Tag Archives: parenting tips

HOLIDAY TIP | Have a Back-up Plan


Escape-PlanThe holiday season abounds with new sounds, unfamiliar faces and different schedules and if you don’t yet have a plan in place for your child, there’s still time.

When it all becomes too much—too many people, too much noise, too much that’s unknown—having a ‘plan of escape’ to a place to self-regulate is always wise. With one or two back-up plans, at least you have options. Practice a non-verbal hand signal your kid can give you to show you he needs to leave, instead of shouting at the top of his lungs, “It’s time for everyone to go home now! We’re done!”

Often, just knowing that it’s okay to escape to a quiet place is enough.

If You Want Your Kids To Think of You As Encouraging, Be Encouraging

How do you want your kids to remember you? Always nagging? Never satisfied? Too busy? When that question was put to me several years ago, I had a rude awakening, because my list of adjectives didn’t exactly mirror my actions. But the good thing was that over time I was able to change my behaviors to suit the descriptions.

With Mother’s Day coming, you and your child may both want to do this exercise.


In large letters, write P A R E N T vertically down the left side of a page. Using those six letters, write words that describe how you would like your child to think of you.

And if you’re not acting accordingly, you do have the power to change.

I encourage you to get your child to do the same. In large letters, write C H I L D [or S O N or  D A U G H T E R] vertically down the left side of a page. Using those letters, ask your child to write words that describe how he/she wants you to think of him or her. Maybe those words are caring. humorous, intelligent/inspiring, likeable/loving, dependable.

Post these important documents where you and your kids can see them so they become gentle reminders for desired results. These should be fluid papers, that change as needed.

Here’s to a Happy Mother’s Day!

Getting Caught with Your Zipper Down…

My son wears his jackets zipped all the way up to the top. Always. And it’s uncomfortable for him to wear a button down shirt—opened—over a T-shirt. I could never figure it out. And he was never open to my suggestions of doing differently.

ImageThen a psychologist who works with adolescents and young adults on the spectrum recently explained that it’s a common behavior of kids with ASDs.

I decided to broach the topic again, using a system I developed for talking to my son when I want to get him to consider changing a behavior.

Step 1:  Set the Mood    I don’t know about you, but I’m much more reasonable when my stomach is full, my surroundings are familiar and the tone is safe and positive. So I ask him to sit down with me for 10 minutes [or less] to relax—and I dish up a yummy snack for both of us.

Step 2:  Acknowledge    Lovingly state the obvious. Hey, I notice that you enjoy wearing your hoodies zipped all the way up—whether it’s cold or not. It must feel right to you.

Step 3:  Wait for Response         

Step 4:  Suggest              Regardless of his response, I again acknowledge it and then move on to a suggestion. Lots of people wear their hoodies zipped about ¾ of the way up. You might want to give that a try. It’s a cool look.

Step 5:  Wait for Response

Step 6:  Conclude             Wrap it up, be calm. Let me know how that goes for you.

About a week after our ‘talk’ I overheard him say to his dad, “Notice how I’m wearing my jacket now? I only zip it this far.” Good thing I let my husband in on what I was doing. Otherwise I know he’d be scratching his head!    Image

I honestly think he wasn’t aware of the options available to him. He’s rather black and white about things. Either the jacket is on and zipped completely, or it’s off. There’s nothing in between. But we’re gradually introducing gray to his color palette. And we do it with love and without judgment.