Tag: communication

Distraction-Free Parenting {FREE Challenge}

Distraction-Free Parenting {FREE Challenge}

Just last week in our Facebook group, I took a poll about parenting goals. Which of these mean the most to you?

  • Additional family time
  • Extra adventures (travel & day trips)
  • Fewer distractions during family time
  • Greater understanding of child development
  • More emphasis on learning at home

The number one response was “fewer distractions during family time,” which got me thinking…

What does distraction-free parenting look like?


istraction-Free Parenting | family communication, positive parenting, fun family activities, parenting tips, family relationships

(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

If you’re anything like me, you might struggle with the temptation to reach for your phone during family time. It’s so common, in fact, that a whole book has been written about it!  

One of our regular family activities is going to our indoor community pool. We try to go one or two evenings a week, after my husband gets out of work. At first, I had a hard time relaxing in the water; my mind kept racing with a multitude of things to add to my to-do list.

Over the last few months, swimming has become one of my favorite ways to unwind because it’s a distraction-free zone. From the moment we arrive at the aquatic center, my phone goes into my bag and I am 100% focused on my family.

So, I am going to take the parenting lessons I have learned at the pool and spend time cultivating our family relationships phone-free. 

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Inspiring and empowering our kids starts with building authentic relationships with our kids. Trust me when I say, I’m not writing this as a perfect parent who has it all figured out. Distraction-free parenting is one of my very real struggles as a mom, and I would guess it resonates with some of you as well.

Being a work-at-home, homeschooling mama of two means that some multitasking is necessary. Sometimes, I’ll read a chapter of a book on my Kindle app while my girls play outside or pin images to Pinterest while we’re watching football on Sunday afternoons. I listen to podcasts and audiobooks while driving, and I brainstorm blog post ideas while I’m in the shower.

One of my friends recently told me that her parenting goal is to let go of the things that won’t matter in a year. This next year, I am going to focus on living a less distracted life! That means:

  • no Facebook when I should be writing
  • less Instagram during homeschool lessons
  • turning my phone off during family time

Distraction-Free Parenting Challenge

I’m inviting each of you to join me in being less distracted while we are with our families. This is a yearlong parenting challenge built on baby steps, with one small activity or idea coming your way on the first of each month. If you would like to be part of our distraction-free parenting series, just click here:

Join the challenge!

7 Tips for Introvert Moms: Raising an Extrovert

7 Tips for Introvert Moms: Raising an Extrovert

Are you an introvert mom? Check out these tips for raising an extroverted child!

First off: extrAvert or extrOvert? According to the dictionary, both spellings are correct. But since spell check dislikes extravert, we’re going with extrovert throughout the post.

This post was originally published on lonestarsigners.com on November 13, 2013.

A little more than two years ago, when our second child was a few months old, I realized that I was tired all the time. I talked with my doctor about hormonal imbalances (my estrogen-progesterone balance leans toward estrogen dominance) and met with a lovely therapist for a few months to talk through my struggles with perfectionism. It was about that time that I read Susan Cain’s amazing book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. (In fact, I just requested it from the library again–I’m due for a re-read!)

Introvert Mama, Extrovert Child | parenting, personality style, child development, communication, family relationships and dynamics

I think introversion is misunderstood in today’s society as shyness, social anxiety, or just a reclusive personality. The truth is that whether or not a person is an introvert simply depends on how he/she recharges their energy. Some people seek out other people, activities, experiences, and action to gain energy (extroverts). Some are energized with solitude and reflection (introverts), The rest are a lovely blend of both.

Read more about personality styles and parenting here!

Well, it turns out that I am an EXTREME introvert. I think my tendency has definitely become more pronounced as I’ve gotten older, mainly because my “alone time” has been extremely limited by this thing called parenting.

When I was single and living by myself, I had lots of balance–interacting at work and plenty of social activities–followed by a night alone with a good book! When my husband and I were first married, our non-traditional work schedules left us some time apart, which I filled with a good book and my husband filled with singing in a chorus and a quartet. (Guess which personality type he has!)

Even after our first daughter was born, I still had “alone time” in the car going back and forth to work (listening to audiobooks, naturally) and while she was sleeping. But once I had two young children with different schedules and no outside job to go to, I was exhausted because I was never alone.

Introverted Mom Tips: Raising an Extrovert

Introvert Mama, Extrovert Child

Please understand me, I love my girls and I wouldn’t want to do anything other than stay home with them and homeschool. BUT, those two hours of naptime are precious to me and my sanity. I need time to read and reflect every day or I get run down. Thankfully, my husband appreciates my sanity and arranges his evening schedule with the girls so that I get to rest. (And he gets a night out every week to go out and sing.)

If you are an introvert mom, you are not alone. Come join us in our Facebook group to get support on your parenting journey. 

Understanding your extrovert child:

Our oldest daughter is clearly an extrovert. I love to watch her light up around other people! I appreciate it when the moms that she is drawn to take the time to listen to her and affirm what she so badly wants to tell them. She processes information by talking about it, and that means she talks A LOT. She is constantly asking me when we’re going out or which activity is coming up next, when I would much prefer to curl up on the couch with (you guessed it!) a book.

Raising an Extroverted Child as an Introverted Parent

If introverts get their energy from the inside and extroverts get their energy from the outside, there are some days that it feels like Addie is simply taking my “health units” for herself. 🙂

As an introvert mom raising an extrovert child, I’ve discovered a few tricks:

  • Plan social activities for the extroverted child. If at all possible, plan to host them them so you can control the number of guests and how long the activity lasts.
  • Go to the park a couple of times a week. My extroverted daughter is more than happy to play alongside children she has never met before. I can find a quiet bench to sit on and watch.
  • Make allowances for an “at home” day at least once a week. It’s beneficial for extroverts to learn how to play independently. Listen to audiobooks if your child needs extra stimulation.
  • Channel your child’s extra energy with a hobby! 🙂
  • Make it a point to connect with other moms in real life at least once a week. Facebook and other forms of social media are awesome, but it’s important to have some in-depth face-to-face conversations, too.
  • Don’t forget your spouse! My husband is very understanding of my need for quiet time, but I need to remember to “come back up for air” in the evening and ask him about his day. Even if we’re not talking, he appreciates it when I sit next to him while he watches a movie. (And then after I’ve had my fill of “quiet time” in the evening, I typically talk his ear off. It’s all about balance!)
  • Teach your child about the differences between introversion and extroversion. Addie knows me well enough that when I say I need a break, she respects my ten minutes of downtime. When we leave an intense social situation, she is usually quiet in the car so I can recharge. It’s not just about me, either! When an introverted friend comes over and needs some time to ease into the situation, it’s important for her to learn how to respect their space.

Are you an introvert mom? Do you have any favorite tips?

While you’re here, grab our FREE Flexible Family Schedule Guide, and get lots of activity ideas for your little extrovert!

Raising Children and Emotional Outbursts

Raising Children and Emotional Outbursts

There we stood, toe-to-toe, arms crossed, eyes blazing. “You aren’t helping!” she yelled and turned away from me. I dropped to my knees on the floor of her room so she could look into my eyes.

“You’re right, and I’m sorry. I’d like to help you,” I said as gently as I could. She took one look at me and crumpled into my arms.

If you are a student of personality types, you’ll understand when I say that our entire family scores high on the Feelings scale. We are passionate people navigating emotional outbursts on a near-daily basis, usually from me (ISFJ) and one of our daughters (ESFJ).

Raising Children and Emotional Outbursts | 3 Tips to Navigate (parenting and personality styles, emotional development)

Teaching Kids About Emotional Intelligence

Many years ago, I stumbled across a book at the library called Nurture By Nature, which introduces parents to the 16 different personality types. I knew I needed to own a copy when I read this quote on page 6:

Imagine a child made to feel lovable, capable, and worthy just exactly the way she is. Such a child would grow up confident, secure, honest, independent, and loving, because she would have been raised by parents who respected, accepted, accommodated, and celebrated her unique personality.

I was able to “type” our older daughter immediately. She is my “mini-me” with one major difference–that girl is as extroverted as I am introverted. From a young age, her first question to me each morning would be, “Are we going to see people today?” (As opposed to her little sister, whose first sentence–I kid you not–was, “I want to play alone.”)

Related: Raising an Extroverted Child as an Introverted Parent

From Nurture By Nature, p. 186:

[ESFJs] adore their families and are very connected to their parents. They are caring, sensitive children who are highly aware of and concerned about the opinions and feelings of others. They like to be included, reassured, and constantly reminded of how much they are liked and how much the people they care about are pleased by them.

Our girl is literally the kindest person I know. She is an exuberant includer–everyone is a (best) friend, even those she has just met. In fact, she reminds me of the character Joy from the movie Inside Out, to be completely honest. She is fun and affectionate and very sensitive to the feelings of others. Her tender heart hurts whenever she hears about somebody going through a hard time, and she is very hard on herself when something doesn’t come easily or work out the way she thought it might.

Every once in awhile, those sad, hurt feelings come out in a big, angry emotional outbursts. There might be yelling, stomping, and door-slamming. There will always be fiery eyes and a tear or two.

At that moment, I need to choose how I will respond to her outburst. I can either help her or I can alienate her by not taking her feelings seriously.  For the longest time, I chose the second option. I didn’t understand that her struggle with a math problem was just a symptom of a deeper issue. I would minimize her frustration instead of listening, validating her feelings, and letting her know that she was not alone.

3 Tips for Navigating Emotional Outbursts

Over the past several months, we’ve been able to work through these emotional outbursts with three steps:

  • Identifying emotions.

    The anger is usually a mask for something else, but we reassure her that it’s okay to be angry as long as she is not hurting herself or someone else.

  • Expressing feelings.

    It’s okay to cry or get out the Wii boxing game. Sometimes adrenaline can be overwhelming for a little body.

  • Managing feelings.

    We work through breathing exercises (smell the flower, blow out the candle is a favorite) until we feel calm again. At that point, the deeper feelings like hurt or fear usually come to the surface and we can talk through them. She is reassured of our love–no matter how she feels or what she does–and then we might talk through different ways of expressing our feelings in the future.

As I mentioned earlier, this precious daughter of mine is very similar to me. I am also prone to emotional outbursts when I don’t feel heard or understood. In our experience, the easiest way to avoid a meltdown is to prevent it–lots of quality one-on-one time and affection go a long way in our family. “I love you, Mom,” is a phrase that I hear often from my sweet girl. It’s usually a cue for me to drop whatever I’m doing in and pull her in for a long hug. She beams when I say, “I love you, too, sweetie.”

If you would like to learn more about parenting and personality types, I highly recommend these two books. (Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

In Nurture by Nature you’ll learn which of 16 distinctly different types best matches your child’s personality; how this personality type affects your child in each of the three stages of development – preschool, school age, and adolescence; and how you can adapt your parenting style to your child’s type – and get better results when communicating, supporting, motivating, and disciplining.

An antidote to our stressed-out mother culture, MotherStyles validates the notion that good mothering comes in many styles and explains how understanding how you most often react to your child and why is the most important step toward working through areas that have long given you trouble.

feelings activities for toddlers & preschoolers

Check out our 40 hands-on activities all about feelings!