Posts by Moody Baby:
Why author Angela Duckworth urges parents to let their kids struggle
,19 Jul 2019 in Tips
The author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth is an example of the kind of character she seeks to foster in the next generation. As the founder and CEO of the Character Lab, a nonprofit dedicated to children’s character development, as a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and as a mom, Duckworth is trying to teach parents to let their kids struggle and that success is a long game.
According to Duckworth, grit is “this combination of passion and perseverance over really long periods. So it’s loving what you do and working really hard at it for a very long time.”
During the latest episode of The Motherly Podcast, Sponsored by Prudential, Duckworth tells Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety, “One could argue that motherhood requires more grit than anything else because it is such a stamina sport and the grind doesn’t always feel like it’s working.”
As Duckworth explains, mothers can model grit every day by persevering in the face of challenging parenting moments, but we can also instill grit in our children, even very young kids, by encouraging them not to give up. It is so easy to tie a child’s shoes for them when we’re running late, but if we take a moment to stop and let them work through that challenge on their own we are being gritty and encouraging it.
“You let them struggle and you don’t solve their problems for them too early,” Duckworth tells Tenety, recalling a time when one of her daughters was struggling to open a box of raisins. “When she gave up and like walked away thinking that’s too hard, I did worry about her long-term grit. I was like, oh my gosh my daughter’s been defeated by a box of SunMaid raisins. But the important thing is that when you see your child struggle, let them struggle a little longer than maybe is comfortable for some of us.”
By not rushing to open the box of raisins for her daughter, Duckworth taught her an important lesson in perseverance: If you want something you have to keep working at it yourself because you can’t assume people will do things for you. This can be hard for parents because we often want to rush in and fix things for our kids, but Duckworth suggests we force ourselves to wait a beat and give our kids a chance before coming to the rescue.
“If you solve their problems guess what? They will not figure out how to solve their own problems if you make life a frictionless path. Then don’t be surprised when they are not very resilient,” she explains.
When we don’t do everything for our kids they learn that they are capable, and we’re cultivating a growth mindset. When we let our kids struggle and persevere, we’re teaching them that the ability to get back up and overcome challenges is more important than talent—we’re teaching them grit.
To hear more from Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, author Angela Duckworth about grit and growth, listen to The Motherly Podcast, sponsored by Prudential, for the full interview.
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Preparing for a move with a toddler? 10 ways to keep them a part of the process
,19 Jul 2019 in Tips
Relocating is one of the most stressful life changes families will experience, even more so when you add kids into the mix. Packing boxes and getting everything ready for your move with toddlers around can seem like an impossible task. You know the scene: You’re trying to pack clothing and lift heavy boxes, but they want to play and see everything that’s going on. But
packing doesn’t have to be a chore, mama.
Try these playful interventions whenever you’re struggling to keep your little one entertained.
1. Create special time.
Believe it or not, children want to help us. When they feel disconnected to us their behavior can go off-track. That whining, moaning, tantrumming toddler is sending out a red flag that says, ”Help! I need connection!”
So before spending a day packing boxes, be proactive and connect with your child. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes, and tell your child it’s their special time and they can choose whatever they’d like to do with you. As you play, shower your child with attention, so their cup is filled. This helps them to internalize a sense of connection to you, so they are less likely to demand it in challenging ways and get in the way when you need to focus.
2. Host a packing party.
Put on some music and make packing fun! Give your child their own box, and allow them some freedom to pack their own toys themselves—even if you go back and rearrange things later. Don’t seal all the boxes so they still have access to toys to play with. And remember that they’re bound to get distracted and start playing with every. single. toy. they pack away. Make sure they’re occupied so you can continue packing.
3. Try giggle parenting.
Giggle parenting is when you get a child to laugh to ease the tension. If you notice your child getting bored, or frustrated, giggle parenting can ease tensions, and give your child mini doses of connection to help their behavior stay on track.
For example, maybe you playfully say, ”I really need to pack this big object,” then you attempt to place your child in a box and exclaim, ”oh no, that’s not an object, that’s [insert child’s name!]” Or pick up a dirty sock and say with a playfully inviting tone, ”I really don’t want this sock to be packed” and put it on the floor. Cue your child trying to pack the smelly sock, and you can act playfully annoyed, and retrieve it from the box. Repeat as the long as the giggles keep coming,
It’s the perfect antidote to situations where they feel powerless and out of control. Spending 5-10 minutes being playful at various intervals throughout the day can help shift the feeling that something big is happening.
4. Pack with a puppet.
Although toddlers don’t always listen well, you will probably find that they are much more likely to respond to a plush toy or puppet
. So use a puppet to ask them to pack in a silly voice that gets them laughing. Or have a naughty puppet who removes items from boxes, while you act playfully frustrated. After a few laughs to release tension, your toddler will be more able to listen to you about what needs to be done, or will be more likely to play independently.
5. Use reverse psychology.
Good old-fashioned reverse psychology works wonders when trying to distract little ones. Say to your child in a playful way that you’d really like them to leave their toys on the floor, and not pack them. Then leave the room. They are bound to take this as an opportunity to pack things up, and you can pretend to be upset that they didn’t listen.
6. Turn packing into a race.
Older toddlers love to win so why not set up challenges to get them moving and competing? Have a race to see who can pack five things the fastest. Make it a close call but let them win, and act playfully disappointed when you lose. You could also try setting a timer to see how many things can be packed in 5 minutes or how long it can take to pack a whole box.
Use a trolley or a toy stroller to act as a delivery service. Ask your child to bring you items to pack. Pretend play gives them a sense of purpose, and a fun, novel way to be involved.
8. Take a break outside.
At some point during a full day of packing or moving, get outside, even if it’s just for ten minutes. Have a playful game of chase in your yard, or go to a local park. This can really help shift grumpy moods.
9. Stop for tantrums.
At some point during the day, tears and tantrums may come up. You may be tempted to stop tantrums, but this is counterproductive as it may just postpone the upset. Crying is a healing process for children, a natural way to release stress and tension, so the best thing you can do is listen and empathize. Be the lighthouse guiding your child out of the stormy seas of their emotions, and when they recover they will feel well-connected to you, and be much more willing to help in the process.
10. Remember to relax.
Do something for yourself, mama. Order takeout. End your day with snuggles and bedtime stories. Packing and moving with toddlers can be one of the most challenging jobs you can do, so well, done, you did it.
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In each phase of parenthood, I kept thinking the next phase would get easier
,18 Jul 2019 in Tips
The sound of my youngest son’s wailing filled the air. It was a meltdown of epic proportions. As his screeches pierced my ears and my eyes rested on his angry face, a thought flashed into my mind: I wonder if I will ever reach a sweet spot in parenting.
I like to imagine that somewhere in my future is a magical age where the daily demands of parenting lessen and I will finally have it (mostly) all figured out. It seems I have been waiting for and wishing for this “easy” time since the first few weeks of motherhood.
When my oldest was a newborn and I was fumbling my way through sleep-deprivation, I just knew as soon as he started sleeping through the night, then motherhood would be so much easier.
When he finally did master sleeping longer stretches, he figured out how to roll over. He would roll one way and get stuck. I would flip him back, and he would be good for about five minutes and then get stuck again. I just knew as soon as he was able to roll back over the other way, then motherhood would be so much easier.
After months of nursing, and then pumping, and then bottle-feeding, I just knew that once he was eating solid foods, motherhood would be so much easier because he would sleep better, and I wouldn’t have the enormous mountain of pump parts and bottles to clean each night.
Then he started to eat solid foods, and meal times were so messy and I quickly grew tired of constantly cleaning his highchair and the floor and the wall. I just knew once he could eat on his own, then motherhood would be so much easier.
I carried him everywhere because he couldn’t yet crawl, and my arms and back would ache. I just knew that once he could crawl motherhood would be so much easier.
And then he did start to crawl, and suddenly nothing was off-limits. I just knew once he was older and I wouldn’t have to worry about him falling down the stairs or jamming a toy into a light socket, then motherhood would be so much easier.
Then he started to walk, then run, and I worried about him running away from me in the store, running into a parking lot, or tripping on his wobbly legs and doing a faceplant into the sidewalk. I just knew that when he was older and better able to listen and communicate, motherhood would be so much easier.
Then he started to talk and protest, and have very strong opinions about everything and the meltdowns began. I just knew as soon as we were done with this age, motherhood would be so much easier.
As my sons have grown, each stage has brought new joys, but also new challenges. Some aspects of parenting have become easier, and others have become harder.
So does this parenting “sweet spot” I have conjured up in my mind even exist?
Do I just have to be patient and it will arrive one day out of the blue when my sons reach a certain age or I gain the perfect amount of parenting wisdom?
I kept thinking about this as my son calmed down and pressed his tired little body into my own. I gazed down onto his tear-streaked cheeks. I brushed the wispy strands of his hair with my fingertips. I paused at that moment to really soak him up as he cuddled on my lap. I let the tension of the previous minutes fade away.
And a new thought entered my mind. “I’m already in a sweet spot, right here and now. I don’t need to wait for one.”
Parenthood will probably never be “easy.” But it is pretty sweet, nonetheless.
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