Weaning Pacifier

Pacifier Weaning: Binkies Can be Tricky!

By Cora Megan, M.A. and JoAnn Robinson, PhD

Pacifiers are a great aid to self-soothing for infants and toddlers. It replaces using a thumb, the age-old ready-made tool, and is less damaging to developing teeth. Pediatric dentists recommend that by age three years children are weaned from using them.  

Getting rid of a pacifier is tricky business. So often we are tempted to trick our children or cut it off without acknowledging their feelings or involving them in the process. We always encourage parents to involve their children in the weaning process as much as possible. Don’t underestimate how aware your child is of their attachment to the pacifier! Here are a few methods that have worked for Peace At Home parents: 

  • Prior to weaning, acknowledge your child’s feelings. “You love your pacifier! It makes you feel safe and comfortable.” Give them a little warning (3 days is generally good.) “In 3 days it will be time to say goodbye to your pacifier. You may have feelings about it, and that’s OK. You can share your feelings with me.” 
  • Then we encourage you to give your child a choice in the matter. “Do you want to give your pacifier to X or do you want to do Y?” The outcome of each choice will be the same; in 3 days she will no longer use her pacifier. By consulting your child you are giving them a perceived sense of control which will set you both up for success. Accept any strong feelings with open arms but don’t let the emotions sway the outcome. You can do it! 

Acknowledging your child's emotions and giving them the words to describe feelings is a way of building emotional intelligence and strengthening the parent-child connection at the same time. 

Remember: this process is no different than any other where your child is encouraged to share feelings. 

So what are some X and Y choices to consider?  Our parents shared these ideas in a recent conversation on our Private Facebook Page:  

  • Just before 3 when you're about to be a big kid (e.g., move to a big kid bed), the binkie fairy will trade you all your binkies for a toy. 
  • “Mail” binkies to a baby that was just starting out because they needed them more.  
  • Curate a few options on a shopping website, and let your child choose any toy, using his pacifiers to buy it. Tell your child that once they are gone, they would not come back.  Put the pacifiers in a mailer (re-used if possible) and while they watch, put an address on the bag (perhaps your mother’s or a friend’s address), with a note inside – “Please throw these away, we’re using them to buy a toy.”  

Your child may ask about the binkies or cry a bit but with a few days’ persistence and reassurance that they are able to feel safe without it, your child will let them go.   

toddler screams

Help! My Toddler is Screaming a Lot! by Cora Megan, MA

Toddlers are impulsive and have a hard time stopping themselves from doing things that:

  • Feel good (yup, screaming feels good to little ones)
  • Worked in the past (chances are that every time your toddler screams someone looks at them or reacts in some way – kids are built to seek your attention)

Learning to do something different, like use their words, takes patience, practice and repetition. Here are some effective strategies to use when your child screams:

  • Remain non-reactive and matter-of -act. (Yes, this is challenging. You have mirror neurons in your brain and when your child gets aggressive, your brain wants to do the same thing. You’ll need some tools to be able to calm your own brain.)
  • Say in a really calm voice, “You are having trouble getting your socks on” or “You really don’t want your diaper changed right now.”

This approach gives your child words to what they are feeling and trying to express, but doesn’t really pay any attention to the screaming.

Usually after you narrate what they are thinking/feeling, children stop the screaming and may give you some sort of affirmative sign. Then you can offer another option in a positive, expressive voice:

  • “Instead of screaming you can say, Help me please or I need space!”

Your child may not be able to say those words right away, but the more you respond in a calm, matter-of-fact way with minimal emotion, offering a different method of communication, the more likely your child will catch on.

Learning to be your child’s calm center is a gift that will strengthen their well-being and your relationship for a lifetime.

For more strategies to help young children cooperate, check out our Flash Class called “Positive Discipline for Toddlers and Preschoolers.”  If you are having persistent struggles with your young child, email us at info@peaceathomeparenting.com to arrange a private consultation with our early childhood experts. 

How do I talk to my child about vaping? by Heather Kobylinski, MA, SAC

E-cigarettes and vaping devices are the most recent fad among teens, leaving parents anxious and sometimes paralyzed with fear. This smokeless, odorless and innocuous device makes detection difficult and easily hidden. Every day, over 3,500 youths start vaping. Whether your child is using or not, you can be sure that they are exposed. The importance of making an informed decision is the first line of defence in prevention.

What exactly is Vaping?

Water vapor is emitted from the device instead of smoke. A small heating element turns the liquid into a vapor that is inhaled through a mouthpiece. This vapor is primarily odorless and difficult to detect. Each device requires “pods” that contain nicotine.  Nicotine is the addictive substance found in cigarettes and deemed “safe” by kids because of the absences of tar and ash found in tobacco products. Besides nicotine, these devices can contain harmful ingredients, including: ultra fine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs, flavors such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease, and volatile organic compounds. These “pods” are often sold in 6 packs and are marked with flavors that appeal to kids. Depending on how much you vape daily this habit can cost anywhere from $387 to $5000 per year. Products can be easily purchased on line as verified proof of age is not needed.

What’s the problem?

We know that adolescents' brains are under re-construction. Those regions in the brain that guide decision making and impulse control are still developing and not always online. The teen brain also inspires risk taking in ways that can impact health and safety. The long term effects of exposure to nicotine can include addiction, mood disorders, and permanently reduced impulse control. Nicotine can also affect the formation of brain synapses that control attention and learning.

Tips for talking to your kids about vaping

Keep the following in mind.

  1. Take time to cool off. Engaging in an angry and emotion filled discussion that is a result of a recent discovery or suspicion of your child's use, is counter productive. Step away and collect your thoughts. Avoid accusations, blame and name calling. Stick to the
    facts. For example:

    • I am deeply upset and worried about your use.
    • My main concern is your health and the addictive qualities of vaping.
    • We don’t support this and it will not be allowed in our home.
    • We will monitor your use and will look through your room and backpack as necessary to keep you safe until you can keep yourself safe.
  2. Take advantage of teachable moments. Let the news and current events open the dialog. If you have read an article or seen a program, share it with your child. Ask for their point of view on the issues. Make it more about a discussion than a lecture. The more your child knows and the more often you have open dialog about substances, the more likely these conversations will become routine for everyone in the family that it is safe to voice opinions, concerns and questions.
  3. Stick to the facts. This is important. Avoid judgement about smoking. Teens are already self- conscious and can often feel insecure during this complicated developmental stage. Judging choices made by your child or their friends will close the door to future conversations. Avoid put-downs and criticisms. Using “I Statements” will keep the discussion focused on your feelings about an issue rather than blaming or shaming someone for theirs. For example:
    • I am concerned about the health effects related to vaping. From what I have read there are many chemicals and their danger that have yet to be determined. What do you think about this?
    • I have noticed many ads and discussions about vaping and the unknown side effects. What have you heard?
    • Plan for this to be an ongoing conversation as it is not one that will result in a definitive solution.
  4. Make rules and expectations clear.  Just as you outline and discuss expectations regarding household chores and curfews, plan to be clear about rules and expectations about vaping and other substances. Communicate that you do not approve of use and your related concerns. Make the consequences meaningful and appropriate for the infraction. In addition, transparency about how you will enforce house rules is important. Be honest about how or if you will exercise your right to search their room or backpack as well as other items brought into your home.
  5. Get an expert involved. Asking your pediatrician or school counselor to speak to your child may be better received and will support and reinforce your messaging and guidance. Assure your child that this discussion will be confidential and not shared outside of the office. There are also many reliable government and professionally curated websites that can shed light on the evolving research.
  6. Allow for the natural consequences. Learning from the natural consequences their actions can increase teens’ sense of responsibility. Making excuses or interfering with consequences does not help your children in any way. Failure or disappointment at this age as it can prove to be the most impactful lesson and save more harsh consequences later in their young adult life.Keep in mind:
    • You know your child best. Educate yourself and use your best judgement when addressing vaping or other substance use with your child.
    • Stick to the facts and reserve judgement.
    • Make your expectations of family rules and consequences clear.
    • Reach out for help for yourself or your child.
    • Allow for natural consequences.

Parenting can be challenging and there are no perfect ways to meet your child’s needs. Open communication with your children and the parents of their friends, if possible, can facilitate ongoing education and discussions as well as promoting a unified front.

For more information:

If you are feeling concerned about your child’s involvement with vaping or other substances, please email us at info@peaceathomeparenting.com to arrange a private coaching session with a Peace At Home expert.

Childcare Centers are Opening Back Up: How to Help Your Child Get Ready

by Cora Megan, MA 

After nearly four months at home and limited interaction with the outside world, your child will likely protest separating from you on their first days back. This is normal and a healthy expression of their feelings.

For young children, separating from a loved one is considered a healthy stressor, not a traumatic one. We know that children are resilient to most stressors and that they look to adults about how to feel. That means that if you are feeling stressed about the separation, they are going to sense that stress and their own stress level will increase.

Prior to the first day, take note of how you are feeling.

  • What are you most worried about? Take steps to cope with those feelings, away from your child. Talk with loved ones and your provider. Gather information.
  • Remind yourself that they are being left in loving and capable hands with people you have chosen to care for your child.
  • Check in with your childcare center to learn about the precautions they are taking to lower the risk of spreading the virus.
  • It's OK for your child to feel sad or angry or frustrated. You may want to talk with your center’s teachers to learn exactly how they will help your child manage those emotions.

Early childhood professionals recommend best practices to look for in your providers’ responses to young children’s strong emotions. These age appropriate approaches are helpful when used by both parents and providers:

  • Validate the feelings: You're really upset. You don't want your dad to leave.
  • Empathize: You spent a lot of time at home with your family. You love your family so much.
  • Let the feelings be, without trying to change them.

Typically, these feelings pass rather quickly. Your child will see something or someone interesting or exciting and want to play. You may ask your childcare provider to keep you in the loop and plan a practical way they can let you know when the child has
recovered.

When a child is upset during a separation, it's natural to want to comfort them or postpone the inevitable. This tends to be counterproductive. Young children are more successful at separating when the process is short and sweet. We encourage you to prepare your child for their new drop off routine in the days leading up to their return to school. Here are some examples of language you might use:

  • When we get to school, your teachers and classmates will be playing outside.
  • Then we will walk to the gate where you will have your temperature taken.
  • After your temperature is taken, I will give you a hug and say, “See you later! I love you!”
  • Then I will go home to work. I will pick you up after PM snack.

The past several months have been different for all of us, and children are no exception. The good news is that children are more capable than we sometimes recognize and you have the power to prepare your child in ways that will ease the transition.

If you are feeling concerned about returning to your childcare program, please email us at info@peaceathomeparenting.com to arrange a private coaching session with a Peace At Home early childhood expert.

You may also want to watch the following on-demand classes:

Cora Megan, MA is an early childhood specialist and parent educator who has worked with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families for over a decade. She is currently the director of The Nest Shoreline Campus, an early learning center located in Branford, CT. Cora is a trained Circle of Security Facilitator, a member of the Connecticut Association of Infant Mental Health and teaches Early Childhood Development at the University of Connecticut." After that where it says to email us to set up a coaching session, please say: "If you are feeling concerned about returning to your childcare program, please email us at info@peaceathomeparenting.com to arrange a private coaching session with Cora or another Peace At Home early childhood expert.

teeth brushing routine

How to Create a New Family Routine while Kids are Home from School 

No one can say how long we will be living in isolation. We don’t know if kids will be home from school for a month or if they will end up being home through the summer. What we do know is that children thrive on consistency. Consistent routines lead to more cooperation from kids. More cooperation from kids leads to more productivity for everyone. 

To make this time easier for the whole family, create a new schedule and do your best to stick to it. Consider the following as you create a new family routine:

 

  • Communicate Your Plan
    Talk to your partner or other caregivers about how you want to create a new family routine while your kids are home from school. Discuss your individual needs and the needs of your children. Then hold a family meeting and communicate your plans with the kids. Let them know that you’re all in this together – you’re all adjusting to a new way of living for a while. Share what you would like your days to look like and ask if they have any thoughts or feelings they would like to share. Listen to their ideas and concerns.
  • Start Your Workday Early
    Get up at 3:00, 4:00, or 5:00 am, pour a cup of coffee, and start your workday before the kids wake up. Try to get your most important work done first. You’ll be happy to have finished pressing tasks by the time your kids start their day.
  • Wake Kids at the Same Time Every Day
    Let kids sleep in until a set time (8:00 or 9:00 am). Consistency is essential for young children and maintaining a sleep schedule is important for everyone. Dr. Lynelle Schneeberg, author of Become Your Child’s Sleep Coach: The Bedtime Doctor’s 5-Step Guide, is offering a free, online class about best sleep practices for school-age children. To sign up for her class, click here and look for Be Your Child’s Sleep Coach: Help Your Child Become a Great Sleeper.
  • Set the Tone for the Day
    With young children, set a playful tone for the day by doing some pretend. Ask your child:  “Who do you want to be today? Bobby Bear? Or Little Mouse? Who should I be today?  Daddy Bear? Or Poppa Mouse?” After breakfast, take 2-5 minutes to do some yoga and stretching together. Praise your young child’s participation using their pretend character. These moments of mindfulness will help you refuel and can set the tone for a calm start of your schedule. We recommend this guided yoga activity for kids on Spotify: Kira Willey – Dance for the Sun.
  • Set Goals for the Day
    After breakfast, talk about what each person in the family hopes to get done today. You can include something for school/work and something fun – connecting with a friend, finishing a puzzle, reaching a certain level on a video game, etc. Write down the goals and see what got done at the end of the day. If all the goals weren’t met, discuss what will help kids meet their goals tomorrow.
  • Make Challenging Routines More Enjoyable
    If waking up is tough, make it more enjoyable by smiling and cuddling for a few minutes. While getting dressed or preparing breakfast, you might try incorporating a song that suits your child’s morning energy – it could be rousing or soothing. If brushing teeth is always a battle, try to make a game out of it.
  • Schedule in Connection & Fun
    We recommend spending 20 minutes of one-on-one time with kids every day to strengthen connection and decrease misbehavior. Some of children’s misbehaviors are bids for attention. If you fill your child’s “attention bank,” he will be less likely to beg for your attention later – and you will have an easier time sending him off to play alone while you get your work done. If you can’t do it every day, schedule one-on-one time whenever possible.

    In addition to family playtime, ask kids who they would like to play with or talk to this week. Then schedule virtual playdates and calls with relatives. Kids can play games like “Battleship” and “Guess Who” virtually if both parties have the game! Take advantage of the time that kids are entertained by someone else to get some of your own work done.

    Try to schedule connection and fun after chores and schoolwork as incentive to get those more challenging tasks done.
  • Encourage Independence
    Once kids understand how to do a routine with your guidance, they can master it and do more of it on their own. Lavish praise for what you liked. “I like that you put your socks on yourself!” Encouraging independence will take some pressure and responsibility off of you.
  • Anticipate Emotional Meltdowns
    Right now, many people are experiencing anxiety about the future as well as grief about all the things that will no longer happen this year. Your kids are no exception. Check in with them to ask how they feel about everything that’s happening right now and don’t be surprised if they burst into tears when you least expect it. Turn toward your kids’ emotional displays. Hold them, look them in the eyes, and listen to what they have to say. These meltdowns may come at inconvenient times, but do your best to respond with gentleness and compassion.
  • Schedule Self-Care
    You have a lot on your plate and it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself when worrying about your kids’ needs and your work to-do list. But if you’re caring for yourself, you’ll have more patience and energy for your work and family. Don’t feel guilty about scheduling a little me-time into your weeks – it will end up benefiting the whole family.

 

Remember, this is new territory for everyone. If you’re a month into isolation, you’re likely just beginning to establish a new “normal.” Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your family to have it all figured out. Take it day by day and expect there to be some difficult times. For more support, check out our COVID-19 Parent Toolbox.

How to reduce screen time when kids have to be on screens for school?

You are usually so good at monitoring your child’s screen time. Maybe you practice Tech-Free Tuesday, or you limit video games to an hour, or you keep phones out of the bedrooms. But ever since the Coronavirus pandemic hit, you’re feeling like you’re losing the screen time battle.

Kids are now home from school, but still “going to school” online. That means they’re spending more time than usual in front of screens. On top of school, kids can only socialize virtually. And with the added free time, they are likely playing more video games and aimlessly scrolling through social media more than usual.

As a parent, you may be concerned about the effects of all this screen time on your kids. Take a deep breath. We’re here to help you create new screen time rules to get you through the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Think Screen Usage, Not Screen Time
    For a long time, we’ve been talking about the effects of screen time on our kids. But the reality is that not all screen time is equal. Time spent doing schoolwork online or connecting with family virtually is more valuable than time spent watching certain TV shows or playing certain video games.

    Brainstorm all your family’s screen uses – consider including your partner or other adults involved in parenting. Make a big list. Then, take a look at the list and choose the things you think are necessary and/or valuable – like school, work, and FaceTiming grandparents. These things do not need to be limited, though you may decide they only happen at certain times of the day. Identify uses that you do want to limit as well – like social media or television.
  2. Invite Kids into the Conversation
    Hold a family meeting and bring your list of screen uses. Assure kids that your main priority right now it to keep your family mentally and physically healthy. Let them know that you think it’s important for everyone to get outside, exercise, and do other activities without screens every day. Tell them that you understand the importance of connecting with friends and family virtually, and that you want to work together to come up with a plan to manage screen usage. Share your list and ask if you’ve missed anything. Then, ask which activities they want to be allowed to use their devices for regularly and how much time they want for these activities.

    After hearing everyone’s opinions, make a plan together. Write out a weekly schedule if your family doesn’t already have one. Include school, work, family meals, exercise and play. Then identify times in the day when family members have free time to use their devices in any way they choose. Try to agree on this plan together. If you can’t come to an agreement, parents get to decide. Try your plan for a week and then reevaluate.
  3. Refrain from Criticism
    Try to stay positive and curious. By asking about games and apps kids use, you will learn more about their interests and they will feel understood by you.

    Refrain from criticizing your family members’ screen uses. Do your best to avoid language like, “I hate that game you play,” “Those videos you watch on TikTok are all stupid,” and “We didn’t have cell phones when I was a kid and I turned out fine – you’re lucky I let you use one at all.” Even if you’re thinking those things, try not to say them. Those comments probably won’t increase cooperation or connection.
  4. Think about Video Games Differently
    Many parents get into arguments with their kids when asking them to turn off video games. Kids don’t want to stop playing because they’re in the middle of something. But parents want their kids to transition to the next task.

    Rather than putting a time limit on video games, consider asking your child what their goal is for the day. Explain that they are allowed to meet that goal and then they have to stop playing until tomorrow. It’s also a good idea to ask kids to explain how to play the game, what they like about it and what’s challenging. If you don’t know much about video games, let your child teach you something. This will strengthen your relationship and you’ll be able to tell when your child has reached their goal. Praise kids for stopping when they said they would.

    You may want to think about when you are allowing kids to play video games as well. If they’re playing right before dinner, you may be yelling and nagging to get them off the game and over to the table. And if they get to play right before doing chores, it may be nearly impossible to get them to transition. Try to schedule gaming time after a less enjoyable task, like doing chores. And if you move into asking kids to set goals for their game time, you’ll have to be flexible with the start time of the next activity.
  5. Allow for Exceptions to the Rules
    Maybe you don’t want your kids watching TV for hours on end, but you have an important meeting today and it seems like the only way to keep kids from disrupting your work. We’re in the middle of a pandemic and you probably can’t ask a babysitter to come over. Let the kids watch a little extra TV if it’s the only way to get your work done.

    Maybe your kids usually have limited video game time, but it’s now the only way for them to talk to their friends. There is value in socializing and working together to accomplish a goal virtually. More video game time than usual is okay right now. When life gets back to normal, remind kids of the importance of socializing in person.

    Be gentle and realistic with yourself and your family. This is new territory for everyone, and tensions are already high without added arguments about screens. You may not like how often your kids are on screens – remember that this will not last forever. You can remind kids of that too. You’re allowing them to use their devices more than usual, but the old rules will be back when we’re out of quarantine.

We hope these ideas lead to connection, health, and peace in your home. For more tips about managing screen time, watch our online class Rethink Screen Time: Navigating the New Normal.

Good Sleep Hygiene Habits for You and Your Kids

Set aside enough time for sleep.
When you create your quarantine routine, be sure to schedule enough time for sleep. Then spend that time in bed. Here are sleep recommendations by age group.

3 – 5 years old: 10 – 13 hours
5 – 12 years old: 9 – 12 hours
Tweens and Teens: 8 – 10 hours
Adults: 7 – 9 hours

Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine.
This could mean soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music. Begin an hour or more before the time you want to fall asleep

Create a sleep-conducive environment.
Try to make the environment: dark, quiet, comfortable and cool

Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
When it’s time for a new mattress, it is worth the investment. A restful night’s sleep will lead to happier, more cooperative family members.

Keep sleep stealers out of the bedroom.
Bedrooms should only be used for sleep (and sex, for adults). Try to keep phones and electronics out of bedrooms. Avoid watching TV, using a computer, or even reading in bed.

Don’t eat before bed.
Try to finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.
The 2-3 hour rule applies to food, as well as caffeine and alcohol.

Exercise regularly.
Exercise is important right now for a variety of reasons – one of which is that it will help you and your family sleep better.

Become your child’s sleep coach.
For more advice from a sleep expert, attend Dr. Schneeberg’s free, online class: Be Your Child’s Sleep Coach – listed under Free Parenting Essentials Classes. Dr. Schneeberg will provide parents with strategies to help their kids sleep better during the Coronavirus pandemic and always. We also recommend reading Dr. Schneeberg’s book: Become Your Child’s Sleep Coach: The Sleep Doctor’s 5-Step Guide, Ages 3-10.

Learn how to manage those “call backs and curtain calls” that most children love to make after lights out!

CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — “So many sleep problems,” said Dr. Lynelle Schneeberg, an assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine. “Just like adults are having problems, kids are having problems.”

This author of “Become Your Child’s Sleep Coach” said kids are picking up on their parents’ anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic while also forming new habits because they’re home and around mom and dad more.

View Article >

If you missed Dr. Schneeberg’s first FREE Class, please contact us at info@peaceathomeparenting.com and we will share the recording before you attend the following class Thursday, May 15th.

peace-at-home-parenting-positive-discipline-2-19-17

Bringing Compassion to Difficult Times

We’ve been offered much advice on how to improve our immunity, manage the stress and uncertainty, and come out of this stronger. Setting goals and intentions for our behavior is useful, but holding ourselves to an impossible standard, or being harshly self-critical when we don’t meet that standard, only fuels guilt, shame, and more stress. Instead, we can practice being aware of our coping strategies and remain self-compassionate when we fall short of the ideal. If we can stay out of judgment of
ourselves (and others) and remain curious about our behavior, we have a better shot at noticing and changing the behaviors that are not serving us.

At our core, we don’t feel safe right now. There is real threat and there is perceived threat, and the uncertainty of it all adds to that fear and anxiety. The lack of safety keeps us in a state of high alert and reactivity which is not conducive to good decision making. As many experts will tell you, it is important to sleep well, eat well, exercise, and keep some semblance of normalcy. These are great intentions. But, let’s not add insult to injury by expecting that we can or will do that perfectly. We are all suffering and we are all doing our best.

Our relationships may be suffering. Ideally, we would remain empathic, understanding, and co-regulate our children and each other. However, holding ourselves to this standard does not allow for the normal range of human emotion. It leaves no room for the unavoidable triggers and conditions that may take us to the brink. Feelings of loss, grief, fear and overwhelm can leave us short-fused or shut down. When we have a disruption such as a blowup or harsh exchange, we can repair. We repair when we’ve gotten ourselves in a better state, recognizing our reactivity, and re-engage, perhaps sharing what we were thinking or feeling in that moment. We can convey to another that we see and understand their internal experience, even, and especially, when it’s different from our own. Repairing in this way teaches those close to us that we are all human, we don’t have to be perfect, and we can mess up and make it better.

It is more important than ever to find compassion, not just for others, but for ourselves. The research on self-compassion is clear; Practicing self-compassion reduces fear and reactivity. It makes us more likely to persevere when we’ve “fallen off the wagon” whether that be by eating poorly, staying on screens too long, drinking too much or any other behavior that feels good in the moment but can make our mood, or health, worse. Self-compassion gives us permission to have bad moments, bad days, or a bad week and still regain our ground and begin again. Reacting harshly by berating ourselves for not meeting high expectations, only increases the likelihood that we will give up, or engage in more self-destructive behavior.

The good news is we can recognize our suffering and respond to it, with practice. When we notice our reactivity or our impulse to have a drink, reach for the sweets, or snap at our partner or child, we can pause, sit with the discomfort, and bring a soothing response to ourselves the way a good friend might. Try sitting with the sensations in the body and simply noticing them. Often, taking this pause is enough for the discomfort to dissipate. We can also tune in to the thoughts swirling around, which may be anxious or negative, driving our behavior. Notice them as you would a curious observer, without giving them too much power or truth. Consider what you might say to a friend who was suffering in this way. Try offering yourself the same kind words or encouragement.

We can recognize our humanity and our shortcomings with a willingness to see it all, be with it all, and begin again, without condemning or berating. These are important skills in this time of high anxiety but also life skills that we can model for our children and for each other. Let’s stay curious, stay out of judgment, and let love and compassion lead our way through this, together.

Susan Averna, PhD
Developmental Psychologist and Consultant.

Online Playdate

Quaran-Themes: Have Some Family Fun during Quarantine with Themed Days of the Week – Wednesday

For the next 7 days, Peace at Home Parenting will be posting a theme idea for each day of the week. Today's theme is:

Wednesday Friends-Day

Today, everyone in the family should connect with a friend – that include parents! This is a difficult time and, while you’re caring for your family, it’s important for you to receive care and support from others.

Set up virtual playdates for kids. Let them pick the people they want to connect with and maybe a game they’d like to play. Games like “Battleship” and “Guess Who” can be played virtually if both parties have the game. While kids are having playdates, chat with their friends’ parents or call your friends.

Coming up Thoughtful Thursday...


What is your family doing to keep spirits up during the Coronavirus pandemic? Let us know on Facebook!