Tag Archives: Affirmations

Here’s My Mix!

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calendar - Copy - Copy“My Happy” began as a place for me to organize helpful information that has become an important part of my life. My experiences have led me to appreciate all that brings positivity my way. I strive to share the things that have made a significant difference to me and my family. This post will explain my (always evolving) positive strategies I use with my family. You may see other strategies I have posted previously on the Parent/Caregivers Page.

Strategies may change as my children get older, I learn new information, or if the strategies stop working. There are various ways to help support children. I began as a teacher, searching for the best behavior management practices for my class. As a parent, I continued to learn as many different approaches that I could. The important realizations for me were:  being mindful, keeping a balance, practicing, and being  flexible.  Not one approach works best, it is using a mix of them that really makes the difference. Also, knowing when to be flexible by changing or dropping something that isn’t working.  Here is what is in my “mix”!

Mindful to create a positive, caring, loving and supportive environment:

Lots of hugs, kisses, and a growth mindset….. goes without saying 😉

Family Mission Statement was my latest way to give our family an idea of what is expected and appreciated in our family.  I decided to do this after learning more about Emotional Intelligence.  It is similar to the “family rules” I have previously posted; however it is more about what we want to focus on daily.  Together, we discussed what mission statements are and then decided what we wanted it to look like. Our family decided on the following:

 

Family Mission Statement

  •  Look for “happy” (positives)
  • Kind and caring
  • Be a helper
  • Have “everyday bravery”
  • Be thankful
  • Be a problem solver
  • Try your best

“Happy, Healthy, Strong”

 

We read it out loud once a day and display it where everyone can see it. I used a bullet format to make it easier for my children to understand. Older children could decide whether they want it to read like an actual statement. We also ended it with what has turned into our family “cheer”, happy, healthy, strong. This began as an affirmation I wanted to share with my children and they like saying it so much, we use it all the time.

“Everyday Bravery” was taken from the work of Rachel Simmons.  Rachel Simmons explains that it is not just heroes in movies who are brave, we are brave every day. Children may see being brave as: going to school and rising to challenges there, beginning a new anything, maybe even trying a new food. knowing they can tackle these smaller challenges will help them to become braver and braver, more able to tackle whatever new challenges come their way.

http://www.rachelsimmons.com

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Positive Rewards

I have used reward charts, stickers, homework passes, lunch with teacher, and more. I find this works well to recognize good behavior or to motivate learning something new, such as potty training. Rewarding in this way is effective for a specific period of time. Another example would be earning stickers for 7 days in a row to receive the privilege of picking the movie for movie night.  These rewards also worked well with students because it was only be for one school year. When you are a parent or caregiver, these positive reinforcements do not always stay effective. Reward charts are available free online. Instead of stickers, kids can color the squares in.

Earning privileges

Instead of punishing by taking away a toy or activity, we remind the kids that they earn their privileges by being a cooperative part of the family. Paying attention to the family mission statement (or rules), doing chores, homework, and being responsible. We usually say that they are earning their privileges for the next day.

Choices

I give my children choices when I can. They have learned that they can’t always have a choice. It helps them to be more flexible.

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Calendar

We keep a monthly calendar to help the kids see the “big picture”. This helps our family stay on track as far as our weekly activities and it is a great way to help each member of the family see that everyone is getting choice time.  My older son was constantly saying  our weekend activities revolved around what his younger siblings wanted to do, not what he wanted to do. Having a calendar with weekend plans helped him to see the “big picture” and that he was getting his choice, too. We also color code the kids’ choices to make it easy for them to see their “picks”.

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Chore Chart

This has helped my older son keep track of all his responsibilities. I found a white board at Target that has the chart on it. My son filled in the chores, which he liked. He also likes checking things off when he’s done with each chore. He feels proud to see all those  checks at the end of the week. (This is also how he earns his allowance.)

Affirmations

“Happy, Healthy, Strong”    I sometimes request this at some point during the day. We have been saying it for so long my children usually bring it up before me, now.

“Safe, Cooperative, Kind, and Friendly”    I began this when my  younger children were 2 and 1/2 years old. I would ask them to say it before we got out of the car. It helped them to stay safe when we were out and about. Now, it reminds them that these expectations are always important wherever we are going.

Deep Breaths

We practice this daily to calm or focus. After practicing this daily, it has become more natural for them to do.  I knew this was working when my children began reminding me to take a deep breath when they saw I needed to. 🙂 Which usually makes me laugh, leading me to my next strategy.

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Humor

Whenever possible! Silly dances, mistakes on purpose, jokes….

(This is not to say my family and I are doing all of the above perfectly, but we are making good efforts! )

What’s in your “mix”?

I would love to hear from you! Please leave me a comment or e-mail me.

Happiness for the Holidays

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happy holidaysJust like adults, children sometimes have stress, anxieties, or get overly excited during the holiday season.  Here are a few strategies to help yourself and your child enjoy the holidays and each other:

Be sure to do a self-check. If you are getting nervous, stressed or frustrated trying to “do it all”. It will surely trickle down to your children. Don’t be shy to ask for help! It’s okay to ask for help because it will strengthen your relationships.

Make sure you don’t get overwhelmed by keeping what is truly important in mind, your beliefs in the holiday your family celebrates, your family, and helping or appreciating others as well. It’s a great time of year to show appreciation to others who help your family in some way. Also, it is a time to help other families who may need it during the holidays.

Make lists and keep a journal. Making lists of items you need to buy or things you need to get accomplished. Be sure to write down a day you would like these tasks to be done. I also started to keep a journal of holiday giving to help me remember from year to year what we have given.

It’s also a good time of year to give to charities, food pantries, and shelters. Schools and stores usually have toy or gift drives. Wal-Mart, for example, has a giving tree with gift requests on it. You can select a tag off the tree, buy the request, and then give it to the customer service staff member. This is a good thing to do with your children so that they understand the importance of giving, even to other families they may not know.

A side note regarding donations. There are organizations in your area that need families to make donations which help your own community.  One way to make donating easier is by making a payment monthly for one year. Small monthly donations can be given automatically through your bank to the recipient.   This commitment is actually better for the recipient.

Strategies For Kids:

Give kids age appropriate “jobs” to help with holiday preparations. One idea is wrapping gifts. Cut paper to size of gift. Give your child sized paper, pieces of tape (or if old enough, the tape dispenser), bows, and a bag to place when finished. Here is the big tip for you: Love however they wrap the gift! Sometimes we have to “let go” of how we might do something because it’s all good. 🙂 The recipient will enjoy your child’s wrapping abilities no matter what. Other jobs may include: help with cleaning (socks on hands to dust is always fun), decorating, cooking, and making gifts.

Deep breaths (in through the nose, out through the mouth) and exercise daily.  Kids need to be taught how to take a deep breath. Elementary teachers sometimes  explain to their students, it is like smelling flowers and blowing out  birthday candles. Be sure to tell them to only do one deep breath, but remind them a few times during the day. If you practice this daily, your children will be able to use it more effectively when they really need it to calm themselves. Exercise is very important for your children to keep calm as well. An easy indoor activity is Freeze Dancing. Turn on your favorite tunes, but when the music goes off, you freeze! The kids really like this and they get some exercise.

Read and discuss holiday traditions along with their usual favorite books. (Bedtime is a great time for this. Kids are very open to conversations at this time. Especially if they get to stay up a little late. 😉 )

Emphasize Giving Make or buy gifts together for others. Include them in buying for the toy or gift drive you donate to. It will get your child thinking about how others need our support.

Teach expected behaviors for giving and receiving. For example, when receiving a gift always say “thank you” and something kind about the gift. When giving a gift watch the person open it and respond to a thank you with “you’re welcome”. This not only gives them the words to use, it provides the opportunity to learn about gratitude.

If you are visiting another home for a holiday party be sure to tell your kids beforehand the usual sequence of events and what is expected of them during the party. Remind them that expected behavior is important for everyone to have fun and stay safe. If you have a child who has difficulty in these less structured events, be certain to respect any concerns they have and help them to feel comfortable. It’s okay to request information from the host or bring something with you to help your child feel more comfortable. Don’t put your feelings or anxieties on them, however. Don’t ask or suggest anything negative, simply listen if they bring up a concern and reassure them that you will help them if needed.

Older kids need support, too. They would benefit by your sharing the above strategies with them (in your own words) and ask them what they might like to try this year. It may just be the conversation starter you are looking for. (Don’t forget…bedtime is a great time to ask and listen.)

Hopefully, you are also working on your happiness with visualizing, family cheers, exercise, getting rest, being thankful, being mindful, meditating, self-compassion, and thinking positive thoughts. Holidays are a wonderful opportunity to create amazing memories for your family and others. I hope this helps you and your children enjoy this special time of year. Please share some of your own strategies that have helped your holidays be happy in the comment section. I look forward to learning from you!

More to come……

 

 

“The Past Is History, The Future’s A Mystery, The Present Is A Gift”

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 “The past is history, the future’s a mystery, the present is a gift” (origin unknown)

Mindfulness is a meditative practice which originates in Buddhism, but has gained worldwide popularity as a distinctive method to handle emotions. (definition from Wikipedia)

There are many thoughts on this subject and ideas of how to be mindful. They range from a complete mindfulness experience training for two weeks, workshops, and counseling sessions, graduate courses, and books.  I encourage you to try any of those offerings, but If you feel like this is not for you or your kids,  I will let you in on how I understand and try being mindful.  To be mindful is to be in the moment. It is simply paying attention and staying focused on the present moment. This also usually helps me to feel grateful for each experience I have, ordinary or extraordinary.  Your time to make a difference is NOW. Try not to think about things that happened in the past when you are enjoying your day. Try not to worry about things that are coming up in your future when you are enjoying your now.   I know this is easier said then done.  It takes practice.

Some things that have worked for me to be more in the moment:

Visualization has worked for me to keep my past in its place.

Creative visualization (sports visualization) refers to the practice of seeking to affect the outer world by changing one’s thoughts and expectations. Creative visualization is the basic technique underlying positive thinking and is frequently used by athletes to enhance their performance. (definition from Wikipedia)

Visualizing can be used to help start your day, do well on a test, or to help yourself manage your thoughts. Managing your thoughts can help you stay in the moment. An example of this is when I was experiencing some memories that were interfering with my daily life. I took a moment to visualize the memories being placed into a box. I then visualized storing the box in a way that was meaningful to me. If you try this “box” you can store it like you do your belongings….in an attic or closet. Some people may choose to use what they believe in spiritually to help them store their box. Visualizing is like dreaming which you do purposefully. After doing this, the memories stopped coming up in my daily life and I felt more at peace to be myself in the moment.

Affirmations is another way I have been able to be mindful.

Affirmations in New Thought and New Age terminology refers primarily to the practice of positive thinking and self-empowerment—fostering a belief that “a positive mental attitude supported by affirmations will achieve success in anything.” More specifically, an affirmation is a carefully formatted statement that should be repeated to one’s self and written down frequently. For an affirmation to be effective, it needs to be present tense, positive, personal and specific. (definition by Wikipedia)

I have tried using very simple affirmations that help me to focus on what I want. The first one that was successful for me and my family is simply “Happy, Healthy, Strong”.  I began this one with myself and would try to say it everyday. I then taught it to my children and we say it at specific moments daily. It has become part of our family cheer! My children now say it on their own and it has become a “Happy Habit”.  Writing it down and having it displayed somewhere you and your family will see it also reinforces its purpose.

Another affirmation I use helps me to push unwanted thoughts out. When I have a thought that is negative and I know it is probably not true,  I say a statement to myself to keep that thought at bay and focus on my positive thoughts instead. This kind of statement is really unique to you depending much on your beliefs. I use a simple “I intend to be ______________________.” You can fill in the blank for yourself. Some examples are good, calm, or more focused. I would be interested to receive feedback on a statement that has worked well for you or your children when and if you try using affirmations.