Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Communication Mailbox: How to Help Your Child With Separation Anxiety from Mom or Dad

The Communication Mailbox

      Does your child have difficulty separating when you leave home? Does your job keep you away during the day, night, or for days at a time? Try our tool, “The Communication Mailbox.” The mailbox system allows your child to feel connected when you are away and aid in reducing their separation anxiety. Families have successfully used this technique when Dad was away on a business trip, Mom works the night shift, when a parent was in the hospital, and when Mom and Dad left for a day of R&R. Several schools and daycare facilities have utilized the Mailbox as a support for a child transitioning into school.
How to Make a Communication Mailbox:

     Create a mailbox by decorating a box with your child. A shoe box or wooden craft box from an art store such as Michael’s will work well. Grab stickers, glue, crayons, and markers and enjoy being creative with your child.
How to Use:

      Before you leave the house place a note or picture in the mailbox. Once you have left, your child can receive your note and leave you letters, drawings, or pictures. When you get home replace with another note for your child. This will help your child feel connected and reduce their anxiety triggered by separation. 
     You can also alter the technique to a digital mailbox - leaving photos and notes for your older children.

Share with us your experiences with your Communication Mailbox!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

10 Low Cost Family Activities

                Summer is shortly upon us which means for most school is almost out for the year. Here are a few fun, free or minimal cost activities you can do with your child or the whole family. These activities are technology free, engage creativity and positive communication, and create opportunities for meaningful time with your child. One to one time enhances communication and builds your child’s feelings of self-worth.  Have fun!

1.       Scavenger hunt (inside or outside)

2.       Make your own pizza night

3.       Movie Night (Pj’s, popcorn, movies)

4.       Favorite Board Games

5.       Pick a project: Build a birdhouse, knit, build a model plane,  puzzle, or plant a garden

6.       Go for a hike or walk on the beach. Find an item for every letter of the alphabet

7.       Collect sea shells for an art project

8.       Museums and libraries are great for rainy days

9.       Volunteer together

10.   Favorite family sport activity

For more ideas visit our website (

                Inspire us and share your favorite wallet friendly family activities!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Do You Have Human Gumby Syndrome?

5 Steps to Get Back To Your Family's Center
Lowering her eyes with the desperate look of a homesick child, a friend said to me, “I want to go home.”  I sat for a moment confused – we were sitting in the living room of her lovely, cape home.
 Have you ever felt disconnected or far from your true desires as a person and as a parent? Today it’s easy to get overwhelmed– caught between work schedules, your child’s baseball, dance, scouts, and homework obligations. I call this ‘Human Gumby Syndrome.” Human Gumby Syndrome is when you are overscheduled, overworked, and feel pulled from your true self and values.
My friend, a wonderful mother who loves her children infinitely had become a human Gumby. Her family life had shifted from her values of regular dinners and family activities together.
If you feel or have ever felt like a human Gumby try this simple exercise to help you get back to your center and your family’s core.
Exercise: Take a moment to sit quietly. Close your eyes taking your awareness to your heart. Ask yourself – what does my ideal self and family life look like? (I like to call this your family’s core) What does this picture look like? How does it feel, smell, taste, and sound like? How do you and your family feel?
                While doing this exercise my friend remembered Sunday family dinners. Now, because of her children’s sports schedules Sunday dinner at home with family are a rare occasion. She decided to re-implement Sunday dinners as this was meaningful to her, a value she wanted to instill in her children, and a stress reducing activity. Sundays became significantly less crammed with obligations and full of family, board games, and wonderful dinners.  My friend has also given herself breaks, re-evaluated her home schedule with her family, and has asked for support. Recently she said, “Home feels like home again.”
5 simple steps to get back to your family’s center.
1.       Pay attention when you feel fatigued or stressed. Is this activity necessary? Are there supports you can call in to help?
2.       Take a Break! You work hard – breaks are deserved.
3.       Have a family meeting. Does your child enjoy their activities? Can you set aside a day off from everything for everyone?
4.       Find supports. (learn how to gather your team in upcoming posts)
5.       Fill yourself and your family with positive activities.