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The new year is a great time to reflect on what is working and make changes to what isn’t. This week I am replaying an episode I did earlier this year with my husband, Nate. In it I will give you several ideas to make 2020 the year you are 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. 


The holidays can be a lot of fun, but the lack of structure and increased time together can make everyone start to go a little crazy. This week I will give you three tips to thrive with your kids this holiday break rather than just survive.

1. Minimize- Take some time to go through your kids' toys and donate what they no longer play with. The more toys they have, the more things that will be on their floor (and all over your house). One of the things parents tell me they fight about with their kids is cleaning up.

2. Organize- Create a schedule for the days that you have off together. Have your kids participate in creating it to increase their buy-in.

3. Revitalize- Take time to reflect on your relationship with your child. What is going well? What is an area that is a stumbling block? So much of improving our relationship with our kiddos starts with a shift in mindset. We know the right things to do, but don’t always do them. What is one thing that you can do differently to make the holiday break a better time for you and your kids?


The toddler years are a blessing and a curse at the same time. On the one hand, it’s amazing to see your little one’s personality come to life! Yet there is a reason that the term threenager was coined. In this episode I will give you three things to do to improve your relationship with your kiddo and reduce the number of meltdowns.
- Providing choices gives three year olds back some power. In a world where they want control, but have very little of it, a few choices can go a long way.

- Secondly, make sure to keep your language simple… ESPECIALLY when your kids are upset. Kids at this age have limited language skills. When you couple that with spikes in cortisol and other stress hormones that occur when they get upset, the result is that they understand VERY little of what you say when they are upset. Limit the number of words in the sentences you say to them when they are upset.

- Consider why the behavior is happening. Does your child want to get something from you? If so teach them how to request what they want appropriately, teach them to wait, and teach them to accept alternatives when what they want is not available. Do they want to get out of doing something? If so, consider if it’s a “can’t do” thing or a “won’t do” thing. If they can’t do it (or it’s very difficult), make it easier for them. If they can do and and won’t do it (but it’s still something that needs to be done), you may need to use consequences like loss of privileges or hand over hand assistance.


As a parent, nothing breaks your heart like when your kiddo gets sick. You want to do everything in your control to help your little one feel better. Sometimes this can get you into to trouble though. When kids are sick parents can inadvertently foster behavior problems that can stick around long after the illness is gone. Our conversation this week is all about giving our kids the extra love they need when they don’t feel well, without creating behavior issues that persist.
1. As much as possible, plan ahead. Rather than not following through with what you ask, try to ask LESS of your child. For example, it would be better to pick up your child’s toys for them without asking for their help, than ask them to help, have them complain and argue, and then give in. As always, no mom or dad guilt allowed. If you do happen to give in when your child acts out, give your child grace, give yourself grace, and then move on. However, by trying to plan in advance, you can MINIMIZE this how often this happens.
2. Create an environment that is comfortable, but not overly stimulating. For example, if your child has unlimited screen time when he or she is sick, then they might not be able to nap as much as needed. There is a lot of research to suggest that watching screens may make it challenging to fall asleep for all of us. I’m not suggesting NO screens, just not an unlimited amount. Plus, if you happen to have kids who would rather be home than at school, your kids might feel compelled to take a LOT of sick days.
3. Be mindful about medicine. I know that as a parent, anytime my kids have a fever my first thought is to give them pain medicine. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do that (definitely consult with your pediatrician, especially regarding infants), but before you do I challenge you to consider a few things first. If their fever goes away, will they still feel compelled to rest or will they overexert themselves? Also, what if having a fever is actually what they need? There is some interesting research that suggests having a fever might actually HELP your child fight whatever illness they have. Check out the Mayo Clinic website (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fever/in-depth/fever/art-20050997) for more details.



As a mom, I often feel like I am juggling- career, marriage, parent, and more. It’s not just me, right? It is easy to feel overwhelmed. This week I am interviewing Lindsay Preston from the Become an Unstoppable Woman podcast about goal setting, work/life BLEND rather than BALANCE, and more. She will even share some of her personal journey about what it was like to suddenly be a single parent in her late twenties, and how she used this challenging experience to get where she is today.
- Lindsay is a certified life coach. Her passion is teaching goal-getting, fear-facing women the neuroscience-backed process for life-long success. If you loved Lindsay, check out this free assessment (https://lindsaypreston.typeform.com/to/Ffu8OX) to see if working with her is a good fit for you!
- You can find her on IG here (https://www.instagram.com/lindsayepreston/) and listen to her Become an Unstoppable Woman podcast here (https://www.lindsayepreston.com/unstoppablepodcast/).
- In our interview together Lindsay shared a lot of great insights. One of the biggest take-aways had to do with minimizing mom-guilt. Specifically in today’s culture we shouldn’t feel guilty for achieving work/life BLEND rather than BALANCE. For example, we might feel guilty for writing that email while we sit on the park bench while our kids play at the park. This is because the notion of work/life balance suggests that we need to leave work at work. The problem is that in today’s workplace, that is not always feasible. However, there are upsides to this as well! Today’s parent is sometimes able to do some work from home and flex their time. So long as it goes both ways, this can be a positive thing. Going back to the park example, the very fact that the parent is AT the park with their kiddo might be a result of this blend.



Ever wonder what you can you do to raise grateful little humans?! This week is Thanksgiving, and I think it is the perfect time to contemplate this topic. In this episode I’ll go over three practical ways to do just this. For the fun of it, I’ve also included a short interview with my daughter, Ady.
1) Make a decision as parents to model being content and grateful. Being grateful is wanting what you have and nothing more.
2) Make sure your kids have some “skin” in the game. Use a reward system so that they begin to understand what it’s like to actually have to earn some of what they have.
3) Make a habit of serving your community together as a family. Our family is a host family for Safe Families for Kids (https://safe-families.org).



A lot of times when are kids act out, it’s because they want us to give them something or they want to get out of something they don’t like doing. But what about sensory processing?! Sometimes our kids do something (or don’t do it) because of the sensation it provides. How should we respond when our kids act out because of unique sensory needs? This week I’m interviewing Wendy Bertagnole from the Exceptional Parenting Podcast to discuss this important topic. You will love Wendy’s approach to this topic because she is very child-centric and empathetic.
In this episode Wendy talks about seven cups of sensory processing that vary in their size from small to large. If you child has a small cup in one of the seven areas, then he or she will have a difficult time handling sensations related to that cup, and if it is large then he or she may feel the need to do whatever it takes to get more of the sensations related to the cup. Knowing this, you can do your best to create an environment that accommodates your child’s unique sensory needs and work with your child to expand or contract the size of their cups when possible and appropriate. If this topic resonates with you, make sure you check out her free cheat-sheet about how to tame tantrums.
(https://wendybertagnole.com/taming-tantrums-download/ ) and follow Wendy on instagram (https://www.instagram.com/wendybertagnole/). You can also listen to Wendy’s show called the Exceptional Parenting Podcast (www.exceptionalparentingpodcast.com).



If there is a more dreaded conversation as a parent, then I am not aware of it... Yep that’s right. I’m talking about the birds and the bees conversation. However, in our world today kids are learning about sex and pornography at surprisingly young ages. What age should we start talking to them about this? How should we do it? This week I am interviewing Emily Gaudreau from the podcast How to Raise a Maverick about this very topic. You do not want to miss this interview! Personally I walked away with so much new information and ideas to use in my own home, and I know you will too.
Emily Gaudreau is a Colorado native on a mission to end child sexual abuse. She's armed with a microphone and seriously black coffee. Emily's proud to have created a powerful nature-based abuse prevention program that is changing the way parents talk to their kids about sex. She helps people all over the world show the kids in their lives that LOVE is worth fighting for.
Connect with Emily:
-Visit her website: emilygaudreau.com
-Listen to her podcast called How to Raise a Maverick:



This episode goes out to all the tired parents out there desperate for answers! In it I interview Samantha Day who is a mom of two, children’s author, and certified child sleep expert. Samantha reveals some tips and strategies to guide parents down the path to a more rested and happy home.
If you enjoy this week’s episode, make sure you connect with Samantha! She provides several resources through social media, her podcast called Happy Days Rested Nights, and her two children's books that model healthy sleep habits. You can find out more and connect with her in the following ways:

Website - www.samanthadayconsulting.com

Instagram - www.instagram.com/samanthadaysleepconsulting

Facebook - www.facebook.com/samanthadaysleepconsulting

and for immediate assistance options - www.samanthadayconsulting.com/immediate-assistance/



Parents can be so divisive at times, and this is especially true about certain hot topics. One such topic is infant sleep training. If we look at extremes when it comes to this topic, in one camp are parents and professionals that say sleep training is ESSENTIAL for both baby and mother. They even go as far to say that if you don’t sleep train you are causing some sort of harm to your baby. In the other camp are the people who say letting your baby cry AT ALL will cause irreversible damage to them. Here is the deal, most of us parents and professionals fall somewhere in between, and I am not an exception. As a sneak peak into the episode, I am a firm believer that there are several things you can do to help your child learn to self-soothe at a younger age. That being said, I am all about empowering moms and dads; you are the expert in terms of your baby and your family! Listen to this episode and then decide for yourself what is best for your family.
Babies aren’t born with the ability to self-soothe. It is something they learn. Parents of young kids often talk about the glorious future when their kiddo will “sleep through the night.” Interestingly, babies don’t actually sleeping though the night. Basically what happens is that they continue to periodically wake up during the night, but eventually don’t need your help to go back to sleep.

Here is the good news. The research shows that most kids will sleep through the night without major intervention. That’s right, no matter what you do or don’t do, most of the time kids "sleep through the night" by about one year of age. That being said, here are several things you can do to help your child learn to self-soothe:

-Little babies often only eat for very short periods of time before falling asleep. It can be helpful to try to keep them awake (by tickling their toes etc.) to feed for increasingly longer periods of time so that once they are a few months old you can start to use a (loose) schedule with them.
-If you adopt a feed, play, and then sleep schedule (rather than a play, feed, and then sleep), then you can rock your baby to sleep rather than feed them to help them fall asleep. Of course in middle of the night, you will most likely just feed them and put them back to sleep. This will allow you avoid a strong association between feeding to fall asleep.
-Eventually, you can start putting your child in their crib a few times per day (e.g., when you need to shower, cook, or do other activities) when they are drowsy rather than sleeping. This might mean that they cry for a while before falling asleep, but the research shows that babies that get love and affection all day but are allowed to cry for short periods of time are not negatively impacted.
-One common method of infant sleep training is the Ferber method where parents allow kids to cry for a designated period of time, but then come in and comfort their child (without taking them out of their bed) for a bit before repeating as many times as necessary. This has shown to be an effective method of sleep training. Even if you don’t use this method, you can start to wait a few minutes to see if your baby will go back to sleep on their own when they wake up in the middle of the night.



Throughout life, certain events stand as a marker in time that distinctly separate the old from the new. Recently our family experienced one of those events. In a previous episode I mentioned that my son has ADHD and we were contemplating medication. Fast forward to today, my son has been on meds for a little over a month, and it has truly been a game changer for him. In this week’s episode I am going to do something a little different. Rather than ME talking about what the last month has looked like, I’m going to play an interview I did with my son so that HE can tell you with his own words what this experience has been like.
Since this week is primarily an interview with my son Landon about his unique journey with being diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed medication, the show notes are limited. I do want to emphasize that this week’s show reflects my son’s unique experiences. You might be fully against using medication for ADHD. That’s okay! As usual, I fully support YOU as the parent doing your best to help your child navigate life’s challenges.



The cultural norm when I was a child was processed food. Fast forward to today, some people have become so obsessed with clean eating that they have developed eating disorders. In response an approach called intuitive eating was born. It’s been very helpful at helping those with disordered eating, but is it an approach you should use with your kids who don’t have an eating disorder? This week I will give you my take as a behavior analyst on using intuitive eating with kids. You can also check out my video blog on this topic: https://www.prismbehavior.com/blog/intuitive_eating_with_kids
As a sneak peak into the episode, I think there are several GREAT things about this approach that you should consider adopting with your kids.
Some of the positive things about using this approach with your kids include the following:
  • It calls out "diet culture." Dieting involves restricting food groups and food amounts. Research shows that dieting results in weight fluctuations and a lot of mental health issues. It also is linked to a risk of developing an eating disorder.
  • It helps teach your kids to get in touch with their body’s hunger cues.
  • It encourages your child to make age-appropriate choices about what they eat, how much, etc.

There also a few things that you may want to think twice about. Some specific thoughts I share include:

  • Very little research about using this approach with kids currently exists.
  • Kids often need to try things several times before learning to enjoy eating them. This approach may discourage kids from trying things enough times.
  • Some food is more nutritious than others. In my professional opinion, highlighting this does not mean your child will develop an unhealthy relationship with food. 



The other day someone asked me, “Are you enjoying every single minute?" Mind you, my husband and I were leaving a restaurant with our two kiddos, and it had been a pretty typical evening out... complete with a meltdown or two! To that well-meaning lady, I said “Definitely not every movement!” Probably due to my blunt (but friendly) tone, she raised her eyebrows at me a bit before winking. This week on the podcast, I talk about the fact that it's okay not to enjoy every moment. I will walk you through five things you can do to get through particularly challenging moments (and even whole seasons!) of this crazy thing we call parenting.
-Admit to yourself (and a close friend!) that you are going through a challenging season with your kids.
-Do some inventory regarding self-care. What are you currently doing (or NOT doing) to take care of yourself.
-Shift some responsibility to your spouse, if at all possible.
-Seek out more specialized assistance such as counseling, if you think the issue maybe more related to depression or anxiety than the circumstances.
-If the issue centers around your kids acting out, consider making a change. For example, you could try using a reward system.


I grew up in a home with one TV and no cable. I remember getting our first computer and playing DOS games like Commander Keen and Prince of Persia! It wasn’t until I was married that I sent my first text message. All that to say, the world that my kids are growing up in sure is a much different one than I grew up in. As a parent it can be hard to know how to approach things like screen time with our kids. How much is too much? This week I will be tackling this issue head on. Specifically I will walk you through five things you should consider when deciding what screen time will look like in YOUR home. 
-Decide on limits and put them in place. Most kids in the US are in front of screens two or more hours each day (not including academic activities), yet professionals recommend capping the time at an hour. An hour is NOT a magical number, so if you decide on more or less, that is fine. It’s more about the accountability that this creates for your kids AND you.
-Allow yourself to make exceptions to the rule you set as needed. Whether your kids are home sick, you have an important project, or you're just having one of those days, exceptions are FINE. No mom or dad guilt allowed.
-Put safe guards in place. Consider where your child will be able to use screens. Many professionals recommend not allowing your kids to have their devices in their room. Learn to use the restrictions on the device to block explicit content.
-Be mindful of the timing of screen time. Research shows that screen time right before bed fcan disrupt sleep. A high percentage of kids are not getting enough sleep as it is, so you can bet screen time right before bed doesn’t help.
-Finally, make sure that screen time isn’t getting in the way of other more important things. Making time to connect with your kids on a regular basis by reading, playing, and just talking to them are highly important. Also, make sure your kids are getting enough physical activity. 


Truth be told, I’m fundamentally against homework in the elementary years. There’s just a lot of evidence that it’s not helpful. The only exception to this is daily reading. Unfortunately, if your child is in a traditional school setting, most likely there is no escaping homework. More than that, it’s something that parents and kids often fight about. But I have good news for you! It doesn’t have to be this way. This week I will talk about three easy things you can do to improve the homework situation in your home.
-Create a structured environment. Make a schedule for when and where homework is completed. Ensure that your child gets to do a few FUN things right after homework, to motivate him or her to get it done.

-If the structure and routine is not enough, then you may need to troubleshoot. For example, consider breaking up homework into smaller chunks. You can use a digital timer and say your child needs to work for a certain amount of minutes before getting a short break. Another option is to say she or he needs to complete a certain amount of homework (e.g., number of math problems) before getting a break.

-Consider negotiating less homework with the teacher. For example, if your child struggles the most with reading but excels in math, ask the teacher to do MORE reading and LESS math for homework.


No parent ever says to herself or himself, I want to enable my kids and be a helicopter parent. So why is it so hard these days to encourage our kids to be independent? How SHOULD we raise our little humans in order to help them to grow into the independent adults we hope they will become?! This week I will break it down by age and go over effective strategies to encourage independence with toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary age kiddos.
Toddlers: Train them young! At about a year, start teaching them to put their toys away. Choose a clean up song to consistently use (which will help them if they don’t yet have much language) and then help your kids put two or three items away a few times per day.
Preschool: Make a short list of daily “chores,” like cleaning up toys, putting shoes in a bin, and putting clothes in the hamper. Use a list with pictures to help them know what they need to do.
Elementary: By kindergarten, kids can learn to do MANY self-care things on their own and some household chores as well. Some examples include:
Making a school lunch.
Getting up in the morning with an alarm clock.
Brushing teeth (a digital timer can help).
One or two household chores that are not self-care related.


As a parent, sleeping often feels like a luxury. When you first bring your baby home from the hospital, you expect that you won’t sleep. But what do you do about the toddler who stopped sleeping through the night at some point in time? This week I will go over several quick tips for you to use to help your toddler (and you!) sleep through the night.
Set the stage with the right routine. Ensure that the child has a predictable routine before bed that includes quality time between you and your child. Sometimes incorporating the use of a digital timer or written down schedule (words or pictures) can be helpful.
Choose an incentive that your child actually wants. It has to be something your child really wants and something you are willing to withhold from the child in all other circumstances.  
Take it one (realistic) step at a time. Of course the ultimate goal is for your son or daughter to sleep all night long every night, but take a deep breath and realize that changing behavior is a process. Start small.
So what do you do if your child gets up when they aren’t supposed to? I recommend that you say something simple like, “You got up too many times, so now you don’t earn ______.” Say it once in a calm, but firm voice. Then bring your child back to bed as many times as it takes without providing unnecessary attention (e.g., without talking to him or her, providing eye contact, or giving more physical contact than is necessary to safely assist the child back into his or her bed). This is the hard but necessary part! 
Before you start anything get your child’s buy in. It is very important to sit your child down and talk to him or her about the plan that you have created. Let them help make the materials if you are using a reward chart. Everything should be framed in a positive way to your child so he or she sees it as an opportunity to earn “cool stuff” rather than some sort of punishment.
If you do these things and they don’t work, don’t be afraid to adjust and try again! In terms of trouble shooting, you may need to make changes to your program if it isn’t working. 


When my son first started eating baby food, he would eat everything. He wasn’t picky at all. A little after he turned one, all that suddenly changed. We went through a period of time where I had to put his dinner in a blender combined with hummus, to get him to eat. Today he eats just about everything, and I relied on my behavioral training to help get him there. This week I will walk you through four easy (yet proven!) ways to help your picky eater become a less picky. There is no magical answer, but if you follow the steps I’m confident that you WILL see improvement!
  • For picky eaters, be mindful of snacks. One in between meals is typically sufficient for kids, unless they are going through a growth spurt. Ensuring that the snacks include some type of protein that will keep kids full until the next meal are advisable. Beyond that, you may choose to provide free access to certain foods (like cold cut veggies or fruit). If your child doesn’t eat all of his dinner because he’s had too many carrots, you probably don’t care!
  • Give choices to your child. This can include allowing him or her to participate in meal planning, choosing how they eat of each item, etc. 
  • Consider making a rule where kids are required to “eat a little bit of everything.” Though it’s good to serve meals with items your child likes, it is not always possible to do this perfectly. Requiring your child to at least eat a BITE of everything you sere (even of things he or she doesn’t like) will ensure repeated exposure to items. Kids often need to try items several times before they learn to like them.
  • With food your child doesn’t particularly like, consider rewarding him or her in some way for trying the item.


Imagine a fork in the road. On one side is the parenting you’ve been doing all along. There are good days and there are bad days. You love your kids! But often you are living in a reactive state. Don’t do this and don’t do that! You often feel like a broken record. On the other side is a different approach. This approach takes more planning... it’s proactive in nature, but it results in less frustration for you and your children. This week’s podcast is all about a shift in mindset. More specifically, I will give you three easy ways to begin to shift your mindset and parenting style from being reactive to proactive.
  • Make a list of two or three “trigger situations" where your kids are likely to act out. As parents we get caught up in the moment, and often we let these situations repeat over and over again.
  • Make a hypothesis of why your child is acting out in each trigger situation. Episode two of this podcast is all about why behavior happens, but the basic idea is that behavior occurs to get things (including activities and attention) that we want OR to get out of doing things we don’t want to do. Why do you think your child is acting out? Write it down.
  • Come up with something your child can do in these triggers situations before they make the choice to misbehave. Here are some of the examples we spoke about in the episode:
    • Picky eating during meals: less snacks, more preferred foods each meal, more choices, rewarding if your child eats a little bit of everything.
    • Meltdowns during bedtime: visual schedule of bedtime routine, use of a timer, star chart with short-term and long-term rewards.
    • Tantrums when told to clean room: start small and only require the child to pick up a few items at a time, reward them for cleaning (e.g., pause a TV show and only turn it back on once they have cleaned). 


ADHD is a common disorder impacting kids and adults. For kids it commonly impacts academics, behavior, and relationships with peers. This week I will go over what ADHD is, as well as some of the common medications prescribed to help those with this diagnosis. I will also open up about how this topic is currently impacting our family. 
  • The three subtypes of ADHD are inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, and combined. Most children with ADHD have the combined subtype.
  • Not all kids with ADHD need medication, but for some it can be very helpful.
  • The two main categories of medication for those with this diagnosis are stimulant and non-stimulant medication. Stimulant medication often works immediately, but non-stimulant medication can take a few weeks.
  • Stimulant medication is very effective for many kids, so doctors typically start with it. For those with certain medical conditions, those who experience side effects from stimulant medication, or those whose symptoms do not improve, doctors prescribe non-stimulant medication.


This week we talk about siblings, and more specifically sibling rivalry. I know it’s not just my house! Although my kids get along most of the time, they also fight like all siblings do. Many parents wonder how to keep the peace in their own house, so I will be going over four simple strategies you can use to keep fighting between siblings at bay. As a bonus, I’ve also included a free resource to help you uncover what to do if you find one sibling frequently bullying the other. 
  • Discover activities that all of your kids like to do, and invest in them. For example, if your kids enjoy board games, then have a lot of them on hand to encourage them to spend time together.
  • Even if space is abundant, consider having your kids share a room when they are young.
  • Come up with a simple rule for sharing that works in your home. For example, kids close in age might only be allowed to have a limited number of items they aren’t required to share.
  • Put rules in place about problem solving. For example, you might tell your kids that during specific periods of time (e.g., while you are cooking) they need to work any arguments out between themselves unless one of them is physically hurt. You can allow them to tell you about it once you are finished (which they often won’t feel the need to do!). This may require extra planning on your part as the parent, because you will need to teach them to express their frustration with each other in an appropriate way.
  • As a bonus, here is a free resource to use if you find one sibling frequently bullying the other:
  • Download Here


Guess what?! No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be the perfect parent… and your kids won’t be perfect either! Though giving your child (and yourself!) room to make mistakes is often the right approach, punishment is sometimes still necessary. Last week I spoke about time-out, a discipline strategy that can make your children less likely to act out in the future. This week, I will go several alternatives to time-out, walking you through the best ways to use them with your own kids.
When kids are doing an activity they don’t like (e.g., cleaning their room), time-outs don’t usually work. This is because sitting on time-out might actually be more “fun” than what they are supposed to be doing. In this situation, consider using one of the following strategies: 
  • Require your child to finish what they have been told to do. Remind them of something fun they can do afterwards, but don’t let them do a different activity until they complete part or all of the task.
  • Take away a privilege. Choose something that is important, but not catastrophic to your child. Bigger is not necessarily better. Also, choose something that you are willing to follow through with. This also works well with older kids who have grown out of time-outs.
If your child has done something to hurt another (either physically or emotionally), consider using a restorative justice approach. This simply means that you require your child to fix the situation with the other person. For example, if your child destroyed a sandcastle that another child built, she could help the child rebuild the castle.

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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