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Filtering by Tag: parenting

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

Reestablishing the School Rules of Your Routine

Amanda Houle

Depending on where your kiddos go to school, their summer days might be drawing to an end sooner than later. While most schools resume after Labor Day, some get back in the swing in August, and others start as early as July. If your school system falls in the latter camp, you need to get started reestablishing the school rules of your routine -- stat!

Realizing the Root Strength of Routine

A rock-solid routine is absolutely essential to rocking the school year from the very start. The details driving your routine are like the roots anchoring your schedule, no matter which way the wind blows. While it’s tempting to celebrate summer with lazy days and a devil-may-care approach to dedicated bedtimes, running from reality too long will catch up with you.


When families fail to prepare for the school year, they run the risk of increased struggles with expectations. As too many of us know, these struggles often manifest as defiance, Oscar-worthy tantrums, and all-around apathy about school, homework, and extracurricular activities.


Bedtime is the baseline of effective routines for children. You can even start the bedtime process by encouraging activities like choosing outfits the night before and either making or setting out lunch components ahead of time. In addition to these broad strokes, pay attention to the finer, day-specific details. For example, is gym on Tuesday? Make sure the sneakers and appropriate clothes are packed in a bag, ready at the door the night before.


Ditto any after school activities -- sports, chorus, drama -- you name it. And whatever IT is, make sure you model packing and preparing, accordingly, ahead of time. Remember, the routines you demonstrate now will prove invaluable as your kids mature and encounter more responsibilities with each passing grade. This is a learned habit, a lifelong skill your kids need to master in order for them to succeed in school… and beyond.  


You’re their first teacher. But, as the saying goes, “it takes a village.” So, if you’re struggling or have already experienced difficult behavior from your kids this summer, don’t wait a moment longer. Enlist the help of your tribe and be proactive about putting your best foot forward, so that your kids can confidently follow your footsteps.




SOS! You Need to Parent on the Same Page… But How?

Amanda Houle

It’s no secret that marriage is hard work -- not to mention parenting. Considering the national divorce rate, which hovers between 40-50%, depending on your source, too many of us aren’t up to the task. A big part of that problem comes from parenting, specifically, the failure to parent on the same page. What am I talking about? Well, do you ever feel like you’re the bad cop while your partner gets to be the good cop? Exhausting, isn’t it? Or maybe your partner is the disciplinarian and you find yourself walking on eggshells around kids who know they’ve got your number.


Whatever the situation, attempting to parent from two different pages or positions, is downright impossible; certainly not sustainable for the long run. Unless you want to bow out of the race entirely (please don’t), take a look at the following 4 Pillars of Parenting with a Punch. Let me help you get on the same page and empower your parenting efforts...

Understanding the 4 Pillars of Parenting with a Punch

What does it mean to parent with a punch? It means empowerment. It means backing up your decisions and actions with confidence and clarity in your judgment. But the strength required to strike the right impact isn’t always easy to muster… especially with a partner. A quick check of my Google analytics shows that “parenting on the same page” is the number one search of my site.


No wonder so many of you are calling for reinforcements, and here they are… 

Pillar #1: Effective Communication with Your Partner and Children

First and foremost, your family was founded on the relationship between you and your partner. The way you communicate, address, and engage one another will translate to your children. Believe me, they are watching and they aren’t missing much. You need to master effective communication between the two of you in order to foster clear and kind communication between yourselves and your children. Communicate with kindness and keep the focus on listening before speaking. The inability to listen can result in obstacles to critical messages ever reaching you. Open ears, open heart, closed mouth… that’s the rule until the floor is yours and you feel in command of the message you wish to send.

Pillar #2: Own It!

Own what, exactly? Everything! Own your energy, your mindset, and your behavior. Listen, in this life there are few things we can really control. But, those three - energy, mindset, behavior - are well within your remit. Do not blame, but look inward and assess your role, your actions, and your outset before looking to those around you.

Pillar #3: There is No “I” in Team

I know -- total cliche, but totally true. You cannot focus on you when you’re trying to tend to your team. Granted, you are integral to your team, but you, alone, are not the team. In order to parent on the same page, you have to share a page. Attempting to flip back and forth between disparate pages only closes the book and kills communication. As frustrating as that is, consider the consequences experienced by your children. Take a moment (or as long as it takes) between you and your partner. Get your heads together and figure out what the focus is for your family. And be flexible! That focus can, and will, change over time. After all, your kids are growing up and the challenges with every milestone will vary. You need to be able to bob and weave together, according to the same playbook, specifically, the same page of said playbook.

Pillar #4 - Draw a Different Line in the Sand

Discipline is an important, useful component of parenting. Where would we be without it? It’s the recourse to the bad decision or questionable choice made by our children. As many of you already know, but for those who don’t, my definition and style of discipline hinges on expectations, rather than reprimands. I believe that clear expectations, rather than reactionary punishments, are what best set children up for success.


No matter your personal definition or style, too many of us rely on discipline as a destination, not an ongoing journey. In other words, we discipline via decisive action, but often miss the educational component required to really make a lasting impact. Does your child understand why he or she is being punished? Do they know why the behavior is problematic? Do they really? Or are you just assuming that these interactions are clear and impactful?


Too many partners value different disciplinary styles, which can lead to confusion.. Of course, if you and your partner are confused, how clear do you think your kids feel about what’s going on around them? Children thrive on predictability with respect to routine and response. Variations in response between partners can be damaging and, ultimately, sets kids up for failure because they aren’t confident in the rules of the game.

The Bottom Line.

The healthier and happier you are as a couple, the better chances your children have of emulating your behavior. Children pick up your energy and will take what they know as they grow older. In order to set them up for success, it’s imperative that you and your partner acknowledge your value systems and share the same principles of parenting.


Children need to see you working together as a team in order to feel safe and secure following your lead.






New Years 2018

Amanda Houle

I love New Years Eve and enjoy relaxing on New Years Day taking the time to be reflect. I strongly feel that we can make changes at any time and the New Year does not have to be the end all be all to solidify a resolution. It is fun to look back at the year you had, the good, the bad, and be able to find gratitude for all the lessons. This is when you can truly reflect and take ownership for all that you would like to achieve. Whether it be lose weight, get a new job, move up the ladder, spend more time with friends, have more sex, 1 thing is certain when YOU focus on yourself everything else typically falls into place. Yes- this means if your yelling more than talking with your spouse and at your children, learning to recognize your triggers will support you in creating the change. Is communication a struggle in your relationships? I have invested in so many ventures this past year from joining B-School an online business program which allowed me to up-level in my business, to improve my closest relationships because I said YES to growth. Change is hard. It isn't supposed to be easy but if we looked at it through the lens of a place of introspection then we would have a lot more healthier and happier families. That is my biggest goal to contribute to raising confident, successful, happy, independent, strong children. 

Let today be the day you decide to take control of the present moment and prepare your family for a thriving marriage and healthy relationships with your children where they want to share and come to you without fear of being judged years down the line and now! 

Make the investment and your world will forever be changed. 

With love,

Amanda Founder of Parenting with a Punch and Host of Parenting with a Punch show