Kids are More Alive...Outside

 
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This spring, we went on a family ski vacation in Colorado where the days were sunny, the snow was fluffy and the smell of marijuana was plentiful. Oh Colorado…why have you made being the parent of a teenager even harder. And more importantly, why didn’t you pass this law thirty years ago? I’m sort of just kidding.

In our regular life, my family lives in the concrete jungle of Houston Texas. Houston earned the fattest city in America title a few years back. Impressive, right?

No, Houston doesn’t have a multimillion dollar ad campaign, (that I know of), attracting the couch potatoes of the world. It can be difficult to be active in a fresh air sort of way in H-town.

The weather is hot, humid and mosquito-ey much of the year. Well let’s just say, it’s not exactly a paradise situation for those of us who enjoy being outdoors.

I love fresh air and sunshine. I crave it. My husband loves sports like surfing and snowboarding rather than working out or going to a gym. I dream of sunny “un-buggy” California days where we could eat every meal al fresco and basically live life outside surrounded by dogs, kids and a sense of freedom.

The freezing cold buildings leave me with a constant feeling of damp discomfort during the excruciating summer months. The minute I enter a sixty seven degree air conditioned building, the hair on my legs begins to grow back from the goose bumps. Okay I’m exaggerating a little. I had the hair lasered off my legs years ago. If you haven’t jumped on that depilatory train, what the heck are you waiting for!

Alright, enough about hair removal. And complaining about Houston weather. And admitting to having a major case of geography envy. The truth is, we do wish we lived somewhere more beautiful and more conducive to an active outdoor lifestyle. I know that kids thrive outside...exploring in nature, playing with friends, using their imaginations. As a result, we do spend a good amount of time heading out of town and hitting scenic spots where we can unplug and well, breathe deeply.  

But as my twelve year old son, Cory, said recently on a short scenic hike while visiting Colorado, “I would love to live here and get to explore all the time but I’d want my friends from Houston to be here with me.”

Being outdoors and exploring natural beauty is my family’s happy place. However, I find that it’s the people in your everyday environment that create the most memorable moments in your life. My family lives in a big city inhabited by a warm, friendly and colorful group of interesting humans.

Someone recently told me that Houston is the most ethnically diverse city in the world. I don’t even know how to fact check that but it sounds way more brag-worthy than the fat thing so I’m just going with that for now. As Cory said, “It would be great to combine Colorado with the friends we love back home”.

We adore the people that live in our concrete jungle. I live in Houston. I love to be outside. I walk my dogs during the heat of the summer. I commit to the sweat and showering more than once a day. It’s part of the deal and I smell good most of the time.

And if you are lucky enough to get both - beautiful outdoor scenery shared with a beautiful community of friends and family, well then, you my friend have truly hit the jackpot  in my book.

And remember, kids feel more alive when they make memories with people they love...outside.

Randi helps parents, particularly ones with a strong willed kiddo, learn tools to raise confident, kind, and self motivated kids by improving the conversations in your family.

As the founder of  Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast and author of The Parent Gap, Randi helps parents keep cool and replace old patterns. Randi’s parenting motto is, “When our thoughts grow, the convos in our home flow". To learn more go to www.randirubenstein.com

 
 
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ABOUT RANDI RUBENSTEIN

Randi helps parents, particularly ones with a strong willed kiddo, learn tools to raise confident, kind, and self motivated kids by improving the conversations in your family.

As the founder of  Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast and author of The Parent Gap, Randi helps parents keep cool and replace old patterns. Randi’s parenting motto is, “When our thoughts grow, the convos in our home flow".

To learn more go to www.randirubenstein.com.

 

Are we in a new season for parenting?

 
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Similar to the calendar, we humans cycle through different seasons in our lives.

  A new season represents transition and change.

There are always pros and cons involved with change. The sunshine and lazy days of summer also come with mosquitos and excessive heat - well that’s the case in Houston anyway.

And even though the winter might involve skiing and snowmen, it can also be dreary, gray and depressing.


The same is true for new parenting seasons as well. Babyhood involves so many honeymoon moments.  AND it’s also known as baby boot-camp because it’s freaking exhausting!  

There's a reason sleep deprivation is used to torture prisoners of war. Legit!

Many of us excitedly anticipate our babies entering the toddler season.  Finally a full night of sleep.

And similar to the mosquitos of summer, toddlers are picky eaters who whine and have frequent meltdowns.

So how do we embrace  the new parenting season’s mosquitoes and heat? 


I believe that most of our parenting challenges - bedtime battles, morning mayhem, power struggles and picky eating, can usually be linked to entering a new parenting season without a realistic plan.

Just like you wouldn’t head to the beach in Galveston during the month of July without loads of sunscreen and mosquito repellent, (can you tell how much I hate mosquitoes), what’s your  plan as you enter your new season with your kiddos?

And even though we didn’t wear sunscreen in the 70’s and 80’s or use bug repellent, those things are now the norm.  

 


If your kids ignore your simple requests, it might be time to evaluate your communication methods.  If it feels like your people don’t seem to listen until voices are raised and tempers flare, it’s because the outdated model for raising kids is not effective in this new season upon us.

Our world is very different. It's a new season.

Let’s say you decide to wear your winter clothes in May because you grew up in Chicago and May in Illinois is still sweater weather.

Well now that you live in Texas, that beautiful cashmere sweater feels like pure sweaty misery if you wear it in May.

The seasons are very different in these two states.

Well the same is true for raising kids during the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and even the 2000’s.

The parenting wardrobe that was perfectly comfortable during those seasons are producing miserable results in your current seasonal environment. 

The old parenting conversation, the way most of us were raised, was designed for a different season.  It was simply the way things were done back when.

The history of the old parenting model is rooted in a world where the objective was to raise compliant factory workers...be obedient, listen to authority and keep your mouth shut so you will grow up and have job security.

I have yet to meet a parent that dreams of their kid growing up to live a life wearing baby blue zip up jumpsuits and punching a time clock. No, no. We are raising innovators, thought leaders and problem solvers.

 
The old parenting conversation involved threats, rewards, punishment and bribes because that season for parenting in our country was preparing our kids for a simpler season.

A simpler world.

This new season involves a “new parenting conversation” where you’ll experience cooperation without aggression.  

Have you ever worried that your harsh words are accidentally extinguishing your kid’s bright light?  

This new productive parenting convo feels better for a reason. It involves empathy, teamwork and rich connection. 

This is what will support the innovative thought leaders that our kids will grow up to be in our future season.  


The new parenting conversation is fresh, friendly and progressive for the season of growth and innovation we live in right now. The future season is bright.

Embracing this new season for raising kids  is the equivalent to being the change you wish to see in the world. 

 

 
 
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ABOUT RANDI RUBENSTEIN

Randi helps parents, particularly ones with a strong willed kiddo, learn tools to raise confident, kind, and self motivated kids by improving the conversations in your family.

As the founder of  Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast and author of The Parent Gap, Randi helps parents keep cool and replace old patterns. Randi’s parenting motto is, “When our thoughts grow, the convos in our home flow".

To learn more go to www.randirubenstein.com.

 

Childhood Technology Addiction Epidemic

 
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In this episode, I discuss the documentary Screenagers and the silent screen addiction epidemic that we are facing as a society. 

I had been wanting to attend a screening of Screenagers and was coincidentally invited to be a panelist at a private school in my home city. Needless to say, I had a pit in my stomach as I watched the reality of what we are facing in terms of screen addiction and how it affects our kids and ourselves, frankly. 

The documentary validates much of what I teach when it comes to looking for a quick pleasure fix in the form of a screen. The movie includes the latest research in neuroscience and how screens affect our dopamine receptors in the same way as hard drugs. When our kids grow up on screens, we are literally hardwiring them for drug addiction. Super scary.

I happen to love technology myself. It’s the reason why I can create a podcast and share it with you. I struggle and worry about many of the issues mentioned in the film with my own kids so I could totally relate.  The conversation after the screening involved the feeling that we are immersed in uncharted territory when it comes to the effects of screens on our kids’ developing brains. Rules and regulations are needed and right now we are educating ourselves, increasing awareness and beginning the conversations that must happen to keep our kids safe in this new virtual reality surrounding their childhood. 

I share my thoughts on how to handle adopting tech rules in your household as well as how to conduct a productive conversation with your kids about this uncharted subject matter. And as always remember that whether it’s technology, sleep, food, school work or whatever the subject concerning your family, the steps are to:

  1. Adopt a set of rules
  2. Repeat them often 
  3. Follow through consistently. 

Technology rules that are productively communicated is a great example of how to set your family up for success rather than constantly fighting about this very present modern issue. I share some of my own family rules and conversations about technology in this podcast.

Topics covered: 

 

 
 
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ABOUT RANDI RUBENSTEIN

Randi helps parents, particularly ones with a strong willed kiddo, learn tools to raise confident, kind, and self motivated kids by improving the conversations in your family.

As the founder of  Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast and author of The Parent Gap, Randi helps parents keep cool and replace old patterns. Randi’s parenting motto is, “When our thoughts grow, the convos in our home flow".

To learn more go to www.randirubenstein.com.

 

The Time Out Alternative for Strong Willed Kids (and their siblings:)

 
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In this episode, I discuss time-out; the punishment that many of us have used to replace spanking. We are often misguided to believe that it’s this progressive humane improvement when it’s potentially just as damaging emotionally as spanking is physically. 

I know many parents are simply looking for resources to teach their kids the difference between right and wrong. The punishment model has rarely been questioned in years past and yet, all the researchers and experts tell us that it’s ineffective. It accomplishes the opposite of what we want - stronger connections with our kids and effective measures for teaching appropriate behavior. Punishments like time out and spanking are divisive, polarizing and teach our kids not to trust us. 

One of my favorite new quotes that I coined recently is, “We don’t own our kids. Owning people is called slavery...not childhood.” Slavery is illegal. Our kids are little people. 

Our job is to teach, guide and keep our little people safe. Punishment does not teach anything other than teaching our kids to lie to us and become sneaky when doing things that will result in a punishment. When we punish our kids rather than having productive communication, we teach them not to trust us. 

The research and child development experts report that kids under the age of 12 do not change their future behavior based on punishment. They are actually incapable of doing so. 

The REAL way we teach kids appropriate behavior is by establishing rules, repeating them often and following through consistently. When the rules are broken, we teach them how to become calm and calmly discuss the situation. When everyone is calm, we empathize and find out what’s underneath the misbehavior. Then we state the rules, set a boundary and possibly enforce a logical and related consequence. We follow through consistently. 

This is the recipe that leads to changing the convos in your home even when your kids are behaving like total turkeys. Your welcome.

Topics covered: 

 

 

 
 
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ABOUT RANDI RUBENSTEIN

Randi helps parents, particularly ones with a strong willed kiddo, learn tools to raise confident, kind, and self motivated kids by improving the conversations in your family.

As the founder of  Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast and author of The Parent Gap, Randi helps parents keep cool and replace old patterns. Randi’s parenting motto is, “When our thoughts grow, the convos in our home flow".

To learn more go to www.randirubenstein.com.

 

Early Rising...it's exhausting! (By guest writer: Cory Greenberg, sleep consultant)

 
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You’re aroused from your pleasant dream about margaritas on a Mexican beach by the screeches of, “MOMMY, I’M AWAKE!” 

You roll over and look at the clock:  5:15AM. 

No, just NO. 

Last week it was 6AM, then a day later it was 5:50, the day after that it was 5:35.  And here you are, 5:15.  You think there’s no chance your toddler is going back to sleep, so you stumble into his room as quickly as your exhausted body will take you so he doesn’t wake up the whole house. 

You turn on Mickey Mouse so you can at least mainline some coffee.  Give the kid a banana and try to doze on the couch until the rest of the world wakes up. 

If any of this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.  Early rising is one of the most common toddler sleep issues and it's a tough nut to crack. 

There are a hundred causes, and it’s often the last piece of the sleep puzzle when I work with families.   It can be stubborn in its persistence because by 5AM, your kids have slept many hours, and their “sleep tank” has been filled.  It doesn’t need much more. 

So if they wake up around that time, it’s just harder to roll over and go back to sleep.  Lets break down the most common causes of early rising and how to fix them.

1. Bedtime is too late

This is the #1 cause and one that is counterintuitive.  Weissbluth was right when he said, “Sleep begets sleep;” I’ve seen it many times.  If your child goes to bed later than their natural rhythm expects and needs, they get less restorative sleep early in the night, leading to less restful sleep in the early AM hours.  A teenager is able to go to bed at midnight and wake up at noon, but a toddler…not so much.

Most toddlers should be in bed between 6 and 8 PM.  If they’re cranky, and can barely make it through dinner...make it 5:30PM. I know it sounds uncivilized and ridiculously early.  Trust me, you want to speed through their nighttime routine and get them to bed or you will pay in the morning as you wake before the roosters. 

Many parents think they’ll wake for the day at 4AM if they shift bedtime that early.  It really doesn't work that way. And it’s important to watch your child’s cues—tired trumps the clock every time.

2. Too much light, improper room temperature, or outside noise

Even a sliver of light entering your toddler’s eyes from outside can signal the brain that it’s time to wake up.  Rooms that get too chilly between 4 and 6AM when our core temperature is at its lowest can certainly cause a wake up.  Is there a trash truck or a pesky bird that’s making noise?  Get some thick black-out shades, set the room temp between 68 and 72, and think about a white noise machine or a loud fan to mask any outside noise. These are the easy ones to fix!

3. Insufficient or too much day sleep

Kids under 3 DEFINITELY still need a nap.  Most kids up to 4 need them.  If their growing brains and bodies don’t have the chance to rest during the day, they’re most likely going to bed overtired.  And over-tiredness at bedtime can easily cause early rising (see the reason I noted in #1).  On the other hand, if they’re making up for insufficient night sleep with a 3-4hr nap, you may be continuing the cycle of early rising—their sleep is distributed improperly. 

Sigh...I know—it’s complicated. 

These are the most common causes and solutions for early rising, but as I said, it’s not always an easy fix.  If you’re still doing the zombie shuffle after making these adjustments, I can help with a more in-depth look at what’s causing the issue and we can work together to make a plan to deal. 

Cory Greenberg is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant and helps families from pregnancy through age 4 with a variety of sleep challenges.   

cory@sleepforallconsulting.com    http://www.sleepforallconsulting.com/

 

3 Top Parenting Tips for Picky Eating

 
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Dinnertime with my 3-year-old is a nightmare. She complains about EVERYTHING. She thinks I’m a short order cook. I make her what she asks for, then she won’t even take a bite and places her “order” for something different. I am fed up and frustrated. How can I get her to stop acting like a dictator so we can have a peaceful dinner as a family?

Dear Hard Working Mama,

I hear many stories just like yours so please know you are not alone. I can tell you will go to great lengths to feed and nourish your little people.

Unfortunately, contrary to what most folks think, this has probably turned into a situation that has to do with something besides food or nourishment for your little Napolean.

Yes, there are some exceptions. If you have a kiddo that is sensitive to textures or has a gag reflex, he may have sensory issues.  This can be easily resolved by working with a great Occupational Therapist.

The REAL issue going on for the other 93% of us is a little more challenging to resolve.

Mom, I’m going to need you to pull up your big girl panties and really listen up if you truly want to quit your job at the diner as a short order cook.

I respect you too much to tiptoe around the truth here so I’m just going to level with you straight up. You have to be willing to allow your kid to choose not to eat.

I know. I know. You have a million reasons why this will never work. Little David will get low blood sugar. Or Rachel will wake up in the middle of the night and disrupt the whole family’s sleep.

Three days. Seventy-two hours. That’s about how long it will usually take for a hungry dictator to turn back into a regular picky eating toddler without the unreasonable demands and power struggles.

That’s right. It’s normal for kids ten and younger to be picky.  They have an extremely unsophisticated palate. Foods with strong flavors overpower their highly attuned taste buds.

Once a kid begins to grow vertically from baby to toddler, their body starts to thin out.  During this stage, it’s not uncommon for food to become much less interesting even for your baby that was “such a good eater”.

Some helpful tips are to create rules around pantry surfing and to stay on top of snacks. If you allow your kid to fill up on pretzels and Goldfish in between meals, then be prepared for a picky kid that relies on “filler” foods to sustain them. Obviously, this is not ideal.

We want our kids to be well nourished and “to grow big and strong”. That’s our go to line when it comes to eating broccoli or spinach. It happens to be rooted in truth.  

Now don’t worry. This is not about serving up fancy adult food and going all tough love on your kid.

No. No. You are going to use your mama brilliance combined with your common sense.  You will find a happy medium between kid and adult foods that work for the whole fam.

Okay, so you’ve got down the logistics, right? Well now comes the real challenge. We’re friends, right? I mean I’ve given you some really valuable and helpful info so far so please don’t shoot the messenger on this one.

The real obstacle has to do with your mindset. You have to be willing to stop arguing, pleading and dancing like a circus monkey for baby Napolean.

This is the hardest part. I wish it were easy for a loving mom like you to simply go cold turkey and stop giving in to unreasonable demands. No more jumping through hoops and then losing it when dinner number three is ungratefully snubbed.

I get it. You just want to get some decent food into your kid’s belly. It’s not easy to say, “Oh you don’t like anything on your plate tonight. Remember after dinner the kitchen is closed so keep that in mind when you’re choosing not to eat anything.”

Oh and don’t kill me but that’s just the beginning. You will also have to deal with a bad attitude, arguing and maybe even a meltdown.

It will be terrible for about a week as you consistently follow through; refusing to react or negotiate with your little terrorist.

It will take approximately one week to be promoted from short order cook at the diner to highly esteemed manager at Chili’s.

Your new job may not serve elegant French cuisine but you’re also not slaving away in a grease pit for pennies on the dollar.

It’s civilized. People listen to you. There’s something on the menu for everyone. And best of all you get to be the hero when you serve the chocolate molten cake!

Bon Appe’tit, Mama

 
 
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ABOUT RANDI RUBENSTEIN

Randi helps parents, particularly ones with a strong willed kiddo, learn tools to raise confident, kind, and self motivated kids by improving the conversations in your family.

As the founder of  Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast and author of The Parent Gap, Randi helps parents keep cool and replace old patterns. Randi’s parenting motto is, “When our thoughts grow, the convos in our home flow".

To learn more go to www.randirubenstein.com.

 

First Comes Love. Then Comes Marriage. Then Comes Baby...

 
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Seventeen years ago I turned to my husband and declared, “We are either hiring a marriage counselor or taking a parenting class.” My sweet husband of four years looked at me like I was crazy at the time. Now I think even he would admit that it was one of the defining moments of our life together.

To back up a sec, you see our lives had sort of been on autopilot and well I’m not really an autopilot sort of gal.  We dated for two years and then he popped the big question. Typically, the next traditional step would have been engagement and then a joyous wedding a year later.

But oh no. My rebellious self decided I had never really dreamt of a big wedding and it seemed like a lot of planning for one expensive night a year in the future. It was fairly easy to convince my guy to blow the big wedding part off. He was like, “Whatever. Sounds good.”

The decision came after I stayed home from work one morning. By noon I had pretty much planned a tropical wedding. The hitch was that it would take place in three weeks …in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.

Never a dull moment. My husband should’ve known then that life would always involve a curveball or two with yours truly.

So four years later in our living room surrounded by our toddler boy and our crying newborn baby girl, it wasn’t a huge surprise to my husband when I suggested something slightly off his radar. He was starting to get used to my declarations that might throw him for an unexpected loop. In less than five years we had gone from a jet-setting couple heading to elope on the beach to one having conversations involving therapists and parenting class.

I think it can be easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of diamond rings, wedding dresses, registries and parties. It’s a fun and memorable time for sure. AND I think it’s important for couples to remember what the wedding hoopla represents – an actual marriage and possibly building a family together.

Unfortunately, once you get past the wedding fun, the next stages of building a life together often comes with a lot of stress, especially when it comes to the baby in the baby carriage part. First of all, babies and little kids introduce a certain level of torture to their parents in the form of severe sleep deprivation. Yes, there is a reason this tactic is used on prisoners of war.

On top of all that, when you become parents, there is this weird moment when you realize that your husband had a totally different upbringing than yours. There are compromises to be made as you become your own unique little family. No small feat. This is what led to my declaration at 5:30 p.m. on a random day in 2001 about taking a parenting class or meeting with a marriage therapist. Just as I had wanted to fast track the engagement to get to the marriage, I wanted to get to the merging into one family chapter sooner rather than later. Somewhere deep within, I knew time was of the essence to figure this out and to truly be on the same page as parents.

I’m not sure that this is something you can really prepare for during the early stages of love and marriage. I think this is one of those learning through experience things and you have to actually experience becoming parents together before the magnitude really sinks in.

Growing and raising people together is a big deal. There are highs and lows like you’ve never experienced. There are more tests than you could’ve imagined and your patience will wear oh so completely thin.

I often tell people about that pivotal moment in our life together as a couple in the living room at 5:30 on a random day in 2001. I’m so grateful we decided to ask for help creating our family team. It’s a big deal to merge two separate childhoods into one. Weddings are beautiful and joyous and fun. AND building a family together as equal partners is the true bliss.

 
 
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ABOUT RANDI RUBENSTEIN

Randi helps parents, particularly ones with a strong willed kiddo, learn tools to raise confident, kind, and self motivated kids by improving the conversations in your family.

As the founder of  Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast and author of The Parent Gap, Randi helps parents keep cool and replace old patterns. Randi’s parenting motto is, “When our thoughts grow, the convos in our home flow".

To learn more go to www.randirubenstein.com.

 

The Best Parenting Tool for Raising Resilient Kiddos

 
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My son, Cory (11), called me all verklempt the other morning on his 1st day back to school after winter break. He couldn’t find his soccer cleats and shin guards.

The team had an “away” game and they would be leaving school at 2:45PM to drive  by school bus to the game. “Could I search high and low and bring the stuff he needed up to school ASAP???”

I didn’t correspond with him again after that morning call. I didn’t bring his stuff. I didn’t even look for it.

Cory had promised the night before school was back in session that everything was cleaned out (room, locker, backpack), good to go in the morning & ready to start a fresh semester.

Then he calls me scrambling in the AM. I had a pIt in my stomach anytime the thought of his little shin-guard and cleat-less self  at the game entered my brain. ALL. DAY. LONG.

As moms, we don’t want our little people to suffer AND that’s when they get to learn from their greatest teacher...natural consequences.

I called him at 3pm. He was on the bus. He was happy. He said he thought his stuff was in his locker at school but he remembered it was in his sport’s bag at home. He borrowed stuff from another player that wasn’t playing in today’s game.

He figured it out. But this is not the big win.

The win is that I resisted swooping in to save the day and then feeling resentful. When I fix my kids’ screw ups, I usually find myself in lecture mode giving them the big coulda/shoulda/woulda lesson.

NEWSFLASH: These lessons are totally unproductive and really piss off our kids rather than teaching the important life lessons we want them to know.

I gave him the space to freak out AND figure it out. I didn’t solve the problem or add to his stress by browbeating him about being human and making a mistake. To do so would have been hypocritical. Ask my husband – he will happily tell you about all the mistakes I make on the daily.

Not fixing is a hard thing to do as a mom. Yay me❤

 
 
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ABOUT RANDI RUBENSTEIN

Randi helps parents, particularly ones with a strong willed kiddo, learn tools to raise confident, kind, and self motivated kids by improving the conversations in your family.

As the founder of  Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast and author of The Parent Gap, Randi helps parents keep cool and replace old patterns. Randi’s parenting motto is, “When our thoughts grow, the convos in our home flow".

To learn more go to www.randirubenstein.com

 

Tips to Turn Your Family Getaway into a Luscious Vacation Rather than a Torturous Trip

 
 Me and my hubs on our family vacay - December 2017

Me and my hubs on our family vacay - December 2017

Recently, my family enjoyed a tropical and lush vacation in the Bahamas. The water was crystal clear, the weather was similar to a perfect day in San Diego and the adult naps were plentiful.

The reason I’m referring to our winter Bahamian getaway as a vacation and not a trip is because my children are 19, 16 and 11.  I’m joking! Well, sort of. I will share with you my top 3 best tips to enjoying your next out of town family getaway even if you still have little people tugging on your leg 24/7.

First of all, can we establish that there is a big difference between a vacation and a trip? A vacation involves rest and replenishment. A trip involves taking your family to a different geographical location and often includes even more work for the mama than your typical daily routine at home. This is the scenario we want to avoid at all costs. It’s exhausting, not fair and no fun for anyone. Because as we all know, an overworked and exhausted mom frequently finds herself in the parent gap; the gap between the parent you want to be and the one you currently are when you are exhausted and your kids are getting on your last nerve.

Chances are, you’ve dropped a decent amount of cash on this trip as well as the time it took to plan and travel to the divine destination in hopes of making special memories. So without further ado, here are my top 3 tips to make the most out of your memorable family getaway:

Tip #1: Set Realistic Expectations – “Less is More”

I know you have that fantasy of filling photo albums with amazing memories doing tons of super cool activities in exotic locations. However, trust me when I tell you that playing Julie, the cruise director from The Loveboat, will never amount to that with little kids. Someone will always have a tummy-ache or a tantrum as you are about to embark upon your adventurous day. You will find yourself frustrated, disappointed and maybe even feeling downright resentful. No fun.

The memories happen during the in between moments in life. That $1000 day involving swimming with dolphins usually ends in a hunt for the pharmacy carrying Calamine lotion needed to treat the skin rash your little one with the sensitive skin broke out in from the extra salty water.

Schedule a basic activity like playing on the beach or visiting a pretty park in the morning. In the afternoon, run your lil guys like puppies before an early dinner.

Tip #2: Prioritize sleep

Little people and big people require lots of sleep. Period. Little kids are exhausting to care for and when they are exhausted, they are simply…No. Fun. At. All.

Flexibility in terms of naps and bedtime schedules sounds great in theory and is usually a nightmare in reality. Prioritize rest at all costs. Plan a good ol’ fashioned siesta after lunch for the whole familia. If your teeny ones are beyond the napping phase, this is your green light to hook them up with a great Disney flick while mom and dad read, rest and regroup.

Enjoy an EARLY casual dinner and honor the same nightly ritual as you do at home; bath, books and bedtime before 8:30PM.

Put yourself to sleep by 10:30PM as well. I know you don’t want to. Do it anyway.

Tip #3: Say No Way to Martyr-hood

In our society, there is a phenomenon regarding women doing too much for others and not giving the same love and nurturing to ourselves. This is especially prevalent for women caring for kiddos. We do EVERYTHING. Subconsciously, we think it’s our job to think, plan and do it all. Stop doing this immediately. Newsflash: There is a better way and it takes the martyr out of motherhood.

Creating a family team at home and on vacation is key. Delegate and teach your people how to fish and make meals for life rather than constantly providing a bunch of fish dinners. Yes, it takes more time to teach and encourage your 3-year old to dress herself. Yes, it is frustrating that you have to spell out the small daily tasks and responsibilities to your partner. Take a deep breath, direct, teach and ask for what you need.

Embrace your role as the pack leader AND support every valuable member of your team by delegating tasks small and large.  Allowing each individual to add to the collective whole builds confidence and connection.

This is the final tip that will strengthen your family’s foundation no matter where you find yourself geographically – at home or in an exotic rainforest. Spending time together as a cohesive team will have you vacationing together for years to come and creating precious memories for a lifetime.   

 

 
 
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ABOUT RANDI RUBENSTEIN

Randi helps parents, particularly ones with a strong willed kiddo, learn tools to raise confident, kind, and self motivated kids by improving the conversations in your family.

As the founder of  Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast and author of The Parent Gap, Randi helps parents keep cool and replace old patterns. Randi’s parenting motto is, “When our thoughts grow, the convos in our home flow".

To learn more go to www.randirubenstein.com.

 

How to Raise Kind, Grateful & Not Entitled Kids

 
Kind Confident Kids

We want our kids to appreciate all we do for them.

We want them to grow up feeling grateful for all the opportunities they have been given.

Like a great education and living in a nice house.

Their basic needs are not only met but we exceed their expectations on the daily.

You are a parent that over-delivers in pretty much every way when it comes to your kiddos.

You prioritize your role as mom or dad above all else in your life.

Your end game involves raising good people.

You want your kids to be kind, confident, self motivated and well…not jerky.

So when our kiddos talk back, have messy rooms and expect us to buy them stuff just because…

We feel frustrated and maybe even angry.

We lecture about not being spoiled and having a hard work ethic.

We worry that their current behavior is evidence that they are not going to turn out the way we hope.

The problem is that lectures are ineffective teaching lessons in the game of life.

Kids learn by what they SEE rather than from the words they hear.

So what’s the solution?

How do we instill the character defining lessons we deeply want our kids to live by?

The answer is simple.

Stop talking about it.

JUST. DO. IT.

Live by the values you aim to teach.

Show your kids how grateful you are for them and this beautiful life.

Tell them each and every day how THEY are your gift.

Work hard and model a strong work ethic each and every day.

Want your kiddos to honor and respect you?

Treat your kids with honor and respect by respecting the way kids effectively learn.

Kids learn by what WE behave rather than by telling them how they SHOULD behave.

Anytime you witness your kids working hard on a project or showing up as a kind friend, son, or brother tell them that they are a person of good character.

Be a mirror for all of your child’s accomplishments and remind her to feel proud and celebrate herself.

The way to teach our kids gratitude and to ward off entitlement is not through words and lectures.

It’s by modeling the behavior you want from them.

Be an example rather than sharing your opinions.

That’s the simple solution.

Tell your kids that you hit the jackpot because THEY were born.

I am incredibly grateful for each and every parent in this trailblazing tribe learning how to improve the conversations in your home and parenting with empathy rather than lecturing.

Together we are changing the world.

One. Family. At. A. Time.

 

 
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ABOUT RANDI RUBENSTEIN

Randi helps parents, particularly ones with a strong willed kiddo, learn tools to raise confident, kind, and self motivated kids by improving the conversations in your family.

As the founder of  Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast and author of The Parent Gap, Randi helps parents keep cool and replace old patterns. Randi’s parenting motto is, “When our thoughts grow, the convos in our home flow".

To learn more go to www.randirubenstein.com.

 

Time for a Parenting Makeover?

 
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Have you ever noticed how businesses that have been around since forever usually need some "freshening up"?

In my neighborhood, JCPenney and Hobby Lobby fall into this category for me.

These stores are tired, outdated and in desperate need of a makeover in more ways than one.

If you’ve had the displeasure of visiting either of those companies in the last decade, you are nodding yes right now.  

It’s like a 1987 time warp.

By the time you exit the building, you vow never to return.

And then a year or two goes by and you find yourself in need of a quick school uniform or a glue gun.

So you return to the aesthetically displeasing store.
 
You appreciate their inventory upon first glance and wonder, "Why don't I come here more often? There is such good stuff and it's so dang cheap."

And then...you approach the cash register area to purchase your cart full of stuff that your life would have been perfectly complete without thirty five minutes earlier.

And what should take two minutes to purchase takes twenty.

That's eighteen minutes of your life you can never get back.

You feel robbed of your precious time. 

There have been advances in the modern world where high performing software systems make paying for purchases fast, friendly and easy.

Unfortunately, Hobby Lobby and JCPenney have obviously not gotten this memo.

Upon leaving the store, the feeling of dejavu’ floods your body as you vow never to return.

When it comes to raising your kids, do you aspire to do things the outdated JCPenney or Hobby Lobby way? 

If you are fed up with your kids ignoring rather than cooperating with simple requests, it might be time to update your software.

If it feels like your people don’t seem to listen until voices are raised and tempers flare, you are not alone as you continue to resort to outdated discipline systems.

There is a “new parenting conversation” that accomplishes cooperation without aggression.

It feels better for a reason.

Because it’s a more effective way to raise kids. Period.

It's sort of like deciding whether to shop at Nordstrom or Penneys.  

At Nordstrom, everything is so fresh and friendly.

I love their climate and business model.

I can check out quickly because Nordstrom has efficient and current software.

Otherwise known as computers in this day and age.

I’m pretty sure Penneys and Hobby Lobby still use cash registers.

The old parenting conversation, the way most of us were raised, reminds me of Penneys.

It was simply the way things were done back when.

The history of the old parenting model is rooted in a world where the objective was to raise compliant factory workers.

I have yet to meet a parent that dreams of their kids growing up to live a life wearing baby blue zip up jumpsuits and punching a time clock.

No, no. We are raising innovators and problem solvers.

The old parenting conversation involved threats, rewards, punishment and bribes.

The new parenting conversation is fresh, friendly and progressive.

It’s like comparing Nordstrom to Penneys.

No comparison.

Conscious parenting and the new convo between parents and kids is better.

Only. In. Every. Single. Way.

 
 
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ABOUT RANDI RUBENSTEIN

Randi helps parents, particularly ones with a strong willed kiddo, learn tools to raise confident, kind, and self motivated kids by improving the conversations in your family.

As the founder of  Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast and author of The Parent Gap, Randi helps parents keep cool and replace old patterns. Randi’s parenting motto is, “When our thoughts grow, the convos in our home flow".

To learn more go to www.randirubenstein.com.

 

The 3 Best Things a Mama Can Do for Your Kids to Have a Successful School Year

The new school year is upon us and I know many of us struggle with the morning chaos.

We love our people BIG and as moms, we want everything for them.

We want them to do well in school academically and to feel successful.

We want them to be happy socially and to feel included and confident.

We want to do everything we can to support them in achieving these goals.

We believe that when they feel successful and confident, they will be happy humans.

Unfortunately, sometimes we focus our energy on areas we have no control over and can accidentally become part of the problem rather than contributing to the solution.

Here are my tips for how you can truly support your kids to have a successful and happy school year:

1. Sleep - kids in preschool and elementary need to be asleep by 8:30 PM and to wake up no earlier than 10 hours later. In this day and age with tech and all the artificial stimulation available, kids require sleep training and structure from the get go.

2. Breakfast - It doesn't need to be a big ordeal on weekdays. A simple smoothie packs a punch. Sometimes I do a whole wheat waffle with peanut butter with a few blueberries or banana on top.

I am by no means a health coach or food expert. My kids love sugar and crap.

I like for them to get the best start possible before school. I want their brains in primo learning mode.

3. Leadership - Showing up as their fearless positive leader and the family team captain, I set the tone for the day.

As their mom, I can do 3 simple things to support their brains and bodies for the best day possible:

1. Bedtime - a well rested brain learns at optimal capacity

2. Breakfast - a well fed brain learns at optimal capacity

3. Leadership language for a stress-free morning - a brain that has feel good hormones rather than stress hormones flowing (yelling, nagging, lecturing cause rising cortisol) learns at optimal capacity

Influencing their day in the ways where you actually have the power and ability will empower your kiddos to handle the curve balls that life will inevitably throw their way (like a mean teacher or being left out on the playground).

 

Where your focus goes, energy flows and from here your results GROW.

 

Focus on the 3 things you can do to send your kids out into the world ready to be their best selves!

1. Sleep

2. Food

3. Positive Leadership - words of encouragement and support rather than nagging, yelling or a chaotic morning will be the emotional armor that protects them

 

    What is one small baby step YOU can do TODAY to bring calm to the chaotic weekday mornings in YOUR household?

     

    You’ve got this.

    Do you want to ensure the best school year ever?

    Do you want to surround yourself with more supportive resources to truly take action and improve your life and family ASAP?

    Join me and a likeminded parent community in the course, Close the Parent Gap (CPG) Basics. The fun begins soon. You want to improve your family and your life yesterday. Don't miss the window to be a part of this. The results are going to be BIG. Sign up here.

     

    Below are some pics of a super quick breakfast this morning in the Rubenstein household:

    • Red Velvet smoothies...I eyeball the amounts of these ingredients so don't ask for exact recipe. It takes maybe 2 minutes to make and I don't nag them if they only take 2 sips.
     Red Velvet Smoothies

    Red Velvet Smoothies

     Red Velvet Smoothie Ingredients

    Red Velvet Smoothie Ingredients

    To learn more about my 6 week parenting course that will ensure the success you deeply desire for your people, read about it here and reach out to me if you would like to hop on a call to discuss if it's right for you. randi@randirubenstein.com.