Parenting for Your Child’s Rhythm

Each one of my children is a beautiful human being. I love to spend time with them, watch them learn, and notice what they are interested in. I enjoy their company but some days I find this hard to keep in perspective because I’m just not up to it. This is when I try to remember that time is fleeting. While some days seem long, months and years pass by quickly. 

Child's Rythm

As much as I feel so blessed to enjoy this time with them and experience how precious they are, what I really want is to ensure they feel how precious they are and get to know themselves really well. So, even though I want to give them confidence, love, and a feeling of worth what is more important is that they are learning to give this to themselves.

I would like to ensure that my children are not drawing their self-esteem from what I want for them but from what they want for themselves. They can do this by finding the feeling of confidence that comes from spending time with themselves and following their own rhythm.

This can be interrupted so easily by the busyness of life, rushing children out the door, and placing too much weight on socializing with others. You have the chance to let your children become strong in themselves before sending them out into the world. When they have a true sense of themselves they will also have what they need when it is time.           

To help your children have this feeling you can learn to follow them. Test it out slowly by going at they’re pace just a little bit more often. This might mean going a little slower at times or speeding things up, giving them extra time to play around the sink when they are washing their hands, allowing them to take time when getting their chores done and taking into consideration their desired schedule.

Sometimes children doddle because they are enjoying themselves and other times it is because they are feeling controlled. When you follow them you learn to see the difference and realize that both are about needs that are important to them. Understand that they have their own sense of how they would like to move through their day and they often don’t get to follow it.

By giving your children chances to follow their own rhythm they are finding resources within that give them a certainty that the way they naturally move through life is valid and valued. By giving your children chances to enjoy time with them selves they are building strength in who they are. This is what brings them the confidence to be who they are, to be authentic in relationships with others and put themselves forward in all their endeavours. 

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Kaeli Van Regan is the founder of Living Inside Out. I combine my love of life and nature with education in Child and Youth Work, Life Coaching and Energy Healing to provide coaching to expand yourself and uplift your family. I live in beautiful Old Ottawa East with my husband and three children. There are tips and tools on the website www.livinginsideout.ca with a lot more coming in the next couple of months as information comes out about my upcoming book and program Parenting Your Way.

Twitter: @kaeli_van

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kaelivanregan/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVvQeRrM2EDjcPDM46BVmPg .

Get Outside with David Suzuki’s 30x30 Nature Challenge

My family and I love the outdoors. Whether we are cross-country skiing through Gatineau Park or kayaking on the Ottawa River, we love spending time immersed in nature. It is this love of the outdoors that has us eager to once again participate in David Suzuki’s 30x30 Nature Challenge. This will be our third year participating in the challenge as a family.

What is the 30x30 Nature Challenge?

The challenge is simple: get outside for 30 minutes a day every day in May. For some this challenge may be effortless, but for others it may seem nearly impossible – especially on cool rainy spring days or after a long day at the office. But once you make getting outside 30 minutes a day a regular habit, you’ll be amazed at how good it feels. 

Get the entire family involved!

Every year I enroll my daughter and I in this challenge. Whether we ride our bikes down our local trail, bird watch at a nearby wetland or hike with our dog at a local dog-friendly trail, we make it a point to get outside and in nature every day in May for at least 30 minutes. I’ll admit on busier days it can be challenging, but we hold one another accountable to make sure we do it (and we never regret it!). In our high-tech world I want her to remember how good it feels to unplug and spend time in nature - this challenge is a great way to do that.

Why participate?

We all know getting outside and taking in fresh air is good for us, and getting into nature is even better! Spending time in nature reduces stress and can improve a person’s physical and mental health.

For kids, nature provides a playground of endless possibilities – stick forts, hide and seek, scavenger hunts and more! My daughter is always finding “one-of-a-kind” rocks and pinecones on our nature walks.

Spending time in nature is a great way to teach your kids about the kinds of trees indigenous to the area. In fact, why not learn about a specific plant, bug or bird and then head outside to find them in nature? At our local suburban trail we often see rabbits, white-tailed deer and coyotes (from a distance), and soon the trilliums will be blooming!

Where can you sign up? 

Signing up is easy! Simply visit: http://30x30.davidsuzuki.org/ and enter your name and email address. You will be sent inspiring emails throughout the challenge and can follow other Canadians participating in the challenge by using the hashtag #30x30Challenge or #LoveNature on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Spring is a perfect opportunity to get outside and fall in love with nature. And even if you get outside on a regular basis, why not join the challenge and share with others how you spend your time - it just may inspire someone else to do the same! So, what are you waiting for?! Join the challenge! It starts May 1st!

 

 

Summer Camp at Starr Gymnastics!

gymnastics camp1

When you send your kids to camp, you want to know that they are safe, with good friends (or ready to make some new ones), and having fun all week long. You want the price to be reasonable and you want to feel that your children will come out of a five day journey with stories to tell and a desire to go back again. When they want more, you know you've made the right choice. Well, if you send them to Starr Gymnastics Summer Camp, you might be shocked when they tell you that this is the ONLY camp they ever want to do!

gymnastics camp 2

Your child's week starts with gymnastics. After all, that's what Starr does best! Every child will learn something! It might be that they learn to flip for the first time, or they finally get that cartwheel that they've been practicing at recess for the last month. Every athlete is made to feel special and will learn new skills. Even kids that take regular lessons will find they are doing tons of "outside the box" moves and twists. The purpose of the camp is to explore the less conventional side of gymnastics and really get excited about the creativity of the sport.

Follow Monday with some group games, trips to the park, crafts, weekly themes ranging from Disney Day to Space Day (yes, that's where they do gymnastics with glow sticks and black lights!) and you're left with the highlight of the week - Friday's BIG SHOW TIME. If your child is falling asleep in the car on the way home every day isn't enough satisfaction, you are invited on Friday afternoon to see a live performance of all they've learned, packaged neatly with music and cheers - in true big top style! The Coaches even put on a show, reminding the parents that your children are surrounded by true role models who love what they do!

gymnastics camp3

And that's another point that sticks with families that register for Camps at Starr. The staff are the most dynamic, caring and friendly people you will ever meet. They seem to genuinely have a passion for excellence, and they help every child achieve their best by inspiring them, not ordering them around. They are always approachable and happy to accommodate your needs whenever possible. Their flexibility (no pun intended) is matched only by their safety-conscious approach to the finer details of camp. You think you are dropping your kids off to learn gymnastics, but once you see how seriously Starr manages allergies, outings, lunch-checks, and attendance, you realize that you are getting so much more.

So it might not just be your kids that want Starr, and ONLY Starr! 

For more information - please visit www.starrgymastics.com or call their central office at 613-721-4868

Editorial note: this post was sponsored by Starr Gymnastics.

Simple Tools for Parents whose Children have Anxiety

child hugging

It is interesting that what makes you worry is the same thing that stops you from living your life to the fullest. It is moving into the future or moving out of the moment. Living in the present can be a present to someone who is living with fear, worry or anxiety.

Worries, fears and anxieties come from thoughts of the past or future. In separating yourself from these thoughts you are able to replace them with a more positive or peaceful way of being. The same principles are used to end the effects of anxiety and master your life.

Children can get into a way of seeing the world that brings them unwanted feelings. This may come from having parents who grew up with fear or anxiety or from other beliefs that they have formed.

Parents may fear they are not offering everything they can to their children. They may fear for the future success of their children or for the safety of their children. This shows that you are a concerned parent and want the best for your child. This desire, tools and some consistency will allow your children to move away from anxiety and enjoy the moments in their life.

When my son was in grade two he missed more than half of the school year because he was to anxious to participate or even attend. I realized that both my husband and I grew up feeling quite anxious. My husband felt like he really needed to protect our children and keep them safe and I never wanted to put our children in a situation where they felt uncomfortable for fear of them experiencing difficult feelings.

It wasn’t easy but the first thing we did was to confront our own fears and get ourselves into a place of personal strength so we could be supportive. At the same time we found ways to help him live in the present.

He is now in grade eight, living without anxiety as a self proclaimed positive tween. He has a few remarkable insights on the topic: I always knew that I didn’t have to worry but I didn’t know how, I know that life just keeps getting better and better and what is the worst that can happen?

The first step to any change that you want to see in life is awareness and as a parent you must start with looking at your self. You can do this by answering these questions: Why am I concerned about my child’s worries, fear or anxiety? Where do these concerns come from? What can I change so I am not projecting these feelings onto my child? How can I grow?

The next step is to look at your child and your hopes for them and you can do this by asking these questions: How is this affecting my child’s life? How do I want my child to feel?

Equipped with this information you have put yourself in a place where you can make some change. There are so many tools that you can use to separate yourself from these thoughts and worries including: becoming aware of them, mindfulness, separating your worry brain, changing your focus to a fun challenge, and increasing your positive energy throughout the day.

You can raise your positive energy throughout the day with any relaxation technique, by exercising, listening to music or by doing an energy exercise. Here is a link to a 17 second energy exercise video that helps by getting your energy moving across your body:

Kaeli Van Regan is the founder of Living Inside Out. I combine my love of life and nature with education in Child and Youth Work, Life Coaching and Energy Healing to provide coaching to expand yourself and uplift your family. I live in beautiful Old Ottawa East with my husband and three children. There are tips and tools on the website www.livinginsideout.ca with a lot more coming in the next couple of months as information comes out about my upcoming book and program Parenting Your Way.

Twitter: @kaeli_van

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kaelivanregan/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVvQeRrM2EDjcPDM46BVmPg .

How To Keep Your Child Rested During Travel And Still Have Fun!

Spring is finally here! Some people are in the midst of travelling for spring vacation or trying to finalize a summer getaway with their family. As a mom, the concerns I have while travelling with my three favourite people – my husband, four year old and almost two year old – are much different than my non-parenting days. Things I think about today: do I have everything for the kids – diapers, snacks, colouring books and oh, snacks – lots... especially if you are going to be going on a plane! Once packing is covered, the next question that pops into my head is: where will the children sleep and can we still have fun and keep routines in check? Absolutely! This is one of the most common questions I get as a Sleep Consultant. So here are my top three tips to keep your child rested during travel so that you can still have a fun family holiday!

1.     Don’t over-schedule: Remember how I spoke about how preparing before vacation is different once you have children? This same rule applies once you arrive at your destination. You now have a child that needs sleep to be at their best during the day. Let’s face it, an overtired child who is exhausted (picture dreaded melt down!) is not what you had in mind when you planned your family holiday. So, try to honour your child’s needs and remember his or her limits. You know how much your child can handle.  Some ways that you can still be flexible: plan a fun and eventful morning, with a more restful afternoon and a dinner out. Skip a nap one day or have it on the go (i.e. stroller or car) but make sure that you are back for bedtime.

2.     Get help from the sun: Are you travelling to a new time zone? The best thing you can do once you arrive is get onto the new time as quickly as possible. Children will normally adjust more easily than adults do. Sunlight can help shift your child’s biological clock during daytime hours, so open the curtains or better yet, get outside for a family walk. As you’re approaching bedtime, do the opposite – dim the lights an hour before bed, use black out blinds or room darkening shades to promote melatonin (the sleepy hormone that the body naturally produces).

Remember, the years of making sure that you have enough fishy crackers and raisins on the plane don’t last forever! So enjoy planning and going on holidays with your family – have an amazing time!

Diane Dauphinais

Diane Dauphinais is a Certified Sleep Specialist and owner of Sound Of Sleep Consulting Services in Ottawa, ON. She has had the privilege of helping families in the Ottawa area achieve the rest they seek both for the child and the entire family. Diane is happily married with two wonderful children who love their sleep!

Website: www.soundofsleep.ca

Facebook: www.facebook.com/www.soundofsleep.ca