How to set boundaries with kid’s screen time?

Episode #5 “How to set boundaries with kid’s screen time”

Today’s question – “The cell phone and video game use in my house are getting out of control. How can I set boundaries with my kids that they will actually follow? I’m ready to throw the damn phones out the window.” Maggie

What is a boundary? A lot of parents confuse setting boundaries with telling kids what to do.

Think of it like a property line of a house. My neighbors can do whatever they want. It’s not my business how they talk to their kids or yell at their dog. It becomes my business if their dog poops on my lawn. Setting boundaries is about what I am going to do when my boundary is violated. I get to decide if I want to offer a poop bag, yell at the dog, put up a sign, etc. My neighbor can let his dog poop on my lawn every day if he wants, he just needs to face the consequences. Maybe I’ll put his photo of him and his dog and post it around the neighborhood. Who knows? The point is that setting boundaries are about me deciding what I’m going to do, not telling someone else what to do.

Parent Education Answer – Setting boundaries around screen time is about defining what your limits are, and what you will do when it gets violated.

Hating on the phone and wishing it would go away is not helpful. Instead, get really clear about what the rules are and make sure you can stick to them every time.

What can I stick to with 100% conviction? 

Phones downstairs charging at bed time

No phones at the dinner table.

Keep location permissions on.

Text Mom back right away.

No video games on school nights.

It’s very similar to your kid running into the street. The message we send our kids is, “I will stop you every time until you stop yourself.”

Mom is 100% predictable, confident and convicted. It’s easy for you to reinforce it because it’s in line with your values and because you also aren’t running into the street.

If you want to make sure your kids respect and obey your rules, don’t set them unless you have these 4 things in place:

Clarity – Make it clear and obvious, avoid vague words. 

Conviction – Every single time anyone brings their phones to dinner, you will be asked to put it away. 

Calm Confidence – Watch your voice tone, eye contact, posture and make sure your request is aligned with your values.

Consequences – Everyone should know what the consequences will be before the rule gets broken.

Continually Reinforce – With everyone in the family, with boring repetition.

When you designate a house rule that everyone obeys, your job gets much easier. As kids approach adolescents they are going to push back on your rules, especially if they see you getting to do something they want to do! If Dad gets to play Call of Duty on a school night or Mom sleeps with her phone next to her bed, your child is going to argue for the same privilege.

Expect kids to violate our rules around screen time and have a plan in place on what YOU will do, WHEN they break the rule. Decide your consequences ahead of time…”If you violate this rule, I will….”

  • Give your phone to the neighbors for two days.
  • Hide the xbox controllers for the weekend.
  • Stop paying your cell phone bill. 
  • Increase parental restrictions on phone.
  • Disable your snapchat app. 

Life Coaching AnswerThe problem comes when parents think….

“I just want it to go away” “I don’t want to deal” “I’m afraid of his reaction” “She’s not going to listen anyway” “He should just know better” “I shouldn’t have to deal with this”

This self-defeating chatter will really get in your way from setting boundaries with your kid’s screen time. Take out your journal and write all the thoughts that come up for you when you think about setting limits. Notice how you feel and act when you think these thoughts. Make sure you aren’t trying to set boundaries from this negative energy. Ask yourself, “What would I need to think in order to set clear, consistent rules around screen time?” 

Thoughts like “I got this” or “This is important to me” can be very helpful.

If you want help with this, schedule a free life coaching session at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me 

 

Supermom Kryptonite – Avoiding reality and putting our head in the sand can drain our energy. PRETENDING like something isn’t bothering you will wears you down. It’s kind of like clutter in your house. Just thinking about our clutter makes us feel heavy and tired. Thinking about getting rid of stuff, donating or throwing away, makes us feel lighter. There are invisible energy drains that weigh us down, even if we can’t see it. A good way to counter this is to ask yourself this question every morning in your journal: “Is there anything that’s weighing on my mind that I’m trying not to think about.”

 

Supermom Power Boost – Clarity. Know who you are, what you want. What your values and goals are. It makes decisions easier. It’s energizing to know what you want and where you are headed.

 

Quote of the Day- “I allow myself to set healthy boundaries. To say no to what does not align with my values, to say yes to what does. Boundaries assist me in remaining healthy, honest and living a life that is true to me.” Lee Horbachewski

 

Want to ask Torie a question? go to www.lifecoachingforparents.com/record-my-question

How do I get my kids to listen to me?

Episode #1 “How do I get my kids to listen to me?”

Today’s question 

“I feel like I walk around all day barking orders. ‘Pick up your shoes, turn off the TV, finish your homework, clear your plate.’ I’m exhausted from the constant negotiating and push back I seem to constantly get and want to know, how the heck do I get my kids to listen to me?”  Christina

The Parent Education Answer

For 30 minutes a week, I teach English to kids who are new to our country. Getting kids to listen is to me is very important and the technique is quite simple. You get down on their level, slow your speech, look them in the eye, repeat myself often, check for understanding, and ask them to repeat.

If Christina was to do this, I’m sure her kids would listen to her. It would be hard not to. But what Christina is really asking, is how do I get my kids to OBEY me?

The Life Coaching Answer (how to make actual, long lasting change)

I think the reason Christina is feeling so frustrated and exhausted, is because she has the belief that “They should just do what I say.” When we have the thought “They should do what I say AND THEY AREN’T, we get frustrated and annoyed. When we feel this way, we nag, complain, maybe even avoid asking for what we want because we assume we aren’t going to get it. When we act this way, we aren’t coming from our leadership energy. Kids are wired to follow a calm, confident leader. When we have the thought, “they should obey me” and they aren’t, we lose our confidence and authority. The kids pick up on our whimpy, angry energy and are more likely to ignore and avoid us.

If we want to change this dynamic, we need to question the thought “They should just do what I say.” Is it true? Are you absolutely sure it’s true that kids should obey, every time, immediately without negotiation? Try changing your thought to something that doesn’t argue with reality but accepts the actual situation instead.

“I’m so glad I have a normal kid who doesn’t want to do chores.”

“I can trust my kid to ignore me the first time I ask.”

“She is showing me I’m not in my calm leadership energy.”

When you feel calm and in your leadership energy, that is the time to request something from your child. Look her in the eye, slow your speech and ask for what you want.

The problem arises when we ask our kids to do things SO THAT WE CAN FEEL GOOD. We think that if they would step up and do what we are asking, then we can feel relaxed, calm and appreciated. When we do this, we are putting our ability to feel good into the hands of our disobedient child. Not a great plan! Instead, take responsibility for your emotions first and don’t wait for your kid’s obedience to feel the way you want to feel.

When we take responsibility for our own emotions, we have more control and increase our chances of getting what we want.

The energy of leadership comes from our posture, voice tone, facial expression, eye contact. The thoughts we think are what effect these things. If we think, “My kids will comply when I’m in my calm, leadership energy.” and we focus on the things we have control over (posture, voice, feelings, etc.) we are more likely to get what we want. If we focus on things we don’t have control over (what our child says, does and feels) we feel yucky and are less likely to get what we want.

Today’s Supermom Krpytonite – (the secret energy drain you might not know is making you tired) is EXPECTATION. Listen to the story about my daughter on Halloween and how stressed out I became with the innocent thought: “This supposed to be fun”. Align your expectations with reality to help you feel at peace with any situation.

Today’s Supermom Power Boost is to decide ahead of time how you want to feel. Don’t put your ability to feel good, in the hands of your child. Take responsibility for how you want to feel BEFORE negotiating with your kiddo.

Today’s Quote:

“Expectation is the MOTHER of all frustration.” Antonio Banderas

How to get your kids to go to bed on time

Are you doing the Back to School Happy Dance! YEAH!!  woo-hoo!

via GIPHY

But oh my what a pain it is to get kids to go to bed at night, so they can be on time for school in the morning.

Last spring, I wrote a blog about how to get kids out of bed in the morning so now seems like the perfect time to write about how the heck to get them to bed.

Here’s the problem: Some kids are easy. They just go to bed. This sets us up with the expectation that ALL kids should easily just go to bed. Combine our expectation that it be easy, with our own end-of-day fatigue, and you’ve got a recipe for conflict and drama.

If you struggle to get your kids to bed on time, read through these steps and see where you can focus your attention to help you get a peaceful evening routine.

The first step

is to accept that your child just doesn’t like going to bed, without blame or frustration. Being a night owl, and taking a long time to wind down at night, are wired into us. What makes people sleepy is when certain hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, rise during the day, and drop at night. Lots of things can mess with this hormone production: not getting enough exercise or daylight, getting too much blue light from screens, or artificial light after dark. When puberty hits, and stress of any kind, these hormones can get out of whack. It’s not always our kid’s fault if they are up until midnight and can sleep until noon. If you start trying to change your child’s bedtime routine by trying to change something you have no control over, you will frustrate yourself. Acceptance and compassion must come first.

The second step

is to get your kids on board with the idea. As you may have noticed, you cannot make someone go to sleep who doesn’t want to. Pay attention to what motivates your child. Some kids are motivated to please their parents and like being seen as responsible. (How awesome is that? If this is you, enjoy it!)

For the rest of us, we have to get clever. Some kids are motivated by fun, (and watching mom lose her sh*t at bedtime is entertainment for them!). Other kids are motivated with bribes (“I’ll give you a $1. if you are in bed before 9:30, but $5. if you are in bed by 9:00.” You can encourage going to bed without complaining by rewarding with treats in tomorrow’s lunchbox. If you have a kid that is motivated by power, partner with them to design a bed time routine that works for both of you, making sure they think it’s all their idea.

Many Supermoms can get caught up with an idealistic picture of what the bedtime routine should look like: reading books, cuddles, pillow talk, but if this isn’t working for you it’s time to let it go. My daughter hated reading (so much for the years I spent as a reading specialist.) Instead, we played games before bed for about 8 years. Now that she’s in high school and I’m older than dirt, I want to go to bed earlier than she, so we had to switch up our bedtime routine using step 3.

The third step

is all about making your home conducive to sleep. I remember one power outage we had. After our makeshift dinner, we hung out by candlelight, talked, played charades, and all 4 of us were SO SLEEPY and ready for bed. When we checked the clock it was only 7:30pm! Melatonin is released when it gets dark outside. If you want your kids to get sleepy, turn off the stimulation. Fast moving images on TV and video games, release chemicals in the brain that tell us to wake up and get moving. Try making it darker in your home an hour before bedtime. Light candles, take baths, play music or just turn the wi-fi off all together.

With our constantly wired world, sleep rates are dropping for kids and teens, making it even harder for moms to get kids up and out of bed in the morning.  The first step in improving the morning routine, is to make sure they are getting enough sleep. By accepting the things you cannot change with compassion, understanding what motivates our children, and creating an environment conducive to sleep, you can create a more peaceful morning and evening for your whole family.

Are you looking for support establishing routines that work for you and your family? Schedule a free discovery call at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me

Help kids overcome their fears

I am in Costa Rica, getting ready to zip line over the canopy of trees and I am NERVOUS. I’ve got my harness and helmet on, feeling the natural fear of being VERY high up and doing something very unnatural to humans. I tell myself, “freaking out is a choice”. I access my logic with the question, “What’s the mathematical probability of something bad happening?” I remind myself, “I get to choose how I want to think and feel right now”. I decide to focus on this really cool opportunity to see what it feels like to be a bird. 

Once I take off and am flying through the trees like a bird, the thought comes to me, “I have always wanted to do this. This is my dream coming true.” 

Oh yeah, with all the fear, I had forgotten that. 

But while I am using all my tools to deal with fear, I’m watching others, drop like flies.

Not out of the sky, thankfully, but off the platform, out of line, and back onto solid ground. Teens and tweens, crying unconsolably or standing frozen with fear. Moms and Dads doing their best to reassure, convince, console and talk their kids out of their freak out. None of these parents had the capacity to override the reptilian part of their kid’s brain. The reptilian brain is the part that hyjacks the more intellectual parts of our brain and can only focus on fight, flight or freeze.

Have you ever been in this situation? Your kid is too scared to ride a roller coaster, or be left alone in the house, or talk to someone they don’t know, or eat a vegetable, or other scary, yet typical hallmarks of childhood?

When the reptilian brain kicks in, it’s pretty hard for a parent to override it with logic. In fact, none of these parents I’m watching on the zip, line were successful. All these kids ended up walking back down, or refusing to step up to the platform, surrendering to their fear.

So what is a parent to do when their kid is scared? How can we encourage them to be brave, in a way that actually works?

The important thing to remember is to be respectful of their fears. Life is full of scary, vulnerable things and we want our kids to learn how to overcome their fears. This is a VERY important life skill and one worthy of respect.

The trick is to help kids shift out of fight/flight/freeze response so they can make a decision from their higher brain. Helping kids calm down is first priority. Bring them away from the immediate threat and speak to your scared kiddos with a calm, confident voice. Don’t try to talk your child out of his fears, instead listen with respect, almost reverence. Then repeat what you hear them saying, adding in these key words: YOUR BRAIN. As in, “Your brain is telling you that you could die.” or “It sounds like your brain is thinking this spider can harm you.”

When children avoid their fears, it can encourage anxiety, so we don’t want to let them off the hook entirely. Once you’ve calmed them down, try asking your child, “What would make you feel more comfortable?” or “What’s one small step you can take towards overcoming your fear, that would make you feel proud of yourself tomorrow?”

Fears are a natural and beneficial part of being human. When kids get to work through them one at a time, at their own pace, they will slowly learn to manage their reptilian brain, take risks that align with their values, and learn how much fun there is to be had on the other side of their fears 🙂

Pura Vida! 

Feeling pressured? 5 ways to cut yourself some slack

As Moms we ask a lot of ourselves.

We want to be great at mothering, cooking, friendships, work, home maintenance, health, family dinners, you name it….we want to be good at it. If our Mom always kept a clean house, we think we should too. If our neighbor is always heading out for a jog looking fit, we think we should too. If our husbands always say yes to playing with the kids, who am I kidding, we take that opportunity and run…but inside we kinda wish we were more playful and energetic, too.

The reality of chasing this unattainable perfectionism is WE GET FRICKIN’ TIRED!  And we don’t know how to stop because this pressure is internal, invisible and self-inflicted so it’s really hard to notice. We can’t change what we aren’t aware of but if you are feeling pressured or exhausted, chances are you are being too hard on yourself.

The biggest change you can make today to feel more energized and alive is to CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK.

Moms make their lives much harder when they beat up on themselves for making mistakes. If you yearn to feel more relaxed and focused with calm energy, follow these steps today.

Five ways to cut yourself some slack and take the pressure off.

  1. Give yourself permission to drop the ball, in more than one area.
  2. Forgive yourself when you forget things or make mistakes.
  3. Say No to things that demand your time or mental energy. (Be part of the other percentage!)
  4. Recognize the voice of your mean inner critic and commit to listening to your inner cheerleader instead.
  5. Model imperfection and self forgiveness for your children.

Do you know the 80/20 rule? It applies to many things: 20% of your clothes you wear 80% of the time, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. But let’s apply it to motherhood:

80% of Moms are NOT volunteering at school.

20% of Moms never send in money for the field trip.

80% of Moms have not registered their kid for any summer camps.

20% of Moms clean 80% of the time, and 80% of the Moms clean 20% of the time!

Try being a part of the other percentage! Give yourself permission to not be perfect. Your energy goes where your ATTENTION goes so when you have to remember lots of different things, your energy leaves you and goes to all of those tasks.

We like to blame others “People will be mad at me” or “I can’t be one of THOSE moms!” but I guarantee, the thing you are scared of the most, is the mean things you will say to yourself, about yourself if you make a mistake. “I’m so stupid, why didn’t I remember, I never should have ____, when am I going to get my act together, why am I such a loser, how come I never do anything right, everyone else has their shit together but me”……and on….and on. If any of this sounds familiar, YOU are enemy #1 and this is excellent news because YOU get to choose what you say to yourself.

I dropped the ball last week. I normally send my blogs out every Wednesday but last week was so hectic that I just blew it off. Did you notice? Probably not. Did you curse me? “That horribly unreliable Torie! I was sitting by my inbox all day waiting and her email never even came!” I doubt it. I didn’t curse myself either. I gave myself permission to NOT CARE. I also avoided a few “Signup Genius” emails until they were all filled up, where normally I’m part of that initial 20%.

I made a mistake. I was supposed to submit a copy of a scholarship my son was awarded so it could be published in the graduation pamphlet. I tried, but by the time I realized a technology error, I had missed the deadline. I felt bad that my son wouldn’t have his award mentioned like everyone else so I told him what happened and apologized for not getting in on time. Do you know what he said? “That’s ok, Mom. No big deal”. He sounded just like my inner cheerleader! When our kids hear us practicing self-forgiveness and imperfection, they learn how to grant us the same kindness.

It’s May Madness. Crunch time for Moms with school aged kids.  Now is the perfect time to practice dropping the ball, making mistakes, forgiving yourself, saying no and not caring so much about doing everything right. If you’d like help with this, or just an outsiders perspective, schedule a free coaching call at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me