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Joyful Musings--a weekly blog

Joyful Parenting Coaching is focused on clarity, consistency, connection, being an effective parent, finding balance as a parent, and above all being a confident and joyous parent. Topics include communication, having difficult conversations, having constructive conversations, chores, routines, family meetings, 

Keeping Parental Anxiety at Bay

Elisabeth Stitt

Last week I wrote about how anxiety is affecting parenting by sharing the shift that I have seen in my 30 years of working with families.  This week I want to outline what I think are some key buffers against parental and (by extension) kid anxiety.  In light of the shootings this past week, it feels like I should be addressing the topic of how do you reassure children they are safe, but I still go back to my observation that the younger the child, the more the fears are the old ones that have always been there—being separated from one’s parent, fear of the dark and later fear of being made fun of.  Addressing children’s fears is an important topic, but today I am going to stay focused on keeping your own parental anxieties at bay. 

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A is for Anxiety

Elisabeth Stitt

According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, anxiety among children 6-17 is steadily on the rise.  Data from 2011-2012 found that 1 in 20 US children has an anxiety diagnosis.  That represents a statistically significant increase since the 2003 data; and one can only imagine that were the same data taken in 2018 that there would be a further increase.   The numbers only go up with adulthood:  18.1% of the over 18 population every year is found to have an anxiety disorder (This includes anxiety diagnoses like OCD and social anxiety in addition to General Anxiety Disorders, making it the most common mental illness in the U.S.).  Data on whether or not rates of anxiety have increased in general in the United States are inconclusive.  But from my own experience, that was one of the main reasons I made a shift from teaching kids to supporting parents, and I think my experience sheds light on what is typical.

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SETTING YOUR KIDS UP FOR SUCCESS WITH HOMEWORK

Elisabeth Stitt

Once the shine of the new school year wears off, it is time to settle into the routine of school. Here are steps for helping your child figure out how to handle the homework the teacher’s give her. Aid her in problem solving but recognize that if you tell your child how and when to do her homework, chances are it won’t work. At this stage, it is more important to help her develop her own tools for managing her work.

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That Child Is a Bully!

Elisabeth Stitt

THAT CHILD IS A BULLY!

Have you ever written off a child in your neighborhood or at your child's school as a bully?  It is easy as parents for us to get defensive and judgmental.   Bullying sets parents off and strikes a very sensitive chord, but lots of what we fear is bullying is normal interactions among kids—they just need the skills and the example to use it.

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Get Your Kids Eating Healthy with These Simple Steps

Elisabeth Stitt

Happy to be included among the experts sharing their tips in this article on healthy eating.  One other tip, not shared here, that a nutritionist gave me was Only feed your kids at the table.  That's one I wish I had learned when my daughter was a toddler.  That means no mindless snacking while in the car or on the couch.  I know my own health would be better if I followed that rule (and I would probably add to that, no mindless eating while scrolling through Facebook or checking your email).  Read HERE for some more great tips on getting your kids in the habit of healthy eating. 

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How to Keep Your Kids Active and Healthy in Today's Digital Era

Elisabeth Stitt

Among the reasons that electronics and screen time is problematic is that kids are on their devices when they would otherwise be doing something physical.  Fortunately, parents can use fun physical activities as a draw to get kids away from too much screen time.  Check out some of these ideas from some other experts and me on how to do that in this blog by Hania Syed of mydeal.com.au.  Personally, I find it easier to provide attractive alternatives than to have a lot of rules about when and how long their kids can be on their cell phones or iPads.  Of course you may still need to have firm limits, but it is much easier to get kids excited about some kind of project--especially when you are right there doing it with them--than arguing whether they can play just one more game or write one more post.  Click HERE to read on.  

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Reigning the Crazy by Limiting Your Kids' Activities

Elisabeth Stitt

In talking to parents this summer, one of the comments I have heard a lot is some theme or variation on how much better the children’s behavior is during the summer compared to the school year.  In other words, children who have enough downtime and sleep and fewer demands put on them, are more likely to cheerfully and cooperatively engage in family life.  

Children will be happier, healthier and more ready to learn with less hectic schedules and fewer demands put upon them.  READ ON for some ways to create that for your kids.

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How to Leave the Park Easily and With No Tears in 3 Easy Steps

Elisabeth Stitt

One of the great things about summer and school being out is being able to take your kids on more outings.  Some parents, however, find getting their kids to leave the beach, the zoo, the park—or wherever you have decided to go—without tears and tantrums so challenging, that they would rather stay home.  

Here are some ways to assure that you come home as happy as when you left.  


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6 Bad Habits All Parents Should Drop

Elisabeth Stitt

I was happy to contribute to this article on bad habits parents should drop.  I had cell phones on my mind--and getting them under control is absolutely important--but I love the points the other 5 contributors make, as well.  Probably one will resonate more than the others as being especially hard for you.  Focus on that one and consider what kind of plan you can come up for yourself. 

Click HERE to see which of the 6 Bad Habits Parents Should Drop you fall prey to.

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When in doubt, start by listening

Elisabeth Stitt

Penn State reported in 2015 in a 7-year longitudinal study that “Parents who have better co-parenting relations feel more supported and confident, less stressed and depressed and they show more warmth and patience with their children” (19 January 2015).  I love this! So many parents ask me how to keep their temper when they are overwhelmed.  This study shows that having the articulated support of your parenting partner buffets you against stress and being at the end of your rope.  

Want your partner to responding lovingly and warmly to your parenting ideas? Start by creating connection with ACTIVE LISTENING.

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Do You Support Your Children's Friendships?  The Social Benefits of Play

Elisabeth Stitt

One of the chief ways in which a child learns to be a good friend is through hours of interactions with friends and potential friends.  In fact, aside from reading, friendship might be the primary task of the lower elementary--even more important than any math or science skills kids learn as the primary of act of being human is to be social. Our adult health and happiness is closely related to having good friends to support us.  

Do You Support Your Children's Friendships? 

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How Play Leads to EQ Which in Turn Leads to Happiness and Success

Elisabeth Stitt

As there is more and more artificial intelligence (AI) in the world, there is more need than ever for little humans to learn Emotional Intelligence. Play is a tremendous vehicle for one’s own and others’ emotions. Being able to relate emotionally allows kids to function in school more effectively and therefore to be more ready for learning.

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Play Makes Kids Smarter (Maybe Even Than Being in Organized Activities)

Elisabeth Stitt

All parents want their kids to be smart. To support their children’s development they have enrolled their kids in more and more extra curricular activities. The irony is that these activities take up kids’ play time, and parents are grossly undervaluing the benefit of play to children’s cognitive development. You might be surprised by some of the ways that play builds both perception and critical thinking skills.

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Are You a Playful Parent? Do You Pull on the Power of Play to Engage Your Kids?

Elisabeth Stitt

Last night in my yoga class, the instructor asked us to dedicate our practice to being more playful.  That got me to thinking about the power of playfulness in parenting.  When I got home, I went to the Joyful Parenting Website and searched “play.” Twenty blogs came up in which I mention the power of play and being a playful parent.  That tells me what an important role I think play plays (ha ha, pun intended) for happy children and a happy home life.  That being said, I realize I’ve never devoted an entire blog to the Importance of Play. 

I do that here AND teach two playful techniques you can put to work in your family today.

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Is Your Child Spoiled?

Elisabeth Stitt

When it comes to “spoiling,” this is when I see problems:

  1. Parents deny their children something only to give in in the face of whiny, petulant, disruptive behavior.
  2. Parents give their children everything always, so children never learn to handle disappointment.
  3. Parents give their children everything always, so children develop a warped sense of entitlement and fail to recognize the difference between needs and wants.

Read on to find out the solutions. 

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Is Childcare Hurting Your Child?

Elisabeth Stitt

Teasing out what are the effects of child care--especially long term--on children is no easy task and, yet, is understandably one that has an enormous effect not only on our own children but also on society as a whole.  The truth is, researchers don't really know whether or how much childcare might be hurting us.  Here are my ideas.  

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Call it backbone, courage, determination or fortitude, it is all about GRIT and how we foster that in our children

Elisabeth Stitt

When most people think of grit, they think of “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”  While that is an example of grit, most grit is of the less dramatic kind—the kind which allows a person to keep trying in the face of obstacles large and small.  

Setting out to develop grit in your child sounds a bit draconian, but you do want your child to develop the kind of persistence that will allow her to pursue things even when the pursuing feels hard or not worth it.  The best way to do this is to help your child see herself as being in process and to see challenges as something to go around rather than as something to stop you in your tracks.  

GET 3 TIPS FOR HOW TO DEVELOP GRIT IN YOUR CHILD. 

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How Do You Teach Your Kids Emotional Intelligence?

Elisabeth Stitt

You've Got the ABC's Covered and the 123's Down.  But Increasingly, research shows the importance of Emotional Intelligence--and you are the person best suited to teaching it.  

Emotional intelligence is being able to recognize a wide range of nuanced emotions, and recognizing them, being able to regulate them and put them in perspective in a way that helps the individual move through life more easily.  

In my long experience in working with children, emotional intelligence can absolutely be developed.  The most important way in which it is developed is through interactions with thoughtful adults who are modeling and guiding kids in dealing with their feelings.

This blog shares some common behaviors of parents whose kids display emotional intelligence.

AND IF YOU ARE CURIOUS ABOUT HOW TO BOOST YOUR OWN EQ, CHECK OUT THIS BLOG ON "How can we use NLP to build Emotional Intelligence?"

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How to Support Your Shy Child

Elisabeth Stitt

As parents, we worry when our children are shy because we don't want them to suffer.  While the worry is understandable, our instinct to protect our children is not always the most helpful response.  Not wanting our shy child to be upset, we err on the side of either keeping him safe at home away from social situations or forcing him out into society in ways which just reinforce his insecurities.  Click HERE to read Julia Hammond of MyDeal.com.au's blog on finding the middle ground in supporting your shy child.  In addition to consulting me, she got tips from a behavioral expert and an art therapist.  

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5 Surprising Ways to Get Your Kids Up and Moving

Elisabeth Stitt

Is it potato chips and soda making kids obese?  Maybe not!  While a healthy diet is important, of course, new research by Dr. Asheley Cockerel Skinner of the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) finds that “it is becoming increasingly obvious that the lack of physical exercise in children is the main culprit in the startling rise of childhood obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and all other types of preventable medical conditions.”

If you are sick of nagging and arguing about it, here are some sneaky ways to assure your kids move their bodies without focusing on it being “exercise.”

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