Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Embrace the Simplicity of Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday!  Thanksgiving embraces all my favorite things, family, food, togetherness and appreciation.  It is a "chill" holiday.  Cook a warm and nourishing meal, sit down at a lovely table.  Share stories, laughs, memories, and a meal.  Don't let the media push unrealistic expectations on this holiday.  Don't stress about having everything perfect.  Don't try to imitate Martha Stewart or Ina Garten.  Just put some thoughtful intention into sharing a meal with the people in your life.  Plan a fun craft or game to interest the littlest guests.  Make an effort to set a pretty table.  Allow others to help.  Savor the simplicity of this humblest of holidays.  Save your shopping for later.  Embrace this one day to remain in the company of your family and be thankful to have them.  And if you are in the position to share, make a donation to your local food pantry, so other families can enjoy Thanksgiving, too.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Key to Parenting Success: Guest Post by Best Selling Author, Dr. Christina Hibbert

The Key to Parenting Success
By This is How We Grow Author, Dr. Christina Hibbert

We all want our children to rise to their full potential, to become contributing members of society, to treat us with respect. And all of that is good. But the most valuable thing I have learned in my many years of parenting is that parenting is more about the parent than the child. We can discipline our kids and tell them what to do, or we can model good behavior and show them who and how to be. As I write in my article, Parenting Success, “Parenting is more about the parent than the child. That’s why it’s called parenting and not childing”

Children learn best by example. Think about yelling. Have you ever found yourself yelling, “Stop yelling!” to your children? Does it make any sense at all? Do you ever find yourself, in a fit of frustration, trying to teach your child about controlling their emotions? How can you teach them something you can’t do well yourself?

I learned this in an intense way when my family went through one of our toughest times. In 2007, my brother-in-law died of skin cancer. Two months later, my sister suddenly died. They had two young sons, my nephews, and my husband and I inherited those two boys. I was also pregnant at the time with our fourth baby. Our new sons came to live with us, I gave birth, and went from three to six kids in a matter of weeks.

The years after these events were tough—for all of us. Between trying to create a new family, dealing with difficult new extended family members and courts as we tried to adopt, and simply trying to help us all heal, needless to say, I was overloaded. I was faced with heavy grief and postpartum depression. I was desperately trying to be there for my husband and kids, who were also struggling to make sense of it all. At times, it became too much. I would take out my frustrations on my family, complaining that my kids weren’t “helpful,” or “responsible enough.” Soon, however, I would realize—it wasn’t my kids’ fault they weren’t helping as much as I wanted them to. After all, they were also dealing with grief. Also, I hadn’t been communicating and teaching them effectively what I needed them to do because I had been so overwhelmed. They needed my instruction and guidance before I could hold them accountable. And they needed my example if any of us were to get through.

As I write in my new memoir, This is How We Grow ,** I had to model for my children how to “choose to grow, no matter what life throws your way.” Through the years that followed, I continually reminded myself that parenting is about being a good parent, and being a good parent is doing my own work, then teaching my kids how to do theirs. (Read my article, Parenting Success Skills: #1 Do Your Own Work First ) I reminded myself that if I wanted my kids to behave and to become their best, I had to do the same. I shared my emotions with the kids and invited them to share theirs with me. We talked often. We cried together. When I made mistakes, I apologized and showed them how I can change and do better. And they have learned to do the same.

Yes, parenting is a tough job. We all make mistakes and say and do things we later regret, but what matters is, we try. We show our children we are in this together—that we are also trying to be better, that we are practicing what we preach. We let them see some of our failures and struggles and emotions, and then we let them witness how we work things out. We model for them, and they learn from our example. This is the trick to good parenting. This is the key to parenting success.

Dr. Christina Hibbert’s Brand New Book, This is How We Grow,
is already an Amazon #1 Bestseller!
Available NOW, in Kindle and print, on Amazon.com.

Visit www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com for more about Dr. Hibbert’s book
and for FREE Book Launch gifts you won’t want to miss!

Please follow Dr. Hibbert:
Facebook Pages:
Dr. Christina Hibbert www.facebook.com/drchibbert
Twitter: @DrCHibbert  #TIHWG!

Please visit Dr. Hibbert’s website and blog, “The Psychologist, The Mom, & Me”: www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Join Dr. Hibbert’s This is How We Grow Personal Growth Group!
Free. Online. Growth. Perfect for parents hoping to be the best they can be! http://www.drchristinahibbert.com/introducing-my-this-is-how-we-grow-personal-growth-group-join-today/

This is How We Grow Book:

Parenting Success:

Parenting Success Skills: #1 Do Your Own Work First:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Brain Growth through Experiences!

"This is How We Grow!" 
Blog Hop 2013

As a preschool teacher, my students teach me lessons everyday!  Their little minds come alive when offered the chance to experience something new.  Yesterday, we played a simple board game in class and they were fascinated with spinning the spinner, taking orderly turns, and talking with one another about the rules and the winner.

Our art table offered them a chance to "bedazzle" the letters of their names with shiny jewels and glue.  As they sat and concentrated on the work at hand, they were making comparisons to the other letters in their classmates names,  "Look Christopher ends with an er, just like my name, Oliver!".

Real life experiences never fail to illicit a reaction of excitement and positive energy in these precious little children.  My concern is that we-adults, are robbing them of these experiences.  We are allowing their little brains to be pacified with electronic devises rather than stimulated with real experiences of creativity and problem solving.  We are handing out I-pads during restaurant visits rather than crayons and paper and plugging them in for cartoons in the minivan for the short drive to school.

So what is a modern day, stressed out, worn out, craving some quiet time, parent to do?  Remember to give your child your best on a daily basis.  Give them your attention while driving in the car.  Talk to them about what they can see out the window or where you are headed.  Put the I-Pads away when you walk into a restaurant and spend the time talking with them about manners or nutrition or books or their brothers and sisters.  And DO THINGS WITH THEM!  Pull out markers and paints and draw pictures.  Call them into the kitchen and make a fruit salad.  Cuddle up on the couch and read a story.  You will never regret doing this.  I promise!  But you may regret NOT doing this, as they will quickly grow up (as mine have) and you will have robbed them and yourself of experiencing life together.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Parents: Scheduling is Everything!

I am about to let you in on a HUGE parenting secret...and I only learned it through trial and error over the course of many years!  Scheduling is a key to parenting young children!

Young children learn through experience, and the more safe and secure you can make their world for them, the more safe and secure they feel.  And you can achieve this through scheduling or patterning their days.  The bonus is a child who feels safe and secure is able to learn better, and exhibit self control, and in general is much more pleasant to be around.  There are many obstacles to following a schedule that allows for your young child to feel safe and secure.  We all have busy calendars and high expectations and so we end up racing from here to there often times completely unaware as to how this chaos is affecting our young children.

If you want your young child to feel safe and secure and calm and peaceful, you must make it a priority to offer them a schedule and commit to keeping it.  The more you can slow the pace and offer an easy, predictable, rational daily schedule for your child, the better it will be.  You not only offer the child a world that they understand, but you also are developing important bonds of trust because you allow your child to count on a schedule and in turn they count on you and your word to deliver what you promise. 

There will be plenty of time as they grow older to be out and about and enjoy many activities.  But when they are young, make a commitment to them and their best interest to slow the pace.  If you have a nanny, cooperatively work out a simple, daily schedule that meets your child's needs and then commit to following it on weekends, too.  If your child is in daycare, make sure that you find out how the day is spent, and try to loosely pattern your days in a similar fashion.  Young children need naps and playtime and require feeding and hygienic care--as they grow there will be plenty of time for enrichment opportunities.  But while your children are young, embrace simplicity and help to bolster their confidence by offering them a simple routine rather than a chaotic and upsetting schedule.