, lactation smoothie, or lactation cookie once per day.

More Breastfeeding Supplements

There are more, less common supplements to use for increasing your milk supply.

  1. Blessed Thistle
  2. Fennel
  3. Stinging Nettle
  4. Alfalfa
  5. Goat’s Rue
  6. Milk Thistle

Always talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant before taking any herbal treatments. For many centuries, herbal remedies have been used as medications. And, just like prescription drugs, herbs and plants can have side effects. And, depending on the preparation, some herbs can even be toxic.

Increase Breastmilk Through Pumping

You can also increase your milk supply through pumping. Also known as power pumping. The concept is simple, the more your baby nurses or you pump the more signals your body receives to tell it to produce more milk.

“If you want to boost your milk supply fast, power pumping can help by creating an artificially high demand for breast milk. By increasing the number of times you pump, you give your body the message to increase milk production.” — Helen Anderson, Chief Lactation Officer

Power pumping works great for moms who’ve already established their milk supply and noticed a dip in their supply or haven’t been able to nurse baby consistently for a number of reasons such as returning to work or a painful breast infection.

It also works for moms who are exclusively pumping as I did with my son. He was admitted in the hospital after 4 days old due to critically low bilirubin levels. I wasn’t even able to hold him more than a few minutes per day.

I had to start pumping right away for days and he never took to the breast so I decided to pump exclusively for as long as I could.

Power pumping helps to mimic cluster feeding which is a natural increase in your baby’s desire and need for milk. Which your body will naturally respond to with increased milk supply.

Power pumping really requires a time commitment. Basically, you’ll need to set aside an hour for your full power pumping session which will look like this:

  • You’ll pump both breasts for 20 minutes
  • Rest for 10 minutes
  • Pump for 10 minutes
  • Rest for 10 minutes
  • Pump for 10 minutes

You can do this at least 2 times a day until you see your supply increase and then gradually reduce your power pumping sessions.

Foods to Increase Breastmilk

Aside from staying very hydrated by drinking lots of water during and in between nursing sessions, there are also foods that tend to help increase milk production. These are referred to as lactation foods or the lactation diet.

  1. Ginger
  2. Garlic
  3. Rolled Oats
  4. Vegetables like carrots, yams, and dark leafy greens
  5. Sesame Seeds

Here’s a great resource of lactation recipes!

When to Know When it’s Time to Supplement with Formula

There are times when it’s appropriate and even necessary to begin supplementing with formula. If you think you may need to supplement, I urge you to get medical support from your baby’s pediatrician and your own Doctor or lactation consultant.

And never feel pressured to keep breastfeeding or start supplementing if you’re not comfortable or ready. As long as your baby is meeting the above guidelines, you most likely have time to make the best decision for your baby without the pressure from professionals who may not share your convictions.

Do you have a tip that worked to increase your breastmilk supply? Please share it in the comments below!

Struggling with low breastmilk supply is a very common problem for nursing moms. Here's the ultimate guide to help you boost your supply the right way! #breastfeeding #pregnancy #newmom #baby #babies #feedingbaby

The Secret to Raising Happy and Confident Teens in an Image Focused World

Raising happy teens

It really bothers me when I see teenage angst played out on TV and in the movies like it’s a natural part of the growing process. Spreading the lie that all teens must have an attitude problem and get into loads of trouble.

The truth is, being a teenager is hard and so much of the time we as parents are getting it wrong. That’s not to say every issue we face with our teens is our fault. The tween and teen stage is full of changes that can be hard for them and for you.

Raising happy teens

But we as parents are the single most important influence our kids have and how we parent and relate to our kids really matters… especially during the teen years.

Does it ever seem strange that your teen can seem totally logical and mature in one moment and completely illogical and impulsive in another?

That’s because their brains are still under construction!

Because the prefrontal cortex is still developing, teenagers might rely on a part of the brain called the amygdala to make decisions and solve problems more than adults do. The amygdala is associated with emotions, impulses, aggression and instinctive behavior. source

This is why it’s hard to be a teen and can be equally hard to raise a teenager.

And to top it off, we live in a very image and selfie-focused world. When we send our kids to any typical school, we’re really sending them into a war zone. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s sadly very true.

There are so many instances of bullying, the pressure to conform, and exposure to things we never intended when we drop them off for their education every day.

Related: 9 Things Your Kid Wishes You’d Do but Doesn’t Know How to Tell You

Parenting Teens with Compassion

In the lives of many tweens and teens, they’re simply getting an education in survival. And this is very sad. No wonder teens are widely seen as angry, unengaged and apathetic people!

As parents, teachers, youth workers, and family members of teens we should be practicing parenting with compassion. And strive for connection and understanding before rushing to correction and judgment.

Don’t we need to focus on character development and discipline with our teens? Absolutely!

But first, we need to do everything in our power to win the heart of our child before they ever reach the teen years. And do everything in our power to keep it!

The heart is the access point to a person’s heart and when you have it you have everything you need to be an amazing mom.

So how do we win the heart of our kids and teens? Start by asking more questions. Not judgment-laden questions, but ones that focus on really getting to know them.

And do LOTS of listening. Way more listening than talking. And trust me, as a mom this is a HUGE challenge. At least it was for me!

We are born and bred to talk, talk, talk and lecture, lecture, lecture as a way of parenting. But we learn so much more when we shut up and listen.

The Secret to Raising Happy Teens

One of the starting points to raising thriving teens is our expectation. Our society programs us to expect the worst when our kids reach their teen years.

It’s referred to in the fabric of our culture over and over again. We’re taught to fear our kids becoming teenagers.

It’s no different than when we all feared our first child turning two because we were all told it was going to be terrible.

I’m kind of different in my thinking… kind of like a teenager. I don’t like being told, “this is how it’s going to be.” As if I have no control over the matter.

Here’s the thing, we do have a say! We do get to choose whether we buy into the lies or write a new story for our family.

I didn’t say it was going to be easy every day but at least when you go into something with the expectation that it’s NOT going to be terrible… that it’s going to be great… you’re starting from a winning position.

There’s so much power in our expectation and having low or fearful expectations actually changes the way we parent.

This is why I choose to expect that my children will all thrive in their teen and adult years… whether they do or don’t is another issue altogether.

My expectation is that they won’t be overcome by bullying and peer pressure, that they’ll be confident to stand on what they know is right, and know how to love themselves and others well.

I hope you choose to expect the same for your kids. And these tips will help you get there. It’s not easy being a parent in any stage, but we were made for this and have the capacity to exceptionally parent our teens.

Know When to Take a Break

I feel it’s necessary to start here when talking about raising tweens and teens. Not because they are bad (we’ve already covered that) but because they’re largely hormonal. Aside from hormones, teen moodiness can be related to issues outside of hormones.

After puberty sets in, kids have a much harder time managing their emotions. Aggression, sadness, and impulsive behavior are just some of the emotions raging in a typical teen.

That means even on the best of days, there are plenty of opportunities for blow-ups.

Even the most mild-mannered adult can find themselves in an all-out verbal war with their teenager.

So when you find yourself going back and forth in a heated discussion with your teen and your blood pressure is steadily rising, practice taking a break.

Just flat-out say that we need to stop this discussion until we both calm down and try again later. That’s it. It’s not worth saying things you’ll regret and you can’t take back.

You never want to risk verbally wounding your child or tearing down the walls of your relationship that you’ve worked so hard to build. Take a break and talk about it later, or if appropriate consider letting it go.

Become a Master Observer

There are so many changes that take place in our children from their tween years into early adulthood. And many of those changes or behavior shifts are a normal part of their growth and development.

However, sometimes major behavior and personality changes can point to trauma. And even seemingly little traumas can cut really deep and make much larger impacts on their reasoning and behavior.

And trauma to a teenager can range from being rejected by a close friend, being introduced to drugs through peer pressure, being a victim of bullying, feelings of depression or suicide, and even sexual abuse.

It’s vitally important that we don’t make the false assumption that all teens withdrawal and become anti-social to their families. This simply isn’t true.

Many, many of these typical teens were traumatized in some way and simply don’t know how to handle it or ask for help. Mainly because they feel it was their fault or that they’ll get into trouble.

I was personally a teen that was traumatized many, many times and all of these encounters warped my mind and how I related to others. Unfortunately, my behavior shift was rolled into the assumption that I was just being a “typical teenager.”

I wasn’t… I was deeply hurt and wounded. And sadly remained that way for much of my adulthood.

We need to put down our distractions and pay attention, be present, and fight for our kids. There’s nothing more important than that.

And I must point out that we don’t need to rely mearing on our own observations. Praying for our kids opens the door to being able to hear from Holy Spirit who will point us to issues with our kids we might never be able to observe on our own.

Related: The Power and Purpose of a Regular Quiet Time Routine

Model Kindness & SelfLove

One of the things teens get a bad rap for is lacking compassion. The easiest way to raise compassionate kids is to be compassionate. We need to model both compassion and kindness to others in front of our children so they can see these qualities in action.

We can’t simply leave it to the world to do it because it’s not really happening.

Kids are like little tape recorders walking around doing and saying everything they hear and see at home. I served in children’s ministry for over a decade and I’ve seen a lot! Your kids are telling all your business. Lol

The point I’m trying to make is we want them to be instinctively walking around and seeking out the hurting, the left out, and the unloved. Because they see us doing it first.

We also need to be modeling healthy self-love and self-esteem! Our kids are growing up in an image-focused world and it’s easy to feel like you don’t measure up.

Talking about our wrinkles and cellulite all the time isn’t setting the best example. It’s up to us to learn to love our own bodies and who we really are just the way we are… imperfections and all!

Teach Teens the Value of Grit

Grit is probably one of the most powerful qualities a person can develop and grow to live their best life. Grit is defined as passion and perseverance over the long term.

Grit supersedes talent, intelligence, connections, and the ability to overcome your own fear. Grit is what determines whether you’ll stay where you’re supposed to be and abundantly thrive there.

As Angela Duckworth points out in her Ted Talk below, how to teach grit in kids is still unclear. That’s why I believe teaching kids the “value” of grit is so powerful.

Instead of putting all of our emphasis on talent and intelligence we need to encourage our children to see their goals over the long haul. That they absolutely have the power to create their own destiny if they take the passion-driven right actions long enough.

Lead them to their Passion

Most of the time passion manifests through what we see as a talent. Maybe our child is really good at baseball, dance, or excels in their artistic ability. If that child is equally driven to grow in that gift… you have a passion!

Other times a passion can be people, need, or problem-driven. For example, this teen was filled with a passion to help cancer patients when her mom and sister were battling cancer.

She started a non-profit organization and it has grown enormously and is helping so many people.

The source of your child’s passion can come from many places. However, the important thing is that we help nurture their passion and give them every opportunity possible to rise beyond their potential.

The reason passion is so important for kids and teens is because it serves to keep them focused and occupied in something that deeply matters to them.

This is a very good thing as long as they practice healthy balance, of course. But the biggest factor is when a teen is filled with a passion, they are less likely to be influenced by peer pressure, teen boredom, low self-esteem, and bullying.

Why? Because they’re busy building something! They just don’t have time for the foolishness.

It’s NEVER a good idea to have a bored and uninspired teenager. Never.

Related: How to Stop Standing in the Way of Your Child’s Purpose

Be an Undistracted Parent

One of the reasons I believe it’s possible to make such a positive impact as a parent is by actually being there. And I’m not talking necessarily about not working. Most of us, including me, have to work for income.

I’m talking about being a Present Parent. One that’s not distracted by their phone, their busyness, or even their own dreams and passion.

As a mom, our first ministry is our family. And making the hard sacrifices to be there physically and emotionally must be our first priority. Especially over money.

The last several years we weren’t living a very glamorous life. We had a few setbacks in our business and ended up struggling in our finances. I wasn’t making any money from blogging at the time and my emotions and fear pointed me toward getting a job.

In the end, I stayed home and worked my butt off to stay focused on my family and work extremely hard in the fringe hours to build a business that I can work from home. All with the dream of earning an income that allows me the freedom to be with my kids.

Even if you’re a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t need to work for income you can still struggle to be a present parent. Present parenting has so much more to do with your priority of Family Time and making connections with your kids.

Praise Effort Over Results

Our kids are literally just trying to figure it all out every single day. And it’s hard.

Intentionally offering praise and encouragement when our kids take the right action is so key. When they take the initiative to clean their room on their own, to study for a test without prodding, or anything else you notice it’s important that we take a moment to reinforce that behavior.

They may not clean their room the way you like it done or might get a less than perfect grade on that test, but they took imperfect action. And imperfect action is a million times better than no action!

If your child is consistently earning C’s in school but they work diligently and make every opportunity to do well, then they should be praised the same as a student that earns straight A’s.

Why? Because of their effort. I always encourage my kids to do their best… not someone else’s best.

If we know our kids tried their best, then we praise them for their effort first and then the result.

If we only praise based on results, we run the high risk of marginalizing kids who don’t naturally fit into the high-performing or high-achieving model.

Related: 2 Super Easy Ways to Teach Your Child Personal Accountability and Stop the Blame Game

Fill Their Love Bank

Think of your child’s heart as a bank. We all have a love bank and it works the same as our real bank accounts. We put deposits in and take withdrawals out.

How do we fill out child’s love bank?

By showing them love through encouragement. By affirming them way more than we correct or criticize them. And by always showing up, even when they push us away and say they don’t want us to.

Withdrawals happen when we scream at our kids in anger and frustration. When we judge them before we ever try to understand them. When we disconnect because we feel rejected.

Remember, it’s hard to be a teen. And much of the time, they’re struggling with complex emotions they don’t know how to deal with. Some days our teens just need a long, love-drenched hug… even if it’s just a verbal one.

Related: 50 Simple Ways to Show Love to Your Child Speaking their Love Language

Never Tolerate Disrespect

Finally, we must never tolerate disrespect to anyone. This really needs to start when they’re toddlers.

If kids are allowed to talk back to you or other adults or aren’t corrected when they’re outright disrespectful it’s like giving them a giant green light. And it only gets worse as they enter their tween years.

Talking back is a matter of personal expression. We all have the urge to say what’s on our minds and have the last word when we’re angry or frustrated.

And being able to develop the personal restraint to hold your tongue in these situations is an important social skill everyone needs to be able to do. Sadly, too few don’t.

When we allow our kids and teens to over-talk us, say rude comments or talk back it must be a non-negotiable action that’s always grounds for discipline.

If they’re allowed to be disrespectful to their own parents it’s likely this behavior will transfer to teachers, coaches, and other parents. If not dealt with, there’s a good chance they will grow to become rude people.

Please don’t raise another rude person. We have too many already!

All jokes aside, this is an area that needs boundaries and constant attention until they learn how to more effectively handle their emotions.


Which areas are you most excited about focusing on with your teen? I know this post showed a lot things we can work on with our teens. Don’t allow yourself to feel overwhelmed or discouraged.

Just take the right actions one step at a time!

Share your teen struggles and questions in the comments below!

 

Having struggles with your teen? Try these simple tips to help you raise happy and confident teens in a negative world! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #teens #tweensHaving struggles with your teenager? Try these simple tips to help you raise a happy and confident teen in this largely negative and image focused world! It's possible! #kidsandparenting #teens #tweens #raisingkids #parenting #parentingtipsTeenagers are great. Having struggles with your teenager? Try these simple tips to help you raise a happy and confident teen in this largely negative and image focused world! It's possible! #kidsandparenting #teens #tweens #raisingkids #parenting #parentingtips

Want to know the secret to raising confident and happy teens? The answers may surprise you! Check out how to help your teen and tween be their best! #tweens #teens #raisingkids #parenting #parenting101

50 Simple Ways to Speak Your Child’s Love Language Everyday

speak your child's love language

Did you know there’s an actual language of love… no not Italian. Seriously, we all have a unique Love Language that’s tailor-made to our unique personality. A language that when it’s spoken to us, can make us feel love in a deeply personal way.

And understanding the power of love languages, especially as it pertains to our kids, makes such an impact on how we give and receive love. This post shares simple and tangible ways to bond closer with your children using their love language.

We all know what it’s like to feel loved. It’s this experience of love that hits our heart much differently than merely knowing we’re loved. So many of us live the majority of our days in the “knowing we’re loved” zone, versus actually “experiencing that love” in action.

speak your child's love language

We all want to feel that love a whole lot more than just knowing it’s there. I know I’m guilty of letting the days go by without going beyond the usual hug, kiss, and I love you as I drop them off at school. And, of course, the thought that feeding them, clothing them, and sheltering them is an expression of love.

And though they are clearly expressions of love, I have to ask myself when was the last time my child “felt” love. A love that was meant just for them, and not a one-size-fits-all love that merely got tossed to all the kids at once on the way out the door.

The truth is, far too often we all take for granted that our spouse, children, and friends simply know we love them and leave it at that. Until a holiday (#Valentine’s Day) or other special event rolls around. Then we bring out the big guns!

This list is designed to help you become an even better mom and a positive parent than you already are!

We Speak Love in our Own Language

But our loved ones need so much more than that, especially our sweet children. Who are generally sweet most of the time. 

They need to feel and experience a clear and tangible expression of our love. One they can’t question or talk themselves out of later. And the best way to do this is to show them love in their own love language.

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock (or mounds of your children’s dirty laundry) and haven’t heard of love languages; let me catch you up.

The concept is taught extensively by Gary Chapman who wrote several books on the topic including The 5 Love Languages of Children – which I HIGHLY recommend along with all of his other books on the topic.

He teaches that there are basically five main ways (languages) we humans uniquely communicate love to one another. We all communicate on some level using all five languages, but Gary believes we each have one overarching language that’s stronger than all the others. That’s our love language.

Why are Love Languages Important?

The interesting part is, we naturally communicate our love to others using our own love language. I mean, that’s our own language, right? But this can hinder the flow of the “love exchange” because, as you know by now, we receive love best in our own language. Confused yet?

Please don’t be. Think of love languages as actual languages. If your husband spoke French and you only spoke English, your relationship would be challenging at best. But if you knew each other’s language and chose to speak that language to each other – you’d be in business. No more mixed signals. Well, hopefully.

This gives us the challenge of identifying and understanding the love language of those we want to show love to the most – our family. This way you can shoot your arrows of love like The Mocking Jay and hit the bulls-eye every single time. Imagine that!

The whole point of understanding and using love languages is the concept of filling each other’s love tank. And doing things that fill our child’s love tank in the specific way that they need it, sends the message loud and clear to your child – I AM LOVED.

Tips to Identify Your Child’s Love Language

In case you don’t know your child’s love language, I’m going to briefly list a few clues to point you in the right direction. I’ll warn you, it may seem at first that your child has ALL the love languages.

But if you observe your child over time, it’ll become more clear. Once you know your child’s love language, you can have fun delivering love messages to them in a way that’s sure to fill their love tank all the way to the top!

Physical Touch

  • Your child is touchy-feely and never seems to leave your side.
  • Frequently grabs your hand to hold it, leans on you, or rubs you in an affectionate way.
  • Loves to snuggle, cuddle, and be close.
  • If you reject this snuggle-fest request, they’ll likely feel rejected themselves.

Words of Affirmation

  • Your child is highly motivated by your words of encouragement.
  • They tend to feed off the validation of others.
  • They also will be more affected by harsh verbal correction or discipline.
  • Compliments and praise are like fuel to their soul.

Quality Time

  • Your child will frequently ask to spend time with you, even after you just had an awesome one on one day yesterday! Lol
  • Every time you turn around – they’re there looking to see what you’re doing.
  • If they aren’t getting the attention they’re seeking out, they will often resort to getting attention elsewhere. This is where getting negative attention can come in.
  • They’ll ask to come along when you’re just running errands. The point is, they want to be with you. Here are some great ideas for family connections!

Gifts

  • Your child sees receiving gifts a special moment.
  • On big gift giving days like Christmas and Birthdays, they’ll often remember who gave each and every gift.
  • They will often collect and store seemingly random mementos from places they’ve been or from things they’ve been given by friends.

Acts of Service

  • Your child always wants to help and will even try to take over doing things like folding the laundry or putting away dishes as an act of love.
  • They will look for things that need to be done, like cleaning up the pile of blocks that got left in the corner. They’ll feel proud and accomplished after doing this, so showing your appreciation will go a long way.
  • They will naturally look for ways to help others.

How to Bond with Your Child Using Love Language

Even when you’re busy and overwhelmed with life, these ideas are so super, simple that you’ll find yourself inventing new ideas. The ways to speak your child’s love language are really endless and are only bound by your creativity and FUN! Let’s get to it.

 Physical Touch

  1. Watch their favorite TV show or read a book snuggled up on the couch. For ideas, check out my Epic Summer Reading list here!
  2. Create a special one-of-a-kind handshake.
  3. Give a lingering hug every day. One that just holds for an extra moment or two.
  4. Offer piggy-back or on the shoulder rides (if they’re still little enough!)
  5. Invite them into your lap to read as long and as often as they’ll still accept the invitation.
  6. Challenge them to an arm or thumb wrestling contest.
  7. Play a board game. Twister is a great one if you can handle it, Mom!
  8. ALWAYS tuck your child in for bed whenever possible.
  9. Wake them up sweetly with a warm snuggle instead of the light on and a, “wake up!”
  10. Do yoga or stretches together using each other for gentle resistance and support.

Words of Affirmation

  1. Write them a love note in their lunch box.
  2. Send them a text message telling them how awesome they are. Be specific and genuine! They’ll spot a canned praise a mile away.
  3. Always be ready with something awesome to say about them when they’re with their friends and/or siblings.
  4. When disciplining/correcting use the sandwich method. Praise – correction – praise.
  5. Offer words of praise that are very specific such as, “it was so awesome when you did … “
  6. Talk openly about them in a positive way around other family and friends.
  7. Always reserve correction to be given privately within your home and not around others.
  8. Create fan signs for your child at their sports games or other activities. And scream their name loudly if appropriate.
  9. Purchase a nice journal for them and write an inspiring message for them on the first page and date it. Words are important for those with this love language so journaling is usually a great activity to encourage.
  10. Create a secret journal that only you and your child know about that you use to write back and forth to each other. This is wonderful for those challenging tween years.

Quality Time

  1. Have a regularly scheduled date day. Could be simple and free like going to the park every Friday. Here are some great FREE ideas! 
  2. Go for a walk alone. Allow them to lead the conversation.
  3. Order a fun subscription box for kids. They are so much fun. My kids are obsessed with these!
  4. Find a way to include them in your work, if you work from home and they’re old enough. Get creative.
  5. Play with your child. Enter their play fort, hide really well in a game of hide-and-seek, and learn how to give their dolls the most stylish do’s for their latest date to the ball.
  6. Create a project together that the whole family can enjoy when it’s done.
  7. Reorganize or rearrange a room together.
  8. Take up a physical activity like running together. You can train together and run marathons throughout the year.
  9. Cook a meal together. Allow them to plan, shop, and prepare it.
  10. Identify a talent, hobby, or sport they love and find a way to get involved. Become a coach, a volunteer, or start your own group.

Gifts

  1. Give unique and meaningful gifts like planting a beautiful tree together in the backyard. Preferably one of their favorites, if possible.
  2. Tap into your inner DIY crafter (get on Pinterest) and find something to make for your child that they can use every day like a jewelry organizer or a nice phone charging station. The fact that you took the time to make something won’t be lost on this child!
  3. Get creative in making gifts for classroom gift-giving seasons like Valentine’s Day. They like giving gifts as much as receiving them.
  4. Give them the gift of quality stationery so they can beautifully express their appreciation for the gifts they receive from others.
  5. Make their gifts an event or experience by coordinating a gift treasure hunt.
  6. Work on a project that allows them to use their talents as gift giving opportunities.
  7. Give them gifts with a deeper meaning or significance such as a piece of jewelry or a personalized journal. And make the packaging thoughtful!
  8. Bring them a personal memento from an interesting place you went that day or from your travels. For example, a cool looking rock or flower. Repay the “look what I found” sentiment we get from them so often.
  9. Buy them personalized items with their name on it. This could be as simple as a dinner plate or cup with their name printed on it but can get more special as they get older.
  10. Create cool spaces for them to store their new gifts or mementos. Like baskets, shadowbox shelves, or cabinets with open spaces.

Acts of Service

  1. Give your child special responsibilities they personally enjoy doing such as cooking, walking the dog, or watering the plants. Allow them to have feedback in the process.
  2. Create opportunities to display random acts of kindness to strangers together.
  3. Offer to be a teacher’s helper in your child’s classroom and allow your child to work as your assistant.
  4. Discuss how you can work with them to use their interests to help others on your street. If they love animals, you can both offer to wash their neighbor’s dog for free together.
  5. Payback their acts of service by doing one of their chores secretly.
  6. Let your child HELP! Even when they roll the shirts up instead of folding them.
  7. Plan simple random acts of kindness just for them.
  8. Take the time to teach. Instead of just “doing” everything, slow down and teach your child how to do something.
  9. Always bring extra to share. If you get a snack in the kitchen put extra on your plate so you can freely share. Or better yet, offer to get them their own plate!
  10. Cook them their favorite “real” breakfast every now and then on a school morning

This is just a list to get your imagination working. As a mom, it’s important for us to take the time to learn how to deliver the message of our love in a way that speaks uniquely to them. No more generic love! 

Do me a favor and put in the comments below what your child’s love language is. My oldest daughter’s is giving gifts, and my middle daughters is physical touch. I’m not yet sure of my toddler’s yet but I’ll keep you posted.

Tell us what love expressions you’re planning next in the comments below! Let’s keep this list going beyond this 50!

 

Does your child "feel" your love every day in a tangible way? It's super easy when you know their love language! Get 50 super simple ways to speak your child's love language every day! #parenting #momadvice #kids #kidsandparenting #parentingtipsKnowing your child's love language is very helpful in being able to show love to your child in a special way every day. These 50 ideas will get you started today! #lovelanguage #kidsandparenting #parenting #momadvice #mom #kidsLove is unique for everyone because we all have a love language. Find out how to speak your child's unique love language today! #lovelanguage #kidsandparenting #parenting #kids #momlife #motherhood These super easy and unique ideas will have you speaking your child's love language everyday and strengthening your relationship in the process! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #parenting101

Want to know the secret to making your child feel loved every day? It's learning to speak your child's love language! This post will both help you learn their love language and give you 50 simple ways to speak your child's love language every day! #lovelanguage #parenting #kidsandparenting #positiveparenting #gentleparenting

Never Have to Deal with Toddler Temper Tantrums Again with These Fool-Proof Tips

Toddler temper tantrums are tricky but there are simple ways to stop them from ever happening in the first place! Click to get the best tips. #parenting #kidsandparenting #parenting101 #parentingtips #momlife

Toddler temper tantrums – they can strike at a moment’s notice. And usually, happen at the quietest and least kid appropriate location possible with plenty of judging witnesses shaming you with their childless stares.

If your toddler has ever unleashed a monster temper tantrum in public, you already know it’s on the top 10 list of most embarrassing and most frustrating moments in your life.

Toddler temper tantrums are tricky but there are simple ways to stop them from ever happening in the first place! Click to get the best tips. #parenting #kidsandparenting #parenting101 #parentingtips #momlife

So what’s a mom to do when her blessed angel reaches the age of toddlerhood and isn’t maintaining their previous cutie-pie status?

There is help and you don’t have to live afraid to go outdoors or feel like a prisoner to your new toddler’s reign of terror.

But first, we need to change the narrative.

Change the Toddler Narrative

I really hate hearing parents label the toddler years as the terrible twos. This is basically stereotyping and nobody likes to be stereotyped… ever. We ALL want to have the opportunity to be our own person and live our lives without the labels trying to hold us back.

Plus, having the mindset that all toddlers are like the Tasmanian Devil will only hurt you as a parent. That’s because you’re already going into the toddler years expecting the craziness to ensue. Maybe your friend had a toddler that became unglued at the sound of the word, No.

And you automatically assumed this was the norm.

Anytime we go into any relationship or encounter with a set of preconceived notions about that person, we never give them a fighting chance to show us any different. This includes our children.

And this way of thinking is exactly what’s wrong in our world today. So, let’s not allow this toxic mindset to creep into our homes.

Instead, we need to focus on us. Yes, not our toddler but us as parents. Our children are brilliant little people and have the amazing capacity to rise up and meet our parental expectations. We just need to know what those are and lay them out.

And just like the carefully chosen outfit that you laid on the bed for your child to wear to church, they’ll probably come along and chose something else. You need to be prepared that battles will go down but you are the boss and you’ve got this!

OK, so now that we’ve got that out the way.

Related: How to use Your Words to Raise Brave and Vision Focused Kids

How to Prevent Temper Tantrums

The key to handling temper tantrums with grace is knowing that the real work really begins before the toddler tantrum ever shows up on the scene. And that’s what this post is all about… the before.

If you’re looking for tips on how to stop a tantrum already in progress, you’re going to want to read this!

I have three children and one of my kiddos is in the throes of toddlerhood. And I can probably count on two hands (that being generous) how many tantrums I’ve experienced with all three of my kids combined. I don’t say that to brag.

Only to offer encouragement that all of the typical “stages” that are thrown at us as parents don’t have to be our own experiences. I’m by no means a perfect parent but I went into motherhood with the mindset that I’m not excepting society’s negative reports for my children.

That means the terrible twos, the tween and teen disrespect, and anything else society tells me is supposed to happen with my children.

Instead, I choose to take responsibility for creating the environment I want to live. Call me crazy, but I just hate when someone tells me I can’t do something or this is just the way it is.

So, I set out to do things differently. Here is the simple formula for gracefully preventing your toddler’s temper tantrums.

Related: 2 Super Easy Ways to Teach Your Child Personal Accountability and Stop the Blame Game

What Tantrums Really Are

Tantrums are one of the ways your toddler communicates. Like a baby cries… a toddler will act out in their emotions to get our attention. Therefore, don’t worry, tantrums are normal and they don’t mean your child is bad or unruly.

In fact, I’ve had my fair share of “adult” tantrums, some of which were sadly witnessed by my kids. We all get angry, feel misunderstand, and want to be heard. We also don’t always go about expressing our feelings in the most productive and appropriate way.

This is no different from the way toddlers and kids will express their feelings in an outright on the floor tirade. But it’s our job to teach and guide our children into healthier ways to express our emotions. Nobody ever wants to see an adult kicking and screaming on the floor!

And in my own personal experience, most of my kid’s tantrums were because I wasn’t paying attention to what was going on and what they needed at that moment…

Start with Meeting Their Immediate Needs

Toddlers are still very much like their former baby selves. They lack the ability to tell you what they really need and so they act out in a way that’s very similar to a baby crying when they’re wet, hungry, or tired.

When a toddler starts acting out, pulling away from you, and no longer listening you need to go into inspector mode immediately to stop a meltdown in its tracks. Ask yourself when was the last time your little guy had a snack, took his nap, or went to the bathroom. Or basically anything else you can think of.

Meeting these needs early and quickly is the best way to keep a full-on tantrum from happening.

I think we ALL know that lack of sleep or food are huge triggers for a toddler meltdown, so start there.

I’m pretty sure, my son is the most hungry kid on the planet! And he’s quite the opposite from his two older sisters. So as he got older I naturally thought I had this parenting thing down and packed snacks and food based on what I did previously.

I broke the cardinal parenting rule… never try to treat all your kids the same! So basically, he was always hungry and wanting to eat. I quickly learned to bring more healthy snacks with us and that fixed that problem!

Also, if your kiddo doesn’t do well at all with a missed nap, try to always schedule outings and appointments around her nap whenever possible.

Related: 9 Things Your Kid Wishes You’d Do But Doesn’t Know How to Tell You

Consider How You Contribute to the Problem

Other tantrum triggers can be stress or lack of attention from you. Yes, we can actually do things to contribute to their tantrums.

For example, were you stressed out this afternoon getting her to her doctor’s appointment on time? Were you yelling at the cars, had an intense phone call on the way, or even yelled at your child?

Kids can hold on to the stressful emotions we put out and they simply have no way of handling them in a healthy or effective way. It’s the same thing happening when a baby is crying and suddenly your baby starts crying too.

Toddlers also tend to be extremely sensitive. The other day we were headed to breakfast as a family and my husband and I were deep in conversation. And my toddler began annoying his big sister… his specialty. And instead of stopping our conversation to handle the problem, we ignored it until we blew a top.

Big mistake! My husband yelled at him in the back seat (he pretty much never yells) and my son started the teary-eyed pout. When we pulled up to the restaurant, he seemed fine to me but when he got out and saw his dad, he started to cry very hard.

Needless to say, my husband felt terrible. But this shows how strongly toddlers can hold on to stressful emotions.

The second thing I mentioned is lack of attention. If you’re on your phone the whole time in the waiting room and he’s trying to get your attention, stop and be present with him. Nobody likes to be ignored, and this goes for your child too.

Foster Guided Independence

Another great way to allow your child to feel important and ward off tantrums is to offer them the opportunity to make simple choices which make them feel respected. I like to call this guided independence.

What kinds of choices are we talking about?

Let your child make toddler sized choices like what to wear, which plate they want to eat on, and what color cup they want before they have the opportunity to ask for the green cup themselves. Try putting two cups on the counter and telling your little one to choose a cup and get some milk.

Most of the time these simple choices mean absolutely nothing to us, but giving a toddler the wrong color cup can launch the first missile in WW4.

It’s better to offer them the choice first instead of grabbing a cup and them not liking it and then having to correct the situation and ruining dinner.

It’s not at all about letting kids run the show or some new-aged passive parenting tactics. But it is about understanding the needs of our kids and lovingly allowing them to experience independence on our terms, not theirs.

You may need to create boundaries with these choices to prevent yourself from getting frustrated. For example, I let my son get himself dressed every morning. But I have a special drawer where he has a bunch of t-shirts and shorts to choose from.

Most of them all go together so it’s helpful that I have one less task to do and he doesn’t leave out of the house looking like a circus performer. And the best part is he feels like a big boy and doesn’t feel the need to search for ways to battle for independence.

Related: 60 Fun Questions to Ask Your Kids to Learn Their Heart

Establish Strong Expectations

Here’s my favorite tip and where I believe most parents are missing it. This is honestly where my husband shines and helped me see where I was actually sabotaging my own efforts along the way.

Toddlers may be small, but they’re extremely smart! They know when your no means no and when it really means, um, OK fine. Ever done that one before?

Your kid just mentally hit the jackpot and will be coming for you, again and again, to get what they want.

It’s our job and responsibility to establish strong and predictable expectations for our kids as early as newborns. Basically, when your baby cries she learns that you’ll get up and go into mommy investigation mode to fix her current problem.

When you let your toddler that when we go into the store we do NOT run around, touch things on the shelves, or any other inappropriate behavior.

When your toddler hears your instruction and proceeds to do just want you told him not to do, he’s testing the waters and waiting for your response. This will determine if he does it again. Kids will always do what they’re allowed to do.

Inappropriate behavior needs to be addressed every single time. No matter how much of a pain in the butt it is. This works! And it is work! But it’s so worth it when your child knows how to behave themselves in public and at home.

Does my toddler son ever break out in a sprint in Target? Yep! And I firmly tell him we do NOT run in stores and he immediately goes back in the cart. No second chances, no discussions, no bribes, no deals.

Let’s just say, it doesn’t happen often. He’s learned that we mean business. But toddlers will be toddlers, which means they love to test the boundaries and see what they can get away with.

If you waiver it’s like a shark smelling blood in the water… you’re done!

Related: How to Get Your Kids to Listen Without the Yelling and Regret

Be Consistent

Finally, I need to add that there isn’t a quick fix for any parenting struggles and challenges. They all take unique approaches and a lot of trial and error.

But most of all, they require consistency.

We need to keep showing up and doing what is right over and over. And just like consistency is necessary to see the results we want at the gym, it’s exactly the same with parenting.

Your kids already know what to expect from you, whether good or bad. It’s our responsibility to set the right expectations and you’ll see your child thrive.

How do you establish healthy boundaries with your children? Share in the comments below!

 

Toddler temper tantrums are tricky but there are simple ways to stop them from ever happening in the first place! Click to get the best tips. #parenting #kidsandparenting #parenting101 #parentingtips #momlifeLearn the mom tricks to preventing the dreaded toddler temper tantrum from ever showing up! Yes, they work! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #parenting101 #momlifeInstead of stopping temper tantrums, try preventing them all together with this simple and easy to do tips! #kidsandparenting #parenting #momlife #parenting101 #parentingtipsToddler temper tantrums are especially frustrating but they can be prevented all together with these easy and highly effective tips! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parenting101 #parentingtips #kids

Never have to deal with another soul-wrenching toddler temper tantrum again. These tips will help you stop tantrums before they start! #toddlers #raisingtoddlers #toddlerapproved #kidsandparenting #positiveparenting

60 Strong and Cool Baby Names with Powerful Meanings

2018 Strong and cool baby names

I love strong baby names and my husband and I took the naming of our three kiddos pretty seriously, but we also had a lot of fun too. Right now strong and cool baby names are very popular and today’s parents are all about unique names with powerful meanings! 

2018 Strong and cool baby names

Names are important. When we call someone by a name, that’s the meaning we are assigning to them. In essence, we are calling them a meaning.

Let me say it like this, we wouldn’t want anyone calling our kid stupid, right? First, you wouldn’t believe that was true, but also you don’t want your child hearing over and over that they’re stupid, dumb, or any other negative attribute.

On the flip side, we want to speak powerful words and encouragement into the hearts of our children. Let’s say your child’s name is Wisdom or the Greek equivalent, Sophia. I know several children by both of those names and they are beautiful. And each day they are called Wisdom… very powerful!

In the case with my children’s names, we started with the meaning we wanted to speak over our child every day and tirelessly poured over hundreds of names until we found the ones we loved.

In the case of my middle daughter, her name came to me in a dream. I loved how beautiful her name sounded and the meaning fit the description we wanted so that was easy! Here are more beautiful baby girl names!

In this list, I wanted to offer strong baby names that sounded fresh and cool but also have powerful meanings. I also purposefully didn’t separate boy names from girl names because parents are switching up names so much these days I wanted to leave that up to you.

These are perfect strong baby names with powerful meanings for 2019!

Want to research more name meanings? Try this free resource. Enter in any name and discover it’s meaning. Related: Popular and trending baby names.

Related: Everything You Need for Your New Baby!

If you’re reading this, chances are, you’re pregnant and if you’re looking for helpful pregnancy resources check out these posts:

The Most Shocking Things that Happen After Giving Birth

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Strong and Cool Names with Powerful Meanings:

Abigail – Joy of the Father

Ace – Number one, the best

Amara – Eternal

Amora – Love

Axel – My Father is Peace

Asher – Blessed and Happy

Aaliyah – Rising

Alessandra – Defender of mankind

Balan – A Knight Of The Round Table

Barke – Barke

Bazyli – King

Callie – Most Beautiful

Caelan – Powerful warrior

Chance – Good Fortune

Creed – Guiding principle; I believe

Dante – Lasting and Enduring

Declan – Full of Goodness

Denzell – Powerful

Edric – power and good fortune

Elliot – Lord is my God.

Esme – Loved

Ethan – Strong and Firm

Faye – Loyalty; confidence

Felix – Happy and Prosperous

Gabriel – Devoted to God; a hero of God

Griffin – Strong Lord

Hannah – Favor; grace of God

Henry – Ruler

Ian – God is gracious

Ida – Hardworking

Jayce – Healer or the lord is salvation

Julian – Father of the Skies

Karson – Christian

Kay – Pure

Levi – Joined in harmony

Lucas – Light-giving; illumination

Milo – Soldier

Mila – People’s Favor

Malik – Sovereign

Noelle – Day of Christ

Noah – Rest, Peace

Owen – Young Warrior

Paisley – Church

Nova – New

Quillion – Crossing Swords

Raine – She is singing; queen.

Reyes – King

Reign – Rule, Sovereign

Reese – Enthusiasm

Reilly – Courageous

Ronin – Well-advised ruler

Salem – Peace

Scout – To listen

Tiara – Crown

Verena – True

Valerio – Strength

Walt – Army Ruler

Xander – Protector of Men

Zale – Sea Strength

Zana – God’s gracious gift

Which baby name is your favorite? Share in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

These strong baby names are cool and lovable and the best part is their powerful meanings! #babynames #babies