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Recognize when you are frazzled . . .

As a parent, it takes some awareness to recognize when you feel emotionally low and need to refuel with the company of other adults. Because children count on grown-ups to provide emotional regulation for them as they learn to manage their feelings, this regulation is one way from parent to child. Continual emotional giving—which is …Continue reading

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Staying connected while setting limits . . .

The key to setting limits and staying connected to your child relates to emotions. Tuning in to your child’s emotional state is important if you are going to set a limit that is in conflict with your child’s wishes and desires. Empathize first. Reflect her feeling about her desire back to her and then follow …Continue reading

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Needing nature . . .

Children live through and learn from their senses. Sensory experiences—what they see, hear, taste, touch, and smell—connect their exterior world with their internal, affective world. The importance of this sensory learning may be why studies indicate that natural settings, which provide primary experiences for all the senses, are essential for healthy childhood development. Here are …Continue reading

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Moral development . . .

Parents can help their children develop a sense of moral goodness with an accompanying feeling of obligation to do the right thing. The formation of “conscience” is promoted when parents nurture awareness and the development of feelings. Conscience is also promoted when parents help children understand that two people may feel differently about a situation, …Continue reading

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Teach calming techniques . . .

Children need constructive ways to deal with the range of emotions they experience. To develop constructive responses to emotions, children need to learn how to calm down. We all think more clearly when we are calm. When children especially are experiencing upsetting, unsettling, or uncomfortable feelings, it is very hard for them to think about …Continue reading

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Internal conversations . . .

Self-talk is powerful because having conversations with ourselves—even silently—links thought, language, and action. Self-talk is really like a delay switch to action allowing us to think things through. Children are great teachers for showing us how language can guide actions. In fact, several studies have shown that children who talk out loud as they give …Continue reading

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Regression . . .

When children regress—that is, when they act younger and less mature than they really are—their behavior can trigger annoyance in parents. Usually, regression happens when children (and parents) are feeling stressed, as when a new sibling has arrived to join the family. To the older sibling, it seems that the adults give lots of attention, …Continue reading

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Holiday excitement . . .

This is a good time to remember that joy can be stressful! Joy is a high-arousal state of being for kids. So, enjoy the “joy” and manage the stress. Here are a few ideas for managing the excitement of the holiday season: Know your child’s personality and limits. If you have a child who needs …Continue reading

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Separation anxiety and distress . . .

When babies reach six to eight months of age, separation distress kicks in . . . and it often continues in some form until children are well over five years old. Understand that your child is not being “needy” or “clingy” when he or she can tell you’re about to leave and begins to fuss. …Continue reading

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Touching base . . .

Have you ever noticed how kids run around freely for a period of time and then suddenly stop by to sit on their mom or dad’s lap . . . or lean on them . . . or “touch base” in some way? They may stop by for seconds or minutes, and then they are …Continue reading

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