Thanks for offering to take questions. I love your books. I wonder
what you could say about how to help my five-year-old with his
fears at bedtime. I'm exhausted trying to get him to sleep. Thanks,
Amanda, Talk to your son about his worries and bedtime fears.
I believe it is always best to trust a child and treat his fears
respectfully. Trying to convince kids that there is nothing to
be afraid of only increases their tension.
A few ideas
you might try to help assuage his fears include:
a worry wish tree. (Check out p. 320-321 of "10 Principles for
Spiritual Parenting" for specifics.)
- Come up
with some kind of worry rock, or worry bead he can slip under
his pillow. The idea is he places his fears on the rock or bead
and lets it go for the night.
your son surrounded in a beautiful cocoon of light. Assure him
that he is strong and safe and his angels are always with him.
Best of luck
and don't forget to ask your son what might help him when these
fears grab a hold and fill him with terror. Ask him to close his
eyes and go deep within to that powerful inner voice for the answer.
See what he comes up with. Kids often have the richest source
of solutions for their own problems.
How can I make mornings less stressful in our house? I love the
idea above of cozy family time but seem to feel stressed a lot.
Thanks. Karen, mother of three.
Karen, Your morning preparation time can take on a less frantic
rhythm when you stop worrying about the "quality" of that time.
Give up the struggle of how things should go and connect with
your children while in action mode. Carry the baby, if you have
one, in a sling or Snugli while going about your morning routine
so you both have some warm contact to begin the day. If your kids
are older, ask them to help with the breakfast preparation. Create
order in your home so everyone knows where the car keys always
are, or the backpacks-everything has a place.
Light a candle
in the kitchen before mixing up the oatmeal or packing your lunch.
The flickering light magically casts a calming glow and can reshift
your frantic mind mode. It doesn't take any more time to light
a candle than to flip on the glaring overhead light but this simple
ritual can add a new tone to your mornings.
turning on the morning news as it pulls your attention from your
time with the kids and getting out the door. Instead, pop in a
Mozart CD and let the rhythm of classical music be your morning
We have three questions from our members regarding grandparents.
They are listed below with Mimi's response following.
My husband and I have settled in an area where we both live far
from our families. It is hard not having family around, and I
am often sad for my children that they don't live closer to their
grandparents and extended family. I had a very close relationship
with my own grandparents growing up, and would like to help my
children have the same with theirs. Do you have any suggestions
as to how I can help nurture my children's relationship with their
grandparents while not living geographically close to them? Thanks!
Mimi, We are moving to another state so my children will no longer
have constant interaction with their grandparents. We're all sad
about this. I'd like to find a special way to create memories
and share them with the grandparents. Have any ideas?
I'd love to hear your ideas on what parents can do to encourage
and support their children's relationships with grandparents,
especially long-distance ones. What can I do as a parent to help
my daughter (now almost three) to develop close relationships
with my inlaws? We only see a few times a year because of the
distance, but I'm thinking there are other traditions we can create,
using the phone, letters, etc. to help them to connect more often.
with their grandparents strengthens a child's sense of belonging.
"I belong to this family that includes Poppy, he is part of who
I am." The more a child can feel a part of something the less
he/she will fill that void with inappropriate choices.
connected is as easy as
Mimi, who are your own favorite authors?
a collage of pictures, People Who Love Me, to hang next to your
child's bed and include shots of his/her grandparents. Make
part of the bedtime routine saying goodnight to these important
members of his/her family.
- Sing a
silly little jingle:
Mama loves me
Pappa loves me
Puppy loves me
Kitty loves me
Grandma loves me too
- Talk about
grandparents and their history. Make their life stories an intriguing
part of your oral family tradition. I never tired of hearing
about my grandfather who rescued a drowning woman when he was
a teen or my grandparents romantic meeting on an ocean liner.
- Never speak
unkindly of your parents or your spouse's parents in front of
your kids. It gives very confusing messages.
My two favorite
pieces of fiction, this month, are "Peace Like a River" by Leif
Enger and "The Samurai's Garden" by Gail Tsukiyama. My favorite
nonfiction book of all time is "Creative Visualization" by Shaktia
I love your parenting prescriptions! I did the picture of "bliss"
with my 7 year old and at first she thought I was being silly,
but I drew one too and we exchanged. It was the best afternoon
we'd spent in ages. Thank you.
so pleased this was a lovely moment with your 7 year old. Do save
both of your pictures for a "blizz zap" on a day when you need
Do you have any tips for couples regarding putting intimacy back
into their lives?
In the busy
whirl of our lives we are expected to take care of so much--kids,
home, pets, job, health, appearance, finances--that we might lose
touch with our life partner. He/She is big enough to take care
of him/herself, we think, relieved that there is one less area
that requires our energy.
a more loving partnership by identifying small actions you might
take, for instance:
- Set up
time to articulate your shared goals and dreams. Don't call
these meetings "dates" because when life gets busy, it's much
easier to erase a "date" from the calendar than to reschedule
that you are in this partnership for the long haul. There probably
isn't as much time or energy to nurture the relationship as
you'd like during these years when your children are young,
but your time will come.
honestly, directly, and often--even if it has to be through
emails, notes, or phone messages.
television--no kidding. Many couples tell me that once they
got out of the passive evening television rut, they were able
to focus on their partners. Finally the kids are in bed, you're
exhausted and it's easier to zone out in front of some droll
programming then relate to the person sitting next to you. Your
marriage will blossom when you scale back the distractions and
use the quiet moments you have to be together.
Did you ever find it difficult to be a career mom and keep family
I have always put my family first. This choice has cut off a few
opportunities that made me feel a bit frustrated in the moment,
but ultimately worked out for the best. The truth is, I write
and speak about parenting so who could expect me to dismiss that
most important part of my life?
works in magical ways. Being able to be home when my kids get
off the school bus has always been a high priority for me. So,
writing books is ideal because I can shut off my computer and
be fully present when the children are here.
been some funny situations in this home/career balancing act.
One time I was on the phone with a big whig at a television network
talking about a television program I was doing on angels. I was
in my home office and my daughter, a toddler at the time, came
in and said at the top of her lungs, "Mom please wipe me."
Mimi, thank you very much for being our guest! If you have one
last message for us, what would it be? That said, we hope you
will be our guest again soon!
My last message would be to trust your instincts always. Your
innate wisdom and gut feelings can truly be your compass in parenting.
It isn't a one size fits all situation. Each child is different,
and each family is unique. Don't allow any expert to convince
you to do something that you feel innately isn't the right decision.
Oh and my last, last message would be to know that perfect balance
everyday is not possible. Look at the overall essence of the life
you want, and the balance you strive for and know that glimmers
of harmony will shine through the mundane.
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