Pam Miller

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Yadira CarvajalI grew up in Bogota, Colombia and when my oldest son was just three years old I moved to Storrs, CT to accompany my husband while he pursued his PhD at the University of Connecticut. My husband and I both always placed great importance on education and we both wanted to be good parents who could pass that value along to our son. Finding myself in the midst of a very different culture in the U.S. I was presented with the need to improve both my English and my parenting skills for my first born son. In a big stroke of luck, “Boom!” I found a flyer that offered parenting classes in English. Can you imagine? That flyer changed my life forever. I was thrilled that I could solve both problems simultaneously! And it was that flyer that allowed me to meet Joe and Ruth Freeman, parent educators, who were important teachers for us and became lifelong friends to me and my family.

According to my Latino cultural patterns, attending a course that taught techniques and skills to be a better mother sounded very rare to me at that time (13 years ago). My family always used physical punishment as a tool for raising children. I realized that I had to change that practice completely. In the parenting classes I attended, and I had to attend a few before I could really get it, I learned that the most important thing is to pay attention to children’s positive behaviors and ignore the negative ones. This was the idea that presented the most challenges to me. I always tended to look at the mistakes that my son made and I did not see the successes of his behavior. It was confusing because I thought the way to help him become a better behaved child was to punish him. I am an engineer and research is important to me. I was amazed to learn in parenting class that there is much research that indicates that punishment does not help children behave better. It was hard to believe because punishment is so common in my culture.

Thanks to this new idea for me, my son’s challenging behaviors such as tantrums, blow-ups and refusing to follow directions started to decrease. At home, I started to scream less and less. And over time his behavior got better and better. It didn’t exactly make sense to me but I was so relieved to have less conflict in our house and see my son calm down as I was able to calm down. It wasn’t easy, but it meant a lot to me to become a calmer family.

Another important lesson I learned from attending classes with Ruth and Joe was about the importance of sharing quality time with my son. This meant dedicating 20 to 30 minutes each day in order to play or chat with him. This teaching was difficult to establish because everyday life leads parents to forget the importance of sharing that time with our children. My oldest son is now entering his final year of high school. We still have disagreements and I still nag him too much, but he is a passionate student who has excelled in his studies both when he was in the U.S. and back here in Bogotá . He is an accomplished computer programmer and has traveled to other countries to participate in programming competitions. He is fluent in English and recently place number one in the pre-test of our national student exams. I know it isn’t all due to parenting. I know that he has natural gifts and talents, but I also know that focusing on his strengths and avoiding yelling and hitting gave him room to become the amazing young man he was meant to be. It was enormously difficult, but my husband and I are both grateful we were able to protect him, at least to some degree, from some of the harsh parenting we both experienced as children.

After a few years my second son arrived and he has been more fortunate because I had already consolidated the idea of ​​positive discipline, obviously without physical punishment. My younger son seems to have benefitted from my more positive approach to parenting. It may also be his nature, but he is a peaceful boy who does not display tantrums and disobedience. He is confident in social situations and makes friends easily. I think focusing on his positive behavior from the beginning has made his life (and mine) much easier.

Ahh!! I forgot to talk about another great challenge which is to be back in Bogotá at my family’s side and to see that they did not agree with my parenting methods. According to my parents and siblings, I was spoiling my children. Over the years I am grateful that my parents have seen and understood that using physical punishment with children is not the best approach. I am so grateful that I came across that flyer years ago in the far away town of Storrs, Connecticut and was introduced to what research has discovered about what really helps children thrive.

 

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I didn’t know that I had to prepare myself for potty training!

potty training successI kept asking myself, how do I know when my toddler is ready to potty train? The question, I should have been asking is how do I know when my husband and I are ready to potty train our daughter (23 months old). I quickly found that success with potty training mostly depends on parents and caregivers and a 100% commitment to spending the time and sticking to your plan.

We are a busy working couple with demanding jobs. We have a nanny providing care. We really didn’t have a clue on how we to get started and whose responsibility it would be to help our daughter. Maybe our nanny would just handle it for us? Maybe should would just teach herself when she was ready? Ok, this is our responsibility as parents, so what do we do? When we saw Peace At Home Parenting’s Potty Coaching series, we felt that the small financial investment might yield some answers.

Here are some strategies that really helped us succeed at potty training with our two year old daughter. Of course, we also had the encouragement of the coaching group to help guide us!

  1. Start using normal bathroom and body part talk – if possible, have everyone in the house and caregivers using the same words (“pee” and “poop” or whatever works in your household). It helps if they have words for potty, maybe its sign language or another word – my daughter said “CaCa.” Initially, she only said it when she was pooping, but after 3 dedicated days of potty training, she also could indicate when she had to pee. We’re still working on her learning and using other words. 
  2. Demonstrate and talk about what is happening as much as possible – especially with younger children and toddlers, they are very interested in what you and their siblings are doing. The more they see you do it and talk about it comfortably, the more they will want to do it themselves.
  3. Read about it. The Potty Coaching series had many good resources that were tailored to our groups’ specific questions and the ages of our children.
  4. Pick 3 days that you and any other caregivers can focus 100% on potty training
  5. Assess if you are ready – your child already has a lot of amazing skills. Sitting on a potty and urinating, is likely not the most impressive. If you’re reading this, your child is most likely ready.

Getting Started with Potty Training:

I thought I had kicked off potty training when I put my daughter in undies and put her on the potty whenever I thought of it. After a week of only a couple successful pees in the potty and lots of wet undies and pants, I realized I wasn’t being dedicated. I was lucky to have joined JoAnn Robinson’s Potty Coaching class, which helped me realize I was not taking the steps recommended to help our daughter learn: We needed to focus 100% on potty training for a few days. That weekend, my husband and I did very little other than sit in the backyard, with her potty nearby and no undies, and put her on the potty in a fun way every time she started to urinate. Pretty soon I could sense it was time for her to go and we’d sit her on the potty for a few minutes until she urinated. After only 2 days, she was indicating she needed the potty and would urinate within a minute – even outside of the house at restaurants and stores (with her travel potty cover).

While classes were the most important step we took, we also had to make some purchases. The below products and books are what worked well for us:

  • Toddler size potty – looks just like the real thing and even has a flushing sound but simpler versions are just as good
  • The ultimate book for you and caregivers – Oh Crap Potty Training
  • Books for your little one – there are a lot of great ones, but these two are my daughter’s favorite (one of them is most likely for girls)
  • Toddler size potty cover (for home) – will likely be used more often, great for transitioning pooping in the potty for easy cleaning!
  • Toddler size potty cover (to travel) – foldable and lightweight, but best to keep this separate from the home one since they will get a little dirty
  • Training underwear – lots of options here based on your color preference, but get ones with some padding to soak up small accidents. Also, try to let your child pick them out with you to help encourage excitement and control over the process.
  • potty training successPull ups for when you for any reason are expecting a higher risk of an accident, like a long car ride or if they are sick. We also found them helpful for naptime before they are potty trained through sleep. Lots of options, but I went with those listed below for quality and price. They are great because you can open and close them from tabs on the side for poop accidents.

Ok, so now you have everything you need – what else do you need to know?

There is nothing like a small group of other parents intent on the same goal to support this developmental transition. We really enjoyed hearing about the different circumstances of our group and their children. Because some were older than our daughter, we got lots of tips on how to handle her next challenge: nighttime dryness.

Good luck and let us know how it goes or get advice from our experts and other parents on our private Facebook group page.

If you’re interested in getting potty coaching, either one on one or in a small group – sign up here for more information.

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SIGN UP for our NEW online course
5 Steps for Using Positive Discipline for Peace at Home” Now until July 31st ONLY $17.99!

– Use code SUMMERVACATION

When the weather takes a turn for the worse, children often turn to video games or television for their entertainment. Instead, take advantage of your kid being stuck inside to educate them with fun activities. Thanks to search engines and online platforms such as YouTube, there is a never-ending wealth of ideas to keep your child entertained while teaching them valuable academic and life lessons. Make their learning fun with some hands-on interactive education that your family can enjoy.

1. Get Out the Musical Instruments

According to Parents, learning an instrument can help improve children’s academic skills, develop their coordination and motor skills, refine their self-discipline and practice patience. There are numerous websites providing online music lessons for almost any instrument imaginable. You and your kid can even learn an instrument together, helping each other as you follow tutorials online.

2. Let Them Stretch Their Artistic Muscles

Kids love to draw and craft. These artistic activities let them work with their hands, express themselves, and explore their imagination. Luckily, there is no shortage of fun DIY ideas online to get your kid involved in art. You can even look up some drawing tutorials for kids to help them hone their fine motor skills. Also, painting videos for kids can teach them about color mixing and palettes.

3. Get Them Moving

Keeping kids active will improve their academic performance, cognitive abilities, and help them keep a positive attitude. When it’s raining, try out one of the fun indoor activities suggested by Today’s Parent. Or, look up some kid-friendly exercise videos on YouTube. Kids love dancing, yoga, and bouncing around as they follow the instructor in a fun exercise video.

4. Conduct Science Experiments

A rainy afternoon is a perfect time to set up a fun science experiment with your kid. They’ll learn about the world around them and how different substances interact and influence each other. Kids learn best by getting hands-on and asking questions, which is exactly what simple experiments allow them to do. If you need somewhere to start, try out this fun lava glass idea from Earth Science Jr.

5. Play Educational Games

The Internet is full of various websites dedicated to educational online games for kids. For example, PBS Kids Games provides curriculum-based entertainment and Funbrain is great for developing academic skills in preschool-aged children. You can also conduct a simple Google search to find fun indoor games you can play with your kids off of the computer, such as scavenger hunts, Simon Says, and Musical Chairs.

6. Set Up a Living Room Matinee

Sometimes all you want to do on a rainy day is curl up on the couch with your kid and watch a movie. So, why not make this an educational time by choosing a film or documentary that will encourage your kid to think critically about the world. Huffington Post has a great list of documentaries that will teach kids real-life lessons and educate them about history. You may even learn a few things yourself!

7. Teach Valuable Life Skills

Some things they just don’t teach in school, like basic financial management, negotiation, or personal communication skills. Parents can teach these skills to their kids using their own life experience alongside online resources. Teachers can even incorporate real estate lesson plans into their children’s studies to help them learn valuable academic and life skills.

“Real estate is a complex field that requires skills in math, science, English, social studies and home economics. By incorporating real estate-based lessons into your curriculum, you can help students gain valuable skills in practical math application, presentation giving, forming a persuasive argument, earth science and so much more,” notes Redfin, a real estate brokerage site.

Just because it’s wet and unpleasant outside doesn’t mean your kids should stop exploring and learning about the world. Take advantage of this family time to learn and have fun together. Just make sure you practice Internet safety by setting up parental blocks or being sure to monitor your kid when they’re online.

– Post written and provided by Jenny Wise

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Register at: PeaceAtHomeParenting.com
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Understand Feelings: Raise Caring Kids 12 noon, Thursday, May 31st

  • Are you sometimes overwhelmed by your child’s emotions?
  • Does your child have trouble verbalizing his feelings?
  • Do her displays of emotion seem like misbehavior sometimes?

A better relationship with your child starts with emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is associated with stronger self-worth, more cooperation, better communication skills, stronger parent-child connection and less family conflict. Learn tools to strengthen your own emotional intelligence and that of your children.

Positive Discipline that Works 8:15 PM, Monday, June 11th

  • Is your child spending too much time in “time out?”
  • Are you concerned you are too strict or too easy?
  • Do you sometimes this there must be a better way?

You are not alone. Parents report they want to stop yelling and stop giving in. This live online class will provide simple steps to discipline that works. Win more cooperation and strengthen your child’s self-worth.

Routines, Chores & Family Meetings 8:15 PM, Monday, June 18th

  • Morning routine drive you a little crazy?
  • Trash only gets taken out after a zillion reminders?
  • Worried that summer will just increase your stress?

Parents who spend time nagging, complaining and punishing tend to have less time to meaningfully connect with their children. Consider Family Meetings and other practical ways to create smoother family routines and support children to be responsible. Plan your summer routine as a family. More connection and more fun!

ALL CLASSES INCLUDE ONGOING SUPPORT: You can get questions answered immediately during live classes. After class, participants are invited to join a private Facebook group to connect with other parents working on similar issues. Teachers are available to comment and answer questions. You will also receive a recording of the class to listen to again and with others.

 

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5 Steps to Positive Discipline for Peace at Home. Drawing will be held Monday, May 14th.

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registerThu, Mar 22, 2018 at 12 PM (noon)

Your older child was so excited about the new baby. But, now that your baby is 18 mos, he is uncooperative and sometimes acts like a baby, himself. Meanwhile, you’re trying to control your youngest as she starts to throw tantrums and learns the word “no.”

This scenario is all too common, but there are simple tools you can use to increase your children’s compliance and decrease your stress.

During this live, online class, we will help you to:

  • understand why your kids are acting up
  • create routines that prevent challenging behaviors from emerging
  • promote cooperative relationships between your baby and everyone else in the family
  • implement easy, everyday practices that make for a peaceful home

This live, online class is designed for parents of infants and toddlers with older siblings.

Presenter: JoAnn Robinson, PhD

Peace at Home Parenting guidance does not stop when this class is over. After class, you will be invited to join our private Facebook group. There, you will have unlimited access to our team of parenting experts, who will share tips and answer parents’ questions. This Facebook community is also a place to connect with other caring parents, like you. We welcome parents to share challenges and celebrate successes.

In addition, you will receive access to free monthly “Question and Answer” sessions. During these sessions, you will be coached in applying the skills you learned in Peace at Home classes and again you will connect with other parents working to improve skills.

Price: $10.00 USD

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registerFor parents of children with ADHD or Autism

Tue, Feb 27, 2018 . 8:15 PM – 9:00 PM EST

Self-awareness and self-acceptance are the foundations of your child’s social life, but parents often struggle to strengthen these capacities in children.

During this live, online class you will gain practical skills that will help your child to:

  • Build strong, healthy, lasting relationships
  • Become more aware of himself and his surroundings
  • Accept herself and accept those around her exactly as they are

Presenter: Aaron Weintraub, MS

Peace at Home Parenting guidance does not stop when this class is over. After class, you will be invited to join our private Facebook group. There, you will have unlimited access to our team of parenting experts, who will share tips and answer parents’ questions. This Facebook community is also a place to connect with other caring parents, like you. We welcome parents to share challenges and celebrate successes. 

In addition, you will receive access to free monthly “Question and Answer” sessions. During these sessions, you will be coached in applying the skills you learned in Peace at Home classes and again you will connect with other parents working to improve skills.

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