Family

Tips for a great Spring Break!

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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

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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

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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

What makes a great mom?

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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

Where does the time go with our kids?

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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?

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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.

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.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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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

Run your family like a CEO runs their business!

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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 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 New Year!

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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!

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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

When your child misbehaves

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Have you ever been yelled at, screamed at, punched, or kicked by a child? I have! Have you gotten the awful  “I hate you” while they're kicking you? It's exhausting, infuriating and sometimes even painful. So as a parent, how do you find any empathy with a child who acts that way? It's quite simple. 


Understand that this is the only way your child knows how to communicate. Think about it: as adults, we have had years of training to be able to articulate our feelings in a calm manner even if we're upset (and many of us still aren't there yet). I'm sure many of us have acted in ways we wouldn't want our own children to act. Yet, we expect our little people to be perfect at clearly communicating their needs. Cmon...when you say it out loud it sounds ridiculous, right? There is no way you can expect a tiny person with only a few years of life behind them to do it better than adults. 

So the next time your little one screams hideous things at you, remember he's just tying to explain his feelings. Give him the tools to explain and identify what he is feeling. Even better, next time you are mad as hell at them, model exactly the way you would want to be treated. Don't yell or scream. That just reiterates that this is effective communication. And don't take it so personally, they don't really know how to say in a calm voice: "Mommy, you hurt my feelings. I wasn't finished at my play date. Making me leave made me feel insignificant!" Yeah right, call me when your child says that and you can start hosting some of my webinars :) 

Be kind to the little ones, they are just trying to figure out what works, just like we are. 

Till next time, 

Elise

Nighttime Routines

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Think about the way you put your child to sleep. Do you throw them in the bed and then leave? 

Now let’s think about your own nighttime routine. Do you go straight to sleep when you get into bed or do you read or watch TV to unwind?  Of course you do.  We all need to unwind before bed… and kids are no different.  I feel so strongly that connecting with your kids every day is important even for just 15 minutes/day per child.  I have found the best time to do this is at night. I split my nighttime routine into 3 distinct parts: 

  1. Doing something goofy: my daughter and I play with the snapchat filters for about 5 minutes. We laugh, we record ourselves the funny voices, we act silly. You could also read a book (funny voices encouraged). Whatever you can do to engage with them on their level is awesome!

  2. Lights out: this is the perfect time for them to start talking. As soon as the lights go out, kids will always start to talk. Why? BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT TO GO TO SLEEP. You know how when you pick them up from school and ask them how their day was, they have nothing to say? They don’t talk because they are tired. But nighttime is when they DON’T want to go to sleep so they will tell you everything you ever wanted to know. This is a wonderful time to connect. These conversations often times bring about many teachable moments. Seize these opportunities. Open a judgment free zone and listen intently. Gently guide them with your input.

  3. No more talking: lay quietly for just a few minutes. Let them feel the security of you with them and then leave before they fall asleep.

Happy sleeping!

Elise  

Listen

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Recently, a dear friend of mine told me that it may be time to stop talking and just listen to my child. I had never heard something so absurd ;) 

I thought I had mastered the art of listening, but since people pay me to hear what I have to say, I often forget the power of truly listening. There comes a certain age that your kid no longer listens intently to what you are saying. In fact, they usually do the opposite of what you tell them to do. 

So what do we do? We listen. And it can be really difficult. Not difficult in the way of skiing on a black diamond slope; difficult like "I have to actually bite my tongue in order to not speak." The real kind of difficult. It's easier to just tell them what to do. But we must listen and allow them to feel heard. Ultimately, that's what every single human being wants: validation.

So what is this listening thing? Listening is having faith that you have taught your child the lessons of life and that eventually they will come up with the right decisions even if they take a wrong turn down a dark alley; faith that they will find their way back to what you have taught them. Listening gives your child the freedom to make a mistake and come back and ask for help.It builds trust. 

Ready to take the listening challenge? Hit "reply" and let me know how it goes!

Elise

Be the change

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Be the change. 

Have you ever felt so passionately about something that it became the driving force of your life? Did it keep you up at night with excitement and fill your heart with determination? There's so much going on in the world that desperately needs fixing. It's often overwhelming to know what we can do on a "small" level. 

Today, I'm going to challenge you to BE THE CHANGE. I know that not everyone feels called to be a leader but guess what?  Foot soldiers are just as important in creating change. Here are some steps for creating change in your own life and in the world:

  1. Identify your cause or passion

  2. Find someone locally that has your same passion

  3. Reach out to them ( 2 heads are better than 1)

  4. What change needs to happen in order for your problem to be solved? Are you worried about children starving in America? Instead of solely blaming the government (which can only get us so far), do SOMETHING. Maybe go to restaurants, grocery stores, and collect leftover food to donate.

  5. If you want to take the political route, fantastic. Understand that is going to take change in legislation -- find local politicians to help you. It might seem tedious but if you want policy change, you have to be a turtle….slow and steady wins the race

  6. Say it out loud to anyone that will listen. When I was discussing my personal cause, I discussed it with all of my friends and colleagues. Eventually I was directed to the correct person.

  7. ENJOY THE NATURAL HIGH OF MAKING CHANGES!

Ready to be the change? Email me back about what you are inspired to do. Accountability is everything :) 

Elise