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As parents, even with the best intentions, we use the word “no” countless times each day. For a child, this can be disempowering and just downright irritating. Obviously, there are many times when “no” is a completely appropriate response, especially where there are immediate health and safety concerns. But we sometimes get stuck in the “no” rather than looking for more ways to say, “Yes, and...”


By using “yes, and...,” we can:

  • Respect the budding autonomy of the child
  • Accept the other person as an equal human being
  • Reduce triggering defiance or anxiety
  • Create moments of collaboration, creativity, and silliness with our children
  • Practice a basic principal of leadership: not one of us is as smart as all of us. As soon as children see that a parent relinquishes being the absolute authority or only one who knows what is right, magic happens.

Here are 19 examples of what “yes, and...” can look like in your household.

1. Commiserate

Child: Why do I have to empty the dishwasher? I hate emptying the dishwasher!

Parent: Yes, and then the poor dishwasher has nothing left to do after it’s emptied! I know what you’re saying. I don’t like cleaning toilets, but I love how it looks when it’s done. How about I help you get started?

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It can be completely shocking to our children that we don’t enjoy household chores. By commiserating for a minute, we let them see that there are things in life that are not fun, but we do them anyway. It also keeps them from battling back, because you can’t fight when there isn’t an argument.

2. Offer to switch

Child: School is so boring!! I hate going!!

Parent: Yes, and it is so nice outside I’d rather not go to work today. Want to switch places?

Kids often love to imagine what it will be like to grow up. Give them a chance to fantasize about being you for a change.

3. Give a reason

Child: Going to bed at 8 is the worst! Jane doesn’t have to go to bed until 9!

Parent: Yes, and poor Joey goes to bed at 3pm. Now, that is really the worst! It seems like your body likes going to sleep at 8 pm. You’ll wake up rested for school and soccer tomorrow.

Providing reasons often helps children understand why the rules are in place.

4. Present a solution

Child: Can I go to the party at Mason’s house?

Parent: Yes, and maybe you guys will play laser tag like last time. I will be happy to drive you there as soon as your homework is finished.

Your child knows they haven’t done their homework. By presenting them with a parameter to get what they want, you are giving them an opportunity to either accept it or present a solution of their own.

5. Let “Yes, and...” stand alone

This is technique requires a gentle empathetic tone—no sarcasm allowed.

Child: Homework is the worst! I hate doing it!

Parent (nodding empathetically): Yes. And?

Child: Ugh. It’s due tomorrow.

Parent: Yes. And?

Child: I don’t really understand what is happening in math...

Consider the underlying message—we are often too eager to tell our kids what to do, when all they really want is someone to listen to what they have to say, helping them get to the root of what is bothering them.

6. Set a timer; make it a game

Child: I don’t want to clean my room!

Parent: Yes, and I bet you can’t pick up all of the blue things in the next 2 minutes. Ready? Go!

By refusing to engage in the power struggle and instead turning the task into a game, you are giving your child a chance to comply in a fun, creative way.

7. Don’t be afraid to be silly

Child: I want ice cream for breakfast!

Parent: Yes, and you can try to scoop it out yourself and make a super awesome multi-decker sundae this afternoon as a special treat. Maybe we can even make it try to touch the ceiling!

Your child knows she isn’t going to get ice cream for breakfast, but by taking her request and running with it to the silly extreme, you invite her to journey with you in creativity.

8. Think about why you are saying no

Child: Can we go to the movies?

(Pause)

Parent: Yes, and it will be especially fun to get there early and grab your favorite seat in the front row. How about we wait until Friday night so you don’t have school the next day and you can stay up a little later?

We get so caught up in the “No” that sometimes it simply slips out when we could have actually said yes. Taking a minute before answering will help you naturally say “Yes, and” more often.

9. “Yes, and” don’t always have to be together

Child: One more episode. Please!

Parent: Yes, you can watch one more episode tomorrow after your homework is done. And what do you think is going to happen next?

Sometimes it’s okay for the “And” part to follow the condition of the “Yes.”

10. Set the time for the “Yes”

Child: Can I have a snack [10 minutes before dinner]?

Parent: Yes, a snack sounds great! And you can certainly have one tomorrow after school.

There always seems to be an implied “right now” when a child has a request. Catch your kids off guard by taking away that implication.

11. Ask for time and give a deadline

Child: Can I get a phone?

Parent: Yes, I can see why having a phone would be helpful. And I need some time to think about it. Can we talk more about it tomorrow night?

There is nothing wrong with buying a little time to think through a situation. Just be sure to give yourself a deadline to revisit the topic so you can truly think it through without being bombarded repeatedly by the request.

12. Put the responsibility back on them

Child: Can I get the new video game?

Parent: Yes, I saw that Ninja Fish is out and I know you’d love to play it. And I would love to help you make a plan to earn the money for it.

Empowering your kids to be critical thinkers and take the reigns of responsibility will serve them well in the long run.

13. Redirect the enthusiasm

Child (4-years-old): Can I make lunch on the stove?

Parent: Yes, and wouldn’t it be fun to prepare an entire picnic on the floor for our stuffed animal friends? Let’s do it together in your play kitchen... what do you say?

There is nothing worse than unintentionally squelching children’s enthusiasm for a task than telling them they can’t do it. Use these golden opportunities to teach them how to (safely) perform a task.

14. Work together

Child: Mowing the lawn is awful!

Parent: Yes, and pulling the weeds is even worse. I hear you! How about I start pulling weeds while you start mowing?

Work goes by so much faster when you are with someone else; solitary jobs like lawn mowing or dishwashing are tough for social kids. Instead, take the time to work near each other.

15. Flip the script

Child: I hate broccoli!

Parent: Yes, and imagine how the broccoli feels about you biting its head off!

Sometimes looking at something from a different perspective diffuses the situation enough for silliness to take over.

16. Trade places

Child: Why are you so mean?

Parent: Yes, and I think I’m being a little cranky too. Maybe I should send myself to my room?

Pre-adolescents are especially prone to laughter about the thought of you being on “time out,” and best of all, they will generally leave you alone “until you’re ready to behave.”

17. Give them their own version

Child: I want to play on the phone!

Parent: Yes, and wouldn’t it be fun to play on a really old style rotary phone? Oh, you don’t know what that is... let me tell you about it!

Pretend play is a vital stage of development for children. Rather than simply saying, “No” to them playing on a phone, providing them with a real version of what they are interested in gives them a chance to engage with their environment in a safe way.

18. Show some love—karaoke style

Child: You never let me do anything fun!

Parent: Yes, and it’s all because I love you. (Put your hand in the form of a phone to your ear and start singing, “I just called to say I LOVE YOU!” by Stevie Wonder.)

Expressing love even when your child is not reciprocating is an important factor in giving your child a strong sense of self-confidence. When children are confident that you will love them when they are the least loveable, that confidence will extend to other areas of their life.

19. Let go and live a little

Child: Please can we have some chocolate chip cookies?

Parent: Yes, and grab a couple for me, too, please!

Every once in a while, it’s OK to just say “Yes.” Forget about rephrasing; forget about timelines and parameters. Just say “Yes,” especially when chocolate is involved.

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There are few kids television shows as successful as PAW Patrol. The Spin Masters series has spawned countless toys and clothing deals, a live show and now, a movie.

That's right mama, PAW Patrol is coming to the big screen in 2021.

The big-screen version of PAW Patrol will be made with Nickelodeon Movies and will be distributed by Paramount Pictures.

"We are thrilled to partner with Paramount and Nickelodeon to bring the PAW Patrol franchise, and the characters that children love, to the big screen," Spin Master Entertainment's Executive Vice President, Jennifer Dodge, announced Friday.

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"This first foray into the arena of feature film marks a significant strategic expansion for Spin Master Entertainment and our properties. This demonstrates our commitment to harnessing our own internal entertainment production teams to develop and deliver IP in a motion picture format and allows us to connect our characters to fans through shared theatrical experiences," Dodge says.

No word on the plot yet, but we're gonna bet there's a problem, 'round Aventure Bay, and Ryder and his team of pups will come and save the day.

We cannot even imagine how excited little PAW Patrol fans will be when this hits theatres in 2021. It's still too early to buy advance tickets but we would if we could!

News

In the middle of that postpartum daze, the sleepless nights, the recovery, the adjustment to a new schedule and learning the cues of a new baby, there are those moments when a new mom might think, I don't know how long I can do this.

Fortunately, right around that time, newborns smile their first real smile.

For many mothers, the experience is heart-melting and soul-lifting. It's a crumb of sustenance to help make it through the next challenges, whether that's sleep training, baby's first cold, or teething. Each time that baby smiles, the mother remembers, I can do this, and it's worth it.

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Dayna M. Kurtz, LMSW, CPT a NYC-based psychotherapist and author of Mother Matters: A Holistic Guide to Being a Happy, Healthy Mom, says she sees this in her clinical practice.

"One mother I worked with recounted her experience of her baby's first smile. At eight weeks postpartum, exhausted and overwhelmed, she remembered her baby smiling broadly at her just before a nighttime feeding," Kurtz says. "In that moment, she was overcome by tremendous joy and relief, and felt, for the first time, a real connection to her son."

So what is it about a baby's smile that can affect a mother so deeply? Can it all be attributed to those new-mom hormones? Perhaps it stems from the survival instincts that connect an infant with its mother, or the infant learning social cues. Or is there something more going on inside our brains?

In 2008, scientists in Houston, TX published their research on the topic. Their study, "What's in a Smile? Maternal Brain Responses to Infant Facial Cues", takes data from the MRI images of 26 women as they observed images of infants smiling, crying, or with a neutral expression.

The images included the mother's own infant alternated with an unknown infant of similar ethnicity and in similar clothing and position. In each image, the baby displayed a different emotion through one of three facial expressions; happy, neutral, or sad. Researchers monitored the change in the mothers' brain activity through the transitions in images from own-infant to unknown-infant, and from happy to neutral to sad and vice versa.

The results?

"When first-time mothers see their own baby's face, an extensive brain network appears to be activated, wherein affective and cognitive information may be integrated and directed toward motor/behavioral outputs," wrote the study's authors. Seeing her infant smile or cry prompts the areas of the brain that would instigate a mother to act, whether it be to comfort, care for, or caress and play with the baby.

In addition, the authors found that reward-related brain regions are activated specifically in response to happy, but not sad, baby faces. The areas of the brain that lit up in their study are the same areas that release dopamine, the "pleasure chemical." For context, other activities that elicit dopamine surges include eating chocolate, having sex, or doing drugs. So in other words, a baby's smile may be as powerful as those other feel-good experiences.

And this gooey feeling moms may get from seeing their babies smile isn't just a recreational high—it serves a purpose.

This reward system (aka dopaminergic and oxytocinergic neuroendocrine system) exists to motivate the mother to forge a positive connection with the baby, according to Aurélie Athan, PhD, director of the Reproductive & Maternal Psychology Laboratory (a laboratory that created the first graduate courses of their kind in these subjects).

These networks also promote a mother's ability to share her emotional state with her child, which is the root of empathy. "A mother cries when baby cries, smiles when baby smiles," Athan says.

While there's a physiological explanation underlying that warm-and-fuzzy sensation elicited by a smile, there may be other factors at play too, Kurtz says.

"In my clinical practice, I often observe a stunning exchange between a mother and her baby when the latter smiles at her. A mother who is otherwise engaged in conversation with me may be, for that moment, entirely redirected to focus on her little one," Kurtz says. "This kind of attention-capturing on the part of the baby can enable and cultivate maternal attunement—a mother's ability to more deeply connect with her infant. The quality of attunement in early childhood often sets the stage for one's relationship patterns in the future."

Whether a physiological response, a neural activation, simple instinct, or the tightening of emotional connection, the feeling generated by babies' smiles is a buoy in the choppy ocean of new parenthood.

And while the first smile may be the most magical by virtue of its surprise and the necessity of that emotional lift, the fuzzy feeling can continue well into that baby's childhood and beyond. It keeps telling parents, you've got this!

[This was originally published on Apparently]

Life

Chrissy Teigen is one of the most famous moms in the world and definitely one of the most famous moms on social media.

She's the Queen of Twitter and at least the Duchess of Instagram but with a massive following comes a massive dose of mom-shame, and Teigen admits the online comments criticizing her parenting affects her.

"It's pretty much everything," Teigen told Today, noting that the bulk of the criticism falls into three categories: How she feeds her kids, how she uses her car seats and screen time.

"Any time I post a picture of them holding ribs or eating sausage, I get a lot of criticism," she explained. "Vegans and vegetarians are mad and feel that we're forcing meat upon them at a young age. They freak out."

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Teigen continues: "If they get a glimpse of the car seat there is a lot of buckle talk. Maybe for one half of a second, the strap slipped down. And TV is another big one. We have TV on a lot in my house. John and I work on television; we love watching television."

Teigen wants the shame to stop, not just for herself but for all the other moms who feel it. (And we agree.)

"Hearing that nine out of 10 moms don't feel like they're doing a good enough job is terrible," she said. "We're all so worried that we're not doing all that we can, when we really are."

The inspiration for Teigen talking publicly about mom-shame may be in part because of her participation in Pampers' "Share the Love" campaign. But even though Teigen's discussion coincides with this campaign, the message remains equally important. Advertising can be a powerful tool for shifting the way society thinks about what's "normal" and we would much rather see companies speaking out against mom-shame than inducing it to sell more stuff.

Calling out mom-shame in our culture is worth doing in our lives, our communities and yes, our diaper commercials. Thank you Chrissy (and thank you, Pampers).

News

Dear fellow mama,

I was thinking about the past the other day. About the time I had three small boys—a newborn, his 2-year-old brother and his 5-year-old brother.

How I was always drowning.

How I could never catch my breath between the constant requests.

How I always felt guilty no matter how hard I tried.

How hard it was—the constant exhaustion, struggling to keep my home any kind of clean or tidy, how I struggled to feed my kids nutritious meals, to bathe them and clean them and keep them warmly dressed in clean clothing, to love them well or enough or well enough.

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Those years were some of the toughest years I have ever encountered.

But mama, I am here to tell you that it doesn't last forever. Slowly, incrementally, without you even noticing, it gets easier. First, one child is toilet trained, then the bigger one can tie his own shoelaces, then finally they are all sleeping through the night.

It's hard to imagine; I really really get it.

It is going to get easier. I swear it. I'm not saying that there won't be new parenting challenges, that it won't be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. It will be. But it will get easier.

These days, all of my kids get the bus to school and back. Most of them dress themselves. They can all eat independently and use the toilet. Sometimes they play with each other for hours leaving me time to do whatever I need to do that day.

I sleep through the night. I am not constantly in a haze of exhaustion. I am not overwhelmed by three tiny little people needing me to help them with their basic needs, all at the same time.

I can drink a hot cup of coffee. I do not wish with every fiber of my being that I was an octopus, able to help each tiny person at the same time.

I am not tugged in opposite directions. I don't have to disappoint my 3-year-old who desperately wants to play with me while I am helping his first grade bother with his first grade reading homework.

And one day, you will be here too.

It's going to get easier. I promise. And while it may not happen today or even next week or even next month, it will happen. And you will look around in wonder at the magnificent people you helped to create and nurture and sustain.

Until then, you are stronger and more resilient than you can even imagine.

You've got this. Today and always.

Love,

A fellow mama

Life
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