Archive for the ‘Parenting Tips’ Category

Have you had your “silence” today?

February 7th, 2018 11:35pm
Spending some quiet time with my busy boys is a struggle but we make it happen!

Spending some quiet time with my busy boys is a struggle but we make it happen!

As busy moms, we definitely value the beauty of silence! It may be a rare treat in some households! But did you know there could be benefits far beyond the initial enjoyment? In 2013, a study was published by the journal Brain, Structure and Function. It was a study conducted on mice to understand the affect different types of noise and lack thereof could have on their brains. They used what they thought was just a “control” group of mice that were only exposed to silence. What the study found was well beyond what they intended to study. They discovered that the mice that were exposed only to two hours of silence a day (their control group) actually developed new cells in the hippocampus (the region of the brain most associated with memory, emotion and learning)! According to researcher, Imke Kirste, the cells appeared to become functioning neurons!

In a sense, silence quite literally grew the brain!

A similar study in 2001 discovered that even when our brains are in a “resting” state, they are constantly internalizing and evaluating information. It never truly “sleeps”.

This “resting” state is also active during self-reflection. Joseph Moran et al. wrote in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience that the brains’ resting mode “is observed most closely during the pshychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.”

It is during our quiet, focused meditation that allows our consciousness to process information from our day. These moments of silence give our brains the opportunity to reflect, associate and correlate our internal and external worlds. It gives rise to our imaginations and allows us to tap into creativity we probably never recognized was there!

Did you know that your body can release stress hormones just because you heard a noise in your sleep that you didn’t even consciously recognize?? Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University discovered that children exposed to consistently loud noises begin to cope by ignoring the noise. This may sound logical and beneficial at first glance but what he also found was that not only did these children learn to tune out the disturbing noise, but every other noise too…including things they should be registering, like speech! The results from this study were published in the 2002 Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9).

In our family, we discovered this through personal experience. I first decided to keep a dream journal…not only was I recording about my dreams, but also recording the events that transpired right before bed and during sleep. For instance, my husband enjoyed falling asleep with the TV on. This would drive me nuts because it would invariably wake me at some point during the night. So for a week, I also paid attention to what was running on the tv during out sleep hours. What I discovered was interesting…my dreams correlated directly with what was airing on the television during our sleep hours! My brain was still processing every sound it heard, even when I wasn’t “really” listening! Now my husband and I have come to an agreement…I will allow the tv on but I set a timer so that it turns off within a short time. BOTH of sleep MUCH better as a result! This is also a big reason we don’t allow tv’s or digital devices in our kids rooms…ever! We try to keep these areas as designated quiet zones.

IMG_4565One more example. My youngest has by far been one of my worst sleepers. He would frequently wake throughout the evening screaming inconsolably. What we realized is that he was never getting his “quiet” time! My older kids were always up and about through the early evening, up late with homework or coming home late from activities. Every sound was triggering a stress response in our little one! We had no idea until we moved him upstairs to a much more secluded area where the sounds and activities of my older crew were not so apparent. He has been a different child! Ironically, the cognitive functions that are most handicapped during exposure to frequent noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving…pretty sure we all could use more of these in our day!

So bottom line? Forget your “safe zones” and start working on your “quiet zones”! Make this a quiet, focused and meditative time and your brain will reap the benefits!

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Do your kids struggle with focus?

October 23rd, 2014 1:44am

Do your kiddos struggle with focusing in school? Do they have a difficult time paying attention in class? Struggle with nervous ticks or fidgeting? Does your child sit on the spectrum of autism with just enough functionality to not qualify for assistance? If you have ever watched your kids struggle with teachers because of behavior issues such as these, then I would like to introduce you to your new best friend…DoTerra’s InTune Essential Oil Blend!

This oil is a combination of Amyris Bark, Patchoili Leaf, Frankincense Resin, Lime Peel, Ylang Ylang Flower, Hawaiian Sandalwood Wood, and Roman Chamomile Flower. These oils have been carefully chosen for their ability to enhance focus and support healthy thought processes. THIS IS NOT A DRUG! This is a natural way, no matter your age, to stay focused on the task at hand and support your efforts to remain calm, pay attention and sustain focus.

This oil can be used aromatically or topically to produce results. I have used this oil on myself as well as my kiddos before testing, when we have a particularly tough concept we are trying to learn in school and when we are studying. It can be applied to the bottoms of the feet and/or back of the neck as well as diffused in the room and can be equally effective in either application.

Before you dismiss this as “hippie stuff”, I would like to share a personal experience with this oil. I was assisting a kindergartener with their reading. This particular little girl was seriously struggling with focus. She could not remain on task for more than a few minutes. Her teacher had tried to get her assistance but she was just functional enough to not warrant that extra help she so needed from the district. We worked together as best we could for several months with little effect. I was lucky if I got 5-10 minutes of productivity out of her. So one morning, I brought in a piece of cotton that I had put a few drops of InTune on. I placed it on the table while we were working. She commented how much she loved the smell. We worked together for 45 MINUTES! She was on task, focused and interacting with me at every turn. I was ecstatic! Her teacher was shocked and could not believe we had been so productive for so long! Needless to say, this cotton InTune “diffuser” became a very productive habit for us!

If you would like to know more about Essential Oils or this oil in particular, contact me at jennifer@wiseandhealthyliving.com for more information. I teach classes on using oils in the classroom and at home safely and effectively and would be happy to set you on a safer, more natural path of greater productivity and success for your children!

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Summertime = WATER VIGILANCE!!

June 5th, 2013 12:54am

It is never a thought we want to entertain for long…a childs young and innocent life cut short by a drowning accident. But living in a climate where swimming happens nearly all year, it is constantly on our minds. We stumbled across a wonderful article on Slate.com written by that brought our attention to the fact that while most of us are insanely vigilant with our kids around water, it might not save our children if we don’t know what to look for. They have offered up some very helpful tips to assist us in knowing what drowning really looks like…

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes
  • Not using legs—vertical
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

Notice there is no mention of “flailing madly in the water” or “loud splashing” noises. That is because if someone is truly drowning, they will not make a sound. As a witness to a child slipping under the water literally right by my side, I can attest to the shocking truth that no sound is made and most of their panicking will happen under the water where we are least likely to notice. Luckily, we had fast acting help all around and this particular child was rescued quickly without trauma. But it is frightening to realize how quickly and quietly drowning happens. Vigilance is necessary but please be sure you know what it is EXACTLY that you are supposed to be vigilantly looking for!

Keep your kids safe by being informed. You can also look into getting CPR certified or other water safety classes. Check your local hospitals for information or visit the Red Cross “Take a Class”  to find out about classes being offerred near you. CPR training can be a valuable tool in protecting our kids around water but wouldn’t it be better to never have to need it??…STAY VIGILANT!

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Internet security for your kids

April 2nd, 2013 8:09pm

As our world speedily seeks to replace books with technology, our good old paperback friends have a little advice before they disappear into the background of our lives!

I know it’s on every parents mind. This is the new world of technology we live in. The internet in all it’s glory, amazement and horror are so easily accessible for our children at all times and seemingly in all places. It is becoming increasingly difficult to monitor, police, educate and generally protect our children as best we can from some of the onslaughts that await them in the interactive world we live in. But does that mean we give up?? NO! We have some amazing tools to tell you about!

First, for those of you with kids either using their own cell phones/tablets or using yours, you might wonder how can you get some control over interactive content on these devices. Our first tip is to download the Mobicip app! It is a free browser available through the app store or through their website at http://www.mobicip.com/. Once you have this browser on your device, you want to disable the safari browser or whatever browser came standard on your device. We are iphone users so we also have enabled all the security restrictions in our settings where we can control whether to allow app purchases, what apps are visible, etc. which is all password protected. At that point, the only browser available will be the Mobicip browser. Within the browser settings, you can set restrictions that are age appropriate for each user. Very handy when you have various ages using the same devices!

Now on to the computer issue. We HIGHLY recommend a program called NetNanny which can be purchased and downloaded at http://www.netnanny.com/. This program allows you to customize your settings for family members, customize your filter settings, receive reports regarding user accessed content, immediate text/email should one of your users attempt to access restricted material, and a log of every page visited by each user. This has become an invaluable tool for my family and I hope you will take a moment to review all the amazing features available through this program.

We hope you will continue to be vigilant on your children’s behalf in helping to protect them from the dangers of the internet while teaching them responsible habits in using their technology. Please weigh in on this issue with any suggestions you have found to work well in your own families and together we can help protect our families!

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Encouraging Goal Setting

January 21st, 2013 1:45am
New Years Resolutions

It's time to remind ourselves as well as our children about the importance of goal setting and achieving!

Yes, it is once again that magical time of year when we sit down with ourselves, evaluate our progress over the last year and recommit to (or redefine) our goals for the new year. This is challenging task for us adults and even more so for out children. Oftentimes we put ourselves and our families on autopilot and miss out on the importance of goal setting in our lives. Leading by example and teaching our kids to set their own goals helps give them focus in their work and play. It helps them, as well as us parents, make decisions about the use of their time. And being in sync with our children’s goals can help us guide them to making better choices throughout each day.

Here are a few suggestions that I have opted to try out on my own family this year. Sometimes the greatest challenge to goal setting is knowing where to start. Here are a few prompts to get you going!…

• Set goals that build spiritual strength
Whatever your religious beliefs, seek after goals that bring you closer to your spiritual self. Pray and teach your children to pray. Freely forgive others. Read to your children from scriptures or stories that teach good principles and values. Develop a habit of study (help your kids learn to give over a part of their day to some kind of practice or study). Participate in your religious meetings with your children.

• Set goals that increase knowledge
Select a subject of interest to study (a great way to discover some of your childs hidden intersts!). Learn another language (kids love learning even a few words of a different language…make it a secret way to communicate between you!). Develop or learn about a new skill or interest (a great way to start identifying your child’s abilities). Improve your ability to communicate with others (teach your children manners in…how do we talk to one another?).

• Set Goals that increase personal well-being and health
Develop healthy eating habits (make a game of the pantry…what is good, better, best to eat?). Learn to prepare healthy foods (kids especially love this one! Use a cookie cutter to cut those healthy bites down to a more manageable and fun size!). Develop a program of regular exercise (dancing in the family room with your toddler definitely counts!). Create opportunities to be active with family and friends (bike riding is very popular in our household).

• Set Goals that increase your ability to serve others
Give service to your family (what jobs can we do for each other?). Volunteer to help a neighbor or friend (have your child ask themselves “who needs me today”). Write (or draw for younger kids) a letter/picture to send to someone special. Commit to finding someone to help each day.

• Set goals that increase moral strength
Overcome a bad habit (any thumb suckers out there? How about interrupters? Waiting your turn to speak is a tough one for kids). Learn to be grateful and express your appreciation (teaching kids the value of thank you notes after the holidays is a great way to accomplish this!). Improve your ability to manage time (print your calendars!). Learn to enjoy hard work (chore charts, anyone?). Cultivate patience and tolerance for others (helping them identify ways to get along with a sibling). Identify ways to recognize in yourself when you are doing your best.

We hope these guidelines will help you shape some wonderful goals for yourselves and your  family this year! Remember, “Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement!” (Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog). Good luck stoking those little furnaces this year!

We hope you will sound off in our “Inspiration for Parents” forum about the ways you have found success in your own families with goal setting.

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Halloween Safety!

October 31st, 2012 1:09am

As your kiddos get ready to run out into the neighborhood, please be prepared with some basic safety tips and guidelines!

If your kids are anything like ours, they are chomping at the bit to get out and show off their coolest costume creations while collecting an insane amount of candy from strangers! While we want everyone to have a great time this Halloween, we are most concerned about the safety of our little ones and want to share a few reminders and tips for keeping our kiddos safe this Halloween night!…

• Children should always be accompanied by an adult whether it’s at a party, trick or treating or sitting around watching scary movies with their friends!

• Have a plan in case you get separated. Set a place and/or time where you can meet up if you should happen to lose one another.

•Make sure your children wear a light of some kind while they are trick or treating. It makes finding them easier and helps drivers to see them better.

• Remind your kids never to cut across back alleys or fields. Encourage them to stay together in large groups at all times.

• We know some consider it old fashioned, but PLEASE don’t let your kids eat their candy until an adult has checked through it. Throw out any candy that looks tampered with (ie. loose wrapping, unidentifiable treats, etc.).

• Never go into a strangers house. Whenever possible, you should stick with houses of people you know.

• Always be careful crossing streets!! Look both ways and avoid crossing altogether whenever possible. Remember, it’s dark and cars are not always able to see you, if they happen to be looking at all! Rule of thumb: remember, in a mash up between you and a car…the car will ALWAYS win! So be looking for them, don’t expect them to look for you.

For more information on Halloween Safety, please take a moment and breeze through www.halloween-safety.com.

Be safe out there and have a Happy Haunted Halloween!

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It’s back to school time!

July 12th, 2012 12:41am

Yes, we know…you’re not ready! That’s where we can help! Summer is fast coming to a close as we gear up for another exciting school year full of class activities, programs, sports events and about a million other fun activities that we love to help our kiddos excel in! One of the hardest things for young children to understand is time management. They just don’t recognize the passing of time as acutely as we adults do. One of the best ways to help them learn this concept is to give them a visual! Our calendars can help your children understand the order of the days, weeks and even months and how this passage of time affects them in preparing for upcoming activities, whether it be practicing for a piano recital or working on a project for school. So visit our calendars page and get started now! You can make a different calendar for each one of your children so only the events specific to them are represented and print it out for them to track.

Create your very own "Mom, I'm bored" box!

We also recognize that as summer is winding down, it becomes more and more difficult to find activities that can keep your kiddos busy. You begin to hear those dreaded words, “mom, I’m BORED!”. One of the ideas that has worked wonders at our house this summer is to create a “mom, I’m bored box” and fill it with chores, fun activities the kids complained all year that they never had time to do (think crafts, reading, games, sports, etc.), learning activities (math worksheets, reading passages, etc.)…let the kids help you write them all out on separate scraps of paper so they can contribute their own ideas as well. My kids and I made a game out of it so that anytime they came to me with the “mom, I’m bored” comment, I would point their little tooshes to the box. They would have to pick an activity and the deal was, whatever they picked, they HAD to do (whether it was fun or work)! Since they helped get all the ideas in the box, they all made a competition out of it to see who got the “luck of the draw”! It has been quite comical and made our summer so much fun!

If you have some summer boredom buster ideas that have worked for your family, please share them in our forum!

We wish you luck in your back-to-school preparations and hope you share our excitement for another great year of learning and growing!

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We know it’s a little early for Valentines Day, but we couldn’t resist sharing this with you! We wish we could give credit to the original author of this research but regardless, the message is the same. A group of people posed the following question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds…

‘What does love mean?’

The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

When my grandmother got arthritis , she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore.. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.’
-Rebecca, age 8

‘When someone loves you , the way they say your name is different.
You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.’
-Billy – age 4

‘Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.’ -Karl, age 5

‘Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.’ -Chrissy, age 6

‘Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.’ -Terri, age 4

‘Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him , to make sure the taste is OK.’ -Danny, age 7

‘Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss’ -Emily, age 8

‘Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.’ – Bobby, age 7 (Wow!)

‘If you want to learn to love better , you should start with a friend who you hate.’ – Nikka, age 6
(we need a few million more Nikka’s on this planet)

‘Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt , then he wears it everyday.’ – Noelle, age 7

‘Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.’ – Tommy, age 6

‘During my piano recital , I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.’ -Cindy, age 8

‘My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.’ – Clare, age 6

‘Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.’ – Elaine, age 5

‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford .’ – Chris, age 7

‘Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.’ -Mary Ann, age 4

‘I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.’ – Lauren, age 4

‘When you love somebody , your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.’ – (what an image) Karen, age 7

‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross..’ -Mark, age 6

‘You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it , you should say it a lot. People forget.’ -Jessica, age 8

And the final one

The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.

When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said…

‘Nothing , I just helped him cry’

What wonderful lessons our children can teach us if we just open our hearts and pay attention! Happy early valentines day everyone!

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What are YOU thankful for?…

November 4th, 2011 12:58am

We had lots of little goblins and ghoulies this Halloween and once again, made it all home safely with our overstuffed bags of candy! Aside from another scorpion sighting, we made it through this spooky holiday unscathed! We hope your Halloween was equally safe and full of more treats than tricks.

Looking forward to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, it is easy to start reflecting on the many blessings in our lives. In this difficult economy with financial stresses and economic woes, it is sometimes easy to forget the important things in our lives. It is equally difficult for our children to appreciate the small but important blessings in their lives. We’ve got some fun family activities that might help everyone count those most important daily blessings in our lives. Hope this gives everyone some positive family fun!…

Create a Thankful Paper Chain

Similar to a  regular paper chain (cut strips of paper and connect them together as loops) but a Thankful Paper Chain has things you are thankful for written on each paper strip. Take a moment each day of November to add chains and by Thanksgiving, you’ll have a unique reminder of the blessings in your lives! Use green and white paper and keep it up as a Christmas decoration!

Giving Thanks Placemats

The goal here is to create something that can be a reminder of each year of your childs life and the things they were most thankful for that year. Help your kids cut out pictures, draw, paste special items or photos and make a collage of all these materials. Take the completed collage to a copy shop and have it laminated! Don’t forget to put your childs name and the date on it!

Basket of Leaves

Create a small paper box and cut out leaves from different colored paper (fall colors of course!). This will be their Basket ‘O Blessings! Have your kids write something they are thankful for on each leaf and put them in each others boxes. Keep collecting leaves through the next few weeks. At Thanksgiving, have each child read through the leaves in their boxes and see if they are thankful for the same things or maybe they missed a few! It will be a good exercise for your kids to see what each of them is thankful for and how their blessings differ. Also a great opportunity for each child to anonymously tell their siblings things they are thankful for about that person…great esteem builder!

We hope this gives you some fun ideas for this Thanksgiving season!

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Method 8: The Courage to be Faithful

Stepping out of your fears and into your greatness requires great courage.  Sometimes we are so busy with the work of life that we don’t sit still and take the time to listen to our heart. Being courageous means not allowing life to steal, kill, or destroy your dreams, hopes, aspirations, and plans but living in the now, the moment, the presence of your power to receive life, and the fullness of all life has to offer and even more abundantly.  It takes courage to be honest with yourself, acknowledge your personal truth, and be present in your quest to live that truth.  The easiest thing for high achievers to do is be successful.  But living in the fullness of who they are – and want to be – while also maintaining their success takes true grit.

Method 9: – Exponential Living

Exponential Living is achieved through excellence in your Personal, Spiritual, and Emotional health, and balance in all aspects of your life – with yourself and others.  It is achieved by building and maintaining spirituality; loving and caring for yourself (hobbies, exercise, “me” time); spending quality time with and appreciating yourself and your family; recognizing your success; and living in your own truth.   When living exponentially you are comfortable with who you are, separate from what you do.  It’s when you live in a state of true contentment, being present with yourself and others while also pursuing and maintaining excellence in all aspects of your life.

Often, high achievers are limited by their success because they are only living in the accomplishments in one area of their lives.  They have achieved or have the drive to achieve high levels of professional success but are not truly fulfilled with their lives overall.  Or, they have reached their career goals but now know there are other facets of life they want to pursue but don’t know what/how/why/when.  Exponential Living gives such high achievers the power of being true to themselves and achieving a balance between work, family, friends, healthy living, and spiritual commitment to manifest a life that is genuinely complete and content.

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