Through all the various social medias, I keep finding myself funneled more and more to examples of “gentle parenting” and “respectful parenting”. Have I found myself agreeing 100% of the time? No. Have I found myself questioning my tactics and impulses as a parent? Yes!
I love learning, I truly believe there is always room to better yourself. If you havent been around long, my family is my passion. So you can connect the dots to why I find parenting styles, techniques, and children’s temperaments so intriguing!
One of my favorite accounts to follow on Instagram is Dr. Becky Kennedy, @drbeckyatgoodinside. If you think there’s any room for improvement in your parenting, I believe there is something on her page for you. She covers it all – boundaries for yourself and family, managing stressors, self-care, tantrums, whining, repairing after yelling, advice on siblings.. Everything! She shares in extremely relatable ways, and NEVER comes across as condescending.
Some of her posts that most resonated with me included, “This feels hard because it is hard” and “I’m allowed to do things for myself. Even if others are annoyed or inconvenienced.” A lot of her posts have been really eye-opening to me, specifically how I respond to my toddler, and how I can help myself slow down and connect with him instead of allowing big emotions of his to trigger my own. (If you ask Ash, he’ll tell you this is still a big work in progress.)
Another page that has really caught my attention is Generation Mindful, @generationmindful. Their page states their passion is to “raise an emotionally healthy world”. They have products to help “nurture emotional intelligence playfully”. I found the products advertised on facebook and followed to IG, and I enjoy their posts on tips like “teaching your child how to be mad” – not to not be mad. While I haven’t tried their specific products, I was especially interested in their idea of a “Time-In Toolkit” as an alternative to Time-Outs.
This is a concept that goes against what I soaked up before my own children; I had never thought a time-out was something considered “wrong” by some. The idea is instead of sending your child off alone to “think about x”, they instead go to this safe space/calming corner/time-in area, and together you co-regulate emotions (you know there’s a good chance the 3yo isn’t in the corner thinking about why they kicked sis, they’re just mad they’re not playing). They have posters, cards, activities, and a timer – all things to help them name their emotions, feel them, and choose how they would like to change it. “Name it, feel it, heal it”, their site says.
I thought it was a really neat idea to at least try to implement with my three-year-old; one of my biggest goals as a parent is for them to be kind humans. And if not for “time-out/ins”, it should make for a cute independent play zone!
While the kits I would say are reasonably priced, I’m always out to save a buck and am going to attempt to create myself! From pictures I’ve seen online, parents usually include some kind of poster with emotions (I’m going to try to find a free printable or make something), another with calming strategies (another online search), a timer or sensory bottle, books, and of course some blankets/rugs/pillows to make cozy (or maybe hitting/throwing for anger?).
I decided the sensory bottles looked like a fun place to start and an activity to do with my son. I had some of the supplies at home, and scored some perfect bottles on sale from our Walmart. We used bottles, water, oil, glitter, sequins, beads, and food coloring. If you had to buy all the supplies from scratch, it would have totaled $18.40 for 3 bottles and quite a bit of leftovers for other crafts. This would be less if you had any of those supplies at home already – which I’m sure you do!
(P.S. Walmart also has a give $10 get $10 going on on for those new to pickup or delivery if you want $10 off your first order! http://r.wmt.co/v/nicole_7083)
Next was the fun part, assemble! This is a great activity to let your little take the lead and be independent. Supervise the food coloring, but otherwise, I always say a little mess never hurt anybody! (and is also a good excuse to practice tidying after!) We did two bottles with water + food coloring + glitter + sequins, and to the other we added baby oil to have layers. This made for some cool science thinking seeing if the beads we added next would sink or float. Ash was pretty amazed how they stayed right in the middle. Last step I will be topping off with water/oil to fill completely and glueing the lids on.
I’ve seen parents suggest these in place of a timer – have your frustrated/tired/upset kiddos shake and jumble everything up as much as they want, and then sit and watch until they’ve settled. Then it’s time to talk and regulate!
Calm corner step one – complete! Next up I will be searching out some printouts. Hoping to be back soon to share what I find!
I would love to hear any ideas you have for our corner, or your thoughts on “gentle-parenting”! Comment below, email, or come see all the fun in action on our Instagram! @nicolelucashall