Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: Book Review

It finally arrived today! Here in Australia we’ve had to wait until April to receive this wonderful new storybook. Not just for girls or teens, but for everyone πŸ™‚

Unfortunately, this book has received labeling (in positive praise of course!) using the term “anti-princess“. While that may be the view of some, I personally think it’s less anti-princess, less “rebel”, but more pro-action, pro-self belief, pro-game-changer, and pro-female.

The stories of each of the 100 inspiring women from around the world are just as the title suggests, and follow a simple, bed-time story format. Easy to read and interesting even for toddlers, each story reveals the lesson or value each person has given to the world in a way that is easy for young minds to digest. 

I personally think it’s less anti-princess, less “rebel”, but more pro-action, pro-self belief, pro-game-changer, and pro-female.

The illustrations on each double page spread are unique to the woman they portray. Completely different styles created (as expected) by 60 women around the world. Simply gorgeous.

After reading only 2 or 3 stories my 7yo decided to write and illustrate her own story (about her) in the allotted pages at the back of the book – very cool πŸ™‚

Highly recommended for all ages πŸ™‚

C xx

Buy it here !!*

Happy Reading!!

* Affiliate link used.

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10 Phrases to use instead of “Don’t be Silly”.

** 5 minute read **

I’m tired of hearing people say “Don’t be silly” to their kids. 
I believe children aren’t trying to be silly nor are they trying to embarrass or annoy us. They are simply being children and more often than not are trying to have fun! Or, equally as often, have simply not been shown or modeled the expected behavior or required boundary. I often also hear this phrase used when children are presenting ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Can you imagine how you’d feel if you were told “Don’t be Silly!!!” in a firm and unpleasant or even condescending tone when you were presenting a keynote to a group? Or when you’d been injured and mentioned the pain? Or were crying because of grief or sadness?

Here I give you some alternative phrases to help guide your child and maybe recognize your own need in a situation as well.

1. Wow! – How easy is this one? Put a smile on your face and secure yourself a few seconds to judge your next parenting step, whether it’s a safety, health, or behavior issue.

2. Please use an “inside voice”. (Followed by a reason, if possible) – No explanation needed.

3. That really hurt, didn’t it? It’s ok to cry to let out the pain. (Folllwed by breathing with the tummy or whichever calm-down method you use). – Sometimes I even tell a story of when I got hurt a similar way as a child & kabam! Crying stops and play continues.

4. Looks like you’ve put so much effort in to that! – Another simple one which really only requires you pay attention to what they’re doing to supply an appropriate reaction. No need to judge their creation, just show them you know they’ve put in an effort and be encouraging and supportive by using this phrase.

5. Are you excited? Or, You look so excited! – I allow my children feelings of excitement, and naming the emotion allows them to identify it. As they grew older, their squealing reduced and bright, bold statements of “I’m so excited!!!!” Came out instead. A lot easier when you’re in crowded places as well!

6. Let’s stay calm. – Saying this out loud will also help you stay calm and remember to be the adult and be the parent. I’m saying this from experience!

7. In the ____place name____ is where we sit on our bottoms/in the chair/stand in line/etc. – Attaching a behavior to a location can be very helpful. Consistency also helps with this particular phrase.

8. What makes you think/feel that? – You’ll be surprised at what you discover using this phrase. Especially if your child is 4/5+ years old, then simply “work it out together” as I like to say.

9. You’re upset! (Followed by ‘Come here and let’s talk about it’) – In the same way as point 5 works, giving a name to the feeling is the first step in being able to identify and manage their emotions. 

10. Try telling me in a clear speaking voice (or if your child has a connection to a favorite adult or character who always speaks clearly, try using them as an example). Forget baby talk or either of you competing in a bout of demands and yelling. Encouraging clear articulation and making a point of its importance simply sets your child up for the future and it makes things SO much easier for you!

I’ve found these phrases work like magic and in addition to that, the children don’t feel shamed, confused, guilty, overwhelmed or overloaded, and they learn (slowly) what is expected. Win win win.

Xx C

Why “Moana” is Disney’s Best Children’s Film Yet

Moana: A Mother’s Review;

I’m a parent of two very different children, and I wear my high alert parenting goggles when I watch or choose films with my kids. I have chosen to be a Conscious Parent and I know children take a lot from movies whether we realize what/how much of it or not. I’ll be writing about how we watch movies in a separate post πŸ˜‰

As I’m sure most of you know, Western, English speaking “children’s” films leave a lot to be desired when it comes to role models. On the whole I have been gobsmacked at watching only the 2 minute trailers for children’s films over the last 10 years because of the increase in endless violence, sexism/gender bias, terrible role models, and severity of character-on-character mistreatment both verbally and emotionally – and it’s all made out to be funny. It is just incredible 😦

But – never fear dear parents! A great film has arrived in Disney’s latest creation – Moana. I will be putting together a list of great films for conscious parents soon (why didn’t I do that earlier?!?!?!) but for now I’ll give you the bullet points as I know you don’t have much time!

1. Strong Role Model

This won me over for point number one as Moana displays so many admirable qualities. She’s physically, mentally and emotionally strong. She must overcome many barriers, trust her instinct, and believe in herself. Despite the fact she yearns for the sea and exploration she does so in wanting to be a better leader for her family and village as opposed to fighting or rebellion. And she’s not “super sexy” or sassy anything like that πŸ™‚

Any “attitude” throughout the entire film is only character frustration or misunderstandings as opposed to plain rudeness or malice. So the biggest things my two kidlets are repeating/taking from this film are; trying to be better swimmers (yay!), being strong, trying hard, courage, females being in positions of great responsibility, seeing through the pain of others, and well, the words “butt cheek” did enter the eldest’s vocabulary but I’m not complaining about that with everything else she’s taken away from the film.

2. Presention of Culture

Although this story and characters (I believe) are not intended to represent a specific South Pacific Island or specific Nationality, I believe that the overall presentation of the island way of life, the region, and peoples to be positive and in many ways true. Happiness, sharing, reliance on the coconut, roles within the community, dancing… And the hair – my daughter wants hair like Moanas now, and even as I write this my youngest is covering her arms with removeable sticker tattoos, haha!! I was easily able to discuss and relate my children to SO many aspects of the movie (from the boats to the dancing, tattoos, language, roles within a village community, etc) not only because of our trips to New Zealand but because I have dear friends from the South Pacific Islands and we (myself and my children) are always involved in cultural and global exploration in order to widen their circle of knowledge, wisdom and tolerance. Moana is definitely a step in the right direction when it comes to exposing your children to this regions peoples if they aren’t already πŸ™‚ And I believe it’s also possible to research the less Americanized/Disney-fied versions of the story of the Demi-God ‘Maui’, for example, if you wish to further educate yourself.


3. No Unnecessary Violence and Minimal SlapStick Humor

What a relief to be able to watch a film without constantly reassuring my children that “we don’t hit others like that”, for example. I think there are two points in the film where it comes close. But this was a huge part of the appeal of this film as well as we saw that it’s only necessary to fight in self defense as opposed to attack or to be funny or provoke others. Or most importantly, when we can’t use our words effectively.

Thank you, Moana Directors, for this!

Oops, I must note though that a few scenes may frighten young children so please cuddle tight and answer their questions through those. I’d recommend ages 4 to 5 and older watch this one.

4. Great Story

Easy to follow for the children, and as I say in both points 7 & 9 the lessons were obvious, and it’s a wonderful coming of age story. I personally am happy the main character is female, too, since I have daughters πŸ™‚

As I said in an earlier point it’s a Disney-fied version of a legend, so, research further for the history behind it. Or otherwise simply go and enjoy the film! 

5. Visually Breathtaking

I’ve recently started following Andy Harkness, the creative Director behind this masterpiece, and I would have to say I’m very impressed with pretty much every element. And when you do watch it – check out the amazing texture, look and movement of the hair and also water! I just wanted to touch it all!

6. Beautiful Music

Moana and the supporting characters have far easier voices to handle. This thankfully is not a repeat of Frozen. And yes, I do have the Frozen soundtrack. And yes, I do know all the words.

Secondly the mixture of languages was refreshing and also for my children, exciting. They appreciate the culture behind the music and I think that’s a wonderful thing!

7. Lessons Are Clearer

What I’ve actually noticed with a lot of kids films (Disney’s included) is that there are a LOT of underlying themes that simply go straight over the heads of our children but not without first modeling unwanted behaviors and adding confusion or inappropriate themes to their minds. And no, I’m not a “way out hippy”, or extremely religious, or extreme anything type of parent, I’m just aware of what they’re digesting, processing and regurgitating!

8. No Hate

In this world where there is so much hatred I find it refreshing that Moana doesn’t promote hate or a separatist attitude. Love it.

9. Easy to Explain or Expand On

Winning! Even after the 3rd viewing my children still have “why” questions and I find it is so easy to explain the answers and explore the topic/question raised. We do this with all films but I’ve found this very easy to parent through πŸ™‚

10. Appropriate Themes

Following on from the last point, I don’t have to explain the ins and outs of themes they’re too little to understand or shouldn’t even be exposed to.
That just about sums it all up! I hope that what I’ve shared was helpful for you in choosing whether or not to show this film to your children. But as I’ve said I really do think it’s their best film yet πŸ™‚

*This review is my personal opinion and I have no monetary affiliation with Disney. 

Colour-Me Choices Posters to help deal with BIG emotions

We’ve all been guilty at some point or another for responding immaturely or unpleasantly when our child has a melt down. When more than one child melts down at the same time… Well… I’m putting my hand up first to say I’ve panicked and reacted terribly. I certainly didn’t model the behavior I aim to teach and I most definitely didn’t keep calm myself.  But now that has changed.

I’m working on a series of posters you can colour in or your child can colour in, featuring the simple yet effective choice wheel. The first I have completed is SAD. Download it here. If I ever get any time I’ll be coloring these all in Photoshop to make them incredibly attractive and mid-feed-scroll-stop-worthy, but until then please enjoy by coloring yourself. Who knows, it may be rather soothing!
I choose to have these on the wall in easy to see places and when my child/ren has a moment we refer to this. Simple. And we get through ok and I hope beyond anything else that she is able to grow her personal toolbox to deal with emotions in a way I never did as a youngster or even young adult.

Enjoy and use as you feel fits in with your family.

Xx

The day I thought I’d failed my daughter, and how I made my way back to her.

It’s not until you reach the lowest point possible, or, the highest point of stress that you may find your way to light. That’s how it’s been for me for the last 2 months – feeling like I’ve totally failed raising my second child. For varied and numerous reasons – lets call it “mashed up circumstances” – I hadn’t been as focused on my second as I was on my first – goodness knows I wouldn’t be able to handle any more children as other mothers so graciously do. But more than the usual “We played classical music for our first but the second just gets whatever is on the radio”, or, “We went totally organic for our first but the second ate bread and processed food WAY too early”… It was more along the lines of simply dragging the second along to everything the first was doing over this particular two month period, “hurrying” her along to keep up with whatever I was doing, and never really paying attention to more than her physical needs. I am a second born myself and I do realise how this feels. What a fool I was to repeat it for my own child!

So one day recently, all of a sudden everything felt like it came crashing down. My sweet, sparkly 3 yo was screaming and crying, constantly doing “bad” or the wrong things – that which she knows will push me or upset me, even physically hurting myself and others, and it felt like EVERYTHING I tried failed. Patience, calm non-violent communication, yelling, stupid consequences like removing cherished toys, changing the environment, making sure all physical needs were met that instant… I felt like I used all the tools in my toolbox and everything failed. I felt like she, and I, we’re breaking down. 

I cried for a while… Well, it was 2 days actually. And then it hit me like the proverbial tonne of bricks. 

Connection.

SO simple. Children lash out when they are in need. When they are hurting.


Because of the various differences between my two, I was so focused on catering to my older child’s new phase and needs, as well as the other stressors which were going on at the time, my little one was totally left behind. My heart broke when I realised this. And then, her collarbone got broken after she fell from the dining room chair. This child who can literally jump off the clothes line, hang upside down on an aerial bar, do yoga, and climb 10 feet into the air on a circus rope, fell half a metre when messing around and broke her clavicle. At the time I felt it was my fault and wanted to make it all better, then we had quite a roller coaster ride with not getting help at the hospital (long story), that even more of our relationship felt like it was breaking. I felt like a really bad mother.

From that day onwards, even though she had been in pain and frustrated at not being able to do the amount of physical activity she was used to and had a lot of pent up energy, I tried to connect with her. It’s crazy how simple it is but in the busyness of every day life we can overlook that which is most simple.

I gave her 100% of my attention and focus. We played games led by her. We read her favourite books. I shared my feelings with her. And I made a conscious effort to have my older child allow her to speak without interruption. Every day I am working on it but every day is getting better. I think at one point in the process of feeling I was losing her I thought that because my first was constantly in the carrier and very attached to me (when she was tiny) that we had a stronger connection, and that my second born was simply a more adventurous, free spirit (which she is) but that she wasn’t as connected to me and that I had no say in the matter. That was another mistake.

You CAN make a difference in your relationship with your child. Never give up no matter how old they are! All it takes, is connection. You can never fail them as long as you are trying your hardest.

Let your love rule πŸ™‚ You got this!
Xx

First Steps to Being An Awesome Parent

I couldn’t believe when I read this article on becoming a better parent.

  I had come to this myself maybe 6 months ago, after a year of to-and-fro (which I haven’t posted about just yet) and I just want to let you know that if you don’t do these things already – they really do change your life, and your children’s.

Read it and take the steps. It’s only 5 steps, and take the baby steps to begin with, but it’s worth it. Being a Mother or Father can rock – you just need to – Rock It!!

If you feel like you’ve chosen the wrong life (let’s face it, not all pregnancies are planned!) and parenting is just not you, sometimes a little shift in perspective or approach is all you need ❀️❀️

Teaching Your Children About Consent – in pictures

I could not have done this better myself. If it makes it easier for parents to give them tools to feel a little less awkward (especially those who haven’t experienced any form of sexual abuse), or a great choice of words to use, I’m all for it. I will be searching for more from Morgan in the weeks to come. Check it out;


 Originally found here.
Thank you, Morgan and Liz! I will be sharing this everywhere! Useful for fathers as well.
Xx

Why My Child Mimics Your Sentences

For most parents the answer to this may seem obvious, however I’ve been in the situation a few times now where I’ve needed to defend my youngster’s behavior from an upset or annoyed adult. These aren’t just singles or ‘dinks’ mind you, they’re young/new parents, and even experienced grand-folk, too.

To put it simply, she is expanding her vocabulary, learning how to pronounce these new words, and learning new mannerisms through mimicking. That’s it!

In a way she looks up to you and is then learning about you through copying. That’s how growing works! That’s how they learn to crawl, walk, eat, run… I know that this shouldn’t really need to be explained, but in my experience, some people truly don’t realize this very simple fact.

Happy mimicking my little friends! Grow on!

Xx