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Hugs, Hugs, Hugs!

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This is a Tool Card, created by Jane Nelsen and Adrian Garsia.

This is a Tool Card, created by Jane Nelsen and Adrian Garsia.

In a recent 3-part parenting workshop where I shared Positive Discipline parenting tools, this was one of the biggest hits!

The tool is simple – use hugs in difficult moments. Here is 1 mom’s report after our first class where she learned about how to offer your child a hug when they are throwing a tantrum (see the details on the card to the left):

“I have to admit I really thought the idea was kinda silly and unlikely to work with my son. But I tried it the next time he threw a tantrum, and…. it worked! I simply got down to his level and opened my arms and said, ‘I need a hug’. He had the most surprised look on his face and was stopped in his tracks. He came and gave me a hug and we both left the situation smiling.  It was awesome!”

Sometimes you don’t even have to use words. When your child is having a meltdown about not getting his way, you can simply offer comfort by getting down to his level and stretching out your arms. Be sure that you don’t change the limit you just set because that could send the wrong message. The intent here is that you can still offer your child empathy, even when you have set a limit. Empathy is always the gateway to bringing a child from where he is (emotionally), to where you want him to be.  (Learn more about this idea by reading “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child” by John Gottman).

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A day of slow parenting

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Have you heard of this new movement called “Slow Parenting”.  I was first introduced to the idea a month ago when a mom wrote an article on opting for a “Slow Parenting” summer.  The idea was intriguing.  The main concept is to slow down in this very busy planned world we all live in.  It’s an opposition to overscheduling and overstressing a child with too many “enrichment” classes/activities.

Just 2 weeks ago, the Boston Globe posted an article about slow parenting, and it sums up this counter-cultural approach so well:

“I encourage parents to take some time to just watch their children, whether they are playing, doing homework, or eating a snack,” [John Duffy, a clinical psychologist and author of The Available Parent] says. “Take a moment to drink them in. Remember and remind yourself how remarkable your children are. That pause alone, even if momentary, can drive a shift in the pace”…

“These days when everyone is so busy, we need to be intentional about making space for family time…” Family time, says Contey [cofounder of Slow Family Living] is different for all of us. “You might say, ‘we’re all here on Thursday mornings, so let’s make a leisurely pancake breakfast’; or one night a week take a walk in the dark before bed. Something like that can feel really special and the kids will remember it as they get older”…

So, I focused on this idea yesterday and slow parenting was fantastic!image1 image2

We went to 1 outing in the morning for 1/2 an hour and besides that we just  went at Chunky Monkey’s pace, enjoying things big and small around our house.  He played with some “typical” play things, like play dough and finger paint.  But the best part was probably when he was just exploring our house without any agenda (and I was along for the ride!).

He sat on the stairs for a really long time, practicing turning around and moving up and down.  I was right there for safety, but normally I would have missed all of this because I just want him to go up or down and get where we are going.  He wandered in and out of our closet, bringing out various pairs of mom/dad’s shoes for me to “put on” him (I use that term loosely).  And he went in small areas of the room to “hide” from me and giggled hysterically each time I found him.  I hung on every giggle wishing I could somehow mentally record the sound and never forget it.

It was SO much fun! I found myself really actually present with him.  And I realized there are many moments in a day where I am just trying to have him be busy so I can talk to a friend, on a play date.

I also enjoyed the opportunity to fully take in the little man he is becoming.  I really got to observe how his large motor coordination is developing and marveled at the things his eyes and hands were eager to explore.

If you take a day, or a season, to really focus on slow parenting, I’d love to hear about it.:-)

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Author: FLORA

I am a new post-career SAHM, living in Bozeman Montana. I share stories and ideas from parenting with a Montessori and Positive Discipline inspired perspective. Also, I LOVE DIY projects and finding great ways to use thrift store or hand-made toys for my little one.
Learn more about why I say I'm "Just" a stay-at-home mom.

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