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    Scared of The Dark [How To Solve This Common Problem]

    Somewhere after the long days and months of late-night feedings and diaper changes, and dealing with crying babies, you might experience a new kind of trial. Young children are often afraid of the dark. This fear primarily manifest itself as a kid who doesn’t want to go to sleep. The question then becomes why are kids scared of the dark and how to help them get over fear of the dark. Don’t worry this is a phase that can be handled so you can both get back to your respective beds! Here is advice to share with your children on how to not be scared of the dark.

    Why are kids scared of the dark?

    You’ve probably seen movies, where there’s a young child who’s absolutely convinced that a monster is hiding in his closet or under his bed, and refuses to go to sleep. It turns out that kids often have a fear of the dark and/or a fear of monsters hiding under the bed. This means they they often don’t want to go to bed by themselves or at least without a light on. It seems to be a common phase most children go through. Why is this the case?

    Well, darkness means we have very limited visibility. This is where the fear begins to creep in. I remember thinking I won’t be able to see what is coming for me. This is precisely the reason that fear of the dark seems to be hardwired into us. In fact, according to Science Alert, “our fear of the dark is an evolutionary trait that we picked up to survive real-life predators stalking the night”. This means it is entirely natural and normal for kids to be scared of the dark.

    Add to their fear of the dark the fact that children have excellent imaginations and you can see how they may imagine that the darkness is concealing monsters or attackers. Their minds create excellent realistic images of the things they think of. This can be very frightening for kids to overcome. They feel they need a light or an adult to protect them from lurks in the darkness. Extra sources of darkness and fear maybe the closet or under the bed.

    Secrets For How To Not Be Scared Of The Dark

    If this all sounds familiar, I have some advice on how to deal with kids who are scared of the dark. They need reassurance that this is a normal phase they will get past. You can explain to them that you will help your child overcome their fear of the dark. Tell them you will share your secrets for how to not be scared of the dark. This will help them buy into the whole process.

    Take Comfort: It’s Probably Just a Short Phase

    Most children are only scared of the dark for a little while. However, it may feel like an eternity when you are currently living it. Luckily most kids, find this is a short stage that they’ll grow out of. But there are still things you can do to help them get over their fear of the dark.

    A big reason why kids end up scared of the dark, or believing there are monsters under the bed, is because they have wild, active imaginations. It’s not hard to believe that the rough, dark outline of a sweater is actually a terrifying goblin ready to strike. That is, if you’re a toddler.

    I found that one of the best things to do is to stick to only calm, soothing TV shows and entertainment before bed. It should be happy, upbeat stuff. Have you ever noticed how dark and scary most Disney movies are in some places? When they lay down for bed, they will likely begin to think of the things they saw or read during the day. So make sure they are getting activities right before bed.

    Only say calming things right before bed. Leave off things like, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Don’t say things like, “You have a big day tomorrow.” Try things like “Sweet dreams.” Say things like, “I love you and I will see you in the morning.”

    How to get over fear of the dark with a bedtime routine that works!

    Create a bedtime routine.

    Setting up a bedtime routine is crucial. What you do here is up to you, but some ideas could be: a nice bedtime story, a warm bubble bath, singing lullabies and even just sitting in bed with him until he falls asleep. A consistent bedtime routine works wonders!

    Here are several more ideas for you if you need some extra help. Try them out and see which work for you.

    Get a night light.

    A nightlight can do wonders for making them feel more secure. They’re really cheap and you can find one at Target, Walmart, or even a dollar store for a few bucks. You can also try a motion activated night light so it only comes on if something moves. Nothing is moving if it is not on! Or a solar powered one that will cut on and off automatically with the darkness is great for older children who still need a bit of reassurance.

    Leave the door ajar.

    Leaving the door open slightly could be helpful. Not being completely isolated in the room does a lot to ease their anxiety and worries.

    Play soothing music. 

    Soft, gentle music or using a nice sound machine can help, too. Complete silence can make matters much worse for a kid who’s scared of the dark. Soothing music can help keep their imaginations calm.

    Sleep training clock.

    These types of clocks feature lights that tell kids when it is time to get up and time to sleep (parent sets those times). They also have night lights and soothing music built in so they perform many functions at once. The Mella Ready to Rise Children’s Sleep Trainer clock is the most popular on Amazon and has a 4.5 star rating with almost 15,000 reviews. Affiliate link below.

    Reassure them.

    Simply tell them that there’s nothing to be scared of. There are no monsters or demons lurking in their bedroom, and nothing is going to hurt them. You are right next door if they really need you.

    Calm them.

    Use DIY lavender pillow spray to help them feel calm and relaxed and talk them for a bit as they get sleepy.

    Give them a stuffed animal.

    A stuffed animal can sometimes serve as a trusted friend to watch over them and keep them safe. Plus, just cuddling will help them feel soothed. If you happen to have a cooperative cat or dog, they make serve to make your child feel less alone and vulnerable.

    Set Up A Check Up. Tell them you’ll come to check on them every 5 minutes. Then, you start to space it out more: to 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, and hopefully they’ll be asleep before long.

    Share the bed, if need be.

    Letting them share a bed with you isn’t always an awful idea. As long as it doesn’t get out of hand. A better idea is to stay in their bedroom. That way, they don’t get used to the idea of staying in yours. You can leave when they fall asleep and you are reinforcing the idea that there’s nothing to be scared of in their room.

    Summing Up Ideas To Conquer Night Fears

    In conclusion, nighttime fears are very common in young children, and sometimes there’s nothing we can do to make them go away. For most kids, it’s just a phase they’ll quickly grow out of. We just need to help them along the way a little bit.

    Just try to have patience and not loose your cool. I know it can be frustrating to deal with, but it’s important to keep calm. Don’t get upset at your son or daughter! With a little patience and understanding, and positive reinforcement, I’m sure they’ll be over their fears before you know it!

    Do you have any other tips or tricks to help toddlers who are scared of the dark? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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    Parenting A Strong Willed Child

    A strong willed child is often regarded in either a very positive light or a very negative light, depending on your preconceptions. So is a strong willed bad? I certainly don’t think so. As with most things, there are positives and negatives to being strong willed. A iron-willed child will be resolute and determined. Those are great qualities in the right circumstances. In fact they can make for great leaders! However, a strong-minded child can also be inflexible and mulish. Those qualities generally result in more negative behaviors. If you are parenting a strong willed child, you may be about at the end of your rope. Don’t fear. Take a deep breath, help is here.

    The Strong-Willed Child

    If your spirited child

    Engages in frequent temper tantrums Doesn’t accept instructions at face valueSeems to enjoy arguing with you over everythingLikes to ask “why” on a regular basisAnd tends to be outspoken and disruptive

    Then you’re probably parenting a strong-willed child. Headstrong kids like to learn things for themselves instead of accepting what others tell them. They want to be in charge of themselves so strong willed children usually test the limits you set. They will often desire to do what they think is the right thing above everything else.

    This can certainly create some difficult and challenging days for parents. It’s good to accept your child’s temperament and encourage them to think for themselves. This can help avoid constant power struggles. On the other hand, they also need to learn that there are boundaries and expectations that they will need to comply with.

    How To Parent A Strong Willed Child

    Some people would say, “how to deal with a strong willed child” but I think that sounds a bit negative. Remove your preconceptions that “they need to be dealt with” and replace them with a more positive framing. What you really want to figure out is how to parent a strong willed child. These tips will help you set boundaries with your strong-willed child’s behavior while also giving them the space they need to be themselves. Consistently working in a loving way to strengthen the parent-child relationship and set clear expectations will help reduce behavior problems.

    1. Establish Family Rules

    Gather all of the family members for a family meeting about the rules you want to set. Explain the expectations and what your kids can expect the result to be if they don’t comply. Welcome feedback from your kids about rules they feel are important or why they feel certain rules aren’t important. Explain that the rules are for everyone and ask your child if they understand the rules and the consequences of breaking them. Once you have this buy in from strong willed kids, it is more likely they will make good choices.

    2. Create Predictability

    Strong-willed children don’t do well when their power is taken away from them. Creating structure helps them to know what is expected of them. And if a day is going to be a little off from the norm, talk to your child about it ahead of time. In this way, they know what to expect beforehand instead of expecting them to adjust at a moment’s notice. Taking time to communicate with them about changes will help avoid their frustration and resulting disruptive behavior.

    3. Forget Ultimatums

    A strong-willed child will see an ultimatum as a challenge and they won’t back down. If they misbehave and you give them a time-out until they’re ready to cooperate, they’ll sit in time-out all day long. Instead, encourage cooperation by working with them. Next time, instead of giving them time-out until they’re ready to clean up their toys, work together to clean them up. This will has the added benefit of helping them learn to work together with others.

    4. Be Patient

    Furthermore, delaying gratification can be a better way of encouraging your child to cooperate than time outs. For instance, they can’t go outside to play or ride bikes until the toys are cleaned up. They’ll be more inclined to do the thing they don’t want to do so that they can do the thing they do want to do. Instead of getting involved in a battle of wills, they will mostly like chose the good behavior themselves in order to get what they really want.

    5. Pay Attention

    Your child may not be able to accurately verbalize what they’re feeling, but they’ll show it in their actions. Pay attention to their frustration and anger levels. When do they feel the most frustrated, what is upsetting them, and how do they handle it? These can be clues to help you figure out how to best help them cope. Remember that younger children are still learning to identify their own emotions and understand how to communicate big feelings. A child’s emotions are sometimes confusing to them as well. However their behavior offers a clue. A defiant child displaying aggressive behavior usually feels something is unfair and they feel angry. If you can find a way to help them express themselves with their words, they will often feel better and behave better.

    More Resources For Parenting A Strong Willed Child

    Want more reading on the subject? Try the very well reviewed book, Parenting The Strong-Willed Child: The Clinically Proven Five-Week Program for Parents of Two- to Six-Year-Olds. This classic by Rex Forehand, Ph.D. and Nicholas Long Ph.D. has helped hundreds of thousands of parents with disciplining a strong willed child using positive reinforcement. They have lots of great ideas for managing the strong-willed temperament in effective ways.

    A strong-willed child can certainly test your patience, but they’re also free thinkers, go-getters, and independent- all qualities you want to encourage! By helping them find the best ways to express themselves and deal with the times they have to comply with rules, you’ll both find some satisfaction. As you help these experiential learners with problem solving difficult situations, you will see their behavior improve in important ways.

    I hope these tips for parenting a strong willed child help you find an effective style of parenting and reduces behavioral challenges. Being a positive parent with happy kids will suit you all better. Which suggestion did you find the most helpful?

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    Quotes On Follow Through And Why It Is So Important

    Today, I want to share with you some of my favorite quotes on follow through. I think that as a general concept everyone knows follow through is important but sometimes it takes too much time, effort, confidence, or desire. However, following through is part of building trust and confidence in ourselves and others. These quotes will help inspire you be the type of person who pursues and completes what they start. I also have some great insight from author Casey Russell on the art of consistently following through on what you say.

    My Favorite Quotes On Following Through

    “I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through – then follow through.” -Eddie Rickenbacker, American fighter ace in World War I, Medal of Honor recipient

    “Character is the ability to follow through on a resolution long after the emotion with which it was made has passed.” –Brian Tracy, Motivational public speaker and self-development author

    “Many people don’t focus enough on execution. If you make a commitment to get something done, you need to follow through on that commitment.” also “For me, integrity is the consistency of words and actions.” –Kenneth Chenault, CEO of a Fortune 500 company

    “Do what you say you’re going to do. Follow through means never having to say you’re sorry.” -Mark Goulston

    “Good thoughts are no better than good dreams if you don’t follow through.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionist and poet

    “Those who only do what they feel like, don’t do much. To be successful at anything you must take action even when you don’t feel like it, knowing it is the action itself that will produce the motivation you need to follow through.” also “When you value your integrity at the highest level, living alignment with your word and following through with your commitments no matter what, there are no limits to what you can create for your life. However, when you make excuses, justify doing what is easiest, and choose the path of least resistance, you will live a life of mediocrity, frustration and regret. Live with integrity as if your life depended on it, because it does.” –Hal Elrod, Author, keynote speaker and success coach

    “When we don’t follow through with what we say to our kids, we are teaching them to ignore our words.” -Casey Russell, author of The Handbook for Life With Little Ones

    “Those who are blessed with the most talent don’t necessarily outperform everyone else. It’s the people with follow-through who excel.” -Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

    “People will follow you when you build the character to follow through.” -Orrin Woodward, founder of Life as well as a New York Times bestselling author 

    “All the time and effort put into networking can be all for naught if there is no follow-through. The same goes for sales. And leadership. And … well, everything.” -Beth Ramsay, Founder and CEO of Brilliant Women

    “It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” -Zig Ziglar, Author, salesman, and motivational speaker

    “words are meaningless without intent and follow through and intent without good planning and proper action is equally meaningless.” David Amerland, Author of The Sniper Mind

    These quotes on following through really make it clear why it is an essential element to success in life and relationships.

    The Art of Consistently Following Through on What You Say

    I am very happy to share with you some wise words from Casey Russell on why it is important to follow through. She is the author of The Handbook for Life With Little Ones:  Information, Ideas and Tips for Birth to Age Five. For more ideas and tips for early parenting, feel free to check out her book (affiliate link below).

    by Casey Russell

    Being a parent can be hard. It’s a big responsibility to be in charge, not only of another human’s basic needs, but to also need to keep that human safe, teach him morals, respect, discipline, help him grow his self-esteem and make sure he learns all his curious mind needs know in this world. It’s especially hard when our kids seem not to listen to what we say. Why, we wonder, is my child whining for more when I’ve already told him that’s all he can have? Why is he not getting off the swing when I’ve already counted to 10 in my “I’m serious” voice?

    Have I been following through?

    The answer to this often lies in a simple question we need to ask ourselves. “Have I been following through on what I say to my child?” Kids are smart. They are learning all the time by observing us. They notice when we say one thing and do another.

    Picture this: You are running errands with your child. He asks for a toy. You say, “No, we can’t buy a toy today.” He starts to whine. You tell him no again. He continues to whine and keeps asking for the toy while you are attempting to concentrate on getting the things on your list. He gets louder. You grab the toy and say, “Fine, but we’re not doing this every time we come to the store.” If this scenario sounds at all familiar, now is the time to ask the question: “Have I been following through on what I say to my child?” And, the answer will be no.

    When We Don’t Follow Through

    When we don’t follow through with what we say to our kids, we are teaching them to ignore our words and keep asking until we give in. This is not only frustrating, it can also be dangerous. If they learn to ignore our words in situations like these, they will also be less likely to “Stop!” when we need them to for safety reasons. They are learning, too, that they do not need to respect the fact that someone has said, “No.” We do not want our kids to do this to us and we definitely don’t want them to do it as adults.

    It seems so much easier in the moment, to give in. It gets the child to stop whining and you can focus on what you need to do. But, by accepting the temptation of this moment’s peace, you are inviting years of arguments, whining and disrespect.

    Following Through Earns Respect

    Luckily, there is a solution. Starting now, and forevermore, follow through. If you tell your child he can have one more cracker. Give ONE more. Don’t give in when he cries. Teach him, through your actions, that you mean what you say. If he starts to whine, you can gently say, “Oh, you know you don’t get what you want when you whine. Those crackers are really good. But, we’re done with them for now. What should we go play?” None of this needs to be said loudly or meanly. You just need to make a small shift to a more serious tone. Your child will quickly learn there’s no use in arguing because it’s not going to get him what he wants.

    Only Say Things You Will Carry Out

    With that said, make sure to say things you can follow through with. For example, if you are at the airport and your child starts acting up, don’t say, “If you don’t stop screaming, we are going home.” Because, let’s face it, you’re not going to go home. You’re going to get on the plane and your child will have learned you don’t always mean what you say. Or, if your child is running away from you at bedtime instead of letting you brush his teeth, don’t say, “If you don’t come to me right now, you are not going to sleep with your teddy bear.” The truth is, he will need his teddy bear to go to sleep and that punishment is too strong. No one needs to be mean. Pick something else that will matter to him but that won’t emotionally wound him or make him feel unsafe. An alternative would be, “Right now you have 2 books for bedtime. I am giving you one more chance to come to me so I can brush your teeth. If you don’t, we will only be able to do 1 book for bedtime.” This is a consequence that will matter to him, but is not mean spirited.

    I think it’s important to say “yes” to kids often. But, when “no” is said, they need to know, and be able to trust, that we mean it. Talk about things. Consistently follow through. Let your child know the boundaries and let him take control of remembering where they are. When the boundaries are clear, kids will most often cooperate because they don’t have to test the boundaries. When a rule needs to be made, just gently let your child know what it is– and why– and then stick to it. And then, when your child does a great job making a choice you were hoping he’d make, thank him! Positive reinforcement works wonders. Kids like to know they’ve done something good. We all do. We like to know we’re appreciated.

    Following through on what you say means you consistently do this for promises you make your child, too. If you’ve said your little one can help you bake cookies after his nap, don’t poop out and let time get away from you. Bake the freakin’ cookies! If you’ve said you’ll go to the park after you’re done paying bills, but it is raining when you’re done, get on the raincoats and go! If you do this, your child’s trust in you, and his sense of surety in the world, will grow. By doing this one thing, you will most likely find you have a child who doesn’t whine or put up fits. He will know it’s not worth whining because he’ll know that you mean what you say. It will help him feel safe because he can trust you and he will know the boundaries.

    Get yourself in the practice of consistently following through and then stick to it. This same principle of carrying through a process to completion will serve you well in all facets of your life to help you be respected and accomplish more.

    Thanks again to Casey Russell for sharing those inspiring word on staying true to what we say and for great examples of how to follow through with discipline in a firm but gentle way.

    Follow Through Synonyms And Antonyms:

    Perhaps the most convincing argument for why follow through is so important lies the definition of the phrase. If you look for a word that means the same thing as follow through and a word that means the opposite of following through, you will know right away which side you want to fall on! See the below according to Merriam-Webster:

    Synonyms for follow through (with)

    accomplish, achieve, bring off, carry off, carry out, commit, compass, do, execute, fulfill (or fulfil), make, negotiate, perform, perpetrate, prosecute, pull off, put through

    Near Antonyms for follow through (with)

    failskimp, slight, slur

    Always Follow Through On Your Commitments

    When you really think about it, following through is probably one of the characters you admire the most in your role models. This is because this quality makes them trustworthy. It also demonstrates that they are hard workers who execute their plans. They make things happen. Whether it is in business, personal life, or parenting, follow through is essential to being reliable and getting things done well.

    I hope you enjoyed the quotes on follow through. Which ones did you think were the best following through quotes? I’d love to hear and additional quotes on following through or any personal stories that illustrate the importance in the comments or on social media @familyfocusblog!

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    How To Help A Child With Anxiety About School

    Does your child have back-to-school anxiety? If you have a verbal child, they have probably told you how they feel about going back-to-school. However, some kids may not know how to express their anxiety or may be embarrassed to admit that they are nervous about school. Young children often need help identifying their feelings and figuring out the best way to work through them. If you suspect your child is suffering from worry or fear, here are some effective ways to help a child with anxiety.

    7 Ways To Help A Child With Anxiety

    As a first step in addressing anxious feelings, make sure to ask open-ended questions and really listen to the answers as detailed above.

    Don’t take your child’s anxieties personally.

    Some parents may dismiss their child’s anxieties while others may take them as sign of their own failure to do something right.  Neither would be fair to yourself or the child.   You want to approach their anxieties in a calm, confident manner.  Let your child know that it OK and natural to have anxieties but that you are confident that they will make it through this fine. This is one of the most important ways that you can help a child with anxiety.

    Discuss the anxieties when your child is the most relaxed.

    You don’t have to talk about your child’s back to school anxieties the second that they surface.  If your child expresses their concerns right before bed or when you are rushing out for an appointment, it is OK to let them know you want to discuss this important matter with them and a time when you think it is best to do so.  Select a time when your child is rested and full (as well as yourself) for the best chances of a productive conversation with your child.

    Start your discussion by letting them tell you their feelings.

    In order to help a child with anxiety, it is important to give your child a chance to talk and really listen in order to get to the root of the fears and tell you why they are nervous.  It may require some gentle probing questions.  Only when you find out what is really bothering them, can you begin to address it.

    Anxious children may not always show you their signs of anxiety. It may take a little probing to find out what your child’s fears are.

    For example, I asked my son if he was excited for school and he replied, “I don’t know,” in a very unconvinced manner.  I let it go and asked the same question later and got the same response so I knew something was up.  This time I probed deeper, “Why aren’t you excited?” I asked.   I got the same, “I don’t know” response again.  I kept probbing and got this answer, “I don’t know if I will do as well as my sister.”  I immediately assured him he would do as well and that he was smart just like she was.  I reminded him of many things he had done well with in Pre-K and listed his talents.  He was again unconvinced.  So I kept calmly asking questions about why he felt that way in several ways until he unloaded, “But Mommy, I can’t read!”  Then I explained that you don’t have to know how to read when you go to kindergarten, that he would learn the beginnings of that in kindergarten.  “Oh”, he replied with obvious relief and then he started laughing, “Oh!” he said again.  We were both very relieved and he began to get excited after that.

    Be understanding but encouraging.

    You might say something like this to you child, “Even mommy can be nervous about starting something new. When I started my new job, I wondered if I would like it and if I would like the new people. But then I made up my mind to have a positive attitude and I realized I didn’t need to be afraid. It all turned out fine and you’ll get through this fine too.”  In other words, let them know you understand that they are nervous and that concerns are natural but don’t encourage the fears.

    Help your child remember past successes.

    Remind your child of other times they have successfully come through new experiences and challenges. “Remember when ____.  You did just fine with that. I’m sure you will do well with this too.”

    Facilitate your children’s problem-solving.

    Once you pinpoint their anxiety, help them make a plan to address it.  Let them tell you what they think will help and if they can’t think of anything then you might make suggestions.  If they are afraid of riding the bus, for example, ask them what they think would help?  If they need ideas, offer to tell them about how the route will go, maybe to find a neighbor that can be their buddy or tell them about how it works,  call the office for details, etc.

    Get Professional Help If Needed

    Don’t be afraid to seek the professional help of a doctor or psychologist for your child, if you feel they need it. While anxiety is a perfectly normal emotion, anxiety that involves more than temporary worry or fear and that interferes with daily activities may be a sign of various anxiety disorders. Addressing any mental health issues early with professional cognitive behavioral therapy helps to ameliorate them.

    Suggestions For Easing Back-To-School Anxiety

    Plan some play date with classmates. 

    Seeing some familiar faces at school will be a good feeling for them. Try to plan some playdates before school starts. This can help a can help a child with social anxiety prepare for the first time they face a full school day.

    Familiarity decreases anxiety.

    Plan a tour of your school so they can visit school, play on the playground, walk the halls, find out where the cafeteria is and what the release area is.  You will need to talk with the school office to find out how they handle this- each school is different. This familiarization activity will often help reduce your child’s anxiety about the first day of school.

    Get into the school schedule early.

    Get your kids going to bed on time and waking up early for at least a few days before school starts so they know what to expect. Getting enough sleep will help them be rested enough to meet the challenges of the first few days. Establish a before school and after school routine. You may find this after school checklist handy for the first day of school and establishing a routine.

    Make sure your child has a good breakfast and snack.

    You will want your child to be full on their first day and not get crabby because they are hungry. It is a good idea to make sure they have a snack ready for right after school too!

    On a separate note, if you are dealing with a school refusal or school avoidance from older children, be sure to take that seriously and investigate what is causing these feelings. Is it just an anxious brain or is there a more specific cause such as a certain member or the school staff or social situations they are trying to avoid? If they won’t talk to you the school guidance counselor may be an effective way to get the bottom of things.

    Creating Emotional Resilience For Dealing With Anxiety

    Jodi Aman shares some great tips in her video on how to develop emotional resilience for both parents and kids trying to deal with back to school anxiety. She empowers you to become a problem solver so you don’t feel trapped even when faced with tough choices. Enjoy!

    [embedded content]

    Don’t worry! Take a few deep breaths. The good news is that you and your child will make it through Back-To-School anxiety just fine. You can help a child with anxiety by trying these tips and remembering to stay calm and composed. Just talk with your child in a calm way and brainstorm together about solutions and you will be building a positive framework for your relationship and ability to handle things together at the same time!

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    Benefits of Bedtime Rituals And Purpose, Passion and Pajamas Excerpt

    Bedtime rituals are important in all phases of life. From helping soothe a new born to sleep, to relaxing bedtime rituals for young children, and the nightly tuck in for older children. Even adults have important bedtime rituals. Whether it is special pajamas, bedtime music, or a bedtime short story, these series of actions let us know that it is time to settle down and relax so that we can welcome sleep. They also help us recognize that we are safe and feel comforted and happy before we settle in for a night full of what we want to be good dreams. For many, thinking back to bedtime in their childhood will help them feel loved and that is a wonderful thing. Here I will discuss a bit about the benefits of bedtime rituals and share an excerpt from a best selling book on the subject.

    The Importance of Relaxing Bedtime Rituals

    Photo by Ben

    There are the parts of our bedtime rituals that are purely functional- brushing our teeth, setting our alarm clocks, etc. They need to be done and in doing them we let our bodies know that it is time to relax and prepare for sleep.

    But the bedtime rituals have the potential to be so much more than just functional! Bedtime rituals can have many benefits and be a source of well being. As a child, bedtime is a special time when you should feel loved and attended to. This helps set the child up for a restful night of sleep, which is important for improved mood, concentration, and athletic performance. Bedtime rituals offer the opportunity to reset with love and support so that the child may rest easy.

    As Psych Central says, “Bedtime is a daily opportunity to build and nurture your relationship with your child. There’s something about a quiet darkened room that invites conversation. This is a time to take stock, to snuggle, to conversation about some of the important things that your child is thinking about. When children know that bedtime is a time when you give a few minutes of undivided attention, they often save up their most sensitive questions for sharing. Yes, sometimes they’ll use it to hang onto you when you really want to get to your own projects or the newspaper. Calmly set some limits and carry on. This is the real stuff of parenting — building your child’s sense of personal value, answering the big questions, teaching your values through stories and conversation.”

    That was so well put I had to include it all! Most parents will tell you that tucking their children in can take awhile but the bedtime connection is special, fun time that should be cherished and has enormous benefits.

    The Sanctity Of Bedtime Connection And Bonding

    I was speaking with Genevieve Piturro who founded the national nonprofit, Pajama Program and she understands firsthand, “the profound meaning of a loving mom at my bedside as I drifted off to dream.” In fact she says that, “it’s this sacred, quiet bonding time that lays the foundation for a child’s self-worth and self-love that gives us the strength to move past obstacles and challenge as we grow into adulthood.” That sounds like a description of good parenting and love and when you think about it, that is exactly what is happening at bedtime when you both slow down together and focus on each other as parent and child.

    Genevieve Piturro has published an Amazon best seller new book called, Purpose, Passion and Pajamas. It is about her journey founding and growing Pajama Program. I am very excited to share with you that I have been permission to share an excerpt form her new book with you here. It’s about how the sanctity of bedtime between mother and child can impact not only the child’s life decisions as an adult, but also impact millions of others as a result.

    Excerpt from:PURPOSE, PASSION AND PAJAMAS: How to Transform Your life, Embrace the Human Connection and Lead with MeaningRiver Grove Books; Illustrated edition (July 28, 2020)By Genevieve M. Piturro

    Purpose, Passion and Pajamas Excerpt

    Her big brown eyes were locked on the pretty pink pajamas I held out to her, but she hesitated to take them.

    “Don’t you want these?” I gently asked.

    She glanced from the pink flannel to the other children who held their new nightwear. At this shelter and after-school program in New York City, there were about 12 children in all, many here because of abusive or absent fathers, or mothers who were battered or headed for drug rehab—or prison. The girl looked cautiously at me kneeling in front of her, ridiculously overdressed in my corporate pantsuit. She turned to watch the other children head to the back room with their garments.

    Then she looked at me again.

    “What are they?” she whispered.

    “They’re pajamas,” I said.

    “Where do I wear them?”

    “To bed at night.”

    She shook her head, puzzled.

    “What do you usually wear to sleep?” I asked.

    “My pants,” she said softly, tugging on her too-tight, too-short,

    dirty pants.

    I tried to make sense of what she’d just said. My mind was racing. Surely, I’d heard her wrong. I needed a minute to rewind our conversation, to put it right in my mind. And I needed to keep from crying before she thought she’d done something wrong. My brain scrambled to steady itself and respond in a way that didn’t show her how shaken I was, how upside down everything had become.

    “Well, now you don’t have to wear your pants to bed,” I said.

    “Tonight, you can wear these soft, pretty pajamas.”

    Her face registered little emotion as she tentatively accepted the gift. A staff member and I found a private place where she could change. In what seemed like slow motion, we watched as the most precious smile appeared on her face, and a tiny giggle escaped. The staffer took her hand and led her into the other room to sleep. Then my tears came. And I let them. I didn’t know it then, but it was in that moment, the most poignant I’ve ever experienced, that Pajama Program was born. With that little girl, I found my true purpose in life, a purpose that would propel me day and night. It was also then that I realized there is enough in this world—more than enough, in fact—to fix situations like this.

    Over the next several weeks, I visited and read with different groups in the New York City area. I quickly realized the emotional impact these children had on me. I was drawn to them in a protective way, and my need to comfort them felt overwhelming. There was something just so right about it all. Every time I had to leave, I had a difficult time finding the right words to say goodbye to the children. I hated these last moments because I felt I was leaving them alone and afraid. I knew most, if not all, of them would be gone the next time I came, and a new set of abandoned or abused children would be listening to me. The prospect was deeply upsetting. I made sure my goodnights were cheerful and warm. I couldn’t let my sad feelings show after filling their heads with so many happy endings. Still, I felt like a fraud, pretending tomorrow might be full of sunshine and happiness when I knew I couldn’t deliver either.

    As affecting as these experiences were for me, I grew restless. I couldn’t stop thinking that maybe I could do more than simply read. I felt guilty walking out after an hour, leaving them with only books and a memory of story time. How much was I really helping? Was it more unsettling to them that I left them, too? Books had always been an escape for me as a child, but the discontentment that made me reach for a book was nothing compared to what these children were hoping to escape. Was I fooling myself thinking I was doing something that made a difference? I continued my visits, reading to the children in a circle on the floor, and looking for a way to do more. Surely I’d find it.

    As a child, I loved the coziness and comfort of bedtime. In addition to the many books she read us, my mom made up her own funny bedtime stories. To this day, one very special story brings tears to my eyes, filling me with so much love and gratitude for my mother who, even now, is the person I want when I can’t sleep. The story is about a little boy eating a candy bar with peanuts when one peanut comes alive and shouts, “Don’t eat me, don’t eat me!” That always made us giggle and demand of our mother,

    “Tell us again, tell us again!”

    All the laughing and hugging tired us out and sleep quickly followed. I was always conscious of our family’s financial limitations, and it was obvious to me that most of my friends had more than I did. We had bag lunches and were rarely given money for hot lunches; we got new store-brand clothes, but only at the start of the school year and again at Easter, and the items were always on sale. But we had one thing in abundance—we had love.

    The Heart of the Matter:

    • Learn from your childhood lessons.

    Life tends to come full circle. I see now it was the foundation of my mother’s love and my parents’ commitment to us—as well as the sacrifices we made—that helped me to see clearly when everything I thought I wanted was challenged. That foundation drove me to find my true passion in pajamas. My mother’s expressions of love helped me identify exactly what was missing in that little girl’s life. And my father’s insistence on education and hard work showed me how to provide not only for myself but also for others—helping me redefine what it means to be a “family.”

    • Examine the way you’ve “always” done things.

    Partly because of my family’s hard work and sacrifices, I sometimes felt I didn’t have enough. As a result, I started out in my career by focusing too much on what I wanted in terms of wealth and material possessions—money, clothes, apartment, travel. Soon the polish wore off those pursuits, however, and I was left unfulfilled. I knew I needed a change.

    • Don’t let tradition hold you back from your true purpose.

    We were raised to work hard and respect our family, and I spent many years fulfilling the role of dutiful daughter in my traditional Italian family, which included having successful career, well-appointed condo, and nice clothes. I had no idea I would need to let those markers of success go when I first stepped into that homeless shelter to read bedtime stories to children. But I did let them go, and that opened the way to being free to pursue new goals, ones that would give my life meaning.

    I hope you enjoyed this inspiring excerpt from Genevieve Piturro’s book, Purpose, Passion and Pajamas. You can learn more about her work or order a copy of her book through her website. This year, the Pajama Program celebrates its 20th anniversary, having delivered more than 7 MILLION magical gifts of new pajamas and new books to children through their 63 chapters across the U.S.

    She has been interviewed on and in many local and national media including most recently, Hallmark’sHome & Family show, OPRAH, TODAY, GMA, The Early Show, CNN, Fox & Friends, O Magazine, Forbes,The Wall Street Journal, and Parenting Magazine. Here is the Oprah clip for your viewing pleasure:

    [embedded content]

    In conclusion, bedtime rituals are the perfect opportunity to establish a wonderful bonding time for parent and child. Relaxing bedtime rituals can help the child destress, feel safe, and feel loved so that they can get the most out of a peaceful night’s sleep and be ready to meet the new challenges in each day. What types of bedtime rituals do you have with your child? Do you think this special bedtime connection helps improve their resilience?

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    Raising Kids With The Entrepreneurial Spirit

    We are all hopeful that our children will grow to be confident, motivated and resilient adults, but how do we best set them up for success early in life? Raising our kids with the entrepreneurial spirit can help give them the can-do growth mindset, analytical skills, and leadership abilities that allow them to thrive in any given situation. Today, I will share with you some expert tips for a few ways parents can encourage an entrepreneurial spirit in children from an early age.

    What is The Entrepreneurial Spirit?

    The entrepreneurial spirit meaning is best described as all of the key traits that make an entrepreneur successful. That is to say, the vision, confidence, drive, determination, persistence, and the ability to adapt, grow, and change based on the market. Being an entrepreneur takes a special ability to think for one’s self, to be willing to take calculated risks, and to go after big dreams with a passion that is unstoppable. Leadership qualities are a must and they love a good challenge. A true entrepreneur is full of new ideas and knows how to seize new opportunities. A few entrepreneurial skills include intellectual curiosity around even ordinary things, creative thinking, and developing innovative products. They can be a measured risk taker who knows how to use right people to create a positive business community that takes a good idea to fruition.

    Hosts of the Top 100 podcast The Product Boss, co-founders of The Product Boss Mastermind courses

    Encouraging The Entrepreneurial Mindset

    Raising a child with the entrepreneurial spirit does not mean they have to be an entrepreneur business leader when they grow up. It just means that they have the self-motivation and drive to chase their dreams and be self starters.

    With this in mind, I am so happy to share with you some fabulous tips for raising entrepreneurs from two amazing moms and successful entrepreneurs, Minna Khounlo-Sithep and Jacqueline Snyder, also known to the world as The Product Boss. Together, they use their expertise to help small businesses with savvy strategies to achieve success through their coaching platforms, top-ranked podcast (The Product Boss Podcast), and social media shopping initiatives that promote small businesses.

    With close to 30 years of combined experience in the business venture space, they’ve learned the value of entrepreneurial drive and have been consciously motivating their kids to follow in their footsteps over the years.

    The Product Boss ladies have shared their top three tips for encouraging those “kidpreneur” tendencies and fostering feelings of independence and ingenuity below.

    Ice Cream Shop- pure joy!

    1. Give playtime a purpose 

    While they are young and imaginations are still running wild, encouraging your kids to open up their own shops at home is always a fun and enriching experience for everyone. Whether they decide they want to open up a restaurant, a veterinarian office or a bakery, all of these add a sense of purpose and drive to their free time that didn’t exist before. Getting that first-hand experience, even if just artificial, plants the seed early that one day they too can create a life and career that they dream of if you mix those passions with a little hard work. 

    2. Keep them interested and involved 

    If you’re a small business owner yourself, getting your kids interested in your work is a natural next step. Keeping the business conversations going when the kids walk in, asking them to offer their two cents on career-related predicaments, having them help out on certain activities in your work they might enjoy, and discussing your career goals at length with them are all fantastic new ways to keep them invested. Before you know it, your kids are dreaming up their own aspirations, careers and lives soon to unfold. 

    3. Hold them accountable and offer choices

    It’s never too early to begin to instill a hard work ethic in your kids. If they say that they want that new toy, ask how they will go about earning it. Can they set up a lemonade stand? Can they earn money from completing various household chores? When children aren’t simply given everything they ask for and, instead, are encouraged to go out and work hard for what they want, they begin to see the world in a new light. In addition, giving them these decisions early on sets them up as independent thinkers. It also helps improve low confidence levels and indecisiveness. Setting these standards from the jump and holding them accountable for their actions is the best way to set them straight on their entrepreneurial path. 

    If you enjoyed these tips and would be interested in more tips on how to become a successful business owner, check out the The Product Boss Podcast, A Top 100 Podcast On Apple Podcast Business Charts. You can listen on Spotify or various other podcasting services.

    Additionally, I want to share some of my favorite entrepreneurial spirit quotes with you today for a little extra inspiration.

    Entrepreneurial Spirit Quotes

    “You have to see failure as the beginning and the middle, but never entertain it as an end.” –Jessica Herrin

    “You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life.” -Brian Chesky, Co-founder of Airbnb

    “Don’t worry about being successful but work toward being significant and the success will naturally follow.”-Oprah Winfrey

    “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” -Walt Disney

    “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” -Mark Twain

    “Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

    “There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions – in a way that serves the world and you.” –Richard Branson

    “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” -Bill Gates

    Spirit Of Entrepreneurship Conclusion

    I hope you enjoyed these tips to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in your children so that they stay curious, optimistic, eager to find better ways. Developing a positive attitude and the desire to find new solutions will serve them in all areas of life. After all, who doesn’t want to help their kid become more confident and motivated? How will you encourage your young entrepreneur?

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    What It Means to be Family Oriented

    Family first seems to be a motto for many, but do they really mean it? What does it mean to put your family first and be family oriented? We all want more time with our families and we want to be there for the special moments as well as the family night dinners, but work and other life commitments can make that a challenge sometimes. Why is being family oriented important anyway? Here I will answer those questions and address those challenges. I will talk about the meaning of being a family oriented person, why it is important, and how to become more centered around your family.
    What Is Family Oriented?

    What does it mean to be family oriented? Simply put, a person who’s family oriented never loses sight of the importance of their family. Yes, other commitments may take them away at times, but they always focus on maintaining a strong presence in their family.
    What is another way of saying family oriented? Synonyms are family based, family focused, and family centered. By any name, it refers to someone who has their family at the heart of all that they do and all of the decisions that they make. It is someone who considers the well being of the family as a unit and thinks about maintaining that.

    Why Is Being Family Focused Important?
    A family oriented man or woman goes further than just being present for special occasions and important moments, they are mentally and emotionally present as well. It is in this way that we maintain our family bonds that hold us together.
    Making sure you’re home for your child’s birthday party won’t mean anything if you spend the whole party on the phone talking about work. Instead, it means putting the phone away so that you can focus on your child and their happiness during the party.
    Being family centered is important because there are so many distractions in this modern world and if we don’t make a true effort to protect the thing that is most important to us, family, it can be lost. A loving family is not a given. It takes effort to maintain it. Growing anything takes work and consistency, especially children! Love is a verb. We have to make connecting to our spouse and our children a priority.

    This quote illustrates the point that we must actively care for what we love.

    “Love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep on watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”
    ― John Lennon

    5 Ways to Be A More Family Oriented Person
    How do you become family oriented? Being a more family oriented person may seem like a challenge in your busy life, but it doesn’t have to be. A few simple choices can bring you and your family closer together.
    1. Be There for The Important Moments
    You may not make every daytime school event or every baseball game, but do your best to schedule the important moments, like the school play or the baseball playoff game. Be there for the ones that really matter. And if you promise to make it to something, keep your promise; it shows your child that you love them and you’re committed to their happiness.
    2. Schedule Family Time
    Plan regular family time every week. Choose a night when everyone’s home and make it game night or pizza night or movie night. Or change your family time theme every week. It doesn’t matter what you do only that you do it together. Turn off the electronic devices and connect with each other face-to-face for some quality time. 
    3. Show Your Love
    Your family doesn’t need you to buy them a lot of gifts or clear an entire day every week for them, they just want to know that they’re loved, appreciated, and important. Leave a note of encouragement for your child on a day when they have a big test. Make hot chocolate and snuggle on the couch when your child has had a bad day. And don’t forget words and actions of love for your spouse.
    4. Be an Active Listener
    You know that feeling when you’re trying to tell someone something important and they’re clearly not listening? Don’t be that listener. Give your family your attention when they talk to you. Put the phone down, turn down the volume on the TV, and give them your full attention. Make eye contact, ask relevant questions, and engage them in conversation. Being a good listener for 5 minutes is more important than being a distracted listener for 30. Let your family be the center of your world for at least a few minutes each day!
    5. Practice Self-Care
    A little time to yourself may seem counteractive to your goal of being family oriented, but it’s not. A little time to yourself to decompress and unwind allows you to be more present for the people you love. Don’t forget to take care of your own needs so that you can take care of the people you love.
    Don’t take family for granted. It is a sure fire way to create distance from those you love. Frederick Douglass once said, “It is easier to easier to build strong children than repair broken men.” I would add to that, it is easier to care for your spouse each day, than repair a broken marriage. So start today and put your family at the center of your heart. Know they are important and they happiness and well-being are tied to your own happiness and well-being.
    Being family oriented doesn’t mean spending every waking moment of every day with your family. All you really need to do is regularly prioritize family time and make the time you spend together matter.
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    Coping Skills For Stressed Parents

    Parenting can be rewarding yet riddled with anxiety and stress. From the moment your child enters the world, nothing will ever be the same again, and neither will you. It is an emotional rollercoaster with all of the ups, downs and loop-the-loops you can think of. But unlike a rollercoaster where you can see the track clearly in front of you, life as a parent is simply not something that can be predicted or anticipated.  Parenting is a wonderful blessing but it comes with stress. That is why I am happy to share some coping skills for stressed parents. Stress management techniques are essential for parents to keep a healthy state of mind and function at their best.
    What Is Parenting Stress?

    Part of being a parent is being able to juggle a million demanding and important things all at the same time. This pressure can start to become stressful after a while, especially if it is not managed effectively. Parents are just human after all, and when it feels like all you do is run around and put out a number of ‘’fires’’ all day, it’s time to reassess your stress levels as a parent.
    If you are feeling tired, overwhelmed, mentally, physically and physiologically exhausted and the thought of cutting yet another piece of toast into a cheesy triangle makes you want to lie in a dark room and listen to the tap drip – then you will be delighted to know two things: One, you are not alone and two, it is possible to alter the amount of parental stress you are experiencing every day.
    Why Does Stress From Parenting Happen?
    There are many different causes of stress, and in most cases, there is not one clearly identifiable cause, but a mixture of subtle factors working in unison. Listed below are some examples of why parenting can be so stressful:
    1. A newborn: For new parents – especially during the first 6-12 weeks with a newborn baby – the exhaustion, frustration, inexperience and momentous changes all contribute towards massive parenting stress. Sleep deprivation is often the biggest culprit in the scenario, but after the first few months, new parents get into the swing of things and life as a parent becomes more manageable.
    2. Single Parenting: Single parents are constantly under pressure and huge parental stress all the time.  And depending on the resources and help they have available to them, it may be difficult to manage the huge amount of stress they have. But people love to be needed, in fact they have an inherent need to be needed, and the biggest lesson a single parent needs to learn, to help them manage their stress, is to be able to ask for help.
    3. Busy lives: A hectic schedule and no time to relax is one of the most common precursors to parenting stress. As is the case for most parents, they might have all the love in the world for their child, but fall victim to the intensive daily routine, the lack of sleep and the isolation.
    4. Insecurity: Very much a modern cause of parenting stress is a parent’s insecurity over their own suitability as a parent, and the significance of their own actions in regards to the child’s future. With exposure to aspirational parent lifestyles in the media and societal pressure, parents often obsess over every tiny detail and let almost anything run them into the ground.

    Stress Management Techniques For Parents
    Stress is a very real and debilitating part of every parent’s life and if left unchecked, it can start to unravel to the point where the parent suffer from a lower emotional well being. Stress management is something that takes self-discipline and assistance, and parents need to understand that asking for help shows signs of maturity and strength. Being proactive enough to say “I can’t do this on my own” and getting the help and support you need, is not a sign of weakness.
    Recognizing that parental stress is problem and searching for stress management techniques is the first step.
    Set Boundaries And Get Help
    Routine, clear family boundaries, help from other family members and quality family time, will keep your family team strong and healthy, and will reduce the stress levels significantly. If one parent or both parents feel like they are slaves to a demanding family who never help – and even 3 year olds can pick up after themselves – the stress levels are going to be high. Ask for help if you need it (in an assertive way, not an aggressive way). Or hire help if you can.
    Open Communication
    Sometimes it is just a matter of feeling seen and heard. Talking about how you feel stressed with your partner may be a great way to vent some steam and even come up with constructive ideas together for how to reduce trigger points.
    It is a good idea for parents to take time to sit down together and work out a game plan for where they feel the big stress areas are and how they can work together to manage them. In this way they are able to implement change using a process that involves the whole family.
    Take Quiet Time And Plan Ahead
    Part of effective parental stress management techniques for parents is planning ahead and being organized. Staying up an extra half an hour to pack school lunches or iron shirts, will greatly enable parents to feel less chaotic, rushed and frantic when schedules are tight and everyone is always feeling like they are running late.

    Coping Skills For Stressed Parents
    There are many different coping skills for stressed parents to help reduce stress and feel better.  Some parents turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism and that merely masks the stress and often makes the problem worse. Finding healthy coping methods is key!
    Be Grateful
    Check your mindset. Does it need an adjustment? You are blessed to be a parent and lucky to have someone you have to make dinner for. I am not saying to ignore your stress, I am just saying to remember what is important to you and that it may take some work to provide for your family. It is natural and normal. Sometime adjusting your expectations and being grateful for what you have is the first coping skill you need to employ from your tool kit.
    Take Some Time Out
    Parenting is often an unbalanced affair, with the parent giving so much of themselves to the child. Parents need attention too. Some parents can recharge their batteries better through time alone to pamper and think. Others need social time to with other adults to feel more connected. To address this, the parents should set aside time where they can reward themselves in a way that works for them.
    This could simply be an hour of relaxation, a dinner out, a massage or a movie. Listen to some music and dance or meditate. Try different things and see what you need. You can’t pour from an empty pitcher. Self care is not optional.
    Find Your Tribe
    A parent should never feel isolated. Indeed, isolation can cause stress in itself. Local community events that give parents the opportunity to communicate with others are important so they can see others are going through a similar stage. You are not alone and you will get past this stage. It is good to talk with family and friends, but speaking with other parents who can directly relate to your problems can be even better.
    Getting exercise is shown to reduce anxiety significantly. If you have pent up stress or anxiety, go for a walk or a run. How does it work? According to the, “Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, even breathing deeply can cause your body to produce endorphins.”
    A Counselor
    A qualified counselor can help you address trigger points and solve patterns that are creating stress. A few sessions could help put you back on track handling things in a more productive, happier way.
    This Too Shall Pass
    Remember when raising kids, that it is all moving and changing as you pass through the different ages. The first two years are a tremendous time suck but they are also so special and wonderful. Each age will have its demands and rewards.
    As your children get older, relationship building becomes important for strong ties and emotional connections, which in turn helps to promote a healthy family environment and eliminate the build up of stress and associated family problems. The more effort that is put into the family relationship, the better the chance is for a happy and loving future.
    Suffering from parenting stress is completely normal. However, working to develop stress management techniques for parents is also completely normal and a great way to deal with things before they get out of hand. I hope you find these coping skills for stressed parents useful. Enjoy these special years as they pass quicker than you think!
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