052: “… then we are all in a bad mood because we had to yell.”: A Your Child Explained Episode

Today, listener Lindsay channels the thoughts we all have on those days in which our kids refuse to listen. Lindsay writes “it’s not like after a few asks we don’t make him do it; we do and then we’re all in a bad mood because we had to yell. It’s stuff like getting dressed or coming to eat dinner. What is an old-school way to get him to just do what he has to do? Or is this just what parenting is all about?”

In this Your Child Explained episode, where we always try to understand what’s going on in the minds of our young kids, we jump into how to give our kids a sense of independence and control over their own lives – so they don’t end up living in our basement when they’re 35 – while preserving our sanity.

Click here for the full notes on this episode!

Lindsay’s questions are, I’m sure, questions that you’ve had; they were certainly questions that I had when my two boys were small. (Okay, still do sometimes.)

I think it helps to remember that all kids do this, it’s a developmental stage, necessary to becoming an independent and capable adult. Childhood is a marathon, not a sprint, and here is my virtual hug to you as you support your young children through this marathon!

Lindsay specifically mentions “getting dressed or coming to eat dinner;” two of many transition times during a child’s day. Kids have very little knowledge of how time works, and – just like anybody – really hate to be interrupted when they’re engaged in something that they love. Here are two ideas for helping ease the transition times:

  • try and put the upcoming transition on their horizon; in the case of getting ready for dinner, this works really well if you ask them to do a job that they love to do that has something to do with getting ready for dinner; my kids always loved to peel garlic and would come running from wherever they were in the house to do this beloved job
  • use the ninja tactic First, Then: go to them, get down on their level, and say something along the lines of “first, it’s time to get dressed, and then you can get back to playing with the Lego; which shirt would you like to wear, this one, or that one?”
    • In this episode I give detailed instructions for how I’ve made a First, Then chart, which requires clear contact paper, a few pieces of printer paper, and Velcro adhesive tape; my goal is to make a video of this so you can see how I do it, but for now if you listen to the episode at least you can hear how I do it 🙂

Remembering the long game (marathon, not sprint), that kids assert themselves because they must, even though it’s rarely pretty, and that you are not alone can help keep your spirits up. We old-school parents are all right there with you!

Key Links:

To listen to episode 51, with awesome guest Joel Boggess of the Relaunch Podcast, click here.

Here’s the link to download a free chapter of my forthcoming book, Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics, at positivedisciplineninjatactics.com! You are going to love this book, because it’s all about the ninja tactics we talk about in the podcast; in fact it came up today because of First, Then.

Also, I made you a present! Click here to find the link for the 9 1/2 Key Resources for Old-School Parents.

046: How to Really Hear Your Child – A Your Child Explained Episode

Carey Andersen, Tuesday’s guest in episode 45, had so many wonderful and inspiring things to say; we can learn a lot from her positive approach to balancing family and work – and the fact that she does it all with multiple sclerosis. Our chat this past Tuesday isn’t a prerequisite to today’s Your Child Explained episode, where we always get right into the minds of our children and see what makes them tick. But go back and give it a listen if you can; posted during one of the busiest weeks of the year for many of us, the lead up to Christmas, my talk with Carey Andersen will have you remembering why we do everything that we do!

Today, I’m thinking about a story Carey told regarding the terrible lottery placement her five-year-old ended up with for his kindergarten year, and how the appeals board allowed him to move to a more suitable school based on his very simple declaration:

“I don’t have enough time to play.”

Carey and her husband heard that simple sentence and knew they needed to make a change for their son, and it got me thinking about what can happen when we really hear our children.

Even when they are pre-verbal, they might be trying to tell us a simple truth – and it’s up to us to hear it.

In real time, this episode drops on Christmas eve, and if your life is full of Christmas crazy, and you still made the time to listen, I hope that today’s episode gives you something that you really need. For my part, I want you to know how much I appreciate that you listened! I wish for you a peaceful and wonderful time as we start to say goodbye to 2015.

043: How to Know When Your Young Child Isn’t Consenting: A Your Child Explained Episode

IMG_1919Today’s Your Child Explained episode – where we always try to get into the heads of our kids – is a little different. Usually, the Thursday YCE pertains to the previous Tuesday guest episode. This week, though, I wanted to share something a little different.

Last night my husband and I got to attend a live presentation with interest-led learning expert Blake Boles. His most recent book, The Art of Self-Directed Learning, is geared toward helping teens and young adults figure out what they really want out of life, and how to get it.

In today’s episode, I’m really thinking about that presentation, and specifically one question from an audience member. Find the show notes to this episode here, on my website.

It was a great presentation. Blake Boles is a true storyteller who has really figured out some important stuff in life – and loves to share those lessons.

Also, Blake knows his own limitations. One part of the presentation involved the idea of consent, that in self-directed learning, the learner (the student, the teenager) must consent to the teaching. When Blake was asked as a child “would you like to go to camp?” he shouted yes please! That’s consent, he continued, remembering that no one asked him “would you like to go to school?”

Later, a mom stood up and asked: “how do you know if your young child is consenting or not?” This is why I mention Blake knowing his limitations; instead of giving a BS answer, he turned it back out to the audience saying “I’m not a parent… Can any of you help?”

At which point a woman named Amy, sharing that she currently has a four-year-old, suggested that we know when young children are not consenting… When they are miserable, with tummy aches, loss of appetite, personality changes. When those things happen and go on, that is our child actively telling us “I am not consenting to this.”

Getting back to the idea of self-directed learning – for young children it’s really all about self-directed learning, isn’t it? Anyone with two kids or more knows how very different they all are, each from the others. The differences are intrinsic and these differences give us parents clues about what our kids need, how to direct their learning.

As much as we can, it’s our job, then, to help facilitate more of what our kids need, and less of what they don’t. They’ll show us the way by giving us consent – or not.

I’d like to leave you with a question: how does your child show consent or not? After listening, what do you think about the whole idea? Drop me a line at my contact page, or find me on instagram or twitter… Maybe we can use a future Your Child Explained to talk about your insights on this idea!

040: What Happens When We Treat Our Kids Too Preciously – A Your Child Explained Episode

Tuesday’s guest – cartoonist and author Emily Flake – and I had a great conversation (although, full of swears and subject matter totally inappropriate for work or children – please take note 🙂 about modern parenting, but even with nearly an hour to talk we didn’t cover everything I wanted to cover.

Which leads to today’s Your Child Explained, episodes in which we are always looking right into the brains of our kids and figuring out what makes them tick. In her book, Mama Tried: Dispatches From The Seamy Underbelly of Modern Parenting, Emily shares that her older sister got pregnant and had a baby at age 17 – when Emily herself was just 13. The difference in how these two sisters were treated by the people around them while pregnant can’t be understated; Emily’s sister got a tremendously judgy and shaming vibe at 17, whereas Emily heard all about the “wonderful journey” that she and her husband were now on, while she was pregnant at age 34.

It really got me to thinking about what it means for our kids when we treat them too preciously – when we take care of their every need and want long after they’re too small to take care of themselves. Kids treated as if they’ll break at any moment come to believe that the world exists for their comfort and enjoyment only. This is dangerous, for the child and for our society.

The date this episode airs happens to be Thanksgiving Day of 2015, and it is in the spirit that I ask the question: what’s the opposite of believing that the world exists for your comfort and enjoyment? I think the answer is believing that we exist to serve – that serving in some way creates a feedback loop that makes us happy and filled with gratitude…

It’s a shift that paradoxically gives us the comfort and enjoyment we seek.

And it’s our responsibility to start teaching our kids early to serve others – for their own comfort and enjoyment.

How do we do that when they’re small? Well, letting them contribute to your family through housework and cooking, helping them understand that giving of themselves and their abilities is what will bring them the most comfort and enjoyment – that seems like a pretty good start to me.

Happy Thanksgiving, I hope you’re having the kind of Thanksgiving that is just perfect for you and I hope you know how grateful I am that you are listening to me today!

Podcast Episode 034: Why Do Kids Need to Play? A Your Child Explained episode

Podcast Episode 034: Why Do Kids Need to Play? A Your Child Explained Episode

This past Tuesday, I had a great conversation with mom and licensed mental health counselor Janine Halloran of encourageplay.com. Janine specializes in facilitating play, and our conversation ranged from the benefits of play and how little is really required to encourage it, to how endangered open-ended play is in our society.

Today, I want to extend on that conversation, and look at what’s really going on inside a child’s head during play, why it’s so important, and how we can bring more of it into our crazy-busy lives.

First off, kids process things completely differently from adults – and play is what helps them process the events going on around them. Play helps kids understand and make sense of their world, and it’s up to us to remember that both to foster learning and to make our lives run more smoothly.

Secondly, if you want to grab a kid’s attention, start a game! Games help kids clean up, remember routines, and just add some fun into an otherwise humdrum task.

Thirdly, kids learn with their whole bodies, and need all different kinds of play – alone and with others, indoors and out, self-directed and open-ended.

Finally, play helps kids learn to navigate their world and negotiate and resolve conflicts (nonviolently). Studies are showing that kids aren’t learning the kind of negotiation skills that we need to get along in this world, and I share about a study done a few years ago showing just how little playtime kindergarten children get in school. Called The Crisis In The Kindergarten, I hope you’ll read this paper, learn about the study, and work extra hard to get your child more playtime. It’s truly our hope for the future.

I’d like to leave you with a question: how are you getting your child the kind of open-ended play time that every kid needs? Drop me a line and let me know, whether over at the contact page on weturnedoutokay.com or on instagram @weturnedoutokay.

Podcast Episode 031: Making Space for Wonder in Busy Daily Life – Your Child Explained

In today’s Your Child Explained episode – where we always take a subject and look at it from within the mind of our kids – we figure out how to incorporate time for daydreaming into our kids’ daily life.

If you remember, in episode 30 I spoke with dad and business owner Steve Mirando (give it a listen if you haven’t yet, it’s a great interview with lots of ideas for balancing work and life), and Steve told a really compelling story about his youngest attempting to “stop the wind.” This four-year-old’s idea for stopping the wind involved stopping a shrub from moving in the wind, and Steve recognized that moment as a really significant one… Because they’re so curious and creative, children just naturally bring a lot of wonder into our lives.

Today, I extend on this idea of daydreaming and big ideas and wonder – and how easily we can trample those things without even meaning to in the daily rush.

Did you know that Einstein came up with the theory of relativity by daydreaming? He imagined sitting on a beam of light as it moves through space, and asked the question, what would that be like? Often, people feel their most creative when they’re given the space and time to daydream. Adults really need that time – but kids need it even more, or at least more of it. The question is, how do we find the time for it in our daily lives?

Three things are necessary to create an environment that fosters big ideas and wonder:

1) an absence of screens

2) material for kids to keep their hands busy – a tray of sand (on a table covered with newspaper), some warm water and soap in the sink, play dough, or just some open-ended outside time

3) our willingness to engage in a conversation that is mostly us listening and observing our kids

What we’re doing here is noticing our kids questions and thoughts… Even if they can’t be lengthy, even if it’s just for a little while a few times a week, something special happens in these moments. They help us know and appreciate our kids more, and helps them know themselves better in the long run. As they get into school, grow up and experience the pressures of daily life, knowing what gets them excited about learning is the key to happiness.

So really, fostering the sense of wonder when they’re young translates to engaged, creative adults later on – and that’s really what we want for them, isn’t it?

Podcast Episode 028: YCE – Listener Q&A, and Your Child Explained, The Screen Time Edition

I love shows like today’s, when a listener has written in and I get to respond on the air!

Today, Melissa asks how to help give her young kids the support they need in the outside-of-school hours. Here’s what I suggest: that Melissa and her husband give their children some control over what they do in their out-of-school time. Listen in for more details!

The other reason I love today’s episode is that it is a Your Child Explained. This is where I get to do something I’m pretty good at, which is understanding what’s going on inside your child’s head and giving you tools to use in your quest to be a less-worried, more-happy Old-School Parent.

In this Your Child Explained we get into screen time; episode 27, which aired this past Tuesday in real time, featured the postmortem (finally!) with journalist and mom Heather Kempskie. Heather was on over the summer to share about her amazing family trip in an RV, and I went and blew it by accidentally deleting the second half of our interview about the trip… So this past Tuesday, Heather came back on – our first returning champion – to share about the ups and downs of RVing. A big part of our conversation centered on shutting off the Wi-Fi and how that felt for her kids during their trip, and it resonated so much with me that I wanted to talk more about what happens inside our kids’ heads both during screen time, and after screen time.

Podcast 025: YCE – Understanding What’s Going On In Your Kid’s Head

Your Child Explained: where we talk about what is going on inside your kid’s head! YCE episodes drop every other Thursday, always the same week as selected as last a guest interview episode. Sometimes a YCE episode will also be a Q&A, so if you’re child is doing something that is driving you nuts, please ask me about it – just go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact – but most often the YCE will be on the same topic the previous Tuesday’s guest episode.

Let’s dive into your kid’s head together!

Tuesday’s guest, Wesley Chapman of A HUMAN Project, gave you and I lots of ways to help our young children feel loved, appreciated, and an integral part of our families. If you didn’t get a chance to listen to our interview, I think you’ll love it – it’s Weturnedoutokay.com/024… The obstacles that Wes has overcome and the positive difference he’s making and the lives of thousands of families will blow you away.

For today’s Your Child Explained episode, we highlight the letter you in HUMAN: to Wes, U means Understanding. Today’s show, as we look into our young kids’ minds, we see a desperate need on their parts to be understood by the people they love most.

How do you communicate that you honor their ideas, that you “get” your child, no matter how young? Maybe it’s as simple as saying “I understand” sometimes; maybe it’s slightly tweaking your routine to honor your toddler’s preferences.

The best thing is that putting the letter u in Understanding can have great consequences! They can help you know your child better, it can help you laugh together… It can help you have more fun.

Do you Understand your child? If so, please share! Go to the contact page at Weturnedoutokay.com, or comment right here in this post – it took me years to be able to Understand each of my boys, I’d love to know how you do it. And, thanks for listening!

Podcast 022: YCE – Your Child Explained – 3 Ways to Help Kids Declutter

Your Child Explained: where we talk about what is going on inside your kid’s head! YCE episodes drop every other Thursday, always the same week as selected as last a guest interview episode. Sometimes a YCE episode will also be a Q&A, so if you’re child is doing something that is driving you nuts, please ask me about it – just go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact – but most often the YCE will be on the same topic the previous Tuesday’s guest episode.

Let’s dive into your kid’s head together!

Simplicity expert and professional declutterer Miriam Ortiz Y Pino of morethanorganized.net really got into our heads this past Tuesday in Episode 21 (weturnedoutokay.com/021).

But what happens in your child’s mind when it’s time to give something away? If yours are anything like mine, giving things away does not come naturally. Here are three ways to de-clutter and simplify, even while living with young children:

1) Go into stealth mode. Clean out while they’re not around, or while they’re asleep… As you do this, be sure to bring out toys, clothes, or art supplies that they haven’t seen in a while and then put the emphasis on those, while stealthily handing off the stuff you want to say goodbye to.

2) Overtly discuss. Talking about the good that somebody else will get from our stuff can be revelatory, even for young children. They do have generous hearts, and knowing that, when they say goodbye to these things they’ve outgrown, they are helping somebody else can make the transition that much easier.

3) Go gently. It can be super hard to give away things you still love! We know and understand that as adults, and communicating to your son or daughter that you know how he or she feels can make a huge difference.

There is kindness and generosity in your child’s head. Appealing to that can help get past the instinctive “mine!” grab… plus, showing that you understand how tough it can be when something has to go is so supportive for your child.

How have you helped your child through the process of giving up stuff? Please share! Go to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, I can’t wait to hear from you!