parent coaching

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

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

Parent or protector?

02332ac8-c35a-4ed2-896f-b6e010e0e634.jpg

As parents, we're programmed to protect our kids. But what happens when we want to continue protecting them as they get older? When is it appropriate to stop protecting and start teaching? I've broken this down to three stages.

Preschoolers: They need protection from a difficult teacher, bullying, or a dangerous situation. While you step in to help, take the opportunity to teach your child how to handle it. At this stage, they may not be able to generalize and take the lesson your are trying to teach and apply it across the board to other scenarios.  So, while they are young you will still need to be the protector but  you begin planting seeds so they develop the skills on their own.

In elementary and middle school: You want to make sure that when you are protecting your child, you are ALWAYS using the situations as a teaching opportunity because their language and ability to generalize information has improved. For example, if my daughter is having a problem with school work, I will ask if she can handle it herself with the teacher. If she is not comfortable doing that, I will take care of it. However, she needs to participate in the email or discussion with the teacher so that she can eventually handle these situations on her own.

In high school: Now the parent is the teacher first and the protector second. By now, your child probably has the skills necessary to take care of themselves in school, work and social situations. For example, if your child is having difficulty in a subject and refuses to see the teacher or guidance for help, they must suffer the consequences. This is when your child will learn many life lessons while still under your care.

Our parental instinct is to always be the protector. However, we must remember that as parents it is our obligation to give our children the skills necessary to handle life on their own.

Happy parenting!

Elise

Happy New Year!

e943aeec-f6d0-40d3-8d63-409a7c33611b.jpg

Happy New Year! 

As the new year approaches, we’re getting ready to make our New Years resolutions. “This year I am going to eat much healthier and I’m going to work out every day.” My resolution every year is to stop cursing. A couple hours into the day I say,” f**k that.”
 

So why do we set these resolutions if we know we’re going to break them? It seems like we are just setting ourselves up to fail, making us feel even worse than before.  So this year, lets make a decision together: to change ONLY when we are ready, and accept all the rest.  At this stage of my life, I have learned to accept my truck driver mouth and those around me have as well.  Lets try and not only accept but embrace our shortcomings. They serve some sort of purpose for us. As for the healthier lifestyle, there is no bad time to make that decision.  It could be in the middle of the day, in the middle of the month, in the middle of the year.  When you are ready to take massive actions, you know you will get massive results.  In the meantime, be kind to yourself and remember there is never a bad time to make a fresh start.  
 

Wishing everyone a beautiful happy and healthy new year!

 

Elise  

 

Happy Holidays!

c150985d-6242-4303-9b3e-7caf2019f05d.jpg

The kids hadn’t even finished their Halloween candy and I was already getting excited for the holiday season. It started when I was a little girl and I would come down to South Florida to visit my grandparents. I would come back with a Jewish tan: dark on the front, pale on the back. When I went to college, I loved coming home and going shopping, having my mom cook and do my laundry for me and getting a break from school.  

Now, as I have my own family, this is also a favorite time of the year. My ex-husband wasn’t Jewish so I was able to get the coveted Christmas tree which became the highlight for me, another place to make something pretty. After I divorced, I kept the tradition of the Christmas tree (don’t call the Jewish police). Rather than worry about my perfectly matched ornaments and bows, I let my children pick out the tree theme. They did what every child does: the multicolor lights and ornaments. I embraced my new kid-friendly themed tree in exchange for my sophisticated tree of the past. My holidays now became about the experience instead of what the holiday looked like. My perfect tree topper was now a crooked ornament that has never quite fit, but it is magical.  

I love everything about the holidays. I love to shop for everyone’s presents, picking out the tree, decorating the tree, making potato latkes and seeing all the children tear open their presents with anticipation.

This holiday season, try to do one thing new that is super fun that can be a new tradition with your family.  Maybe something goofy, or a tree that’s just for your kids.  Maybe let them each pick out an ornament, or if you celebrate a different holiday, create a dish that you and your kids pick out and make together every year.  

Remember that holidays can be difficult for people so be considerate. While these times often come with stress, remember the beauty that surrounds this time. It is a time of miracles and celebration. 

Wishing you very happy holidays! 

Elise