When a parent makes their own health a priority, it is reflected back on their family through increased energy for quality time with children, positive role modeling, and decreased stress levels.
But how? How do we make time and find the energy to care for ourselves among everything else that must be handled? It comes down to motivation, goals, and mindfulness…and some thoughtful strategies for making health and fitness work in your life. Rather than using our wellness plan as a punishment or added stressor on top of an already overwhelming to-do list, let’s talk about ways to make it work.
Busy parents who succeed at making wellness a priority create small yet significant changes in their nutrition and fitness routine. Building those small changes one upon another results in bigger changes over time.
Small, short term goals are the key to success when it comes to healthy habit change. Goals that are too big can feel overwhelming. This can lead more stress, worry, and a fear of failure, often leading to goals being abandoned or “put on hold” for an easier time. Small changes added one or two at a time, on the other hand, can easily become a part of your routine. And small steps over time add up to sustainable, long term change to your health and well-being.
Here are some easy steps you can start right now:
- Practice mindful nutrition
- Avoid mindless munching – unplanned scavenging is a hidden roadblock to nutritional success
- Stop, pause and breathe – take 10 seconds to slow down “emergency eating”
- Ask “Do I really want this?” – recognize hunger vs thirst, boredom or stress
- Make fitness easier
- Set out your workout clothes the night before – seeing them will remind and inspire you
- Create a buddy system – either working out together or just daily check-ins
- Purchase simple at home equipment such as resistance bands or dumbbells.
- Get support
- Reflect on your resistance to asking for help
- Ask loved ones to encourage you or notice progress or inquire kindly about how to support you to address barriers
- Ask for help with meal prep or childcare
Eating nutritious foods, getting in enough physical activity, sleeping enough, and decreasing stress can sound like a daunting task when you think about it all at once. But separate those down into small, manageable steps (think one more glass of water per day; 30 more minutes of exercise per week), and over time you can build a solid foundation of healthy habits. Forget crash diets and all-in gym plans. Small steps are the key to success for busy parents who already have too much on their plate
Stephanie Rondeau is a Boston based certified health coach who is also the parent of a busy toddler and Corporate Wellness Outreach Coordinator and Teacher for Peace At Home Parenting. Stephanie is an Athletic Trainer, a CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist), a personal trainer, and small group fitness instructor. She helps women to treat themselves with compassion, practice positivity, and find the motivation and strength to live their healthiest lifestyle. Check out Stephanie’s FREE upcoming class, ““Wellness on the Run: Quick, Real Life Strategies for Parents of Young Children”
Why not! What better gift than access to several varied parenting courses to help parents, teachers, daycare providers or anyone who has children in their daily lives. Starting on Black Friday thru Cyber Monday, Peace at Home Parenting is offering FREE access to their Online Course 5 Steps to Positive Discipline for Peace at Home in addition to 50% OFF their Annual Subscription. That means now thru December 31, 2019 you get all of our courses plus our Udemy class for only $33!
Worried about your child’s school performance?
When your children, especially teens, struggle with school, parents can easily fall into nagging, coaxing and hassling or even punishing when in reality none of those things work and sometimes actually make it worse. One mom wrote to us about her 13 year old son whose grades starting going down in the previous schoolyear and hadn’t improved. She and her son communicate well and she is looking for guidance on how to keep the lines of communication open while addressing her concerns Here are some action steps toward handling the problem while staying connected:
Step 1. Ask your son if he is willing to talk about school with you.
Step 2. If he says yes, ask about his goals for each class – what would he most like to be learning and does he have any ideas about grades he wants to achieve in each.
Step 3. If he says no, ask him if there would be a time in the future when he might feel comfortable talking about it. If he says no, back off for a good while. If he says yes, try to schedule a good time for both of you to chat.
Step 4. If he articulates any goals for any classes, ask him what is helping him be successful in the cases where he is achieving his goals and celebrate that with him. And then ask what he understands to be the barriers in the cases where he isn’t achieving his goals.
Step 5. If he begins to reflect on the barriers he may be experiencing, be curious about how he experiences those barriers. Try to understand them from his point of view. Ask what he has done to address the barriers in the past, any ideas he has about how to address them now. Maybe watch this hysterical TED talk on procrastination together and ask him if that is true for him in any way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arj7oStGLkU&fbclid=IwAR2dU06yb1nO9WwdRaJASTY_zM4JJ2v4S-3H2R5TQgj553VmmYYBbUlg0Jk
Step 6. Ask him if he’d be interested in your thoughts about addressing the barriers.
Step 7. If together you come up with any ideas about how to proceed, discuss how effective each of you believes those ideas might be. Ask him what he anticipates would be the outcomes of those ideas.
Step 8. If he decides to try one or two, make a time 2 – 3 weeks in the future when you might talk together about how it is going. Ask him if there is anything he wants from you during that time period in terms of support and decide if you can offer what he wants. Refrain from reminding and coaxing during that time period unless he specifically asked for that kind of help.
Step 9. Do your best during this process not to catastrophize in your own mind or with your son. See this as a challenge to address together and remember to consistently celebrate his positive behaviors and contributions. And listen, listen, listen.
Clearly your child may not engage at all. In that case, go back to ground zero and continue to focus on keeping lines of communication open. Or you may go through a few of the steps and he may just stop there. Keep in mind that homework and school progress belongs to your child and you will best remain a consultant and cheerleader. If you see more of an academic decline going forward, express your concern and try a meeting with teachers that includes your son. If all else fails, talk with the school psychologist or social worker to make sure you aren’t seeing symptoms of bigger concerns. If indeed you do suspect bigger issues, press your school to complete a comprehensive assessment to get clear about what is needed.
“I felt a little bit more lost than I anticipated,” a quote from a mom in Chelsea Conaboy’s excellent article about the emotional experience of pregnancy and new motherhood. Most physicians do not talk with us about these changes because they are not well-trained in emotional development. But, a mid-wife or doula might talk about these changes. They are one of the most important resources for women as they approach for motherhood. Doulas, in particular, are trained specifically to help women appreciate that the transition in roles will involve a profound change in what they think about and the priorities in their lives. Is it an emotional roller-coaster? For most women, yes. Will it mean you become a different person forever? Well, yes, but so will any other major life transition and most of the changes in our priorities mean we become transformed. Postpartum Support International (www.postpartum.net) is an organization committed to raising awareness about the emotional and relationship transitions involved in mothers’ pregnancy and infant care. We at Peace At Home Parenting Solutions want to encourage all women to become informed about the well-understood emotional and relationship transitions that are involved in pregnancy and early infancy. Doing so, will mean we can better support each other. New mothers need mothering…that means kindness, understanding, encouragement, and friendship. These are important antidotes to the self-doubt, anxiety, and other feelings of overwhelm that happen in this very important life transition. Babies do not come with guide books but guides are available and we, at Peace At Home Parenting Solutions are here to listen, guide, and encourage all mothers and fathers to learn about their children and themselves.
– JoAnn Robinson
When a child climbs out of the crib, it can be a safety challenge. This can be hard to prevent and some parents use this as a cue to transition to a toddler bed, which is lower to the floor. Parents need to consider what their long term goals are for their toddler: If you want him/her to stay in his/her room, you need to be ready to help the child stay there. Access to the door is increased with a toddler bed. Sleep experts recommend parents purchase a doorknob grip to help prevent this. Sitting outside the door for a time may be needed to redirect a toddler who is reluctant to stay in the new bed. Redirect calmly, limiting contact to a few minutes, repeating a routine phrase, such as: “I need to keep you safe in your bed. Lie down in your bed, honey.” Hum a quiet melody for a minute or two; gently rub his/her back. Leave quietly, without speaking, and close the door. Be prepared to stay by the door until the child has settled.
Dana Asby, CEI Intern
Most parents want more information about parenting, yet 65% of all parents never attend a single class or discussion about parenting (Zepeda, Varela, and Morales, 2004). This may be due to a lack of accessibility with varied causes, including a lack of available programs in locations and at times convenient to the family. Most programs occur in the middle of the working day, so working parents cannot take advantage of them (Zepeda, Varela, and Morales, 2004). Peace at Home Parenting thinks offering live parent education workshops online, after most children’s bedtime, and from a variety of cultural perspectives might be one solution to this problem.
Dana Asby, CEI Intern
Many parents, especially first time parents, have low levels of self-efficacy in parenting. In fact, 79% of parents want more information about child-rearing (Zepeda, Varela, and Morales, 2004). Parent education programs typically involve a parent educator conducting a series of classes or workshops with new parents or parents experiencing certain contexts that can be risk-factors to responsive parenting. They have generally been proven to be effective in improving the parental skills toolbox, especially parental responsiveness (Votruba-Drzal and Dearing, 2017). Many early childhood programs offer parent education programs; however, the demands on a parent’s time and interest are often too great to retain parents for multiple sessions. One solution to this problem is to offer parent education workshops online at times that are convenient for parents. There is evidence that using technology in parent education may be more cost-effect and reach more parents (Magnuson & Schindler, 2016).
Yo crecí en Bogotá, Colombia y cuando mi hijo mayor tenía sólo tres años, me mudé a Storrs, CT para acompañar a mi esposo mientras él realizaba su doctorado en la Universidad de Connecticut. Mi esposo y yo siempre dimos mucha importancia a la educación y queríamos compartir ese valor con nuestro hijo y a la vez ser buenos padres. Al encontrarme en medio de una cultura muy diferente en los Estados Unidos, se me presentó la necesidad de mejorar mi inglés y las habilidades de crianza para mi hijo primogénito. ¡En un gran golpe de suerte, “Boom!” Encontré un volante que ofrecía clases de crianza para padres en inglés. ¿Puedes imaginar? Ese volante cambió mi vida para siempre. ¡Estaba emocionada de poder resolver ambos problemas simultáneamente! Y fue ese volante el que me permitió conocer a Joe y Ruth Freeman, educadores de padres, quienes han sido maestros importantes para nosotros y se hicieron amigos de toda la vida para mí y mi familia. Continue reading
I 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. Continue reading
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I didn’t know that I had to prepare myself for potty training!
I 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! Continue reading