I was getting ready to leave for work. One child was sick and clinging. Another was quietly following me around. And the third was whining, crying, asking to be picked up, and throwing tantrums because I offered her a purple cup of water instead of a green one. The family member who was babysitting was sitting on the couch, scrolling through social media. And I was on the verge of losing it because I was trying to do a million things, my kids were whining, and the person who was supposed to help was checked out. So I snapped. I looked at the whining, crying child and told her she had to stop crying. I wiped the sick one's nose and set her on the couch, and she began to wail. Again. Sound familiar?
I have long wanted to be calm, patient and present with my children... but it has taken me a while to get there and the truth is, it’s a practice. It’s something I have to do over and over and over again. I have long wanted to love them and nurture them and grow their emotional capacity, but I have to practice. So, I wanted to share five different Positive Parenthood tips that have really enriched my parenting practice… five things I do now, that allow me to be calm, patient, and present with my children.
Five Ways To Become The Calm, Patient, Present Parent You Were Meant To Be (and join us for our free workshop on this topic, too!)
We’ve got a completely free Positive Parenthood webinar about this topic with limited seats- grab your spot here! So start practicing, join us to share tips and learn more, and let us know how it goes.
If you're anything like me, you've got buckets and boxes and bags and shelves full of children's toys. If your kids are anything like mine, they will play and play and play.... and then things get shoved behind other things, or they tire of stacking blocks upon blocks, or they stop loving playing with the tiny farm animals.
But you still have the toys.
So let's consider what's happening for the child. The child (or children!) have played with the toys. Maybe you've played with the child. The job of a child is to discover the world, and the main way they do this is through play. Once they've exhausted the toys they have and the games they know, they move on to the next thing: for their job is to discover, and so they are seeking something new, something they've yet to discover.
That's where your job as a parent gets interesting. Your job is to set up situations where children can discover something new about the world, and you can use those forgotten dollies and leggos stuffed behind baskets of scarves.
How? You're going to set up a provocation. A provocation is a set-up: you arrange old toys in new ways. It sparks interest because your children are able to discover something new- you're showing them a new way to play and something fresh to discover.
I use child-size table, and I place it in the middle of the living area because they can’t miss it: it’s right on their pathway from the bedroom when they wake up in the morning.
On that table, I arrange toys. I mix legos and blocks, I display books or art projects, I dig out old stuffed animals and set them up for tea. I try to find the oldest toys, and I try to set them up in unexpected and magical ways.
Setting up a provocation accomplishes two things: 1) the kids are delighted I’ve put in some thought to how they experience the world, in the same way that I love it when someone remembers to bring me a cup of coffee or when my husband picks up my favorite ice cream on his way home from work; and 2) I’m showing my little ones how to discover the world by putting old things into new relationships.
They will play for hours with things that were tired- each and every time.
Here are some sample provocations I’ve made for them lately. I challenge you to set one up and take a picture of it- shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the pic and I'll post it here!
Oftentimes, people ask who Positive Parenthood is for.
The thing is, Positive Parenthood is for everyone.
It was initially designed for families dealing with special needs; however what we learned was that all families could use this knowledge on how to build cooperative, positive relationships with their children.
These days, our population is about 50% families that have a child with special needs, and 50% families that have typically developing children who are challenging. We believe that all children- at some point in their development- will challenge their parents. And that is where Positive Parenthood comes in!
Here are two Positive Parenthood families, with very different children, both of whom learned and benefitted from Positive Parenthood. Learn about Iris' journey through Positive Parenthood with her son Ozzy, and the way Chelsey applied the Positive Parenthood tools as she parented her three young daughters.