It’s Spring! Take your connection to the next level!

Are you always looking for ways to connect with your kids more?

I am. I look for activities and related ways to strengthen my relationship with my son and have lots of fun doing so.

It’s usually pretty easy to come up with ways to do this. One of my favorite ways to do it is by finding a theme for the month.

For example, April is cherry blossom month. So, I gave the month of April a “cherry blossom and pink” theme.

I love spring here in DC. As soon as the cherry blossoms bloom, the city and surrounding suburbs seem to bloom, too. This year, my son is at the perfect age to enjoy the cherry blossoms, so I scheduled a couple of days to enjoy this time of year together. We enjoyed the blossoms, watched the music shows, and participated in many of the events in the area.

Going further, we are focusing on learning about variations of the color pink, and making drawings of flowers and blossoms and putting them around the house. We bought pink flowers to brighten up our home. We are pointing out pink things as well as learning about different types of flowers. Really, what I am doing is enrolling my son, so to speak, in learning about something new and making it a fun activity that we can enjoy together. I usually let my son lead this discovery of our monthly theme, and am amazed at how he always takes it to the next level.

You see, beyond just having fun at one event or turning learning something into a game, which I definitely do with my son, I create a theme that will last for many fun events. This gives us ongoing things to talk about, books to read, drawings to make, and much more. I have found it to be both the most fun way to learn new skills as well as a really great way to make the time I have with my son count.

Connection Time: How we connected

After feeling relief and a renewed sense of clarity, I had energy to have a great day with my son.

So, what did we do?

We went down to DC to enjoy a beautiful spring day. I love this time of year here. The cherry blossoms have started to bloom, and the sun warms up the day. The city is buzzing with excitement and it seems everyone is happy.

Luckily for my son and me, the Cherry Blossom Festival is going on. So I took him to the wharf where there were many free kids’ activities, music, art, and at the end of the night, fireworks!

It was a wonderful day. My son is still really into dragons since we celebrated Chinese New Year. He was very excited about the dragon boats on the river, the dragon hand puppet we made, and all of the other dragon-themed events. In fact, he is still talking about it.

Next time you get real with yourself and handle a situation that is dragging you down, notice the energy surge you experience after dealing with whatever was troubling you. Notice how much more fun you and your kids have!

Feeling agitated by your kids?

When you are feeling agitated, it often means that you are ignoring a need you have.

Do you take time to check in with yourself and see what you need?

Over the last few days I was getting really agitated by my son. Things that he was doing that normally felt like little things really set me off. I kept thinking, what the h***? Why am I so irritated with my cute little guy? What is wrong?

After this went on for a few days, I finally I sat down and asked myself a series of questions. I usually do this if a pattern persists for more than a day or two, but this time, for some reason I had let it go on for about four days.

I realized that I was really, really, really stressed about a conversation that I had to have with a friend. I was putting off the conversation and repressing the emotions that this conversation involved. By the way, this is one of the things I tend to do. I know that, and check in often to see when I am in this pattern of thought or emotion suppression.

As soon as I brought this information to light, so to speak, I felt more freedom. I then made a plan and set a date to have the conversation I needed. Then I scheduled a bit of “me” time. This allowed me to nurture the part of myself that really needed attention.

What happened next?

I easily had the conversation with my friend, and felt great after I was done. I felt renewed about a little “me” time, and then had space to have lots of connection time with my son. Read our next “Connection Time” post to find out what we did together.

 

Have more fun with your kids

If you’re like me, then one of your deepest desires is to really, really, really enjoy your kids.

I know that your life is busy, and often there are so many things to do that you just don’t feel that you have time to play. However, if you want to increase your happiness, you have to put fun time at the top of your list.

How do you do that when you have so much to do?

Well, you make it your number one priority. Yes, make fun your number one priority.

Look, I know that life is busy, and that it is really easy to get caught up in what you have to do.  But if you want to really enjoy your life and your kids, then you have to make doing this a priority.

I used to get overwhelmed and focus more on what I felt I needed to do than on what would bring me happiness. So, I know this story really well.

Don’t get me wrong, I still work, clean the house, take care of paperwork, and do the day to day things that are needed. However, no matter what else is on the do list, every day I put having fun (especially fun with my son) on the top of that list.

Some days, we can have hours of fun. Some days, I have to schedule it, I can only fit in 30 minutes, and it seems a bit scripted. But you see, my connection with my son and my overall joy depends on feeling happy. Doesn’t yours?

Since I am a mom, it is extremely important to me to make sure that I enjoy being a parent and enjoy time with my son.

Just like you, I have many challenges that I need to find solutions to on a daily basis. But having fun and enjoying my son is non-negotiable for me. Is it for you? If not, it should be.

If having fun and being happy is not at the top of your list, and you want it to be, then comment below.  I can help you enjoy your kids more.

It is easy to have fun with your kids every day, and I can help you find ways to do it.

How to seize opportunities when they present themselves

This week I invite you to do something different than what you normally do. Pay attention to opportunities where you can allow something unplanned to happen. Don’t try to stop it, or try to force things back “on course.” Instead, embrace and enjoy the opportunity that is given to you.

I’ll give you an example:

My son has been waking up a lot with tummy aches, and we have spent many nights awake together.  A couple of nights ago, he came running into the living room with a huge smile and an adorable giggle. It was 10 pm. He was wide awake and had no plans for going back to sleep. At first I wanted to take him right back upstairs and put him back to bed, but instead I gave him a huge hug. He looked up at me and asked for my homemade soup. I said okay, and gave him a bowl. He scarfed it down and asked for another. He ate that and then started tickling me. His laughter was contagious, and soon I was laughing and we were rolling on the floor playing. After about an hour we went up to bed and snuggled peacefully all night. We both slept great that night for a change, and woke up feeling happy and connected.

I share this story with you as a reminder to allow happiness to creep in even when it’s through a means you don’t expect. Normally, I protect my evening time as my time to catch up with friends, do some work, and just unwind. It is my “off duty” time. I am also fairly strict about when my son goes to bed and quickly put him back to bed if he wakes. However, this night I let my routine ease up a little and I embraced an opportunity. I am so very grateful I did.

Make a point to notice when there is a break in your routine, and pay attention to the opportunity that might be presented to you. Try this just once this week, and see what happens.—And I’d love to hear about it.  Tell me about it in the comments below.

Five ways I know you are a great parent

Over the last couple of weeks I have had the opportunity to speak with many of you about your lives and your beautiful families. I know that each of you is striving to be the best parent you can be. How do I know this? Well, I know this because you are reaching out to me and sharing what matters most to you.

Everyone who I have had the opportunity to hear from has expressed in some way or another that you are looking for easy and practical ways to better connect with yourself and your family. Many of you lead very busy lives, yet your main concern is your family. Because of this, I know that you are amazing parents!

Here are 5 ways that I know you are an amazing parent:

1. For starters, you are reading this. The fact that you’re here shows that you want to make shifts that allow you to be an even better parent than you already are.

2. You are looking to improve your relationship with your children and seeking ways to foster this deeper connection.

3. You are trying to be the best YOU that you can be. You are concerned about how you “show up” for your family, and are making every effort to be the best YOU every day.

4. You deeply love your children and want the best for them.

5. You want more happiness and connection in your life. You are listening to and following those of us who are sharing ideas for how you can improve and increase your happiness.

Bottom line: your greatest desire is to really enjoy being a parent and enjoy the time you spend with your family. You want a deeply connected relationship that is full of fun and happiness.

I could have easily written more than 5 things I recognize in you. But I’ll keep it brief, and just include the top 5, because my purpose  is to remind you of some things you already know, to help you see how much you are doing right.

Take a few minutes to think about this. If it helps, put your hand over your heart, take a deep breath, and try to really feel the words I have written here.

You are an amazing presence in the world, and the people in your life are fortunate to have you. You are an amazing parent. I know this is true. Do you?

 

Another way to look at having a balanced life

Do you struggle to “feel balanced”? Does being balanced seem like something that is really hard to achieve? When you look at your family’s schedule, do you wonder how you could fit in more time to achieve balance?

If you said yes to any of those questions, then continue reading. I want to offer you another way to think of balance.

My personal definition of balance is feeling at peace. When I feel at peace, I feel in harmony and never feel out of balance. I do aim to achieve an overall balance in my life. However, I am also a working single mother to a three-year-old. So, I know that the kind of “balance” people often speak about is just not attainable in my everyday.

So what is the alternative?

Well, as I said before, I define balance as feeling at peace. When I am at peace, there is a flow to my life. I look at balance as experiencing a fluid or wavelike existence. Every day brings new experiences, challenges, and often a bit of a different schedule from the previous day. But while your schedule may vary each day, you can still feel the flow of life–what I call feeling balanced.

Are you allowing for your perception of what balance is for you to flow? Could it change your life to see balance as something that varies each day, and that flows as the day flows?

It changed mine. Once I stopped trying to achieve the perfect life, the perfect balance, I had room to ride the wave of life. And this allowed me to create balance each day. Balance was no longer a goal to attain, it was a way to live my life—with peace.

So, play with me here. What is on your agenda for today? Is it going to be the same tomorrow?

When I look at my weekly schedule in advance, I consciously look for what I can do to feel more balance. My day today looks entirely different than tomorrow. My focus and energy will be different each day. Today, I am working with clients; tomorrow, I am with my son.

My balance so to speak on those two days will be different. I am allowing my focus to differ, based on what I choose to do each day. I am still finding balance, but it means something different today than it will tomorrow. Looking at balance this way is a more peaceful approach for me.  Could it work for you?  Finding balance is not a task; it is a mindset, a release of pressure, and allowing my focus to go where it is needed most at that time.

Has your definition of a balanced life changed? I would be happy to talk with you personally about this and help you as you move toward finding your balance and flow. Comment below and let’s continue the conversation.

 

How to be a resilient parent

by Beth Spicer

People with higher levels of resilience are known to be happier and move through life with greater flow. Resilience has always interested me, and I find that it is a defining factor for happiness—especially for being a happy parent.

Do you pick yourself up and move forward smoothly when a challenge with your children arises? Or does a setback stop you in your tracks and stick with you? Do you “replay” what you should have done, or what could have happened?

As a fellow parent, I encourage you to trust in yourself, to have enough self-love to move forward confident that you are doing the best you can.

Is this how you approach your day and your parenting now?—With trust and confidence? Or do you get stuck in the thinking pattern of rehashing the past?  Do you find yourself wondering “How did I lose my cool?” or “How did my child just control that situation?”

Resilience is a topic that you hear trainers and athletes talk about. It is also often mentioned among those who have been through great emotional turmoil. It is the energy or essence that allows you to pick yourself up, gets you through, and keeps you moving forward. It’s a mindset that you are going to conquer or achieve what you set out to.

So what does this have to do with parenting?

Well, as a parent, I say EVERYTHING!

I know that I am a resilient parent. Are you?

I know I am, because I make tons of mistakes. Yes, tons. But every time, I get back up and try again. I collect myself, come up with a new strategy, and am okay with admitting that I lost my cool or had what I call “a bad parenting moment”–or day.

Here is a mental image to consider. Think of what your child was like when they were learning to walk. They were the perfect image of resilience. They got excited, tried to walk, fell, maybe cried, and then got up again. They did not stop. They didn’t say “I can’t.” They may have been frustrated and started crying, which is par for the course.  However, they knew in their heart that they could do it. They just had to learn how. This is key to the resilient mindset! They were dedicated to the outcome and knew it could happen. The frustration, and the fact that they did not know how to do it, did not stop them.

I think this is what happens when you are resilient. You are dedicated to the outcome and know you can accomplish what you set out to. You also know that you may fall and have to figure out how to achieve your goal.

This is the same as parenting. Resilient parents know that they are great parents. They just sometimes fall and need to pick themselves up. They admit that they have made a mistake and correct the situation if needed. Then they move forward.

Are you unsure whether you are doing this yourself?

If you say “I am not doing this,” I would tell you first of all that I know you are doing it more than you realize. Determine one area in which you know you are doing this. Just one. Notice, love, and appreciate that spirit in yourself, just like you did with your toddler who was learning to walk. Remember that we are all learning how to do something.

When you forget that you are resilient, you lose your motivation. This is when your self-talk often becomes full of the “I should’s” that I have mentioned previously. This is when we start feeling tired, worn down, and have an overall sense that we have lost a lot of strength, energy, and really have lost a part of ourselves.

Connect to that part of yourself that is like a child learning to walk. You are resilient, you can do what you want to. Just keep your eyes on your goal. You are an amazing resilient parent! I know you are. Do you?

Was this helpful for you?  Post a comment below and let’s discuss further!

Connection Time

I was speaking to a client this week who was feeling so stressed that she was not able to relax when she was with her kids. She has young kids and of course wants to enjoy being with them. This is an activity that allowed her to have more fun and peace while spending time with her kids.

Set a timer for 30 minutes. Get down on the floor and just play. This is your designated time with your children. Don’t answer your phone or do anything else but play with them. These 30 minutes are total free time.

If you are having the same difficulty as my client, then I hope this activity will bring more connection and more joy with your children back into your life.

Happy Parenting!

P.S. I want to hear your ideas. What do you like to do to connect with your kids? Email me at beth@happyparentsandkids.com and let me know.

Be the parent you want to be, and the parent your child deserves!

Yes, that you and your child deserves.

What is holding you back? Do you know?

Many of my clients have been telling me why they can’t be the parent they want to be. Do you feel the same way?

If you said yes, than please pay attention. I am coming from a place of love when I tell you that you’re wrong. I say this as someone who used to tell herself the same thing.

The truth is, you can be the parent you want to be. You can have the relationship that you want with your children, and with others who you love.

What is stopping you? Unfortunately, you are. You are the one who is getting in your way. Your self-talk, your fears and all of the other reasons that you tell yourself why you can’t.

So, let me ask you straight out: What do you want? What type of relationship do you want? What does it look like? What does it feel like? Now, why can’t you have everything you just asked for?

If what comes to mind is a “Yes, but…” or an “I can’t because…” then I want you to first recognize that it is only a thought and tell that thought “NO THANK YOU! I have more power than you, and I get to choose how I show up in this world.”

I know that this is not always as easy as it sounds. I know this struggle first-hand. I spent much of my life dealing with this type of thinking. However, this type of thinking only gives you more of what you do not want.

So, I’ll ask you again, What do you want? What type of parent do you want to be? What type of relationship do you want to have with your family? Come up with clear answers to these questions, and you have your answer. To move forward from there and reach that goal, I encourage you to get support. You can contact me or someone else, but please work with someone who can help you achieve this newly clear defined goal.

I don’t want you to rely on your old habits and mindset to support you in creating something new. Why? Because that doesn’t work! You have to create new habits and a new mindset to support a new way of being.

If I did it, so can you. I am so passionate about this and want to support you. I will give away seven (7) free 20-minute new habit planning sessions for the first 7 people who click reply to this email. So, click reply now and start being the parent you want to be.

Happy parenting!