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    Introducing Stowe talks podcast series 2

    Our Stowe talks podcast series gives you access to expert advice from some of the best divorce professionals in the UK.
    In series two, family lawyers Matthew Taylor and Liza Gatrell are joined by special guests to explore issues including economic abuse, pensions and divorce, handling fear and uncertainty, overcoming loneliness and post-separation abuse. 
    With guests, Rosie Lyon, Ceri Griffiths, Tosh Brittan, Claire Macklin (nee Black) and Caron Kipping. 
    Take a listen
    Dealing with post-separation abuse 
    Divorce coach and domestic abuse specialist, Caron Kipping explains what post-separation abuse is, its impact, how to build the right support team, the power of reframing, and how to focus on what you can control to help build a positive future.
    Listen on Spotify
    Surviving economic abuse 
    Domestic abuse survivor, Rosie Lyon, explains what economic abuse is, the red flags, the support available, particularly in the banking system, and how people can safeguard themselves in the future. 
    Listen on Spotify
    Understanding pensions on divorce 
    Divorce financial planner Ceri Griffiths explains the different types of pensions, how to value one, the role of an actuary report, issues around offsetting, and pension sharing options.
    Listen on Spotify
    Overcoming loneliness
    Divorce Coach Tosh Brittan describes how loneliness can easily sneak up, how embracing it can help, and practical advice on dealing with it.
    Listen on Spotify
    Handling fear and uncertainty 
    Listen as Divorce Coach Claire Macklin (nee Black) shares tools to help you cope with the fear and uncertainty divorce brings, and take back some control. 
    Listen on Spotify
    Find out more
    Sign-up to our mailing list and we’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest Stowe talks, including our podcasts, videos and live webinars. 
    Find our show on Spotify  
    Watch our vodcast on YouTube  More

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    Making arrangements for children this Christmas

    With less than two months until Christmas, now’s the time to agree how your children will spend time with their other parent during the holidays.
    Christmas can be a time of tension for separated parents as they plan the festivities and plan where and how they’ll each see the children. 
    So, we asked our Regional Director for Yorkshire, Rachel Roberts, to share her advice for parents on taking the strain out of making child arrangements for Christmas. 
    Child arrangements and Christmas
    As we approach December, we see a flurry of clients getting in touch for help to try and resolve arrangements for the festive season. 
    Before I turn to my tips on how best to manage arrangements, there are a couple of key points from the Government and family law sector that are certainly at the forefront of my mind when advising clients.
    Last year, a leading family judge made it clear that parties should only be bringing disputes over children to court where absolutely necessary. The judge went on to criticise parents for asking the court to micro-manage children arrangements. The view from the court is clear – where possible you should be sorting these things out yourself.
    The Government have said that further lockdowns are unlikely and have been clear that restrictions do not prevent children from moving between separated parents, provided they are not self-isolating. 
    It seems unlikely that this will change, and CAFCASS (the government body that advises the court on children disputes) has stressed the need for children to maintain their usual routine.
    All that said, it is naive to think that difficulties will not arise, and the following guidance may help avoid unhappiness at Christmas.
    Tips for making child arrangements during Christmas 
    Preparation is key
    If you do not have plans in place, now is the time to start. Talk to your ex-partner and agree on arrangements that work for you all.
    Some clients I have worked with agreed that the children would spend Christmas Eve at one home and then return to the other for lunch on Christmas Day.
    Other clients decided that they would spend the whole festive period with one parent and the next year spend it with the other, alternating between the two.
    It is a personal choice based on what works for your family, but also the age of the children, location and how amicable you are.
    Be prepared to be flexible as plans may need to change. 
    Focus on the children 
    First and foremost, put the children at the heart of the plans you make. A different type of Christmas can still be a good Christmas. Talk about the positive: two Christmas Days, two sets of presents etc.
    Make sure you share your plans with the children. Depending on the age of the children, ask them what they would like? Older children need to feel they have a voice. 
    Once in place, sharing plans with the children means they know where they will be throughout the holiday, and the routine will make them feel safe and secure.
    Creating a visual plan can help as dates can be difficult for a child to understand. One client created a Christmas themed wall planner for their younger children. A tech-savvy teenager may prefer a joint Google calendar.
    Be fair to the other parent
    If this is your first year as a separated parent, this will all feel very raw and difficult. It is likely that you will both be dreading not spending Christmas entirely with your children. 
    Even though it can be difficult, try to think about the impact of any plans on your former partner. Ask yourself if you would be happy with the proposed arrangements next year? If the answer is no, then maybe they should be reconsidered. 
    Stick to the plan
    This year may require a certain level of flexibility, but where possible, it is important that, whatever arrangements you come to, you both stick to the plan. 
    Last-minute changes can cause feelings of disruption and uncertainty for children. And, whilst flexibility is an essential part of positive child arrangements, it is important to maintain consistency and provide stability.
    Get advice early, if needed
    Christmas is chaotic and organising a co-parenting schedule on top of everything else is never going to be easy, especially if communication between you and your ex-partner is difficult. 
    If you are struggling this year, take advice from a family lawyer who can try to assist in negotiating an agreement. 
    If you cannot reach an agreement, mediation can help as the presence of a 3rd party often eases tensions and result in finding common ground. 
    Mediation is still taking place via video conferencing, and many of our clients have reported that it is easier than being in the same room as their former partner.
    Court proceedings are possible but should be used as a last resort, and, due to the current strain on courts from the pandemic, it is highly unlikely that you have any prospect of a contested hearing before Christmas. 
    Hopefully, these tips, combined with some careful planning, compromise and putting the children first,  will help you and your ex-partner move forward towards a harmonious Christmas.
    Get in touch 
    If you would like any advice on child arrangements during Christmas, or other family law issues, please do contact our Client Care Team to speak to one of our specialist divorce lawyers here. 
    This article was previously published and has since been updated.  More

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    September Stowe talks webinars

    Stowe talks is a range of support tools including podcasts, videos and webinars, designed to help people going through a relationship breakdown and all the multi-faceted challenges this brings.
    Supporting children emotionally through divorce
    Thursday 22nd September 17:30 – 18:30
    Join Stowe talks webinar with family lawyer Sarah Barr Young and guest Sarah Weller a family relationship coach and parenting consultant as they discuss emotional support for children through divorce and separation including:

    What are the fundamental concepts for children’s well being
    How to talk to your child about divorce and create a positive vision
    What are the main stressors for a children and how you can help them
    Finding a successful co-parenting model even if you aren’t currently parenting on the same page
    What to do when your ex-partner doesn’t show up to co-parent
    Q&A opportunity to ask your questions.

    Book your free place on the Supporting children through divorce webinar

    Supporting male survivors of domestic abuse
    Thursday 20th October 17:30 – 18:30

    Join our family lawyers Jake Mitchel and Sarah Barr Young and they welcome guest Tom Nash, Divorce & Business Coach, to explore the challenges of male domestic abuse, available support for male victims of domestic abuse, as well as:

    The different types of domestic abuse
    The challenges & issues for male survivors
    The signs & red flags of male domestic abuse survivors
    What can friends, family and colleagues do?
    How to access the available support
    Q&A opportunity to ask your questions.

    Book your free place on the Supporting male survivors of domestic abuse webinar

    Understanding economic abuse and how to deal with it

    Wednesday 30th November 17:30 – 18:30
    Join us and special guest Rosie Lyon a prominent campaigner for better financial and banking support for survivors of domestic abuse as they discuss how to:

    How economic abusers operate
    How it can impact your financial future
    Rosie’s personal experience of abuse and how she overcame the challenges
    Guidance on how banks deal with economic abuse
    Practical tips to navigate banking
    Support available for survivors
    Q&A opportunity to ask your questions.

    Book your free place on the economic abuse webinar More

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    The Best Parenting Tips Archives

    Effective parenting tips for toddlers to teens. Information to help you develop good parenting skills. Best parenting tips from a variety of experts on topics such as single parenting tips, attachment parenting, parenting styles, and discipline.

    July 21, 2022 by Scarlet While team-building activities are often associated with workplaces, they’re also beneficial in strengthening family bonds. Spending quality time together is invaluable during the formative years and can spark strong family relationships that last a lifetime. First, I will elaborate on the benefits of team building games. Then I will provide some key considerations to keep in … [Read more…] about Family Team Building Activities: What You Need to Consider
    June 20, 2022 by Scarlet Let’s talk about Mindful Based Parenting. Specifically, what it means and how it can help bring calm to the chaos of parenting. I will share some key mindful parenting strategies to help you incorporate this new practice and a checklist to keep you on track. The idea behind this Mindful Parenting Checklist is to help you adopt some new parenting habits that will make your … [Read more…] about Mindful Parenting Quotes and Checklist
    May 23, 2022 by Scarlet There are a lot of challenges that parents of autistic children face. One such challenge is the fact that special needs children often get pushed aside when it comes to their education. This may happen when their diagnosis information has not been properly shared or when the school district is short on resources. An autism parent advocate is someone who is checking to make sure … [Read more…] about How To Be An Autism Advocate
    May 12, 2022 by Scarlet Congratulations on the upcoming arrival of your new baby. You must be ecstatic about the big day! Yet, do you know which kinds of clothes you should have in your hospital bag? If not, continue reading as we discuss the most vital clothes you must pack for the baby’s delivery. First I will discuss the details of the essential baby clothes for hospital bags. Then I will provide a … [Read more…] about List Of Essential Baby Clothes For Hospital
    April 28, 2022 by Scarlet Date nights are all about enjoying each other’s company.  In the beginning, couples are often so excited to do things together that date is just a formal excuse to see each other.  After marriage and kids, date night takes on a new meaning.  They become a chance to reconnect with just the two of you as a couple and do fun things together. They are no longer about getting to … [Read more…] about 20 Date Night Ideas For Parents
    April 6, 2022 by Scarlet A weekly family meeting is a great way to keep your family bonded. You can discuss family rules, upcoming events, and share information that everyone needs to know. However, unless you have a family meeting agenda, everyone will be off-topic and not paying attention, making it a big waste of time. That is why I have included plenty of family meeting ideas and a sample agenda … [Read more…] about Why A Family Meeting Agenda Is Essential [Template Included]
    March 30, 2022 by Scarlet You set goals for your personal achievements, goals for your work, and goals for fixing up your home so why wouldn’t you set objectives for your family? Goal setting is a great practice that keeps you aiming higher and achieving more. It is hard to get somewhere if you don’t know where you are going. Family goals are worth setting because they help unite everyone under a … [Read more…] about Family Goals [Examples and Goal Setting Worksheet]Next Page » More

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    9 divorce myths debunked by a divorce lawyer

    There are some common myths about divorce that remain steadfast despite being unfounded and incorrect in the eyes of the the law. Stowe managing Partner Amanda Phillips-Wylds debunks the top 9 divorce myths.
    Top 9 divorce myths
    When you decided to get divorced you might have heard or read lots of conflicting stories about what to expect about the process. It can feel very confusing. Based on my years of practice, I have put together a list of the 9 most common misconceptions I hear from my clients to help you reset your expectations and move forward with clarity.
    Myth 1 – Divorce always ends in court battles which leave spouses angry and bitter.It is very rare for spouses to have to attend court. Since the arrival of no-fault divorce spouses can no longer object to divorce proceedings being filed. Court intervention would only be necessary if couples are unable to settle disputes over financial claims, but this is still a last resort and before they get to this stage, they will have had to have tried other options such as mediation.
    Myth 2 – Divorce is always expensive.Costs can escalate quickly when it comes to resolving financial claims, especially if spouses cannot agree and take the case to court. However, they can undertake the divorce proceedings themselves to avoid incurring legal fees, alternatively many solicitors offer a fixed fee to act in divorce proceedings which will not be disputed.
    Myth 3 – Celebrities are special and so get ‘quickie’ divorces.The court processes divorce petitions in the order in which they are received. No divorces are singled out to be rushed through.
    Myth 4 – Assets are always shared equally on divorce.The starting point for division of assets is a 50/50 split, this is known as the ‘yardstick of equality’. However, it will not be appropriate in all cases to share the assets equally. There is no set formula which the court uses to make a decision, rather it has a list of factors it must consider and give weight to before arriving at a fair split. These include:

    the welfare of any minor child
    the income, earning capacity, and property each of the spouses has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future
    the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the spouses has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future
    the standard of living enjoyed by the family
    the age of each spouse and the duration of the marriage
    any physical or mental disability of either spouse
    the contributions which each of the spouses has made or is likely to make in the foreseeable future to the welfare of the family, including contributions in looking after the home or family
    the conduct of each spouse, if that conduct is so bad that it would be unfair to disregard it
    and finally the value of any benefit which a spouse will lose by reason of the divorce e.g. a pension.

    Myth 5 – Once you receive a Final Order that’s it.Unless there is an approved court order dealing with the financial claims spouses have as a result of their marriage, then either spouse could make a future claim against the other’s assets, even several years after they have been divorced. Having a Final Order does not end financial claims. There must be a court order that provides for a clean break.
    Myth 6 – There is an automatic right for the mother to have the children living with her upon separation.Upon separation it is for the parents to decide who the children will live with and how much time they will spend with the other parent. A court will not become involved unless the parents cannot agree, and they ask the court to make the decision for them. If a court does become involved its decision is based upon what it thinks is in the best interests of the child, and it has a checklist of factors to measure this against.
    As society changes, parenting roles are evolving from traditional norms and in more and more cases, fathers are taking a greater role in the care of their children, it is no longer unheard of for children to live with their father upon separation. There is no ‘standard’ arrangement for parents to follow when agreeing how much time children will spend with their father or mother once a relationship has broken down.
    The arrangements may differ during holidays and term time, and they normally evolve over time and as the children grow older. 50/50 shared care is becoming a more common arrangement between separated parents.
    Myth 7 – The parent with ‘custody’ of a child has greater rights than the other.Who a child lives with has no bearing on each parent’s role in making important decisions in the child’s life, or their role in caring for the child provided they each have parental responsibility.
    If both parents have parental responsibility, they both have an equal say in all the important decisions in the child’s life, for example in relation to education, medical treatment, religion, and property. The child’s mother automatically has parental responsibility for the child. The father will have parental responsibility if he was married to the mother at the time of the birth, if he is named on the child’s birth certificate, or if he has a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother or an order from the court.
    Myth 8 – If they are not receiving child maintenance, the parent with whom the child is living can stop the other parent seeing the child.There is no legal basis to stop the parent who must pay child maintenance from seeing their child if they stop paying. The remedy is to contact the Child Maintenance Service for a calculation.
    Myth 9 – Unmarried women have rights over property as Common Law Wives.There is no such thing as common law marriage in the UK, and so there is no automatic right to share assets between unmarried couples upon relationship breakdown. If a couple is going to cohabit or buy a property together it is important for them to obtain legal advice on what shares they will each have in that property and how this will be recorded.
    Get in touch
    For more information about divorce or separation please do get in touch with our Client Care Team using the details below or make an online enquiry More

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    Mediation and the Family Courts backlog

    The Family Justice System is currently undergoing significant changes to try and reduce the strain and backlog faced by the family courts.
    The introduction of no-fault divorce and extended funding for mediation for disputes concerning children (£5.38million this financial year, raising the total invested in the scheme to £8.68million since March 2021) demonstrates a continued commitment to resolving matters away from the court arena. 
    The Family Mediation Council (FMC) voucher scheme introduced in March 2021 provides families in England and Wales with a £500 voucher to put towards the cost of mediation. The vouchers can be used by parents attending meditation to discuss the care of their child or children. By enabling divorcing couples and parents to resolve their disputes without litigation, it will enable the court to utilise its limited time on cases that require the adjudication of the court.  
    The emphasis on mediation and no-fault divorce is reflective of the desire for most separating couples to deal with the practical consequences of their separation in a private and constructive way. 
    Since the introduction of no fault divorce, the number of divorce applications have increased; HMCTS received 3,000 divorce applications in the week following the introduction of reforms in April, which is a 50% rise on the weekly average. 
    This demonstrates people’s desire to wait for the law to change, so that they can proceed in this new neutral non-adversarial way.  There is no longer a requirement to provide a reason for the marriage coming to an end, giving people greater respect for their private life, as well as removing the blame element of divorce previously seen. 
    This change in law sets a more amicable tone from the start, and therefore places people in a better position to make decisions about the children and their finances.
    Cafcass statistics show that in 2020/21, there were 97,496 children involved in private children proceedings, an increase of 23.1% since 2016/17. In public law, there were 143,129 children, an increase of 16.4% since 2016/17, with cases taking an average of 45 weeks to conclude. 
    These increases are not sustainable, for the courts or for the families facing long delays. The need to reduce the number of families in the Family Justice system is vital. The focus on solutions achieved through agreement benefits both families, and the Family Justice System, and the court are increasingly robust at encouraging parents to consider alternatives to litigation. 
    Recently in the case of Re B (a child) (Unnecessary Private Law Applications), his Honour Judge Wildblood QC said:
    ‘Do not bring your private law litigation to the family court here unless it is definitely necessary for you to do so,’ he said. ‘You should settle your differences (or those of your clients) away from court, except where that is not possible. If you do bring unnecessary cases to this court, you will be criticised, and sanctions may be imposed upon you.’
    The commitment to further funding for mediation follows research that mediation helps families reach solutions and outcomes that are best for their children. 
    The FMC conducted a survey which showed that mediation is successful in over 70% of cases. The funding enables parents to access mediation in circumstances where it would otherwise be unaffordable, and encourages people to proceed with this option. 
    It has raised the profile of mediation, as FMC research further showed that after an initial meeting, three quarters chose to mediate, and that 
    “This is despite the fact that many don’t know anything about mediation, or think their partner is so unreasonable that mediation will never work”. 
    It should not be surprising to hear that parental preference is to reach an agreement, rather than battle it out in court, and ultimately receive an order imposed upon them by a Judge who doesn’t know them or more importantly their child. 
    Most parents are acutely aware that while their marriage or relationship has come to an end, their relationship as parents has not. And however, hard it may be for them as an individual, as a parent they want to do the best for their child. 
    The option to attend mediation provides parents with the opportunity to communicate, explore the issues, discuss the options and resolve the matters that are important to them. 
    A Judge is unlikely to hear arguments on the appropriate amount of screen time for a child, the choice of gifts each parent buys for their birthday, or how the parents will explain to their child about their new routine now that their parents live apart. 
    All these things can be discussed and agreed upon in mediation. As one Judge said recently: 
    “I cannot order people to be nice. However, in mediation, parents can discuss matters and hopefully improve their communication so that they have the tools to resolve disputes, thus avoiding court now and in the future. The court must make decisions in the best interests of the child. However, court proceedings are often protracted, emotionally and financially expensive, and consequently damaging to the child and their parents. 
    Mediation is not appropriate in every case, nor is it always possible for parents to reach agreements. We need our Family Justice system to work effectively and efficiently for those families. 
    For example, in cases where there are allegations of domestic abuse, safeguarding concerns such as drug or alcohol abuse, parental alienation or protracted disputes. The court is a finite resource, but there must be access to our Family Justice System. 
    Lord Neuberger said access to justice “has a number of components. First, a competent and impartial judiciary; secondly, accessible courts; thirdly, properly administered courts; fourthly, a competent and honest legal profession; fifthly, an effective procedure for getting a case before the court; sixthly, an effective legal process; seventhly effective execution; eighthly, affordable justice.”
    The focus on dispute resolution options, such as mediation, is not designed to take away access to justice, but to create a Family Justice System that provides families with options to resolve their disputes in a way that is most appropriate for their circumstances. 
    The introduction of no-fault divorce and continued funding for mediation enables the focus to move from conflict and confrontation to communication and solutions, and enables our Courts to work more effectively for those who need to litigate. 
    Previously published on LawNews More

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    Family Team Building Activities: Everything You Need to Consider

    While team-building activities are often associated with workplaces, they’re also beneficial in strengthening family bonds. Spending quality time together is invaluable during the formative years and can spark strong family relationships that last a lifetime. First, I will elaborate on the benefits of team building games. Then I will provide some key considerations to keep in mind when organizing family team building activities. Finally, I will also offer lots of fun ideas for developing teamwork skills.

    One of our family team building exercises is to make homemade Chinese dumplings from scratch. It is a great exercise to learn to follow directions and work together. Then we enjoy the fruits of our labor over a nice meal together.

    Benefits Of Team Building Exercises

    There are many tangible benefits of team building exercises. That is why companies often employ team building in order to get a more productive work force with higher retention rates. Team building games can help increase engagement and improve communication between team members. Learning to work together towards a common goal with a set amount of time can encourage creative thinking, problem solving, and allow each of the group members to showcase their own particular talents.

    A team building event can help individuals to make deeper connections. Developing a greater understanding of each other, our motivations, and our strengths can help future interactions go more smoothly. All of these same benefits apply to family team building exercises.

    In modern family life, everyone can get so busy. That is why it is important to schedule in a fun activity for the entire group. This can help to improve communication skills, critical thinking skills, and social skills. It also serves to make sure you have fun memories that cement you together as a whole family.

    Tips For Organizing A Team-Building Activity For Your Family

    This water obstacle course was one of my favorite family team building events. We competed in small groups and my son and I yelled encouragement and tips out to each other.

    Scheduling regular family team-building activities can be as simple as setting aside an afternoon once a week or once a month. Here are a few things to consider when planning your family team building game or activity.

    Age Groups

    The first consideration when planning family team-building exercises is the age groups involved. The activities for a family with young children will look different than a family with teenagers on the cusp of graduation. Finding activities that work for all age groups is a must when planning family team-building exercises.

    Fortunately, there are many shared activities that can help strengthen your family bonds, even if younger children can’t actively participate. Events like sharing meals, playing games, and having conversations model the desired behavior to younger family members so they’re ready when the time comes to take a more active role.

    Small Groups or All-Inclusive

    Another important consideration when planning family-focused activities is whether they’ll always feature everyone in a large group or if you’ll include smaller groups. For example, you might plan a few whole-family activities for one month and one-on-one time during other months. Breaking into smaller groups is a great way to bond with older children after young siblings are born and strengthen individual relationships.

    Scheduling small group activities or one-on-one time does add some complexity. Small groups may have fun competing against each other at the same team-building activity. However, If you have a young child under 5, this could mean looking for childcare and vetting a sitter so you can find out if they’re trustworthy and reliable. 

    Self-Managed or Supported

    Another consideration when planning family bonding activities is whether you’ll be taking a DIY approach or hiring professional services for support. For example, you can plan a scavenger hunt yourself or pay service for a unique scavenger hunt experience. Similarly, you can plan to cook together at home or hire an instructor for a virtual cooking lesson.

    There are pros and cons to each option. Self-managed activities allow you to keep costs low and control the event. Supported activities allow you to delegate some of the planning and learn new skills. 

    At-Home or Away

    Adding a combination of home activities and away activities can help keep things fresh when planning events. If you’re a busy family on the go all the time, planning at-home activities might be more relaxing. Conversely, if you’ve spent a lot of time at home over the past few years or work remotely, getting out of the house might be better for everyone.

    Complexity and Frequency

    Family team building doesn’t have to include an elaborate event or monthly schedule; there are many things you can do every day to strengthen family bonds.

    Sharing a meal from preparation to clean-up a few times per week is a simple way to share time as a family and teach the value of contributing. You can also create simple routines and traditions, like everyone sharing a good thing and bad thing about their day.

    Equality and Buy-In

    As a parent, it’s natural to want to take the reins and plan everything. However, you’ll get more buy-in and commitment if you give everyone in the family a chance to choose an activity. This democratic approach to planning family night teaches fairness and equality. 

    If you plan a monthly “away” activity, let a different person decide what that will be each month. If you have weekly activities like board games or movie nights, let a different person pick the game or movie each time. Setting boundaries and expectations beforehand can also help guide this process.

    Ideas For Fun Team Building Activities

    House of cardsEscape room (especially great for families with older kids)Obstacle course with time limitIcebreaker games (you’d be surprised the things you may not know about your own family members!)Trivia questions night (where you break up into evenly matched teams)Write a family mission statementGroup juggling challengeFamily game nightHuman knot gameDuck Duck Goose (great for families with little kids)Treasure hunt Pictionary or charadesCard gamesBlindfold half of the members and pair off with a direction giver to retrieve an object (practices following verbal instructions)Trust fall (if kids are old enough and safety precautions are taken)A Perfect SquareTwo truths, one lie (Teens love this one. Each family member will tell 3 facts about themselves and the others guess which one is the lie.)Simon Says Red Light, Green LightPuzzlesLazer tagPaint ballDodgeballCommunity service activityEach family member can teach a new skillPrepare a feast with everyone contributing (Example, make a hot dog bar and have everyone provide two favorite toppings)Capture the flagWork together to accomplish an ultimate goal (a clean living room, planting flowers, creating DIY gifts for each other)JengaTandem kayaking or canoeingPut on a play scene together or play a musical piece as a group


    With these simple tips and ideas, you can schedule meaningful family team-building activities to improve communication, life skills, and family bonds. Getting the entire team involved in fun games, can only produce great results! What is your favorite family team building activity?

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    Mindful Parenting Quotes and Checklist

    Let’s talk about Mindful Based Parenting. Specifically, what it means and how it can help bring calm to the chaos of parenting. I will share some key mindful parenting strategies to help you incorporate this new practice and a checklist to keep you on track. The idea behind this Mindful Parenting Checklist is to help you adopt some new parenting habits that will make your parent-child relationships less reactive. The practice of mindfulness can help your parenting and family time become more purposeful and enjoyable.

    Before, I jump into the Mindful Parenting Checklist, I want to answer the basic question, “What is mindfulness”? According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., who credited with initiating the popularity of mindfulness in the West, “Mindfulness is actually a way of connecting with your life…paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” It is basically the idea that we need to be more in the present. We should pay attention to the moment, rather than worrying about the past or the future. It is a way of being focused around awareness of the current time rather than anxiety of the future or depressive rumination.

    What is Mindful Parenting?

    So with that said, “What is mindful parenting”? It is the practice of applying the same principles of attention to the present with our children. It was well put by Jon Kabatizinn in the Huffington Post, “Mindful parenting involves keeping in mind what is truly important as we go about the activities of daily living with our children…For us to learn from our children requires that we pay attention, and learn to be still within ourselves. In stillness, we are better able to see past the endemic turmoil and cloudiness and reactivity of our own minds, in which we are so frequently caught up, and in this way, cultivate greater clarity, calmness and insight, which we can bring directly to our parenting…Just bringing this kind of sensitivity to our parenting will enhance our sense of connectedness with our children.”

    Mindful Parenting Techniques

    If that was too much of a mouthful, mindful parenting, in its simplest terms is about awareness. It brings your awareness to your needs and your child’s needs in the present moment staying focused on that. Mindful parenting is the slowing down of your thoughts and by cleansing your mind. It is about thinking less and panicking less and being there in the moment for yourself and your child more. To begin the practice of mindful parenting techniques, you may find it useful to write a personal mission statement. Doing so can help you determine what is most important to you in your family life.

    Basically, we can all get caught up in the hectic schedules and stress of daily life. However, practicing mindful parenting strategies can help make life calmer, happier, and healthier. We can turn a moment of stressed out panic to get out the door and anger at the kids for not being ready into speaking and moving in a purposeful way that communicates our expectations without panic, stress, judgement, and fear. Mindful parenting will still encounter times of strong emotions and conflicting needs but because of your connection to the present moment for you and your child, your actions and words will likely have more kindness and wisdom in them. This mindful approach breeds more positive behavior and potential benefits for both parent and child.

    Be present in the moment.

    Mindful Parenting Example

    “Say you’ve put a lot of energy into making dinner after a difficult day, and your baby starts screaming and is inconsolable just when you are about to sit down and enjoy it. That’s a perfect opportunity to bring mindfulness right into that moment and see how attached you may be to having a peaceful dinner. What are your options? You can flip out and be immature and not be in resonance with whatever your child is experiencing, or you can realize this it what it means sometimes to have baby or a toddler. Life itself is the curriculum. When you give up your attachment, you won’t relate to your child with resentment.”  –

    Next time you find yourself in a challenging situation, try responding in new ways. A parent’s ability to help their child with emotional regulation may be limited if he or she has not learned to do so themself. The first step in avoiding negative parenting behavior may be to use a mindful way of calming oneself before demanding that your child is calm. Simple ways include taking a deep breath and trying to breathe out your frustration before responding. Having an emotional awareness to our own reactions will help us be more understanding of our child’s feelings and needs as well.

    Mindful Parenting Quotes To Inspire You

    I read a quote once that I will always remember because I thought, “You know what? That is so true. And my being there fully in the moment and really listening to my child matters.” I hope it inspires you too. Here it that mindful parenting quote:

    “Listen earnestly to anything [your children] want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”― Catherine M. Wallace

    Here is another of my favorite mindful parenting quotes:

    “Use anger as a wake-up call to unmet needs.” -Marshall Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships

    This quote is so instructional and so useful for all of our relationships. Whether our child is feeling angry or whether we are feeling angry, it is a good time to pause. Take a moment to examine why they (or we) feel that way and what needs are going unmet. This will allow you or your child to communicate feelings and needs in a productive way.

    Another great mindful parenting quote:

    “Getting in touch with conscious behavior we change our attitudes so that we are not ruled by instincts, habits, and someone else’s beliefs.” -Nataša Pantović, Conscious Parenting

    This one speaks to make conscious decisions in our parenting rather than reacting. For example, you child is not doing what you said. You could assume they are defiant and need to be punished. Or, instead, you could question them further to see what is upsetting them and causing them to ignore your request.

    Mindful Parenting Checklist To Help Guide You

    The Mindful website, reports that, “according to new research, children who experience mindful parenting are less likely to use drugs or get depression or anxiety.” It is generally agreed that mindfulness and mindful parenting are successful at promoting well-being in several ways. To bring mindful attention and awareness into your interactions with your child really seems to set the stage for you to be a good parent.

    Here are some ideas to help you become a more mindful parent. I have presented them in checklist format so you print it out and go over it occasionally. Otherwise, we all know that it can be hard to remember everything and to implement new habits. The Mindful Parenting Checklist will help you make the progress that you want to make.

    How To Bring Mindfulness To Parenting

    Establish a daily mindfulness practice for you and your kids such as sitting in simple meditation for  5-30 minutes every day.   During your meditation practice, bring awareness to your breathing and sustaining it over time.Bring more awareness to your mind and body in key moments. This is more easily done when you have a mindfulness routine such as mentioned above. You get better at this with practice.Mindfully manage stress.  Just taking a slow, intentional, deep breath can allow you to pause and refocus your attention on the present.Be mindful of what’s unfolding in your life and your children’s lives.  Honor your needs and their needs as best you can. Don’t get mindlessly caught up in reactions to surface behaviors.See young children as they are, not as who you want them to be. Meet your child with more acceptance.Cultivate kindness and compassion in the moment for yourself and for your child.Be in the present with open-hearted, non-judgmental attention.Be less attached to outcomes.When a conflict or difficult situations occur with your child, pause and take a breath. Ask yourself, “Am I just reacting here or am I responding with purpose?”Mindful parenting should include listening carefully to a child’s viewpoint even when disagreeing with it. Allow them the opportunity to express their own feelings.

    Printable Checklist

    I don’t think you will use this checklist every day indefinitely. However, I do think you will find it useful to use everyday for about a week. It will help you get into a better routine. Then you can reduce to once a week for awhile to help make sure you aren’t forgetting anything.

    Again, this Mindful Parenting Checklist is intended to help you implement new habits into your daily routine. It is not something you should stress over. Don’t try to check off every box, every day.  Rather it is just a useful tool for your mindfulness training. It will cause you to slow down and be present in the moment. When used properly, it should help with stress reduction and managing negative emotions. Mindful awareness in everyday life will lead to positive changes and less anxiety.

    The image above is a partial capture of the full printable Mindful Parenting Checklist.  You can go to google documents and print the whole page there.

    Parenting At Its Best

    It has happened to all of that we find ourselves going through the motions. As your child talks to you, your attention may wonder and you are off thinking about the stuff you need to get done. Wouldn’t you rather be enjoying the experience of being with your child? Be there to truly listen and respond with joy, humor, or just true attention. Mindful parenting isn’t just for when things are going wrong, it is for when things are going right too! It is being there in that moment and giving your child your full attention. It seems so basic but in this multi-tasking, multi-device, over-stimulation world, we have to get back to basics sometimes.

    Your child wants your attention more than anything else. In fact, we all appreciate those moments when a person is truly giving us their full presence. It is the greatest gift. Make your mindful moment awareness for good things too!


    So tonight, when you tuck your child in, try mindful parenting. Put aside your worries and preoccupations and just enjoy your exchange with your child. When you look at them, really see them. When you listen, really listen. And when you tell them you love them, think about how much you really mean it. I bet you enjoy mindful parenting! It feels good.

    If you are interested in mindful parenting but you feel like you really need some help, you may want to check out MamaZen. It is the #1 mindful parenting app ‍‍for mothers who want to raise happier kids!

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