positive power

Beyond “Do your best”: Three Ways to Lessen Your Child’s Anxiety about School

Young girl holding a pencil at her desk
Young girl holding a pencil at her desk
Young girl holding a pencil at her desk

A Guest Post from Dr. Kevin L. Gyoerkoe — a licensed psychologist specializing in anxiety and OCD-related disorders at The Anxiety and OCD Treatment Center in Charlotte, NC.

When I first started working with 12 year-old Sarah*, she was the picture of anxiety. Sticking close to her mom, her hair covering her face, she sat in the waiting room as I came out to say hello. She muttered a “hi”, and we walked back to my office.

We talked for a few minutes about movies, then–knowing her parents had brought her to my office because of her anxiety about grades–I asked her about school.

Sarah burst into tears as she described just how anxious she felt.

“I feel like I have to be perfect; I have to make straight A’s”, she told me. “I don’t know when to stop, I study all the time. It takes me so much longer to finish my homework than my friends. And if I get a B or worse, I freak out.” Read More

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5 of the Most Common (and Fixable) Feeding Mistakes Parents Make

Little boy picking strawberries off a cutting board
Little boy picking strawberries off a cutting board
Little boy picking strawberries off a cutting board

A Guest Post from Maryann Jacobsen, a registered dietitian and co-author of Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School

Feeding kids in today’s world isn’t easy. Not only do parents have a lot of pressure to raise healthy kids, they don’t always get the support they need to make it a reality. That is, until now.

My book, Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School,by Jill Castle and Maryann Jacobsen, fully supports parents in their important job as feeder.  

The book demonstrates that common feeding mistakes aren’t a result of flawed parenting, but missing feeding knowledge. Once parents have a bigger picture of what is going on with feeding, it is pretty easy (even empowering!) to turn things around.

Read More

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Tips and Tricks for a Relaxing Road Trip with Kids

Young kid sitting on top of an old car at sunset with hands in the air
Young kid sitting on top of an old car at sunset with hands in the air
Young kid sitting on top of an old car at sunset with hands in the air

Ahh, summer vacation. What could be better than the all-American, old-fashioned family road trip with kids?

Not much…until the whining starts.

Before you reach for the earplugs, try one of these fun solutions — suggested by the creative parents in our members-only Facebook Group — to keep your kids happy and you sane.

Road Trip Games

Games are a great way to include the whole family while painlessly passing the road trip with kids. Here are just a few of our favorite suggestions:

  • Name that Tune
  • Spot the State License Plate
  • Twenty Questions

Or, better yet, turn the tables around and put parents in the hot seat while teaching youngsters a bit about the country — have kids look at an atlas and quiz mommy and daddy on states and capitals.

Or if you’re crawling through a busy town, try Red light/Green light. To play, divide your car into teams and say, “If we make a light, we (green team) get a point and if we get stopped at the light, the red team scores.” This way everyone wins (gets points) and/or loses (hits red lights) and it’s a great way to prevent the whining about getting there and the potential road rage on my part. Join Amy for a FREE CLASS

Road Trip Activities

When you’ve had enough road trip competition for one day, try your hand at some of these activities.

  • Audio books
  • Coloring books
  • Small Dry Erase Boards for letting writing or a game of pictionary
  • Dance Party — turn up the jams and let them get their sillies out in their car seats
  • Alluminum foil art competition — bring along a dollar-store roll of aluminum foil to keep the kids busy for hours. Little ones can wrap their sippy cups and books. Older ones can make sculptures and chains to hang across the car.
  • Pipe cleaners and post-it notes are also a great hit for littles. What crafty souvenirs can your kids create?
  • Final Road Trip Tips

    Just remember, a little control goes a long way towards keeping whiny kids at bay. Empower your kids by letting them help plan part of the trip: each child could pick an attraction to visit, or where the family will eat.

    And let kids have a say in such things as the music choices, snacks, or whether or not to take the “scenic” route. These small doses of power your kids experience will cut down on power struggles throughout your journey.

    If you need a little peace and quiet while you drive, try leaving at bedtime for longer rides. It’ll be seat belts on and lights out as your kids dream away the hours on the road.

    And if all else fails, the portable electronics can be a great distraction. But too many movies can turn kids into backseat couch potatoes, so be sure to set reasonable limits.

    Want to know the very best way to keep everyone happy on your next long road trip with kids? Don’t forget to set aside time each day for some one-on-one attention for each of your children.

    When kids get consistent positive attention, they are less likely to act out in negative ways, like throwing their flip-flops out the car window.

    Best of luck, my friend, we are wishing you all the best on your road tripping adventures

    Title Image: Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com / photos

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Nixing Negativity Part 2: Promoting the Positive

nixingpart2

In Part 1 of this series, I discussed the power of ditching the “don’t.”

This less-than-helpful word can be discouraging and confusing to kids when they hear it all the time, plus it only reinforces the bad behavior.

While it’s fine to say “no” and “don’t” sometimes, you’ll get more cooperation from your kids if you can avoid them.

Use these four strategies to cut back on the negatives and promote the positives:

  1. Tell your kids what to DO. Start switching each “don’t” to a “do.” Instead of reminding your child, “Don’t track mud all over the floor!” try, “Please take off your shoes before coming into the house!” Swap, “Don’t chew on your sister’s Lego’s,” with, “Please keep those out of your mouth.”

  2. Just say “Yes!” While it’s quicker and easier to reply, “No,” when your child asks to go to the library while you’re knee-deep in closet re-organization, try substituting a, “Yes, that sounds great. I can take you later this afternoon or tomorrow morning—which would you prefer?”

    Replace, “No, you can’t go out and play. You haven’t finished your homework!” with, “You bet, you can play with your friends when you’ve finished your homework.”

  3. Say thank-you in advance. Help your kids make an appropriate choice by taking this leap of faith. Your, “Thank you for hanging up your towel after your shower,” will encourage your kids toward good behavior much more than, “I better not see your towel on the floor again!”

    Another example: “Thank you for keeping all four chair legs on the floor,” will go over better than, “You’ll break your neck if you keep leaning back on your chair like that!”

  4. Practice the positive through role-play. The most effective way to learn how to behave in a variety of situations is through proper training. Decide what kind of behavior you’d like your child to use (anything from taking turns to addressing adults respectfully to making his bed properly), and then practice it in a low-pressure situation.

    Role-playing with dolls or action figures will get younger kids excited, while a conversation (not a lecture) will help get older kids on board.

Making these changes to your communication style will require some effort on your part but the payoff will be worth it.

Your kids will feel more encouraged, they’ll develop a positive, empowered perception of themselves and you’ll enjoy better cooperation all around.

Looking for NO-YELLING strategies to get more cooperation from your kids?  Join us for our FREE online class: How to Get Your Kids to LISTEN Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. Find upcoming dates and times here.

 

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How To Get Kids To Eat Healthy

Ice Cream, Pizza, and Cookies – Oh My! How To Get Kids To Eat Healthy

How To Get Kids To Eat HealthyHow to get kids to eat healthy? Let’s face it: sweet and savory will always win out over green and leafy when it comes to foods our kids will willingly eat. We want the best nutrition for our kids, but our daily pleas to “Eat your vegetables” seem to fall on deaf ears, or – worse yet – result in a tantrum or other power struggle.  Can we really convince our children to make smart food choices and eat healthy without seeming like a wicked witch?

Yes!  Here’s how to get kids to eat healthy (without unleashing any flying monkeys) by using these three tips:
Read More

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Would you like verbal abuse with that? Teaching your teen to handle a difficult boss

A few weeks ago a question was asked on our Facebook page as to how to deal with your teen’s verbally abusive boss. This was a great question that I felt warranted an entire post to cover. The result of which is below. Thanks!

verbalabuseYou left the footnote off the month-end accounting report again, and your boss is managing everything except her temper. As an adult, you may be able to shrug it off, but what about when your teen burns the French fries on her Friday night shift, and her boss flips his lid? Unfortunately, some bosses don’t take their teenage employees as seriously as they should, and can turn constructive criticism into verbal abuse at the drop of a salt shaker. And when your teen is at the receiving end of a long string of swear words, it might be time for a career change.

Although our teens will be out on their own very soon, it’s still our job to offer plenty of support as they enter the working world. Teaching positive job skills and professionalism now will really help them down the road as they advance from car washer to computer engineer. And one of the first lessons should be how to deal with a tough boss—and when to say enough is enough. Read More

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