Table of Contents - December 2011
Feature Article: Stress Free
Parenting Tip: Great Teacher Gifts or Stocking Stuffers
Upcoming Classes: FREE: “Am I Doing Too Much for My Child?”
A Good Read: No Time for Down Time?
Stress Free Holidays
With the holidays coming, I thought it would be a
fabulous time for us to do some pre-planning and bypass some of the stress that
inevitably comes with the holidays. Holidays are supposed to be fun, right?
My friend, Beth Tabak, has 10 fabulous ideas on how to rein in excess and focus
on what matters to us most.
Reminisce over previous holidays -
In your journal create two columns and
label them “What Works” and “Not That
Again.” Under “What Works” list
activities that come naturally, bring
you joy, and ease into place. Under “Not
That Again” list challenges. Jot down
energy-draining activities that bring
you down. What changes will you make to
delegate, dump, or modify the items in
the “Not That Again” column and embrace
more of what is in the “What Works”
theme that motivates you - What is
most important this holiday? Base your
theme on that. If you want to cut out
traveling consider "Home for the
Holidays." If your budget is tight
ponder "Simply Sensational." Your theme
keeps you focused. One that honors your
spirituality could be "Faith and Family
First." Or choose a favorite quote such
as Mahatma Gandhi's "Be the Change You
Wish to See in the World." Be creative,
have fun, and write it down.
top four priorities - Base them on
what you really want which connects with
your theme. Get crystal clear. Write
them down. When you know your priorities
you are able to respond easily to a
request and set boundaries. When someone
asks you to get involved look at your
priorities and see if it serves them. If
it does, consider it. If not, the answer
is likely no.
Map - If you took a big trip without
planning you would likely get lost,
waste time, and experience anxiety. It
makes sense to plan at the holidays when
so many areas of our lives are affected:
time, energy, personal care,
relationships, physical environment, and
finances. Consider creating a task list
through the end of the year. It takes a
block of time but saves time and stress.
It will rescue you from running in
circles, going back and forth to the
same place, and trying to remember what
is next. In the past I have had hundreds
of items on my task list. No wonder we
get stressed when we attempt to keep it
in our heads.
Here's a tool to help. Create a holiday
task list. On your computer create a
chart with 4 columns. Use your theme for
the header. Under your theme list your
priorities horizontally. Label the
columns in a way that is helpful to you.
I use Business, Personal, Holiday, and
Need List. Use small font and minimal
margin space to fit as many rows as
possible. Print your map. List your
tasks and add on as they come to you.
Keep your map with you at all times.
Schedule blocks of time to carry out the
tasks. Have fun and build momentum as
you make progress. Remember to save it
for next year.
- Every task must be handled. You can do
it, delegate it, or dump it. Eliminate
what does not serve your priorities.
What can you get help on? Get rid of
those items on your “Not That Again”
list. Hire out when possible. Ask guests
to bring a dish instead of you doing it
all. Get your family involved and
remember that things do not have to be
perfect. Let go! This will give you the
freedom to embrace what you truly enjoy
budget - Develop a budget that feels
good. There are lots of ways to have a
special holiday without adding stress to
the budget. Show people they are
appreciated. Plan family fun and
activities. Let someone know what is
special about them in a card, letter,
cassette, or video. Be creative. Hide
gifts, wrap up boxes with little clues
inside, and let the kids have a
scavenger hunt. Don't let a tight budget
steal your joy. Make it fun and begin
boundaries - Decide now what you
will not tolerate. Write it down.
Remember your “Not That Again” list? Is
there someone who ropes you into things
you don't want to do? Have the
conversation that is overdue. Be
compassionate, and “no” is “no.” If
someone keeps asking after you have said
“no” they are trying to control you.
Setting boundaries is about educating
others on how they can treat you. Is
there someone you need to educate?
time for planning and yourself -
When is a good time to update your plan?
When can you take time for you? Put it
on your calendar each week through the
end of the year. Keep the appointments.
Add this line to your day timer as a
reminder: "I have an appointment in
honor of myself this _________ (day) at
__:__ (time) to do something special for
me because I sooooooo deserve it!"
a way that gives you joy vs. obligation
- When you give in a way that comes
naturally, you stay authentic to
yourself. Thereby, you are able to share
your own special gifts with others. When
you are doing what you love, life
clicks. If there is a situation you are
dreading, think about how you can tweak
it to handle it in a way that would
bring you more joy.
action now - Begin today so that you
are tying up your last bows well before
the pitter patter of hoofs on the
rooftop. Keep your holiday journal and
map close at hand. The sooner you
complete your tasks, the sooner you can
prop your feet up, sip your favorite hot
beverage, and enjoy the atmosphere you
created this season!
What I want for
you is to take the first step...Starting
Guest Author: Beth Tabak is a
Business & Life Coach, writer, speaker, and
owner of Starting Now. She coaches
individuals to experience the vastness of
their abilities, whether it’s in their
personal or professional life, by taking new
actions that achieve new results.
My Gift for
You! A Free Teleclass for the Holidays!
“Am I Doing Too Much for
Wed., Dec. 14 Noon CT
As my holiday gift
to you, my loyal subscribers, I’ll be offering a
free teleclass on Wed., Dec. 14 called “Am I
Doing Too Much for My Child?”
I’ve invited my friend and colleague, Elizabeth
Crary, a parent educator for more than 30 years
to present this topic based upon the publishing
of her latest book, Am I Doing Too Much for
My Child?: Getting Your Child on the Road to
Responsibility and Independence.
Elizabeth is the author of 35 books for parents
and children and loves helping parents solve
“knotty” problems they face.
Elizabeth will share four levels of parenting
support you can provide from the time of birth
until your kids leave home. Elizabeth says that
understanding each level and what the
appropriate level of support is for each stage
of development can help you reduce hassles,
increase your child’s motivation, improve
problem-solving and reduce overindulgence.
Register here now:
For the “Am I Doing Too Much for My Child?”
on Wed., Dec. 14 at Noon CT/1 PM ET/11 AM MT/10
Teacher Gift Ideas
If you need ideas
for teacher gifts that your kids can make this
holiday season here’s a great link:
Making “Snowman Soup” with hot chocolate,
chocolate candy kisses, marshmallows and candy
canes, is one idea but there are others such as
Magic Reindeer Soup and Candy Cane Soup.
Another tool on the website is a gift planner
with the person’s name, clothing sizes, favorite
colors and hobbies. You can write down your gift
idea and what the price is, so you can keep
track of your expenses.
The site also recommends a master shopping list,
so if a meeting runs short and you suddenly have
30-minutes, you can use that time efficiently
and buy something from your master shopping
Take these classes from
the comfort of your home or office! You'll join
other parents, via telephone, for parenting tips and
a lively discussion all while sitting in your
favorite armchair! There's no need to waste time
driving to classes when you participate from home or
your office in a 'teleclass.'
FREE! “Am I Doing
Too Much for My Child?” - Wed., Dec. 14 at Noon CT/1
PM ET/11 AM MT/10 AM PT. Register here now:
Teach Your Child the Value of a Buck” - Sun.,
Dec. 4, 10 a.m., St. Michael’s Lutheran Church,
“Key Strategies for Reducing Power Struggles”
– Mon., Dec. 5, 7 p.m. Woodbury Community Education,
“EQ: Raise An Emotionally Intelligent Child”
- Sun., Dec. 11, 10 a.m., St. Michael’s Lutheran
Church, Roseville, MN.
“Money Matters: Teach Your Child the Value of a
Buck” - Wed., Dec. 14, 6:30 p.m., Amazing Grace,
Inver Grove Heights, MN.
A Good Read
Each month a parent
provides a review of a parenting book they've
enjoyed. Please e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org to share a good
read with other parents.
Time for Down Time?"
By Ruth Hoskins, LCSW, BCD.
I saw Ruth Hoskins speak a number of years ago. The
thing that I liked about Ruth was her calm,
reassuring demeanor and her emphasis on being
forgiving of yourself. Her book is written in the
Ruth teaches meditation and other stress management
techniques that help integrate mind, body, and
spirit. I have always been intimidated by meditation
feeling like I was “failing” if I didn’t stay
focused. Ruth teaches readers about “effortless”
meditation and assures us it’s OK to let our minds
wander because “that’s what minds do.” I appreciated
this reassurance that it’s not about doing it
“right” it’s about doing it to relax.
Other chapters touch on learning how to relax,
letting go of guilt, setting boundaries, integrating
visualizations and affirmations and how to “put
yourself first, as least some of the time.”
The book is only 93 pages long but packs so much
helpful information in it that it’s one of my
favorite books to recommend for parents who are on
the fast track and don’t know how to slow down. Toni
Toni Schutta, Publisher, Families First Coaching Newsletter
Toni Schutta is a Parent Coach with a Master's
Degree in Psychology and 17 years experience working
with children and families. She's also the mother of
two wonderful children, a Licensed Psychologist, a
certified graduate of the Mentor Coach Foundations
Program, a member of The Parent Coaches Association,
an author, speaker and past radio host.
Families First Coaching
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