Responsive parenting

Stress-free meal prep with kids

baking with kids

There are so many positive outcomes from letting your child help you cook or bake!  Like we’ve discussed before, it gives them the opportunity to learn through doing, and it just gives them something to do instead of whine about being hungry while you’re trying to cook!

Plus, kids are more interested in eating something they made themselves (helping them overcome pickiness!).  And, of course, one day they’ll have to cook for themselves, so they have to learn somehow.

But let’s be real:  If you’re like me, you sometimes really don’t want to deal with having them “help” in the kitchen, especially when they’re little.  It’s the control issues we have, right?

They’re gonna make a huge mess.

This will take way longer than if I just did it myself.

They’ll just squabble over turns while they’re at the counter.

I’d really just like the chance to do something without them.

I can do it better.

And I’m not saying this in a judgy way.  I’m saying this because these are exactly the things that run through my head when I consider letting my kids get involved in cooking.

And certainly, there are days when it just won’t work to let your kids help in the kitchen.  But if you can set aside a time or two a week to let them get involved, it will allow them to build self-efficacy and self-confidence, two things they’re going to need their whole lives (and certainly not just in the kitchen). (more…)

How to give your kids a growth mindset

learning through play

In one of my favorite scenes of How I Met Your Mother, older Ted opens by talking about how smart phones have ruined conversation.  It shows a time, years before, when the gang is arguing over what the most popular food in America is.  Pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs:  they’re all passionately defended, as well as pancakes with maple syrup by the resident Canadian.  Fast forward to 2011, when someone brings up the same question, phone in hand:

“Hey, remember when we were arguing about the most popular food?”

“It’s bread.”

Everyone says, “Ah…” in a bored manner, and the debate is killed.

So how does this relate to parenting? (more…)

Nursing aversion (Or when breastfeeding isn’t magical)

So you may not even be able to tell in this picture, but General Leia is nursing here.  In fact, it’s a picture of the last time my oldest ever nursed.

This was a hard time for me (and for her).  I became pregnant with her sister when she was about thirteen or fourteen months old.  At first, I had no problem with continuing to nurse her while pregnant. In fact, that was easier because it kept her still, and I didn’t have the energy to chase her!

And then came nursing aversion.

Eventually, things changed though.  I started feeling really annoyed almost every time General Leia wanted to nurse.  I was determined to “power through,” though, because I knew breastfeeding until at least two is recommended by the World Health Organization and I knew it was good for her development.  I even continued nursing her after her sister was born.  Ideally, I wanted to let her nurse as long as she wanted and then to let her wean on her own.

little girl nursing

The negative feelings continued though.  Almost every time General Leia nursed, it made my skin crawl.  Seriously, it felt weird and gross and creepy.  But not with Bella Bean, though!  I had no problem nursing my infant, only my toddler.

How it felt to have nursing aversion

Nursing Leia didn’t hurt.  In fact, at the time I wished it did hurt.  Hurt I could deal with.  Pain I could handle.  But this intense feeling of annoyance, even rage, was something I couldn’t battle. Continue Reading

How parenting and discipline styles affect your children

reading to kids

Positive parenting is trending right now! But what is positive parenting? How is it different from other parenting styles? Is it effective?

(By the way: Want help coming up with ways to get your kids to cooperate with you? Grab your freebie list of ideas to gain your child’s cooperation without yelling or nagging now!)

Think about the last time your child was really being troublesome. There’s a good chance that something like this popped up in your head: If I don’t do something about this behavior right now, this kid is gonna to grow up to be a hooligan!

toddler sitting in bowl
The cutest hooligan!

When we’re really upset by our child’s actions, isn’t that the fear? That you can’t control the situation and that you’ll be responsible for raising a “bad” person? Maybe you’re a bad parent!

I know when I’m the most triggered by my kids, deep down, it’s really a fear about the future:

I’m freakin’ going to be waking up three times a night with this kid for the rest of my life!

Oh my gosh, she’s never going to learn to share!

He’s always going to be disrespectful.  He’s going to reflect badly on me!

So the initial thought: we have to crack down on this kid, now.  We gotta get that child under control before everything goes haywire.

But is this line of reasoning actually the most effective strategy for the long run? Let’s examine our thoughts about parenting styles for a moment here.

Continue Reading

Teach your kids to take turns

It’s so hard to teach kids to share. In any household with more than one child, a conversation much like this is heard almost every day:

“But I want that!”

“It’s not fair!”

“It’s my turn now!”

And so on, causing parents to want to tear their hair out.

Eventually, we snap. “Okay, you’ve had it long enough!  Give the toy to your brother now!  You have to learn to share.”

And it only makes sense that you lose it. There’s only so much whining you can take, and you’re probably trying to fix dinner, check backpacks, and peel the one-year old from around your leg at the same time that this is all going on.

But what if there was a better way? Continue Reading

Tandem nursing: breastfeeding while pregnant or breastfeeding two kids at once

Did you know it’s completely possible to breastfeed while pregnant, and  even to nurse two children at once? You may not hear about it often, but tandem nursing can actually be a beautiful, rewarding experience.

I got pregnant with my second when my oldest little girl was only about 14 months old.  General Leia was only 23 months old when her sister was born, but I knew that the World Health Organization recommends nursing for two years or beyond.  Besides, both of us were still enjoying nursing. So we kept it up.

On top of it all, I was exhausted when I came home from work every night.  Nursing Leia was the easiest way to get her to be still so I could lie down and rest! (more…)