Get tips on how to create your better way. It's free!  

Given email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.
Please provide a valid email address.
Thank you, your sign-up request was successful! Please check your e-mail inbox.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Please fill in the required fields.

One On One With My Little One

I’ve heard children crave time with their mothers – that we are the sun in their universe. I’ve noticed my two year-old daughter responds better and is more well behaved when I give her direct and focused attention for spurts of time. So when I shared the news I had booked a girls trip (just my daughter and me) for a weekend, my mom-friends all responded the same way: they claimed I would have a “better than usual” child on our trip. I took that with a grain of salt because I believe I know my daughter best — she is a feisty, energetic non-napper who sometimes whines when she doesn’t get her way (and sometimes whining turns to thrashing, but that’s another article). Now that we’re back from our trip, I have to say I was beyond pleasantly surprised when my girl actually did turn into the very best version of herself. She barely uttered a single note of whine, and when she did I could communicate her out of it quite easily. She didn’t wake up once in the middle of the night, she wasn’t fresh, and she constantly asked me how she could help me. Someone pinch me please! We’ve only been home a couple of days, and though I see her getting back into her regular routine and demeanor, I’m also wondering what I can do to stretch this great “vacation” behavior out into everyday life. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far: *Taking the time to respond to her when she speaks to me every time. That’s what I shoot for, of course, but sometimes I get caught up doing other things and my girl ends up asking her question a few times. I’ve found if I answer the first time, her frustration and mine don’t surface as much. *Involving her in what I’m doing. Because I was traveling alone, I needed that extra set of hands to help me unpack or carry things from one place to another. I could tell that allowing her to contribute in that way made her happier and that she liked being part of our team. *Never letting bad comments or behaviors slide. I do hate saying “never.” Instead, how about “trying really hard to address almost all negative comments and behaviors?” We’re all human and just can’t give 100%, 100% of the time. However, I will say...

Read More

Lack Of Nap Attack

I recently received an email from a children’s website letting me know when naps for my 23 month-old toddler will end. I smiled to myself and continued reading my emails without ever bothering to open it up. Why? Because it didn’t apply to me. My daughter does not nap. Yes, you read correctly. She doesn’t nap, and her naps had ended sometime ago. When this revelation first presented itself, I did not originally take it with such ease as referenced above. I first started realizing that this was happening about six months ago. I asked my friends about their children’s naps and received wonderful tales of how they slept for two hours in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon too … such angels! And I was happy for them. Really. So I attended a few local mommy groups and when the discussion turned to sleep, I boldly stood up and admitted that my daughter’s naps were going away and waited for the other mothers to chime in with their disappearing nap stories.  They didn’t. I stood there alone. Instead, they asked how old she was and when I replied 18 months I was met with widening eyes and more silence. I quickly sat down and decided to get to work. I researched all over the web about naps for children. I read sleep pattern books that pertained to my situation. I tried all the tactics they recommended, following everything religiously. When my husband started looking at me like I was nuts, I would promptly and confidently refer to “the sleep book” as if it was my see-I’m-not-nuts pass from being committed to the loony bin. And still … no naps appeared. Then, like many mothers out there I imagine, I decided to go ahead and blame myself. I decided I was a bad mother. My child needed sleep like she needs food, milk and oxygen, and I was not providing the right environment to let that happen (whatever that was). I couldn’t figure it out. I wasn’t smart enough, innovative enough, and instinctive enough to know what she needed. And it was the last one that really got me, not believing that I had the “natural maternal instinct” to know exactly what the answer was. I made it mean all sorts of things about me. It wasn’t pretty. I had basically resigned myself to living in this depressive...

Read More

Setting Boundaries With Toddlers

I had a friend write to me the other day and ask me to write an article about how to stop her toddler from using bad words. And well, that prompted an entire article on setting rules for our little people. When did these kids get minds of their own anyway? No one ever asked me if this was OK! But I digress. Our job is to let them have their spirit, nurture it, even encourage it and teach them how to listen at the same time. No small task. However, I do think it can be done. And while my kids are not perfect, by any means, I’ve found a few things that really work, and they’re below. Our children really want to please us, especially at this age. I think our goal should be to use that to our advantage. Sometimes the only attention they can reliably get from us is negative. We’re busy, we have a lot going on, but we will stop what we’re doing when they pour red juice on the white couch. They know this, and they will use it. So if we can train ourselves (you know, by yelling in the shower or in the car when they can’t hear us) to reinforce great behavior, ignore undesirable behavior and consistently discipline the truly unacceptable behavior, then we can lick these “terrible” toddler years and have some fun instead. I think the more important thing to remember is that WE are the parents. Don’t be afraid to be powerful and in charge. You are the boss, and your kids expect you to be the boss. When they feel that no one is in charge, it can really upset them. At the same time, they will happily fill the role to the best of their ability. Keep in mind, I’m no doctor, at least, last time I checked. I’m a newbie mom doing the best I can. I try to use common sense, and sometimes I completely blow it. But well, I figured I could share at least those things that have worked.  I hope they work for you too! Here are the main points in this article, you can click on the topic that interests you most, or you can read it all. 1.    Extinguishing Bad Behavior2.    Avoiding Tantrums3.    Keep Your Word4.    The Power of Eye Contact5.    Phone Rules6.    Your Enemy, The Word...

Read More

Adventures in Potty Training (cont)

Page 1 | 2 Day two went much like day one. He would try to hold it, wasn’t sure exactly how to let it go on the potty, and then in the late morning, before his nap, we had our “a-ha” moment. He had done the stop and start wetting himself all morning, but he hadn’t done anything substantial, if you know what I mean. I could tell that he was holding it in and trying not to get wet, and it was getting hard to hold it in. So, after the third pair of pants and underpants had to be put in the laundry, I sat him on the potty and said, “Oh, I forgot something. Stay there, I’ll be right back.” Gave him a huge smile and stood right outside the door. It worked. He let go. I walked backed in slowly with a smile and said, “Yes! That’s it buddy!” And he froze and stopped. I continued, “That’s right, let it go, that’s perfect!” So he let go again and I literally saw the click in his eye. He finally understood that while on the potty he could let it go all the way. And he did. We’ve never had an accident since (knocks on wood). Not one. He hated being wet so much, and we got rid of all the diapers, so he knew he had to figure this out. And figure out he did. Now, there has to be a distinct section here for number two. It’s a whole other adventure for these kids and it takes a little bit more attention. I’ve heard that kids think that it’s actually a “part of them” and it can be really scary to let it go. I don’t understand that, but I will say that I witnessed it. It’s a different territory and it needs different attention. We haven’t had an accident in this area, and I think that’s mostly because of my son’s tidy nature, but I could be wrong about that…maybe that’s just the way it is. But the first time he realized he had to go, and that I wouldn’t give him a diaper to go in, there were tears, upset and genuine fear. I put him on my lap and smiled at him and said, “I know you’re about to do something new and that it feels a little bit weird, huh.”...

Read More

Adventures in Potty Training

My son has a strong will, and I don’t like to mess with it. You know what I mean? Why make life harder than it needs to be? He is two months shy of his third birthday and I knew it was time to potty train him, but who has the time and the patience? It takes a lot of concentration and attention to get this potty training thing working well, and truth be told, I didn’t want to deal with it. But, as these things go, I want to be a good mom, it needed to happen, and we have our second baby due any day now. So last week, I decided to have at it. I share this story in the hopes that it helps others who are taking a stab at this for the first time. I first attempted this about three months ago, and it didn’t go well. I had a very close friend tell me about the one-day method she’s used on three of her four children. It goes something like this: You get the child really excited about their special day. You talk to them about it almost a week in advance, get underwear decorated with cartoon characters for them and tell them that it will be a day for just the two of you. Make plans for your other kids (if you have them), your spouse, turn off the phone, everything. Devote the entire day just to your child. Put the potty in the living room (cover the floor and any rugs with lots of towels), play special games, watch their favorite shows, and keep them pretty much undressed. Every time they start to pee, put them right on the potty. Have a lot of salty snacks and lots of liquids so the opportunity to put them on the potty comes up a lot. Literally, by the end of the day, the child will be potty trained. But it does take non-stop, minute by minute effort on your part. The idea is that one day is worth it. With this philosophy, the nighttime and nap time training happens at the same time, and this piece can take up to two weeks. Put them in underpants to sleep, and if they get wet, they get wet. It’s how they will learn. Be very supportive and encourage them to wake up when they feel...

Read More

A Defeated Moment…And That’s Okay

My husband, 22 month-old daughter and I were on our way home from an annual family reunion in upstate New York when I allowed a moment of defeat to truly and completely wash over me. The reunion was actually great … we only see this part of my husband’s family about once a year and we always have a blast. The ride up was four hours and my daughter totally aced it. I felt confident and relaxed as we sailed through the weekend reintroducing ourselves to relatives, catching up and playing family show and tell. We spent the night at a local hotel, had brunch the next morning and then said our goodbyes and hit the road, promising to stay in touch more this year. As we started the drive down the freeway, I noticed for the first time that day my swollen, burning throat and achy sinuses. Uh-oh, this can’t be good. And then, my daughter decided this was the perfect opportunity to test every limit and boundary we had ever set … knowing that no real timeout can ever really be given while in a carseat (if any of you out there have suggestions on this, I am ALL ears). This test included, but was not limited to, the following: screaming, yelling, throwing things, hitting, pushing, discovering new octaves in her voice, and seeing how much she could sound like she was crying without actually crying. With my husband driving and paying attention to the road, I was left on my own to duck, cover and address these grenades being thrown my way. After the stockpile of toys and books were a wash, I turned to food and drink — that too failed as we had just eaten (it was a long shot, but I figured it was worth a try). So here I sat, shotgun in my car, supposedly the good seat but it felt like the seat of failure. My daughter’s antics continued, and I decided to let her tests run their course. What was the difference anyway? I listened to her misery, sank into my cold and let my mind wander to everything I needed to address when I got home, and what I had to accomplish for the upcoming week. And that was it. I was done, finished, toast. I wanted to fix my daughter’s mood and feel good myself, and know that I...

Read More