Positive Discipline Tool: Problem Solving

Traditional discipline focuses on teaching kids what NOT to do or what to do because someone else “said so”. Positive Discipline focuses on teaching children what to do because they have been invited to think through the situation and use some basic guidelines (respect and helpfulness) to find a solution. They are active participants in the process, not passive and often resistant receivers.

Children start making better behaviour choices because it makes sense to them and because it feels good to be treated with respect and to treat others with respect.

The Three R’s and an H for Focusing on Solutions

  • Related
  • Respectful
  • Reasonable
  • Helpful

When children decide (because you asked them to help solve the problem) to go get a sponge and towel when they spill their milk, that is RRR and H. You are teaching a life skill and providing an opportunity for them to develop the perception that they are capable. You can use this before your child can even talk! Simply show them how to be helpful and then the next time the problem occurs ask them what do we need to now?

It takes time for kids to pick up on this skill but we adults don’t usually learn things on the first try either.

Learn more Positive Discipline tools at my workshop on May 10th; get your tickets here https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/positive-discipline-workshop-tickets-10760170961?ref=ebapi

April 21st, 2014 · No Comments

NEW Essential Oils For Healing Store


Prenatal to Parenting is proud to now be carrying Essential Oils For Healing (EOH) pure essential oil products!  I’m pretty darn excited to have my BFF, Shelley, working with me and to be offering these wonderful oils! 

Why EOH you ask?  Shelley and I chose EOH because we love their products and what they stand for.  EOH is a LOCAL and CANADIAN home-based business, based out of Surrey, BC, committed to sharing the life-enhancing benefits of their 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils and remedy blends.  The amazing woman behind the company is a mom of two toddler boys, a Laboratory Technologist by trade, and a Registered Aromatherapist … aromatherapy is her passion!  It all started as a hobby for her and grew into a business from there.  All oils she uses in her products have been selected for their purity and aroma-therapeutic benefits.  All EOH oils are supplied by CANADIAN companies, but are produced from all over the world.  They are 100% pure, unadulterated, complete and from first run distillations only. Best of all, they are safe to use on everyone, including babies and during pregnancy (unless specified otherwise). 

More and more people are looking for natural remedies, safe for their entire family to use, and essential oils are a very convenient, effective and affordable alternative to pharmaceutical medicine.  Pure essential oils are extracted from leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots, herbs, brushes, shrubs and trees through distillation, and have been used for medicinal and healing purposes for thousands of years!  The next time you feel a cold coming on, your baby is crying because she’s teething, or you just can’t sleep, don’t run to your nearest pharmacy, grab your essentials oils kit!

We sell the following EOH products:

  1. Remedy Blends (i.e. Lullaby Sleep … our #1 seller).  All blends are made with 100% pure and natural essential oils and have been conveniently diluted in a carrier oil and are sold in a roll on bottle for applying topically;
  2. Pure Essential Oils (i.e. Lavender, Peppermint, Lemon, Eucalyptus, etc.) in concentrated form, great for diffusing or blending/diluting yourself; and
  3. Deodorant, Salves, and Lip Balm

We are also very excited about the recent launch of EOH’s new Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond line oPicture29f essential oil products that have been designed specifically for the Pregnant Mama, Birthing Mama, and Post-Partum Mama.

We conveniently offer free local pick up from 2 locations:  (1) Clayton area of Surrey, or (2) Langley City.  We also offer local/regional shipping for a flat fee of $8.

We absolutely LOVE the uplifting and healing benefits of essential oils for preventing and treating many day to day issues such as sleeping, snoring, teething, cold/flu, allergies, fatigue, stress, and so much more!  Essential oils have become a staple in our home for battling everything you can think of and we are so happy to be able to share their powerful benefits with our family, friends, and clients!   Go have a look on our website and check out all the new fab products. 



March 19th, 2014 · No Comments

10 Tips for Avoiding Parenting Burnout

Burn out

Burnout is a state of emotional exhaustion. Parents can feel burnout when they fall out of balance and stay that way for too long. When burnout occurs emotions often run high. It is easy to become unhappy, overwhelmed, drained, angry, frustrated, exhausted and defeated. It can make parenting more challenging as those feelings can make it difficult to have the patience to deal with misbehaviour or the creativity to find solutions to everyday challenges. It can defiantly lead us to question our ability to care for our children and make us wonder why we are not enjoying parenthood the way others seem to be.

First, burnout is only possible when parents are committed to being good parents and work hard at it. Obviously it can occur more frequently in families where there is a high-needs baby, a spirited child or a special needs child. Other factors that can increase the risk of burnout include an unsupportive environment, personal challenges, relationship difficulty with your partner, or unrealistic parenting expectations.

Let’s face it, our society places a lot of pressure on parents – especially mothers – to do it all: have a clean house, a great relationship with our partners, interesting hobbies, workout, cook gourmet meals for our family, and raise intelligent and creative children. Parents who try to live up to this image of the perfect family are surely headed for some kind of trouble.

So let’s get real. We can’t do it all and do it all well. As much as we’d like to, it is not humanly possible to be everything to everyone, satisfy our own needs and maintain a clean home without help. Plus parenting is about modelling behaviour and values we want to instill in our children. By modelling self-care we are teaching them a valuable life skill that will help our children grow up to be happier, healthier adults.

refill your cup

Once burnout sets in it is difficult to conjure up the energy to find resources, support and make a change for the better. For this reason, it’s a good idea to prevent burnout from occurring in the first place.

Here are some easy preventative steps you can take;

  1. Be a “good enough” parent – the image of the Super Mom who can do it all is all too familiar in our culture. But you don’t have to be a Super Mom or Dad to raise your children well or build lasting relationships or awesome memories. Being consistently there to care for, connect with and enjoy your children is way more important than trying to always have extraordinary experiences for or with your children. Pinterest is great, but no one has time for all those ideas!
  2. Ask for & accept help – we all need some help sometimes. Hire, barter, borrow, or beg. Call your parents, a friend, a nanny service, hire a doula, a babysitter, a house cleaner – whatever it takes. Then spend some time reconnecting with the part of yourself that is not exhausted from parenting. Enjoy a workout, a nap, a long bath, grab a coffee with a friend –whatever helps you find balance.
  3. Get as much quality sleep as you can - Go to bed at 9. Trade sleep-in days on weekends with your partner. Use essential oils or baths to calm yourself down for bedtime. Getting enough sleep is essential for your ability to cope with stress. Do your best to make it a priority.
  4. Eat healthy, exercise, meditate - parenting is a lot of work and it is often stressful. Finding ways to stay healthy and relieve stress are important and will positively impact the whole family. Make sure to get protein often, reduce sugars, go for walks, breathe.
  5. Draw boundaries around your personal and family time. Family life can be busy enough without extra obligations. Clear your agenda, add back the things that are essential for survival and evaluate what is left. Which things line up with your family values? Which things foster connection? Which things provide meaning? Could some be done now and some later? This could be a great exercise to do as a couple or family
  6. Make time for you & your partner’s relationship – we are co-parents, partners, we run the ship together, so it’s important that we work well as a team. What do big corporations do to encourage good team work? They have team building days, where employees take a day away from work and go have fun with each other. Isn’t raising your kids the most important team work you’ll ever do? So make sure you get away from the day-to-day grind, reconnect with your partner, have fun together, build friendship and trust and just enjoy each other. It will make the day-to-day grind more enjoyable because you’ll be doing it with someone you like and have fun with.
  7. Choose a positive perspective – Voltaire said it well “The most important decision you make is to be in a good mood”. What we think really does determine our beliefs and our beliefs determine how we feel and the way we feel influences how we act. So by choosing a positive perspective we are more likely to be happy, less stressed and respond more thoughtfully to our families.
  8. Expand your parenting toolbox –Having a large laundry bag of parenting tools at the ready makes parenting easier. Using the same tool to fix the leak in the plumbing as to screw in a light fixture doesn’t work. There are many great books you could work through with your partner. Also, workshops can offer parenting tools quickly and with the support of your peers. If you live in the Fraser Valley, you may find these helpful.
  9. Aim to find the beauty in life moments alongside your family – Life energy is found in play, in rest, in experiencing beauty. There are many ways to find these, with the kids this may mean pulling out the play-dough and joining in, it may mean sitting out in nature with a picnic and a bag of bird seed. Play together. Laugh. Notice the amazing things around you together!
  10. Be honest with your partner about how you are doing – Your spouse won’t know how you are coping unless you tell them. How are you managing with the stress? Do you need help? Share, and Invite them to be honest with you as well.


*Image courtesy of Jeanne Claire Maarbes, of freedigitalphotos.net

February 21st, 2014 · No Comments

20 Questions: Parker’s 5th Birthday Q + A

A couple years ago I found this idea on pinterest and thought it was a fabulous idea! So starting at age 3, I have been asking Parker these 20 questions every year on his birthday. I’ll start asking Zola the same questions on her next birthday. Then I am going to assemble an album for each of them.

Since it was just before Parker’s 3rd birthday it was perfect timing.  I’m yet to do anything with the answers from the first year’s Birthday Q + A, but I have the answers set aside with the photo I want to use for the 2 page spread.

Here is this year’s answers and photo that will join them in Parkers Birthday Q + A book that will take many years to complete.  I just love this idea and think it will be so much fun to look back over the years to see how his answers change. Even just looking at the way the answers have stayed the same or changed over the past three years has been fun.

So without further ado here are the 20 questions answered by Parker

1. What is your favorite color? Brown, blue & redbday Parker
2. What is your favorite toy? Lego
3. What is your favorite fruit? Black grapes and red watermelon
4. What is your favorite tv show? Bob the builder
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  mac & cheese
6. What is your favorite outfit? Spiderman costume
7. What is your favorite game? Busy Bugs
8. What is your favorite snack? Sandwich & a wrap
9. What is your favorite animal? Elephant & giraffe
10. What is your favorite song? Jam song by Will Stroet

11. What is your favorite book? How do Dinosaurs Take a Nap?
12. Who is your best friend? Ethan
13. What is your favorite cereal? honeycombs
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play at the park
15. What is your favorite drink? Chocolate milk
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas & Easter
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Eeyore
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? waffles
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? pizza
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A chef 

Happy birthday to my little man, I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us.

Zola insisted on answering the questions as well….she turn 2 at the end of October.

20 Questions answered by Zola:

1. What is your favorite color? Draw picture for Mommy
2. What is your favorite toy? Blocks with Mommyzola
3. What is your favorite fruit? Pasta & cheese
4. What is your favorite tv show? Thomas the train
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? I don’t know with a shoulder shrug
6. What is your favorite outfit? These, these, these – her missmatched pjs
7. What is your favorite game? I don’t know – Mommy pick
8. What is your favorite snack? crackers
9. What is your favorite animal? tinker bell
10. What is your favorite song? Jam song by Will Stroet

11. What is your favorite book? Thomas
12. Who is your best friend? Caleb
13. What is your favorite cereal? pops
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play at the park with Mommy
15. What is your favorite drink? milk

16. What is your favorite holiday? Santa
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? baby

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? waffles
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? meat
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A hiccup

Her answers are funny but probably won’t make her book. It’s a good example of why waiting for the 3rd birthday is a good idea.

February 6th, 2014 · No Comments ·

3 Simple Steps for Staying Connected this Valentine’s Day

_KLM8795Couples with Children have a lot less time and energy for communication, as kids are so often clamoring for, and genuinely needing, attention. In studies of couples happily married more than three decades, the quality of friendship between the partners was the single most frequently cited factor in the relationship’s success (McCarter, 2000). But two thirds of all parents report a significant drop in relationship with their partner after a baby arrives in the family. Conflict in the home increases 8 times in the first year.

After your long and demanding days, by the time the evening comes along, you are exhausted. The TV can be much more tempting than an open conversation or a smile. But you like each other. You want to connect. During this season where we celebrate love and connection, how do you maintain feelings of love and connection to your spouse?

Here are 3 simple tips for staying connected with your partner:

1. When your partner comes into the same room, pause what you are doing, make eye contact and smile.

This is the first step to communication… noticing that the other person is there, really noticing, and caring.


2.Take a few minutes to catch up when the work day is over.

Don’t let the kids pull you away. This little bit of conversation will keep you both in-the-loop with each other’s lives, and will leave more time on date nights to talk about deeper issues instead of playing catch-up. If it isn’t practical to do it when the kids are still away (though training the kids to wait can help), try it as soon as they are in bed.


3. Use a Date Night Contract.

Don’t wait until you have an event to attend. Book it in. Commit. Sign a contract. I found, in my own relationship, that we were more likely to connect weekly for date nights when we had this contract and the pressure to find a babysitter was off. We would meet every Friday night at 8:00 pm after the kids were in bed. Our rules were simple; no frumpy clothes, and no TV. Sometimes the date was 30 minutes of chatting over dessert. Other times we were up late playing games and having fun. There was no pressure to make it last a certain amount of time, the idea is to connect in a meaningful way.


If babysitting is required, it can be most helpful to schedule in advance, regardless of whether you have plans or not yet. You can also ask about your babysitter’s availability over the next two months and book several at once. Sort out the details later. Be encouraged, as Pirak quotes “The magic in a relationship can be restored if couples work to restore the balance. Doing so not only benefits the couple’s relationship, but it also improves the quality of the parent-child relationship.”

As our little gift to you and your relationship, we have attached our own Date Night Contract that you are free to download and use as a tool for connection. Or you can use it as inspiration and write up your own together!

We are also running a special Making the Magic Last Workshop on Feb 14th at Destination Maternity from 6:30-8:30 PM. Come learn more ways to improve the quality of your relationship so it will be strong for years to come.

Happy Season of love!

Date Night Contract


February 3rd, 2014 · No Comments ·

30 Day Peaceful Parenting Challenge

new 30 day peaceful parenting challenge

What is Peaceful Parenting?

Peaceful Parenting is about becoming more aware, practicing mindfulness and developing skills for reducing stress, increasing self-awareness, controlling our mood and becoming fully present in our own lives and the lives of our children. It’s about cultivating our emotional intelligence and sense of self. It’s about becoming a great role model for our children and being in a place to build deeper connections with them.

It is a practice that can grow to include:

  • Greater awareness of your child’s unique nature, feelings and needs
  • A greater ability to be present and listen with full attention
  • Recognizing and accepting things as they are in each moment, whether pleasant o unpleasant
  • Recognizing our own reactive impulses and learning to respond more appropriately and imaginatively, with greater clarity and kindness
  • Greater awareness of our own thoughts, emotions and body sensations

These are valuable life skills that we can then teach our children. They are skills our children will need to navigate our highly distractible, high stress and often negative world. We can only teach what we know, so first we must learn, practice and become more comfortable with these skills before trying to teach our children.

How Does the Challenge Work?

  • Make sure you join the secret facebook group I’ll be posting in the facebook group daily. There you’ll see inspirational quotes & photos, discussion topics home practice exercises and links to the recorded seminars (4 in total).
  • There will be prizes each week for those participating in discussions and doing the home practices assignments.
  • You’ll have access to me throughout the challenge, to ask questions and although I’ll encourage participates to post their questions to the facebook closed group I will also answer emails.
  • Each week you will be provided with a link to a recorded seminar on the topics of the week which include; learning how the brain activates our fight/flight/freeze response, becoming more aware of our triggers, patterns we fall into, automatic parenting, cultivating compassion, reconnecting with our bodies, creating mindfulness, responding vs reacting, creating space for a peaceful pauses, meditation, disconnection, continuing on the peaceful path.
  • Each learning seminar will include a video for you to watch at your own convenience and will begin with a breathing exercise and end with a guided meditation.
  • Each week you will receive a list of recommended home practice exercises to help you incorporate the learning information and tools into your life.




Peaceful Parenting Toolbox:

Each week, throughout this challenge, more content will be added  so please check back weekly, but feel free to come back as much as you’d like to use the tools.

Video Learning Seminars:

Module #1:

A note on video length – running time is approx. 25 minutes long learning module plus a 17 minute Body Scan guided meditation. The guided meditation is also available separately below under the Guided Meditations heading.

In this module you’ll learn how the way the brain interprets incoming information affects our reactions, you’ll become more familiar with triggers, automatic parenting and what patterns of communication have developed in your family (I like to call these family dances).

Please pause this video at the blank “Brain in Your Hand Video Clip” Slide and watch the video which is below the Module 1 video.

Module #2

In this module you’ll learn about cultivating compassion for yourself, creating a positive inner dialogue, how paying attention to body sensations can help you short circuit our automatic responses and practicing mindfulness. (length 33:05 – approx 25 min of content and 7 min guided meditation at the end)

Home Practice Assignments:

Home Practice #1

Home Practice #2


Audio Guided Meditations:

Peaceful Pause: This meditation is a foundational practice about cultivating a pause amidst the busyness of your everyday life.   A Peaceful Pause is a tool we can use to step out of automatic parenting and reconnect to awareness in the moment. It helps us out of stress mode so we can respond instead of react. And enables us to become more grounded and mindful. (Length 4:22)

Body Scan Meditation: The Body Scan Meditation is helpful in understanding the importance of the body in the development of mindfulness. It is the perfect meditation to help us reconnect to our bodies. Going back to our body sensations is a simple and fast way to bring our attention into the present moment. (Length 13:38)

Loving-Kindness Meditation: Kindness is the attitude underlying all meditation. We do this practice to further cultivate the min of kindness and compassion. We are forming the intention to be kind, compassionate, and loving to ourselves and others.

Peaceful Parenting Affirmations: The power of positive affirmations have the potential to create a life of happiness and peace. By reciting positive affirmations on a daily basis, you are creating positive subconscious thoughts, which will help you to build a happy internal dialogue and support you in your goal of parenting peacefully.


February 2nd, 2014 · No Comments

I Pushed the “post” Button…

Today I did something brave! I pushed the post button….

I don’t often share this part of my mothering journey but after reading this article I felt compelled to. I’ve been silent for too long, allowing fear to keep me tight lipped and alone. But today, today I’m being brave and over coming my fears of being judged, of being called a hypocrite or a phony, of being thought of as a bad mother. Today I admit to the world that I struggle, that I yell, that I react in rage, that I am human and I have flaws.

You see after Zola was born I experienced an anger so deep and quick to surface it scared me. I’ve struggled with it, agonized over it, shamed myself for it. I’ve spent many hours over the past two years crying, feeling guilty and struggling to understand where this rage comes from. I’ve talked with the Pacific Postpartum Society, I’ve seen a Hypnotherapist, I’ve talked to my doctor and have had my thyroid tested. I’ve cried to my own mother, my best friend and my partner. I’ve shared with them how embarrassed I feel to admit that I am struggling – me the parent educator, the positive discipline advocate!

It is one of the reasons I turned to Peaceful Parenting practices and have developed the Peaceful Parenting Challenge, along with my Peaceful Parenting Affirmations and Meditations tracks. It is the reason I found my way back to practicing meditation. I have found these practices to support me in becoming more aware of my triggers and learning how to take a Peaceful Pause before responding.


Want to hear something really crazy? I think I’m able to share this with you now because I’ve done some personal healing and restorying. I’m grateful for the rage and what it has taught me. Don’t get me wrong; there are many reactions I wish I could take back, many memories I pray I can heal for my children and pave over with new happier ones. I mean, I’ve come to know myself so much better. I’ve developed so many new skills. I feel that the path the rage has lead me down was needed for me to become the person I am today – wiser, more open, more self-reflective, more peaceful and content.

I have more growing to do, my journey is not over; I don’t think this journey into mindfulness, into peaceful parenting really ever is over. It’s a journey, not a destination, just like parenting. I intend to enjoy the journey – most of the time anyways.  I’m not perfect, I still yell, I still lose it, but I’m happy to say that the occurrence is much less frequent these days. And in those imperfect moments I turn to self-compassion instead of self-bashing. I apologize to my children, hug them and move on knowing tomorrow will be better than today.

I share this with you today in hopes that if you are struggling and staycompassioning silent you will feel my courage and virtual hug. Reach out your hand, ask for support, ask for help, there are others like you; you are not alone! There is compassion in the world, in yourself; find it.

In peace,


January 8th, 2014 · No Comments ·

Five Senses Activity – Flight of the Mite Review

FOTM_Cover(1)I recently received a new children’s book to review called Flight of the Mite. So of course I went to the best critic in the house – my 4 year old son Parker. We sat down to read the story together and discovered a delightful tale about imagination and discovery. Flight of the Mite is written by Grayson Smith, illustrated by Alana Kyle and published by Peppermint Toast Publishing. The illustrations are delightful and Parker insisted that we stop to discuss some of them along the way. There was more than one “wow!” over a picture of the mite climbing a dandelion.

The story is about a mite with a big imagination who takes a ride on a dandelion to a new land. In the new land she discovers creatures unlike herself who are blind but can see the world using their other senses and their imaginations.


“But how is it that you can see my hair, without your eyes?”

The little mite with wondrous wonder, asked them in surprise.

They told her their imaginations were their finest prize.

Although they couldn’t see, their other senses made them wise.

This excerpt gave me an idea! After we had read and discussed the book, Parker and I talked about the five senses and then played a little game. I blindfolded him and would then place an object in his hands for him to identify with his other senses. It was a lot of fun and Parker thought it was hilarious. He tried smelling, touching, hearing and sometimes tasting the items that I placed in his hands. Most of the time he guessed right. He discovered that his other senses made him wise too.


I’m a bit of a push over when it comes to cute tales that rhythm but apparently I’m not the only one in the house that enjoyed our new book. Parker proudly said that he would recommend it to his friends. I also love that Peppermint Toast Publishing will be donating $3 from the sale of this book to help improve the health and lives of young people who rely on BC Children’s Hospital. I encourage you to head over to their facebook page and give them a “like” and visit their website to purchase your copy of Flight of the Mite.

I also have a copy of this book to give away as part of our Facebook 1000 likes giveaway so make sure you “like” and share our page with your friends so we can get this giveaway underway.


January 2nd, 2014 · No Comments

Birthing Mama Jar

As a Doula I often give a gift to my Doula Client. Some times it’s a free workshop, sometimes it’s a discount on services, sometimes it’s a free service like an add on placenta service (for example a Painted Placenta Print), or something I’ve made like birth rocks or a knitted baby hat.  Today I made a “Birthing Mama Jar” for a soon to birth client.

Birthing Mama Jar 2

Included in the Jar:    Birthing Mama Jar

I got the idea from this post I saw on pinterest (but of course), which is where I got the lovely label for my jar. I think it’s a great, practical and useful gift for Doula Clients and I’m sure to use it again in the future – if not from now on.

If your a Doula, do you give gifts to your clients? If so, what?

If you had a Doula, did you receive a gift from her? If so, what was it?

December 28th, 2013 · No Comments

Toddler Communication – How to talk so your toddler will listen

Toddlers are experts in body language, tone of voice and facial expressions. The left side of the brain that is in charge of language, logic and reasoning is still developing so they are mostly governed by the right side of the brain. The right side of the brain is in charge of art awareness, creativity, imagination, intuition, insight, music awareness, reading facial expressions, body lanuage & tone, etc.

Often when children get upset parents think they need to stay really calm to help their child calm down. But what message does this really send them? Let’s think about this a bit different. Let’s say you just received a phone call from the hospital that your mother was in an accident and you are really upset. You go to your partner and tell her/him what just happened, you are crying, and shaking and visibly shaken. Your partner says to you in a calm, even tone with a straight face; “I’m sure she’ll be fine, now calm down”.  Would this make you feel better? or would you get more upset and ask “what is wrong with you? I just told you my mother is in the hospital and I’m really scared/worried/upset”. Your partner’s lack of empathy would confuse you and likely escalate the situation.  Feeling unheard you may get more upset to show him/her that you really mean it.

Can you see how, as parents, being calm, cool and collected in the face of a tantrum may actually escalate the tantrum?

We are really good at matching our child’s tone, body language, and facial expressions during times of play. Think about yourself pushing your child on a swing. “Wee!” We can really play it up when we are having fun. But for some reason when faced with a meltdown we freeze up and start acting all robot like – “you are fine, there is nothing to cry about”, “calm down please”, “stop screaming”.

Here’s some ideas on how to talk to your child in a way that will help her/him feel heard and usually stops the meltdown in it’s tracks. Remember misbehaviour is often a sign that your child is feeling disconnected from you. This is a way of reconnecting with respect to help your child choose better behaviour. By reconnecting with respect and empathy we are showing our children that is it OK and normal to have emotions and we have the opportunity to teach them how to handle their big emotions in appropriate ways. When we simply squish their feelings or send them for a time out because their big emotions are being expressed in inappropriate ways what are we really teaching them? I would argue that it is not the lesson we mean to; most children will learn that having big emotions in front of you is not OK, that emotions are to be kept private and that I’m a bad person or have done something wrong because I feel upset.

Positive Discipline

How to speak to an upset child:

  1. Short phrases: start with 1 or 2 word phrases, using just the key words. For example, instead of “I know you feel mad about it” Say: “You’re mad! Mad! Mad!”
  2. Repetition: words whiz by your toddler’s brain too fast for her to handle when she’s in an emotional tangle. So you’ll need to repeat the same short phrase 3 – 8 times just to get her attention. And then if you want you can say it a few more time just to convince her you really understand.
  3. Mirror a bit of your toddlers’ intensity in your tone and gestures (this is the magic key to toddler-communication). Remember toddlers are experts at reading your voice and face (a right brain specialty), so mirroring a bit of your child’s emotion with body language, facial expression and tone of voice can allow you to connect with her perfectly. NOTE: Don’t go overboard, you don’t want to distract through mockery – your goal is to calm through understanding and respect.
  4. Eye level – or slightly below, this show respect and gains attention and trust.
  5. Ask questions – makes them interested, helps them think & participate, makes them feel more in control and powerful. Make sure they are specific questions, not general. For example; “what happened? or Why are you crying?” are too general. However, “what if you push the car backwards away from the wall? is specific. In this way you can help guide your child to find a solution to a problem.
  6. Use actions – again this can make them more interested in what you are saying & may help them understand while they are developing language skills.

As she calms a bit more you can stretch your sentences back to normal and bring your voice & expressions back to normal. And then it’s your turn to give a message – the lesson, explanation, distraction, etc.

If you are interested in learning more about how the toddler brain works, positive discipline for toddlers and how to make the toddler years terrific check out my Terrific Toddlers Workshop.


December 18th, 2013 · No Comments