raising happy children optimism resilience peace at home parenting

FREE Live Facebook Event: Positive Discipline, Peaceful Home (2-12 years old)

Positive Discipline, Peaceful Home (2-12 years old)- FREE Live Facebook Event

Please join Ruth Freeman, LCSW, Cora Megan, MA and Aaron Weintraub, MS for this LIVE FACEBOOK EVENT on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 8pm EST

We suggest that you watch the following recorded classes to prepare for our upcoming live Facebook event. Choose the best Positive Discipline Recording for the age(s) of your children.
  • Be Your Child's Calm Center, and
  • Positive Discipline for Peace at Home, or
  • Positive Discipline for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Purchase or use your subscription code in lieu of payment to watch anytime, anywhere:

  • If you are in need of a scholarship please email info@peaceathomeparenting.
    Price: $10.00
  • Apply code to view at no cost.
  • $0.00

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

During this Live Facebook Event, you may:

  • Ask questions on the spot, tell us about your challenges and hear from other parents
  • Discover myths that may keep you repeating ineffective discipline techniques (actually increasing misbehavior)
  • Learn strategies that increase and sustain child compliance (evidence-based, and attainable)

Gain simple, practical tools to raise cooperative, confident and connected children!

talking with teens peace at home

Facebook LIVE: Depression and Anxiety in Children and Teens 7pm 12/30

Predictable days stabilize the lives of children and teens, but planning those days has been made more difficult for parents since the onset of the pandemic. Uncertainty, social isolation and parent distress all have on impact on the mental health of kids and teens. Join Peace At Home Parenting founder Ruth E. Freeman, LCSW and teachers Aaron Weintraub, MS and Denise Parent, LMFT and other concerned parents like yourself for a focused conversation to help you recognize symptoms and find solutions to address your child's emotional needs as well as your own.

View our last Facebook LIVE Panel event: Teens in Turbulent Times

Rewatch the FB Live Event – Meltdowns, Tantrums: Kids Simply Struggling to Behave

Watch our Facebook Live event when we talked about meltdowns, tantrums, and kids simply struggling to behave.

JoAnn Robinson, PhD, Peace At Home early childhood expert, parent and grandmother and Ruth Freeman, LCSW and Peace At Home Founder had a informational discussion on Emotional Meltdowns and Behavior Struggles in Young Children.
child therapy

Does My Child Need To Be In Therapy?

By Katherine Bergamo

Maybe you are thinking about taking your child to see a therapist. Or maybe you are just wondering about whether your child’s behavior is in the “normal” range. Maybe a teacher or childcare provider has expressed some concerns. In any case, you probably have questions, the main one being, “how can I help?”

Here are some important tips to help you get started:

How do I know if my child needs therapy?

Your child may not vocalize that they need, or are interested, in therapy.  If your child is displaying any of these signs, it may be time to talk to someone – ask yourself, Does my child…

  • Have trouble managing emotions or behaviors
  • Seem distressed or upset for more than a few weeks
  • Have problems in more than one setting – like both home and school or school and childcare
  • Display behavior is getting in the way of everyday activities
  • And finally, if your efforts to support your child are not helping, it may be time to ask for help.

Every child is unique and displays their emotions and behaviors differently.  Your child may display different signs than the ones listed above. You know your child best. If you feel they are struggling and in need of help, reach out and speak to a therapist.

How do I Choose a Therapist for My Child?

It’s important to choose a therapist that you, your family, and your child trust. Start by asking people you trust – medical professionals, teachers, or maybe even friends and family. Most professionals recommend a therapist that is licensed such as a social worker, psychologist, professional counselor, or a marriage and family therapist. A good place to begin is to find a therapist whose training matches your specific concerns.  These concerns could be family issues, anxiety, depression, behavior problems, divorce, or other major family transitions to name a few.  Don’t hesitate to ask the therapist about their experience in treating the specific concerns you have and ask about the approaches that they use. It helps to ask if the approach is “evidence-based,” which means research has shown these strategies to be effective with children who have these particular challenges.

Trust your instincts and listen to your child. Make sure you support your child to see the therapist for at least 4 weeks and then assess the person and the process together. As a parent, you want to be sure that your child is seeing a therapist who includes you in the process, invites you to be part of goal setting, and offers you specific guidance about ways you can support your child.

There are no wrong questions to ask the therapist, just as there are no wrong answers to give the therapist.  Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • What is your experience treating this kind of problem?
  • Do you expect us (parents) to be involved in sessions with our child?
  • Will you meet with us separately?
  • Will you develop behavior plans to try at home?
  • Will you ask us to help our child practice new skills?
  • Help us understand how therapy works and how it might be helpful for our particular child.

For more on this topic, please check out our class, “Children and Therapy: Let’s Talk.”

Fitness Doesn’t Have To Be Formal

For many of us parents, he daily to-do list is so long that some things are bound to go undone. The things that end up getting scratched from the list are often what we so desperately need for ourselves, for our own well-being. Talking to parents, especially those with young children at home, I find that one of the first things to get ignored from that ever-present list is fitness. 

There is just no time for yourself when you are doing everything for everyone else, and there is certainly not time for an hour or two at the gym, right? The truth is that while a 5k run or bootcamp classes certainly have their merit and value, fitness doesn’t always have to be structured or formal. There are many ways to include activity into your day on those days when spare minutes feel about as impossible as finding those matching baby socks. 

There is plenty of pressure to have the perfect workout or spend an hour on your Peleton, but reality is a different story. Sometimes all we can muster are 5 minutes at a time in between house chores, distance learning, and outdoor play time. Those 5 minutes at a time can add up throughout the day. If you allow yourself the grace to let your fitness get a little bit messy, a little bit chaotic sometimes, we can lift that stress that builds up around working out and help ourselves make the most out of the limited time we have. Let’s figure out how to fit fitness into your life without it becoming a burden. Here are some easy suggestions we can follow to help fitness turn more into self-care and less into an added stressor. 

Make moving the priority, not working out. 

The most important thing to remember about physical movement is that it is an essential part of self-care, even during the busiest of times. Note that I used the term physical movement here instead of fitness, because sometimes just moving is enough. Focusing on “moving” instead of “working out” can decrease the stress of it all just by a mindset change.  It can be a walk with the kids, running around in the yard with them for 10 minutes, or just staying on your feet and moving when at the playground, instead of sitting on a bench. (Of course, sometimes as parents, we do need that time to just sit on the bench too!). The point is, when life gets so hectic that the structured workouts simply aren’t going to happen, just finding ways to move must be a conscious decision. 

Small bursts add up. 

When it comes to fitness, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. All of your physical activity doesn’t have to come at the same time in the day. Ideally get 30 minutes to yourself for some exercise, but we all know that that can’t happen every day. Intentionally taking 5 minutes, 5 times during the day adds up to 25 minutes of physical movement that you wouldn’t otherwise have had. And you truly can do a lot in 5 minutes. Try making yourself a plan at the beginning of each day. You can spend 5 minutes alternating between squats and lunges, another 5 minutes working on your core. 5 more doing some push ups and plank holds, and there you have 15 minutes of full body exercise. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing. And some days that’s all we can hope for. 

Give yourself grace. 

It is so easy to get caught up in the mindset that you have to have the best work out every time you exercise. But life often has other plans, especially for parents of young children. I often don’t even have time to change into workout clothes, let alone plan and execute a killer fitness session. But forgiving myself for that is a huge part of being successful with fitness in this crazy season of life. If you get one or two quality workouts per week and the rest have to be “on the fly”, that is enough. 

Physical movement is a stress reliever. Its a gift to your kids and a great way to take care of your mind and your body in one shot. The key is to find ways to keep it from being yet another stressor in your life. Let your toddler “lead” you in a workout, forget about the routines and just run like crazy around the backyard. Play leapfrog in the driveway or do sets of squats and lunges while your little one colors a picture. However you can fit it in, it’s the right way. Fitness doesn’t have to be formal to be physically and mentally beneficial. 

child-playing-laundry-basket-peace-at-home-parenting

Help Young Children Play on their Own

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

Many parents are asking, “How am I supposed to homeschool my child AND work from home? I am not a teacher!” This can feel overwhelming and impossible. You are not alone.

It is important to start small and plan no more than one or two activities for your child per day. Use items that you can easily find around the house- don’t reinvent the wheel. Here are some ways to set you and your child up for success:

  • Organize your space to promote independent play. Remove hazards, and offer a variety of “open-ended” materials that your child can use independently. Cardboard boxes keep children of all ages engaged for long periods of time because they can be used in so many different ways. Use couch cushions for climbing or to build a fort. Offer buckets, Tupperware containers, or reusable shopping bags for filling up/dumping or transporting objects. You may be surprised at how simple activities like this keep your child occupied while promoting critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Give your child an assignment or a task to accomplish. For example, ask them to go into the backyard and collect 5 acorns, 3 pebbles, and 1 twig. For toddlers, keep the tasks very simple, such as filling up a bag with stuffed animals. Encourage them to check in with you when they are finished. Together you can count how many are in the bag. Praise them for completing the assignment with high 5’s. Not only does this promote your child’s independence, but it also brings them back to connect with you – an important motivating factor!
  • Set up a “workspace” for your child next to where you are working. Use materials such as legos, train sets, coloring/activity books, or even sorting socks. If you set it up as a “job” for your child, they will feel like their work is important, just like yours! To encourage this independence for longer chunks of time, use a timer. Try 10 minutes of independent “work” to start and adjust as needed.
  • Be sure to praise your child when they complete a task or are behaving the way you would like them to behave. You will get MORE of the behavior that you praise. For example, “You are being so helpful by matching those socks.” or “You worked so hard to collect all of those trucks!” Talking about each truck is great to promote language development, too.
  • Finally, make it a priority! Being in nature for a hike or playing outdoors reduces stress, and the exposure to sunlight and exercise helps to improve sleep therefore strengthening our immune systems.  Find 20 minutes every day, even during a light rain shower, to be outside with your children.  Stomp in the puddles together.  Sing a song while you walk.  Make some positive memories in the stressful time.

This is a challenging period for everyone, so be kind to yourself and to your child. The more practice your child gets being independent, the easier this will become.

Check out on-demand recorded class: Working from Home: How Can I Help My Young Child Play More on Their Own?

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.