3 Parenting Tips for Battling the Winter Blues
Another great post sent to us by our favorite Parenting Expert, Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions!
For families with young children, the winter months can seem like the most punishing time of the year: shortened days, cold temperatures, and snow days all drive kids indoors. How do we keep our kids happy, healthy, and active when we are already struggling to do the same for ourselves?
It can be done – use these tips to hold the winter blues at bay for your family:
Turn off the TV. It’s easy for our kids to weather the winter storms by enjoying all their favorite shows, but Jacob watching four straight hours of SpongeBob is doing him more harm than good. A little TV is fine, but other activities will be better in the long run to keep them mentally and physically fit. Set limits with your kids, then encourage other pursuits, from puppet shows to hallway bowling to creating masterpieces from dried pasta. Still stumped? Plenty of websites offer fun ideas for bored kids and their parents. If it’s too cold for outdoor time, schedule a visit to a local YMCA or play place to go swimming, shoot some hoops, or even just run around.
Remember Routines. With cold weather zapping everyone’s energy, and snow days throwing off our whole schedule, it’s easy to give in to laziness or chaos. Combat this by making it a point to stick to set routines each day—even when bad weather cancels school or quells activities. When the expectation exists that household chores and homework continue to be done daily, they’ll be no need for questioning or quarreling later.
Encourage Enthusiasm. Keep the winter blahs out of your home by maintaining a fun environment. Cold weather and shortened daylight hours often take away some of our kids’ favorite outdoor activities—which can be pretty disappointing to little ones. By encouraging any of your kids’ positive indoor pursuits, finding ways to get everyone active and staying upbeat yourself, you can make great strides in keeping your family happy and healthy, no matter how chilly it is outside.
While most of us still won’t look forward to winter, it helps to find some ways to survive—and even thrive.
How do you manage winter with your kids? Visit our Facebook site and tell us about your favorite strategies and activities!
Why do kids whine?
Editor’s note: The question had to be to be asked at least twice, because I’ve asked it at least a hundred times since I’ve had kids. I only have 2 boys- neither or even old enough to go to school full time- and they are both MASTER WHINERS!!! And the notion that girls whine more than boys is a complete and total MYTH.
If you have one of these whiners living in your house, this is not a post you’ll want to skip.
Here’s what my favorite Parenting Expert, Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions has to offer on this common question (yea, just getting really repetitive now)
WHY DO KIDS WHINE?:
Because we, as parents provide a PAYOFF! When kids whine – we DO SOMETHING and that something offers a payoff that makes the behavior continue.
When children whine, cling or display other annoying attention-seeking behaviors, they are trying to achieve a particular goal, or payoff. These irritating, frustrating, maddening behaviors are actually symptoms of a deeper issue.
All humans are hard-wired with two basic emotional needs – attention and power. The whining and attention-seeking behavior the whining child is displaying is intended to fulfill those two needs.
They get results
We also have to remember that children only continue behaviors that “work for them.” That is – they continue behaviors that get results. For a child who whines, clings and displays attention-seeking behaviors, she realizes that “Hey, this is a pretty effective way to get them to pay attention to me” or “Hey, this is a pretty effective tactic for me to get my way”…the child learns that whining provides a payoff. This behavior – if left unaddressed – will continue well into the teenage years.
Every time you pick up a whining child you’re providing a payoff for the behavior. He doesn’t hear your frustrated tone or your annoyed remark. He only knows that whining got him what he wanted. Parents essentially “train” their children that if the child is persistent with their whining, they will eventually get their way. This behavior “works” for the child and so she continues it. When this happens, the parent typically responds by picking up the child to make her stop, or, they respond with a reprimand such as “don’t hang on me”, “don’t be so whiny”, or even “I’ll give you something to cry about.”
Better than nothing
Whether the adult response was positive or negative, it fulfilled the child’s need for attention, and therefore the behavior resulted in a payoff. As the frequency of the whining and clinging increases, the parent’s response is almost always a negative reprimand. The child really wanted positive attention; but negative attention is better than none at all. And the cycle continues…whine/cling –> adult reprimand –> attention basket filled with negative attention –> child repeats (“maybe if I keep doing this, I’ll eventually get the positive attention I need) –> parent repeats with negative reprimand, etc.
Here’s the deal…children WILL have their needs for attention met – one way or another. If we don’t fill their attention baskets in positive ways – they will use negative attention-seeking behaviors. They know this works!
What kind of attention are you putting in YOUR kids’ basket?
Amy McCready is a wife and mom of two teenage boys. She founded Positive Parenting Solutions, Inc. in 2004 and developed the popular and successful Breakthrough Course that has changed the lives of thousands of parents through in-person seminars, speeches and online parenting training webinars. For more parenting articles and tips like the one above, visit Amy’s blog.
You Don’t Need Supernanny to get Parenting Help
Definition of a “crazy” person: Someone who does the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Definition of a crazy parent: someone who does the same thing over and over again with their children, but doesn’t understand why there are NO results.
My definition of crazy “entertainment” is a TV show like Supernanny, which engages viewers by showing frustrated parents dealing with out of control children. But all ends well after Nanny Jo Frost swoops in, and by the time the credits roll, she has transformed the desperate parents’ bad habits that led the family to be “crazy” enough to even qualify for reality show casting.
But not everyone has access to a Reality Show superstar.
You just need the craziness to stop… because you may very well be close to losing your mind.
Enter Amy McCready
My friend Amy McCready is the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, Inc., and has been invited onto the Today show, Rachael Ray, MSNBC, CNN, etc., to share her tips on empowering both parents and children to change their bad behavior into positive behavior.
I’d been eagerly awaiting the publication of Amy’s book If I Have to Tell You One More Time… and now that I’ve read it, I can tell you that it’s everything it promised to be: a step-by-step guide on how to parent “without nagging, reminding or yelling”, (yep, I’m guilty of all three.) Amy’s book is an easy-to-read, easy-to-use “toolbox,” filled with ideas on how to avoid repeating the same mistakes that can turn you into a “crazy” parent.
Everything is covered here, from misunderstandings to meltdowns, and she not only presents new ideas but also offers new insights into methods that simply don’t work anymore. Amy makes a good case that the “Time-Out” for example, which has become hugely popular, isn’t as effective as we all think it is.
Amy’s approach is to avoid the “self-defense” mechanism that gets triggered in kids, which leads to defiance, arguments and the inevitable “power struggle” (which leads nowhere at all.)
Amy’s latest book focuses on the central idea that every human being has a basic need to feel powerful-with children being no exception to the rule. And when this need isn’t met in positive ways, kids will resort to negative methods, which often result in some of the most frustrating behavior they exhibit. If I Have to Tell You One More Time…provides the knowledge and tools parents need to address the deeper issues that inspire their children to misbehave.
Amy doesn’t just offer up the theory behind the method; she provides practical information, including:
- 23 proven tools with step-by-step instructions on how to use them, when to use them, and even the words to say.
- Real-life examples of common misbehaviors, and how to address them
- Quizzes to help parents discover their parenting style and unconscious habits
- Answers to frequently asked questions from parents
How to Get Exactly What You Want In Life
Have you ever experienced something that has truly altered your core beliefs and became the one thing that lead you into your greatest self? There is really no telling which event is going to have the largest impact on who we are or how it affects the way we choose to lead our lives… It’s inevitable that at some point in our existence there will be a life changing event for all of us.
Perhaps it will be a near death experience or even the loss of a loved one. These events force us to confront our current behaviors, re-examine the consequences of our perpetual lifestyles and re-map our life’s purpose, or perhaps its just that these moments are the ones that define us and give us the purpose we’ve been searching for.
Depending on the nature of these moments and how you perceive them, even the most tragic events will later transpire as blessings in disguise and precious life lessons.
How you weather the storms in your life are the keys to being able to recognize the miracles that emerge out of these moments – giving you clues to getting exactly what it is you want.
What does this have to do with getting what you want?
First, it is discussions like these that help us to realize what we are truly capable of and what is required for us to achieve all that we have ever wanted. This is when we discover that we are more willing to trek through the tempest if we knew the reward at the end of it would be abundant and plentiful.
Second, when we know what we DON’T want, we get closer to the things we DO want. Pay attention. Keep a journal of these feelings so that you can map it out later on.
Finally— FLOW. This is the best advice I can give to anyone. The universe is filled with energies flowing, moving forward, growing, expanding and changing. It’s not hard to see. There is more than enough evidence in nature to see that the world has never stopped turning.
Rivers have currents…. THAT is energy flowing. Even if a large boulder falls into the center of the river, the current moves around it to keep flowing.
You can CHOOSE to be a part of this flow, and you will always be taken care of. Drop your oars and let the current take you. Relax, trust, and surrender. It works.
The Hour of Power
We all know how important that first hour is when we wake up in the morning, and how it sets the tone for the rest of our day, but how often are we utilizing that first 60 minutes to our advantage, Here are some sure fire tips to controlling your day before it controls you:
1. Claim your space! Before you ever power up the computer, write on a paper notebook what you would like to accomplish for the day.
2. Power it up with Pages! An effective way to fully wipe the sleep from your eyes and clean out the cobwebs are to pick up a pen and write for 5 continuous minutes whatever comes to your mind. Just spill it out without thinking and simply writing. About anything and nothing. This is what I like to call a brain dump. It gets out all the feels that I don’t need to be having to push forward. If something is bothering you, and festering deep within, these pages will find the culprit and squash it.
3. Voice your Value! Give yourself a pep talk each and every morning to dominate your domain. Keep it simple and easy to remember. “Today I will create magic!”
4. Create a ritual! One that is YOURS and belongs to you. Some people find that having their morning cup of Joe on the porch with a newspaper is a wonderful morning ritual. Others do Yoga. I put on make-up. Yep, don’t laugh. It’s MY time with MYSELF looking in the mirror and being artistic with my face. In fact, I put on make-up every day — even during the pandemic. It helped me stay grounded when the world felt so displaced.
As stay-at-home parents and business owners its very easy to get sidetracked with everyone else’s needs, or the unexpected chaos of the world. But as the CEO of your home and business, you do have SOME control over the direction you want to move in. As women, we are built to grow things. Creation of anything is nourishing and fuels us.
Morning rituals are a perfect way of starting the day holding your ground and keep jurisdiction over anything unexpected that may come your way.