Here is some good news kids, “Summer vacation is approaching!” Parents, here is some bad news…”Summer vacation is approaching…”

Is the arrival of summer so bad? Why do parents find this time stressful? Children can answer that question with one simple statement, “I am bored.” Does boredom lead to cognitive decline? In short, not necessarily, especially depending on how the downtime is used. While keeping children busy with extracurricular activities and screen time could be helpful and a great learning experience, it is also important to provide some downtime. Balance is the key to this thought process.

In, “The Yes Brain” by Daniel J. Siegal M.D., and Tina Payne Bryson, providing children with a balanced life through imaginative play can lead to discovery and exploration, along with learning about interests and disinterests. Through play, children learn and build upon planning and predicting, consequences, and cognitive skills. Not only does play enhance such aspects, but it also provides children a space to practice being social and learning emotional regulation.

Parents, you have so much going on in your lives. Doesn’t it feel good now and again to reset? The same can be said about children. During summer break, children can spend time with family and friends, leading to socializing and creating connections.

Children can also catch up on sleep, which is another huge aspect of development. It is said within The Yes Brain book, that age and development play a huge role in how many hours of sleep (including naps) are needed for each age range. To put sleep hours into a visual perspective, Daniel J. Siegal M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson share The American Academy of Sleep Medicine results, which are endorsed by The American Academy of Pediatrics. Let’s take a look at what is being recommended:

Ages 4-12 months= 12-16 hours of sleep (including naps)

Ages 1-2 years old= 11-14 hours of sleep (including naps)

Ages 3-5 years old= 10-13 hours of sleep (including naps)

Ages 6-12 years old= 9-12 hours of sleep

Ages 13-18 years old= 8-10 hours of sleep

I ask all parents to ponder upon these numbers. Are your children getting enough sleep? Sleep is a crucial component of the well-being of a child. Summertime can be the perfect time to catch up and create healthy sleep patterns for the upcoming school year.

As Daniel J. Siegal M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson explain, downtime is different from planned extra-curricular time. Typically, extra-curricular time involves activities such as soccer, dance, baseball, chess practice, etc. These types of activities are not to be discouraged but should be balanced with rest and self-exploration. Television, video games, and screen time…what is the deal with those? Again, the main consideration to keep in mind is a balanced lifestyle. One that can provide children with time to rest, explore, and be involved in the social aspects of the community.

Sleep, rest, and free play during summer, how many of you are in? But what should you do when your child comes up to you and says, “I am bored”? The answer is not a simple one parents, but providing space for your child to use their imagination can be the start. Allow them to explore the yard and play in the mud. This will engage the right side of their brain. This will help them build those core memories. Give them some tools to engage in a different and unique play where they can create their scenarios. Parents, while this information may be helpful it may not always be perfect and that is okay. Give it a try though. You never know, you might also be cheering hooray for the summer! Hooray for downtime! Regardless, you’ve got this parents!

To get some ideas, check these links out:

STEM Resources for Parents | National Inventors Hall of Fame®

100 Summer Fun Ideas for Kids and Parents

Free Summer Bucket List for Teens Printable Checklist (

10 Cool Activities with Ice to Kickstart the Summer – Happy Tot Shelf

Check out “The Yes Brain” for more:

The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child: Siegel, Daniel J., Bryson, Tina Payne: 9780399594663: Books

Written by Celina Peña


Every parent has likely had the struggle of attempting to rationalize with their irrational child. Be it over wanting to wear Superman pajamas vs Batman pajamas to bed, wanting to eat dessert before dinner, why they can’t crawl around on the ceiling like Spiderman, or something else. When children get upset, they tend to lose all reason and just want what they want. As parents, this can get frustrating. Many end up falling into the trap of losing their patience and using terms like, “Because I said so”, “Why don’t you understand ____? We’ve gone over this”. Often this leads to bigger arguments, tears, and an unhappy household.

In the Whole Brain Child book, Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson give some strategies on how to take these situations and turn them into calm, learning moments that promote bonding and understanding. The Connect and Redirect strategy is to first remember that we were taught logic over time, it is not our brain’s natural response to our feelings and frustrations. Even as adults we struggle to add logic to our big emotions, so imagine how difficult that is for our children who are still learning to even put words to those big feelings. It may seem counterintuitive, but trying to rationalize with them using logic isn’t the best approach.

Instead, try meeting them where they are at: Get down to their eye level, use a calm voice and body language, engage empathetically, listen non-judgmentally, and take their problems as seriously as they are. When we approach our emotional children with emotion, it lets them know that we are hearing them and are taking the time to consider what they are saying versus feeling brushed off and sent back to bed. In this state, they are only using their emotional right-side brain. When we connect with their right brain, using our right brain, it helps to bring them back into balance. Then, once they are calm again, we can introduce left-brain logic and redirect.

Here they can take the time to learn how to problem solve and make a plan to ease their worries or frustrations. This may not always work, as sometimes their emotional storm is too far gone and just needs time to pass before introducing the Connect and Redirect strategy, but remember, it’s never okay for them to harm others, themselves, or property when they are experiencing these right brain emotional floods. They still need to be safe, and your rules and boundaries still deserve to be respected.


Written by Emily Brown




When children are resistant to counseling, it can be frustrating. You, as the parent, want them to be happy and healthy, and to be able to process their emotions well as they grow and experience new things in life. You feel that counseling will be able to offer them tools and techniques that will help them tackle the trials they are facing. But, they say they say they don’t want to and continue to refuse no matter what you say. This is a completely natural response. It can seem like an intimidating thing to do. Talking to a stranger about your feelings is hard and initially can feel scary.

It may help to have a conversation with your child when they are in a calm and open mood. Sometimes kids can’t exactly express their “why” for the choices they make or the things they say or do. So, rather than asking them “why”, see if you can have them talk about what their thoughts and feelings are surrounding the idea of counseling. What are the pros and cons of going? What do they think will happen if they go? Do they know why you want them to try counseling? Perhaps they can give you some insight into their world and what is making them reluctant. Once you understand their worries, you can address their concerns with facts about the experience that reduces their fears, helpful explanations that increase their understanding and problem solving together to make it a good experience for them. 

Sometimes giving the example of your “why” can help kids find their own. Also, it may be a matter of making it their idea or finding their currency. If there is something in it for them, they may be more likely to be willing to go, or they may just need to be able to talk themselves into going if it means they will be able to better manage something that they are struggling with. If they are into crafts or games, Resilience does a lot of play-based therapy, as children learn best when something is fun. We also have fidget toys for the clients to play with while they are in here, if a game doesn’t sound fun, as well as a piece of candy they get at the end of every session. 

We try to make sure that every client feels heard, understood, appreciated, and not forced to do or say anything while they are here. This is a safe space for them, so we will do our best to make sure they feel at ease. We operate under the idea that no client cares what we know until they know that we care, so we always make sure that the first thing we communicate in therapy is the fact that we, as therapists, care about each child, their health and success. We believe the number one success of therapy is the relationship that is developed between the therapist, client and family. We take the time, care and intentionality needed to build an individualized relationship that meets the unique needs of each client.


Written by Emily Brown

When your child is anxious, it’s natural to want to help them feel better. However, when we try to protect them from things that are upsetting, we may, accidentally, be making their anxiety worse. The best course of action is to teach them to deal with it in a healthy manner, rather than trying to take them out of the uncomfortable situation and reinforcing that getting upset is a good way to cope. Instead, talk to them. Let them know they are going to be okay, even if they are scared. Unfortunately, you can’t promise your child that their fears are unrealistic. But you can express your confidence that they are capable of facing their fears and feeling less afraid over time.

When you are talking your child through an anxious moment, try to avoid leading questions, such as “Are you worried about the test tomorrow?”, and instead ask open-ended questions, such as “How do you feel about the test tomorrow?”. It can also be helpful to play the “What If” game – What if their fear does happen? How would they respond? Who would they ask for help? Make a plan with them and give them confidence that your expectations are realistic – you don’t expect them to do something they can’t handle. Use calm body language and gentle tones to show that you are calm. This may help them gain a sense of calm as well. Remember though, validation doesn’t always mean agreeing with them. We don’t want to belittle their feelings, but we also don’t want to amplify them. Let them tell you about their fears, listen to understand rather than to respond, and then encourage them. A good example of this is, “I know you’re scared and that’s okay. I’m here and I’m going to help you through this”. Express to them that you understand the work and energy it takes to work through their anxiety, especially if it’s something they need to do over and over again.

The good news is that there is something called the “habituation curve”, which is a fancy term for “getting used to it”. Meaning their anxiety will drop over time as they continue to successfully come in contact with their stressor. However, it’s important to remember that this contact must be at the child’s pace, taking small manageable steps and done with care and compassion. Otherwise, you risk making their fears worse. It may take longer than you like, and it may not drop to zero, but that is how we learn to get over our fears, one step at a time, with repeated exposures. The most difficult time to face fears is the ‘Before Period’, such as before giving a presentation in front of the class. Try to reduce the anticipation by avoiding dragging out a long conversation before hand.

Lastly, kids are very perceptive and pick up on our reactions and behaviors. If you experience anxiety or high stress, they are going to notice how you handle it and imitate that response. If you let them see you managing that stress and anxiety calmly, working through it, and feeling good about making it to the other side of the moment, they will imitate that too.


To get your child and family help with anxiety please schedule an initial consultation with one of our our amazing clinicians!


Written by Emily Brown

As the mental health needs of our world rise and the stigma around mental illness falls, more and more people are becoming aware of the power of mental health therapy. Therapy is a beautiful opportunity to explore challenges and reshape our views of ourselves and our world.

And while the number of people seeking individual therapy continues to grow, most people have yet to discover the joy and power of group therapy. 

Group therapy is a place, like individual therapy, for someone to explore their thoughts and feelings in a safe and supportive environment – but it carries several unique advantages. 

Unlike individual therapy, group therapy gives everyone an opportunity to connect with other people living through similar experiences. Suddenly, the task of overcoming a particular difficult challenge is a group effort, with multiple others supporting each other through it. What used to be a person’s deepest burden held in isolation is now held in love with other caring hearts. The more we support and share with one another, the more we form strong bonds to withstand the many trials of life.

In addition, group therapy can be a cost effective way to remain connected with quality mental health services. Most group therapy services are less than half the price of an individual session, and for many, this represents something that can be maintained for more extended periods of time. It allows for continued connection and exposure to the practices that lead to abiding mental health – and this can make a huge impact over the course of a lifetime. Maintaining long term exposure to life changing truths is – well, life changing!

Also, group therapy can be an excellent supplement to individual therapy, as it can normalize many of the difficulties we experience. Once we realize we are not alone, and perhaps begin to see other people succeed as they work through similar issues, we can take courage in facing our own challenges. Sometimes all it takes is a change in perspective and a few others encouraging you along the way.

Finally, group therapy gives everyone the opportunity to be a healer, not just a patient. As we each create space for the difficulties of those around us, we are giving hope and healing to those who need it most. Group therapy can be wildly fulfilling in this way – allowing us all to walk away feeling like we are part of something bigger than ourselves. And sometimes, when we care deeply enough about others to serve them, we discover our own answers along the way.

Please reach out to us today to get connected in our therapy groups!


Written by Hunter Wilson

Parents are wondering how to explain many tragic/violent events that are covered in the media to their children. Parents want to protect their children but they also want to have influence and be a support to their child as they face the realities of this world. Here are some tips to guide you as you communicate with the varying ages of children in your family. 

For younger kids, model calm and clearly communicate that they’re safe, even if what they’re seeing or hearing is scary. Don’t let news stories repeatedly play in front of the children, let them hear it from you and then encourage them to go about their important childhood focuses, such as play.

For school-age kids, provide them an opportunity to tell you what they saw/heard and ask any questions that are on their mind. Provide empathy and answer questions honestly-but limiting details, concretely and with age appropriate words.

For teenagers and young adults, discuss healthy ways to channel their emotions and voice what they believe in. Give them examples of how you cope with the stress of tragic/violent events happening in our world. Encourage your teen to have balance through focusing on good things in their life and making a difference through volunteering. 

For kids of all ages, help them make sense of how these events fit into our world’s history in an honest, age-appropriate way. Open up the opportunity for them to always feel free to come to you with questions and emotions about things they hear in the media. Model balance by getting away from screens and media input and engaging in self-care and family time. Empower your child and teen to be the change they want to see in the world.




Keeping memories alive, especially for our children can help us move toward healing in our grief. Many children share that they are fearful that they will forget their memories with their special person who died. They worry about forgetting some of the little things about their special person like their laugh or how they smell. Some children who are very young may not have any memories but storytelling through anecdotes, watching videos, and looking at photographs of their special person can help them “get to know” their special person and help them feel more connected.

Taking time to talk as a family about special memories each person in the family has with their special person can keep these precious memories fresh in our hearts and minds. Bringing out photo albums, scrapbooks, the special person’s belongings, going through pictures on your phone or computer, and watching home movies can help spark that conversation as well as help the children picture the memories in their minds.

Additionally, writing out stories and memories can help us remember the finest details for years to come. As a family, work on writing a story about your special person that is filled with memories, funny stories, and the little details of your special person that you never want to forget. You may also decide to make a memory box and fill it with your special persons’ favorite things, their scent, clothing items, pictures, music and anything else that would help bring their memory to life. It may be helpful to plan a particular time and place that you and your family will have these “memory moments”. This intentionality of setting aside time can help ensure this takes place in the whirlwind and busyness of life.

teen who is sad


The teen years in parenting are both rewarding and challenging. Some of the challenges of the teen years for parents is that the teen often wants to be in their room by themself and is seeking more and more of their independence. When kids are little, they are highly dependent on the parent to help and even rescue them in many ways. As kids grow, the role of the parent shifts into more of a support role as they often want and need to navigate problems on their own. When trying to figure out if your teen has depression and how to help as their parent, these factors can be complicated and stressful. 

 Here are some signs to look out for when your teen is depressed:

  • Have they been sad or irritable most of the day, most days in a week for at least two weeks?
  • Have they lost interest in things that they used to really enjoy?
  • Have their eating or sleeping habits changed?
  • Do they have very little energy, very little motivation to do much of anything?
  • Are they feeling worthless, hopeless about their future, or guilty about things that aren’t their fault?
  • Have their grades dropped, or are they finding it difficult to concentrate?
  • Have they had thoughts of suicide? If so it’s crucial you have them evaluated by a mental health professional immediately. If the thoughts are really serious and there is imminent threat, you will need to take them to an ER.

If your teen is showing more than three of these signs, they may have depression and it is important that they be evaluated by a mental health professional. Parents often want to fix their teens issues and they catch themselves wishing they had a magic wand to make it all better. This comes from a place of love and care. While you can’t take it away or fix it, as their parent you can support your teen through your loving presence in their life. Here are a few ways you can support your teen:

Give empathy and understanding.

Whether your teen is thriving or struggling the most important work as a parent is strengthening your relationship with your teen. Remember what it is like to be a teen. What did you struggle with? What did you feel like your parents did not understand? What were you insecure about? Then, try to imagine what it is like to be in your teen’s shoes.

Parents who have a teen experiencing depression often feel frustrated that they seem down and irritable a lot of the time and are not doing much of anything to help themselves. Parents need to understand and get curious about how the teen is viewing or experiencing their world.  Perhaps, in their perspective there isn’t much in their life that is making them happy or maybe something extremely disappointing has happened to them. It makes sense that they could start avoiding things they used to enjoy and retreat to their room if they were experiencing these things. Depression affects motivation, energy levels and mood so even the smallest things become more difficult. 

Show empathy and understanding by validating their feelings. This does not mean you are condoning their unhealthy behavior. The only way to help a teen is to first connect with them and help them feel that it is safe to talk more about what is going on.  For example, you could say, “It seems like you have been feeling sad lately. I’ve noticed you don’t want to do fun things as much anymore. Can you tell me more about how you been feeling?” Be clear that you want to listen and understand what is going on for them without trying to problem solve at all.  Use reflective listening, showing that you understand what they are saying. Simply say back what you heard such as, “I hear that your heart is hurting right now.” 

Be compassionately curious. Ask them open ended questions that check in on what they might be feeling, thinking, behaviors you are noticing or experiences they have had. Do this in a way that is not emotionally charged but very calm and collected. Teens are very sensitive to a parent being critical and often worry that others are judging them. The parent must be very mindful to suspend their first judgements, their own anxieties, and the urge to solve the teen’s problems. The worst part of any emotional pain is feeling like you are alone in that pain and that other’s do not understand. By listening without judgement, being compassionately curious and showing your teen that you care and understand, they will be more able to see you as their helper and support. Next, is to be patient and available so that they can turn to you when they feel ready to talk. 

Give your teenager opportunities to do activities without being critical of them. Instead of saying, “Sweetie, you should really get up and do something. How about calling an old friend?” you might say, “I’m going to the Target to do an errand. Let me know if you want to come with me, and maybe we can get lunch together.”

Set aside time throughout the week where you have an opportunity to connect face to face with your teen without distractions or trying to multi-task. Dedicated time to connect together, without forcing the conversation a certain way, can go a long way in reducing your teen’s depression. It helps them know that they are not alone and that they have your support, which makes all the difference in recovery.

Does all of this just seem like you are not doing enough as a parent? Some parents might feel this way if they tend to be “doers”. Parents, it is so important to balance the “being and the doing”. Being present for your teen in a supportive, and not a controlling way, and being able to communicate your acceptance is exactly what your child needs from you right now. This is the roadmap for strengthening your relationship in an active way. 

Accentuate the positive.

When a teen is depressed they are often locked into a negative mindset. They may interpret things from that negative mindset that sometimes make communication difficult and also decreases their self-esteem. One helpful thing parents can do is to point out the positive things your teen does, and do it often. For example you could say, “You put effort into going to school today even though your energy is so low. I know that took a lot of effort today.”  You might ask, well, isn’t that what they should be doing anyway? Think about how you feel when you get praise from your boss at work. We all get a mood boost and value boost when we are appreciated and recognized for doing well or putting effort into something, even if it is expected of us. Accentuating the positive in this way can help break up the negative mindset and remind your teen that you are their ally.

Notice what type of communication you are having with your teen on a daily basis; how many negative things have you said vs how many positive things you have said. How many times have you tried to fix them or their problems? A rule of thumb with a depressed teen is that positive communication should far outweigh the negative. Did you know that or every 1 negative thing that is said to someone, 5 more positive things need to be said to balance it out? Use this ratio to be mindfully communicating in a positive way with your teen. Resist mentioning that you are disappointed that they aren’t hanging out with friends, cleaning their room, or playing their instrument. Remember that they don’t want to feel this way and if they could get better instantly they would.  

Other ways you can use positive communication with your teen is to point out how you see them caring for themselves, positive ways they are communicating with others, responsibilities they are fulfilling, ways they are interacting with the family, talents and strengths they are displaying and reasons you are proud of them. Even if they don’t respond, inwardly they will appreciate that you noticed and that will draw you closer together. 

Get Active.

Create opportunities that they can say yes to or help them accomplish tasks that are challenging for them by doing it together. One way to reengage your teen is to give opportunities to get involved in regularly scheduled activities that involve their interests and talents such as sports or art. They may struggle with motivation and interest at the beginning but as they continue this consistent schedule they should start feeling more excited and motivated. These types of activities can also be a self esteem boost! 

Encourage your teen to volunteer. Helping others and making a difference in the community is a powerful antidepressant and helps improve one’s self-worth. Brainstorm various causes and organizations that your teen would be interested or gives them a sense of purpose. Bonus points for volunteering as a family, which can be a powerful and positive bonding experience. 

Regular exercise makes a difference. Exercise helps ease depression symptoms by releasing feel-good endorphins, enhancing your sense of well-being. It can also help take your mind off of negative thoughts that exacerbate depression. Exercise, when it becomes a consistent part of one’s life, can also develop into a positive coping skill to help with low-self esteem and stress.

The trouble with depression is that it is difficult to find the motivation and energy to get started with exercise. One way parents can help teens with this is together create a activity schedule for their week. This can be done by starting small such as exercising for 10 minutes a day and doing it together, regardless of mood, it is simply something in the schedule that is completed. Soon the motivation and energy will start to come back and that is when that goal can increase to 15 or 20 minutes and moving up with a goal of 1 hour a day. Remember to make it something the teen wants to do and try to make it fun or relaxing such as a nature walk, playing with the dog in the backyard, or shooting hoops. 

Help Your Teen Get Therapy.

If offered, many depressed teens will want to go to therapy and others will be quite resistant. Your job is not to force it but to open up the door and create the opportunity for support. You may say something like, “I know you are going through a rough time, and I have some thoughts on what could help. Let me know, if you would like me to share the ideas with you. You are not alone in this, I care about you”. Ask your teen if they believe something could really help them and let them know you are open to suggestions. You might be surprised by their answer. 

Your teen is depressed which means they will be irritable towards you and will even try to push you away. It is important for you to respect their need for space and not be too pushy. You can let them know that you will give them more space, and that you want to be there for them to listen or problem solve together, when they are ready. 

If they do come back to you saying that they want help, be prepared with a few options in regards to therapists you think could be a good fit. Empower them to choose the one they think they would be most comfortable with. The therapeutic relationship is one of the most important aspects to successful outcomes of therapy so it is very important to give your teen an opportunity to have ownership in their treatment choices. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an effective therapy modality for treating teens with depression. To learn more about getting treatment for your teen at Resilience Therapy, please schedule a free 15-minute consultation with a therapist who cares and can help! 



The way in which a child grieves and their understanding of death is influenced by their age and developmental level. Understanding your child’s developmental stage can help you know how to talk to your child about their grief.


Ages 2-4: Children at this age think in the present moment, therefore their grief is in the present moment. They do not think death is permanent or forever. Children at this age are very concrete thinkers and cannot understand abstract ideas like death. Their best understanding of death can be explained in what happens to the body. For example, “Grandpa died. His heart stopped beating so his body couldn’t work anymore. He died.”


Ages 5-7: Children at this age begin to understand connections and are interested in the process. They may begin to ask questions like “how” and “why” their special person died as they begin to gain a basic understanding of the death. They are still concrete thinkers at this age. You could say, “Grandpa died because he had problems with his heart that could not be fixed by medicine or doctors. His heart stopped working and he died.”


Ages 8-11: Children at this age understand the finality of death. Children are detail oriented at this age and may ask very specific questions about the death. They may begin to show more emotions when processing their grief. They may ask, “What was the problem with Grandpa’s heart?” As a parent you want to answer honestly and basically. “His heart became too weak and could not deliver as much blood to the body as it should and then his body couldn’t do all of its important jobs to stay alive.”


Ages 12-18: Children are developing their identity and self-esteem at this age. They understand and can conceptualize death. Teens understand their world from an egocentric perspective. Often, they feel that no one understands what they are going through. They may look to peers or people outside of their family for support as they process their grief. Be honest about the death as this builds trust between the parent and teen. Offer to answer any questions they have and emotional support if and when they need it. 


Your child’s grief will shift over time as they enter into different developmental stages. It is very normal for grief to surge during these developmental shifts. This occurs because your child can process death using increased levels of abstract thinking and with more complex emotions. 


There are many ways you can support your child through these developmental stages. 

  • Encourage your child to ask questions and let your child know that they can ask you anything. 
  • Be truthful and open with your child and build trust and safety with them. 
  • Find a special way to remember the special person with your child. 
  • Offer to connect them with child and teen therapy services for additional support as they navigate their grief and developmental changes.



Children need connectedness, structure, consistency and examples. When we can fulfill their basic needs, we give children the opportunity to flourish. 



Children need to feel connected to their parents and caregivers. From a child’s perspective this comes through spending quality time together by talking together, sharing in the child’s hobbies/talents, cuddles, playing with toys and games that the child finds fun. You may not have a full two hour block to just sit and play with your child, even if you wish you did. That is ok. Quality time does not mean it has to be a very long time. It could be 15 minutes of looking into your child’s eyes, listening to what they are saying, and reflecting that back. It could be five minutes of just cuddle time on your lap when you get home from work, before you jump into fixing dinner. It could be weekly Friday Family Fun Nights, when phones are put away and everyone gathers around a board game to play. How we speak to our children can create connectedness or distance in the relationship. Use strengths-based language with your child that focuses on what they are doing well and the positive character traits they possess. Speak to them with patience, kindness and respect and surely they will model the same type of communication with others. There is nothing more important in parenting than developing a reliable, trusting, and loving relationship with your child; it is more important than following the rules or going to bed on time. If you are connecting with your child regularly, both of your basic core needs of connection will be satisfied and you both will be able to rise up to daily responsibilities a whole lot better.


Provide Structure

Kids need to be taught through time and experience how to interact with themselves and others in a variety of environments and circumstances. We should not expect kids to know how to behave from the time they are born and on. They don’t know the rules yet and it is our job and privilege to teach them, correct them, and model expected behavior. Remember, when managing difficult behaviors, first validate the child’s feelings and needs with empathy and unconditional love. Help them cope through their emotions. Then, teach them helpful and acceptable ways they can communicate their needs, appropriately interact with their environment and/or problem solve. Rules should be based on family values and this connection between rules and values should be communicated to the child repeatedly. For example, “We don’t hit brother when we are angry. Everyone needs to feel safe here and we believe in being kind to ourselves and others. Let’s find another way you can let out your anger that is safe and does not hurt anyone or anything.” There is an important WHY and significance to the rules you are teaching your child. These valuable moments of teaching children appropriate ways of managing themselves and the world around them are instilling life skills that will enable them to have healthy relationships with themselves and others over their lifespan. 


In addition to teaching rules and boundaries, kids thrive in routine and a predictable schedule. It helps kids to feel safe and secure when they know when they can expect their next meal or how they will be put to bed each night. A good bedtime routine helps promote a healthy sleep cycle by cueing sleepiness similarly each night.  A consistent schedule also helps to reduce conflict. Instead of having a power struggle with your child that it is time to transition from play time to lunch time, it is just the schedule that is being implemented consistently each day; it is simply just what we do. The schedule also allows for being able to predictably look forward to things the child enjoys. An example of this is, “I know you’re sad to stop playing right now because we were having so much fun. But you know this is now the time we eat lunch. I’m so excited to play with you more after your nap this afternoon.” Your child knows this is true because that routine and schedule happened yesterday and the day before. To add, schedule and routine help establish healthy habits (ie. brush teeth, wash face, wind down at night with a book before bed) that will create a foundation for your child to build on as they become adults and need self care to help manage stress. There are many benefits to creating a consistent and reliable schedule for your child including helping your child feel safe and secure, reducing conflict and establishing healthy habits. 


Be an Example

The daily intentionality and energy it takes to provide consistent teaching and modeling of expected behavior based on family values is a big commitment, but it is absolutely WORTH IT. Children are constantly watching and listening to how parents behave. Parents often worry, “What if I can’t be a perfect example to my kids all the time?” It is important for parents to remember that no person is perfect, not a child, not an adult. What matters most is what we do with our mistakes, how we learn and grow from them. We can model this to our children by making our best effort to be an example of the values we are instilling in them and then when we make a mistake or fall short we can acknowledge it, communicate through it and reflect on how we might react differently next time or ways we may need to make amends. For example, “I know mommy tells you that we do not yell at each other when we are angry, but tonight mommy yelled and broke that rule. Mommies have big feelings too just like kids do and sometimes mommies can make mistakes. I want you to know that I should not have yelled at you. I am sorry for yelling at you and hurting your feelings. Will you please forgive me? Next time I am too angry and feel like yelling I am going to walk away and take some deep breaths.” We want our children to know there is room for them to make mistakes and owning our own is the best way to model the growth mindset. 


How will you connect with your child today? What is a structure you could put in place that may help smooth daily transitions? What is one way you want to be a positive example to your children this week?


 Be kind to yourself as a parent, you are doing a great job!