Saturday, September 20, 2014


When I think of the word practice, it reminds me of the saying that practice makes perfect. I soon realized that practice meant a whole lot more. I also thought this tool card meant to give children practice, but realized I’m the one who needs to practice the tools I learn.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to practice getting my 22-month old son to sleep in his own bed. I was wondering why it was taking more than a couple of weeks for my son to stay in his bed? It's amazing to me how memories can be so selective. I don't remember having to go through this bedtime hassle with my other two children (but my husband does). After a very long 3-weeks of doing all the wrong things, I was reminded that practice for me was mostly about perseverance and a lot of patience.

 So on day three I reread my Positive Discipline book to remind me of exactly what I needed to do: 1) be consistent, 2) follow through, 3) use the least amount of words possible, 4) stay calm, and 5) make sure the message of love gets through. I realized that practice was also an extension of establishing a routine and taking time for training.

A lot of the training was more about me rather than my baby. I found myself mostly being inconsistent. Inconsistent with my patience, energy and even more confusing, the routine of him going to and then staying in his bed. I wasn't following through with saying few words, so I scripted, "I love you and it's time to go to sleep."

He didn't want to stay in bed and I was adamant about him falling asleep in his "big boy bed." Saying I love you, helped me to stay calm, and helped us both with our frustration.

How could I have forgotten important details of having a predictable schedule? How could I have forgotten how important it is to have a script and positive energy with lots of patience?

Once I created a routine, took deep breaths to remind me to be patient, and repeated the few words time; we practiced for less than 3-days. I'm on day 10 and I can finally say that all the practice paid off
until we went on vacation and stayed in a hotel and messed up our routine.

Oh well, time to practice again.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Understand the Brain

I know Summer is here, because I have officially “flipped my lid,” or at least I have wanted to every day since school has been out…sigh. On one hand I am truly grateful to have a career where I am able to spend every day with my boys, but on the other hand I’m counting the days until school starts again.

I think I’m not alone when saying that I had fantasies of a fun-filled active Summer full of swimming, play-dates, picnics at the park, practicing lots of baseball, walks in our neighborhood etc. But, lets also be realistic for a moment…in-between all those fun activities are trips to the grocery store, Target, daily housework, and a few other “boring” errands. At the end of the day I’m exhausted!

Therefore, it’s much easier for me to flip my lid.

For those who are reading this and are unfamiliar with “flipping your lid” I suggest you watch Daniel Seigels demonstration of Brain in the Palm of the Hand.

To sum it up, when you’ve flipped your lidmeaning you’ve completely lost your coolyour fight or flight mid-brain is exposed and rational thinking is not taking place. With two flipped lids face to face (yours and your child’s), how much helpful problem solving do you think is happening? Who is listening? When you and your child are in a “flipped lid” state, is this the time to teach or try to solve the conflict? When you understand the brain you realize that children cannot learn anything positive when they feel threatened. They are capable only of fight or flight—even though their fight or flight may be emotional withdrawal or thoughts of rebellion.

But all is not lost. There are many Positive Discipline tools that can help you and your children get back to rational thinking. ConnectionBefore Correction, Positive Time-Out and Hugs…to name just a few.

I often need to remind myself that, I cannot expect to control their behavior when I can’t even control my own. The good news is that “Mistakes are Wonderful Opportunities to Learn.” And thank goodness my children are so willing to forgive me.