Celebrate Your Toddler’s “No!”

I walked into the kitchen and discovered my two-year-old blonde haired daughter, dressed in her little pink fleece sleeper with the padded feet, standing on top of the chair next to the counter. She was preoccupied with dipping her fingers into the butter bowl and then into the sugar bowl before they headed into her waiting mouth. When she saw me enter the kitchen, a potential threat to her wonderful activity, she formed a very concise pointed finger at me, and firmly delivered “NO!” at my astonished expression.

“NO!” It’s probably the most commonly used word in toddlerhood! It flies out of our children’s mouths before they even have time to really think about what they are saying “no” to.

When my five children were young, they were allowed to say “no” as much as they wanted to. I would always try to respect their “no” as much as I could within the parameters of the particular situation, and especially in circumstances such as when they didn’t want to be tickled by me, or didn’t want to hear me sing, or didn’t want to be kissed by Grandma or didn’t want to share their prized possessions. I think “no” is an important word for asserting their feelings and desires and unless it is a matter of safety, they have the right to have their opinion listened to and respected. Here is why children should be allowed to say “no”:

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is three and her daddy might want to put her in the front seat and not the car seat because it is less hassle.

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is five and her little five-year-old friend might want her to cross a busy street without an adult.

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is nine and her Uncle might want to touch her in her private places.

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is twelve and her friends might want her to steal a candy bar from the grocery store.

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is fourteen and her friends might bully a fellow student.

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is fifteen and a friend’s drunk parent might want to drive her home from a sleepover party.

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is sixteen and her boyfriend might want to show her how much he loves her.

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is eighteen and her buddies might want her to try some “ecstasy.”

So, when she is two-years-old, my daughter can practice saying “no” as much as she needs to. And I won’t take it personally.

Judy Arnall is a professional international award-winning Parenting and Teacher Conference Speaker, and Trainer, Mom of five children, and author of the best-selling book, Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery and the new DVD, Plugged-In Parenting: Connecting with the digital generation for health, safety and love as well as the new book, The Last Word on Parenting Advice http://www.professionalparenting.ca, jarnall@shaw.ca, 403-714-6766

Copyright permission granted for “reproduction without permission” of this article in whole or part, if the above credit is included in its entirety.

How to discipline toddler hitting, biting, throwing and tantrums

Time-In, instead of Time-out for child discipline, by parenting expert, Judy Arnall

Discipline Without Distress is now a Bestseller!

International Bestseller - Discipline Without Distress
Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery

Discipline that you and your child will feel good about!

Now an International Bestseller!

At last, a positive discipline book that is chock-full of practical tips, strategies, skills, and ideas for parents of babies through teenagers, and tells you EXACTLY what to do “in the moment” for every type of behavior, from whining to web surfing.

Parents and children today face very different challenges from those faced by the previous generation. Today’s children play not only in the sandbox down the street, but also in the World Wide Web, which is too big and complex for parents to control and supervise. As young as age four, your children can contact the world, and the world can contact them. A strong bond between you and your child is critical in order for your child to regard you as their trusted advisor. Traditional discipline methods, no longer work with today’s children and they destroy your ability to influence your increasingly vulnerable children who need you as their lifeline! You need new discipline tools!

Help your child gain:

• Strong communication skills for school, career, and relationship success.
• Healthy self-esteem, confidence, and greater emotional intelligence.
• Assertiveness, empathy, problem solving, and anger-management skills.
• A respectful, loving connection with you!

You will gain:

• An end to resentment, frustration, anger, tears, and defiance in your parent-child relationship.
• Tools to respectfully handle most modern challenging parenting situations, including biting, hitting, tantrums, bedtimes, picky eating, chores, homework, sibling wars, smoking, “attitude,” and video/computer games.
• Help for controlling your anger “in the moment” during those trying times.
• A loving, respectful, teaching and fun connection with your child!

“Offers a wealth of ideas and suggestions for raising children without the use of punishment of any kind.” Linda Adams, President and CEO of Gordon Training International

Available at:
Professional Parenting
Barnes and Noble

Parent Time-Out

How to Take a Parent Time-Out with Small
Children Underfoot

One of the very best parenting tools is the Parent Time-Out. When parents are feeling
upset, angry, or frustrated over a parenting issue, or over their children’s behaviour, it
can help to diffuse the situation if the parent removes themselves to get calm and
centered, rather then force the isolation of their child into a Child Time-Out. After the
parent is calm, they are in a much better frame of mind to deal with the issue at hand
and they’ve avoided saying and doing things they might regret later. Sometimes, with
young children, this is easier said than done!

Many parents object to the parent time out because they complain that their toddlers and preschool children just follow them around the house, screaming, whining and crying.

How True!

Here are some tips to Mentally Time-Out when you can’t physically time yourself out:

Throw a CD on the stereo and dance hard!
Use an IPOD or MP3 player filled with your favorite songs to distract you.
Have earplugs everywhere. In the car, kitchen, purse, and bathroom. They take the edge off a child’s screaming that can damage your ears.
Lock yourself in the bathroom. Tell the children that you love them, and Mommy/Daddy is feeling angry, and needs to take a time-out for herself or himself. Turn on the fan or shower so you can’t hear the children, and breathe slowly. Visualize yourself in a calm place.
Do the Hokey-Pokey, and shake it out! Smile and make a funny noise and you will all be laughing.
Phone a friend to have a brief conversation. Tell her how you feel. Call from the closet or a bathroom if you have to.
Distract yourself with a magazine.
Drop everything, dress your children and yourself for the weather, and put them in the stroller. Go for a brief walk outside. Exercise, fresh air, peace and quiet! Children will be distracted by the sights and sounds and you can think out your anger in peace.
Put a children’s DVD or Mom’s movie on the player. It will either distract you or your child, and will give both of you time to calm down.
If you are in the car, pull over to a parking lot or some other safe place. Get out of the car, leave the children in there, and walk around the car 20 times. Cry, deep breathe, vent or stomp. Get back in the car when you have calmed down.
Imagine a soundproof, gentle, clear shell around yourself to protect you from screaming children.
Sit on the porch, find a closet, basement, or somewhere you can be alone. Make sure the children are in a safe place.
Tell your child that you both need a group hug. It can be very hard to hug someone that you feel angry with, but the touch is soothing and helps to heal the anger. It works well for some people.
Use “Self-Talk” Say over and over to yourself, “My child is not trying to bug me right now. She is only coping with her strong feelings in the only way she knows how. “But me first.”
Remember the phrase: “Get myself calm, Get my child calm, and then solve the problem.”

What skills do you use to calm down in situations other then parenting? Use some of those strategies if you can. Just as the oxygen masks in airplanes are meant to be used on adults first, so they can be in a position to help the children, you must take care of your needs first when you are angry. The bonus gift is that you are truly modeling for your child, how to take a calming time-out when situations become
overwhelming. Modeling by example, instead of forcing them in time-out, is the best way for children to learn self-calming tools.


Judy Arnall is a professional international award-winning Parenting Speaker, and
Trainer, Mom of five children, and author of the best-selling, “Discipline Without
Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out,
spanking, punishment or bribery” and a new DVD called “Plugged-In Parenting:
Connecting with the Digital Generation for Health, Safety and Love.”
http://www.professionalparenting.ca (403) 714-6766 jarnall@shaw.ca
Copyright permission granted for “reproduction without permission” of this article in whole or part, if the above credit is included in its entirety.

Child Proofing Works for Older Children Too! It’s a handy discipline tool.

CHILDPROOFING –It’s not just for toddlers!

By Judy Arnall

Two-year-old Kelsey is reaching for the wine glass on the coffee table at a baby shower. Her mom is constantly on guard, trying to move the guests’ purses, glasses and food plates out of the way so Kelsey doesn’t grab them. Kelsey’s mom is using a <em>discipline technique called childproofing.</em>Although childproofing is the number one recommended discipline tools for parents of children ages crawling to four, it is also a very handy tool for parenting older children that are school-aged or teenagers. It’s the same technique, but called “Change the Environment” rather than childproofing. In fact, many arguments have been avoided by using the “changing the environment” tool for partners too! Here are some ways to change the environment to gain more co-operative behaviour from school-aged and teen children.

Add to the Environment

Enrich – make things more stimulating. Add toys, games, movies, food, and activities to occupy bored children. Children who are engaged in a fun activity have their needs met and are less likely to fight or engage in risky behavior if they are busy. Examples of this are: having games available for a long car ride; having lots of physical recess breaks(five a day) for school children; and having movies for teens to watch while parents are visiting.

Enlarge – add space. Take the children out to the park, zoo, ball field, movie, or playground. Make an enclosed backyard. Add space to a teen’s bedroom by moving out furniture. Arrange a dedicated play space in the house or certain rooms.

Subtract from the Environment

Reduce – take away stimulation and enticing situations. Reduce light and turn off the stimulating TV, computer games or ipod if you want them to relax and sleep at bedtime. Put away art materials and markers if the child doesn’t clean up the mess. Only bring them out when you have time to supervise a cleanup. Have a video game shut down at least an hour away from bedtime to allow your child time to unwind from the action. Put away anything you don’t want to capture their attention if you want to get them out of the house. Don’t bring up tense topics or deliver your “No” verdict on a request as you and the child are running out the door. Avoid starting a long movie when there is only a half hour until bedtime or the time to leave the house.

Restrict – put limits on activities or areas. Avoid ball throwing, and chase games in the house, but direct to the yard or basement. Allow eating only at the kitchen table to reduce food encrusted plates shoved under the family room sofa or piling up next to the computer. Have designated places for water gun fights, craft materials, drum and band practice etc. Also putting pets away in back rooms before playmates or younger guests come over prevents damage to pets from young children’s rough handling. Avoid competitive games such as computer and board games that can cause fights. Pack them away for a few years until children can developmentally handle losing better. Avoid play places if they get frustrated and hit other children. Avoid shopping if you know your child can’t understand why he can’t have treats from the checkout. Avoid busy places,amusement parks, and indoor arcade places if your child can’t handle the restrictions and your limits on money, tokens etc. Keep in mind that you are not avoiding these places and activities forever. Your child’s development changes monthly and their ability to handle limits and frustration will improve.

Change things around

Simplify –  make it easier for the child to do things himself. Put buckets and totes at easy access for storage of toys. Hang coat hooks at child level. Have designated places for backpacks and charging ipods and cellphones, preferably by the door so that it’s easier for the child to remember them the next day. Put dishes and lunch fixings in easy to reach and access places. Remove most toys and pack away in buckets that you can pull out and rotate for renewed interest. Have step stools in the kitchen and bathroom handy for young school-aged children. Have a basket for mitts, hats, and socks for each child, again, preferably by the door to catch those pesky socks that children remove as soon as they come in the house. Clip hair or nails while they are playing in the bath or sleeping. Buy socks all one color. Color code children’s belongings. Have a central basket for only library books and insist that library books never get shelved or they get lost in the house books.

Rearrange – arrange things to encourage or discourage behavior. Have a system for daily tasks such as feeding pets, taking phone messages, emptying the dishwasher. Have a system for handling school paperwork and information flow such as school notices, and letters that go back and forth from school to home. Have designated water glasses for each child. Put door guards on doors to prevent slamming door gouges in the walls. Move gaming consoles or drum sets to the garage or far away rooms to cut down on noise. Provide head phones for blocking offensive computer game language that younger children may hear.

Other common problem areas that can addressed this way are:

Pet care, household chores, noise, toys/play areas, kitchen/food/playtimes, T.V/computer/video use, dirty clothes/laundry, homework, bathroom use, telephone,breaking/damaging, weekends, bedtime/getting up, privacy/property, sharing tools/equipment and many more areas of conflict.

A common question posed in classes is, “Why do I have to try so hard to change the environment when sometimes kids just have to listen to my authority?” Of course there are times that kids just have to do as you tell them. But it’s more likely to get a good cooperative response when parents are not constantly nagging about daily situations.

Anticipating problems and planning ahead to avoid them just makes good relationship
sense. Try and ponder how changing the environment could solve a behavior problem.
Remember that changing the environment is always easier than trying to change another

Judy Arnall is a professional international award-winning Parenting Speaker, and
Trainer, Mom of five children, and author of the best-selling, “Discipline Without
Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out,
spanking, punishment or bribery” She specializes in “Parenting the Digital
Generation” www.professionalparenting.ca (403) 714-6766 jarnall@shaw.ca
Copyright permission granted for “reproduction without permission” of this article in whole or part,if the above credit is included in its entirety. Length may be edited for space

How to Get Your Child Off Computer/Video Games

Top Ten Tips to Limit Your Child’s Screen Time without Scream Time!

By Judy Arnall
Eight year old Kyle received no less than nine new computer and video games for the holidays and his parents are wondering how to keep him under the health professionals’ recommended screen time limit of one and a half hours a day without Kyle throwing a fit.
It can be difficult to impose rules on time spent in front of the TV, video machine, DVD and handheld players, but it’s not impossible. Here are the top ten ways to help your child manage screen time and not destroy your valuable parenting relationship.
  1. Redirect to other stimulation. Have board games set up, sports equipment ready to go, or recipe ingredients laid out ready for a baking session.
  2. Be involved and knowledgeable of where they travel on the Internet and whom they play games with. Spend time building the parent-child relationship by taking an interest in their on-line gaming and chatting pursuits. It’s easier to direct them to your activities after you connect for a while in their playground.
  3. Don’t punish – problem solve! It’s not a battle of you against them. It’s you and your child against the problem. You are both on the same team! Work the problem out together to everyone’s satisfaction and enjoy the new rules and increased connection.
  4. Model a balanced life that includes seven keys to health and happiness. Invite your child toparticipate with you in your pursuit of the seven keys of a balanced life. Many children willget active if the parents or the whole family is involved:
  5. 7 Keys to a Balanced Life
    Social time – time spent with friends
    Physical activity time – exercise, sports, active play
    Mental exercise time – educational activities, games, puzzles, homework, reading
    Spiritual time – volunteering, meditating, solitude, unstructured play, church
    Family time – doing projects
    Financial time – job
    Hobby Time – leisure pursuits and projects
  6. Negotiate! Make good use of Family Conferences, “parent concern” Consulting, and negotiation sessions to discuss time limits that meet everyone’s needs.
  7. Issue time tokens. Each hour of physical activity will garner a child an hour of screen time.
  8. Get it in writing. Draw up a daily schedule and discuss where screen time fits in with the day’s already scheduled activities. Children can sign into time slots.
  9. Contract. Draw up a weekly or monthly agreement that has limits decided by both the parent and child together. Display in a prominent place. Point to it when the complaining occurs. Discuss when the contract is up for renewal.
  10. Change the environment. Sometimes, it’s easier to move around the setting than to change the other person. Seriously consider whether adding more equipment and hardware will add to the screen time and decide to not bring it into the house. Move the computer and gaming systems into the main family area. Having one unit for the children to share means more fighting over screen time, but can also mean more time spent in learning the valuable skill of negotiating and less individual screen time.
  11. (Bonus!) Teach your child the fine art of Haggling! “Hey, Eric, Wow, you made another level! Good for you! Now, I need you to do the dishes. What time would you like to get at them?” Insist they give you a time and haggle when they give you an outrageous one. Choice from your child makes it easier for them to abide by it.

Remember that you have the most power to negotiate rules and limits before the power button goes on! Go for it!
Judy Arnall is a professional international award-winning Parenting Speaker, and Trainer, Mom of five children, and author of the best-selling, “Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery” She specializes in “Parenting the Digital Generation” and is available for keynotes or breakouts on many net generation topics http://www.professionalparenting.ca/ (403) 714-6766 jarnall@shaw.ca
Copyright permission granted for “reproduction without permission” of this article in whole or part, if the above credit is included in its entirety.

Posted by Judy Arnall, Author of “Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery” at 12:08 PM