Worry About Yourself: Stop whatever you are doing and please watch this video: Worry About Yourself. I will wait. What did you see? If you have bigger kids, you will be kicking yourself that you were not more patient as they struggled and enjoyed struggling to take care of themselves. If you have little kids, you probably got a back spasm from re-watching what just happened this very morning! How wise is that child who knows that Dad should “drive," and she was just fine back there with her own project, worrying about herself. Seriously, how often are we half-dressed and un-kept and yelling at our tween to tuck in his shirt? Or we may not be at our ideal weight and we hear ourselves advising our child to monitor her food intake. Try the Worry About Yourself tool; it’s sobering and effective. Feel free to show the video to your kids, and you may also be using the Underused Parenting Tool of laughing, free of charge!
Working Out: I am passionate about working out as a parenting tool. Let me know if you think a 20-minute walking podcast with parenting tips would be of interest – I’m thinking about making one! The research on exercise and how it impacts our brains, our moods, and the quality of our sleep is so giant and amazing and so, so, SO overlooked. If I were Queen of the World, I would tolerate no complaining unless someone has a workout routine. And you guys, do not think I mean join a gym, workout for an hour and bench-press 200 pounds. No, I mean walk 20 minutes a day, download free exercise videos, ride your bike to work, do 10 minutes of abs one day, 15 minutes of arms the next and finish off with a stretch on the third day. Watch your anger melt away, your creativity blossom, your self-pity vanish and your resolve grow. Please e-mail me for specific suggestions; I have a million of them. I’m serious!
Routines: Neuroscience tells us that our brains don’t like to work hard. We often do the same thing we did yesterday. It is cognitively tiring to try something new, so we don’t. That means that whatever routines/habits we create in our family are what we will do, because it’s easiest for our brains. We all like to be on autopilot, kids included. Start slowly, build your routines methodically, and expect to see better results, less nagging, and diminished resistance to chores because "we don’t feel liiiiiikkkeee it." The FlyLady is my inspiration. Check her out! Think: Gas up the car every Thursday, laundry every Sunday, wipe the kitchen table down (has to be cleared to really do the job) every morning. You get the gist!