For Parents, It’s All About Patience

June 28, 2017, Epoch Times

Our beautiful children—we love them more than we ever thought it would be possible to love another human; they amaze us, they entertain us, and sometimes, they drive us mad. Am I right?

One key trait many parents wish they had more of is patience: patience to allow their kids to dilly dally, to ask a million questions, to read the same book over and over and over, to play with them without distraction for as long as they wish, to stay calm when trying to get out the door on time, to manage bedtime disruptions; patience for when they’ve made a huge mess, when they’re behavior is not what we wish, when we’re exhausted, when we are trying to get a million things done, when their needs brush up against our own…

This parenting gig is not for the weak hearted. Here are a few ways to foster more patience as we go about this very important work.

Self-Care

Parents often put their own needs on the back burner so that they can care for their children. While their intention is surely good, this strategy can quickly backfire when a lack of self-care leads to exhaustion and a feeling of being overwhelmed. An overtired mom or dad can easily snap at children or overreact in ways they regret later.

Be sure to eat nutritious meals, sleep enough, take time for yourself, and make caring for yourself a priority so that you’ll be fully available to take care of your children.

Dig for Meaning

When children are misbehaving, lashing out, not cooperating, and not meeting our expectations, our patience can run thin. In those moments, it can be helpful to ask ourselves what this is really about.

Children generally don’t aim to make us crazy. So what’s really going on? Is your child struggling with something? Do they have a need that is not being met at this moment? Perhaps they are tired or hungry or hot or anxious. Focus on the cause rather than the symptoms and you’ll feel more in control and better equipped to handle the situation.

Manage Your Expectations

We expect good moods, full energy, excellent manners, total cooperation, pristine listening to every word we say, and more. Sometimes parents can cling to unrealistic expectations of their children.

Motivational speaker and author Tony Robbins says you should “trade your expectations for appreciation.” Make this shift in your mind, and watch your patience meter climb.

Shift Your Perspective

As often as you can, reflect on the gratitude you have for all that is good. Is your family healthy? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have food to eat? Are your children thriving? Did the sun shine today?

From big things to little things, there is always something to be grateful for. Focus on those, center your attention on what’s truly important, and then see if your child’s unwillingness to wear pants with pockets or the fact that your living room is covered in Legos bothers you as much.

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The Key to Happy Parenting–Wake Up First

June 28, 2017, Epoch Times

Many aspects of life change after becoming a parent. The freedom to manage our time is one significant change.

Many parents find themselves mourning this lack of personal freedom. Amidst the joy of new motherhood/fatherhood, the realization that our time and how we spend it will be largely dictated by the needs of someone else can be a challenging adjustment to cope with.

Once children (and, thus, parents) can sleep through the night, one simple idea can reintroduce the concept of personal time for parents. While quite simple, it may not be easy, but it’s benefits are numerous.

If you’d like more time to do with what you wish, to work on your personal goals, to get things done so you no longer feel like you’re drowning, to simply drink a cup of coffee in peace… wake up first. Simply be the first person in your family awaken every morning, preferably by a long shot.

Making the effort, whatever that means for you—setting an early alarm, laying out your clothes the night before, removing digital devices from your bedroom, getting to bed early each night—can be well worth it when you experience the benefit of solo time in the morning.

One way to motivate yourself to always be the first one up is to make your morning as delightful as possible. Do what brings you joy or satisfaction during those precious hours you’ve set aside for yourself. You’ll find yourself looking forward to this time each day and doing what it takes to make sure you don’t sleep through it.

What makes your morning a delight will, obviously, be unique to you. Perhaps you dream of working on a long-term project, uninterrupted. Perhaps sipping coffee on your porch as the sun comes up would be the perfect way to start the day. Maybe being able to work out or even get ahead on house chores would go a long way in starting the day on the right foot. It’s up to you.

When you allow yourself time that is free, uninterrupted, and all yours, you’ll nourish yourself in a way that may make you happier and more effective as a parent.

As every parent knows, life will get in the way from time to time. Aim to experience your morning as often as possible, but expect it to be derailed by sick children, family or work obligations, a poor night’s sleep, or even (gasp!) another family member waking unusually early one day.

Being the first one up the majority of your days is a simple way to enjoy this parent life even more. Give it a try!

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Family Movie Night—10 Classics to Enjoy as a Family This Summer

June 27, 2017, Epoch Times

One of my favorite summer activities is the family movie night. There’s no bedtime to worry about. Hardly any planning is required. Sometimes it’s coupled with ice cream. What’s not to love?

After a day of fun outside, everyone gets cleaned up and into their pajamas; we pop lots of popcorn, turn out all of the lights, grab our favorite blankets and stuffies, and snuggle in for a fun movie together.

If you plan to add family movie night to your summer lineup, here are ten family-friendly classics that won’t disappoint.

‘E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial’

A story of friendship, “E.T.” is Steven Spielberg’s timeless adventure of a boy who finds an alien hiding in his home. Possibly scary for very young children, but when the kids are ready, a must-see.

“Swiss Family Robinson”

A family finds themselves shipwrecked on an uninhabited island and must summon all of their resourcefulness to survive. Based on the classic novel by Johann David Wyss, Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson is chock full of animal high jinks and dangerous pirate and will keep the whole family on the edge of their seats.

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”

Best viewed after reading the book, this adaptation of a literary classic is beautifully done. Off you go, into the wardrobe, for one of the greatest stories ever told.

“Pollyanna”

Another book adaptation and one of many Disney classics starring Haley Mills, “Pollyanna” tells the story of a young orphan whose positive outlook turns around the character of an entire town. A fun classic with a wonderful message—this one’s a perfect pick for movie night.

“Chicken Run”

This stop-motion claymation comedy by Aardman Animation (“Wallace and Gromit) is just good fun. When farmers decide to switch from selling eggs to chicken pot pies, the chickens need to plan their escape.

“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”

Of course, we’re talking about the Gene Wilder original. If your kids don’t know the Oompa Loompa song yet, it is time. Pair this one with chocolate and ever lasting gob stoppers.

“The Sound of Music”

The musical of musicals, “The Sound of Music” is based on the true story of the Von Trapp Singers. There are many elements in this one that lend themselves to educational opportunities about history and geography, but feel free to just pop your popcorn and settle in for this almost three-hour saga.

“The Wizard of Oz”

This iconic film was originally released in 1939 and is every bit as relevant today,

“The Muppets Take Manhattan”

When you want to lighten things up, this is a no-fail option the whole family will enjoy.

“Toy Story”

You can’t really go wrong with a Pixar film, but rather than list them all, let’s just cut to the chase and go with the best. Pizza delivery is the perfect dinner companion to this film.

 

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9 Reasons Parents Choose to Homeschool Their Children

June 14, 2017, Epoch Times

Increasingly, homeschooling is becoming a mainstream option for families of all sorts. The vast access to information and connection the Internet provides has allowed what was once considered a fringe idea to seem like a plausible one for many families.

The reasons parents choose to homeschool are as varied as families themselves, but here are nine common reasons people choose to take the education of their children into their own hands.

Demanding Extracurriculars

If a child has an extraordinary talent or skill (in sports, the arts, and so on) that calls for a significant commitment in time or travel, parents may opt to homeschool to afford them a flexibility in schedule or location.

Special Needs

Parents may find that learning disabilities or other special needs are difficult to adequately address in some traditional school settings. It’s hard to compete with the advantages of a one-to-one student-to-teacher ratio and special needs students may not get the attention they need when participating in a class of varying academic abilities and learning styles.

Prioritizing Religious or Spiritual Teachings

Parents who want to incorporate their spiritual beliefs into their children’s education may find homeschooling to be a better option.

Increased Family Time

Hours in school, along with extracurricular activities, begin to add up quickly for even very young school children. Some parents aim to reduce the separation traditional school inherently imposes on their family life by choosing instead to homeschool.

Dissatisfaction with Curriculum

The prescribed academic curriculum in the traditional school system leads some parents wishing for something better. It’s easier than ever to find alternative options for students of various learning styles, interests, and abilities.

Negative Social Environment at School

Parents who find the social or cultural environment they send their children to each day unsatisfactory or not aligned with their values often look to homeschool as a welcome alternative.

The Child Wishes to be Homeschooled

A simple request from one’s child may lead parents to look into the option of homeschooling and find it to be viable. Motivated, self-directed children may find traditional schools stifling and crave the idea of a more challenging or broadly based option.

Gifted Children Require More

A gifted child may find little to be challenged by in a traditional school and become bored or unmotivated in such an environment. When the light of curiosity seems to be dimming, some parents look to homeschool to reignite that spark within.

Freedom

For many parents, letting go of the prescribed route and numerous obligations and limitations that come with it provides an invitation to go one’s own way that is difficult to ignore. Allowing children the freedom to pursue their curiosities to full completion; dictating one’s own schedule; traveling whenever one wants and more are the advantages of homeschool that many families dream of.

 

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