Looking for a cheat-sheet on what’s most important so that your children grow up well-adjusted and independent? Here are our top 10 tips on creating a cohesive family environment.
Tip #1: Family meetings don’t have to be scary!
Parents have the ability to transform the household so their family does more than survive – they thrive! Family meetings are an ideal platform to signal upcoming change and teach “we are in this together.” Remember when you had them as a kid? They usually meant TROUBLE but they need not inspire fear.
Tip #2: Attune for emotional intelligence
Attunement is a way to connect with your child and integrate his two brain hemispheres. To create quicker cooperation with less drama name the emotion your child is displaying and then stop talking. For example, “I see you’re really upset right now!…..”. By acknowledging your child’s underlying emotion you meet him where he is at (right brain) and create a bridge so he can problem solve his own solution (left brain). This supports his ability to feel “seen,” make decisions and bond with you in the process. Imagine how much breath you will save by growing his problem solving skills instead of fixing problems yourself!
Tip #3: Can’t we all just get along?!
Parents directly shape the unfolding of their child’s brain by the types of experience they offer (e.g. movement, media/screen time, relationship interactions) but the primary predictor of success and happiness in life is the ability to get along with others. Give your children the opportunity to work through disagreements by saying, “I trust you to work it out.” Watch as your children nag for your attention and mediation skills less and less!
Tip #4: Calm brains lead to calm households
Allow your children to retell frightening and painful experiences as frequently as they need to while you demonstrate reflective listening (pause, acknowledge emotion, restate what they said). Storytelling helps calm their anxiety/control brain circuitry so they become more flexible and pleasant.
Tip #5: If you THINK it they will come
Visualizing something you love about your child frames the day in love and acceptance – where happiness starts! Think of one thing each morning upon waking and each night before bed. You’ll start seeing more and more of these good qualities as you shift your focus.
Tip #6: Chores – Not Just About “Responsibility”
Give your child responsibilities around the house. Developing her sense of purpose, autonomy and family belonging is a sure way to decrease power struggles!
Tip #7: Secure to Grow
Parents want their children to be safe but what about building internal security? Security gives children a strong sense of home, family and self that will allow them to make sense of the world and solve problems for themselves as they continue growing. Creating routines at home makes children feel secure so that ever-changing life circumstances fit smoothly over well-worn habits and allow for easier transitions.
Summer is busy and routines may be hard to come by so commit to following one simple ritual per day to build internal security. It could be the morning play routine, afternoon rest routine or bedtime routine. Create a picture schedule so children under 7 know what to expect and can feel secure in at least one predictable routine every day. You may notice the usual chaos starting to lessen after only one week, both for your child and yourself!
Tip #8: Monkey see, Monkey Do
Modeling is the surest way to teach children how to: converse rather than yell, perform self-care, be emotionally honest and vulnerable, problem solve and behave politely.
Want a simple phrase to teach your children all of the above even when you’re angry? Try, “I can see I’m behaving poorly so I’m going to take a break because we both deserve better.” Imagine the results…
Conversing rather than yelling? Check.
Taking care of self? Check.
Being honest and vulnerable? Check.
Problem solving? Check.
Behaving politely? Check.
Tip #9: Simple pleasures
Practice just BE-ing with your child. You know, hanging out at the pool, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches together, leisurely riding your bikes around the neighborhood. Unscheduled time with your child creates a pressure valve that clears her brain (and yours!) so that all the cobwebs from the typical Go- Go- GO can clear out. Taking advantage of these moments of pause provides wonderful benefits: better sleep, advanced neural growth and improved self-esteem.
Broaden and deepen your parent-child connection by spending unscheduled time together. Not only does have wonderful feel-good, present-moment benefits but it helps you accrue relational credits for the upcoming unsteadiness of adolescence.
So JUMP IN – and relax together.
Tip #10: Not really a mystery but scientifically proven
What do we commonly hear is the #1 thing to do together as a family? Eating dinner together.
Sharing your evening meal together sets your child up for good behavior, academic success, healthy eating habits, a drug-free lifestyle, emotional well-being and staying out of trouble with the law. All researched and proven!
Create a ritual by throwing in one message of heartfelt appreciation for each family member during this important meal and watch as smiles brighten and cohesiveness grows!
Want more ideas to decrease stress? Call/email us today to schedule your private parenting consultation at 651-705-6665 / Schedule@BrighteningConnections.com