How to Avoid Taking Your Stress Out On Your Kids

Last updated on March 3rd, 2018 at 11:40 am

As mothers, we are constantly trying to juggle responsibilities. With these responsibilities comes stress, a lot of stress. Add children, and before we know it, we are taking our stress out on them. In fact, we might find ourselves treating friends and coworkers better than our own children and families.

We don’t want to dump our stress on our children. We don’t need to tell them all our woes. They can’t fix it, they don’t understand it, and at their age they don’t need to be stressed and worried about grown up problems.

We do need to take a few minutes to figure out what is causing our stress. Are we tired, overwhelmed, money trouble, marriage stress or work stress? Maybe we have just had a long day juggling the laundry, cleaning, playing Candy Land, and chauffeuring kids. After a little introspection we need to realize that stress is going to happen and we should do all we can to avoid taking it out on our children.

So.. What can we do?

Don’t Multitask – Focus on our Children  When we have a lot to do, and a lot on our minds, it is easy to think that multitasking is the answer. As women we seem to take pride in our multitasking abilities. When we are trying to make dinner, help kids with homework, fold laundry, AND listen to our 5 year old talk about their day, everything else will be more important than what happened at recess. We take our frustrations and stress out on our children because they are making it hard for us to get EVERYTHING ELSE done. The laundry can wait, and so can dinner. Sit down with your child. Give them your undivided attention and focus on their words and their facial expressions. Not only will it bring you closer, but we won’t see them as a stress, we will see them as the children we love more than anything. Remember LOVE is spelled T-I-M-E.

Establish a Routine  We need to put our families and children on a routine. With a routine, we will know what to expect and so will our children. This will eliminate a lot of stress that comes from the unknown and from struggles with bed time and mealtime. Our children will be better behaved when things are predictable. This mean less stress triggers for us as mothers.

Have Realistic Expectations  We don’t have to be super women. And, we SHOULD NOT COMPARE OURSELVES TO OTHER MOMS. We need to be realistic about what we can tackle and undertake. When we start comparing we tend to see everyone else’s strengths and our weaknesses. It is never a fair comparison. We should surround ourselves with people and things that are supportive and uplifting. Not things that make us feel inadequate.

Put Ourselves in our Children’s Shoes  As mothers, we need to take a minute to see things from our children’s perspectives. Have empathy. Realize they don’t mean to upset us. They are young, learning, and inquisitive. They don’t know rush, hurry, or quick. If we can take just a second and see things from their eyes, we will not be so quick to take our frustrations out on them.

See our Children as People  When we are stressed, it is easy to see our children as objects. Objects that are keeping us from what we are trying to do. We are trying to make dinner, or answer the phone, or fold the laundry and their need for help or attention is getting in the way. We need to see them as people. Little people. They have thoughts and hopes and dreams and good days and bad days just like us. It is the laundry that is actually getting in the way of us being with our kids, Right?

Play Together as a Family  We have to find time to recreate and relax together as a family. Life needs to be filled with work and play. When families play together they grow closer, develop stronger relationships, and have more patience for one another. Plus it is a needed diversion from the stress we deal with each day. Find time at least once a week to do something fun together (this doesn’t mean it has to cost money).

Have a Sense of Humor  Laugh. When you are ready to loose your temper with your children because you are stressed, laugh first. Even if you have to force yourself. You will find it fixes a lot of things.

Minimize  Minimize the stuff in our homes. When we have more than we can maintain, even if it is just too many clothes, everything becomes overwhelming and stressful. We will quickly take our stress out on our children. Work to make the spaces in our lives manageable. Give away, throw out, and get rid of. The clutter in our homes and cars becomes overwhelming and makes the other stresses seem even worse.

Don’t Over Schedule  We shouldn’t over schedule our children or ourselves. To many things on our family plates will always bring stress. Our kids don’t need to be involved in a million extra curricular activities, and we don’t have to say yes to every play date and activity. We need to PROTECT our family’s time. This protection will bring peace and time together. Plus there will be less rushing. Rushing compounds stress.

Manage our Time  Cliche, I know, but vital. Time management is so important to our lives. We do need to stay organized and manage our responsibilities and the time it takes to get things done.

Plan Ahead  This goes right along with managing our time. Being prepared and planning ahead will help eliminate a lot of our family stress. Make lunches for school the night before, lay out clothes the night before, even set the breakfast table before you go to bed each night. Round up backpacks and school work, shoes and socks before everyone goes to sleep. Make reasonable preparations to eliminate having to rush. Rushing brings stress, especially with children.

Find Time For Yourself  As mother’s we are always taking care of other people. We forget to take care of ourselves. We should pick one or two things we would like to learn or get better at, hobbies or interest, and find time for them. Along with this, we need to eat right, exercise, even if it is just a walk around the block, and get enough sleep. When we are hungry and tired we loose our temper and take our frustrations out on our kids.

Stress is part of life. Taking it out on our kids doesn’t have to be.

5 Ways to Cultivate Your Kids’ Online Reputation

Last updated on March 3rd, 2018 at 11:40 am

In our digitized lives nowadays, everything we say and do is captured, uploaded and archived across a number of connected devices.

That means that the video of you doing the electric slide in a banana suit at Aunt Marie’s 50th birthday party has a potential shelf life of forever once it has been posted to the Web. And by the time your aunt eventually deletes the embarrassing video per your request, it may have already been picked up by someone else who has now posted it on countless other sites.

With this inability to ultimately govern our data files, we need to embrace the importance of a positive online reputation — and more important, communicate that message to our youth. Here’s how to do it best.

1. Talk openly with your child

Having a conversation with your kids about creating a positive online reputation is critical to teaching them to manage their personal standing across digital devices. Help your kids understand by getting them to think of it as building their own personal brand. Ask them to consider questions like these: What type of impression do they want to leave with others? What type of feelings do they want others to experience when engaging with them via a social networking site, blog, email or text?

2. Monitor online activity

Ask your kids about their online habits. Join the social networking sites they belong to — see how they work, find out who else has joined and even “friend” your children. You may be worried about cyberstalking your kids on Facebook or MySpace and invading their privacy. But don’t feel guilty about staying on top of their networking: You’d be giving them a false sense of security if you were leading them to believe that privacy exists on the Internet.

3. Lead by (scary) example

Whether you’re a parent or a teacher, a counselor or an administrator, engage kids in discussions on how reputations have been created and destroyed by something as simple as an email or photo taken by a mobile phone. Highlight how celebrities, sports figures, beauty queens and politicians have all experienced the fallout from bad decisions that now exist on the Web for eternity.

4. Connect the present to the future

Kids may be familiar with the immediate consequences of social media mishaps, but it’s vital that they grasp how their behavior across all digital devices strongly affects future opportunities as well, like admission to college, scholarships and employment. Show them that if you use it right, the Internet is a tool that offers boundless opportunities: By posting positive images, videos, comments, etc., they can get recognized in ways that open doors to a brilliant future. With the appropriate supervision, your kids can be seen as thought leaders, community participants, innovators and humanitarians. They can be recognized for their ideas and their ability to reach out globally.

5. Proactively maintain your kids’ online image

Cultivating a successful online reputation is an ongoing process. Make these steps a weekly custom:

  • Create and update a site, blog or digital portfolio with your child. Use these digital vehicles to document accomplishments, community service and concern for current events taking place across the street and around the world. It will help your child create a positive brand.
  • Scan your child’s online reputation. With your child, search what has been written about him or her online. This can be done on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis — whatever is manageable for both of you.
  • Take action to remove damaging information. If your child has uploaded or texted damaging information, act immediately to pull what has been posted. Contact your Internet service provider, cell phone company, the website, etc., and walk through the process of how to remove the information.

Remember: Children don’t yet fully understand the complexity of the advantages and pitfalls that arise from social navigation. Adult supervision is crucial if they are to make sound digital communication decisions.

Is Your Family Sleep Deprived?

Last updated on July 9th, 2017 at 06:01 pm

Research has long shown that lack of sleep can lead to long-term health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. But here’s a new finding to add to the heap: Kids who don’t get enough sleep are at higher risk for obesity, according to a 2011 study by the University of Chicago and the University of Louisville.

Sleep loss has damaging short-term consequences too: impaired memory, trouble focusing, slower response time, emotional instability and poorer judgment. In teens, it also raises the likelihood of risky behavior and accidents.

Think your family gets enough sleep? Consider these sleep requirement guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Preschoolers: 11 to 13 hours a night
  • School-aged kids: 10 to 11 hours
  • Teens: 8.5 to 9.5 hours
  • Adults: 7 to 8 hours

If you’re reconsidering whether your family gets enough sleep after all, these healthy and simple sleep habits will help:

Pick a bedtime

Not everyone in the family goes to bed at the same time, but everyone should have a set bedtime that’s the same every night. You need set wake-up times as well. (Sleeping in to make up for lost sleep during the week only perpetuates the problem, and it doesn’t even work.) Setting your body’s clock trains it to get just the right amount of sleep.

Switch to night mode

We’re so used to running at full steam that we continue our daytime activities right up to bedtime. Kids keep playing or watching TV, teens keep talking on Facebook, and adults sit up answering email, paying bills or finishing work. In order to transition from wakefulness to sleepiness, you need to pull the plug on all engaging activity at least 30 minutes before bedtime. After washing up, get into bed, dim the lights and spend a little quiet time reading, talking or listening to music. But at the designated time, it’s lights out and eyes shut.

Create the right conditions

In order to sleep well, the body needs to be in a certain environment: dark, quiet and cool. Nightlights may comfort young children, but they also make it harder to sleep. Hearing the TV or the clicking of computer keys in the next room doesn’t help either. When your child is in bed, keep the light, noise and activity level outside the room as low as possible. And keep the room temperature comfortably cool.

Close the kitchen

Eating too much too close to bedtime interferes with good sleep. Schedule dinner for at least two hours before bedtime, and watch the portion size. Also, limit dessert and snacks to one hour before bedtime, stop having caffeine in the afternoon (that also goes for decaf beverages, which still contain small amounts of caffeine) and don’t serve soda at dinner. Alcohol interferes with sleep as well, so limit your intake in the evening.

Change isn’t easy, but adopting healthy habits at night will keep your family healthy and functioning at full capacity every day.