S05|02 - 5 Quick Strategies for Simple Peaceful ParentingJul 25, 2022
Peaceful parenting brings joy, connection and harmony to our family relationships…. But it can also seem daunting, if we weren’t modeled how to parent in this way. There are a few key external and internal issues that can get in the way of peaceful parenting. Tune in to listen to 5 strategies you can implement today to making positive parenting simple.
What we discuss today:
- What things impact our kid’s mood (and ours as well)
- How to notice whether screens, food and sleep are impacting your child’s mood
- The importance of movement and play for kids of all ages
- Boredom being the seedbed of creativity- allowing unstructured time for play and creativity
Coaching has changed my own life, and the lives of my clients. More connection, more healing, more harmony and peace in our most important relationships. It increases confidence in any difficulties that come up in parenting, which helps you be the guide and teach your children the family values that are important to you- in clear ways. If you feel called to integrate this work in a deeper way, that’s what I’m here for.
Crystal The Parenting Coach: Hi, I'm Crystal The Parenting Coach. Parenting is the thing that some of us just expected to know how to do. It's not like other areas of your life, where you go to school to be taught, get on the job training, or have mentors to help you learn. Now, you can get that help here.
I believe that your relationship with your children is one of the most important aspects of your life, and the best way that you can make a positive impact on the world and on the future. I've made parental relationships my life study, and use life coaching tools with connection-based parenting to build amazing relationships between parents and their children.
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My five go-to strategies for peaceful parenting
Hello, and welcome to the podcast today. Today, I have for you 5 Quick Strategies to Make Peaceful Parenting Simple.
So, sometimes we get in our heads about peaceful parenting; and we're like confused about consequences and natural consequences and how to instill boundaries – and how are we teaching if we're not using consequences anymore? And all that goes into inner healing, and we can kind of get bogged down by all of the things.
So, today, my goal is to give you five really quick and very simple strategies so that you can go to these as you're doing some of the deeper work uncovering your triggers, your own inner healing, all of all of that that comes with this work.
You can use these quick strategies anytime to make peaceful parenting just a little bit more easy for you and for your kids. These are kind of my five go-to strategies.
In fact, when things are going awry and my kids are having a little bit of a meltdown, or I am, you know, starting to feel a little bit agitated, I go to these five things.
I think of them as like my hand. I put my hand up and I'm like, 'Okay, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. What's going on with these five? Check in with these five.' It's like very-- It's very automatic for me now to just be like, 'Okay, these five things, let's go over them. What's happening here?'
So, what are the five things? I'm going to go over them really quickly, and then I'll go a little bit more in depth about each one; food & water, screens, movement versus sedentary, sleep, and connection & relationship.
So, what I mean by these is; when I think about my child as a whole being, a holistic being – I'm like, 'Okay, what are all the different things that they could be struggling with right now? And, what are the most simple ways to help right now?'
And a lot of times, one of these five strategies will work for me in the moment.
1. Food and water
So, I'm going to go over food and water first. What I mean by this is if my child is struggling – and by struggling, I mean maybe they're a little bit more agitated, maybe they're a little bit more emotional, maybe they're feeling a little bit more disconnected, maybe they're feeling hugely disconnected or hugely emotional – food & water is my like number one go-to.
Because just like us, like if you think of you as an adult, if you're hangry – if you are – which is Hungry–Angry, if you are feeling like maybe your blood sugar's a little bit low, maybe you haven't eaten recently, maybe you haven't drunken enough water that day, it's going to be really hard for you to be in that calm present space.
If you listen back to Season 1, I talk about zones. There's an episode there on zones. And what I'm talking about here is parenting from the Green Zone – so when we're feeling very regulated and very calm and very chill, it's a lot easier for us to parent, right?
Well, our kids have these zones also; and it's a lot easier for us to connect and to learn and to teach and to have them think logically about things when they're in their own Green Zone. And there's some things that can kind of shift them out of that Green Zone, and not having enough food or water can be that.
So, I have a daughter who's very prone to HANGRY; and she can just be sweet and lovely and so helpful and so fun and interesting, engaging. And then if it's a little bit long like this one day we were at church and I didn't bring snacks – we go to church for two hours and I didn't bring snacks – I usually do, but we were visiting my parents so I didn't have anything to bring, go to church, didn't really think much of it.
And as soon as we got there, she was like, 'I'm hungry, I'm hungry.' And I was like, 'I don't have anything for you.' I went and looked in the car, didn't have anything, and she just kept getting hungrier and crankier and more irritable; I couldn't get her to sit still very well, she was just like agitated.
Well, by the time church is over, two hours later, I couldn't even get her in the vehicle; she was just totally full-blown meltdown mode – just really beyond, beyond logical. Now, this happened because she was obviously hungry; she knew she was hungry – I didn't have anything for her.
Sometimes we can't do anything about it, but it knowing this, now – because this has been a pattern for us – now I have little food and snacks in the car all the time. I always just have things there because I know that this can be an issue for her sometimes; and it's just easier for all of us if I make sure that she's like topped up.
But the same thing can be true for us too, if we haven't eaten recently, if we haven't drunk a lot of water that day, we're just going to be a little bit more irritable. We're just going to be a little bit more in that yellow zone phase; and so, it's going to be harder for us to sometimes show up in the way that we would like to, in that leadership role like we would like to.
So, my number one go-to is always; 'When's the last time they ate? How much water have they had?'
What things impact our kid’s mood (and ours as well
And not just what they've eaten and the quantity of it, but also the quality of the food that they're eating. I'm not going to go into too much detail about this, but things like corn syrup and preservatives and food dyes and sugar, there's a lot of those kinds of things that can actually affect their mood; what we put into our body affects our mood.
Now, you might have realized this, I've definitely felt this way; if I eat like a pizza or something…later on, I'm going to feel a lot more sluggish. My brain's going to have a little bit more brain fog. I'm going to feel a bit more bloated and kind of yucky; that just happens, I know, when I eat foods like that.
Whereas if I had eaten like, you know, chicken and salad and, like, I don't know, some healthy nourishing foods that feel good, for me, and this is different for everybody. Not everybody feels like that's nourishing for them, but for me, that's always my go-to, to make me feel more nourished.
And when I feel that way, then it's just a lot easier for me to handle life and to feel more regulated and to be more chill and to be more in that Green Zone. So, I want you just to think about that for a minute. Number one is food & water. So, that's always my go-to. If they're struggling, if I'm struggling…we'll go to number one.
Number two is screens. Now, I know that screens is kind of a big debate in society right now. There's all of these difficulties when it comes to screens, right? Like social media and sextortion and exploitation; and there can be a lot of craziness, and we can get into some deep discussions about that.
But I think one of the important things is to not be making our decisions about boundaries and screens from a place of fear, where we're feeling so afraid for our children and for the future.
When we make those decisions – those boundaries – from a place of fear, they're usually not the healthiest and most clear boundaries for us or for our kids. So, that's just a little caveat side note about screens – but going to screens, our kids can be affected by screens just like we are.
I want you to think about you first. So, if you've been on screens all day – maybe you work on screens or maybe you've had a lot of just meetings you had, maybe you were on your phone a lot that day – I want you to think about how you were feeling.
Did you feel a little bit more agitated? Did you feel more easily frustrated? Did you feel like a lack of focus, maybe? Maybe you felt like when people were talking, you weren't totally listening, you were kind of like thinking about other things. Maybe you felt like you had a harder time sleeping, right?
All of that can be connected to screens, even for an adult; and we have like a fully developed prefrontal cortex, right? So, for these little kids that don't, they have a even harder time; screens affect them even more.
And there's a difference between interactive and passive screen time; and passive screen time would be like sitting, watching TV from a far ways away – not something that's like super engaging, but just kind of like, whatever.
But if your-- Interactive screen time would be like video games, FaceTime, texting – even educational apps, anything that's on a small device like an iPad or an iPhone because you're more in it, you're more connected to it there.
Or if whatever show you're watching, maybe you're really close up to it or maybe it's like super engaging – like one of those really like action-filled shows, and you're like in it – that can be a lot more interactive.
And so, there's a difference between how much your body can kind of handle – whether or not it's interactive or passive screen time. So, that's us as adults.
Now, I want you to think of your children now too. If they're really young, their ability to handle things like screens, especially interactive screen time, is going to be super minimal; and as they age, they're going to be able to handle more.
But there's a good chance that if your child is super irritated that it could be somehow connected to having too much screen time. And we all know what that looks like, right? We've all had days where we've been on it for a really long time, we're agitated, our kids are agitated – it's just not the greatest mood to be in.
So, that's why number two my go-to is always screens, especially in this world nowadays where everything's so techy and the access to it is steepened, is heightened.
So, think about screens; and also, just think about how it's affecting your kids individually. Like maybe you don't notice it immediately after you turn off the screens, maybe like you turn off the video games and they're like fine with it – but for the rest of the day, they're a little bit more agitated, they're a little bit more bored…and in their boredom is more frustration.
Like, 'I have no idea what to do, and nothing seems as fun because that video game is so engaging and so interactive.' And so, I'm not saying you have to cut out all the things – but just notice how it's affecting their mood, just like how food was affecting their mood; and then, just make your decisions from that space.
And again, not from a space of fear or like, 'I have to cut out all the things,' right? But like; 'How can I educate them? How can I teach them? How can I guide them? How can I help them? What healthy boundaries can I set here?' We could do several episodes on just that, but that's all I'm going to say about that. So, number one is food and water. Number two is screens.
Number three is movement.
The importance of movement and play for kids of all ages
And the reason that I have this coming next is because research shows that green therapy, which means being outside – you know, being in nature – negates the impacts of screens.
So, when you spend a lot of time outdoors after screens, it can be a super helpful and super nourishing for you. There was even a study done where they talked about even just the kids like looking at a painting or a picture of a green landscape was still super helpful in negating those impacts that you might see, like sleep and mood happening because of too much screen time.
So, that's why movement is next. And movement as in like; it can be nature, it can be outside, it can be those big gross motor movements – if you can't go outdoors, that's fine, you can still do it indoors.
But if they're spending a lot of time being sedentary and not a lot of time with movement, they're just going to be a little bit more agitated.
So again, think of just you as an adult human being; when you spend all day, maybe you're sitting, reading, listening to an audiobook, dealing with stuff – but you're kind of just spending a lot of time in the sitting down position and not moving a lot – you feel a little bit more, at least for me, I feel a little bit more lazy…I just feel a little bit more slow, even in my brain, like things just feel not as focused.
And I definitely feel just more naturally agitated about things, and just that lack of focus even in conversations and stuff.
Boredom being the seedbed of creativity- allowing unstructured time for play and creativity
So, just notice, for you; how movement makes you feel, and how much better your day goes when you make sure that you have some intentional time for movement, and how that impacts your kids too.
I think kids need a lot of open hours of unstructured time to play and just to do whatever they want and to be bored; and that's really the seedbed of curiosity and of innovation. So, we want that for them.
We want them to have a lot of time just having open unstructured time, and having movement be a lot of that. And I think that that will naturally come for them too.
And I don't just mean like little, little kids playing – I mean even like teens and tweens; play might look a little bit different for a teen and tween than it's going to look like for little kids, but it can be creative…like painting or drawing or writing or putting Little Dude ads together or, there's lots of different ways that we can play. So, number three is movement.
Number four is sleep. And when it comes to sleep, I want to talk about quantity and also quality. So, obviously, quality is really important; and there could be like more physical structural things that could be impacting your child's sleep.
Like maybe they have some sort of diagnosis that makes it difficult for them to sleep – or maybe they're more of a mouth breather versus a nose breather, and so they're not like sleeping as well because of their breathing. There can be a lot of little structural things, for sure.
Sleep is definitely developmental; it's very personal, it takes a little-- You know, it can take a while for them to get to being able to sleep deeply and sleeping through the night. So, quantity or quality is definitely important there also, but so--
And one more thing, I guess, with quality would be also screens. Screens can impact-- The lighting and stuff can impact your ability to sleep and to get into those deeper REM cycles like we want to be getting into.
So, I've read that limiting it – limiting your screens in the evening hours so you're not doing screens – several hours before bed, even potentially after dinner, can really help with the quality of sleep that you're getting.
I know that that is really hard to do in real life – when we're, you know, watching a movie late at night or we're texting our friends, or even for us when we're on social media. So, just trying to do what you can around those hours before bedtime to kind of limit that or change it or shift it in any way so that it can really help with the quality of sleep.
Another thing I want to talk about is the quantity of sleep. Now, I have never been one to research like, how many hours is it important for them to get this – like for screens or for sleep or whatever.
I like to kind of look at that child individually because each child is different developmentally, so maybe what they can handle for screens and for sleep is a little bit different than another.
So, for what we do for sleep is that when they were little, they needed a lot of sleep, right? Maybe they needed 12, 16 – as a baby, probably 20 hours of sleep a day; and that kind of gradually started to decrease.
Well, we got to a point eventually where they were usually getting sleepy still somewhere between 7:00 and 9:00 PM – and naturally, I could tell that they were getting sleepy, so that's the time I would put them to bed. And then in the morning, they would just naturally wake up between 7:00 and 9:00.
And as they started to age, that started to shift a little bit. But even with my oldest, he still gets pretty sleepy around 9:00 or 9:30 – and so do I, like that's usually when my body wants to start shutting down also.
And so, that's kind of when all of us try to have things shut down and my younger kids even before that; and then I just let them naturally wake up when they want to wake up in the morning, and it usually is between 7:00 and 9:00.
So, a lot of us, like most of us still need a lot of hours of sleep. Babies and toddlers especially, but then again, teens when you're in that teen-tween phase and you're going through puberty and there's a lot of hormones and a lot of things happening in your brain sometimes that we can't even see or don't know that our kids are going through, there's a lot of sleep needed then too.
So, just allowing quantity and also quality sleep as well. And quality sleep doesn't mean like staying up until 1:00 or 2:00 or 3:00 AM, and then sleeping the next day until the next afternoon. Our body is designed to have the circadian rhythms happen around the light and dark hours, right?
There's kind of a rhythm to it. So, we want to be going to sleep when it's getting a little darker, and we're feeling that sleepiness; and we want to be waking up, you know, when the sun is coming up. And obviously that's different depending on where you live in the world, but around that -ish; I'll just add -ish to all these things because it really is very personal.
Number five is connection. So, my whole podcast is about connection-based parenting; everything I talk and teach about is connection-based parenting. But those other four – the screens, food, water, movement, sleep – can really impact connection because if I'm struggling in those four areas or one of those four areas, or my child is, it's going to be a lot harder for me to connect.
It's going to be a lot harder for me to parent in a peaceful way like I want to if I'm not in that Green Zone space or if they're not in that Green Zone space. And obviously, we can't always live in that – but our bodies are designed to mostly be in that space, to be in that calm regulated space.
So, connection or relationship is super important; focusing on that also because maybe I haven't spent a lot of time with my kids.
Maybe I was away on vacation, maybe I was gone for the weekend. Maybe I was just really busy with work. Maybe I was working from home – and back and forth and not really connecting to them. Maybe I wasn't really focused on them. Maybe none of those things happened to me but I was just like during the day, preoccupied with my to-do list or preoccupied with whatever else was going on.
Or maybe I had a friend over and I was chatting with my friend, and just not super connecting with my kids; those times are always going to happen to us. We're not always going to just be able to be 100% connected and focused and present.
And one thing about connection-based parenting is that it's not meant for us to just be with them all of the time. The secure attachment looks like when they're with us, they're happy, they're safe, they're calm, they're soothed; and when they're away from us, they can still feel secure in that relationship so that they can go off and do their own thing and then come back again, right?
So, maybe they're off and they're playing with their friends for the day and they come back and then they reconnect with us for a few minutes; it doesn't have to mean that we are with them all of the time.
Now, this is different based on ages. So, if you have a tiny little baby, yeah, they probably do need a lot more of your physical presence when it comes to connection.
But as they age, they're going to need less and less of that physical presence, but they still need that connection; they still need those little times to connect, to make sure that you're there to feel that secure attachment with you.
So, if your child doesn't seem to be struggling in the other four areas; if you're like, 'Yeah, things are going really well, like I don't think screens are really impacting them, I think their food's pretty good, I think they're getting enough movement and play, I think their sleep is pretty good in quantity and in quality.'
'But I do kind of feel like we're not super connecting, we're not spending a lot of time together or maybe the time that we are spent together doesn't feel very connecting,' this is my invitation for you is to focus less on time and to focus more on thoughts.
What I mean by that is you might hear advice that says something like, "Go spend five minutes a day or 20 minutes a day with each child individually." If you're doing that from a healthy energy where you like want to do it and you're excited and you're feeling connected, great, keep doing that. Like, just do it all the time, that's great.
But if you're doing it because you're feeling obligated because you feel like it's an expectation that good moms do, you're feeling frustrated, you're not enjoying it at all – that's not helping your connection.
In fact, that might be-- It might be the opposite of 'helping', whatever the word is for opposite of 'helping', it might be doing that to your connection. So, it would be much more helpful to take that five minutes or that 20 minutes a day and spend it on your thoughts instead, instead of focusing so much on the time that you're spending with them.
And this is what I mean; you write your child's name at the top of the piece of paper, and then you're just going to write out all your thoughts that come. We all have a lot of thoughts about people around us. You're going to have a lot of thoughts that are going to come up about your child.
So, it's going to kind of direct your focus and your thoughts. You're going to write down all these things like; 'They're amazing' and, 'I think they're going to be a world leader', and they're so innovative and creative – but also there's going to be thoughts like, 'I don't know what to do about this' and, 'This seems like a struggle for them and they're not'--
You know, 'I feel like maybe they're struggling with self-worth', or 'I think that maybe they're on their phone too much', or 'I don't really know, you know, what's happening over here'.
There's going to be a lot of different thoughts going on there. And I want you to go back through those thoughts and just notice; if there was two paths in a wood – and one of the paths led to the final destination being connection, and the other path led to the final destination being disconnection and a not great relationship, versus connection in a really healthy relationship…what thoughts do you think, which path do you think you're on with most of the thoughts that you're writing down there?
Do you think in general you're pretty well on the connection path or do you feel like a lot of your thoughts feel disconnecting? Because it always comes back to think, feel, do; so how I think, creates how I feel, and that fuels what I do.
If I'm having a lot of thoughts that are leading to a feeling of disconnection, which might feel like frustration or anger or irritation or guilt or hurt, that's probably not leading to a feeling of connection, right?
And so, the do part of it, the actions that are coming from that feeling aren't going to be very connecting. And a lot of our communication, over 90% of our communication, is body language.
So, it's going to come across to them in our tone of voice, and in our facial expressions, and what we do with our movements and our body and just how we respond to them; that's all going to come to play because of our thoughts and because of our feelings.
And so, it's a lot more effective, I find, to work on thoughts that lead to connection, so that then the do part is just going to come naturally.
Maybe we spend just a couple minutes before bed chatting with them. Maybe we connect with them throughout the day in just little times because we're feeling connected, because we're thinking thoughts that fuel that feeling of connection, that fuel what we're then going to do from that connection.
So, number five is connection.
The summary of my five simple peaceful parenting strategies
I’m quickly going to repeat those; food & water, screens, movement, sleep, connection – those are my five go-to strategies with peaceful and connection-based parenting.
And if you feel like it's a huge struggle for you to do peaceful parenting right now – or not even a huge struggle, but you're just like, 'I just don't know how to do this' - tune into those five things. Just spend a little bit more time thinking thoughts that lead to connection.
Figure out how good their sleep is or what you're doing for movement or, you know, what their food situation is like or what screens are like, and just make some tiny little tweaks and shifts and changes. Even just spending any time touching this work and just doing a little bit of it can really make some big changes.
It's like that path in the wood that I was talking about; you can have thoughts that lead you down the connection path versus the disconnection path, even just making tiny little shifts are going to start to shift the path that you're on.
So, thanks for coming today. Again, if you love this episode, if there was something that really resonated with you, I would love for you to share it on social media. Tag me, let me know, send me a message; if there's something that you would love to hear me talk about, let me know.
And if you'd like to experience all of the things that I talk about in a deeper way with a lot more guidance from me, feel free to reach out on Instagram or check out the links below.
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