Tag Archives: parenting tool

Parenting Tool: Reframe the Issue

reframe the question

One day my middle child took a very looooong time getting ready. I checked on her, my oldest child checked on her, my youngest child checked on her and she still was not ready. When she finally emerged from her room, she asked why we were bothering her. I said, “We were waiting on you to go to the park and meet up with friends.” “Oh, I forgot”, she said. “Why didn’t you say that?! I would have hurried up.” I am laughing a little as I write this because all I had to do was remind her of the reason we needed her to hurry up. She did not realize what was at stake. Now I know to reframe the issue in terms my children understand more clearly. Since then I have tried the reframe strategy and it helps a lot. Two examples of ways you can use the reframe strategy are listed below.


Situation 1

Parent: It’s time to clean up.

Child: ——–

Parent: The room is messy, clean up.

Child: What? Why?

Parent: Remember that when we have lego blocks on the floor, we step on them and get hurt. Now that you are finished with the legos, we need to clean up.

Child: Oooooh. Oh, right. It hurts to step on legos. Remember when I steppe don the blue one? I cried!

Parent: It does hurt. So let’s clean up.

Child: Okay.

The parent changed the frame from something she wants to a necessity for safety reasons. The adult can also offer to help the child clean up or make the activity into a game about colors, counting, or speed.


Situation 2

Parent: Please take the dog outside.

Child: No, I am busy with video games.

Parent: The dog needs to go outside to run otherwise he will chew our new toys because he will be hyper. My hands are full so I cannot do

Child: I am still playing video games, but I could do it in 15 minutes when I am finished with the games.

Parent: That sounds helpful and soon enough that the dog will be okay. I like that you offered a solution that works for both of us instead of sticking with “no”.

The parent did not back down when help was needed, however by explaining the situation in different terms, the child was better able to understand the parent’s viewpoint and offer a helpful solution. If there is no emergency, then it should be okay for a child to say they will help after a particular television show, board game, or phone call is complete. Both parent and child ought to be flexible when problem solving.

For more Parenting Tools, read my ebook titled Expand Your Parenting Toolbox: Create a More Peaceful Home.







Parenting Tool: Try It Again

again 2

A couple of years ago I began using a picture routine list with my son in order to help him transition from one part of our day to another. It helped with his meltdowns for a short time and then the schedule went to the trash can after a couple months of less than stellar results. As he grew older, he had less transition related meltdowns and I slowly forgot that we once created a schedule for him.

Fast forward to last week. Due to some changes in our lives, my son began having difficulty during our morning and evening routines. He knows the steps of getting ready for his day and getting ready to sleep, but was melting down quite often yet again. I decided to go back through the strategies we tried before in order to find one that helped.

I asked my son if he would like to help me create a new picture schedule for both our morning and evening routines. He agreed. There we sat at 9 PM looking through free photos we could download for our charts. Not only did he feel important, he also felt in charge of his routines. They are the routines I prefer, too. It was a matter of putting the routines on paper again so he could easily refer to them when needed.

Images courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, winnond, SOMMAI, Serge Bertasius Photography , Sira Anamwong, and foto76 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Images courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, winnond, SOMMAI, Serge Bertasius Photography , Sira Anamwong, and foto76 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Since creating the new and improved routine lists, he has had less meltdowns, enjoys trying to read the words we chose to include with the pictures, and reminds me what he has not yet completed. We worked as a team, which means we both won.

The moral of the story is that sometimes a strategy will work for a time, not work, and then work again. Sometimes a strategy won’t work at all, then you try it again years later and it works. Never say never to a peaceful, respectful strategy.


Parenting Tool: Wait

This blog post is an excerpt from the new ebook Expand Your Parenting Toolbox: Create a More Peaceful Home which can be purchased on Amazon.com.

 FINAL Cover

I know, this seems strange, but I’m serious.


If no one is in immediate danger…


Wait for your child to think, then respond.

Wake up a few minutes earlier and wait while your child dresses herself or toilets himself.


When calling your children inside for dinner, wait. They may be wrapping up a game or saying good bye to friends.


They wait on us quite often at the store, at appointments, while we are at work.

It’s our turn to wait.

Leave long pauses so your child can think and respond.

Leave the pauses so your children can bring up difficult topics they want to discuss.


Sometimes we are so busy talking, rushing, or yelling that we forget that patience can help de-escalate difficult situations and help us to better understand our children.

Take a moment.

Take a few breathes.


It’s their turn.


Listen and wait.