What does Parenting on Purpose look like?

This is for the parents who’ve been asking for more information about Parenting on Purpose, what it is, what it means and how I do it + anyone new to the Joyful Parenting Blog.

I use the phrase parenting on purpose to describe how I make the decisions that work for my family. For me, it means making conscious choices, focusing on kindness and setting healthy boundaries. I’ve written before about the way I was raised and feeling like there were times that I was parented accidentally + about becoming a new mum myself and feeling like I had to be a better-than-perfect parent. In a lot of ways, parenting on purpose is the opposite of those things and my reaction to wanting to do something totally different.

I hope the list below helps answer some of your questions and that you find one or two (or 10!) ideas to start trying with your own family today. Here are 10 articles from the Joyful Parenting archives that best explain Parenting on Purpose:

  1. Parenting on Purpose in 3 Easy Steps

  2. How to Keep a Marriage Together When the Kids Keep Getting in the Way

  3. 10 Lessons I’ve Learned from my Little People

  4. Finding Our Own Way

  5. Why Santa & the Easter Bunny Don’t Visit My House

  6. If You Don’t Talk to Yourself, Your Self Will Talk to You

  7. You Won’t “Enjoy Every Moment” of Being a New Mum and That’s Okay

  8. Find Another Way to Say ‘No’

  9. When You Know Better You Do Better

  10. That’s Not Love


Christine Marion-Jolicoeur helps parents of toddlers to teenagers build their confidence and skills so they can stop worrying about messing up their kids and start finding the joy in everyday moments. She’s an Amazon #1 bestselling author and creator of the Joyful Parenting workbook + e-course.

ebook coverDownload the free Joyful Parenting e-book (your 6 step guide to confidence, clarity and connection with your kids when you need it most) + receive the Joyful You Newsletter by entering your information below:

 

 

Answering Real Life Parenting Questions: Sleep

q-and-a

imsis609-022Q-My youngest is two and just spent an hour saying, “I won’t go to sleep, I won’t go to sleep…” I just don’t remember how I dealt with this phase with my oldest. Honestly, I am so tired of this. Any tips on how to handle this without just giving in to everything out of tiredness?

A-It sounds like you already know what’s going to work best for your little one; consistency. You didn’t mention whether or not you already have a routine, so I’ll start there. Even though this might be a difficult time to make up a routine and stick to it since you’re already so tired, letting the chaos go on will likely make things harder in the long run.  Having a regular bath time and bedtime routine definitely helps my family. It’s a constant challenge for me to stay on time and not get lazy about things,  but I do it anyway because I know it works for us. How do I know? Well…because I see how wonky things get for all of us if my kids stay up late to do something special, skip part of their routine, or if I give in to the onslaught of “Please, just one more thing!”

169260363Got a routine already? Great. Here are some other things to think about:

I also try really hard to let my kids know that their routines came out of my love and respect for them, not frustration (even though some times I feel really frustrated.) I think there’s such a big difference between saying to a little person, “You need to go to bed now because it’s bedtime,” or “You need to go to bed now because I’ve had enough.” and “I love you so much that I want you to get a good night sleep so you can feel rested for all of your big adventures tomorrow.” With the last one, there’s nothing to fight or resist, just love.

On really hard nights, like the one you described, I do add some extras to our regular routines to help my kids settle and stay in bed.

-a homeopathic remedy (Quietude by Boiron or Rescue Remedy) can take the edge off their restlessness

-lavender oil in their bath makes it special + soothing

-guided meditations for kids are amazing and L and D get really into them

-massaging their little feet and legs helps them to relax and stay laying down

-asking them to tell me the ONE thing that is going to help them get to sleep (i.e. water or a snuggle)

143382580Please know that no matter how brilliant, the same thing won’t work every single time, so it’s best to have a few different choices to rotate through or layer depending on what’s going on that night. On really, really hard nights we might do all of these things.

The thing about sleep is that it can be such a tricky and tentative thing. A bad cold, daylight savings time or a new phase (growth spurt, separation anxiety, nightmares, etc) can really throw things off. If you have a decent routine going and notice a sudden, big difference in your little person’s behaviour at bedtime, try to think about what’s been going on in your life and in your family that may be creating some stress (good or bad, any change can create stress!) Figuring out what’s changed is not a solution itself, but it can help the situation make more sense to your grown-up mind and help you stay calm and patient in the moment.


Christine Marion-Jolicoeur helps parents of toddlers to teenagers build their confidence and skills so they can stop worrying about messing up their kids and start finding the joy in everyday moments. She’s an Amazon #1 bestselling author and creator of the Joyful Parenting workbook + e-course.

ebook coverDownload the free Joyful Parenting e-book (your 6 step guide to confidence, clarity and connection with your kids when you need it most) + receive the Joyful You Newsletter by entering your information below:

Healthy Habits = Healthy Kids

We have a lot of different sayings at our house, things we repeat over and over to help us create healthy habits + remind us to make good choices + to help me talk to my kids about hard things; I call these our mottos, mantras and messages.

One of my most used and most favourites is: Eat well, sleep well and exercise.

It started several years ago when my oldest got hurt and I was trying to explain how our bodies are amazing things that heal themselves, but its our job to slow down and take extra good care of ourselves when we get sick or hurt to allow this process to happen. This was all pretty hard to grasp for a little toddler brain, so I decided to cut it down to the most basic + simple message: Eat well, sleep well and exercise so your body can heal itself.

Eat well:

eat wellEat lots of healthy, real food in a rainbow of colours every day. Processed foods + foods with sugar are only sometimes foods, not every day foods. Treats don’t always have to be food.

Sleep well:

sleep wellI’ve learned to respect my kids’ nap time and bedtime routines no matter what. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, but as long as they’re in bed within 30-45 minutes of our regular sleep times we’re usually okay. Unfortunately, this means saying no to some invitations and activities + careful planning when we do go out, but it is sooooo worth it. I’ve done a lot of reading about what happens to little people’s brains when they don’t get enough sleep and it’s pretty scary (so is their behaviour when they’re overtired!)

Exercise:

exerciseLittle people have so much energy and need to move and play every day. I’ve also found that being in water + going for a walk outside can fix just about anything that’s bothering my kids (teething, colds + flu, a hard day at school, a fight with a sibling, restlessness, difficulty falling asleep, etc) and I would definitely encourage you to try this out with your little people too. As they’re getting older my kids are also enjoying structured exercise (yoga or an exercise video) and team sports (at our local community centres) more and more. I love having them as work out buddies and seeing them so proud of themselves when the learn a new skill in class.


 

Joyful Memories Book #2Ready for some more JOY in your life? Enter below for some fabulous FREE gifts from Christine Marion-Jolicoeur at Joyful You!

You’ll get a coupon code for a free copy of the Joyful Memories book + the video of my latest interview, “Work-Life Balance” where I give my 5 best tips for living a balanced, joyful life + the monthly Joyful You newsletter, all sent directly to your inbox.

50 Moments of Everyday Joy

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my writing and my work with Joyful You lately; making choices about how to spend my time + investing in training and coaching to grow my beautiful little business + creating new business cards + working on my logo, etc. My brain works best when I have clear priorities and I can make decisions based on what fits best with those. I keep coming back to the same question over and over…

What exactly am I trying to do with all of this? And here’s what I’ve come up with:

I help parents of toddlers to teenagers build their confidence and skills so they can stop worrying about messing up their kids and start finding the joy in everyday moments.

119048269This is what I want for all parents, because I’ve felt sad + stressed + stuck too and I know how much better things can be. Sounds pretty great, huh? How lucky am I, that this is my job description! To show you what’s possible for you and to show my gratitude for my amazing family + life I spent a couple of days keeping track of my everyday moments of joy…

  1. When D wakes up singing and shouting “whoo hoo!” in the morning. Best. Alarm clock. Ever.

  2. The sun shining through my bedroom window while my kids climb all over me.

  3. The 3 minutes of my shower before someone calls, “Mum!” or tries to climb in with me.

  4. When my little people give me life advice. Especially, because they’re usually spot on.

  5. Dance party in the kitchen with my little people.

  6. Playing our favourite song over and over and over again.

  7. A cool glass of water after all that dancing.

  8. Making a list of treats for the kids that are not food.

  9. 131983307Bare feet in the grass.

  10. Bubbles.

  11. Remembering that I can’t remember the last time I changed a diaper.

  12. When my kids hold hands with each other while we’re walking or driving.

  13. Catching myself singing out loud in the grocery store.

  14. New ‘likes’ on the Joyful You Facebook page.

  15. Watching Olaf’s song about snow in summer on YouTube.

  16. Watching my husband laugh until he cries while watching Olaf’s song +watching L and D watch him.

  17. Drawing a face on an ice cube and putting it out in the sun to find out what actually happens to snow in summer.

  18. The way L describes everything as “beautiful”.

  19. Making a healthy rainbow lunch with my kids.

  20. When my kids say please and thank you without being reminded.

  21. Playing board games with my little people.

  22. Fireflies in our backyard at dusk.

  23. Watching grown-up movies and TV shows after the kids are tucked into bed.

  24. Snuggling up in bed and reading a chapter of a book that’s not about parenting.

  25. Sneaking into the kids’ rooms to smooch their juicy little faces before I go to bed.

  26. Listening to the cats (my fur babies!) wrestle and chase their toys after we’ve all gone to bed.

  27. When the kids are having so much fun they ask me to take a picture of them.

  28. The look on the L and D’s faces when I ask them each to pick something to add to our list of things to do for the weekend.

  29. Our bedtime practice.

  30. Running through the sprinkler.

  31. 482185515Picking veggies from our garden.

  32. Putting a big beach towel on the dining room table and giving the kids each a butter knife and half a watermelon.

  33. The way L says, “Yesssssssss!” when I say yes.

  34. The way D smooches my face.

  35. Hearing, “Again! Again! Again!”

  36. Reading Goodnight moon and looking for the little mouse on each page.

  37. When the cats let L and D pet and play with them.

  38. Smiling at strangers.

  39. When a recipe just works.

  40. Homemade muffins.

  41. When D insists on wearing rain boots, even though it’s not raining.

  42. Splashing in puddles when it does rain after all.

  43. Hanging paper hearts on our tress to help us grow love.

  44. When D can’t sleep so we go for a midnight walk around and that beautiful little mind thinks the moon is walking with us too.

  45. Driving in my car all by myself, listening to my music on my way to pick up the kids.

  46. Driving in my car with L and D excitedly telling me about their day.

  47. Waking up and looking at the clock to see that my wonderful husband let me sleep in.

  48. 878237-001And he made banana pancakes with the kids.

  49. Playing Jack Johnson’s song Banana Pancakes while I eat banana pancakes.

  50. Making a list of all of the things I am grateful for.


Joyful Memories Book #2Ready for some more JOY in your life? Enter below for some fabulous FREE gifts from Christine Marion-Jolicoeur at Joyful You!

You’ll get a coupon code for a free copy of the Joyful Memories book + the video of my latest interview, “Work-Life Balance” where I give my 5 best tips for living a balanced, joyful life + the monthly Joyful You newsletter, all sent directly to your inbox.

Time out? Time in?

4266153304_6c6163e835_zYears ago, we tried time outs and time ins and glitter bottles and everything else I could think of with L, my oldest and they did not work for our family. They always seemed to turn into a bigger battle (one that lasted way longer than the suggested one minute per year of age!)  and ended up with me being frustrated + exhausted.

glitter-bottle-003One of the things I’ve about noticed about little people is that they live in the moment. For them, when it’s over, it’s really over and they just move on. For grown ups…not so much. We remember and hold grudges, make assumptions about other people’s motivations and try to figure out just how sincere an apology was. Too much time + shame + drama for me, so this is what I came up with instead:

When one of my little people does something time out worthy we stop everything and follow these steps:

I ask if they’re ready to talk or if they need a minute to calm down first. Talking to my kids when they’re crying or shouty is absolutely useless, they can’t hear me and I can’t understand them (it’s like their words get stuck in their little throats!) So we wait until we’re all feeling calm and if we need to take a break from each other and be in different rooms for that to happen we do that. When they’re ready to talk (either right away or after having some alone time) I always ask them the same three questions…

  1. What went wrong?

  2. How do we fix it?

  3. What can we do instead/next time?

Then we all have a hug and move on with our day.

You probably noticed, there’s no shaming (i.e. “What did YOU do wrong?” or “WHY would YOU do that?”) and that they get to make some decisions + get a bit of control back. This, of course, is on purpose since I try really hard to separate my little people from their behaviours + I find things get the most crazy when they are feeling powerless. It also focuses on the solution more than the problem, which I think is really important. Fixing it usually involves a hug, an apology or helping to clean up. And their suggestions for next time are often beautifully simple; wear my listening ears, be kind, use gentle hands, ask first, etc.

I was pleasantly surprised that D, my youngest spontaneously started doing this at the age of two (clearly, we’ve done this a lot!) I was taking a moment alone to calm myself down after some craziness or another when I heard a little voice say, “I red talk” (translation: “I’m ready to talk.”) I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes as a parent, I’m just making shit up. I never really know if it’s the right thing to do for my kids, but if it makes sense + feels right and it seems to work we keep going with it. That day with my two-year-old was a big parenting win for me because I realized this practice must feel pretty good for my little people too. Both my kids respond really well to this and it helps me keep things in perspective + stay in the moment too.

If you’re frustrated too and looking for something new, give it a try! I’d love to hear how it goes for your family (click on the little grey speech bubble in the top right corner to leave a comment).


Christine Marion-Jolicoeur helps parents of toddlers to teenagers build their confidence and skills so they can stop worrying about messing up their kids and start finding the joy in everyday moments. She’s an Amazon #1 bestselling author and creator of the Joyful Parenting workbook + e-course.

ebook coverDownload the free Joyful Parenting e-book (your 6 step guide to confidence, clarity and connection with your kids when you need it most) + receive the Joyful You Newsletter by entering your information below: