Homework Tips

HomeWorkTipsGraphic.png

We all struggle to get kids to do anything after a long day at school. The last thing they want to do is homework or chores. Deciding if your child needs a break is very important. Some kids can come home and go straight to work, while others need some downtime. However, there is one rule I keep in place no matter what.

All electronics must be checked into the "electronic basket." Downtime should not involve electronics. Running around and playing or hanging around with friends and siblings can also be relaxing. Remember the old days when we used to do that? Let them do anything except use their iPads, phones or computer. Essentially, it can’t involve staring at a screen.

Why? Because it is the best incentive your child can have to comply with your requests. So, as the school year starts bring this new routine into action. Good luck and happy parenting.

Happy Parenting!
Elise

Run Your House Like a CEO

ceo image.jpg

The new year has come and gone. Resolutions are set and some are broken. I’m going to suggest something radical today:

Rather than promising to stop yelling at the kids, try thinking of someone in the business world you really respect. Ever wonder how some businesses always seem to succeed while others don’t? Or why people love going to work and others don’t? Chances are, there is a leader guiding the company to greatness. 

Parents are essentially the CEO'S of their household, so lets learn how to help our children to perform their best. Here are a list of traits that great CEO'S exhibit:

Emotional Stability: We can't run our houses well until we are emotionally stable. When I go into homes, before we begin to even look at family dynamics, I always make sure the parents are stable. After that’s established, we can then move forward with any behavioral plans.  After all, it makes it a lot more challenging to tell your children to stop yelling when you are always yelling, right? 

Maturity: Please make sure you are not making fun of your children to your other children.  You set the tone for the level of kindness and compassion in the household. 

Empathy: Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is essential when leading. Empathy = connection. Once you learn to feel empathy for someone else they will feel valued and appreciated.

Respect: What does respect look like in a family? When someone says “the music is too loud in the car, please turn it down” or “that noise is really bothering me, can you please stop” or can you please keep the noise down, its getting late," you need to listen to them. If you don’t respect your child’s wishes and don't value their needs, they will have a much harder time respecting you or their siblings. Show them the same respect you want them to exude.  

Next time you are feeling a bit overwhelmed or frustrated with your family, pause and think "how would my favorite CEO handle this?"

To an amazingly successful year, 

Elise


Happy Mothers Day

mothers day.JPG

How many of us moms have had visions of grandeur when it comes to celebrating Mother’s Day? I certainly have had my fair share. I dreamt of the beautiful cards, my children behaving well, playing with my hair, getting me the most thoughtful touching present a mother could ask for. The Reality is: “Oh yeah by the way, Happy Mother’s Day, can I get you anything?” Before I can even answer they have walked away. What happened to breakfast in bed with fresh pancakes and strawberries? I see it all over social media but where is my fairy tale story?

YOU are the fairy tale story. You have kids. Amazing, beautiful, funny, sweet, caring, smelly, rude, disrespectful and selfish kids. Every day we wake up to the most challenging rewarding career anyone could ask for, being a mommy. (Or a daddy doing double duty) Kids don’t always do what we want them to do when we want them to do it. In life I have realized many times that it is about the journey not the destination. It’s about the dirty diapers, first words, first kiss, first fight, first everything for our kids. We are their teachers for life and that is the greatest gift.

For all the mothers out there, Happy Mothers Day. If no one told you what a kick ass mom you are, let me tell you! You are all amazing even if under appreciated.

Enjoy the day!
Elise

Tips for a great Spring Break!

GIFT GIVING GUIDE (1).png

What to do With Your Kids During Spring Break?

It’s that time of year again, spring break! My son is on a birthday trip to L.A but my daughter Payton is staying at home with us.

What does your spring break look like? Are you a working parent? Are you a stay home parent? Are you taking care of your friend’s kids?

No matter what situation you are in (there are many out there), the overall consensus is that we want to make spring break fun! This is the time of year that nobody has to wake up extra early and rush to get ready and out of the house! Kids are getting sick of school so it is a time to be grateful for as it is our last break before summer!

Sometimes staying at home can be tricky for your kids if you are a working parent who also works from home (such as myself). This can be confusing for the kids as they think that you are always available to them when you really can’t be. Boundaries and the proverbial line in the sand start to become very gray so work with it and not against it.

This past summer when I was working on writing my Happy Family in 90 Days™ book, the lines got very blurred and my daughter was confused and wanted my attention.

How did I deal with it and stop from going crazy? The trick is to get your kids engaged in age appropriate ideas/activities that can be done inside the home (or nearby outside, in the yard etc.). They can ride their bikes or skateboards, play soccer, run with the dog etc.

If your child prefers to stay indoors, make sure they are AWAY from their electronics and limit all electronic time to 1 hour. If you have the free time to spend with your child, get them to help you with some spring cleaning of the closets, reorganizing of the kitchen etc. You can’t spend all your time and money at Chuckie Cheese, or camps! Playing music and making the chore fun turns it into a time of connection not just a boring chore.

Even if you are a working, time take that extra 15-20 minutes that you have available in the morning to talk/cuddle etc. with your child. It makes a difference!

Elise

Gotcha Day: What it is and how it changed my life

IMG_0955.JPG

Miriam Webster's Definition of Gotcha:   an unexpected usually disconcerting challenge, revelation, or catch.
 
Not sure if that is how I would describe the day my darling Payton was put into my arms for the first time 12 years ago.  For some reason, the slang term for the day you receive your child in Chinese adoption is called Gotcha Day. Either way, I got her and I have never looked back.
 
When the decision was made to adopt, it seemed like a smart, easy one.  After all, my oldest has autism, there is genetic component and we were unwilling to take any chances. We began the adoption process. Much like my experience with Spencer's therapies, I threw myself into the entire adoption process. I had to decide if we wanted domestic or international, which country and which agency.  Once those decisions were made, we needed homestudies, fingerprints, recommendations, passports, visas, immunizations.  The list seemed endless and so did the process.  But I was set on my Chinese baby girl. After all, I was told cognitively Chinese children were perfect.  Is there such a thing?  All I knew was that after all the therapies I had been through with Spencer I wanted and thought I deserved a “typical baby” I wanted to know what it felt like to parent a typical child. 
 
Three years after we started the process of the adoption, I got the call.  “Mrs. Montgomerie, please pull your car over.  We need to make sure you are in a safe place when we tell you.” I was so excited. I had finally been matched with a baby. I pulled the car over to park. “Ok, I’m safe, tell me about my baby.” “Your child Long Xan Man is waiting for you. Please make your travel arrangements for 6 weeks. We will send you all the paperwork you need.” I hung up, cried, cried and cried some more. Long Xan Man I’m coming to get you.
 
Gotcha Day was very surreal. It was cold and gray in Nanchang. We were told to meet in the ballroom of our hotel. We were told, “don’t come early, we don’t want you seeing the babies.” Walking down to the room, we saw the “nanny’s” bringing in the babies. I tried desperately to find Long Xan Man. We were sent 2 pictures. That’s it. From that I couldn’t seem to recognize her. As we arrived in the room, they told the parents to stand on one side of the room and the babies were on the other side. When your name was called, you were to come and meet your baby. It was like when you go grocery shopping and it is your turn at the deli counter only it is such a better gift. Then finally. “Montgomerie”. I ran and grabbed Long Xan Man and hugged her so tight. In that moment she became my Payton. Just like when Spencer was born, I had difficulty letting people hold her. Not because I was nervous. It was because it hurt too much to have my babies in anyone else’s arms.
 
We finally came home to be greeted by our family and friends. It was amazing. And just like that the 3 long years of my “adoption pregnancy” were over and my family was complete.
 
I have since learned there are no perfect kids. Like all kids, regardless of whether they were adopted or have autism, they all have their own set of issues. Payton is no different. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. We are so perfectly matched, it was as if the universe knew I needed to wait 3 years to get my Payton.
 
Payton Grace Montgomerie, I gotcha now and I’m never letting go. I kaklunk to Iabab. Thank you for giving me the privilege of being your mother.

Love,
Elise

New Year, New Habits

breaking bad habit.jpg

One question I always ask parents who start my Happy Family in 90 Days™ parenting program is to identify their child’s currency. What is it and how do we determine it? Your child’s currency is an everyday thing that they constantly ask for that isn’t food, love, or time and doesn’t cost any additional money. It must be something they can earn for a job well done just like money.
 
When my daughter was younger her currency was me turning the shower on for her. I had no idea why, but this was a big deal for her. Every day when she asked me to turn the shower on for her I would evaluate her behavior for the day and then determine whether or not she had earned her currency.
 
Similarly, I had a client whose 3-year-old son was saying “damn” all the time and she wanted to know how to get rid of it. The answer was simple, his currency was changing into his pajamas when he got home from school. Now this was no longer something that he could do for free, he had to earn that privilege. Magically, he stopped saying “damn”!

Other examples of currency that I have come across include: letting your child choose the song you play in the car, picking out what to eat for dinner etc. Every child is unique in what their currency is but with a little investigating I am confident you will find what it is!
 
Love,
Elise

Ultimate Gift Guide for Kids

GIFT GIVING GUIDE.png

It is that time of year again when most of us are inundated with a long list of holiday errands, including buying gifts for our children. This can be a daunting task as our kids are constantly asking for different things and it becomes hard to keep track. Here are a list of tips that you can use to help you through the holiday season.
 
1.  Make your list, check it twice -  I suggest parents listen to what their kids mention they like throughout the year and jot it down. When I start to shop for presents I refer back to the note and use it as a guideline.

2.  Determine a theme - If you haven’t been able to jot down any ideas, think about their interests and come up with a theme. My daughter Payton, loves all things soft and fluffy so some of her gifts included: a new bath robe, stuffed animals, and socks. My son Spencer likes men’s fashion, so his gifts included: a sweater, a scarf, and a men’s shaving kit.
 
3.  Consider your child's needs, not just their wants - I consider what gift ideas on the list are a good fit for my child at the stage that they are currently in. For instance, if your child is having a difficult time adhering to screen time, don’t get them a new tablet or smart watch. My daughter who is almost 12 is obsessed with her screen time. This holiday season she asked for a smart watch. As much as I wanted to get it for her since it feels so good to give our children what they really want, I knew she was not mature enough to stay off of it. This was a gift that would distract her when she needed to spend time on more important things such as school work.
 
4.  Buy gifts with a purpose - Another approach to gift giving is to buy games which help with your child’s deficiencies. For example, if your child struggles socially, sign them up for a mother & child or kids yoga class. If your child struggles with fine motor skills, get them a puzzle or similar toy that helps refine these skills. One of my children struggled with reading so I got them books on topics I know they were really interested in.
 
5.  Don't forget to give back! - If you want to teach your children the gift of giving, I suggest going to a local charity event and have them volunteer with you. Teaching your children to help others and to give their time to those who are less fortunate is an invaluable skill.
 
6.  Money, money, money - Lastly, give yourself a budget and stick to it! My gift giving style is to buy one big present and a couple smaller ones but I make sure it is always within the budget I set in the beginning.
 
No matter your budget, or the number of gifts you buy, always remember the gift of love and time is what your kids want the most
 
Happy Holidays
Elise 

Quick Tips for a Peaceful Thanksgiving

1.png

Ah, I love Thanksgiving. It's the perfect time to think about what we are thankful for and take inventory of our lives. You might have already started counting your blessings but if you've gotten lost in holiday shenanigans, I invite you to start now: 

What are you really thankful for? 

It can be something that you usually take for granted or something big that happened this year. Gratitude is gratitude. 

 Also, remember some family and friends may not have Thanksgiving plans... I'd encourage you to reach out and invite them to your celebration. Being alone during the holidays can be very lonely and difficult. Payton felt destroyed when her friends didn't invite her for Halloween plans...  imagine how adults feel without anywhere to go for the holidays.  

Thanksgiving often comes with some family drama. Instead, be proactive and decide that you will have a different perspective. Understand that no one is perfect. The annoying parent that seems to only “criticize” you? They might just be really scared and doing the best they can.  Try to empathize with the path they have taken in life to arrive at the place they are. Perhaps they only know negativity. Show compassion through your own positivity.

Wondering what the hell you are going to do with the kids the entire vacation? Rest and relax!  Sleep in, make a mess, let the kids come in your bed for snuggles. You will miss this time in a few years. Do things that your normal schedule wouldn't allow. Bake, sing loudly, dance, play. Enjoy the togetherness of family time. It’s a beautiful blessing. If you have a toddler that screams and throws temper tantrums, take this opportunity to do some behavior modification techniques while you have the time to devote.

Finally, relax and enjoy the blessings of life and family.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, 
Elise 

Tips for back to school

back to school.jpg


As the relaxing days of summer are winding down (In Florida we go back
to school in less than 2 weeks), I think as parents we are holding our breath in anxiety. We remember the arguments we had with our kids, the deadlines for school projects and of course the dreaded early morning drop offs.

Here are some of my tips to making the transition easier as the kids go off to school.

  1. Never let them see you sweat. What does that mean? Don’t start complaining about going back to school and having early mornings again. Remember that little ones are always watching. Model what you want your kids to do.

  2. Start practicing some math and reading skills again. Don’t set a strict schedule. Just enough to get their feet back into the “work pool”.

  3. Remember this is THEIR school experience, not yours. Try not to hover too much or stress too much. A little suffering never hurt a kid

Enjoy your last few weeks with the ki.ds. Time goes by so fast.

Happy parenting,
Elise

One step to a happy vacation

Family Photo.jpg

I recently returned from a vacation with my kids. The day I was leaving a friend said to me: “Good luck. I sure hope your kids behave and that you can enjoy your vacation”. My first thought was: “You know what I do for a living right? You are my friend?”  Luck has nothing to do with having a great vacation with your kids.  Planning appropriately is the key to whether you enjoy your vacation. I don’t mean planning out the vacation details. Rather, plan your parenting guidelines. 

Make plans for various behaviors. What are you going to do when your child acts up on the plane?  On a ride? An excursion?  Do all house rules go out of the window? Hell no. This is the moment of truth. If you follow through on your consequences during vacation your kids will know you really mean business. 

Start your behavior modification plan early. Don’t start punishing your child when they won’t stop kicking the chair in front of them when you have never experienced that before. Don’t start new rules immediately before your trip. You should start a month before you leave. Prepare your child. Clearly explain you expectations and what will happen if they don’t adhere to your rules. It’s that simple

If you say: “We are leaving this beach right now if you don’t listen”; If your child doesn’t listen, get up and leave the beach. I know it totally sucks for you but I promise your child will be much better behaved afterwards.You just taught them that you mean business and follow through. 

Happy vacationing,
Elise

What makes a great mom?

IMG_1211.jpg

Happy Mother’s Day

What is a great mother? People have different definitions of a great mom. My definition changed when I became a mother. Some moms make everything pretty for their kids. Some are amazing PTA moms and are always the class mom or maybe you see yourself as an average mom. I can assure you, there is no such thing. There are shitty moms but never average. In fact, if you are reading this, you are definitely not an average mom. How do I know that? Because you wouldn’t be reading about moms if you were average.
So I will tell you my version of an exceptional Mommy. The person that always puts their children before themselves. A person who even when it doesn’t feel good to do the right thing, does it. No need for accolades (although if we get some, that is much appreciated) because they do it when no one is looking. They fight tirelessly and fearlessly for their children and know when to let go and teach their babies how to fight for themselves. So if you make birthday presents beautiful or are the PTA mom that’s just the cherry on top. Unconditional love is the gift of the mother. Although we are not perfect and may not always do the exact right thing, we are Mother’s. We are warriors for our babies. So this Mother’s Day let me salute all of you for your amazing work for your kids. Thank you for putting in the time and energy even when it feels like your kiddies don’t deserve it. Enjoy being taken care of on this honorary day.


Happy parenting.
 Elise

How to succeed in an argument.

e1d3fe4b-3edd-49de-b1fd-a5e3b6ab6b48.jpg

Is it even possible to succeed in argument?  Absolutely. 

Have you ever been in an argument and yell the same thing over and over again only to not be heard? Do you wonder: ”How can you not agree with me when my point is so valid?” I will tell you why. Your delivery sucks! That’s right. your delivery sucks and therefore you didn’t communicate effectively. You lost your audience when you started screaming. If you want to learn how to argue effectively, follow these simple steps.

  1. Stop yelling. And if you need to yell because you are so mad, leave the room and yell by yourself. Yell whatever damaging insults you want to yell at your spouse or child to the wall instead. If you are still mad quickly watch a funny video to shift your mindset.

  2. Once you have calmed down think about what you want your end result to be. Is nagging going to accomplish this? No. Is screaming going to accomplish this? No. Is calmly stating facts and feelings going to accomplish this. Yes.

  3. Always give an example of how this may effect the other person if the roles were reversed. If your feelings are hurt because you were called a name, ask them how they would feel. And if it wouldn’t hurt their feelings think of something that would and how they would like it. Then you have made your point.



So the next time you feel your blood boil and want to scream like a lunatic follow these simple steps to get your point across.

Where does the time go with our kids?

9f1d20bc-41aa-4af2-9d76-110c1fdf7db7.jpg

My baby turns 18 this month! Is that possible? I checked his birth certificate to be sure and as I suspected he is turning 18.

It wasn’t always easy with Spencer. He was diagnosed with autism days before he turned 2. His behaviors were challenging to put it mildly. We went through many therapies, traveled all over the country and spoke to countless doctors to try and help Spencer with the numerous deficiencies autism brings. When I reflect back, I remember the tantrums and the difficult times but somehow, they seem to fade. Now instead of deficiencies I see gifts. Instead of tantrums I see a young man that sticks to his word. Each new therapist I hired I remember thinking, “This will be the magic bullet.” Spencer has taught me so many valuable lessons, too many to list, but slow and steady like the turtle may just be the best one. Because there is NO one magic bullet that is going to make your child listen, go to bed easily, eat every food on the planet or not throw temper tantrums. Parenting is like the story of the turtle and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race. It was not one particular therapy that changed Spencer into the unbelievable well adjusted, social person he is today. It was the combination of everything. That along with boundless love and adoration and his willingness to let me mold him into the young man he is today.

To all the parents that want a quick fix to a problem, trust me, it’s not out there. I’ve looked everywhere. You can’t trick good old-fashioned parenting. It’s a marathon not a sprint, so take your time and enjoy the distance because in an instant it flies by.

To my son, happy 18th birthday. I love you with all this mother’s heart can hold. Thank you for the many gifts you have given me and the world. Your autism never really needed to be fixed, just shaped. I love you to the moon and back.
 
Love Mommy

 

Happy Parenting
Elise 

Can your child play alone?

f67d8138-0317-44da-a977-eb991670fde5.jpg

This afternoon Payton and I got home from her gymnastics class (no she is not an over scheduled child) and she turned on the tv. I took all of her hand held electronics away about a month ago. So she’s been watching all of her favorite animal shows on tv. Seems fairly innocuous. There was just something about the way she walked in and immediately went straight to the tv. It bothered me. The tv seemed to have the same hold on her as the tablet, phone and computer.  Gut instincts kicked in and I said: “Turn it off”. Suddenly I was frightened that my daughter, child of a parenting coach, doesn’t know how to play alone. My fear worsened when she looked at me and said: “What are we doing?” I said: “I’m working.”  Fear running through my veins. I’m thinking to myself please let this child take that answer and begin playing alone. Well the universe must have heard me because she said: “Ok,” walked away and did her own thing.

What’s my point? I have two:

  1. Why was I scared? I’m the mother, I’m in charge. That’s right everybody, I am just like you. I am sometimes scared of my kids! Not often and I never let them know.

  2. I have been doing the right thing. My daughter and I are pretty glued together. Sometimes I have to remind myself to step away from her and allow her time to be alone, figure out life and be bored.

Now I’m sitting here writing this and she is upstairs playing in her room. So the next time your child seems like they are having too much screen time, do my little test. Tell them to turn it off and go play by themselves. If it’s easy for them, keep up the great work. If it’s a bit more difficult, time to pull back on the electronics and let your child learn how to play alone. They may need some assistance if they haven’t been taught how. Encourage reading a book, coloring, playing outside if old enough or making a fort. Anything.

Happy parenting!

Elise 

If only I were the "perfect" parent.

a3aef518-a3ee-4894-aafa-7ee056ad7b8f.jpg

.Don’t strive for perfection, strive for greatness.

I used to compare myself to those mothers whose desserts and nutritious dinners were Pinterest worthy. I don’t enjoy cooking. It is definitely a chore for me to put a balanced meal on the table for my kids. But what is perfect anyway? It’s a very fair yet debated question. I asked this question on my Facebook page. I received different and amazing responses. I find this question interesting because everyone used to tell me I am such an amazing parent because of everything I did for my son as a child as it related to his autism. Yes I agree, I am finally able to accept praises concerning that part of parenting. But I feel I could have done better and more.

What’s the parenting coach's idea of the “perfect” parent? My experience and age have taught me there is no such thing as a perfect parent, but rather an amazing parent. This is the parent that is present when they are with their kids. They are not on their phones. This is the parent that teaches their child by modeling the behavior that they want their children to have. This is the parent that is forgiving, warm and accepting of who their children are and not who they want them to be. This is the parent the advocates for their child when the child can’t. This is the parent that punishes because they know the lesson is important to teach. I try to be all these things all the time but sometimes I fail and that’s ok. None of us are perfect. We just have to always be the best we can be and that may change minute to minute depending on our circumstances.

Be kind to yourself. You are doing awesome.
Happy parenting!

Elise 

Spend money on an experience

d7b092ec-48e1-4ff2-9429-34d51c6dc248.jpg

The trend today is for young adults to spend their money on experiences such as travel rather than on possessions. I took a page out of their book and decided to go with my kids to the local theme parks, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Orlando. We had a blast. It wasn’t spring break or any other holiday. We went just to get away. Although my aging neck and back prevented me from riding the fun roller coasters that I usually do, seeing my kids happy was enough. I was glad to take on the role of sunglasse holder as the kids went on the rides. Both were so relaxed and happy to get a break from school work. Payton was actually skipping from ride to ride.  I realized all the time I spent making sure they got along and respected one another paid off as I saw them holding hands walking onto the rides together.

Of course I couldn’t help but get in another teachable parenting moment. We were leaving and Spencer said: “Uggh, I don’t want to go back to work and school.” My response: “This is why it’s so important to do well in school so you can go away for fun little trips to reset yourself.” He ignored me, but I had to say it.

We shared so many laughs and made memories. The next time you have a choice between a gift for yourself or an experience, go for the experience. Memories last a lifetime.




Happy parenting!

Elise 

Easy, inexpensive Valentines Day presents for your kids.

53abca54-0641-41b7-aeea-0e3dc6f455d8.jpeg

Each year I give my kids little gifts of love that reflect them. This year I thought it would be cool to do something that fulfills all of the 5 love languages (The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, great book, a must read). That way I am sure they will know the depth of my love. After all, if they don’t interpret love by receiving gifts, I have to make sure they know just how loved they really are. Here are my ideas to show each love language:
 

  1. Words of affirmation - Make a banner and list all the reasons we love our kids.

  2. Quality time - Carve out time where you can be one on one with each child. It doesn’t have to be hours. Maybe just a date to go get ice cream. Whatever it is, it will be your time together to connect.

  3. Receiving gifts - We think every child would like gifts, but that is not always the case. The key to great gift giving is something that shows thought. Maybe they have mentioned wanting something in particular. Or you recognize something that they need. When you do this, it shows much more thought than just a gift card.

  4. Acts of service - Lend a helping hand. People want validation that they work hard at whatever they do and kids are no exception. So, give them a little help with a chore or homework that would normally be done alone.

  5. Physical touch - Some people don’t need a hug while others crave the physical connection. Recently, my daughter has been really craving this and it is just fine by me. We actually set aside time just to cuddle on the couch. Again, a great time just to reset ourselves.

 
Valentine’s Day is a great way to show our loved ones how much they mean to us. I hope this will inspire you to show your kiddies just how much they mean to you. 


Happy parenting!

Elise 

Are your kids stressed out or anxious? Maybe it is time for an electronic diet.

74261c06-db5d-431f-ad66-2cf8f5b4046e.jpg

Are your children stressed or depressed? It may be time to go on an electronic diet.

It seems like kids with iPads are getting younger and younger these days. I’ve even seen babies with them. My almost 18 year old son didn’t receive his first phone until he was 12 and it was only to motivate him to be come more social. He is autistic. The only thing it accomplished was that it gave him new ways to obsess and be inappropriate. There are no shortcuts. My 10 year old still doesn’t have a phone. However, we all know not having a phone doesn’t stop our kids from engaging in all types of inappropriate screen time antics. Most of us have computers and tablets at home to which our kids have access. So Stampylongnose will find his way into your homes somehow.

Other than becoming a zombie and not listening, what are the real concerns for our kids? According to research it affects focus, sleep and even our body composition. Parents complain that our children are addicted to electronics. Gaming releases so much dopamine—the “feel-good” chemical—that on a brain scan it looks the same as cocaine use. How scary is that? Would you give your children cocaine? I don’t think so. Getting our kids on an electronic diet might seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be.

Here a couple of steps to get our kids off of electronics?Let them know that the whole family is going on an electronic diet. We are all in. Remember that our kids are always watching us. So set an example of what you want them to do.Understand your children are going to need more input from you about how to have fun without a screen. Be ready and prepared for some suggestions. Bowling, ice skating, roller skating or playing outside to name a few.Sit back and watch the beautiful changes in your children.

Happy parenting!

Elise 

Stop trying so hard!

809222ea-cb44-4eee-b374-4d7856e9470f.jpeg

I went on a walk with my 17 1/2 year old son last night, and the coolest thing happened. He talked to me about really important stuff;  college, friends, work, money, life values. Holy shit- if I had paid him a million dollars, I wouldn’t have gotten as much information out of him. Parents are always asking tons of questions to their kids, and it is usually followed by very short answers. I have recently learned to stop talking so much and start listening. But it gets tough to listen when they won’t talk. So below are a few suggestions/ideas to get even the most tight lipped teenager to talk.

1.  Do something THEY want (or enjoy) doing. Spencer was going for an evening walk last night, and he asked me if I wanted to join. Not really something I wanted to do at 8pm, but private one on one time with him is so infrequent that I hopped at the chance. Carpe Diem..

2.    Don’t ask too many questions when you are doing their preferred activity.  This is when their defenses are down, because of this, you will get a more authentic child without their guard up.  This is when they will start talking without you even asking. Its a beautiful thing, they will come to you.

3.  Be sure to get to know some facts about their hobbies, likes and dislikes,  (or fears) so you have some common ground to talk about down the road. 

4. Finally, don’t push, let the magic happen all on its own. 

Happy parenting!

Elise

The Importance of balance.

481f1793-c8fa-4d17-9abd-6bfd7716a9c8.jpg

Balance, It’s a funny thing. We try to gain it as we take our first steps as a baby. Once we are up on 2 feet we work hard to improve our balance. Children need it for agility in football, soccer, ballet and gymnastics. When we age we seem to lose the coveted balance that we work a lifetime to get and maintain.

Just like in ballet, if a ballerina is up on her toes and goes too far left or right she falls. To a gymnast on the balance beam a one millimeter misstep is the difference between landing or falling off. 

So then the question is, how does balance affect my family?

It may not seem like a big deal when you tell your children they can Never have electronics. While it would be a beautiful world filled with rainbows and unicorns if that existed, it’s not realistic. So how do we get our children to not stay glued to their electronics? Balance. If you take the electronics away completely at a young age, your child will not know how to balance playing with screen time. It is our job as parents to teach our children this important skill. Whether it is for junk food, electronics or time with friends.

Remember the next time you want to completely restrict something In your young children think of the ballerina. Too far left and she falls.

Life is like a ballet, the perfect balance will make you light and beautiful on your feet.


Happy parenting!

Elise