Sheryl Jesin


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Why I LOVE Working Out at Home

For the past two years, I have been working out exclusively at home, with the very occasional spin class thrown in, and also with occasional outdoor runs.

It’s kind of funny, because when I first started working out at home out of necessity, I HATED IT!  I thought that I could only have a good workout if I left the house and either went to the gym or went for a run outdoors.  Those were my favorite ways of working out before having my third baby.  Once I had three kids,  it was pretty much impossible to get out of the house each day for a daily workout.

When Alex was 4 months old, I was feeling very frustrated as I was missing my daily workouts and a friend suggested that I join her in a home workout challenge ran by Bikini Body Mommy.  Not sure if you have heard of that program before, but it actually was pretty decent and I did it for about 60 days, and got some results.  However, I quickly realized that if I really wanted to lose the rest of the baby weight, I would need to incorporate healthy eating into my Bikini Body Mommy workouts.

That’s when I first heard of Beachbody and the 21 Day Fix. I was looking for a program that had short workouts you could do at home, and that included a simple and effective clean eating plan.   I did a few rounds of the 21 Day Fix, lost 15 pounds, decided to become a coach….and I’ve never looked back.

Yes you can get GREAT results at home!

OK…..back to my list!

Here are the reasons why I love to work out at home!

  1.  You don’t need to waste any travel time going to or from a gym – as a busy mom of three, I don’t have a lot of time to spare.  Even if the gym is just a 5 min drive from your house, it’s still 5 mins there and 5 mins back….and you have to walk from your car inside to the locker room….maybe change….definitely take off your boots and jacket if it is winter….that’s AT least another 5 mins on each end…..so that’s at least 20 mins wasted (probably much more).   That’s valuable time I’d rather spend elsewhere.
  2. You don’t need to worry about being late for a class – when you work out at home, your workouts start whenever you want them to.  You are never late for a class and you never have to rush to get somewhere on time.
  3. You can workout in whatever you want and never have to feel uncomfortable about other people looking at you – often I just workout in a sports bra and short shorts because that is the most comfortable!  I wouldn’t do that in a gym.
  4. There are no gross germy sweaty smelly people around you – if you’ve been to a gym before, you know what it’s like when a super sweaty smelly person gets on the treadmill beside you.  It’s even worse when they are hacking and sneezing and have a cold and should have stayed home instead of spreading their germs. Enough said.
  5. You never need to worry about childcare – these days I either work out bright and early before the kids wake up or sometimes in the morning when they are already up. Either way, I never have to worry about begging someone to watch them or about dragging them to childcare at the gym.   This was particularly useful when I was still nursing Alex and she wouldn’t take a bottle!
  6. Your kids get to see you work out and they learn from your example – I read something recently that said there are three ways that kids learn something:  by example, by example, by example.  If you want your kids to live active and healthy lives, be an example for them and show them how it is done!

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If you love to work out at the gym, and it’s working for you – keep doing it!

If you are struggling finding time for your gym workouts – consider working out at home!

If you aren’t currently working out, but wish you were – work out at home! It’s the best!  I started doing it out of necessity but now I truly prefer it over the gym.  I actually have time now to go to the gym or to go to classes if I wanted to, now that the kiddos are older and are in school….but I truly prefer my home workouts!

 

Want to try the 21 Day Fix?  I’ve gathered a great group of women who are all starting the program on Monday, June 20th and we’d love for YOU to join us!   Join our supportive community of women who help each other on their journeys towards better health.  Be a part of our group – work out everyday from the comfort of your home, learn about portion controlled clean eating and enrich your mind, body and spirit!  If you want more info, please shoot me an email at sheryl@ikor.com  or PM me via Facebook and I will get back to you ASAP with the details about the challenge. 

Follow me on Instagram – @sheryljesin

Follow me on Facebook – www.facebook.com/sheryjesinfitness

Find me on Snapchat – @sheryljesin


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Hammer and Chisel – My Results 8 Days In

Back in December, I decided to do the new 60 day home workout program from  Beachbody called Hammer and Chisel.   This program is intense and includes a variety of different workouts, including cardio, weights, power lifting, agility and plyometric training.  Following this program means working out six days a week for 30-40 mins at a time, and eating according to a portion controlled clean eating nutrition plan with the goal of chiseling out an amazing physique!


I was pumped and ready to start on December 14th.

I weighed myself to establish a baseline, but I never took before pics or measurements.  Big no no!  I always tell my clients that they need to establish their baseline before starting a new program so that they can see how far they have come.  I sadly did not listen to my own advice.

Then winter break came…I kept working out at the gym at Deerhurst as we were up north for two weeks, but my nutrition went out the window.  Let’s just say there was some pizza, some Dairy Queen and a bunch of muffins and chocolate.   And then to top it off, I got sick for a few days and missed some workouts.

 

Giant ice cream cake we got for Benny’s Birthday – NOT Hammer and Chisel approved

I just wanted to be honest with all of you – even though I am a coach, I am also human and sometimes I veer off track…very far off track.

However, I have seen some fellow coaches acheive awesome results on this program so there was no way I was giving up on it.  The only way to fail is to quit, and I was not going to quit!

Last Monday was my fresh start.  I did things right this time.  I weighed myself, I measured myself and I took my before pics.  I’m sharing all of this here with you for accountability:

Starting weight – 132.8

Measurements:

Chest – 33.5

Arms – 10.75

Waist – 28.5

Hips – 35

Thighs – 21.25

Before pics:

 

 I was determined that this time I would give my workouts my all.  I would push myself.  I would lift heavy weights and challenge myself.  I would stick to my meal plan 100%.

I’m so proud to say that week 1 was a huge success!

For me – doing the workouts is a no brainer.  Working out 5-7 days a week for 30-45 mins is just part of my routine.  I don’t always want to work out before I start, but I crave the feeling that I get when I am done.  I am addicted to the endorphins and how amazing I feel after my workouts.  I love that I don’t have to go to a gym and be around other sweaty germy people.  I love that I don’t need to leave my house on cold mornings.  I just love my home workouts!

The part that is more of a struggle for me is following the meal plan.

I am going to be totally honest here and tell you that I love desserts.  I love chocolate.  I love cookies.  I love all baked goods.  I also love eating by myself when the kids go to sleep.  It unfortunately had become a bad habit over the past few years – on most nights I would eat something once the kids are in bed.  It was my way to unwind after a busy day.  Sometimes it was healthy stuff like nuts or dried fruit.  Sometimes it was unhealthy stuff like cake and ice cream.   Either way, my body did not need those calories.  I knew that this after dinner habit was the main thing that was preventing me from losing the last 5-15lbs that had took resisdence on my stomach and upper arm/back area. (I give a range of 5-15 lbs because at this point I’m not quite sure what my ideal weight is.  I weighed 115 lbs before I had Dylan…is that an appropriate weight for me now?  I’m not sure…but I do know that my abs and triceps are hiding under a layer of fat and I want them to come out and say HI!)

Anyways…I digress.  My point here is that I have struggled in the past with nutrition and I believe that was the one thing holding me back from seeing defined muscles throughout my body, and in particular in my abdominals.

So…..I decided I would go all in with the meal plan for one week and see what happens.  If I survived week one, I would give it a try for week two and so on and so forth, until I completed 8 weeks.  I find it hard to commit to 8 weeks upfront, that’s why I decided to take it one week at a time.

How did I fare with the nutrition plan?

It was challenging at times, but I pushed through.  Often we are tempted to take the easy way out, to not challenge ourselves or go beyond our comfort zone.  I pushed myself way out of my comfort zone with the nutrition plan.  I measured out and planned out every meal.  We went out for dinner a few times and I stayed far away from desserts and bread and ordered a salad with protein (chicken or fish) and salad dressing on the side.  I ate at least 4 servings of veggies and protein a day.  I had ZERO sugary treats.  For me, I do better when I have NONE rather than SOME dessert.  When I have one cookie I want more and more and more.  When I have none, I am OK.  I learned this week that carrots are delicious and so is jicima.  Your taste buds really start to change when you cut out processed food, and real food tastes AMAZING!  I still ate carbs, but in the right portion and the right kind – ie sprouted grains, steel cut oats, quinoa and sweet potatoes.  I was not hungry but I was definitely not stuffed.  Sometimes right after I finished a meal, I felt like I could have eaten more, but then 30 mins later that feeling had passed.  I have energy to power through my workouts, so to me that signals that I am eating the right amount.  I have substitued my after dinner snacks with some tea and lighting a scented candle.  I’m creating a new habit that is healthier…and it seems to be working!

So what happened in 8 days?

I lost almost 5 lbs!  I went from 132.8 to 127 pounds.  Since having Alex I see the 120s every once in a while…but it hasn’t been consistent.  I feel good in the 120s and my clothes are fitting better.  I want to stay in the 120s!

I don’t expect or want to lose 5 lbs every 8 days on this program.  I know that the first week was getting rid of all the holiday fluff I had accumulated over the winter break as a result of carb overload.  I’m curious to see what will happen as I keep going.   However, I am making a promise to myself not to be obsessed with the scale – it is just one tool to use to track my progress.

Pictures:


I’m happy that there is a visible change in my picture!  My goal was to chisel out my abs and it seems like it is working, and it’s just been 8 days.

I’m thrilled with my results, and the visible change is pushing me forward to be strong and keep going!

I’m putting together my next 21 day health and fitness challenge.  We start February 1st.  If you have been wanting to start taking better care of yourself – this is the perfect opportunity!  Join my supportive community of women who help each other on their journies towards better health.  Be a part of our group – work out everyday for 30 mins from the comfort of your home, learn about portion controlled clean eating and enrich your mind, body and spirit!  If you want more info, please shoot me an email at sheryl@ikor.com  or PM me via Facebook and I will get back to you ASAP with the details about the challenge. 

Follow me on Instagram – @sheryljesin

Follow me on Facebook – www.facebook.com/sheryjesinfitness

Find me on Snapchat – @sheryljesin

 

 

 


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My results from the 21 Day Fix

I realized I never shared my results from when I first did the 21 Day Fix back in the spring of 2014!  I thought I would write about them today, in honor of Transformation Tuesday.

I first did the 21 Day Fix when Alex was about 5 months old.  I had slowly eased into exercising again when she was 3 months old.  It felt great to be moving again, but the scale was barely budging.  I had 10-15 lbs that I wanted to get rid of.  They were mostly situated around my midsection and it made clothes fit really funny – especially jeans – they were SO uncomfortable!

I knew I had to get my eating under control to see results.  Through social media, I had heard of the 21 Day Fix – and the nutrition plan caught my attention!  It seemed so simple to follow – just calclulate how many containers a day you need of different types of foods, and then eat them.

I was worried about maintaining my milk supply as Alex was still exclusively nursing at that time.  So I added in 500 calories each day and jumped in!  It was really easy to fit in the workouts – they were just 30 mins a day and I could do them at home.  I did them while Alex was napping or sometimes she would sit in her bouncy chair and watch me.   I followed the modifier at first to keep things low impact.

I did three rounds of the 21 Day Fix.  I was so thrilled with my results.   After the first round I lost 5lbs, I lost another 4 lbs in the second round and 5 more lbs in the third round.  15 lbs in total in 63 days.

After the 21 Day Fix, I fell in love with Beachbody, the company that makes the program.  I used to enjoy going to the gym, but with three kids it was just too hard to make time for that.   I learned so much about portion control – I used to think nuts are healthy (they are!!) but it’s really easy to overeat them and be in a calorie surplus for the day – even with exercising.  I realized also that I was not eating enough veggies or protein – both of which are very filling, nutrient dense but low in calories – perfect for when you want to lean out around the midsection.

In addition to losing weight, I also gained so much energy.   The four o’clock slump that I had been experiencing almost daily was gone.  I was waking up in the morning excited to do my workouts and plan my meals.  I say now that my workouts are my therapy – the endorphins I get from them boost my mood and give me energy to make it through my busy day.

As you can probably tell…I really love the 21 Day Fix.  I think this program is perfect for busy moms who want to learn how to fit daily exercise and portion controlled clean eating into their lives.   Yes – it takes dedication and hard work if you want to see results – but if you follow the program – you will 100% see results!

I’m putting together my next 21 day health and fitness challenge.  We start January 4th.  If you have been wanting to start taking better care of yourself – this is the perfect opportunity!  Join my supportive community of women who help each other on their journies towards better health.  Be a part of our group – work out everyday for 30 mins from the comfort of your home, learn about portion controlled clean eating and enrich your mind, body and spirit!  If you want more info, please shoot me an email at sheryl@ikor.com  or PM me via Facebook and I will get back to you ASAP with the details about the challenge. 

Follow me on Instagram – @sheryljesin

Follow me on Facebook – www.facebook.com/sheryjesinfitness

Find me on Snapchat – @sheryljesin

 

 

 


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How do you wake up at 5am?

Yesterday I wrote a blog post on why I enjoy waking up at 5am, and what I do when I wake up early.

Today I am going to write about HOW to make it happen – it’s easy to say that you want to wake up early – but how do you actually force yourself to get out of a warm cozy bed…especially in the fall/winter when it is cold and dark?

Here’s what I do:

Just do it!

I cannot force myself to go to bed early.  I really just cannot.  I can’t make myself go to bed early just so I can wake up the next morning at 5.   When I did my five day 5 am challenge, before the first day I just went to bed at my usual time (around midnight).  And I set up alarm for 5am and just got up.  I knew I would be tired by the end of the day, but that was good thing!  I literally could not keep my eyes open past 10pm the first day.  And that made getting up the next day that much easier!  The second day I was asleep by 9pm – which to me is perfect as it gives me 8 hours of sleep.  So – don’t force yourself to go to sleep early.  Instead – force yourself to wake up early for the first few days, and you will then automatically start going to bed early.

Find accountability partners!

For me – this is KEY!  I posted on Facebook that I was doing a 5 day 5am challenge and was looking for some friends to support me.  A few responded, I got their cell phone numbers, and now I send out a text to them at 5:30am every morning and we tell each other what workout we will be doing.  I feel accountable to them – and I will not let them down!  It is much easier to talk myself out of an early wakeup if no one is counting on me.  But when my friends are counting on me – I get up and I get to it! If you need an accoutability partner – that is what I am here for!  Add me as a friend on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sheryjesin and we can exchange numbers – I would love to add you to our accountability group.

Get ready the night before!

I know I will be working out first thing when I wake up, so I get ready for that.  For me that means laying out my workout clothes and planning which workout I will be doing.  Picking out my outfit only takes a few minutes, but I would rather do it the night before to save time.  Also – I find when I wear a cute workout outfit, it motivated me to push a bit harder.  Does that happen to you too?  LOL.  I will also spend 10-20 mins before bed tidying up, emptying the dishwasher, picking out the kids’ clothes and making at least part of their lunches.  It feels good knowing these things are done and it means I have more time for ME first thing in the morning.

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Do you wake up early?  Do you have any tips to add on how you make it happen?


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Short term vs. long term

Welcome to the July Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Philosophy

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared their parenting practices and how they fit in with their parenting purpose. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Lately I’ve been caught up in the daily grind of life with a 3 year old and a 6 month old: wake up at the crack of dawn, prepare and serve meals, clean up, breastfeed on demand, get baby down for a nap, keep preschooler away from baby during said nap, repeat until bedtime!  Let’s not forget the constant tidying up and laundry, and the herculean effort it can take just to make it out the door.   Getting through each day without any major meltdowns is an accomplishment of its own.  My thoughts are moment to moment and it can be hard to think beyond the next hour without getting overwhelmed, let alone the next week, month, or year!

Yet at the same time, it is so important for me to think about long term parenting goals or philosophies. Otherwise, I get lost in the minutiae of day to day life.   When I am caught up in the moment and short term goals, I forget about long term goals.   A few examples come to mind.   I often find myself taking off Dylan’s pyjamas in the morning while chasing him around the house.   The chasing continues as I put on his clothes for the day.   My short term goal is to get Dylan dressed and therefore I end up dressing him.   However, an important long term goal is to teach Dylan age appropriate life skills so he can feel a sense of accomplishment when he is able to do something alone.   The long term goal gets lost as I dress him in a rush so we can get out the door.   Here’s another example – sometimes during dinner I find myself feeding Dylan a few forkfulls of chicken or telling him to hurry up or asking him to finish the last few bites.   The short term goal is to finish the meal so we can move on to bathtime and bedtime, and to ensure that he’s gotten enough food in him so that he won’t be hungry at night.  The long term goal that I am missing is to allow Dylan to recognize on his own when he is full and what type of food he wants to eat, in order to create healthy eating habits for life.

Without long term goals in mind, life with two kids can be monotonous, boring and frustrating.   But when I stop and think about how my daily actions are influencing the lives of two little people, the daily grind doesn’t seem so bad. Instead of feeling bored, I feel inspired and purposeful.   Rather than being frustrated, I feel patient.

How do you reconcile your short term and long term parenting goals?

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon July 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • Between Love and Fear: On Raising our Children Sensibly — Mamma Earthly at Give an Earthly discusses the fear factor in parenting and how she overcame it, despite societal pressures.
  • really, when do i get my cape? — Sarah at small bird on fire is a working city mama trying to learn how to set aside her expectations of perfection and embrace the reality of modern parenting.
  • Baby, Infant, and Toddler Wearing — Child wearing is part of Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured‘s parenting philosophy. In this post, Sarah describes benefits of child-wearing and gives tips for wearing babies, infants, and toddlers (even while pregnant).
  • First Year Reflections — As her daughter’s first birthday approaches, Holly at First Year Reflections reflects on how she and her husband settled into attachment parenting after initially doing what they thought everyone else did.
  • Making an allowance — Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a guest post from Sam about the unexpected lessons giving a four-year-old an allowance teaches the child — and the parent.
  • How to be a Lazy Parent and Still Raise Great Kids — Lisa at Granola Catholic talks about how being a Lazy Parent has helped her to raise Great Kids.
  • Philosophy in Practice — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how her heart shaped the parenting philosophy in her home.
  • What is Attachment Parenting Anyway? — Gaby at Tmuffin describes the challenges of putting a label on her parenting philosophy.
  • Of Parenting Styles — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom talks about how she and her husband tailored various parenting styles to fit their own preferred parenting philosophy.
  • Moment by Moment Parenting — Amy at Peace 4 Parents encourages those who care for children (including herself) to explore and appreciate parenting moment-by-moment with clarity, intention, trust, and action.
  • Maintaining Spirituality in the Midst of Everyday Parenting, Marriage, and Life — Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured shares her perspective on finding opportunities for spiritual growth in every day life.
  • Parenting Philosophy — Lily, aka Witch Mom’s parenting philosophy is to raise child(ren) to be compassionate, loving, inquisitive, and questioning adults who can be trusted to make decisions for themselves in a way that avoids harming others.
  • Long Term — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis thinks about who she would like to see her daughter become — and what she can do now to lay a strong foundation for those hopes.
  • Connection, Communication, Compassion — She’s come a long way, baby! After dropping her career in favour of motherhood, Patti at Jazzy Mama discovered that building solid relationships was going to be her only parenting priority.
  • My Parenting Inspirations – Part 4 — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at her biggest parenting inspiration and how that translates into her long-term parenting philosophy.
  • A Parenting Philosophy in One Word: Respect — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction summarizes her parenting and relationship philosophy in one word: respect.
  • Knowledge and Instinct — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that knowledge and instinct are super important … as are love, encouragement and respect. It’s the ideal combo needed to raise happy and healthy children and in turn create meaningful relationships with them.
  • THRIVE!The Sparkle Mama wants to set a tone of confidence, abundance, and happiness in her home that will be the foundation for the rest of her daughter’s life.
  • On Children — “Your children are not your children,” say Kahlil Gibran and Hannah at Wild Parenting.
  • This One Life Together — Ariadne aka Mudpiemama shares her philosophy of parenting: living fully in the here and now and building the foundation for a happy and healthy life.
  • Enjoying life and planning for a bright future — Olivia at Write About Birth shares her most important parenting dilemmas and pours out her heart about past trauma and how healing made her a better parent.
  • My Parenting Philosophy: Unconditional and Natural Love — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares what she has learned about her parenting philosophy from a year of following her instincts as a mama.
  • An open letter to my children — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine writes an open letter to her children.
  • My Starter Kit for Unconditional Parenting — Sylvia at MaMammalia discusses her wish to raise a good person and summarizes some of the nontraditional practices she’s using with her toddler son in order to fulfill that wish.
  • Responsiveness — Sheila at A Gift Universe has many philosophies and goals, but what it all boils down to is responsiveness: listening to what her son wants and providing what he needs.
  • Tools for Creating Your Parenting Philosophy — Have you ever really thought about your parenting purpose? Knowing your long-term goals can help you parent with more intent in your daily interactions. Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers exercises and ideas to help you create your own parenting philosophy.
  • Be a Daisy — Becky at Old New Legacy philosophizes about individuality and how she thinks it’s important for her daughter’s growth.
  • What’s a Mama to Do? — Amyables at Toddler in Tow hopes that her dedication to compassionate parenting will keep her children from becoming too self-critical as adults.
  • grown-up anxieties. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life explains her lone worry concerning her babies growing up.
  • Why I Used Montessori Principles in My Parenting Philosophy — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why she chose Montessori principles to help her now-adult children develop qualities she wanted to see in them as children and adults.
  • Parenting Philosophies & Planning for the FutureMomma Jorje considers that the future is maybe just a fringe benefit of doing what feels right now.
  • Not Just Getting Through — Rachael at The Variegated Life asks what truths she hopes to express even in the most commonplace interactions with her son.
  • Parenting Philosophy? Eh… — Ana at Pandamoly shares the philosophy (or lack thereof) being employed to (hopefully) raise a respectful, loving, and responsible child.
  • Parenting Philosophy: Being Present — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses the changes her family has made to accommodate their parenting philosophy and to reflect their ideals as working parents.
  • Who They Will Be — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro shares a short list of some qualities she hopes she is instilling in her children at this very moment.
  • Short Term vs. Long Term — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes recounts how long term parenting goals often get lost in the details of everyday life with two kids.
  • Parenting Philosophy: Practicing and Nurturing Peace — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle sets personal goals for developing greater peace.
  • Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 1: The Yamas — In part 1 of a set of posts by Zoie at TouchstoneZ, Zoie guest posts at Natural Parents Network about how the Yoga Sutras provide a framework for her parenting philosophy.
  • Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 2: The Niyamas — In part 2 of a set of posts by Zoie at TouchstoneZ, Zoie explores how the Niyamas (one of the eight limbs in traditional Yoga) help her maintain her parenting and life focus.
  • Our Sample Parenting Plan — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shares hopes of who her children will become and parenting strategies she employs to get them there.
  • Philosophical Parenting: Letting Go — Jona at Life, Intertwined ponders the notion that there’s no right answer when it comes to parenting.
  • Unphilosophizing? — jessica at instead of institutions wonders about the usefulness of navel gazing.
  • Parenting Sensitively — Amy at Anktangle uses her sensitivity to mother her child in ways that both nurture and affirm.
  • how to nurture your relationships — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog believes that sometimes all kids need is a jolly good listening to …
  • Philosophy Of An Unnatural Parent — Dr. Sarah at Good Enough Mum sees parenting as a process of guiding her children to develop the skills they’ll need.
  • Life with a Challenging Kid: Hidden Blessings — Wendy at High Needs Attachment shares the challenges and joys of raising a high needs child.
  • Flying by the Seat of My Pants — Heather at Very Nearly Hippy has realized that she has no idea what she’s doing.


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Validating a Toddler’s Feelings

One way that we practice positive discipline with our 2.5 year old son Dylan is to validate his feelings.  We believe in Attachment Parenting’s “golden rule” of parenting, which is that parents should treat their children the way they want to be treated themselves.  Validating Dylan’s feelings is a way for us to put this “golden rule” into practice.

Here is an example.  Sometimes when I leave for work in the mornings, Dylan starts whining and crying a bit tells me not to leave.  Sometimes I can stay for home a bit longer and play with him a bit, and other times I have no choice but to leave right away.   My husband Jake is left to deal with an upset little boy.  He has discovered that it isn’t helpful if he tries telling Dylan:  Don’t cry!  Mommy will be home after work – I’m here with you.  Don’t be upset!   Dylan just tends to get more upset and the whining and the crying escalate.

However, Jake has had a lot of success with validating Dylan’s feelings and saying things like:  I can see you are sad.  You must really miss mommy when she is at work.   You are upset when she has to leave.  When Jake validates Dylan’s feelings, Dylan usually stops his whining and crying within a minute or two, goes to Jake for a cuddle, and then is happy and playing again a few minutes later.

The website eqi.org was founded by Steve Hein, an American writer who is an expert in emotional intelligence.  The site has a great page on validation, and explains validation as follows:

To validate is to acknowledge and accept one’s unique identity and individuality. Invalidation, on the other hand, is to reject, ignore, or judge their feelings, and hence, their individual identity.

When we validate someone, we allow them to safely share their feelings and thoughts. We are reassuring them that it is okay to have the feelings they have. We are demonstrating that we will still accept them after they have shared their feelings. We let them know that we respect their perception of things at that moment. We help them feel heard, acknowledged, understood and accepted.

Jake and I have also discovered that validating feelings not only makes our toddler feel better, but also helps us when we are upset or in the midst of an argument.  Validation leads to fewer arguments and conflicts, and brings us closer together.

It’s not always easy to validate Dylan’s feelings, especially when Jake and I are tired, frustrated and it’s the end of a long day.  But whenever we do, we are always pleasantly surprised with the results, and we are motivated to try it again, either with Dylan or with each other.


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Parenting a toddler with loving guidance

This post is written for inclusion in the Carnival of Gentle Discipline hosted by Paige @ Baby Dust Diaries. All week, April 26-30, we will be featuring essays about non-punitive discipline. See the bottom of this post for more information. 

  

I will admit that we went through a bit of a rough patch when Dylan started walking at around 11 months and went from a baby to a toddler.   When he was a baby I was able to meet his every need (to my best ability!) and his needs and wants were one and the same.   He couldn’t move very fast (he wasn’t a big crawler) so I didn’t have to worry about him getting into things until he started to walk.  We were actually in Florida for a month when he started to walk and when we came home I realized how un-babyproofed our house was!  We have a townhouse with lots of stairs and lots of cupboards.  We had lots of “stuff” everywhere – from magazines on end tables to bowls on coffee tables.  When we came home from Florida I realized I could not take my eyes off of Dylan for a second or he would be running towards the stairs or throwing something on the floor or getting his fingers caught in a cupboard door.  At a year he was too young to understand the repercussions of his actions.  So quickly we babyproofed our house and installed gates, locked cabinets and toilets, and removed all clutter.  What a difference it made!  I no longer had to follow him closely telling him no all the time.  He was free to explore our house and I could relax. 

I hadn’t given discipline or loving guidance much thought until Dylan became a toddler.  When he did I had to start thinking what felt right for me and right for us as a family.   I was spanked as a child and so was my husband (it was rare but it still occurred).   That is something that I never want to do to my children.  I believe that it simply teaches kids that the way to deal with a problem is through violence.  I also believe that children must be respected emotionally and therefore should not be yelled at or shamed.  However, children still do require guidance as they need to be taught what is acceptable in our society and also they must be protected from danger.  I try to guide Dylan through the use of modelling and teaching.  My husband and I try to model good behaviour and we try to teach Dylan and explain to him why or why not he is able to do something.  At the same time we try to understand what is normal behaviour for a toddler.  Getting into everything, climbing and exploring is normal.  Therefore we try to keep our house as child proofed as possible so that we are not always telling Dylan no or don’t touch.  If we go out our environment can’t be controlled the same way as it can at home but at least Dylan has had some time to explore on his own and have fun at home before we go out.   I also try to be consistent and repeat things over and over again until Dylan understands.   He is not one of those children who you can say no to once. 

Having realistic expectations and meeting Dylan’s needs can also help.  For example, I don’t expect Dylan to sit in his high chair at a restaurant for an hour and be happy.  I don’t expect him to sit in his stroller for a long time while I try to get shopping done at the mall. I don’t expect him to be happy if we are out near his nap time.  I work around his schedule and his needs and make sure that what we are doing is suitable for his attention span.  I will let him out of his high chair and a restaurant and sit on my lap or walk around outside if it is possible.  I will let him walk in the mall and make sure that we have time to play in a bookstore, or have snacks for him in his stroller if I need to get something done. 

Of course there still are rough patches.    I find that redirection helps a lot.  If he is doing something that I don’t want him to do, I ask him to stop and then I find something else fun or interesting for him to do. For example, if he is putting something in his mouth that he shouldn’t be, I will go right up to him, ask him to stop, take the item away and perhaps give him something that is safe to put in his mouth.  Just yelling no across the room will not work.  I find that if he is tired or hungry (or even worse, tired and hungry) small things can quickly escalate into tantrums.  For example, if I take something away that is unsafe and redirect under normal conditions, he is fine with it.  But if he is tired and/or hungry this can turn into a tantrum.    The best way to prevent the tantrum is to make sure he eats regularly and also that we are home when it is time for him to sleep. 

Chapter 15 in the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding provides a great resource on loving guidance.  I also really like  The No Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.  One interesting aspect of this book is that there is a chapter devoted to anger management for parents.   Pantley demonstrates that the management of parental anger can both help parents cope and also help them better manage their children’s behaviour.  I also like that this book offers a number of solutions to every problem rather than assuming that there is one approach that works for everyone.  In addition, the book has a summary of common discipline problems at the back of the book which is easy to refer to when needed. 


 

Gentle Parent - art by Erika Hastings at http://mudspice.wordpress.com/Welcome to the Carnival of Gentle Discipline 

Please join us all week, April 26-30, as we explore alternatives to punitive discipline. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the USA and April 30th is Spank Out Day USA. In honor of this we have collected a wonderful array of articles and essays about the negative effects of punitive discipline methods, like spanking, and a myriad of effective alternatives. 

Are you a Gentle Parent? Put the Badge on your blog or website to spread the word that gentle love works! 

Links will become available on the specified day of the Carnival. 

Day 1 – What Is Gentle Discipline 

Day 2 – False Expectations, Positive Intentions, and Choosing Joy (coming Tuesday, April 27) 

Day 3 – Choosing Not To Spank (coming Wednesday, April 28) 

Day 4 – Creating a “Yes” Environment (coming Thursday, April 29) 

Day 5 – Terrific Toddlers; Tantrums and All (coming Friday, April 30)