Why Being a Mom and Wife are Things to be Grateful for this Valentines Day

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 No comments

Friday night tends to be “‘movie night” for our family.  It’s the only night of the week my husband is home at a regular and consistent time and because we don’t watch a lot of television, the kids look forward to it all week.  Tonight all of us sat together, curled under a blanket on the couch, eating popcorn just like so many Fridays before. But this time while all of them were watching the movie, I found myself watching all of them instead.  Their facial reactions, their whole belly laughs, how they looked nervous during scary parts, smiled when something great happened to the characters, and angry about negative scenes.  I made a memory I will not soon forget.  This night; this moment with my kids and my husband; my heart felt more full than it has in a long time.  Being a wife and a mom has made me happier than I could have ever imagined.
 Sure, there are days when I easily think I am failing at being a parent.  When my toddler has put more bite marks on my arm than I care to admit and my other child is talking back as if he is a lawyer at age 4. Some days I look in the mirror and find an unrecognizable tired zombie looking back at me.  I remember before kids how we could sleep in, go away on a whim, eat at fancy restaurants and look equally as good as we felt.  But with all of that reminiscing, it’s easy to oversee the beautiful gift right in front of you.
The truth is, I wouldn’t trade anything in the world to be back there in comparison to my life with my husband and my children today.  I look at them and I know it’s all worth it without a hesitation.  Being in love with my husband is the best love I could have ever imagined and then the love you feel once becoming a parent is indescribable.  Our kids are incredible, unique and fun beyond my wildest imagination.  They are small reflections of us so long ago.  They are my reasons to smile first thing in the morning and to give hugs and kisses before bed.
Every day that goes by, they are growing; they are getting older, smarter and more independent.  My son used to not be tall enough to see over the window ledge.  Now he can hand me the paper towels on the counter effortlessly. He doesn’t hold my hand very much anymore but when he does, my heart melts. My daughters still do and I find myself volunteering my hand more than I ever did before knowing it’s time being held by theirs is limited.
These phases of biting and talking back are just that; phases - small fractions of time that will soon be over.   Before I know it, this house will be empty and quiet all day long while they are at school.   Soon, they won’t want my attention so badly they yell at me; they will have friends they want to spend time with instead.  Even our Friday movie nights will be limited with their own busy social schedules and moments like tonight will be scarce and numbered. 
Raising a family with my husband is the greater adventure and the hardest job I have ever had.  But for all those moments when I feel like a failure, there are the moments like tonight when my son gave me a big hug and said “I love you, Mommy.  You are the best Mommy in the whole world”.  Yup, that’s the best compliment I have ever received my whole life.
This Valentines Day, its not flowers and chocolate that I want.  Spending quality time with my husband and my kids; time when I am truly present and can recognize all the joy they bring me is what I am looking forward to.  I am a wife and a mom and I couldn’t think of better gifts than that this Valentines Day.

      -Sarah


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Sarah Navin | Lilladu Exchange

Sarah Navin is one of the cofounders at Lilladu Exchange, focusing her efforts in marketing and communications.  After a decade of experience in the marketing industry and completing her Masters in Business Administration, she and her husband celebrated the birth of their first child and she decided to take a new career path of a stay at home mom.  Today they have three children, Zachary age 4, Alexandria age 2 and Victoria age 4 months.  In addition to her efforts for Lilladu and being a full time mom, Sarah is also on two boards for nonprofits and volunteers her marketing services for several nonprofits in her community as well.

Strengthen Emotional Connection with The Positive Parenting Workbook (Plus a Pre-Order Bonus Package)

Saturday, January 27, 2018 No comments
The Positive Parenting Workbook is hitting the shelves on March 6, 2018, and I've created a special digital prize package for pre-ordering! 

Choose your favorite book retailer to order:


      



What is The Positive Parenting Workbook?

I’m so excited to release this interactive guide for parents! Part workbook and part journal, The Positive Parenting Workbook guides readers deeper into the parenting experience!

Here's what you can expect from the workbook:
  • Together, we will do the self-work necessary to become your best self because I believe if we hope to guide our children to their full potentials, we must first strive to reach our own! You’ll learn to look at your own story and notice how it has shaped you as a parent. There are exercises for changing negative thought patterns so you can live joyful days and a table to record your progress!You’ll learn  how to identify your anger triggers and some amazing techniques for calming yourself down quickly. We’ll discuss the importance of self-care and help you make time for a very important person – you!
  • The Workbook gently guides you and your parenting partner toward the same page so you can parent more effectively. With guided discussion questions and connection exercises, you’ll learn how to communicate better and strengthen your relationship.
  • Because communication is important in every happy family, I’m going to help you learn positive communication skills with your partner and your children so that respect is the common tongue in your home! I’ve even included exercises to build positive communication skills.
  • Because I wholeheartedly believe that building a foundation of trust with our children is essential to healthy growth and easier parenting, I’ve devoted a chapter on how you can connect deeply with your child no matter what age.
  • I’m going to help you define your family culture in this workbook because that is the world your children grow up in! Often overlooked, this essential parenting tool includes your habits, expectations, communication, traditions, and more! And I’ll show you how to create your own family blueprint or mission statement that will help you stay on track as a family. I include lots of ideas for creating a loving, happy family culture that your children will feel safe in and that truly makes home a haven.
  • I’ll tell you what I’ve learned about creating sibling rivalry and promoting positive bonds and you’ll learn positive discipline tools to handle sibling spats!
  • I’m going to show you how to look at your child’s behavior in a new way so that you can stop the mundane task of behavior patrol and learn to decode behavior so you can fix it at it’s source. Learning to see positive intent is so important in shaping who our children believe they are, and it’s my secret parenting tool! You’ll have lots of space to work out your child’s behavior in the book and write out helpful observations.
  • Raising emotionally healthy children is the hope of all parents, and in this workbook you’ll find exercises for building your child’s emotional intelligence, plus you’ll learn about the roles of self-image on emotional health and how to help your child build a positive self-image. Of course, your emotional health is important, too, and that’s addressed in this workbook as well with thought-provoking questions and exercises.
  • Finally, I’ll show you how to trade punishments for real solutions that help your child grow and thrive while keeping your relationship strong! You’ll learn the steps to positive discipline along with alternatives to punishments. I’ll also show you how to navigate through some of the toughest behavioral issues, such as aggression, whining, tantrums, back talk, and more.
Each chapter is packed with reflection questions, exercises, and journal space for the ultimate guide in creating your joyful, connected family!
Sound amazing?

Pre-order the Positive Parenting Workbook now and get these amazing bonus printables!

  1. A behavior detective worksheet for kids that puts your child in a detective role. This fun and engaging worksheet shows your child how their thoughts affect their emotions and how emotions drive behavior. They learn to get curious about why they are repeating a certain behavior and encouraged to work through how their behavior affected them and the people around them. My favorite part is that it puts the responsibility of their behavior on them and asks think about how they can do better the next time with what they’ve learned.
  2. The behavior worksheet for parents helps you discover what’s driving your child’s behavior. Through a few simple exercises and questions, you can get to the bottom of the problem and find a real solution that works to heal it, not just cover it up!
  3. My family meeting agenda worksheet shows you everything you need for a great family meeting and provides space for intentions, affirmations, concerns, and goals. This tool will help your family run more smoothly, like a well-oiled machine!
  4. The 16 helper cards you’ll receive are meant to be given out at the family meeting (or anytime your child needs to pick a chore). The fun and colorful designs are meant to grab your kid’s attention and make family contributions seem a little less dull.  I’ve also included blank cards that you can customize!
  5. You’ll get a 5 Steps to Positive Disicpline cheat sheet to hang on your fridge or put in your binder, and it serves as a great, quick tool to help you stay on track as a positive parent!
  6. Finally, I’m including a beautiful and inspirational bookmark so you won’t lose your place as you go through The Positive Parenting Workbook!

To receive your bonuses, please follow the instructions below:

  1. Pre-order your copy of The Positive Parenting Workbook.
  2. Forward a copy of your receipt to rebecca@positive-parents.org.
  3. Within 48 hours, your bonuses will be delivered to your inbox!

Choose your favorite book retailer to order:



      



The Positive Parenting Workbook is an amazing companion guide to Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide! You don’t have to own Positive Parenting to work through this workbook, but they do go hand in hand for a deeper understanding of Positive Parenting, and the best news? You can get Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide right now for half it’s regular price! #winning


What Sensitive Boys Need from Their Mamas

Monday, January 22, 2018 No comments


He came into the world to light the way for others. He came to show us how to love, how to empathize, and how to be gentle. He came with compassion, intuitiveness, and awareness. My son came to Earth gifted with high sensitivity, a trait 20% of the population carries.

Our sensitive children are the canaries and the world our coal mine. They can tell us when the conditions are all wrong, when there is danger and injustice. They warn us that the world is too harsh while simultaneously softening it with their presence. They are candles lighting the darkness, and if we look toward them, once our eyes adjust to the light, we will see the turmoil and the hope.

I’m focusing on boys in this piece because I have no experience with raising a sensitive girl, only with being one. I have two boys, one of whom is an HSC (highly sensitive child), and raising a sensitive boy comes with unique challenges and blessings, as raising a sensitive daughter comes with its own unique challenges and blessings.

What is high sensitivity? These children are born with nervous systems that are highly aware. They feel everything deeply – pain, love, sadness, joy. They may startle easily, dislike scratchy clothing or seams in socks. They often are sensitive to odors and notice changes in their environment. They are in tune with the suffering of others. They have rich inner lives and ask deep questions. They may prefer quiet play and be bothered by noisy places or sudden change. If you think your child may have this trait, take this quiz at hsperson.com.

We still live in a culture that shames sensitive boys, which is why we, as their parents, must be their champions. In his book, The Strong Sensitive Boy, Ted Zeff says, “When sensitive boys do not conform to the stereotypical ‘boy code’ and instead express compassion, gentleness, and vulnerability, they are frequently ostracized and humiliated.” You might think we’ve moved beyond this nonsense, but just this week I overheard a crying boy being told that “boys don’t cry like that” and to “straighten up.” Our culture still expects boys to be tough and emotionally repressed. Because of this, being highly sensitive is particularly challenging for boys.

Fortunately, with the right support, these boys can not only overcome their challenges but thrive as kids and adults. Here are a few ways you can support your sensitive boy.

A good environment is key.
Home must be a sensitive child’s safe haven. They quickly pick up on tensions between parents and can be deeply hurt by siblings who tease. The best thing you can do for your sensitive son is to create a home atmosphere that is warm, soothing, and accepting. Do not allow siblings to tease or name-call. Work to create a home culture where family builds each other up and supports one another. Here are a number of way to do this:

1. Build positive relationships through dinners at the table, cooperative games, traditions, light-hearted conversations, and quality family time.
2. Do not compare siblings but celebrate the uniqueness of each child.
3. Make clear rules about treating one another with respect and kindness. When a child breaks this rule, the “consequence” is that he must make amends and repair the relationship. This comes after a heart-to-heart discussion about how he made his sibling feel and why it is important to make amends.
4. Keep conflict to a minimum. Zeff says, “Though any child may be alarmed and frightened by [hearing parents quarrel], highly sensitive children are likely to be affected even more by parental conflict.”

Maintain a secure attachment.
A positive bond between mother and son is important for all boys, and it is especially essential for the sensitive boy. There is a societal fear of raising “mama’s boys” and of coddling which lead us to prematurely separate from our boys. Mom needs to remain emotionally connected to her sensitive son. He will receive many messages outside the home from his peers, teachers, media, and coaches that there is something wrong with him, that he needs to toughen up and “be a man,” but you are there with the consistent message of you are wonderful how you are. You are a worthy and loved human being. Here are some tips for remaining close:

1. Play. This is the easiest way to connect heart-to-heart with any child. Play looks different in the tween and teen years. Instead of playing trains or blocks, it might look like video gaming, canoeing, bike riding, or learning about his comic book collection. They key is to get into his world.
2. From hugs and snuggles to fist bumps and hair ruffles, stay connected through physical affection.
3. Laugh together. Victor Borge wrote, “Laughter is the closest distance between two people.” Shared laughter strengthens relationships, so find something funny!
4. Be his light reflector.  Celebrate your son’s many wonderful traits. See the good in him and tell him what you see because there are enough people out there who will tell them what they see wrong with him. It is our job, as mothers, to tell them what we see that’s right and good and true.
5. Avoid harsh discipline and criticizing words which are very wounding to sensitive kids. Rather than shaming or physical discipline, opt for discipline that connects. However, also avoid being permissive for fear of wounding your child. Correct him, just do so gently.

Teach him how to handle his strong, deep emotions.
Sensitive boys feel all emotions more deeply than the 80% non-highly-sensitive population, so it’s crucial to teach your son about his feelings and how to cope with them. It’s really important to not make him feel like he’s weird or wrong for having such deep emotions. I think that it’s also important to validate but not exaggerate his experience. For example, validating is “I know it hurts when you stub your toe. I’ll get you some ice” while exaggerating is “Oh my poor baby! That must hurt so much. Let me see! That looks really, really painful. I see why you’re crying! It really hurts, doesn’t it!” I’m speaking from experience; the latter only makes the situation worse! Here are some tips for helping your child handle his emotions:

1. Use time-in rather than time out. The time-in toolkit will help you create a calming space to regulate emotions and teach about them.
2. Teach them how to take big deep breaths, hug their Calm Down Companion, watch a swirling glitter jar, and journal or draw their feelings to help them through tough moments.
3. Use games and activities to teach about feelings.

Teach him to set boundaries.
Sensitive children often are people-pleasers and perfectionists. 


This is Parenthood

Sunday, January 14, 2018 No comments

They tell you that time flies and to enjoy it all you can, and yet in the midst of sleep deprivation, 3 a.m. feedings, and endless diapers, it feels like it will last forever. You wonder how time can possibly fly when one night drags on so very long.

Then, one morning you wake up to a running toddler who jumps in your bed and you wonder when she got so big. You chase her around all day until you’re utterly exhausted, longing for the rest that night should bring, but it still doesn’t come. Unless you’ve hit a jackpot, toddlers still often interrupt your sleep. Still though, when she throws those little arms around your neck, you wouldn’t trade it for all the rest in the world. You have a sense now that what they say is true. The days are long, but the years are short.



You blink, and he’s off to kindergarten. It hits you with a sickening thud that the baby days are forever gone and time seems to speed up now. You try to keep up. You do your best to soak it in, but you can’t get a good grasp for long enough. He’s growing too quickly now, constantly changing, slipping right through your fingers. You can’t remember the last time you carried him, when he last rode on your back as you played horsey in the living room, or the last time he climbed in your bed in the middle of the night, but you wish you remembered. You wish you had a picture of each of those moments to carry with you always.

Summers come and go. You know they are numbered, so you pack in as many memories as you can while the days are slower and the daylight lingers. You take lots of pictures on that family vacation, too many according to your kid, but you just have to capture that fleeting moment in time. Now it’s back to school, and life once again becomes a flurry of backpacks, science projects, and soccer practice and suddenly they’re finishing another grade. Another milestone is reached. Another closetful outgrown. 
Before you know it, you’re dropping him off at middle school. This boy that you held in the crook of your elbow stands nearly eye to eye with you now. As he walks away from your car you think he looks too big to be yours. You whisper, please let everyone be good to him. You know how hard middle school can be. And it is. But together, you find your way.

A few more Christmases come and go. Wrapping paper swallows the floor and you relish the laughter that fills your home. You snap more photos and resolve to make albums of every year. You ask someone “take one of me with her” because you read an article about needing to be in the photos too. 
The first day of high school brings jitters for everyone, and you realize you’re in the homestretch now. You think it’s weird how you can still see her toddler face when you’re looking right at her at 14. Before you can catch your breath, there are first dates and curfews, cars and proms. Is she ready? Have I done enough? Oh but you are so, so proud of who she’s become, and you are filled with gratitude that she is your baby, no matter how old she gets. She is your baby.

His room is filled with boxes as he packs for college. You know he has to fly, but your nest looks so very bare. Suddenly he’s gone, and you stand there in that room as tears escape your eyes. How did it last so long but go by so quickly? You finally print all those photos and catalog your joy by date. Your home is neat and quiet. Until the grandkids come over.

This is parenthood; the unbelievably long and unreasonably short span of loving and letting go. It’s the hardest and most wonderful thing you’ve done and you are forever changed by it all. Your child’s fingerprints will one day no longer be on your mirrors, but they’ll always be on your heart. Yes, time flies. Enjoy it all you can. Slow down. Catch a breath. Let the little things go. Hold him in your lap. Stay and play a little longer. Connect. Make memories. Great ones. Memories worth holding onto when the little hand you’re holding onto now is gone.

*This article was originally published at Creative Child.

Help Your Child Learn to Read in Four Weeks

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 No comments

Reading Eggs makes learning to read easy and fun for kids aged 2–13 — and it really works!
Based on solid scientific research and designed by experienced elementary educators, Reading Eggs turns learning to read into a series of fun games and activities that are highly motivating for young children.

Your exclusive free trial will give you access to the entire Reading Eggs learning suite, which includes: Reading Eggs Junior (for ages 2‑4), Reading Eggs (for ages 3‑7), Reading Eggspress (for ages 7‑13) and our online math program Mathseeds (for ages 3‑9).
Why try Reading Eggs?
Over 91% of parents report a noticeable improvement in their child's reading skills within weeks.
The program makes learning phonicssight words and essential reading skills fun.
Includes hundreds of reading lessonsinteractive activitiesexciting rewards and fun songs, which motivate children to keep learning and improving.
One‑on‑one lessons match your child's ability and progress at a comfortable pace.
Detailed assessment reports let you track your child’s progress.
Based on solid scientific research and designed by expert educators.

Don't miss out! Offer ends February 15, 2018.
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