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Holiday Traditions

Amanda Houle

Holiday traditions are important to instill in your children. It is healthy for both yourself and your children to create fun activities and routines for the holidays. Do you remember any of your family traditions that you may have had as a child? Do you feel happy when you think back? If so, I encourage you to adopt a new tradition unique to your family and/or culture. In today’s society I feel it is difficult to lose your way and forget your values. Truly think about what could be fun and new to create.

 

The holidays come and go so quickly and too often we forget to breathe and take time to enjoy the holidays with loved ones. It is perfectly ok to not have the time or energy to do it all. Even more of a reason as to why it is important to create a tradition or ritual that is important to you to help strengthen your family bond. Your children will appreciate you for it.

 

Learning how to navigate with a blended family during the holidays can be tough. Please be easy on yourself and be sure to spend time solely with the kids. This is a great opportunity for you to begin a new tradition with the children. Involve them in the process by asking them for their suggestions. It will help strengthen your bond. Keep in mind that there may have been traditions that bring back memories of children’s parents together which should also be a motivator to want to create new traditions with your blended family.

 

Spending time with extended family can be challenging. Have a conversation with your partner to discuss boundaries and perhaps create a code word if you have overextended yourself and need to leave. Being mindful and respecting your partners boundaries is key to a healthy and thriving family regardless of whether or not they may like it. Remember this- you may have married into your partners family but you still married your significant other and it is they that you lay in bed with every night so be mindful in that and this will add to your loving marriage. Appreciation goes a long and even more so during the holidays when it is easy to get caught up in all of the things going on around you. Too often we get lost. Have fun, enjoy yourselves, and spend time with your loved ones in replace of feeling like you “have to” participate in this year’s Yankee swap for ex. You get to choose how you show up.

 

 Behavior Tips to get you through the chaos of the holidays:

But remember it does not have to be chaotic if you choose more ease and flow! Choice is up to YOU.

 For holiday parties and starting new routines:

1)  Have FUN! Especially when behaviors arise such as crying or throwing a tantrum. Redirect and let it go.

2) Follow through with your word ALWAYS so people know what to expect especially your children!

3) Go around the table during meal time at your holiday function and give a compliment to each and every family member sitting at the table, have fun and everyone take turns!

4) Set expectations prior to the party. Simple and concrete directions go a long way. Have your children repeat them to you to ensure they understand.

5) Create a social story explaining what will happen at the party and who will be there for children that may struggle with transitions and experience anxiety.

 

Happy Holidays! BE MERRY!

 Amanda xx

Parenting Guru | Designer Nanny

https://parentingwithapunch.com/

Winter Fun

Amanda Houle

The northeast during the winter months can make you feel stuck and forced to stay inside especially if you are not a snowbird like me! I get it, believe me. There is such a thing as seasonal affective disorder typically caused by less exposure to vitamin D and of course even more so when you live in a location that gets tons and tons of snow lasting up to 4-5 months every winter. No wonder. Bring children into the mix and it’s a completely different ball game.

 

Do you feel stuck when you have little ones running you exhausted into the ground during the winter months feeling like you have nothing to do? Guess what! I am here to tell you it is completely OK for your children to be bored. These are the moments they are able to tap into their creativity energy so allow them. I see and hear often from parents that they feel guilty for not always wanting to play with their children so what do they do? You pretty much give them an I-pad, a  computer, a tablet, maybe even your cell phones, and they wind up being on for hours. I understand you need a break!

 

Here is the good news. Children do not need you to play with them 24/7. Actually, 20 minutes is usually plenty before they are no longer interested in playing with you anyways so you don’t need to bother feeling guilty or throwing an electronic device at them. I invite you to commit a minimum of 20 minutes a day and maybe some evenings you can’t give 20 minutes and that’s OK. These long winter days stuck in the house there is so may things you can do.

 

Create a visual checklist broken down into 30-60 minute increments and include mommy/daddy and me time in there with different categories catered to your family’s interests. For example: art time, (stick to crayons if you don’t want to take out paint or scissors and have them draw a snowman or decorate a winter theme. Include music for a dance party. These are usually the best and if you make this as 1 of the first activities it may tire them out quick! I have dance parties as often as I can with children and it works. Take it from experience. J Maybe not for an hour unless of course your trying to fit in exercise for yourself! Make a fort and here’s the trick- if your worried about a mess then I suggest you have ground rules before you begin letting the children know that if they make a mess, they are required to clean up after themselves. They learn to clean up in preschool and daycare so if they do it there they can be taught at home. It is that simple. Incorporate mommy and daddy free time as well and communicate that it’s time to play independently. I highly suggest setting timers on your phone as you can lose track of time very easily especially if your kiddos have trouble listening. Quiet time is also a great suggestion as they do need to learn to quiet their body’s and mind as well. If it works for you to not have a schedule then GREAT. Some other tips: Free play, (anything they “want”) sensory activities such as kinetic sand, playdoh, shaving cream in the sink, tubby time, beans in a bucket. Sensory activities is huge especially on a day they may not be as active as it stimulates the nervous system and promotes connectivity to feeling calm and relaxed.

 

Now, for all my snowbirds and will do my best to encourage all the non-wintery individuals as well, get your butt outside even in the winter months. Yes, especially in the snowstorms! I spent at least 25 minutes outside shoveling, yes but also spent some time running around with my dog as he loves the snow, making snow angels, and chasing him in the yard. Do you know how freeing that feels? Children need to feel that feeling well, quite honesty daily and for some a few times a day so I invite you to get outside, build a snowman, make snow angels, and frolic. Once you get dressed you are half way there and once outside you will thank yourself for seeing those bright eyed smiles in the wintery mix.

Cheers to a snowy and happy 2018 Winter!

Amanda MS Ed., Ed

Founder of Parenting With a Punch