Hold onto your sanity during the holidays

The holidays are a beautiful time of cheer, happiness, and love. You get to spend quality time with your families and truly enjoy one another. Leading up to the actual holiday can be stressful. Gifts, schedules, food, decorations, traveling, entertaining, and so on. It seems like the list gets longer every year. Before you pull your hair out and lock yourself in your room, here are a few tips to help make the craziness a little more manageable.

sanityMeditation or anything that soothes you is an activity you should make time for as often as you can. This can be classic yoga, or something as simple as taking a walk. Baking, knitting, and painting are also great stress relievers. Why? It’s an activity with a soothing repetitive action and that can reduce your stress and help you keep a clear mind.

Think positive thoughts. This might seem obvious, but often is not. Instead of going through the running list in your head, take time to think about something that makes you happy and relaxes you. It could be a dream getaway or even a memory that brings you ease.

Remember to breathe. Again, seems obvious since you do that every day without thinking about it, but when you are stressed your breathing can become shallow and forced. Take deep soothing breathes and even some yoga breathing exercises can reset your body.

Stop multitasking. Have you ever multitasked, and I mean more than two things at once, and not made a mistake? Doubtful. Take a moment each day to focus on one thing. Maybe your morning cup of coffee, or your favorite magazine. Doing so will help you focus when you need to later on.

Take time to chat with a friend, cuddle your dog, or even just hug your significant other. Doing so can help lower your blood pressure and release your stress hormones.

Give yourself a rub down. Release tension by rubbing your shoulders, neck, and stretching your arms. Even better if you have someone to give you a quick back massage.

Give yourself a time-out. Go to your happy place, whether it be a special spot in your home or on a bench in the park. Bring a book or listen to calming music. Everyone needs some time to themselves and this shouldn’t be an exception around the holidays.

Laughter really is the best medicine. Laughing and smiling bring all kinds of good things to your body and it’s something you probably do every day without realizing, so make it happen during the holidays too! Don’t take it all too seriously, and remember how joyful life is. That’s something sure to help you get through the holidays.


Things your child’s teacher wants you to know

teachersTeachers are an important part of your child’s life. They spend an entire day with them, teach them more than just math and social studies, and help shape their future. Remember that teachers work harder than you might realize, and before you’re ready to pick up the phone and give them a piece of your mind or march into the school to correct something they’ve done, there are a few things they might want you to keep in mind.

Teachers don’t have a 9 to 5 job. They’re often in the classroom way before the kids getting lessons ready for the day, and they spend hours on nights and weekends building their lessons. They tutor kids having trouble, they help with after school activities, they attend meetings with faculty and parents, and they stay up late into the night grading papers. They don’t have an easy job, in fact, they might have one of the hardest jobs there is, being responsible for shaping the future of the country.

Teachers spend the school year getting to know your child. Their likes, weaknesses and strengths, and their own personalities. They spend more time with your kids than their own. They want your child to succeed. So when you get a phone call or are summoned for a meeting to discuss problems your child might be having, don’t brush it off and think the teacher is blowing smoke. They know your child and want to help them succeed. Work together to accomplish it.

Teachers spend a lot of their own money to make their classroom a happy and safe learning environment for your children. As budgets get cut, teacher spend money out of their pockets to make sure your child has everything they need to make their year not only successful, but pleasant and maybe even a little bit fun too.

Sure, teachers have holiday breaks and summers off. But they don’t exactly have the world by the horns. Most teachers work second jobs to make ends meet during breaks, and some all year long.

Teachers aren’t happy when your child fails. Whether it be a bad grade on a bad test or behavioral problems, teachers aren’t out to get you. They’re on your side and want your child to succeed.

Teachers don’t make the rules, the school district does. Don’t blame the teacher for standardized tests or school rules. Chances are, they don’t like it either. Their main concern is your child and their success in and out of school.


Extreme Parenting, are we to judge?

We have all done it. We judge other people. We try not to, we really do. But it seems to be something ingrained in our nature as humans. Is she really wearing that? Does he really like that dorky game? Of course it’s not right, but we’ve all done it. You don’t have to raise your hands and confess or anything, we’ll just nod in agreement.

extreme parentingJust the way we judge others in every other aspect of life, we judge other parents. We all have a technique or a method to raising our children that we think is the right way, even the best way in our eyes. Maybe it’s the same way your parents raised you, or maybe it’s the opposite of your parents’ methods for one reason or another. Maybe you believe putting your kids in a preverbal bubble is best, or maybe you let them walk down the street without you. We have our ways, and we judge others for being different.

What about extreme parenting? That’s certainly a topic we hear about a lot. Bravo even made a mini-series about it. Extreme Guide to Parenting. I’m sure some of you tuned in, I certainly was curious enough.

There was a couple who was training their infant to tell them with hand signals that she was hungry or needed to use the bathroom. She went diaper less. They let her crawl about, sit in her high chair, the whole nine yards, naked. They said they could pick up on her facial expressions and body language and determine when she needed what. Did it work? Sometimes. But then there were many times when she went potty all over the beautiful hardwood floors. Of course I sat there watching with my mouth gaping open. Are these people crazy?

How about the parents who made their children do karate for the better part of their day? They were discouraged from being individuals or showing emotions. Just, wow.

Yes, we judge other parents. It’s natural. But do we ever stop to think that others may be judging us for the decisions we’re making with our children? If I don’t let my kids go out with their friends unless I meet their parents, am I an extreme parent? Are others stick their noses up at me?

I guess we’re allowed to have our opinions, but who’s to say we know what’s best for another person’s child? I think we can all agree no matter what style of parenting is used, that someday that child will grow into a healthy and happy person who is capable of making their own choices, even for their own child one day.