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

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!

 

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The Simple Solutions I Used to Overcome My Biggest Parenting Challenges!

Positive parenting solutions for your biggest parenting challenges

Parenting is literally the hardest thing we’ll ever do as people! There are so many questions, worries and concerns that keep us up at night and gnaw at our soul.

“Is my kid ever going to actually do what I say?”

“Is she ever going to get passed this phase?”

“I am ever going to feel normal again?”

And here’s the truth, the answers to those questions will look and feel different for every parent and every child. We’re all unique and there’s no one-sized-fits-all approach to parenting. And anyone who tells you that is mistaken.

That’s why I’m so passionate about using positive parenting with my kids. This approach to parenting isn’t a “do this” manual. It’s more of a “consider this” way of seeing myself and my kids.

It’s helped me go from a frustrated, overwhelmed and screaming-head kind of mom to one who can actually remain calm and effectively communicate with my kids even when I’m fuming. That’s huge for me! I still have bad days and mess ups but those are no longer my daily norm.

I want to simply share some of my own biggest parenting challenges and how I found solutions that actually worked. I’m a mom of a toddler, a school-aged child, and a teen. That’s a lot going on in my house and these tips work with all of them!

5 Simple Solutions for my Biggest Parenting Challenges

Positive parenting solutions for your biggest parenting challenges

1 – My Kids Never Listened to Me Until I Yelled

This is such a huge one for me. Like I said, I used to yell to be heard. It felt like the only way my kids responded was when I yelled and got angry. I got to a point where I started to believe that this was just how my kids needed to hear instruction.

When in reality, they didn’t like being yelled at anymore than any other human does. But I was undermining my own authority by not doing what I said and not having any consistency in my parenting.

I made a regular practice of throwing out empty threats like they were prizes at a sporting event. My kids came to NOT believe what I said and this caused my frustration, followed by lots of what I thought was necessary yelling.

All this changed when I started to only say things I was absolutely going to follow through on and no fluff. In addition, nagging and barking orders constantly never helped either. I found that treating my kids with respect and like people goes a long way.

2 – Mom Guilt was Consuming Me

As a mom, there are so many choices we have to make in a single day that can totally shape the life of our child. This person we’ve been trusted to take care of and lovingly raise into a good human being.

Along the way, the pressure, doubts and mistakes we make can smother our joy and confidence as moms.

I watched the movie BirdBox the other night and all I kept thinking was how Sandra’s character had to keep those precious children alive in the most horrendous of circumstances. The stress of just watching it unfold on TV was almost too much for me!

Here’s what I’m learning about mom guilt. First having it at all means I’m a great, loving, and caring mother. The fact that I even care about how good I’m doing says volumes. There are many moms out there that don’t.

And second, praying to constantly seek God’s direction for my home and also writing down my concerns helps me make the best decisions for us. After that, I’m intentional about NOT obsessing about my choices or my mistakes (because we don’t always get it right) so I can live in peace.

3 – I struggled with balancing work and kids

I’ve always been a working mom since my first daughter was born. I’ve just been blessed to have been able to work from home all these years. I started out doing work I hated and have shifted over the years to doing work I love.

Along the way, I struggled a whole lot with balancing the work load I was responsible for and taking care of my kids and home. The process wasn’t easy and never looked pretty but I found my own version of balance.

I don’t really know if there is such thing as true balance between our families and work. And it doesn’t matter if you work inside the home, outside the home or something different entirely. The key is creating healthy boundaries and being intentional about how you spend your time.

Oh and not trying to do it all by yourself!

Take time to find a system that works well for you and your family and be intentional about working that system. And my biggest piece of advice is to learn to ignore that nagging internal voice that says you’re a bad mom for not being with your kids 24/7.

The fact is, our kids don’t need our presence every minute of the day but they do need our heart. If we make connecting with our kids our biggest priority, we’ll all be just fine.

Try spending at least 10 minutes a day with each of your kids just talking and having eyes on me time. You’ll be surprised how effective this is in forging a wonderful bond with your kids.

4 – I was too Punishment-Focused Vs Heart-Focused

I was raised, like so many other kids, that when you did something wrong there was a punishment attached. It was a very simple approach to parenting.

There’s only one problem with that. The need for the parent and child to be deeply connected gets missed. It’s not that parents shouldn’t discipline or dole out appropriate punishments when they’re needed, but when we focus only on the action and punishing that action we miss something.

Our biggest goal as parents should be to win our kid’s heart. When we do that, parenting gets a whole lot easier. You have access into their biggest struggles, concerns and questions. We get to actually help them make decisions and choices that strengthen their ability to make better choices on their own.

This way when they do make a mistake, there’s more communication about why this happened, what they learned, and how it can be avoided in the future.

Punishments have their place, but communication and asking questions are much more effective parenting tools to raising great kids who are ready for real life. In our family, we rarely even have to give out punishments with our kids and in the process, they’re learning how to be more responsible and accountable for their actions and choices.

5 – Not Handling Back Talk, Tantrums and Whining Calmly

When we’re adulting all day, we can be downright exhausted. And when our kids start whining or talking back it can be very frustrating.

We just want our kids to comply without complaint and when they don’t we can feel backed into a wal. This dysfunctional communication cycle isn’t healthy for us and it’s not teaching our kids how to effectively handle conflict.

It’s so much easier, in the short run, to shut down our toddler’s whiny complaints or our teenager’s back talk. But it’s more helpful to engage positively in the conversation or interaction with firm and calm action.

In the case with a tantrum, our toddler is usually overwhelmed by their big feelings. Getting down on their eye level and calmly talking to them or even giving them a firm hug can help calm those emotions.

Ultimately feelings cannot be punished away; they must be worked through. It comes down to determining why a tantrum is occurring and giving children the knowledge and skills needed to move beyond tantrums.

– Susan Newman Ph.D.

As for dealing with conflict with older children, asking questions for understanding is really helpful in defusing negative emotions and helping our kids feel heard. Dr. Newman also says that being too permissive or being too controlling can bring on back talk in our kids.

This has held true for me and my kids!

hildren need a firm but fair leader who takes their opinions respectfully into account and also knows how to stand firm when needed.

Susan Newman Ph.D.

Final Thoughts on Overcoming Parenting Challenges

This isn’t an exhaustive list of parenting challenges and we all struggle in different areas. A lot of our issues depend on the uniqueness of our own families.

These are the challenges I struggled with for far too long. But I know so many other moms feel overwhelmed by these as well. It’s important for me to share my parenting journey with you in the hopes that my struggles and victories will help you!

The most important thing to remember is perfection is the enemy of progress so give yourself tons of grace along the way. When you make a parenting mistake forgive yourself, make it right and move on.

Tired of dealing with endless back talk, toddler tantrums, kids not listening, and mom guilt? Stop struggling and get these positive parenting solutions to your biggest parenting struggles. #kidsandparenting #positiveparenting #parenting101
There's no batch of honor for struggling with parenting challenges. These parenting tips and positive parenting solutions will help you overcome your biggest parenting struggles! #positiveparenting #kidsandparenting #parenting

Surprising Causes of Child Disobedience and How to Finally Break the Cycle

when your child disobeys on purpose

Children disobey. It happens whether you’re raising toddlers or teenagers. In fact, we disobey too. Like when we deliberatley go a bit or a lot faster than the posted speed limit sign because our kid was going to be late for school for the third time this week.

The fact is when we disobey we often take the “it’s justified” stance based on our circumstances at the moment. However, when our kids disobey we assume that our kid is acting out.

when your child disobeys on purpose

There are many underlying causes for child disobedience that may actually surprise you. And many situations where a child is being called “strong-willed” is actually being caused by something else entirely.

Part of being a loving, positive parent is learning to become a detective who looks for clues most people can’t clearly see on the surface. We need to do some digging to find the real answers to our parenting struggles.

It May Not Be Defiance at All

Like I said earlier, all children disobey. That’s totally normal and not necessarily a symptom of an underlying problem.

That’s because there may be a logical reason for your child not listening. Let’s say you called your 4 year old to dinner and they didn’t come downstairs. You called three more times with no response before finally storming upstairs with your frustrated meter on high.

You find your daughter in her closet trying to put away the game she was playing. She’s visibly frustrated with tears welling up in her eyes because she can’t figure out how to get the game in the box by herself. You’ve been spending time lately teaching her how to put away her toys when she’s done.

Frustration meter suddenly plummets and you feel terrible for getting upset.

The most helpful way to handle this situation is to offer positive encouragement by acknowledging how she cleaned up before dinner.

But this praise must be followed by a clear reinforcement that whenever mommy or daddy calls you, you answer… no matter what.

Surprising Reasons Children Disobey

But what if your child disobeys a lot… on purpose? This can be frustrating and requires us as parents to look deeper for the source.

First, we need to explore the possible causes for your child’s disobedience. Again, these may surprise you and help you change your approach to discipline.

1 – Your Relationship Needs Strengthening

It may not seem or feel on the surface that your relationship with your child needs strengthening but often that’s exactly the culprit.

There’s a need built into children to want to please and obey their parents just as we have the same need to put a smile on our child’s face. However, when there’s a lack of trust or connection this can lead to a child acting out.

If you feel that you aren’t as connected as you once were with your child, try setting aside a small amount of time every day to have one on one time together. This can be just talking and asking questions or doing fun activities together.

Building trust and connection with your child isn’t done overnight and should be a priority for the long haul. Relationship and connection with our children should be at the top of our priorities as parents.

2 – No Clear Boundaries

If your child doesn’t have clear expectations or boundaries as it relates to his behavior he will consequently spend much of his time testing those boundaries.

He’s not testing to irritate you but to simply locate those boundaries so he knows how far to go. This can feel to a parent like your child is always testing the limits. That’s because they are!

It’s our responsibility as parents to establish those healthy expectations for our child from very early on. This task is one that never goes away and needs constant refining and reminding along the way.

It’s much easier to spend your moments teaching and modeling proper behavior, even ad nauseam, than it is to spend your days constantly correcting the wrong ones.

3 – Constant Labeling

This is a big one for today’s parenting where social media cultivates all the “labels and names” we can give our children without ever considering if that’s even true of our child. Labeling actually holds us back as parents.

Terms like the terrible twos, bratty teenager, and even strong-willed child are all labels that limit our own will as parents. For example, if we buy into the lie that all babies who reach the age of two become terrible we set ourselves up to hunker down until it’s over.

We stop looking for solutions because we believe it’s all a part of the journey. I mean, every mom is struggling with their teenager, right?

I’ve refused to believe in the negative labels about children and as it turns out when you expect your child to be a certain way, they will. That’s because my expectation that my kids will be well-behaved greatly influenced my parenting choices.

Kids will always rise to our expectations!

4 – There is Tension or Stress

If there is tension in the home because of constant fighting or maybe financial pressures that spill over into your child’s world, they can internalize this as stress causing them to act out.

They will often not fully understand why they are acting this way because they don’t understand how stress effects the mind and body.

Also, if your child is under another type of stress like academic pressure or too many high-stress activities they may feel the need to blow off steam which often looks like getting into trouble.

We should be taking an intentional measure of our child’s stress levels by talking with them on a daily basis. Simple check-ins and one on one talks help to let your child know they’re not alone.

If you find that you fit into one of these reasons and feel overwhelmed, don’t be hard on yourself. Parenting is the hardest thing we’ll EVER do. Just make positive changes in the right direction every day and you’ll see the difference!

How to Respond When Your Child Disobeys on Purpose

When dealing with a disobedient child we should be focused on finding solutions as to why the disobedience is happening in the first place. Instead of being totally punishment focused.

Here are 4 ways to handle deliberate disobedience:

1 – Pick Your Battles

Backtalk, intentional disrespect and lying are non-negotiable offenses in our home that always get addressed in some way.

But there are days when my toddler wants to wear his Spiderman PJ’s or my daughter doesn’t want to eat what I cooked for dinner. Some days I dig in and others I don’t.

I pick my battles and live to fight another day.

2 – Hold Your Child Accountable

Part of good parenting is establishing those healthy boundaries we talked about. And the only way those boundaries are effective is if we hold our kids to them.

If your child repeatedly forgets to turn in their homework resulting in poor grades, you must have already established consequences set in advance.

After they fully understand what’s expected of them, it’s our job to be the enforcer. If we say they lose their phone for a month if their grade falls to a C, then they lose their phone for a month. Period.

3 – Offer an Explanation

So I know I’m probably getting some eye rolls from all you old school parents. Trust me I hear you. I believe children should listen and obey regardless of whether an explaination is ever given.

But in the spirit of changing our kid’s behavior, sometimes a simple and very brief explaination can do wonders in making kids do what we’re asking.

There was a study done that showed how it was so much easier for a woman to cut in line if she offered a reason. Let’s face it, as adults we LOVE explanations. We don’t like it when people just ask us to do things and don’t offer a reason. Kids are the same.

Occasionally telling your kid why you need them to do something doesn’t make you a weak parent. I promise.

4 – Stay Calm and Firm

You are the parent. Losing your cool or entering into a debate or argument with your child undermines your authority. It also turns your power over to your child.

Kids are smart and will learn what pushes your buttons and what they can say or do to get you to give in out of frustration.

Though kids are skilled with the keen ability to set their parents off in a moment’s notice, we don’t have to take the bait.

We don’t yell and lose our cool at work or other places when people irritate us because we have self-control. We need to keep our control by acting like the adults we are even with our kids.

Conclusion

Parenting is hard and there’s never a day off. Just know that your desire to help your child make better choices is the starting point to healthy change.

And making connection with your kid your highest priority is going to help you tremendously on the hard days.

There is a right and easier way to respond to your child's disobedience. There are also surprising causes of child disobedience. Try these positive discipline strategies when your kids don't listen. #positivediscipline #parenting #positiveparenting #kidsandparenting
Back talk, tantrums, and intentional disobedience are often the result of these 5 reasons. And these positive discipline tips will help you raise happy and more obedient kids. #kidsandparenting #parenting #kids #toddlers

Why Your Tween’s Moodiness is Likely Not Caused by Hormones

Teen moodiness not cause by hormones

It’s always been widely believed that as our children reach puberty and grow into their teen years hormones will be running the show. As parents, we see these hormones as moody body-snatchers making our kids do and say strange things.

However, your tween or teen’s moodiness might not be caused by hormones at all. And blaming these invisible perpetrators for every odd or rude behavior may actually hurt your child in the long run.

Teen moodiness may not be caused by hormones

That’s because your middle schooler is living a very hectic and crazy life every single day. Most of us wouldn’t trade our own stressful adult lives to go back to school for any amount of money!

Oh uh… not going.

Read: Raising confident Teens

3 Cures for Preteen Moodiness

As our children transition from elementary school where most of the kids they go to school with are still sweet and they have the same teacher all day – this all changes drastically when they reach middle school.

The kids they used to be besties with all of a sudden think your kid isn’t cool anymore, they go from having one teacher to seven, and their body is seriously doing some crazy things.

All of this alone would make anyone feel a little out of sorts. But when you add on your tween’s very immature brain which isn’t even close to being finished growing, life can simply feel overwhelming for your child.

It can be a real eye-opener to learn that a lot of typical teen behavior and general moodiness isn’t necessarily caused by hormones at all but by things we can control.

Uh hem… that means we can actually do something real to help!

Tweens Desperately Need More Sleep

As tweens and teens get up at the same time as a typical working adult and get ready to head into an all day physical and emotional roller coaster called school, they are usually short on one thing – SLEEP.

Studies show that 60 to 70% of American teens live with a borderline to severe sleep debt.

Sleep deprivation puts teenagers into a kind of perpetual cloud or haze, explains Dr. Mary Carskadon, a professor of psychiatry at Brown University and director of chronobiology and sleep research at Bradley Hospital in Rhode Island. 

source

It’s recommended that all kids ranging in age from 12 to 17 get at least 9 to 10 hours of sleep each night. We can see how hard this is to achieve with their early waking school hours.

Most kids this age probably aren’t realistically getting to sleep at 9pm. In fact, many actually have trouble getting to sleep in the first place because of using electronics late into the evening, relationship stresses, and homework and studying demands.

Encouraging your kids of all ages to have one hour before bed where they do enjoyable non-screen activities is proven to help prevent sleep problems.

In addition, keeping similar wake-up times on the weekends helps too. Apparently, sleeping in till noon on the weekends hurts their sleep cycles during the week. You may want to allow them a little extra sleep on Saturday mornings, though!

Here are more sleep tips for teens.

Tweens Desperately Need Nutritious Food

There’s a reason your teen seems to want to eat all the food in your house! They’re growing at the rate they were when they were that sweet little toddler.

Their bodies are growing at alarming rates and snacking and grab-and-go meals aren’t cutting it. We must encourage more whole foods whenever possible to reduce the amount of processed foods our teens are consuming.

They’re tasty, convenient, and very attractive to our kids. Packaged and processed foods are also everywhere including our kid’s school. Most children are consuming the typical Modern American Diet (MAD diet) every day.

“Study after study in the medical research journals confirm that people who are most dependent on MAD-style eating habits have increased levels of depression, anxiety, mood swings, hyperactivity, and a wide variety of other mental and emotional problems.” —Tyler G. Graham and Drew Ramsey, The Happiness Diet

source

Offering many options of healthy, whole foods like sweet clementines, crackers or veggies with hummus, and healthy nuts like pistachios are easy and tasty snack alternatives to candy bars and chips.

Tweens Desparately Need a Break

Wait a minute, all my teen does is lay around all day… breaking is all she does!

Is that what you were thinking?

Having a break doesn’t necessarily mean laying on the couch watching TV or taking a nap. Tweens and teens simply need permission to take a mental and physical break from the stress of their days.

Yes, tweens experience stress… lots of it.

They live in an unusual environment AKA middle school that requires them to change their physical and mental state, sometimes drastically, at the sound of a bell. That is, the school bell.

They dive right into American History and give a class presentation on George Washington’s family life, walk down the hall to take an Algebra exam, run a 4 minute mile in P.E., have a profound discussion on the poetry and life of Robert Frost, sit ackwardly in the cafeteria at the “uncool” table, dissect a butterfly in biology, learn a new song on the trumpet, and the day’s not even done yet.

All of this with different teachers with unique demands and personalities. And let’s not even talk about all the judging, bullying, and peer-pressure being thrown around at our kids every single day.

They need a break.

They need permission to feel how they feel.

They need a space to feel accepted, loved, and un-judged. To feel loved, supported, and encouraged.

They need a break from the pressure.

Our Tweens Desperately Need Us

Teen depression and suicide rates are staggering and on the rise. It’s clear that something is missing.

Teen suicide attempts increased 23 percent. Even more troubling, the number of 13-to-18-year-olds who committed suicide jumped 31 percent.

source

While sleep, food, and downtime are very important to our growing kids, what they need most is us.

Tween and teens need to see us present, hear us cheering them on, and know that we love them unconditionally… no matter how many mistakes they make.

Being a present parent doesn’t mean being physically with them 24/7 but it’s a creating a lifestyle of making them a priority.

We can do this by making a habit of really listening to them and carving out a small piece of one on one time regularly (even 5-10 minutes) can make a habit of real connection.

Raising children at any age isn’t easy so be sure in all of this parenting you don’t forget to take care of yourself. That’s one of the biggest things we can do for our kids… not become a mom hanging on by a thread.

How do you relate to your tween or teen? Share your tips in the comments below!

Got a moody tween or teen? Here's a little-known reason for typical tween moodiness and it's not what you think! And you CAN do something about it! #kidsandparenting #tween #teens #parenting101

7 Ways To Be a Parent Your Kids Won’t Talk To or Share With

Tips to communicate better with your kids

Little kids and toddlers talk and share… a lot. It’s pretty much what they do best. In fact, many parents consider their small children to be “over-sharers” of oodles of random thoughts and information.

But as kids get older all that can change. Suddenly, your abundantly chatty 6-year-old becomes a tight-lipped 12-year-old overnight.

Tips to communicate better with your kids

Why does this communication phenomenon happen with so many kids as they get older?

It all boils down to trust and how we set up the boundaries of parental communication early on in our parenting relationship.

The younger a child is, the less they pay attention to what and how we say things. They genuinely just want to talk and be with us. So in order to keep this lovely over-sharing going strong into the teen years and beyond, we need to start preparing now.

It turns out the connection a kid needs to feel with his parents in order to open up and talk to them is cemented long before the teen years. Julie Romanowski, a parenting coach in Vancouver, says communication skills are built even in infancy and toddlerhood. source

And if you’re wondering how you connect and communicate with your little ones, if you’ve ever heard the phrase, “Mommy will you play with me?” you just heard it.

Toddlers and small children talk, share, and connect with us through play. I personally am not the mom who loves “playing with my kids” but it’s a necessary sacrifice that seals the path for open and healthy communication down the road.

We need to break our bad communication habits now and work to develop healthy ones that create openness in our relationship with our children.

Our Highest Priority as Parents

I believe one of our highest priorities as parents, beyond feeding and clothing, is to win our child’s heart. If you have a person’s heart, you have everything to need to be in a healthy and thriving relationship.

And it’s every parent on the planet’s goal to be in a healthy and thriving relationship with their child that lasts a lifetime.

It’s hard and is work that takes more sacrifice that our society thinks is necessary or even possible, but it’s oh so worth it.

If you strongly desire to raise kids that want to come to you first to share their joys and victories along with their fears, questions, and problems you need to be sure you aren’t making the following communication mistakes.

Kids, tweens, and teens all have their own levels of sensitivity. And being repeatedly exposed to any of the following mistakes can cause your child to inadvertently shut down and stop sharing with you on a meaningful level.

And that alone is devastating for a parent.

How to Become a Parent Your Kids Won’t Talk To

When your child decides to share the random events of their day at school, confides in you about a peer pressure situation they’re struggling with, or wants to tell you a dream they have for their future… it’s a big deal.

Talking and sharing is the access to our child’s heart and that’s always my goal with my kids – to win their heart. If you can successfully win the heart, you win the child.

But we need to be acutely aware of ways we might not even know that stand in our way of being a parent our kids want to talk and share with, especially as they get older.

Here are some really huge actions to watch out for in your own behavior the next time you find yourself in a kid conversation.

1 – You Try to Fix Everything

A huge mistake loving parents make as an act of love is to swoop in mid-conversation to help your child fix their problem. After all, we’re the parents with all the experience and wisdom, right?

Wrong. Well, yes you have wisdom and experience but you can’t use all that right now. Your kid is wading through their issue and finding the right words and emotions to share them with you.

That’s all that matters right now. Not fixing anything.

In fact, we all probably know what this feels like. My hubby does this to me all the time and it drives me nuts. We all need to vent and let our thoughts out into the open without solutions and ideas shooting out of the sky like heat-seeking missiles.

When we’re quick to offer solutions, what we’re really saying to the other person is they aren’t smart enough to come to a good solution on their own. We also rob our children of developing the skills to think critically and solve problems on their own.

2 – You Aren’t Fully Present

One of the most damaging things we can do repeatedly when in conversations with anyone is not give our full attention to the person.

Like when your kid tries to talk to you but your phone is literally still in your hand as you umm hmm through the conversation only occasionally meeting their eyes with yours.

This tells them you’re not really listening.

I know as women we’re known for great multitasking skills but there’s no place for multitasking in communication, with our kids or our spouse.

Eye to eye communication is best with our phone out of sight.

I already know what you’re thinking… the last time your 10-year-old held you hostage to talk about their awesome Minecraft world they just created you thought you actually fell asleep with your eyes open.

I get it, kids’ conversations aren’t always the most interesting for us but every conversation lays the groundwork for more meaningful ones down the road. Hang in there!

3 – You Judge Their Feelings

When your child is sharing how they honestly feel about a situation or even a person and we shift right into parent mode and say something like, “now that’s not a nice way to think about her.” or “is that how I taught you to talk to a friend?”

If your kid is in the middle of sharing their raw, unedited feelings our best course of action is to listen, listen, and keep listening.

Judging them no matter how much we may want to, in the moment, is off limits.

Again, think of how we feel when we vent to a friend or spouse and we know deep inside we’re totally overreacting but the last thing we want is to feel judged for our feelings.

All we want is an ear to listen.

After they’re done, try asking a question like, “how do you think you handled the situation?” or “would you have done things differently if you could?”

These are non-judgemental questions and allow your child to think and reason for themselves. This line of questioning helps your child learn how to solve problems and self-edit their own behavior.

Plus, they keep the conversation going and building more trust!

4 – You Try to Change Their Feelings

Imagine being in a conversation with a friend and you are very upset about a situation and they responded to you like this:

  • “I think you may be over-reacting a little…”
  • “I think you should…”
  • “This could get better for you if you just…”
  • You don’t need to cry about that...”

Everyone has emotions and we’re all probably guilty of way overusing them. And when we’re smack-dab in the middle of a cry-fest the LAST thing anyone wants is to be told their feelings aren’t valid or need to be changed.

The only thing your kid needs when they’re experiencing strong feelings is support and empathy.

To fully understand empathy in a way you’ve probably never heard but WILL open your eyes, watch Brene Brown’s super short video on understanding empathy (this will help you so much!):

5 – You Blow Them Off

Blowing a person off doesn’t always look like making a date with someone and not showing up. Nope. When it comes to our kids it’s often much more subtle than that.

This happens to me a lot… I’m working and one of my kids comes in the room and starts to share something amazing that happened at school and I say, “in a minute… let me finish this first” and then totally forget them when I’m done.

Kids (humans) know when they’re being blown off and though we probably do it so often we don’t even notice it anymore, we need to stop!

If you are truly unable to speak with your child at that moment (that’s real) we need to be very skilled at keeping our word when we are available. That means getting up and finding your child, apologizing, and give them your fullest attention.

Why should you apologize? This is not out of admitting that you did something wrong but as a means to acknowledge how sorry you are for not being available when they needed you.

And if you are truly able to stop what you’re doing at that moment… DO IT.

6 – You Make it All About You

Nobody likes a narcissist. If you compulsively turn conversations with other people toward you… stop now.

When someone is sharing with you, the conversation is and should be about them. Responding repeatedly with statements like…

  • “when this happened to me as a kid, I did…”
  • “what I would do is…”
  • “I know I didn’t raise you like that…”

…leaves your child feeling less-than in your eyes. You are sowing seeds of comparison and competition. And if you’re a mom talking to her daughter, this is very dangerous ground.

Often times self-absorbed communication stems from the desire to fix a situation so we end up looking good in the end. For example, if our child is acting out, we don’t want to be judged by others so we attempt to fix it fast.

We must keep our own motives out of our kid’s conversations and keep it about supporting and helping them. Instead of offering advice and opinions try asking, “how can I help?

If the answer is nothing or not now, leave it alone and don’t push to be the savior. This is a wonderful opportunity to pray for your child and let God work it out!

7 – You Freak Out

Let’s just all agree that part of being a parent is spending most of your time being shocked.

Shocked when your newborn blows out more poop than seems humanly possible and when your toddler paints a sharpie mural in your living room.

So when your kid trusts you enough to tell you that a boy hit her at school today and you immediately fly off the handle you’re sending signals that you’ll freak out every time you hear freak out worthy news.

You’ve gotta compose yourself and be cool. Count to ten, breathe slowly, or whatever you have to do but stay calm and listen. And help them work it out.

Then excuse yourself to your closet and shout into a pillow!


Parenting isn’t easy… that wasn’t part of the deal. But one of the greatest joys a mom can experience is the trust and loving relationship with her child. It takes work but is the greatest work we’ll ever do!

How do you connect and keep communication flowing in your home? Share in the comments below.

A parent's greatest hope is to raise a child who wants to talk to them. Here are 7 ways you may be sabotaging your communication with your kids.

Parenting Toddlers: 29 Toddler Experts Share Their Best Kept Secrets!

Expert toddler parenting tips

Raising toddlers is one of the most rewarding stages of parenting. Sure, this stage gets a really bad rap because of all the labeling. Terrible Twos ring any bells?

However, toddlers are amazing and really pretty great with their endless curiosity, openness to trying anything (except brussels sprouts of course), and they still think mom’s the best.

And those sweet toddler hugs are what make the struggles worth it.

Expert toddler parenting tips

At least it is for my toddler.

But raising a toddler isn’t away puppies and rainbows. It can be more like toddler tantrums and battle of wills. And this can be downright frustrating especially if your toddler is your first child.

There is a secret to raising happy and tantrum-proof toddlers, and it’s something I learned and tweaked over the years with all three of my children.

My secret to thriving in toddler life is to give your little one very clear expectations up front. That’s it! It’s hard being a toddler and not fully understanding this amazing world around you. They need to have firm boundaries and know exactly what’s going to happen when they cross those boundaries.

Honestly, I hate to sound harsh but a lot of our struggles in raising toddlers is our fault and it’s making life harder for them and us! It’s their job to challenge and seek independence. They are NOT being bad.

They just need us to establish those healthy boundaries and lovingly guard them. You’ll find yourself having much fewer battles when your toddler simply knows what to expect.

And, here’s the kicker, those expectations are always the same and never change based on our emotions at the time. Doing this all the time is pretty much the secret sauce to not having the toddler equivalent of Game of Thrones in your house every day!

Now, here are 29 most super helpful expert tips on thriving as a mom in the toddler years!

Related: The Best Learning Toys for Toddlers to Feed Your Child’s Imagination in 2019!

29 Expert Tips to Thrive in Raising Your Toddler


Toddler Discipline Tips

toddler challenges

1 – How to Get Your Toddler to Listen and Obey

Most toddlers and kids for that matter have “selective hearing.” That means they hear us when we tell them to do something, but we don’t see the corresponding action. Enter frustration.

What if there was a way to say our request that gets the attention of our toddler AND gets them to actually do what we ask? Try this…

The two simple words that work for us are, “Yes, Mama.” That’s it. It won’t work like magic the first time you say it. Some training will be required to help your child understand what is expected when they hear those words.

Learn how to use this simple tip in Amy’s full post here!

2 – Positively Dealing with a Defiant Toddler

Did you know there is an actual condition called Oppositional Defiant Disorder – ODD? It affects children and their ability to handle listening to authority. This can be especially difficult for parents.

But there are things we can do whether or not our toddler has received a diagnosis. Many of which have to do with how we cope with these challenges, such as bargaining and negotiating with our little ones.

Bargaining is a tool used by kids to get their way and get out of dealing with their responsibilities. No matter how they cry or complain, they must fix their mistake and then accept the consequences.

To read all of Monique’s great tips click here.

3 – Raising a Strong Willed Toddler

If you find yourself in a battle of wills every single day with your toddler, you may have a strong-willed child. Being strong-willed isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, but it can be a real challenge for parents in the early days.

Establishing very clear boundaries and expectations are your best line of defense!

When we give our strong-willed toddler a routine, she knows what to expect. While this can’t prevent things like meltdowns over the toys we can and can’t bring to the park, it can help with bedtime, night wakings, car trips, etc.

To read Nicole’s full tips on raising a strong-willed toddler click here.

4 – Teaching Your Toddler Discipline without Yelling

Getting toddlers to listen without yelling is a challenge for every parent. Consistency is very important in getting kids to listen and do what you want without yelling and screaming.

Kids aim to please. They want to make you proud and see you excited and impressed with them. Give them that satisfaction when they do something positive! It will encourage them to keep doing it.

Get all seven of Ally’s discipline tips here.


Toddler Feeding Tips

toddler feeding tips

5 – How to Develop Positive Eating Habits

Toddler mealtimes can be some of the most challenging parts of the day. From picky eating, distracted eating, and sudden refusal to eat previously familiar foods. Toddler feeding is a delicate balance between our need for healthy boundaries and your toddler’s desire for independence.

Pick options that are already a part of dinner time, making it look like a choice to your toddler but not putting yourself through too much trouble making new meals just for the children.

Read all 5 solutions to the most common toddler eating challenges here.

6 – How to Start Feeding Your Toddler with Baby Led Weaning

I only heard about baby led weaning with my 3rd child and I wish I’d learned about it sooner. It’s so much easier for you as the “chef” and more fun for your baby. I believe that because they are more in control. And let’s face it, toddler’s love control!

I usually start Bady Led Weaning with snacks then, later on, on move onto full meals.  I just find this works better for my children.

Get all the BLW ingenious tips from Dela in her full post!

7 – What To Do if Your Toddler Refuses Meat 

There are many safe and healthy diets that do not include meat that many parents feed their toddlers. However, sometimes parents who do eat a meat-based diet find their toddler refuses to eat meat

This can be frustrating and there are worries that your toddler won’t get enough nutrients, but there are healthy ways to feed your toddler a meatless diet. No matter the reason.

There are certain nutrients that if you aren’t getting from meat you need to be getting from somewhere. The two main nutrients are protein and iron. My secret weapon: Edamame. It has a good amount of both protein and iron! 

Get Shari’s full list of meatless eating here.

8 – How to Raise Non-Picky Eaters

My oldest daughter is an extremely picky eater and though she’s much better now, she’s still pretty selective in what she likes to eat. She was and still is very sensitive to textures, and many other kids struggle with the same issue.

If you have a picky eater, you may want to consider Jenn’s rather unconventional tip…

By allowing young kids to mouth pine cones, rocks, and leaves they will further develop the mouth sensations which may prevent intolerance for food textures at an older age.  Yes, making your kids eat dirt will make them less picky eaters.

Get the full post of fun ways to raise a brave eater here.


Toddler Tantrums Tips

toddler tantrum tips

9 – Understanding the Function Driving Tantrums

Toddler tantrums are simply a poorly communicated request… a request to keep doing what they are doing, a request to have their way, or not do what they are being asked.

There is a reason for most, if not all, tantrums. It means we need to become skilled at finding out the driving force behind your toddler’s tantrum, so we can most effectively change that behavior.

Understanding the function behind a child’s behavior allows us to plan for it and react to it in ways that will hopefully decrease it.

Get the full post of helpful questions to ask yourself here.

10 – How to Handle Tantrums without Punishment or Timeouts

Toddler tantrums are super tricky and can leave you feeling helpless when a toddler tantrum sets in. Many parents aren’t exactly sure how to handle a tantrum and whether they are actually worthy of punishment or not.

I personally believe that we need to work much harder on the front end to prevent toddler tantrums in the first place. And then they are much more likely to be related to your toddler feeling overwhelmed in some way without the ability to communicate their feelings.

When your child is having a tantrum and distraction and other techniques aren’t working, or even before using those other techniques, try empathy.

Get the full list of little-known tips here.

11 – How to Teach Your Toddler Healthy Emotions

As parents, we can often wonder why our little angels can turn so quickly into… well, the opposite of angels. This happens because their emotions aren’t fully developed, and they often times haven’t practiced using healthy emotional communication.

There are many ways we can teach our children how to share their feelings in an appropriate way and develop social skills.

Attending daycare or preschool is NOT required for your child to learn social skills.  Providing them play time with other people is all they need to learn to play with others.

To get all of Kayla’s amazing tips on toddler social skills, click here.

12 – How to Prevent Toddler Meltdowns

Prevent toddler tantrums? Yes, you can prevent meltdowns from your toddler. The key is doing all the work on the front end so you can help your toddler learn how to express their feelings in a more constructive way.

If we take a minute to give them a voice, to listen to their choices, and to make them feel part of the decision-making team, they’ll buy in. They’ll do what we need them to do. They won’t need to have a tantrum to be heard.

To get Nicole’s full list of amazing tantrum prevention tips, click here.


Toddler Potty Training Tips

toddler potty training tips

13 – The 3 Day Potty Training Plan

Part of the success of potty training is making it fun for your toddler. They love growing up and becoming big kids so help them embrace their desire for independence. This next tip totally worked for my 2-year-old son!

You’ll want to buy your child super cute underwear that will get them excited about going to the potty. I bought Drew superhero undies and he loves them!

Get the full 3-day potty training plan here!

14 – How to Potty Train Your 2-year-old

Potty training can be tricky and there are certainly no one-size-fits-all strategies for getting your little one fully potty trained. There are many ways to approach this right of passive, but knowing when your toddler is ready is your key to success!

If your child is starting to become aware of their bodily functions, it could mean that she’s ready. Sometimes, if you wait it out, your child’s willingness to potty train could pass.

Read Brenda’s simple, no-pressure tips for potty training your 2-year-old.

15 – Tips to Make Potty Training Easier

It’s easy to pick out the perfect potty chair, the cool underwear or pull-ups, but what about when things don’t go as planned? Making the following mistake can set back your potty training goals way back!

One of the biggest mistakes a parent can make is shaming their kids during this process. It may not seem like a big deal to drop an “I can’t believe you pee peed in your underwear like a baby” but it can actually undo any progress you are making.

Get Stormy’s full list of potty training tips in the full post here.


Toddler Daily Routines & Schedules

toddler schedules

16 – How to Painlessly Create a Morning Routine

Getting out of the door every morning on time and without meltdowns from you or your toddler is a huge challenge! No matter what routine works best for you and your little one, consistency is vital.

A toddler cannot readily distinguish why the mornings are so different from one another.  This can lead to increased meltdowns and anxious behavior.

Read the full post from Bridget with all her great tips on creating a successful morning routine.

17 – How to Establish a Sleepytime Bed Routine

Getting your toddler to want to go to bed and actually sleep can be quite the feat! And one of the biggest mistakes is letting the craziness of the bed carry over into a chaotic evening.

That’s a huge mistake because toddlers need consistency and routine more than anything! Creating a predictable bedtime routine can help so much.

Each of my kids takes a bath every night, so we make it fun! I invested in some good bath toys that I can’t rave enough about.

Click here to get Shiree’s full nighttime toddler routine here.

18 – Keeping Toddler Routines Even While Traveling

Toddlers need routine and predictability. When their routines disappear in exchange for new activities, schedules, and places you can be sure a meltdown is brewing just under the surface.

When traveling with toddlers, we need to keep their routines in mind to keep everyone happy.

Kids thrive on routine and while travel can definitely throw that for a loop, we like to try to keep things as similar to home as possible.  For us, this means trying to travel during nap times so the kids can sleep in the car.

To get all of Mary Leigh’s toddler travel tips click here to read the full post.


Breaking Poor Toddler Behavior Habits

breaking bad toddler habits

19 – What to do When Your Toddler is too Clingy

Toddlers are just older babies who are growing up really fast. In many ways, they’re light years ahead of their previous baby stage. But in many ways, they’re holding on tight to their baby privileges.

And being held a lot is one of those privileges. Most toddlers drop the need to be held when the independence stage kicks in, but every kid is unique.

Whether your child’s clinginess is new and most likely temporary or a long-term concern, a great first step is to reassure your child and create a sense of security.

Elizabeth gives great insight into why toddlers are clingy in the first place. And her full process for reducing toddler clinginess. Get the full post here!

20 – How to Stop Your Toddler From Hitting

When your toddler decides one day to hit another kid or even to hit you it’s frustrating and also embarrassing. But just like any other toddler behavioral issue, hitting can be corrected too.

Actions speak louder than words. If you hit back and say no, you’re teaching them hitting is an okay response. The same goes for yelling. If a toddler hits and screams, stay calm and offer an alternative by distracting the child.

Samantha goes into great detail in her post showing you how to overcome this bad habit positively.

21 – How to Easily Ween Your Toddler from a Pacifier

Giving your new baby a pacifier can feel like magic when soothing your inconsolable newborn. However, in a few years, it can feel like a curse when it’s time to wean your toddler from the binky. If you have the right strategies, it gets a lot easier!

It is best to try to control how much your child is using the pacifier in the first place by only giving it to them during naps and bedtime.

Get McKinzie’s great tips on weaning the pacifier in this post.


Toddler Sleep Tips

toddler sleep tips

22 – How to Keep Your Toddler in Bed Through the Night

Once you transition your baby from their crib into their own “big bed” an unfortunate side effect can happen… they never seem to want to stay in their bed.

As frustrating as this is, you can do something about it! It’s not easy… and it requires your unwavering commitment to the process but it will pay off. It comes down to setting a loving yet firm tone no matter how many extra requests your toddler askes for.

When you do the “extra stuff,” you are establishing the idea that if they get up you will come in and give them the attention they want.

To read Michele’s full toddler bedtime process read the full post here.

23 – How to Easily Transition to 2 to 1 Naps

The wonderful thing about the baby years is most babies need more than one nap. Suddenly, something starts to change as they enter toddlerhood… they start needing less daytime sleep.

Your toddler will start showing signs that they are ready for only one nap per day. This transition can be tricky but is a lot simpler with the right strategy.

Sometimes the trickiest part of this transition is figuring out when to give lunch! What works best for most toddlers is splitting lunch during the early days. Who says lunch has to be one big meal at noon?!

Get Jilly’s full list of signs and tips for making this transition as simple as possible.

24 – Creating Sleep Routines for the Spirited Child

Not every child is created the same and many are what can be referred to as spirited children. These are children who find it difficult to turn off their energy switch. They can be endlessly curious and tenacious.

None of which are bad things at all. But they can make for parenting challenges. Especially, when it comes to sleeping and naptimes.

Having an intense, persistent child has its challenges, particularly when it comes to sleeping. Routine helps immensely, but when it is time to let up a little bit and give your spirited child the independence she craves.

Read Freya’s heartfelt story about how she joyfully helped her own toddler with her sleep issues.

25 – How to Easily Handle Bad Dreams

In your toddler is having fears or challenges falling asleep because of bad dreams or other fears, this can be challenging. Sometimes adding a little whimsy is all your toddler needs.

Make a homemade dream spray made up of simply water and a few drops of lavender essential oils. Combine the two ingredients and put them in a small spray bottle with a “dream spray” tag on it.

Get Nicole’s full list of sleeping tips here.

26 – Getting Your Toddler to Sleep without a Pacifier

If your baby took a pacifier, getting them to sleep without it as you try to ween them can be a real struggle. There are many methods to use, and some can cause you a lot more headache and lack of sleep. You may want to try this 3-day approach…

3 days before, the day before, and the day of pacifier removal, I told the twins they were getting so big and it was time to stop using pacifiers. I also told them there were babies that needed them more than they did and we would send the pacifiers to them.

Get Jeanne’s full 3-day break down here.


How to Thrive in Daily Toddler Life

daily toddler life

27 – Stress-Free Traveling with a Toddler

Traveling is stressful enough but adding a toddler to the mix can feel overwhelming. One of your best assets is planning, planning, planning. And in that planning, you must build in plenty of buffers so you don’t feel rushed throughout your travels.

Be Early and Avoid Super Short Connections, especially if traveling by plane. You do not want to be the 30-week pregnant lady with a toddler running to catch her next plane (like I was).

Get the full list of travel toddler tips from Haley here.

28 – Surviving Toddler Transitions 

There are so many transitions that babies face once they grow into toddlerhood such as the inevitable transition from formula or breastmilk to whole milk and transitioning to solid foods.

Many toddlers also must transition from drinking from a bottle to sippy cups and then to a regular cup. And let’s not forget ditching the binky!

To make things easier on myself, I made each change one by one so that neither I, nor my daughter would get too overwhelmed with it all

To read how Josephine survived these common toddler transitions read her full post here.

29 – How to Really Love the Toddler Stage

Toddlerhood is an amazing developmental stage in your child’s growth. They are learning, testing, experimenting, and growing every single moment of the day. We just need to help create the environment for them to safely flourish.

Your job as the parent is to set the boundaries and enforce them gently. You will need to enforce them more or less frequently, more or less strongly depending on how strong-willed your toddler is.

To get more insight on loving the toddler stage, read June’s full post here


Toddler life is truly an adventure but is one I choose to cherish as my son gets older. I hope these tips help you to feel less overwhelmed with this special age and more equipped to build a wonderful relationship with your curious little toddler.

Let us know in the comments below which expert tip you’re excited to use the most!

For More Toddler Posts We Know You’ll Love:

End Your Toddler’s Temper Tantrum Quickly with These Simple Steps!

51 Adorable Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers and Babies that Aren’t Junk

The 15 Best Learning Toys for Toddlers to Buy in 2019

The Best Car Games for Kids and Toddlers to Survive Long Road Trips 

Parenting toddlers is wonder and can be really hard! Get tried and try tips and advice on your biggest toddler struggles! #parenting #toddlers #momlife #kidsandparentingLearn the best kept toddler parenting secrets and tips for raising happy and healthy toddlers from the toddler experts. #toddlers #kidsandparenting #parenting

 

 

Raising toddlers can be overwhelming! Stop struggling and get your biggest toddler questions answered from the toddler experts! #raisingtoddlers #toddler #kidsandparenting #parenting

End Your Toddler’s Temper Tantrum Quickly with These Simple Steps!

toddler tantrum tips

Toddler temper tantrums can happen in a split second and can be caused by many different reasons. But the resulting cause every single time is frustration and even embarrassment when your sweet little angel decides to unleash her reign of terror in public.

That’s why I believe we as parents should work to skillfully play offense with our kids instead of pounding it out on the defensive line. There, I sounded like I know what I’m talking about with football. My husband would be so proud!

How to stop a temper tantrum

Basically what I mean is, working on the front end to prevent temper tantrums in the first place instead of working so hard to stop them when they happen. Yes, it’s really possible!

That’s why created this first post, Easily Prevent Your Toddler’s Temper Tantrums with These Fool-Proof Tips, and I recommend you read it first. Unless, you’re in the midst of a tantrum right now and in that case, please read on!

However, even when you do all these things to help prevent tantrums, chances are, one or more will still happen. Here are some easy and effective tips to help calm your child and your nerves when your child is in full-on fit mode.

1 – Get on Their Level

No one likes being talked down, including our kids. Toddlers are short and if we want to stop talking down to them, we need to intentionally get down on their level.

Talking to your toddler eye to eye isn’t just helpful during a tantrum but really is how we should be talking to our children every time.

If you ask your little one to do something and you’re getting totally ignored, don’t keep repeating yourself. You’ll only get more frustrated and angry. Simply stop and get down to where they are or bring them up to where you are, and speak to them in a calm and direct tone.

And look them right in their eyes.

This takes some practice, and in the beginning, you’ll most likely be met with aversion and them trying to escape your space. But keep at it. Once they realize you’re no longer going to be towering over them barking demands, they’ll begin to respond positively.

Doing this ensures they’ve actually heard you and also makes them focus. This practice is extremely effective with my toddler son. And talking to him from across the room almost never works.

And one more thing, talking to anyone in this way is a sign of respect. It shows them they’re important and deserve your full attention. This really goes a long way.

Think about the last time someone talked to you while staring at their phone. Feel ignored much?

Related: 50 Ways to Make Your Child Feel Loved in their Own Love Language

2 – Give them a Firm Hug

I know, I know giving your little tornado of terror a hug in the middle of a tantrum is probably the last thing you’d want to do. And you’re probably thinking it’s equally as ineffective. (source)

I dare you to give it a try the next time your toddler goes into fit-mode. Not a warm and fuzzy hug, though. Give them a close, firm and disarming hug.

Think of it like those weighted blankets that help people overcome night-anxiety or how swaddling a baby helps them feel safe.

Pulling your toddler close when they’re acting out is like yelling I Love You to your husband in the middle of an argument… it’s a pattern interrupt.

It’s also a lot more effective than walking away, yelling, or punishing them for their tantrum.

3 – Lower Your Voice

This tactic pretty much works for any human interaction with conflict. If you’re talking to an angry person, the least effective thing to do is elevate your voice too.

Instead, lowering your voice to one that is calm, confident, and firm is the perfect way to talk to your angry toddler. NEVER, yell! I know this can be really hard.

But it’s really only a way to release your own frustrations but it in no way helps the situation get any better and really just models that yelling and emotional outbursts are OK.

Also, toddlers can be really sensitive and will often hold onto your anger.

Try these practical tips to get your kids to listen without yelling and the corresponding regret. 

3 – Control Your Own Anger

Here’s where things can get a little sticky because when our toddler isn’t listening, talking back, or having an outright tantrum it’s really easy to allow our emotions to go into overdrive.

When our emotions are in control we’ve more likely to say things that aren’t helpful, add to the problem or things we don’t mean and will regret. So when your little one is acting out, always take a breath before you say anything or make any parenting decisions.

As silly as this may sound, take a couple slow and deep breaths or count to ten in your head. This serves as a reminder to you that you’re the parent and you’re the one in control – not your toddler.

Then decide how you want to handle the situation. Just remember, that once you open your mouth and say something, you need to stick by it.

If you say to your child that if he runs through the clothing racks at Target again, he isn’t going to get that cookie he asked for. And you can’t go back on that… ever! No matter if you went too harsh with your punishment and feel guilty.

Take a moment to think first and don’t act out of your own emotions.

4 – Get Outta There!

If you’re in a public place, get out as fast as you can. It’s obviously great for all the innocent bystanders and just plain good manners. But it also resets the location and works to interrupt their tirade.

Just a few words to consider while you’re running out of Wal-Mart. Stay calm and take this time to breathe and count, NOT to yell, complain, and yank your kid’s arm off.

I know this is easier said than done. I’ve screwed this one up many times. But modeling calm behavior is SUPER important!

5  – Hear Them to Understand

Remember, tantrums are a form of communication. Not the best, but communication none the less. If your child’s form of getting their way is a tantrum or if tantrums are a way of life in your home, I would strongly suggest reading this post.

This is a sign that your child hasn’t learned a more appropriate way of sharing their feelings. And this behavior isn’t likely to go away on its own as they get older. I have witnessed many shocking tantrums in public with older kids berating their parents. #Sad

This occurs when children aren’t taught how to properly communicate and haven’t been shown that this is unacceptable behavior. Or at least, they haven’t in the right way.

However, on the occasion tantrums or angry displays of emotion do happen and this is where we need to do our best to find the source and help them work through it with compassion.

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

6 – Stay Firm and Do NOT Bargain

Never, ever bargain with a child! If you were headed to get ice cream and needed to make one last stop at the store and your child starts misbehaving, give her a firm warning that she won’t be having any ice cream if she doesn’t stop NOW.

If she doesn’t listen, no more ice cream. Period.

They may cry, beg, and try to bait you into a bargaining session, but you Must. Stand. Firm.

7 – Keep Your Language Positive

As tempting as it is to unleash your true feelings of frustration and call it like you see it, do your best to reign it in. Calling your son a bad boy over and over isn’t going to fix the problem.

I’ve witnessed name calling from parents many times and it rips my heart out because they just don’t know how powerful their words are and the impact they make.

Our words have power and calling your son a “bad boy” is actually making a declaration that your son is bad. Certainly not what you really want to accomplish.

I always work to speak what I desire to see in my children, my life, and my family. Our words have creative ability and have the power to change our circumstances.

In Romans 4:17, it says to “call those things that do not exist as though they did.”

Instead, try saying something like, “you are a good boy, so let’s start showing it.”

Do you have some effective strategies to stop your toddler’s tantrums? We love to hear it! Please share in the comments below!

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

If you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a toddler temper tantrum and feel your own tantrum coming on... try these tips to stop that tantrum in it's tracks! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #parenting101 #kids #momlifeThese simple and highly effective steps will help you defuse and end your toddler's temper tantrum fast! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parenting101 #parentingtips #momlife Toddler temper tantrums are hard to deal with. But with these simple steps, you can end your toddler's tantrum fast! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #kids #toddler

The 3 Step Plan to Break the Cycle of Unwanted Behaviors in Your Home

The only way to get rid of negative behavior patterns in your home

All behavior and all choices – both good and bad – stem from one process. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrases, what goes around comes around, you’ll reap what you sow, or even karma’s a ____. All these phrases are rooted in one powerful principle that drives all behavior – our children’s behavior and our own behavior.

It’s the Principle of Sowing and Reaping. If we don’t understand how this principle works, we’ll end up letting the cycle of negative behaviors go unchecked in our lives and families.

The only way to get rid of negative behavior patterns in your home

So how do we use this principle to put a stop to selfishness, bickering, and other destructive behaviors?

We first need to understand the cycle and pattern of all behavior.

All behavior and decisions start with a seed. The seed of a thought. If that thought-seed (whatever it is) is allowed to lounge around and chill – chances are, it’s going to stay and grow.

As that thought hangs around for a while, it’s going to eventually force itself out of our mouths. Have you ever had a new idea pop in your mind and after you thought about it for a while you started talking about it to everyone around you?

That’s when the real fun begins!

That’s because our words, whether we realize it or not, are extremely powerful! I can’t emphasize that enough.

Our words have creative ability and have the power to shape our world. In other words, we’ll have what we say. The Bible says, “life and death are in the power of the tongue.”

Sadly, most of the time we don’t even pay attention to our thoughts or the things we say. Words today are so loose and unintentional. But in reality, our words are everything.

And the combination of our thoughts and words together are the building blocks of all behavior and habits. If we learn to understand this, we have the ability to have mastery over bad habits and choices and create good ones.

The goal is to teach these principles to our kids and help them also develop a lifestyle of good, healthy behaviors.

Related: 2 Super Easy Ways to Teach Your Child Personal Accountability

Good Behavior Starts With Us First

The culture of our homelife largely depends on the type of seeds we sow as parents. We are setting the tone for our family every day. In order to experience the family life we really want, we must first plant the seeds of the right thoughts, words, and actions. And then watch them grow.

Seeds of selflessness instead of selfishness.

Seeds of encouragement instead of doubt.

Seeds of presence instead of busyness

Seeds of compassion instead of condemnation

Seeds of respect instead of contempt.

Seeds of affirming instead of judging.

We all have good intentions of thinking the right thoughts, saying the right words, and doing the right things. But before we realize it, we’ve already dropped some bad seed in our fields. And too often, that seed has time to remain, fall into the soil, and gets watered. Then we look up one day and wonder why we have weeds in our fields… choking the life out of our precious harvest.

So what does that mean in our busy, everyday lives?

How to Stop Unwanted Behavior Before it Starts

If we keep with the planting example of reaping what you sow we can come to a reasonable conclusion that we should be planting with the end in mind. For example, if a farmer wants to plant more apple trees, he’s going to plant apple seeds. He’s not gonna to be throwing around the wrong seeds!

We need to decide what kind of life we want to live. What kind of marriage we want to be in. What kind of children we want to raise. And then start planting the seeds that will produce the harvest we want instead of the ones we don’t want.

Basically, it all starts with us as parents. We set the ultimate example and show our kids what is acceptable. “Do as I say and not as I do” is a really bad parenting philosophy on so many levels.

When parents do things that they tell their kids is bad, it sends a very confusing message that rules don’t apply to everyone. That we can simply pick and choose which rules we want to obey and which ones we don’t. And ultimately one that’ll backfire on you as a parent when they decide your rules no longer apply to them.

What To Do When Unwanted Behavior is Already Happening

So we talked about how to set the stage for the family life we desire and how to plant and nurture positive behaviors. But how do we handle unwanted and even destructive behaviors that pop up anyway?

Let me just be clear before we move on and address this issue. All children and all adults for that matter, exhibit poor behavior and make bad choices from time to time. It’s normal and you shouldn’t feel guilty when it happens in your home.

It’s how we choose to handle it that makes all the difference.

The first thing we need to do is offer grace… heaping amounts of grace. We ALL need grace because we ALL make mistakes. Adding condemnation, yelling at your kids, or making them feel guilty fuels more negative behaviors.

The next thing to do is sit down and calmly have a face to face conversation with your child. Ask them questions about what they really want and desire in that situation. For example, let’s say they are constantly fighting with their sibling. Ask them to think about and describe the type of relationship they really want with their sibling.

Allow them time to speak freely and form their own thoughts and feelings. Once they’re able to create their own picture, ask them how their current behavior is either positively or negatively impacting their vision. Have them think about what behaviors can more effectively create that dream relationship.

Kids are super smart and they’ll naturally see that going into their sister’s room and taking their stuff without asking permission isn’t creating the relationship they really want. They will begin to create their own sense of accountability and start little by little changing their behavior over time.

Remember that change is a process and one that takes patience and time. Please don’t heap condemnation on your kids when they don’t change fast enough or when they keep reverting back to the same old behaviors. Don’t we do that too in our own behaviors?

I can’t count how many times I’ve committed myself to exercise and eating healthier only to sleep in and grab a hot n ready pizza on the way home.

3 Simple Steps to Change

What our kids need more than anything is our support and encouragement to keep moving in the right direction. Think about what you desperately need at the moment you’re considering moving in the wrong direction. You need loving support and a gentle reminder of what you really want… your end in mind.

The reminder that you’ve worked so hard and lost those 13 pounds and how you’ve got what it takes to keep going even when you feel like giving up!

To keep the process of change super simple and make it easy to teach our children, I’m using an acronym – S.O.W. to give you a simple framework.

S – Start with the End in Mind

If you decide upfront what type of life, relationship, or home life you desire then start sowing that kind of seed. If you want more patient children, start sowing patience with them. If you want a more intimate relationship with your husband, start sowing intimate seed. Start flirting in subtle ways.

When helping your children work through this process, remind them of the picture they want. Help them draw the connection of how their actions are either bringing them closer or further away from that picture.

See where I’m going with this?

O – Offer Heaps of Grace

Change is hard but in order to reap a new harvest, it’s necessary. And in that process of change or children, our spouse, and we WILL mess up. Forgetting our new habits, in the moment, and reverting back to the old way is human.

Calmly (take a break if you need to) get down on your child’s level and remind them of their big positive change. Say something like, “Sammy, remember we don’t hit your brother anymore. You stopped hitting all by yourself. Let’s go back to your good choice.”

If you have older kids say something like, “Jaden you were doing so amazing with remembering to use your planner at school for a whole month. It’s OK to forget, but let’s not let a bad habit form. Starting tomorrow remember to stay on track with your new good habit.”

W – Wait for the harvest

Seeds require time to grow.  It’s not an overnight process. The step in between seed and harvest is – TIME. Whether it’s you making the change or your kids, change won’t be evident right away. Old habits are hard to break.

Another thing to be cautious of is bringing up old behaviors in a shameful or joking way. It doesn’t matter what the intent behind is, bringing up the past when someone is trying to make a change is a huge stumbling block for change.

If you are working on making a change in your own behavior, put on courage and be prepared to push on to change even if others still see you the same way you were.  Trust me, if you stick with your decision to do the right thing and don’t give up – you WILL reap the harvest. And harvests are ALWAYS visible to others.

So keep at it, and they will see and your life will be better because you didn’t give up.

Share with us, what new seed are you committing to planting in your life? Share in the comments below!

Our you tired of bad behaviors cycling through your home? Here's the only solution to finally breaking the cycle. #kidsandparenting #parenting #momlife #motherhood #momadviceThis simple 3 step plan will help you effectively break bad behaviors with your kids and foster healthy new habits. #parenting #kidsandparentingWant to know how to help your kids break bad behavior habits? Try this fool-proof 3 step plan to foster good, healthy habits in your kids. #kidsandparenting #parenting

How to Painlessly End the Screen Time Struggles with your Kids

End the Screen time struggles

Managing screen time is probably one of the biggest struggles facing parents in today’s world. And there’s just not a lot of time between now and before all this technology even existed. It’s hard to know what’s right, how much is too much, and how to live with kids in this ever tech-obsessed world.

The reason why the struggle is so real is that this technology is pretty amazing. Think about when you were a kid 20 years ago. How would you react if you had a TV that you could basically hold in the palm of your hand and watch just about any show or movie or play any game whenever you felt like it?

End the Screen time struggles

Mind-blowing right? 

The technology, whether you love it or hate it, is apart of our world and our kids will come to know it and use it like second-nature if they aren’t already. It’s our job to help them manage all this technology because it’s no different than sugar. Too much of it has dangerous consequences and it’s just too good for a child to be able to create safe boundaries on their own.

How Much Screen Time is Too Much

I think it’s important to talk about safe screen time before we get into managing our children’s screen time. I’m going to be really upfront here, there are many opinions on this topic. But I think we could all agree that there is a “too much” for every child.

I personally believe that this is going to look different for every single child. And you should first monitor your child and his or her behaviors when spending time in front of the TV, on their tablets or phone, or playing video games.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Does my child seem more active or hyper after screen time?
  • Does my child seem more inactive, less motivated, or even “zoned out” after screen time?
  • Does my child exhibit new behaviors such as disobedience, talking back, or withdrawing after screen time?
  • Is my child showing a lack of interest in playing with real toys, going outside, or reading books?
  • Do they have an extreme attachment to their device or phone?

Though these are common occurrences in children after consuming electronics, if you answered yes to any of these questions you may decide to make some positive changes. As these are signs that your child is having too much screen time.

Please do not feel condemned or like you’re a bad parent! I think we’re all in the same boat here. I struggle with screen time just like any other parent. It’s no different than the constant request for cake, cookies, and chips. It’s all a part of parenting.

Family Time Made Simple Checklist

Here’s where it gets really sticky, though. Tablets and TV are highly effective ways to keep children and toddlers busy and entertained so you can “get things done.” This is especially true for the younger children because most of them want parental participation “aka – mommy come play with me” anytime they’re playing with their real toys.

I get it… boy do I get it. The struggle is real.

But guess what? Our parents had the same exact struggle and so did their parents and their parents. Parenting hasn’t changed and neither have children. The only thing that’s changed is that we found a perfect way to keep everyone happy and quiet. Win-win, right?

Unfortunately, there’s a cost and our kids are the ones paying the highest price.

Here’s a powerful video on what’s being called Digital-Dementia. And it’s affecting all of us and our kids will find this as a way of life unless we step in and change this during their most important formative years.

There are serious consequences to exposing our children to too much screen time. I think we can all agree that we struggle with screen addiction as adults.

The good news is, we have the power to protect our children from these consequences and train their brains to think for themselves instead of reaching for their electronic devices.

If you’re not sure about what to do with Socia Media… read this. I’ve never allowed my children to have Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Musical.ly account. It’s not necessary and it’s simply too risky to open that door. We need to let our kids be kids.

How to Make Changes the Simple Way

Our kids are understandably obsessed with all things technology. And I believe banning them or shaming them for appreciating it is a mistake. Technology is a way of life for this generation and something they’ll need to master. However, it was never intended to be used as a drug that is dulling their life.

My children are masters at soaking up technology from my oldest on her iphone all the way down to my youngest watching YouTubeKids on the ipad. But I knew I had a problem because after really observing my kids, I was answering yes to all of the previously asked questions.

I decided to make some changes, but I didn’t let my kids know I was making them. That just opens the door to power-struggles. I started limiting their screen time little by little and stayed consistent. I got resistance for sure, but it became less and less over time.

Here’s where the work came in… I needed to program my kids to choose their toys, activities, and books over technology. It was slow at first but they started acting more like kids who grew up in 1985 who only had those things. Lol

I wanted my children to go back to using their brains and their creativity to think and have fun on their own. This is one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids!

Our Kids Need Alternatives

Another thing our children need is alternatives to electronics. We can’t expect them to just sit around all day with nothing to do. And going outside to play like many of us did isn’t always possible. We live in a much different world today. If we go outside… we all go outside as a family. And that’s not always possible.

My biggest suggestion is to stop buying expensive toys that light up, play music, or move around the room. These toys are just priming children to crave electronics. To have something “entertain” them. In my opinion, they are simply a waste of your money.

Instead, invest in buying toys that require your child to do something, instead of the toy. They are also much less expensive! For years, I’ve only been buying things that inspire my kids to make, create, imagine, manipulate, move, or construct something. And though sometimes it’s more work for me, I’ve seen dramatic differences in my children.

When presented with these options, they are more engaged, creative, and feel more accomplished. And that’s a huge win in my book!

The Best Screen-Free Activites and Toys

My first choice for something that will keep my kids happy and active is through an activity-based subscription. My kids are literally obsessed with this one! They are activity-based boxes that focus on learning a new skill each month. They teach kids about science, their environment, and technology from the side of building technology!

I actually have to force them to space out the activities throughout the month and there’s a Crate for all of my kids’ ages which is pretty cool!

Right now you can get one month free with a 12month subscription!

kiwi crate subscription, screen free activities

Get a free month with a 12 month subscription with code FREEMONTH

Another great option is this subscription box. It focuses on taking kids on a new adventure around the world every month teaching them about new places, people, foods, and anything else exciting.

And the prices of these subscriptions are so affordable and much cheaper than my expensive data plan!

Here are some other great examples of toys that’ll have your kids dropping their electronics!

I love books and this book subscription company loves books too. In fact, when they send your child’s books they come individually wrapped like a gift. Isn’t that cool! Here’s my son opening his latest books. He feels so special every time his box comes in the mail. They also have chapter books for older kids too!

If you’re looking for screen-free activities for kids of all ages… check out this list!

How to Create Boundaries

Now it’s time to talk screen time limits. I find that slowly limiting their screen time, if it’s currently a lot, is the best way to start. Don’t necessarily tell them what you’re doing. Just roll the time back little by little and provide them those alternatives we talked about.

Once you see them adjusting to the new limited times, decide how much time you want to designate for screen time every day. It could be 30 minutes a day or one hour. You decide.

Then have a family meeting to share the new changes. If you’ve done a good job weening them slowly and giving them fun activities to do off-screen you’ll be surprised at how painless this process can be. Depending on your child and how much time they’ve been allowed to have previously, going slow is really important.

Science shows how our brains light up in front of electronics in the same way as a drug addict does when shown drugs. (source) Banning them cold-turkey doesn’t help anyone and increases the struggle and the odds of failure.

Once you decide on a time, post it in a public area and keep it strictly enforced. You may decide to have different times in the summer and other school breaks than you would during the school year. But that’s totally up to you.

And remember, this process takes work and will require you to be more present with your children… and that’s a really good thing. You are the parent and must stay consistent no matter how much your child begs, pleads, or complains. They will eventually seek out new ways to entertain themselves and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at their progress.

How do you manage your child’s screen time? Share your best tips in the comments below!

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