We're on the same team now!

When we started the workshop with Wendy, we were seriously wondering if we were ever going to see eye-to-eye with our child. Everything was a challenge or a negotiation, and we were exhausted! Literally one week of implementing Wendy's techniques changed our dynamic for the better - even after one day, we noticed her attitude shift - it was as if she was thinking, "Wow, wait - my parents might actually GET me!" We are now on the same team with her, and she feels and knows it, and shows us daily. It's been such a positive eye-opening experience!

- Courtney & Brett

Gimme a spring Break!

I get Spring Fever every year.

I lose my focus, I buy clothes in pastels and I get obsessive about planting my garden. Kids get spring fever too and it can be totally exhausting. Bedtimes get pushed back, more sugar seems to sneak in (hello Easter candy) and we’re left with little patience to deal with the daily disasters!

We’re stressed out because we want kids to get their homework done, go to bed on time and give that salty attitude a rest! But this time of year it feels impossible.

I get it.

You need some tools to combat meltdowns when kids have to come inside from playing, manage the bedtime delay tactics and tackle the lack of focus when it comes to schoolwork and chores. The good news is…I got your back!

Stick to a sleep schedule: Look at your calendar and figure out what bedtime will really work for you, then stick to it. Notice how long the bedtime routine takes and plan accordingly. If sports schedules make getting your youngest to bed one time then…

Get Help: Call in the support system to help you keep your kids on a schedule, it’s a short term investment for a less stressful spring.

Give lots of choices: These can be simple; two choices for snack, the length of time they can play outside (30 minutes or 25 minutes), which sport they’d like to play, when they will do their homework (after school or after dinner). This takes us out of the role of ‘commanding’ kids and let’s them take control in a healthy way.

Talk About It: Have a family meeting to discuss the spring schedule with your kids. Be sure to let them have input, ask them a lot of questions and come to some agreements about ‘lights out’ time, chores and homework.

Mix Things Up. Have breakfast for dinner, eat outside, make up a new game. Sprinkle in a little fun and shake things up.

Put these ideas to work for you. And if you’re looking for more great ideas and support, I’ve got just the break you need. Join me for my online workshop Happy Parents & Thriving Kids to get ALL the strategies to you need to manage spring fever AND get set up to survive summer!

Happy parenting!

Hugs or High Fives?

Short of pulling my kids out of sports, what can I do to protect them?

I’m a former gymnastics mom, a cheer mom and a soccer mom. I’ve seen lots of good and some of the bad up close and personal. I wanted to share some of my strategies with you. Bottomline for parents: It’s our job to arm our children with the tools they need AND be vigilant as their parents. Keeping open lines of communication and trust is key.

Here are some thoughts on how you can take steps to protect your children.

  1. Talk about it. Use age appropriate terms and examples. But please don’t pretend that sexual abuse doesn’t happen. Kids need to understand that their private parts are just that … perfectly private.
  2. Have their back. Oftentimes perpetrators of abuse gain control of their victims by threatening them with horrible things if they ‘tell’. Make your kids aware of this. Tell them that the bad guys will say scary things like “I’ll kill your family if you tell on me.” Tell your children that even if that abuser says scary stuff, it’s your job as the grown up to protect everyone.
  3. Let them know that you will call the police and take action to keep them safe.
  4. Give your kids permission to resist. We want to raise compliant, lovely children who are polite members of society. Guess what? Kids don’t always have to be compliant, especially if they feel uncomfortable or scared. Give them the words and they actions they should use if they find themselves in an inappropriate situation. Let them know it’s okay to scream, hit and be rude to protect themselves. Many of our kids need to hear this from us. Especially because sports like gymnastics require kids to be compliant, suck it up and follow orders.
  5. Hugs or High Fives? Again, kids can say no to physical contact that they don’t want. Many coaches give kids hugs after a great gymnastics routine. And as long as that’s okay with the coach and the athlete it’s perfect. But if a child does not want to get a hug you can teach them to offer their coach a fist bump or a high five. Our children should be able to make choices about how much physical contact they are comfortable with receiving.
  6. Be present. Show up when you can. Let coaches see you watching practice. Duck into the locker room regularly. Your presence alone can be a helpful deterrent to a would be abuser.
  7. Use your network. Chat with the other parents and develop relationships. It takes a village to raise our children and we all need to be watching out for each other. Don’t be afraid to raise concerns with other parents.
  8. Set communication rules. Insist that all meetings with your child take place in the open, not in a closed office. Let the coaches and your child know this. If the coaches communicate through social media make sure it’s not snapchat or a disappearing type of social media. If your child communicates via text make sure it’s a group text with the entire team, or if it’s a private text with a coach and your child…make sure you are included as well. There is nothing a coach should say to your child that you can’t be privy to.
  9. Look for strange behavior and know the warning signs. You don’t have to be anxious, just a little vigilant.
  10. Make the call. If you suspect a problem, you owe it to yourself and the children involved to investigate. Our children need adults in their lives who are willing to have the difficult conversation.

It’s our job to arm our children with the tools they need AND be vigilant as their parents.

Parenting is tough enough as it is. And although I don’t specialize in children’s safety, I do work really hard with parents to keep the doors of communication open with your kids. That’s a big part of the work I do.

The One Way to Win Target with Your Kids

Going to Target can be a wild and wondrous event with your kids. Emphasis on wild.

Last week on Facebook Live, I talked about a mom in Target whose preschooler clutched a medium LEGO pack for dear life.

She ended up taking it out of his hands and he cried all the way out of the store.

How did the moms around me and I feel? Relieved it wasn’t us!

But there’s a bigger lesson here, and one line to put any future LEGO incident to bed.

What can you do when your kid is misbehaving in Target?

It’s not dragging them down the aisle clutching the toy de jour.

And it’s definitely not buying the toy for them.

It’s one line, AKA Target Kryptonite, that you can say to any child ages three and up:

“I’ll be so happy to let you get that toy once you’ve saved the money.”

One of my clients did this with her little son, and when the time came to pay up, he didn’t have the dough (of course). That was likely the last time he’ll do something like that, and it can have a similar effect for you.

This Target moment can also be a money lesson: When they want to buy that toy, help them problem solve.

Come up with a lemonade stand.

Maybe they can rake up leaves.

Instead of getting into a battle, you can teach them lessons that last.

You can have a great shopping trip.

Just let them know what your expectations are.

Oh, and here’s something I don’t want you to miss: The last chance to sign up for Happy Parents & Thriving Kids starting TOMORROW!

Learn more about the program here.

When you’re ready to dive in, register here! I promise more winning phrases like Target Kryptonite. So don’t wait too long.

Hope to see you there!

3 Ways to Stop Being Frenemies with Your Kids

Sometimes, your own kids can seem like Public Enemy #1.

One mom told me, “I feel schizophrenic! I can’t wait to pick him up from school but then I REALLY don’t want to be with him at all.”

When it comes to getting along with your kids, you get annoyed when they misbehave.

Earlier this week, this happened to me.

I was playing “nice mom” and brought an essay to school for my child, who had left it behind at home. But by that evening, I took some serious lip from that same kid. And some serious attitude. AND refusal to do a chore.

Instead of getting into mortal combat with my teen, I walked away. There was no sense in fighting, especially since I needed to really sit with my feelings of anger and hurt for being treated like a doormat. As the adult, I couldn’t let myself go plummeting off the cliff with my child.

This, my friends, is the hardest work of parenting. And here are the ways you can save face during a mano a mano moment with your kid:

Make a list. Remind yourself of what makes your child so special. Focus on their great qualities. I had a client who was struggling with their teen so I asked them to make a list of what they loved about him. They shared how this boy brought home a neighbor girl from a party because she was uncomfortable, immediately reminding them of what a wonderful son they had raised.

Put together a consequence. Take YOUR TIME here. You don’t have to make a rash decision. In fact, you can put together a whole LIST of consequences. It might make you feel better to have this at the ready. That’s what I do. (What’s on my list, you ask? Cancel Spotify Premium, repossess electronics and withhold allowance. I’ve been known to leave that list on the kitchen counter from time to time.)

Deliver that consequences when you are CALM. Do it with empathy, kindness and compassion. I had to wait two days to deliver the consequence to my child. I needed time to both cool down AND put together a plan that would work. I even created a script so I wouldn’t blow it, so I could say, “That behavior the other night was really a bummer; looks like I’ll have to hold onto your phone for a few days until I see you can treat me with respect. Sorry about that.”

As a parent, I have a lot of power. I can make my kids life pretty tough, I know that. But that’s not my goal. My goal is to help you TEACH your children and preserve the relationship as you are doing it.

Need some more reinforcements? Sign up for this FREE video where we get into the powerful tools that keep you sane and your kid on the right track.

Seriously, you’re gonna need it. Grab it today while it’s still free.

The Top 5 Age Appropriate Chores for Kids

You may think your child’s only job is going to school.

While that’s important, it’s also their job to help around the house.

When it comes to chores, kids should feel empowered to do them, gaining valuable skills they can use for the rest of their lives.

I have several age appropriate cleaning ideas for kids, but first let me tell you what I noticed about the power of chores last month.

My 17-year-old son changed my flat tire on the Long Island Expressway during our trip to NYC. He was deeply empowered by the experience, telling me, “I’d hate to have to call AAA if I was out on a date!”

He was really proud of his self-proclaimed skills.

And so was I!

And: He’s the only one of his buddies who cuts the lawn.

What I want you to see here is that chores are life skills.

Learning how to do laundry, unloading a dishwasher, taking out the garbage or starting a lawnmower builds CONFIDENCE in kids, which correlates directly with self esteem. We all want that for our kids.

Take stock of where can you teach your kids life skills. Just teach one at a time.

But here’s the key: EXPECT them to help you. It sends the message that you believe they are CAPABLE. If you believe in them, they will begin to believe in themselves.

I know it’s hard to have kids do chores. And if you’re really struggling, I’m here to support you!

Kids who clean and maintain their own spaces can:

  • Feel good about themselves.
  • Gain real life skills for later in life.
  • Grow into more responsible adults.

You can make this happen without the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Here’s how to get on the same page when it comes to the daily chores.

Kids Ages 3 to 4.

  • Brush teeth and hair.
  • Make bed.
  • Put toys away.

Kids Ages 5 to 7.

  • Take a shower/bathe without help.
  • Take out the trash/recycling.
  • Water plants.

Kids Ages 8 to 9.

  • Sweep.
  • Vacuum.
  • Help cook dinner.

Kids Ages 10 to 11.

  • Mop bathroom floors.
  • Unload dishwasher.
  • Put away groceries without help.

Kids in Their Teens

  • Mow lawn.
  • Cook dinner.
  • Pet sit for others.

Ready to go even further? I’ll help you get there one step at a time. I invite you to work one-on-one with me.

My four-session package includes:

  • Client Intake/Assessment
  • Four, one-hour private sessions (in person or via phone)
  • Additional e-mail support
  • Customized plans for your family
  • Workbook, handouts and all materials
  • Peace of mind that you are tackling parenting challenges in a loving way

Jump in TODAY! You don’t want to miss it! Click Here.

Happy parenting,
Wendy Petricoff

How to Tame Your Kids’ Technology Habits

They’re obsessed with their iPhones. Texting at the dinner table, scrolling through social media instead of having a conversation.

I’m not talking about your kids: I’m talking about you! And it doesn’t matter how old your kids are. You’re setting a model of technology use.

When it comes to technology, your kids are watching your every move and see how utterly obsessed you are with your iPhone. Mom and Dad: It’s time to set limits on you!
Here’s how to curb your technology use and get your kids onboard. Put the phone away when:

Having dinner, bath time and bedtime. I mean, put that device in another room. Turn off the ringer. Set your timer from 6 to 8 p.m. or 5 to 9 p.m., whenever you have family time. Think your clients or work will need you? Let them know in advance that you spend time with your kids between 6 to 8 p.m.They’ll most likely respect your commitment.

Driving. We all know it’s a safety hazard, and you don’t want your kids to think it’s ok to text and drive. So, don’t do it yourself! Hook it up to your Bluetooth and put that phone in the backseat. If you need to use GPS, set it before you leave the driveway. No excuses!

Getting out the door in the morning. You may need to check texts and emails, but it’s going to all be there once you get to the office. Find five extra minutes in the morning to spend time with the kids, even if that means you have to wake up earlier. (Sorry, I know that’s not easy, but trust, it’s worth it.)

How can you get to this place? I’ll help you get there one step at a time.

I’m introducing a new online program that kicks off August 16 to help get you where you want to be. To help you bring peace into your home.

You’ll get lots of personal attention (three private sessions), small group discussions (six sessions), amazing content and you can do it all from the comfort of your home.

After this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Focus on one or two behaviors at a time to keep things simple
  • Put together a solid plan and a simple script
  • Get rid of the “‘gray areas” so you know when to use your new skills
  • Practice ways to help you stay calm
  • Help you realize what is age-appropriate and what’s not

Jump in today and register here. This online program starts on August 16. That’s next week!

Register here TODAY! Don’t phone this one in (well, you can use the phone, but still).

How to Make Memories, Not Plans, for July 4th

Fourth of July is around the corner. What sort of fireworks do you have planned?

Hopefully not the type of fireworks that include toddler tantrums or snarly teenagers.

I want you to have a solid plan this 4th of July that works for YOU and your family.

When it comes to making memories with the kids for Fourth of July, you’ll want everyone to be a part of the big plans.

With each Pinterest post about having the perfect July 4th, we’re made to feel like we all need to make a Cool Whip cake with blueberries and strawberries. Hint: No one has time for that. We shouldn’t let great get in the way of good.

Imagine if you could have a day with minimal planning and maximum family connection.

Well, you can!

Here are a few ideas for creating lasting memories with the kids:

1)Get the kids to help plan the day. Sit down and ask the family what they want to do. Make a running list of each person’s suggestions, and then take a vote. What’s a recipe the kids are interested in? Is it making red, white and blue popsicles? Letting the kids have input into these plans means they have buy-in into the day. Leave the gardening alone and set out the sprinkler. Start your own family traditions.

2) Take an hour before the festivities to do what you gotta do. Whether that looks like meditating for 10 minutes or a run around the block, take a moment to center yourself and do something you love. This will leave you open to jumping into the kids’ pre-picked activities without wishing you were doing the thing you already did this morning. Be proactive!

3) Kick back and enter Vacation Parent Mode. Let go of throwing the “perfect” holiday in your mind and go for what feels good for the whole family. You’ll then enter the coveted Vacation Parent Mode, cool, breezy and ready to make summer memories with the kids.

There you have it. Hope your whole family gets super connected and happy for the 4th!

Ready to learn more about how you can connect with your kids? I’ll help you get there one step at a time. I invite you to work one-on-one with me. Learn more here.

Do You Go Command-o?

Do this. Do that. Get your shoes. Clean your room. Are these phrases you find yourself saying all day long?

Maybe you have a surly teenager who doesn’t seem to listen, or a pre-schooler with a mind of their own, and you feel like giving commands is the only way to get their attention.

We want our to kids to do what we ask them, but commanding them is not the solution.

From my own experience, the dog days of summer can be a time when the urge to say commands is at its highest. My family and I recently took a trip to New York City, where the pace is frenzied and you’re wrangling everyone onto a subway.

But instead of me barking at the kids to go here and there, I went with the experience. I empowered my kids to make decisions about where they wanted to visit. I gave them choices and encouraged them to take the lead.

At the end of the day, when the kids didn’t think Adam and I could hear them, they were giggling in their shared room. At that moment, I knew why we took the family trip, and why I didn’t command them — I empowered them.

Imagine having this kind of experience with no commands and maximum family connection.

Well, you can!

Starting August 31, I’m kicking off my new session of the Happy Parents & Thriving Kids online course.

This online course is designed to easily integrate into your daily life by:

  • Focusing on one or two behaviors at a time to keep things simple
  • Putting together a solid plan and a simple script
  • Getting rid of the ‘gray areas’ so you know WHEN to use your new skills
  • Practicing ways to help you stay calm
  • Helping you realize what is age-appropriate and what’s not
  • Keeping you accountable

The best part: Once you lay in the groundwork, you won’t have to discipline as much!

GET THE EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT FOR A LIMITED TIME. The course is usually $549, but you can register here for $499 until July 21.

Learn more about the course here and see if it’s right for you.

My next course is scheduled to begin on August 16, so get on it!