My Son Won’t Talk About His Day

Hi Dr Justin 

My son won’t talk when he comes home from school. I ask him how his day was and he just says, “Fine.” I ask him what he did and he says “Nothing”. I ask him who he spent time with and he shrugs or mentions a friend or two. That’s it. Why won’t he talk? Is he being bullied? How can I get him to open up? He’s 9 years old. 

 

Parents have been complaining about this problem for at least 50 years! Kids come home from school and won’t talk. 

Let’s spin the question around for a moment. When you come home after a long day and someone asks you how your day was, how talkative are you? Most adults acknowledge that they’re pretty uninterested in talking when they walk in the door. They want some time to decompress, relax, gather their thoughts, and get back into the feeling of being at home. 

Instead of asking kids “how was school” the minute we see them, I suggest welcoming your child home with “I’m glad to see you.” You might not ask about their day, but instead reassure them, “I hope you had a really nice day today.” You are just as likely to get conversation from that statement as the question, “How was your day?” But the conversation will be less forced. Your child will be choosing to elaborate rather than feeling he must answer a question. 

Think about the times your child is most communicative. Is it while doing homework? In front of the TV? In the yard playing? In the car on the way to an activity? Bed time or dinner time? 

Most parents suggest that their kids are more likely to be chatty when they’re in the car, eating a meal (no screens at the table!), or going to bed. Alternatively, some parents find that if they sit quietly in the living room, their kids will gravitate to them and want to talk because mum’s not busy. 

Take advantage of these times to find out about how things are going with your child. Ask questions that encourage curiosity and conversation. 

When you say “how was your day?” there are usually only a few answers. It’s a relatively closed question. “Fine. Ok. Not bad.” By changing the question just a little, you can open up a conversation that is entirely different: 

“Tell me about what you did today.” 

“What did you do that was fun?” 

Ask questions like: “What was the most unexpected thing that happened in the playground today?” Try “did anything happen today that made you laugh?” “Was anyone extra kind today?” 

Think about some characteristics and virtues that you would like to encourage in your children. Ask questions about those attributes. It could be anything from honesty and loyalty through to friendship or something to do with a great work ethic and a growth mindset. Then ask some questions about how they developed those attributes during the day or how they witnessed someone else doing it. 

For example: 

“Who did you help today and how?” 

“Tell me about something you did that was really hard and required your determination.” 

“What was something you saw or experienced at school today that made you grateful?” 

Instead of the usual boring questions that leave us with the usual boring answers, here are some other suggestions: 

What was the best thing that happened at school today? 

Did anything happen today that made you laugh? 

Did anything happen today that left you feeling upset? 

Teach me one thing that you learned today. 

What challenged you today – in class, in a relationship, or something personal? 

What was the most interesting thing your teacher said today? 

Who did you play with today? What did you play? 

What did you eat for lunch today? 

When did you feel most proud of yourself today? 

These questions ensure that we stay connected to our kids. They help us to know what’s going on in their lives, identify anything amiss, and instil in them the values we wish to encourage. 

Remember, though, that sometimes children don’t feel like talking. And that’s ok. Be near them, let them know they’re safe and loved, and that they can talk with you later if they feel like it. No pressure. 

Finally, there is one question that matters most. This is the question I like to ask my children as they settle into bed. It’s a question that helps us know that everything is ok in their lives. 

“What are you looking forward to tomorrow?” 

If they’re not looking forward to anything, we can discuss why and uncover difficulties and challenges we may not have realised existed. We can listen, understand, and help. 

Hopefully they are looking forward to something though. When our children have something they’re looking forward to, they’re less at risk of depression and anxiety. It shows that they have good things in their lives. And it gives us reassurance that things are going ok after all. Even if the kids don’t feel like talking sometimes. 

 

Find more like this in our Happy Families Shop.

The post My Son Won’t Talk About His Day appeared first on Dr Justin Coulson's Happy Families.

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How to Motivate Kids – and Why Rewards aren’t the Answer

How do you motivate kids? It may be one of the biggest struggles parents and teachers experience. We remind them to clean their room or do their schoolwork. They reply that it’s too hard. We cajole them to turn off their screens and play outside or read a book. They reply that it’s boring. We plead with them to do their chores and they whine, procrastinate and even ignore us.

The common trope, repeated about the rising generation by the older generation for… well, generations, is that we’re raising a spoilt, entitled, self-absorbed and narcissistic generation; that kids are lazy, obstinate and ill disciplined. And the common solution: we need to motivate them.

So how do we motivate our kids?

Western society has adopted a standard response to this question. We motivate with carrots and sticks. The legacy of psychology’s founding fathers and early influencers (such as John Watson and B. F. Skinnercasts a long shadow over our view of motivation. The answer, they say, is a token economy.

A ‘token economy’ is simply a system of reward or punishmentFirst used in a controlled setting in the early 1960s, it relies on being given a reward as a reinforcement of good behaviour, and a punishment as reinforcement of bad behaviour.

While parents punish their children every day with time-out, withdrawal of privileges and even smacking, the stick has fallen out of favour. Today the focus is on the carrot, or the rewards. Reward charts proliferate – stuck to our walls, cupboard doors and refrigerators like gum to the bottom of a shoe. ‘Do as I say and I’ll give you a star. Get enough stars and I’ll give you a goody.’ That’s the ‘carrot’. The ‘stick’ is still there in the carrot though. Implicit in the promise of reward is the threat of punishment.

The Victorian Government has recently determined that the best way to motivate students to attend school and do schoolwork is with carrots. They are offering students incentives. It seems much sweeter than the threat of punishment.

The idea resonates with people. Offering bribes (or threats) usually leads to desired behaviour. For example:

  • the government finds kids aren’t studying. They offer rewards and school attendance, engagement and achievement increase.
  • a parent wants to encourage her kids to clean their rooms but measures room cleaning behaviour over a two-week period and discovers that room cleaning is at zero, even with nagging. It just doesn’t happen. Mum implements a reward system to ‘motivate’ better behaviour. After a few weeks of measurement, she finds that room cleaning behaviour has increased enormously. Back-slapping and high-fives ensue. It MUST be working!

Eventually, however, one of two things usually happen.

First, the reward system is taken away. Suddenly school attendance and achievement drop off. The room cleaning behaviour stops. The reward system starts again and results improve.

Surely this proves that a reward system will motivate our children to do what we want them to do?

Au contraire. The fact that a token, bribe or threat gets a child (or a student or an employee) to engage in a specific behaviour only when the reward is offered or the punishment is threatened highlights that we have not solved the motivation issue at all. They’re not motivated to do the task one bit. That’s why we need to keep offering rewards. Rewards may effectively control children’s behaviour in the immediate context, but studies show that they can (and regularly do) have negative consequences for children’s ongoing interest and engagement, motivation and even wellbeing.

As an aside, many parents have emphasised rewards and discovered that children become remarkably creative in their attempts to minimise the efforts required to gain their reward. ‘Clean your room and I’ll give you five bucks’, often leads to a quick job where clothes are shoved under beds or other convenient hidey-holes. Shortcuts are taken. Our kids’ central focus becomes ‘what’s in it for me?’ There’s no internal motivation for the task at all. The motivation is to get the goody.

The same thing has happened where rewards are employed in education, for example, receiving pizza vouchers for reading books. Sure, more books are read. But the quality of the books chosen is low. Short books. Fewer pages. Lower comprehension. Polemic writer, Alfie Kohn, highlights that ‘rewards motivate us to chase rewards.’

The second reliable outcome of rewarding people is that the reward eventually becomes insufficient. Our children become habituated to the reward. Entitlement ensues. Then their expectation increases. ‘I want more.’

The ‘free-choice’ experimental paradigm is often utilised to discover what motivates and what doesn’t. A large number of studies have divided participants into groups where one group receives a reward for participating (or completing or succeeding) in an activity, whereas another group does not. (People in each group are unaware that others are receiving (or not receiving) a reward). Results are measured, and then the participant is given a ‘free choice’ period where they can choose to continue with the activity or engage with other enticing activity options.

In over 30 years of research, people of all ages, including infants, toddlers, school children, adolescents, college students and adults, have consistently shown that rewards reduce interest in continuing with the task. That is, once a reward is received, there’s no motivation to keep participating. Motivation is high for those who are rewarded for participating – until the free choice period. Once the reward is received and the opportunity for further rewards is removed, motivation vanishes.

Conversely, those who were not rewarded are usually happy to do the activity even without a reward during the initial period. Once the free-choice period commences, the unrewarded participants are significantly more motivated to do more of what others refused to do because they had been rewarded. Participants who receive rewards become less motivated and engaged.

A simple example involving toddlers: developmental psychologists Felix Warneken and Michael Tomasello conducted an experiment where 20-month-old children were given an opportunity to help others. Following their helping behaviour, the children received either an unexpected tangible reward or no reward, depending on the experimental condition. Receiving a reward led to less subsequent helping behaviour when given further opportunities.

Similarly, in a classic older study, pre-school kids were invited to drink a special yogurt drink and were rewarded with a goody or with praise. A control group received no reward. Researchers returned with more of the yogurt a few weeks later and invited the kids to drink again – this time with no reward. Kids who had been rewarded, either with a tangible reward or praise, were not interested in the drink. They didn’t want it or like it. Those who had not been rewarded consumed it as enthusiastically the second time as they had the first time.

And rewards have been shown to reduce motivation in adolescents and adults too. For example, in a classic study done in 1971, pioneering social researcher Richard Titmuss showed that many blood donors stopped giving blood once rewards were offered.

The research evidence shows that our intuition about rewards is probably wrong. Rewards may increase motivation – but it’s the wrong type. It is extrinsic; outside of us. And it only lasts while the reward is on offer. More of the wrong kind of motivation doesn’t help anyone in the long term. We need to reduce our reliance on rewards to build more of the right type of motivation: autonomous motivation.

So how do we do that?

We have a couple of options. First, we need to understand the reasons for the lack of ‘motivation’. You see, rewards and punishments ignore what’s going on for the person struggling with motivation. We see them refusing to attend school or do their chores and our response is to reward or punish them. Instead, perspective is needed. What are their challenges? Why are they lacking intrinsic motivation? Is the task really boring? Or is there something else going on?

Ask your kids, ‘What’s really getting in your way here?’ When we genuinely understand their challenge, we typically find that it’s not going to be fixed by a goody.

They say things like, ‘It’s boring’… and a reward isn’t going to remedy this. Rewards don’t make things interesting. They simply shift the focus from the task to the reward.

They might complain, ‘I don’t understand’, or ‘it’s too hard’. Rewards aren’t the answer here either. Your child needs you to spend more time helping them with the task.

Perhaps they’re self-conscious and are worried that if they try something in front of others they’ll fail and look foolish. A reward doesn’t fix that. While we are busy handing out tokens and rewards, we are ignoring the reasons your child doesn’t want to participate. Rewards won’t solve his problem.

We need to focus less on behaviours and more on obstacles to desired behaviours. Are they tired? Lonely? Stressed? Is it too hard? Does it seem to lack meaning? Addressing the obstacles requires us to consider how we might be contributing to the problem and work creatively with our child to find ways around the obstacles. Is the work we are asking them to do meaningful to them?

What else?

Give them a choice. Being able to choose what they’ll do leads to automatic increases in motivation. Why? Your child feels volitional. He is actually choosing for himself. It’s an intrinsic and internalised decision.

If your child doesn’t want to choose because nothing is appealing we can consider whether our requests are reasonable. If they are, we move to the next idea.

Build up the relationship. People work hard for those they love. A child who never liked science will turn out incredible projects when a new teacher inspires them. When a child feels our concern for their welfare, they trust us. They are open to our influence. We can guide them more successfully.

Finally, recognise that when a child feels competent, they are going to be more motivated than when they feel incapable. Our job is to build their sense of mastery so they feel like the things we invite them to do are achievable.

If you MUST offer a reward, make it unexpected. And assure your child that this isn’t going to be a regular thing.

When it comes to motivating our kids, our focus is misdirected. We see motivation as something they either have or don’t have. If they don’t have it, we try to provide it for them. Our question should not be ‘How motivated are you?’, but rather ‘How are you motivated?’ When we create conditions for motivation to be internal and autonomous, we’ll never need to ‘motivate’ our children again.

 

Find more like this is our Happy Families Shop.

   

 

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5 Genius Ways to Use Leftover Hard Boiled Eggs

After you’ve dyed Easter eggs, you may find yourself with a surplus of leftover hard boiled eggs on hand. We run into this problem frequently in the spring, when our backyard chickens are laying a large supply of eggs. Hard boiled eggs, peeled or unpeeled, can be refrigerated and are safe to eat for up to one week. If you’re wondering what to do with the extra eggs, here are 5 ideas on how to prepare and serve them as well as a summary on their healthful benefits.

5 Genius Ways to Use Leftover Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard boiling and poaching have shown to be the healthiest methods of preparing eggs, as they don’t require oil or butter for cooking. Hard boiled eggs are full of vital nutrients, from muscle-building protein to metabolism-boosting B vitamins as well as vitamin D and iron. Eggs are also protein-packed. One hard boiled egg packs six grams of protein. They’re also a great food to help fight fatigue!

 

Here are 5 creative ways to use up those leftover hard boiled eggs.

 

Deviled Eggs

This is a favorite way use leftover hard boiled eggs because creating deviled eggs is extremely versatile. You can add so many exciting flavors, herbs and even bits of bacon or other meat to the mixture that these eggs go far beyond appetizers or snacks. One easy trick is adding a bit of hummus to the mashed yolks. Another easy hack is to add a bit of guacamole to the mashed yolks.  Here are a few other delicious ideas for your next batch of deviled eggs.

Bacon Blue Deviled Eggs With Roasted Garlic And Asparagus by How Sweet Eats

Deviled Eggs With Beets And Smoked Salmon by Little Broken

 

Egg Salad

Egg salad is great because you can eat in on a bed of lettuce or as a sandwich. An easy addition to egg salad is to chop a little celery and green olives to throw into the mix. Another healthy addition is to add chopped avocado to the mix and substitute plain yogurt for the mayonnaise. Here are a few more:

Crab Egg Salad Recipe by Natasha’s Kitchen

Tarragon Egg Salad by Simply Recipes

 

In Salads

Sliced hard boiled eggs can turn a leafy green salad into a protein-packed meal, or be used as a substantial ingredient in other types of salads. I love adding hard boiled eggs (along with bacon) to spinach salad. Here are a few that are quick and easy to make.

Green Bean And Egg Salad by Diethood

Cobb Salad by I Heart Naptime

 

Pizza

It sounds strange, but given the right ingredients, you can slice or crumble your hard-boiled eggs on pizza toppings for a truly scrumptious flavor pairing. Here are two yummy ideas:

Portuguese Pizza by Mutt And Chops

Hard Boiled Eggs Pesto Pizza by The Zoe Blog

 

Hack The Classics

Repurpose those hard boiled eggs by substituting them in a classic recipe that you may already make. For example, traditional Eggs Benedict calls for poached eggs, but try using hard-boiled instead. Here’s how:

Hard Boiled Eggs Benedict Recipe by Home Cooking Memories

We all know you’re supposed to add an egg to cookie dough, but it’s usually a fresh egg, not hard-boiled, unless it’s this recipe:

Hard Boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies by Cookies And Cups

Tell me your favorite way to use leftover hard boiled eggs in the comments!

5 Genius Ways to Use Leftover Hard Boiled Eggs

The post 5 Genius Ways to Use Leftover Hard Boiled Eggs appeared first on Healthy Happy Thrifty Family.

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Building Relationships and Trust

This past week I have had one of my videos go globally viral – 30 million views and counting!

Can you believe it?

30 MILLION!

The video is from a talk I gave at a conference for the Commonwealth Bank at their Wired for Wonder conference. In the video I tell the story of an experience I had with my eldest daughter who missed out on a party because her friends knew she wouldn’t be comfortable there with some of the ‘activities’ that were going on.

My daughter was questioning the rules she had been a part of setting up. She was sad. She felt isolated. So we discussed the situation and I handed the decision-making over to her. In that moment, my daughter told me she didn’t ‘like the rules… but they’re good rules. We should keep them.’

I make the point explicitly in the video:

“Great relationships encourage autonomy. This builds trust. And trust leads to massive influence.”

In my brand new book, just released in the past week or two, called Relationship Rules I talk about the importance of building trust in our relationships. It’s at the heart of our ability to influence our children.

Trust is the belief that you will always act in my best interests. And we need those we love to believe that. They must know that we would never ask them to do something that is not in their best interests.

In Relationship Rules, rule number 5 (build trust) says:

The Great Blondin, Jean-Francois Gravelet, was the first person to traverse Niagara Falls on a tightrope. After multiple crossings over a period of years he piggy-backed his manager, Harry Colcord, from one side of the falls to the other.

He said to him, “Look up Harry. You are no longer Colcord. You are Blondin. Until I clear this place be a part of me, mind, body, and soul. If I sway, sway with me. Do not attempt to do any balancing yourself. If you do, we will both go to our death.”

They survived crossing Niagara Falls on a tightrope, Harry Colcord holding tight to Blondin’s back.

Do the people that matter most to you – your family – trust you like that? Are they holding tight, believing that you will only try to help them achieve what is in their best interest? Do they trust you enough to metaphorically ‘climb on your back and traverse the falls of life’?

Relationship Rules is my fifth book. It’s simple, short, and designed to give you instant relationship inspiration to deal with the trickiest – and the happiest – of times. It contains 85 relationship rules to help your close, personal relationships thrive and flourish.

You can purchase Relationship Rules everywhere online as an ebook (only $9.99), or you can grab a hard copy of the book itself from https://www.happyfamilies.com.au/product/relationship-rules/

The post Building Relationships and Trust appeared first on Dr Justin Coulson's Happy Families.

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How Your Brain Stops You From Enjoying Motherhood—And How to Fix It

Inside: What’s the secret to enjoying motherhood when the daily work of motherhood drags you down? Thanks to recent brain research, we now know the most effective and powerful way to take charge of this mom autopilot mode so we can enjoy motherhood.

I stood outside my kids’ bedroom door, smiling as I listened to them wrestle and laugh while they were supposed to be putting their pajamas on.

During the day, I’d checked off a handful of items on my to-do list, I’d gotten my kids where they needed to go on time (well, mostly on time), and no one was sick or seriously injured.

Today seemed like a win.

But then my smile slipped, and that relief and gratification started to fade away. New feelings of emptiness and guilt settled deep in my gut.

Bonus: As a bonus for joining my weekly newsletter, download a free cheat sheet of 7 quick fixes to help you enjoy motherhood.

When you find that you're not enjoying motherhood

Here’s What I Realized

After a full day of being a mom to my sweet young kids, I didn’t take the time to stop and be fully present with them. I wasn’t enjoying motherhood.

Instead, my thoughts of daily tasks and to-do’s took control of my day.

  • I didn’t tune into the excitement in my daughter’s voice as she told me all about her solo in the upcoming school concert. How did I forget to pull dinner out of the freezer again?
  • I missed taking a pause during our naptime story to appreciate my 3-year old’s dimple that’s already starting to fade away. Just two more minutes until freedom!
  • I didn’t enjoy the 15 blissful minutes where all three of my kids played with kinetic sand – without fighting. What a mess! I’d better go get the vacuum.

Why Regret Keeps Coming Back

I start out every day with the best intentions of finding time to connect with and enjoy my time with these little people who also happen to be my favorite people.

Papers to sign, field trip money to send, lunches to be made – and that’s just the first three minutes of the day. So much to do and never enough time to do it all.

When you’re caught up in the current of day-to-day tasks, it can feel more like being pulled in by an undertow.

But I don’t want to spend motherhood pulled under and dragged around by all the doing at the expense of being with my kids.

So my question became: What’s the secret to enjoying motherhood when the daily work of motherhood drags you down?

How to enjoy being a mom

The Biggest Hurdle to Enjoying Motherhood

From my training as a family therapist, I know that our brains are wired for survival. They keep us going, even under stress. This means we can perform many tasks throughout the day without thinking much about them. In the span of 10 minutes, we can chop veggies for dinner, mediate a sibling fight, and restart the laundry in the dryer (again).

What makes this possible is our implicit – or automatic – memory.

Implicit memory helps us be the masterful multitaskers that we need to be – like when the stomach flu hits at 2:00 am and we have to become a carpet cleaner, nurse, and laundress all at once. But implicit memory can also get us into trouble.

When we engage in thoughts and behaviors from implicit (subconscious) memory on a regular basis, we find ourselves in a state of mom auto-pilot. In other words, we’re productive but not awake or intentionally engaged in enjoying motherhood.

In essence, our brains are designed to survive and function under stress, but they cannot thrive under stress.

But thanks to recent brain research, we now know an effective and powerful way to take charge of this mom autopilot mode so we can get back to enjoying motherhood.

Get Your Copy + Bonus Workbook: Happy You, Happy Family

How to get back to enjoying motherhood

The Secret to Enjoying Motherhood, According to Science

Most moms want to live intentionally and spend more time in being mode and less in doing mode. We want to enjoy time with our kids and not just view them as a set of tasks to be checked off.

The good news? Science has found a powerful key to slowing down and enjoying your child. It’s something we are all capable of, and we can do it anywhere at any time.

Mindfulness.

This is a buzzword nowadays because of how powerful it can be, but mindfulness just means being aware of the current moment in a kind and non-biased way. This could be as simple as putting a thought into words or paying attention to your bodily sensations. (More on what that really means in a minute.)

When you tune into the here and now by noticing thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations, you engage an important area of the brain known as the pre-frontal cortex. This area of the brain helps you regulate your behaviors and emotions. In other words, that part of the brain allows us to be the calm, responsive, and loving moms we want to be.

But when you operate on mom auto-pilot, your pre-frontal cortex is not engaged, so you’re more likely to be reactive, tuned out, and stressed.

Looking back on the days when I’ve found myself in mom auto-pilot mode, this explains why I get to the end of the day and feel that tug of regret for how the day went.

3 simple but powerful steps for enjoying motherhood

3 Simple But Powerful Steps Every Busy Mom Can Take to Enjoy Motherhood

Here are three quick and easy mindfulness tricks even busy moms can squeeze in periodically throughout the day.

These techniques will help you move from doing to being in the moment, but their magic goes even further than that.

Every time you take a minute to use one of these tricks, you’ll actually build new pathways in your brain. Over time, strengthening your mind in this way will translate to the rest of your day, and you’ll experience more positive moments with your kids – even without consciously using one of these techniques.

Related: How to Stop Being an Angry Mom Now…Using 5 Hair Ties Printable

1. Observe Like a Friend

While attending a professional training on mindfulness, I was surprised to learn that approximately 80 percent of our daily thoughts are negative. Many of our thoughts are what’s considered “automatic,” meaning they happen very quickly and originate from our past experiences or circumstances.

Because thoughts are often fast-moving and subconscious, your thoughts can sometimes be inaccurate and unhelpful – to put it mildly. The best way to stop letting unhelpful thoughts control you and your thinking is to step back to observe your thoughts from the outside, through a lens of kindness towards yourself.

Some moms find it helpful to talk to yourself as you would talk to your best friend.

For example, you might say, “Wow, I’m really beating myself up over forgetting the classroom treat. I’m really hard on myself when I make a mistake. I can give myself the same grace and forgiveness that I try to give my child. I’m doing the best I can.”

Or as another example: “I just snapped at the kids over something small, and I think it’s because the living room floor is cluttered with all the kids’ toys. It’s common for clutter to cause stress, and it’s understandable that it’s frustrating me. I can ask the kids to help me tidy up so we can play a quick game of Duck, Duck, Goose.”

2. Forget About Bears

Remember how our brains are wired for survival? This means our minds grab onto the negatives in our environment much easier than the positives. This is how our brains keep us from zoning out while staring at a pretty flower when a bear is chasing us down. But because we aren’t necessarily running away from bears on a daily basis any longer, we need to take control of our unhelpful survival instincts.

To do this, notice and describe the details of pleasant experiences.

For example, while watching your kids play together without fighting, you might notice and describe the bodily sensations: “I feel warm in my chest, relaxed, and full of gratitude.”

Noticing and describing the details of pleasant experiences will help you enjoy motherhood

3. Think of a Label

In the course of a busy day as a parent, it’s tempting to avoid unpleasant feelings by turning to food, scrolling through our Facebook feed, or even exercise. Noticing negative emotions can be uncomfortable, so we often develop patterns of coping that seem helpful in the moment. But unfortunately, they’re not helpful in the long-term.

The next time you feel a strong emotion, label that emotion and allow yourself to sit with the feeling. Use just a word or two to describe how you’re feeling, starting with “I’m feeling…”

Research shows that the simple act of labeling a strong emotion and acknowledging it can allow the emotion pass through – whereas trying to deny an emotion can derail your good intentions for the rest of the day.

By the way, the phrasing “I’m feeling angry” is important compared to just “I’m angry.” The extra word “feeling” helps you separate the emotion you’re experiencing from your sense of self. It’s a lot easier to overcome a negative emotion when you label it as something you’re feeling instead of something you are.

Related: How to Be a Happy Mom: Science Says Do These 7 Things Printable

Before You Go: An Important Note on Mindfulness

To be clear, mindfulness is not a quick one-time fix. You can’t do one of these techniques one time and expect to suddenly enjoy every moment of motherhood from there forward. As anything in life that’s worthwhile, shifting to parenting with mindfulness takes intention and a commitment to enjoying motherhood.

But these small practices give you a practical and meaningful way to slow down your busy days so you can enjoy motherhood again. Parents who use these tricks regularly even report that they feel like they have more time in their days.

More time to breathe in the sights, sounds, and smells of those tiny people who keep you busy from sunup to sundown.

This quote from Jon Kabat Zinn says it best:

“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.”

Mindfulness gives us an anchor as moms, allowing us to slow down and stand strong amidst the undertow of busyness.

And that is an invaluable gift in our stressed out and fast-paced world: the gift of learning how to enjoy being a mom so we get to the end of every day feeling a sense of deep fulfillment instead of nagging regret.

Download Your Free Cheat Sheet

When you’re struggling to enjoy motherhood, it’s hard for your brain to settle on the right steps to take. Use this cheat sheet to help you get back to enjoying motherhood. You’ll get a reminder for the previous tip plus 6 bonus quick fixes. For the full story behind each quick fix, check out How to Be a Happy Mom: Science Says Do These 7 Things.

  1. Download the free cheat sheet. Join my weekly-ish newsletter and as a bonus, you’ll get the printable! Just click here to download and subscribe.
  2. Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.
  3. Hang your cheat sheet somewhere handy like the fridge.

Here’s a sneak peek of your printable cheat sheet:

Cheat Sheet: How to Be a Happy Mom

The research for this article is based on the 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training Angela completed with her therapy clinic. Get more information about The Mindful Academy International or mindfulness training from accredited MBSR teacher Tina Romenesko here.

Download my FREE cheat sheet as a bonus for joining my newsletter: 16 Miracle Phrases to Help You Reconnect With Your Child

Your Turn

What’s your secret to enjoying motherhood? Share in a comment below!

How your brain stops you from enjoying motherhood—and how to fix it

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The post How Your Brain Stops You From Enjoying Motherhood—And How to Fix It appeared first on Happy You, Happy Family.

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Did I Say “I Love You” Enough to Last a Lifetime?

Within three months, my world turned upside down.

I’d had a cryptogenic stroke, which left me with Broca’s aphasia and apraxia. Aphasia and apraxia are just fancy medical terms for saying that my expressive communication – speaking and writing – was devastatingly affected.

At the age of 31, with two boys to raise, with a nursing career, and in the middle of training for a half marathon, a stroke was not on my agenda. Strokes very rarely affect someone of my age, but more important than my age was the age of my two children: 4 years old and 15 months.

My kids were much too little, and they needed their mother.

When your world turns upside down and you wonder if your children know you love themThis was taken two weeks after my stroke when I was allowed my first day pass out of the hospital.

This is what was left of me.

Three days after my stroke, the shock had subsided and the gravity of what disabilities I had been left with came into focus. As much as I tried, communication with the rest of the world was not coming back as easy as I would have liked.

My sister was at my bedside, as she was most of the time that I spent in the hospital. We were working on my speech rehabilitation, which was essentially what you would learn in early elementary school. She was reading out sentences that I was supposed to attempt to write.

I sat cross-legged on my hospital bed with a note pad, trying to write “The dog was black.” I couldn’t do it.

After what seemed like an hour, I scribbled “dog black.” I knew that wasn’t correct. I knew I had missed the connecting words of a sentence, but I had no idea what they were. My internal dialogue could say this simple sentence, but when I opened my mouth or put pen to paper, all I could muster was “dog black.”

And then, clarity.

I could feel the sting of tears welling up in my eyes and the lump rising in my throat. But at that very moment, I was not frustrated, I was not feeling sorry for myself, and I was not overwhelmed.

All I could think of is: What was the last thing I wrote to my boys? What was the last thing I told them? Would they remember any of the things that I had taught them?

I surely did not give them enough encouragement, enough words of praise, and enough words of wisdom to get them through to adulthood. I surely did not say “I love you” enough to last a lifetime.

I had written letters to my boys since the day they were born, detailing their lives. But as life has gotten busier, the letters had been few and far in between. What if I could never write to them again? They needed to know how perfect and how miraculous they are to me. I needed to tell them they are enough, I loved them more than anything, and my heart beats for them.

Bonus: As a bonus for joining Kelly’s weekly newsletter, download a free cheat sheet of 30 simple ways to show your child you love them.

How many words did I waste that didn’t mean anything?

I regretted every time I fought with my 4-year-old about what type of pants to wear to preschool. The times where I uttered the words, “I’m tired” or “I can’t right now, I’m busy.”

I should have used my energy to tell my 4-year-old, “The clothes on your body don’t matter. I respect your choice to wear what you want.” Or “I will always have time for you, you are important.”

I regretted the time I spent on social media instead of writing the most amazing love letters to my children, documenting every cherished memory. How I longed for those moments back.

How I longed for those moments back

Would I ever get a second chance?

My sister looked at me with compassion and empathy in her eyes. I gestured to what I had wrote and with tears threatening to spill over, I could only say, “Boys…not write.”

She grabbed my hand. She looked at me, and I knew that she understood what I was trying to say. She said with such conviction that I would get better and would be able to say the things I so desperately wanted to tell my children.

Remarkably, I did get better.

With a lot of help from my husband, sister, and speech pathologist and a lot of determination and hard work, I relearned sentence structure and began to speak and write again. I recovered enough to say what I so desperately wanted to express to my children.

Now, I make a point to focus my energy on choosing the words that come out of my mouth with hopes that I never forget the way this feels and what the stroke has taught me.

Among the many things this experience has taught me is that communication matters. Conversations matter. The words you choose matter. Talking leads to understanding, and that is never a bad thing.

Words have a magical power to make people feel wanted, loved, and special. They let people know they are not alone and even in extreme cases, to want to live another day.

The opposite is true as well. Words can give sadness, anger, and disgust, and they can break a child’s spirit.

We can live in heaven or hell by the sentences we string together. What power! We can choose our words to give love to this world. If it’s honest, kind, and is used to lift someone up, say it. Don’t let fear get in the way.

Related: How to Connect With Your Child: The Magic of the 5:1 Ratio Printable

Words can give sadness, anger, and disgust, and they can break a child's spirit

Please, imagine this for me.

I want you to imagine that you’re a child or young teenager. Remember when you felt like an utter disappointment and regretted your actions. Is it when you failed that math test? Is it when you cut your own hair (or your sister’s)? Or dropped a very breakable ornament?

Now, can you imagine that when your mom, dad, or a loved one found out, they said, “I understand that was a mistake. You will need to fix this, but we can work through it together. You have not disappointed me. My love for you is unconditional.”

How good would you feel? The words they spoke can make you feel safe and supported and important to them.

Now imagine that your loved one had a difference response. They rolled their eyes and sent you to your room, and the look of disappointment haunted the lines in their face. How would you feel? Certainly not safe or loved or important.

I try to remember this in every interaction with my children. Although it sometimes isn’t easy, I want them to feel loved and that I understand they are human and will make mistakes.

Related: 7 Most Powerful Ways to Get an Emergency Dose of Family Connection Printable

Full disclosure…

I’m not pretending to be some sort of expert or prodigy of parenting. I have made many mistakes and will continue to do so.

I have gone to bed more often than not worried about whether I made the right choices for my children or said the right things. If we’re honest, my guess is everyone has. In all our parenting wisdom, we are perfectly imperfect and will make blunders along the way. I have accepted that.

But what I do ask of myself is to choose to fix my mistakes and never let a relationship suffer for my impulsive or harsh response.

I see now with such certainty that words with intention can bring about peace or can spew out venom that poisons the space around you. Words have the power to mend relationships, stitch together an open wound, and heal the heart.

Say the things that matter to you. Have the conversations you always wanted to have. Tell your children that your heart beats for them. We don’t know when we can get another chance.

It seems like a lifetime ago, but living with the aftermath of a stroke reminds me that it has not been long at all. It also reminds me to not take my second chance for granted.

Now, every day I try to live my life at the pace of my children. I read more stories, I have more playtime and attempt to see the world through my children’s eyes.

At day’s end, when the last story is read and I tuck my children into bed, I ask myself, “Did I give enough encouragement or words of praise to last them into adulthood? Did I say, ‘I love you’ enough to last a lifetime?”

I don’t know, but I’m working on it.


Download Your Free Cheat Sheet

This cheat sheet gives you 30 simple ideas for showing your child you love them. (Find out why this is so powerful in this post about the Magic 5:1 Ratio.)

  1. Download the free cheat sheet. Join Kelly’s weekly-ish newsletter and as a bonus, you’ll get the printable! Just click here to download and subscribe.
  2. Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.
  3. Hang your cheat sheet somewhere handy like the fridge. You’ll actually get two versions of the cheat sheet, and you can use them a few different ways:
    • For the one that looks like a bingo board, you can cut out each square and put them in a jar. Then when you need an idea for connecting with your child, pull out a random idea and do it. Or leave the whole thing intact and pretend you’re playing blackout bingo to see how many you can mark off over the course of a week.
    • With the list version, you can use the sections to help you try out a variety of ideas. For example, if you tend to rely heavily on words of connection and forget the more physical acts of connection, this version of the cheat sheet can help you remember to mix it up.

Here’s a sneak peek of your printable cheat sheet – first the bingo version:

How to Connect With Your Child: A Bingo-Style Cheat Sheet

And here’s the list version:

How to Connect With Your Child: A Cheat Sheet

Download my FREE cheat sheet as a bonus for joining my newsletter: 16 Miracle Phrases to Help You Reconnect With Your Child

Your Turn

Share your thoughts in a comment below.

Author information

The post Did I Say “I Love You” Enough to Last a Lifetime? appeared first on Happy You, Happy Family.

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9 Powerful Phrases That Will Inspire Your Kid to Keep Trying—Even When It’s Hard

Inside: These are the best growth mindset posters because they help kids internalize the crucial message that putting in effort is how you grow your brain.

A few weeks ago, my 4-year-old Bailey was sitting at the breakfast table with a stack of paper, a stencil, and a bunch of colored pencils when she said something that broke my heart.

I’d been washing dishes about five feet away, so I saw her in my peripheral vision, holding the stencil to the paper with one hand and tracing with the other hand.

But then she sat back and said, “I’m not a good artist.”

I glanced up. The corners of her mouth pointed down, and her eyes were starting to fill.

This is the girl who tells me every day that when she grows up, she’s going to be an artist during the day, then at night she’s going to be Wonder Woman and fight bad guys.

But in that moment, I could see her confidence in her dreams slipping away.

I felt a tug in my chest. I turned off the faucet and dried my hands.

Settling into the chair next to her, I asked, “What makes you feel that way?”

“I just can’t do it right. Every time I try to draw with the stencil, it moves and messes it all up.” She hung her head, and I reached out to rub her shoulder.

Download: Get these fun coloring posters for your child to teach them the power of hard work and sticking with a problem.

The problem with negative self-talk in kids

The Problem With Kids Talking Like This

A little self-doubt can be healthy – as long as it drives you to put in more effort and try to improve.

But getting stuck in a negative mindset can cause you to give up on what you set out to do.

As parents, that’s the opposite of what we want for our kids. We don’t want to raise quitters who give up at the first sign of a challenge. We want to raise determined kids who work hard and persevere through challenges until they succeed.

A few kids seem to naturally learn that lesson and need no support to transform moments of self-doubt into a determination to work harder.

But after talking to my friends and reading messages from parents who write to me every day, what seems to be the most common situation is this: Our kids need our help to learn how to catch themselves in these moments of self-doubt.

They need our guidance on how to turn negative self-talk from something that makes them give up – into something positive that drives them towards success.

Why fostering a growth mindset is so important

Here’s Why This Could Be the Most Important Lesson You Teach Your Child

A few years ago, I volunteered as a mentor to a small group of girls in a second-grade classroom.

During the volunteer training, the educators running the program taught us a powerful concept I hadn’t heard before: fixed versus growth mindset.

  • Kids who have a fixed mindset believe that you’re as smart as you’ll ever be. You can’t change how smart you are, no matter how hard you try. You can’t change your personality, how creative you are, or anything else because your traits and abilities are fixed.
  • But kids with a growth mindset believe that if you work hard, you can become smarter. These kids thrive on challenge. Fixed-mindset kids see failure as evidence of not being smart, but growth-mindset kids see failure as an opportunity for growing. In fact, they don’t even see failure as a failure. They see it as learning.

Can you guess which kids end up being most successful in school and in their careers later in life? Which kids have the greatest capacity for happiness?

More than 20 years of research shows that the key to success in school and life is being able to apply a growth mindset. In other words, if you believe that trying hard will make you smarter, it will.

But if you believe that nothing you do will change how smart you are, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. What’s more, fixed-mindset kids don’t enjoy the learning process. Their mindset even drives them to lie about their school performance so they can maintain the perception that they’re smart. They certainly can’t handle mistakes.

“In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort.

In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented.” – Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

How to foster a growth mindset in your child

How to Foster a Growth Mindset in Your Child

To be clear, if your kid is showing signs of a fixed mindset, you won’t find a quick overnight fix. Shifting your mindset takes time. In the words of the top researcher on growth mindset, Carol Dweck:

“Change isn’t like surgery. Even when you change, the old beliefs aren’t just removed like a worn-out hip or knee and replaced with better ones. Instead, the new beliefs take their place alongside the old ones, and as they become stronger, they give you a different way to think, feel, and act.”

In other words, pretty much everyone has both a fixed and a growth mindset. As a parent, the best thing you can do to help your child is give them a toolbox of growth mindset tricks they can use when they’re struggling with a challenge.

Guiding your child from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset will take time and patience, but it will pay off for your child. In a minute, I’ll share a powerful trick to add to your child’s growth mindset toolbox, but first: How do I know?

The best way to nurture a growth mindset in kids

What Happens When You Foster a Growth Mindset in Your Child

In my family, we’re no stranger to the struggle of shifting from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

Our oldest daughter has struggled with her mindset since she started school. We reacted by nudging and encouraging her towards a growth mindset, and we’ve seen a huge transformation in her attitude about making mistakes, working hard, and not giving up.

We’ve tried countless parenting techniques to get to this point – some of them total duds and some that thankfully made an impact.

<!– At the end of this post, you can get my free 4-day email series about how to foster a growth mindset in your child, with quick golden nuggets to help you encourage your child. But for now, I’m going to share with you one powerful trick you can start using right away. –>

But we stumbled on one powerful growth mindset trick that I wish I’d done much earlier with my oldest daughter because the results have been fast and impressive with her and my preschooler.

Growth mindset posters.

But not just any growth mindset posters. Kids color in the phrases on these posters – phrases specifically designed to help kids internalize the crucial message that putting in effort is how you grow your brain.

Because the truth is that overused platitudes like “never give up” don’t stick in kids’ minds. But these special growth mindset mantras will burrow their way into your child’s internal dialogue and come out at the exact moment your child needs them.

Growth mindset posters that will inspire your kid to keep trying

9 Unique Growth Mindset Posters That Will Shift Your Child’s Mindset

The problem with most ready-made growth mindset posters you can get is that you stick them on the wall and they become…wallpaper. Your child may notice a pretty poster for a day or two, but then they blend in, and your child’s eyes will gloss right over them without really seeing the important messages you’re trying to get across.

Because of this, I put together a special set of printable growth mindset posters for my kids, and they loved them so much I decided to share them here.

You can use these color-in mindset posters at home with your kids, or you can use them in a classroom of students then decorate the walls with the students’ creations. (Just remember to move them around every now and then to keep them from becoming wallpaper!)

9 mindset posters to foster a growth mindset

The phrases on these special growth mindset posters include:

  • I can’t do it yet, but I will
  • I’m the boss of my mind, and I can tell it what to do
  • My brain is a muscle, and mistakes are like lifting weights
  • I’m perfectly imperfect, and that’s a beautiful thing
  • Winning doesn’t matter. Learning does.
  • The more I try, the more my brain grows
  • There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs. (A quote from Zig Ziglar)
  • Worrying about mistakes is like putting a leash on my brainpower
  • I can (This one’s our favorite because it shows “I can’t” with the “t” being cut off with a pair of scissors!)

Download now: 9 Best Mindset Posters That Will Inspire Your Child to Keep Trying

Why These Growth Mindset Posters Make the Mindset Message Stick

These are the only growth mindset posters that will actually make the mindset message sink in with kids.

Here’s why:

  • Powerful mantras arm your child with positive sayings they can repeat to quiet internal negative thoughts, so they’re ready when they hit speed bumps during the learning process or during the everyday challenges of childhood.
  • But kids may have a hard time grasping abstract concepts and remembering a string of words, which means phrases like “strive for progress not perfection” end up going in one ear and out the other. But the mantras on these growth mindset posters are as literal and concrete as possible. When you can paint a picture in your child’s brain to go along with a mantra, your child is much more likely to remember it.
  • After you download these posters, you can print new copies for your child to color as often as you want. Here’s why that’s important: For your child to shift to a growth mindset, she needs to internalize the lesson so she won’t have to think about it consciously. But she can’t just hear a message once and internalize it immediately. She needs repetition. From math to vocabulary and beyond, repetition and rehearsal of new information support a process that’s essential to memory – a process called consolidation. During consolidation, the brain moves memories from temporary storage in the brain’s hippocampus to more permanent storage in the cortex (the outer layer of the brain). Translation? The more your child colors these growth mindset posters, the more the message will sink in.
  • And most important of all, these color-in growth mindset posters are just plain fun. Whereas slapping a ready-made poster on a wall and asking kids to read them aloud veers into drill sergeant territory, engaging kids in the fun activity of coloring unlocks their creativity and invites them to be an active part of the learning process. In fact, brain research suggests that fun isn’t just a “nice to have” for the learning process but that it may be required for authentic learning and for storage in long-term memory.
The only growth mindset posters for kids that will make the message stick

But…Will These Growth Mindset Posters Spark a Change in Your Child?

When I first set out to create these growth mindset posters for kids, my goal was to shift my kids’ internal dialogue in those moments when they struggled. Specifically, I wanted to erase the internal dialogue where they painted a picture of themselves as incapable of improving – and replace it with a handful of powerful, positive mantras to remind them that hard work and sticking with a problem will help their brains grow and help them become the people they want to be.

And although I’d done a ton of research ahead of time about the science behind how growth mindset posters could help my kids, I didn’t know exactly how well the messages would stick.

The day the final posters were ready, I called my two oldest kids over to the dining room table while their toddler sister was napping.

“Hey guys, let’s color!”

I’d laid the growth mindset posters on the table, along with my fancy coloring pencils that I keep on a high shelf in my closet except for special occasions.

They walked into the room, glanced around the table, and hurried to sit down.

We each took a sheet and started coloring. My preschooler Bailey wanted to talk about the letters on her poster while she colored, and my grade-schooler Abby said, “We have posters kind of like this at school in some of the classrooms, except you can’t color them in.”

“Oh yeah?” I said. “What do they say?”

“I can’t remember,” she said.

“Hmm,” I said. Probably not the effect the teachers were going for when they took the time to pick out those pretty posters and hang them up to inspire the kids to keep trying.

As we colored, we talked about the phrases on our posters – what the phrases mean, situations we’ve been in where the phrases would have helped us, and more. I kept it light and breezy by asking lots of questions and biting my tongue when I felt like lecturing. Just let the posters sink into their minds, I reminded myself.

We had a fun afternoon coloring together, then we picked out a piece of prime wall real estate to hang up our creations.

Later that day, I was in the kitchen while the girls were building with Magna Tiles in the living room, and I overheard Abby say, “I can’t get it to work.”

And 4-year-old Bailey said, “You can’t get it to work YET. But you will.”

Score.

Download now: 9 Best Mindset Posters That Will Inspire Your Child to Keep Trying

Growth mindset posters that are actually fun for kids

But Would the Messages Stick Long-Term?

I smiled at the fast impact, but I still wondered if the messages of the growth mindset posters would stick with my kids for the long-term.

Every week or so, I’d bust out a fresh set of the posters with my special pencils, and we’d have another group coloring session. I overheard the girls repeating the growth mindset phrases to each other for encouragement, and I noticed a shift in their self-talk – so I was one happy mama.

But after picking up Abby from school one day, on the ride home she said, “We have to write two paragraphs every week with six to eight sentences each on the same topic. And we have to use these stupid prompts! I can’t write with a prompt.”

“Hmm,” I said. “Have you ever written with a prompt before?”

I expected her to get more frustrated and focus on why writing prompts are so hard, but she surprised me. “Well, it’s not that I can’t write with a prompt. I’ve done it before. It’s just that it’s hard to get started because it’s not my own idea.”

She got quiet, and I glanced at her in the rearview mirror. She was staring at a piece of paper, and I wondered what thoughts were churning behind the scenes.

She said something under her breath, so I asked, “What’s that?”

“Oh, I just said maybe this one will work. And if I don’t like how it turns out, I can try again.”

I smiled. “That sounds like a good plan.”

She was no longer just repeating the growth mindset phrases from the posters. She’d internalized the message.

But the real clincher came for me that weekend while we were in the car running errands as a family.

The two big girls sit in the back row, and I could hear them talking to each other but couldn’t quite make out the words.

Then after a bit, Bailey called up to us. “Mommy and Daddy, we have a new phrase!”

Ty and I glanced at each other. “A new phrase?” I asked.

“Yeah. Wanna hear it?”

“Sure.”

She and Abby whispered to each other some more, then Abby said, “She wants me to go first. My phrase is ‘A life without mistakes is no life at all.’”

I couldn’t keep the grin off my face. I leaned across and whispered to Ty, “The growth mindset posters!”

Then to Abby, I said, “That’s awesome!”

“Wanna hear mine?” Bailey asked.

“We’d love to!” I might have been a little excited.

“Okay,” she said. “Winning doesn’t matter. Trying does.”

Not only had they internalized the messages from the growth mindset posters, but they’d been making up their own growth mindset phrases in their own words. All because of our special set of growth mindset coloring posters.

The girls have even taken it one step further and started coming up with their own rules to live by in the same style.

So far, my favorite from 4-year-old Bailey is this one:

If you have something nice to say, say it. Otherwise, if you can’t say something nice, shut your mouth.

Wise words, little one.

Mindset posters that will inspire your child to keep trying

How to Download Your Growth Mindset Posters

Invite your kids to color these growth mindset printable posters, then you can hang them in your house as a gentle and positive reminder of the power of your mindset. For an extra dose of fun, try printing two copies, then sit by your child and color them together.

If you’re a teacher, these are the perfect growth mindset posters for the classroom because you can print as many copies as you want and have a built-in growth mindset activity for your students.

  1. Download your mindset posters here. After you order, you’ll get a special link to download your growth mindset posters PDF.
  2. Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal, especially if you plan to hang the posters on the wall later.
  3. Set your kids up to color the posters. Regular old crayons work fine, or you can pair the activity with a fun new art supply like watercolor pencils or 80’s Glam Sharpies.

For an extra treat for your kids, you can have these growth mindset posters printed at Staples using their “engineering print” option to make super-sized versions of the posters. We’ve had the best luck with the 18×24 size (less than $2) and the 36×48 (about $7).

We pick one of the growth mindset posters every now and then to do this with, then unleash all the kids at once for a group coloring project that keeps them moving towards a growth mindset.

Download now: 9 Best Mindset Posters That Will Inspire Your Child to Keep Trying

Your Turn

Which of these growth mindset posters is your child’s favorite (or yours)? Share in a comment below!

The best growth mindset posters

Author information

Kelly

I’m a mom of four, a recovering perfectionist, and the author of Happy You, Happy Family. Parenting is hard enough without all the guilt we heap on top of ourselves. So let’s stop trying to be perfect parents and just be real ones. Sound good? Join my mailing list and as a bonus, you’ll get 25+ incredibly helpful cheat sheets that will ease your parenting struggles.

The post 9 Powerful Phrases That Will Inspire Your Kid to Keep Trying—Even When It’s Hard appeared first on Happy You, Happy Family.

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elyse x glossier

Elyse Love, MD for glossier

I am BEYOND excited to announce that I am now an official brand rep for Glossier. I mentioned before that Into the Gloss was my original inspiration for starting my own blog. I LOVE that site, and I know a lot of you found me from my ITG Top Shelfie interview. That interview has been huge in my growth and expansion of my audience.

Glossier is founded by the creator of Into the Gloss – Emily Weiss. I can’t think of a better market research campaign for a new beauty line than interviewing every famous person, ever on their favorite beauty products.

Glossier has pretty much been on point since their release and I’ve had a girl crush on the Glossier brand since they came out with their phase I set. Such a cool brand (you guys know how badly I want to be cool).

Over the past two years,  the company has come out with amazing products that are pretty much meant for me. The gentlest face wash that removes my eye make-up, the ever so subtle skin tint that makes my boyfriend think I’m more beautiful than I am, the clear boy brow gel that tames my brows and does nothing else, the cherry balm dot calm that’s pretty much my vaseline and stila stains put into one… I can go on (and I will below and in the future)

Here’s a little bit more info on what my being a brand rep means for you (and for me. I love it when bloggers are transparent about their affiliations).

20% off your first Glossier order


What this means for you

Consider me your go-to for all questions Glossier. I’ll show you how I use the products in real life on my Instagram feed and Instagram stories, and I’ll also review the products and do more videos starting in late February.

my favorite Glossier products


What this means for me

I now have a small monthly Glossier allowance to help keep my makeup bag stocked with Glossier products. I also obtain a small commission on all purchases made through my brand rep site.

I would love it if you made all of your Glossier purchases through my brand page. I’ve added a link to the love and the sky site menu for easy access in the future!

Don’t worry – I will absolutely keep it real with you. The great thing about having a stable, salaried job as a dermatology resident (that I love and work very hard at) is I have very little incentive to lie to you! Of course, I want my blog to be profitable (it is one of my year 2 blogging goals), but your trust is more valuable than commission.

Again, I do truly LOVE this brand, and I use a number of the products every single day.

20% off your first Glossier order here!


So.. what is Glossier all about?

SKIN FIRST. MAKE-UP SECOND.

The brand is about obtaining and maintaining healthy, glowing skin and then enhancing it ever so slightly with the right products. Think about the light flush you have right after leaving the gym or the perfection of your make-up two hours after you put it on.

20% off your first Glossier order here!


Hope 💕

A photo posted by Boy Brow—by Glossier (@glossier) on Jan 16, 2017 at 5:45pm PST

Soft skin, soft skin ✨ True story: I spent over 30 minutes wandering the aisles of my happy place (@sephora) looking for a facial cream to combat NYC assault grade winds, but everything was SO DAMN EXPENSIVE with claims to do so much I don't need and doubt the product actually delivers on. Here I am like, "ugh I just want soft, dewy skin in the middle of winter and I would also like to pay my rent on time." 🖤 Then enters my fairy skin god-mother slash really cool older sister @glossier with a light weight ceramide based cream that makes my skin feel like butter and my makeup sink in.. for $35. I now refuse to leave the house without my invisible glossier facial shield (seriously, this wind is out of control). The only thing it's missing is sun screen, but it's kind of nice because I can use the cream day and night (sunscreen obviously applied in a different step). 🖤 My entire winter facial routine is coming to love and the sky Thursday if I don't get called in to see patients tonight (send me good juju!), but for now check out the body routine which is linked in my bio right now. 🖤 Soft skin, soft skin ✨ #lats_beauty #glossier #itgtopshelfie

A photo posted by elyse love MD (@elyse.love) on Jan 10, 2017 at 1:55pm PST


What are my favorite Glossier products?

20% off your first glossier purchase – including my favorites – here

1. Priming moisture rich is the an amazing winter moisturizer for the early twenties to early thirties skin. It is a great primer for make-up, but also provides hydration for a glowy, no make-up day. I use this every morning and sometimes in the evening (I’m not the best about moisturizer at night). Just remember to wear SPF under it! I know it makes a difference for me because I let Joyce from teawithmd.com borrow it for a weekend and my face freaked out and began to peel whenever I tried to apply make-up.

2. Perfecting Skin Tint – deep – This lightweight fluid sinks into skin to even out skin tone. It is lighter than your normal tinted moisturizer. It’s so light that I don’t consider it make-up. The best way to describe it is “your skin but better.”

3. Cherry Balm dotcom – this is my go to for effortless mornings when I don’t want to be completely basic. I wear it on my lips and/or cheeks.

4. Milky Jelly cleanser – the best cleanser + make-up remover combination I’ve used. Also, doesn’t aggravate my skin in the winter months. My skin was flaky before I started using this cleanser and the priming moisture rich.

I’ve added a link in the navigation bar to my rep page to make it easy to reference in the future. 

my favorite Glossier products - Elyse Love, MD


Leave all questions/requests/concerns for me in the comments section below! and THANK YOU for your support to far. You guys make me.

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The Best Way to Nurture Your Mother-Daughter Bond: 101 Fun Mom-Daughter Date Ideas

Inside: To nurture a healthy mother-daughter relationship, check this epic list of mother-daughter date ideas, with fun mother-daughter activities for every budget.

With four kids in our family, our daily responsibilities as parents take up most of our free time.

It starts from the minute we wake up, when my husband and I start planning out the day – Who’s picking up the oldest from school? What’s for dinner tonight? Do we have enough food for every kid to have a lunch that consists of more than a stale tortilla and three dried-out carrots?

While we figure all that out and more, my husband makes three bowls of oatmeal alongside his own, and I clean the toddler’s grubby high chair from dinner last night because I forgot and…is that an ant?!

We’re constantly in go-go-go mode just to get the bare minimum done, and that doesn’t leave much time for stopping to connect with our kids.

How to fit in fun mother-daughter activities when you're a busy parent

But That’s a Big Problem

A healthy connection with our kids is essential. Research shows that in order to have a healthy relationship, for every negative interaction, you need five positive interactions to balance it out.

For example, when I lose my cool over my toddler coloring on the walls, we need five positive interactions to balance that out, or our relationship will suffer.

But I don’t need the research to tell me that because I can see it for myself.

When my connection with my children starts to suffer, the result is more power struggles and less cooperation from them. And when the power struggles wear down my patience, I sometimes turn into an angry mom, which feeds the disconnection even more.

And then above all, my goal is to build a strong mother-daughter bond that will last a lifetime. As it turns out, a healthy mother-daughter relationship can be the strongest of all family relationships throughout your child’s life.

But it’s when my daughters are young that I must invest in a solid foundation for our relationship. If we don’t start out with a healthy connection now, it certainly won’t magically appear when they’re teenagers or adults.

Related: How to Stop Being an Angry Mom Now Using 5 Hair Ties Printable

Mother-daughter date ideas from toddler to teenager

Here’s the Solution…With a Catch

Nothing gets us back on track like some good quality bonding time, whether that’s reading our favorite picture books on the couch together or playing one of our quick family bonding games for an emergency dose of connection.

All it takes is a few minutes, and we walk away smiling and feeling that invisible string between our hearts again.

But sometimes my kids let me know that what they really need is more than a group bonding activity. They need one-on-one time with me.

Because my daughters all have such different personalities, the way they communicate this manifests in different ways:

  • My oldest gets quiet and disappears behind a book
  • My youngest daughter acts out by climbing the furniture, dumping her water bottle out on the floor, or morphing into a toddler-sized Godzilla and destroying her older sisters’ prized Magna Tiles creation of the day
  • And my middle daughter, whose emotional intelligence outstrips my own, will walk up to me while I’m doing dishes or folding laundry, slip her little hand into mine, and say, “I want some mama time”

Sometimes I’ve made the mistake of ignoring or pushing off these pleas for connection, and I always regret it later. But more power struggles and less cooperation don’t exactly make for a happy family. So I’ve learned to pay close attention to my daughters when they show me or tell me they need one-on-one time.

The Tricky Part?

One-on-one time sounds great in theory, but we do still have a household to run and four kids to parent, so I can’t always drop what I’m doing and have a full-fledged mother-daughter day to get that one-on-one time. And with my daughters ranging in age from tween to toddler, what works as a fun mother-daughter activity with one girl may not work with the others.

So when it comes to mother-daughter date ideas, we’ve had to get a little creative.

For several years, I’ve kept a special list of mother-daughter date ideas on my computer for my own use. Every time I came across a new idea for fun mother-daughter dates, I added it to the list.

Any time I feel a disconnect with one of my girls, I go to the list and find an idea of something we can do in the very near future. I don’t have to come up with fun ideas out of thin air, and my girls get the connection they’re craving. Win-win.

Related: 7 Most Powerful Ways to Get an Emergency Dose of Family Connection Printable

Fun things to do with your daughter, no matter budget, age, or time available

101 Best Mother-Daughter Date Ideas for Every Age, Budget, And Situation

Recently, it dawned on me that I may not be the only busy mom looking for simple ways to connect with my daughters, so I decided to clean up the list and share it here with you.

If you’re looking for mother-daughter things to do that will help you feel closer to your girl, check this epic list for the best ideas.

Decide how much time you have for your one-on-one bonding, then find that section for oodles of ideas for fun things to do with your daughter.

But First, a Disclaimer

My son is just a few months old, but I’m already looking ahead to when he’ll be old enough to connect with on this level. Out of this whole list, I counted only a handful of ideas that may not be the right fit for some boys. So if you have a son, go ahead and use this list too!

But because I’m a mom and I have three older daughters I’ve been having one-on-one time with for 10 years, I wrote this as a mother-daughter date ideas list.

20 Minutes or Less: Quick But Powerful!

These mother-daughter date ideas are perfect when you need a spontaneous dose of healthy connection with your daughter.

Free, or Less Than $10

  1. Have an impromptu dance party. Research shows that listening to music together creates healthy bonds and builds positive memories. Check out this girl power playlist or this happy family playlist.
  2. Ask each other interesting questions. Our favorites are from this set of adorable family conversation starters. We use these questions every night with our kids, and they’ve been a game-changer, helping us end every day feeling connected, loved, and happy.
How to Unlock Your Child's Heart: The Best Conversation Starters for KidsMake these family conversation starters one of your go-to mother-daughter bonding activities
for a quick dose of connection.
  1. Read aloud. If she’s old enough, you can take turns reading out loud to each other from the same book. If reading aloud is already part of your daily routine and feels a bit too routine to be special, you can switch it up by changing genres. For example, you might read poetry or magazine articles to each other. When my oldest daughter and I want to connect one-on-one, we’ll take turns reading to each other from Harry Potter.
  2. Take turns taking photos of each other. Odds are that as the mom, you’re the one behind the camera most of the time so there aren’t many family photos of you. So your daughter may appreciate the honor of capturing some rare snapshots of you. You can dress up if you want or keep it simple. Feel free to be as silly as you want!
  3. Make art together. You can doodle, design thank-you cards, or try something fancy you found on Pinterest. Not only is creating art important for your child’s development, but it’s also been shown to impact health by reducing stress and anxiety, increasing positive emotions, and reducing the likelihood of depression.
  4. Take turns telling each other jokes. If you don’t know many jokes, these two joke books are our favorites, and they’re both super inexpensive: Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids and Knock-Knock Jokes for Kids. (If you like those, this author has a ton of joke books for even more ideas!)

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  1. Look at pictures. Grab a family photo album and look at old photos together. Whether you look at her baby pictures or pictures from when you were a kid, kids love a trip down memory lane. For bonus points, throw in a few childhood stories.
  2. Dress each other. Let your daughter pick out your clothes for the day, then you do the same for her. Then head out to run errands or to your regular daily routine wearing what you picked out for each other.
  3. Write poems about each other. My oldest daughter had a project in fourth grade where parents were encouraged to write a poem about their kids. I was nervous to write a poem since that’s not in my wheelhouse, but when I read the finished poem out loud to my daughter, she beamed. Sit down and write poems together, then read them aloud to each other.
  4. Climb into bed. Pick any time of day and pile into your bed and cuddle together for a few minutes. You may be surprised at what your daughter opens up about after a few minutes of shared quiet!
  5. Tell a story. Think back to a funny or cute story from when she was younger – or from when you were a child – and share it with your daughter. Even if she’s heard it before.
  6. Stop and play. Sit down and just play for a few minutes – no smartphones, no multitasking. Just follow her lead.
  7. Start a game of chase or hide-and-seek. For younger girls, she’ll love it if you pretend her hiding place is so good you can’t find her.
  8. Start rough-housing or a pillow fight. Research shows this kind of play builds emotional intelligence and brings joy for kids – yes, even girls!

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  1. Make up a story together. You make up one sentence, then pass it to your child for the next sentence. For even more fun with this mother-daughter bonding activity, use one of the Create and Tell Me a Story card decks.
  2. Talk in the dark. When you put her to bed, turn out the lights and snuggle in bed with her. Ask questions and listen. Here’s one of our favorites: “When did you feel most loved today?”
  3. Ask for help. Ask her to help you with something like doing laundry or paying bills. Not only is this one of the best kinds of mother-daughter bonding activities, she may learn a new life skill, too.
  4. Welcome the day. Wake up early and watch the sunrise together.
  5. Have a hula hoop contest. Winner gets to pick their favorite meal for dinner, an extra piece of candy after dinner, or just bragging rights.
  6. Make homemade slime or play dough. Then play with it together.
  7. Color on the sidewalk. Use sidewalk chalk to create a masterpiece or invent a new game. If you need some inspiration, check out Chalk on the Wild Side, which has 25+ chalk art projects, recipes (glow-in-the-dark chalk!), and chalk game ideas for you.

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  1. Learn a new language together. Try the Duolingo app, or get language lessons on Audible. (Use this special link to get two free audiobooks on Audible.)
  2. Meditate together. Our favorite app is Headspace because it has sections specifically for kids.
  3. Give each other massages. This works for a wide age range, and it’s easy to do anytime or any place.

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Between $10-20

  1. Color together. Get a special mother-daughter coloring book, which has one intricate page for mom and one simpler page for your daughter in each spread. Our favorites are this book with adorable animal illustrations and this one with more variety that a family therapist helped create. Coloring is perfect as a mother-daughter bonding activity because you can do it in short spurts of time. And if you’re feeling a little disconnected, the action of coloring calls on both logic (staying in the lines) and creativity (picking colors and color schemes), which helps your brain relax. Don’t forget to pick up some snazzy new coloring pencils or fineliner pens to go along with your pretty coloring books!
  2. Do a crossword puzzle. We love this series of crossword puzzle books because they have perforated pages you can tear out so you can solve a puzzle on the go.

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  1. Take turns writing. Get a shared journal for kids and parents and write back and forth to each other. This is my favorite mother-daughter journal because it gives you a magical way to get your kid to open up about what’s going on so you can stay connected. Or if you’d prefer to share a drawing journal, the co-author of this gorgeous mom and me art journal is a licensed art therapist so it’s specifically designed to improve your mother-daughter relationship.
This journal for kids is the perfect fit for moms and daughters who want to connectThis sweet journal is the perfect fit for moms and daughters who want to stay connected.

An Hour or Two

When you have a little more time to spare, these fun mother-daughter activities will help you feel close and connected.

Free, or Less Than $10

  1. Go for a long walk or hike. Without the distractions of daily life at home, your daughter may open up and share her heart with you on the walk. Plus, outdoor time is good for your relationship, according to science. Research shows time spent in nature helps mothers and daughters get along better.
  2. Have a coffee date. Bring your favorite board game or card game to your neighborhood coffee shop, then treat yourselves to a fancy drink while you play – coffee for you, hot chocolate for her. Here’s a list of our all-time favorite family board games for all ages.
  3. Browse the bookstore. Take her to a bookstore and browse the shelves in the kids’ section together. Whether she’s at the picture book, chapter book, or young adult level, pick out a book or two and read out loud to her. (Kids are never too old to be read to!) If you need some ideas, here are our absolute favorite picture books of all time – and we read a lot. For a special treat, surprise her by buying her a new book she has her eye on.
  4. Have a movie night for two. At home, watch your favorite movie, her favorite movie, or a new movie you’re both interested in. Then afterwards, talk about your favorite parts.
  5. Get a mani-pedi. You can go DIY style at home and paint each other’s nails, or make it an extra special event by taking her to a nail salon so you can both relax while you’re pampered.
  6. Trade makeovers. Get your makeup bag out, and let your daughter do whatever she wants – then swap roles. You may look ridiculous after she’s done with your makeover, but she’ll love being “in charge.”
  7. Exercise together. Pop in a workout DVD (we like Jillian Michaels’s Yoga Meltdown) and have fun keeping your bodies healthy. Or if that’s not your style, go for a quick run or bike ride together.
  8. Host a book club meeting for two. Read the same book – together or apart – then have a meeting where you talk about what happened in the book, your favorite characters, what surprised you, and so on. Even better: Host your book club at the local coffee shop or bakery.
  9. Make a meal. This is extra fun if you try out a new recipe for the first time together. Or if you don’t want to make a meal, bake a treat together or make homemade ice cream.
  10. Put on a fashion show. Try on clothes from your closet that you haven’t worn in a while, and your daughter can do the same. If you’re close in size, you can even let her try on your clothes. As an added bonus, you may get new ideas for how to wear what you already have – or at least you’ll be able to clear out stuff that didn’t work out.
  11. Play a board game or a card game. For an extra treat, pick up a new game you haven’t played before. For ideas, check out Forget Candyland! This Is the Best List of Board Games for All Ages.
  12. Camp out in the living room. After the rest of the family goes to bed, set up your sleeping bags in the living room and stay up late talking, watching a movie, or playing a board game – or all of the above.
  13. Go on a photo scavenger hunt. You can find free printable photo scavenger hunts online like this simple printable and this one for tweens and teens.
  14. Paint rocks. Then leave them somewhere for a stranger to find so you can brighten their day.
  15. Go to the park, just the two of you. Join your daughter on the swings, and go ahead and try out the big slide too.
Fun mother-daughter date ideas: Visit the park or a local splash pad
  1. Stargaze. Stay up late and lay in your yard, counting stars.
  2. Get literary. Go hear an author speak at a local bookstore. Bonus points if it’s one of your daughter’s favorites.
  3. Feed the ducks. Visit a nearby pond with ducks. (Just make sure to bring defrosted frozen peas or corn, never bread!)
  4. Go swimming. Visit the local swimming pool or splash pad, just the two of you.
  5. Try geocaching. Have fun exploring together.
  6. Try on shoes. Go to the best shoe store in your area and try on as many shoes as you want.
  7. Make something. Find a craft or DIY project on Pinterest and make it together. (My Playful Parenting board has tons of fun ideas.)
  8. Go skating. Try roller skating, ice skating, or rollerblading.
  9. Visit the library. Then pick out books for each other.
  10. Play a sport together. Try something like tennis, or visit the batting cages or driving range.
  11. Scrapbook side-by-side.
  12. Train for a race like a 5K. Then run it together.
  13. Declutter together. Go through your closet and pick things to rehome, then switch and go through her closet.
  14. Round up all the spare change you can find. Then decide together on a charity to donate it to. Check the couch cushions, the bottom of purses, junk drawers, and cup holders in your car. (Whenever we do this, my girls always want to throw in some of their piggy bank money to donate even more!)
  15. Clean out the pantry together. Get rid of expired food, and bag up any other food you can to donate to a local food bank.
  16. Invent a new recipe together.
  17. Get inspired. Look through magazines and Pinterest to find ideas for redecorating her bedroom. Clip any photos you love and make a vision board. (For fresh ideas, try my Kids’ Room Ideas board.)
  18. Do each other’s hair. Find a fun hairstyle on Pinterest and practice it on each other. (Check out my How to Be a Girl board for ideas.)
  19. Fly a kite. Take turns flying a kite at a nearby park.
  20. Have a slumber party. Join your daughter in her room for one night, just the two of you.
  21. Play with paper dolls. Print a cute set of color-in paper dolls, then cut them out and color them together, then play dress-up. I downloaded a set of the most adorable paper dolls from this Etsy seller, and my girls had so much fun! Even my 10-year-old.

Between $10-20

  1. Solve a jigsaw puzzle. We do a lot of puzzles in our family, and our absolute favorite puzzle-maker is Ravensburger because the pieces are nice and sturdy – perfect for little fingers. But if you’re both whizzes at puzzles, maybe you’re brave enough to try this impressive 33,000-piece puzzle that’s the world’s largest.

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  1. Take her out for ice cream. Let her order whatever she wants. The more scoops the better!
  2. Grow something. You can go all out and start a garden or just find an empty pot and plant a pretty flower in it. This mother-daughter bonding activity is great because you can take care of the plant together every day. Here’s an all-in-one garden starter that we’ve used and loved.

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  1. Have a picnic. Grab a basket and pack yummy food, an outdoor blanket (this one’s our favorite), and sparkling juice like Izze.
  2. Meet your daughter at school for lunch. Bring her favorite meal, even if it’s fast food. Or for a smaller treat, bring a cookie or another surprise dessert.

More Than $20

  1. Take a class. Find a class you’re both interested and sign up, like an art, pottery, sewing, photography, self-defense, or cooking class – or something else altogether. If you’re on a budget, most home improvement stores offer free kid-friendly workshops. Learning a new skill or trying something you’ve never done before can be a little stressful in the moment, but research shows it pays off with increased happiness in the long term.
  2. Go thrifting. Shopping is one of the most stereotypical mother-daughter bonding activities, but it doesn’t always fit the family budget, and you may not want to foster a love of “stuff” from a young age. If that’s the case, take her to a thrift store, a flea market, or garage sales and look for hidden gems.
  3. Take her out to eat. Pick a restaurant you both love, a new restaurant you’ve never tried before, or just get a couple slices of deliciously greasy pizza, and share a meal just the two of you.
Looking for mother-daughter date ideas? Take her out for pizza
  1. Go to a yoga class. Find a class your daughter will feel comfortable with, and do it together.
  2. Go see a movie in the theater. Be sure to get your favorite theater treat, whether that’s buttery popcorn, a king size Twix, or the pucker power of Sour Patch Kids.
  3. Visit the local farmer’s market. Sample as much as possible, and pick up something fun to bring home and share with the rest of the family.
  4. Explore a museum. Younger kids love children’s museums, and older girls may enjoy visiting other attractions like an art museum, natural history museum, planetarium, science museum, and so on.
  5. Take her to a show. Find a musical, play, or other performance, and surprise her with tickets. She’ll love the excuse to get dressed up!
  6. Throw a spur-of-the-moment party just because. You could throw an “It’s Friday” party, a “Rainy Day” party, or even a “We Had a Fight But We Still Love Each Other” party. Remember: A party without cake is just a meeting.
  7. Go bowling. It doesn’t matter if you stink at bowling. Laugh it off, and it will add to the fun.
  8. Let your daughter decide what to do. Give her twenty dollars (or ten, or whatever your budget is) and tell her she can decide how you’ll spend your time together. She may decide to spend it all on candy, but research shows that kids are happier when they have a say in how they spend their time.
  9. Play miniature golf.
  10. Take her to an outdoor play or concert.
  11. Host a tea party for two. Dress up and wear fancy hats if you have them, and do everything the British do for high tea. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, visit a local tea room or hotel for high tea.
  12. Give back. Pick a project on Kiva to invest in. You can lend as little as $25 to help someone start or grow a business, go to school, and more to help them realize their potential. As another option, you can find a project on DonorsChoose and help kids in economically disadvantaged areas get what they need in order to learn better at school.
  13. Watch sports. Get tickets to a sporting event and splurge on the junk food. For an extra treat, get a souvenir to remember the fun day.
  14. Go on a walking tour in your city. Some cities even have food walking tours where you can try a few new restaurants in the span of a couple hours.
  15. Book haircuts for both of you. Schedule them for the same time so you can chat while you’re pampered.
  16. Pick fresh fruit. Visit a local u-pick farm and pick fresh fruit – berries, apples, pumpkins, or whatever’s in season.
  17. Visit the animals. If you and your daughter love animals, visit a zoo or a farm with a petting zoo. If you don’t have a zoo nearby, a local pet store works in a pinch, especially for younger kids.
  18. Get breakfast treats. Wake up before everyone else in the family and head out early to get breakfast treats, like breakfast tacos, donuts, or cinnamon rolls. Don’t forget to bring home extras to share with everyone else!
  19. Visit an arcade. Play as many games as possible together.

Half a Day or More

As busy parents, it can be hard to set aside a full day or even half a day. But if you can put it on the calendar once every two to three months, do it because these mother-daughter date ideas are so much fun.

Free, or Less Than $10

  1. Take a mental health day. Take one day off school and work and spend the day together. Just make sure she doesn’t have any big tests, quizzes, or projects due that day! Or if you can’t afford a full day, pick her up an hour or two early from school and go do something fun from this list.
  2. Volunteer. For younger kids, it can be difficult to find organized volunteer activities, but you can always put together care packages for the homeless in your area or make cards to brighten the day of nursing home residents.
  3. Bring your daughter to work with you.
  4. Camp out in your backyard one night. Don’t forget the s’mores fixin’s!
  5. Go on a random acts of kindness spree. Pick a day and commit as many random acts of kindness as you can think of.
  6. Spend time in nature. Drive to the nearest beach or nature center and soak up the outdoor time.
  7. Take her to college. If it’s within driving distance, take her to your alma mater and show her around campus. If it’s too far away, take her to the closest college campus and explore together. Ask questions about what she thinks college will be like, and share any fun stories you can remember from when you went.

More Than $20

  1. Take a day trip. Find a fun destination that’s within driving distance and head there together to explore. Research shows taking a trip with your child becomes a “happiness anchor” for her – in other words, vacations stick in kids’ brains as vivid memories, and later on as adults those memories can even help them get through tough times. (Don’t forget to crank up a girl power playlist and sing aloud at the top of your lungs!)
  2. Visit a fair or amusement park. Ride every ride together and eat all the junk food you can.
  3. Pretend to be tourists in your own town. Have fun exploring a tourist attraction or two.
  4. Have a one-night staycation. Book a night at a hotel in your downtown area. For a special treat, order room service for breakfast or for a late-night treat.

Download now: 150 Family Conversation Starters That Will Unlock Your Child’s Heart

Your Turn

What are your favorite mother-daughter date ideas? Share in a comment below!

The Ultimate List of the Best 101 Mother-Daughter Date Ideas
The Ultimate List of the Best 101 Mother-Daughter Date Ideas

Author information

Kelly

I’m a mom of four, a recovering perfectionist, and the author of Happy You, Happy Family. Parenting is hard enough without all the guilt we heap on top of ourselves. So let’s stop trying to be perfect parents and just be real ones. Sound good? Join my mailing list and as a bonus, you’ll get 25+ incredibly helpful cheat sheets that will ease your parenting struggles.

The post The Best Way to Nurture Your Mother-Daughter Bond: 101 Fun Mom-Daughter Date Ideas appeared first on Happy You, Happy Family.

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Raising Responsible Kids

Teaching our kids responsibility is one of our jobs as parents. And it’s an important one. We all know adults today who don’t handle responsibility well – maybe it’s finances, maybe it’s holding down a job or maybe it’s simply childish behaviour. Irresponsibility can cause problems don’t the track and most of us don’t want that for our kids.

But sometimes teaching responsibility can be difficult – particularly when our kids are young and struggling to be responsible. We want our children to be children! We want them to run and play after school, not do dishes. We want them to ride their bikes and go to the beach on the weekends, not work in the yard. Having responsibilities help them learn about being accountable and teach them the value of hard work. And research shows it is good for them – for their happiness and overall wellbeing.

So, how can we raise responsible children?

To raise responsible kids, give them responsibility!

Teaching kids responsibility doesn’t have to be tricky or overly complicated. At its core, we are teaching our kids that they can do something, by teaching them how to do that thing. Giving them the mindset (can-do attitude) plus the abilities (life skills) leads to responsibility.

Here are some ways you can start:

Let them help

Yes, it will take twice as long to do the dishes if your four-year-old is ‘helping’ but a little investment now goes a long way in the future. Teaching your child how to do the dishes by doing them together, prepares him for when he can do them on his own. Plus, when your child is allowed to help you, he feels valued. Those good feelings make him feel more connected at home and with you. In fact, research shows that kids who help at home don’t find this work at all stressful, and actually feel higher levels of happiness.

Build on age-appropriate tasks

When your kids are young, they won’t be able to make their own lunches, or work at the stove preparing dinner with you. But they can start learning the steps to build up to those tasks. Start small. As they learn, add more advanced responsibility.

When your child wants a snack, instead of cutting him up an apple, show him where the apples are and how to wash one. When he’s a little bit older, you can help him learn to use a knife safely. And when he’s capable, let him cut up apples for his younger siblings.

Take the time to show them the way when they are young, so they can build on that as they grow. Helping at home makes kids feel good, grown-up and important!

Express Appreciation

Keep up the positive energy by recognising and appreciating them. ‘Thank you for emptying the dishwasher – it was such a big help!’ Focus on what you are grateful for rather than how good they are. Emphasising competence and effort is more important than a focus on performance and outcome. When they are engaged, they will continue to strive and eventually succeed. The resulting sense of achievement is a wonderful reward.

Allow for independence

For our kids to really learn responsibility, they have to learn to rely on themselves. Once you have provided guidance about a task, give them the space to do it on their own. Start with little things – such as packing their schoolbag. Teach them how to do it, and then let them do them on their own. When you show confidence in your child’s abilities, he will feel confident as well.

Allow natural consequences

Of course, once kids are given the freedom to make their own decisions, and do their tasks on their own, they are going to make mistakes. Facing the consequences of those mistakes, though upsetting, will teach your child responsibility. Learning and growth comes from making mistakes.

When your child makes a mistake, allow the natural consequence. If he forgets to do his homework the night before it’s due, let him get the bad mark, or face the disappointment of his teacher. These lessons will be more memorable to him and teach greater responsibility, than if you had intervened and forced him to finish his homework on time.

Responsibility leads to success

It’s no surprise that responsibility leads to success in later life. In fact, one study found that having chores from a young age was the best predictor of adult success in areas such as education, career, IQ, relationships with family and friends, and even making good choices about drug use. And getting children to take an active role in maintaining the household helps them learn values and empathy, as well as responsibility.

Teaching your child responsibility will take time and energy, but it certainly is not impossible. And children have been given a chance to contribute at home, and to have experiences that have taught them that their decisions have consequences, stand a much better chance of growing into responsible adults.

And once the jobs are done, go outside and play!

The post Raising Responsible Kids appeared first on Dr Justin Coulson’s Happy Families.

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