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EPISODE 10: Time-Outs: Three Simple Steps for Using Time-Outs Effectively!

No matter how positive and proactive you are as a parent, your kids will still act out from time to time. Time-out is a common (and effective!) way to react to your child when they misbehave, but it is often misunderstood. Join in as we discuss what time-out is, how to do it (and how not to do it!), and when to do it.
Time-out is when your child goes from an enjoyable situation to a less enjoyable situation. It shouldn’t be used if the child is already doing something they don’t like (e.g., cleaning their room), because you can’t be sure if the time-out is actually less enjoyable than what they are escaping from. The basic structure of time-out is:
    • Remind your child of what they should (rather than shouldn’t) be doing.
    • Have your child sit on time-out. Another option is to take something away from your child for a period of time.
    • Use a timer, adding one minute per year of age. When it goes off, remind your child of the rule once more… then drop it and let them go back to what they were doing.

EPISODE 9: How our Family Opts OUT to Opt IN - With my Husband Nate!

Crazy busy? This week is for you! I bring on Nate Maguire, my husband and the show’s first ever guest. To make it extra fun, we decided to film the whole thing so you can either listen to it or watch it on my facebook page at facebook.com/prismbehavior. The topic for the week is on being intentional on what you opt out of as a family so that you can opt into what actually matters. 
There are only so many hours in the day, and by saying yes to things, you are also saying no to others. Be purposeful and intentional with these choices. 
  • As a family, for now we have decided to say no to organized sports so we can say yes to sports we do as a family. 
  • For those of two-parent households, prioritizing your relationship with each other benefits the entire family. 
  • A weekly date night (either going out or cooking together once our kids are in bed) is one way that we are doing this in our family. 
  • Serving others in need is a great way to bring your family together. 
  • As a family we are involved with a non-profit called Safe Families for Children (safe-families.org), where we take in kids to our home from time to time. This has been a blessing in our home and inspired some great conversations. 


As with all things we do as parents, potty training doesn’t always go as smoothly as we hoped it would. In fact, sometimes this phase can be SUPER stressful for everyone involved. What should you do when potty training has gone terribly wrong? In part two of this series, we cover some things to try when potty training is not going well, how to know when it’s time to put potty training on hold, and what to do for the older kiddo who still wets the bed. 
Some basic troubleshooting techniques from this episode include the following:
    • Improve the reward you are using to make it more motivating.
    • Involve your child in the cleanup process when they have accidents, while doing your best not overreact despite your (natural!) frustration.
    • Use a journal to discover any patterns in terms of when your child is having an accident.
    • Based upon what you learn, proactively act in those specific situations.
    • Consider temporarily allowing your child to use a pull-up (in the bathroom) to go #2.


What’s one thing you need to do with each of your kids that is messy, can make you want to pull your hair out, but (eventually) results in a new level of freedom for both parent and child?! That’s right… It’s potty training! In this episode we go over some potty training basics to get you started on the right track with this rite of passage. This is part one of a two-part series on this topic.
In this episode we discuss many things to do to make potty training as stress-free and successful as possible. The basic method I recommend is as follows:
    • Put the child in underwear, rather than pull-ups.
    • Give them their favorite drink.
    • Set a timer for about 30 minutes. Each time it goes off, have them sit on the potty for 5 minutes.
    • If they go #1 or #2 on the potty, give them a favorite treat (that they ONLY get for potty training) and lots of praise.
    • If they have an accident, calmly have help you clean up the accident and start over.


It’s hard (and sometimes downright painful!) to watch our kids experience natural consequences when they make mistakes. However, sometimes we need to allow them to walk through life’s challenges. In this episode we go over three things to ask yourself when making the decision to allow your child to experience natural consequences or bail them out.
It’s hard (and sometimes downright painful!) to watch our kids experience natural consequences when they make mistakes. However, sometimes we need to allow them to walk through life’s challenges. In this episode we go over the following three things to ask yourself when making the decision to allow your child to experience natural consequences or bail them out:
    • How big of a deal is it?
    • Is it a pervasive issue, or a first time offense?
    • Do you have the bandwidth to rescue them?


Executive functioning is a buzz word right now. It involves memory, planning, and organization. Today’s episode outlines three strategies to use to improve your child’s executive functioning skills.
Executive functioning includes skills such as memory, organization, and planning. Implementing these three things can improve your child’s skills in these areas:
    • Create a schedule with your child.
    • Incorporate the use of timers with children of all ages.
    • Put visual cues and reminders in your child’s environment.
    • Click here  to download a free example of a visual cue that can be used with kids.



Today I talk all about defiance. All parents deal with defiant children from time to time, but what is the best way to respond? What works best? This episode goes over proactive and reactive strategies to use when dealing with defiance.
What is the best way to respond to your child’s defiance in moment, and what can you do to prevent it in the future? Here are some of the pointers discussed in this episode:
  • Take a deep breath. Label the behavior as defiant and give another chance for compliance. 
  • If your child still chooses to be defiant, react based upon their age.
  • For younger kids, sometimes the best bet is to provide physical guidance to assist them to complete whatever they are being defiant about.
  • For older kids, a loss of specific privileges for a short period of time often works well.
  • Make sure to use proactive strategies to prevent defiant behavior if it occurs frequently. This may include teaching appropriate negotiation skills and/or rewarding the absence of defiant behavior with incentives.


While Prism Parenting is for both moms and dads, in this episode I share some personal thoughts about something that I know many moms struggle with from time to time… It's called #momguilt. 
Sometimes it is so difficult to avoid #momguilt! In this episode, Dr. Heather Maguire opens up about her own personal journey as a mother of two young kids, highlighting the following three lies she used to tell herself:
  • I am lazy. If I worked harder, was more efficient, I could get everything on my to-do list accomplished.
  • I have to be fair to each of my kids, which means treating them exactly the same.
  • I can do this alone. I don’t need to ask for help.


In today's episode we look at why behavior occurs. I'll share what behavioral science has to say about behavior, as well as some practical tips for you to use right away with your kiddos.
Why does your child behave the way they do? It is less complicated than you may think. Behavior psychology says that we act to get things (actual items and activities, as well as attention) and get out of things (to escape, avoid, or delay experiences that we don’t like). That’s about it! Here are some things you can do to prevent challenging behavior in the future:
  • Come up with a list of situations that often trigger your child’s misbehavior.
  • For behaviors that occur to get things, try giving your child something they like or prefer before entering a trigger situation.
  • For behaviors that occur to get out of things, the next time you are in the trigger situation make the task easier by shorting it or modifying it. Just make sure to do this proactively, rather than in response to a problematic response.


Although it is tempting to rely on punishment in the moment, reward systems are the way to go! Join me as I discuss how to build successful reward systems for each age group. After you listen, don't forget to check out the free tool I created called The Easiest Thing You Can do to Change Your Child's Behavior TODAY!
  • For toddlers, start out by giving rewards each time they are successful at whatever behavior you are working on (e.g., using the potty). 
  • For kids who are 4 or 5, you can give something small for each success (e.g., a preferred snack), but then something bigger (e.g., a small toy) for a larger number of successes.
  • For older kids, earning money is often a good incentive. For example, you can outline a specific list of behaviors to work on and use quarters as the incentive.
  • Before creating your own reward system, make sure to check out the free tool I created called The Easiest Thing You Can do to Change Your Child's Behavior TODAY!

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