the most important
build self worth in your child’s brain to last a lifetime
By Karen Braveheart
(📷: My munchkins ❤❤❤)
I have three kids close in age- Sophia 17, Ryan 15, and Justin, 12. They’re 4 1/2 years apart, and a dream come true for me.
I’m 16 months apart from my younger sister, Nancy. We’re very close-like fraternal twins, and talk/facetime almost every day. Our kids are close in age too. My nephew, Eddie, is 9 months older than Justin.
The main reason I had my kids close in age is because I wanted them to grow up together with common interests and be besties like my sister and me for life.
(📷: Me and the munchkins celebrating Ryan’s Birthday)
Life with 3 kids under 5 years old was chaotic!
It’s funny when I meet other parents, and tell them how close in age my kids are, the looks I get are too funny- even from parents of 3 kids!
I’ve experienced the craziest and most stressful of situations, especially when I had three under five years old! There were times that I felt completely overwhelmed, and all I could do was hurl myself on the floor and cry my eyes out.
I felt that I couldn’t handle the load by myself, work, and run the household . There wasn’t any time for me, and I felt my life force slowing leaving my body.
The one thing that got me through was a saying: “this too shall pass”. Life is always changing like nature and a better moment would come.
I would say this to myself whenever I was by myself , desperate for help, and totally stressed out. It calmed my nervous system and allowed me to accept what was happening around me.
The overwhelming moment would always pass.
I yearned for magical grandparents to help me
I was desperate for some magical grandparents to suddenly appear like my mom friends had that would come over and help. That would buy their grandkids things and take them for fun outings.
They babysit for free and taught them all kinds of wonderful things like gardening, surfing, going to museums, baking, sports, music- all the things I saw my friends had. Some friends even had help from their parents cooking meals, doing laundry, and cleaning the house.
That wasn’t my reality.
"Life had other plans to support me"
I was desperate for more support. For family members to help me with my kids and give me a much needed break.
Why I had no grandparents or family to help
A crazy client in NY led to my then husband taking me on a vacation to San Diego where we fell in love with the city and its beaches.
(📷: Torrey Pines State Park San Diego, CA)
We were driving down the 101 and it reminded us of Montauk, on the eastern end of Long Island, my favorite weekend getaway out of the hustle and bustle of city life.
(📷: Camp Hero State Park Montauk, NY )
I’ll never forget the exact spot we were in when my then husband asked me if I wanted to live in San Diego. We were driving south on the 101 passing moonlight beach in Encinitas and he turned to me and said- I love it here. Do you?
Then he asked me if I wanted to move. I immediately said yes to the adventure.
I did a great job for this client, and we ended up closing on her dream apartment. I now call her my “crazy angel” because she abruptly pivoted me in a beautiful soul direction for my life.
Have you ever come across a person like this in your life?
I was five months pregnant with Sophia when I bought a one-way ticket. It was the first dream I ever had for myself because I had to take care of my parents since I was 14. My parents had me a lot later in life- my dad was 53 and my mom was 42 when she had me and 44 when she had my sister. They had health issues and were in/out hospitals and doctor visits.
I left them in my sister’s great care and she took over.
Both sets of grandparents passed away, before my munchkins were born or when they were babies. Even if they were alive and physically able to help out, I’m not sure I’d want them around my kids. (Learn more about what my childhood was like here- backstory blog)
My entire family was back east, and I yearned for an imaginary grandmother to suddenly appear. That’s where life brought me the support I so desperately wanted and needed.
The most beautiful miracles started happening.
Life gave me the support I needed most-
in 3 unique ways
God sent angels that loved my kids, shared my parenting values, and enriched their lives in so many ways.
- Babysitters are like your favorite family members:
I found the best babysitters for my kids when they were young. Patty was with us for years. She has three grown kids of her own and understood how to handle my active little munchkins and patiently juggled all that comes along with taking care of them. She loved them like they were her own grandkids.
Patty would come over and cook dinner for my kids , teach them things, help tidy up, read them books, bathe them, and put them to bed. She would take them to activities when I worked, to parks, out to eat, and everywhere fun.
When she’d leave, I’d walk her to the door and tell her that it was like she painted a rainbow of love inside my heart and home.
She was like the grandmother to my kids I always dreamed of and more.
- A loving preschool aligned with my parenting values that loved my kids like your favorite family:
My kids attended a play-based preschool that fostered a safe, nurturing environment that focused on each child's interests and learning needs with a modern curriculum. I loved that there were 4 different languages spoken when you walked down the hall- that was important to me for my kids to get to know different cultures like I grew up with in NYC.
- They cuddled my kids during nap time if they needed a hug when I wasn’t there to give one
- They’d wake my munchkin up from a nap after only 20 minutes because if they slept longer, they wouldn’t go to bed until 10pm and I needed to work between 8-10pm.
- They’d give my boys extra snacks when they were hungry and made sure they drank enough water during their busy days.
- I have many stories about the values they nurtured in my children. When Justin was 2, he didn’t always share play pieces (typically learned around age 3). His teacher recognized it was because he was so determined to finish his project and needed certain pieces to do that. So she encouraged and nurtured this quality in him and balanced it with the needs of the other children. She did it in such a beautiful way to honor Justin’s individuality and the other kids' needs too.
- I learned how to give myself the support I desperately wanted and it made my parenting life so much easier:
I refused to have a victim mentality with my circumstances waiting for some magical grandparent hero that would magically appear.
I knew from my spiritual practice that everything that came my way was for me, to help me, even if I didn’t see it at the time.
I’m blessed to have three awesome munchkins and knew there was a reason that I was the one who was chosen to raise them. I took this responsibility very seriously.
(📷: Camp Hero State Park Montauk, NY )
Then there was Kate. Kate was young and like a favorite cousin to my kids. She’s smart, funny, patient, loving, and was always up for anything with the munchkins. She’d pick up my munchkins and help take them to swim lessons, for ice cream, to play ball- wherever they wanted to go.
My home was always filled with love and laughter with Patty and Kate.
The director and teachers were angels sent by God. I served on the board for many years because I felt so grateful and wanted to give back.
They taught my kids in the most beautiful way and expanded their curious minds and hearts. I always felt supported and their help and attention to details big and small made my job at home easier.
"I made a choice and took responsibility with being the hero in my own life"
I had to rescue myself. And so I did! That’s how I invented teachable moments
5 life changing things that led me to invent teachable moments
- I had to find a way to balance my needs with my kids needs and make my life easier every day
- I followed my intuition 100%. It was my guide.
- I knew from my upbringing how to build self worth in my kids and not shame or make them feel bad at their core. In every interaction with them.
- I meditated and that helped create space and not react right away to yell at my kid when I got mad
- Kids relate emotionally and in the present only. They don’t understand logic until starting around the age of 8. I met them in their emotional space by being fully present with them and relating to them through feelings.
"At the time, I didn’t know that by discipling my kids with my “teachable” loving moments, I was creating an entire body of work that would allow me to help other parents"
Here’s an example. You’re baking a cake and you are in a rush, and you turn your back for a quick minute to check on the baby. In what seemed like a few seconds, your curious toddler made a mess of the kitchen you cleaned an hour ago.
Ugh! You feel like screaming! We’ve all been there.
But, the beauty of the situation is that your little one is copying everything you do. They’re making billions of neuron connections in their brains learning so much about themselves and the world.
Toddlers love to be helpers because that’s how they learn!
Here are 3 options on how teachable moments work and make parenting easier too!
- 1. You can either lovingly tell your toddler that you’re in a rush and that you’d be happy to show them next time how to bake a cake.
- I would gently redirect your toddler into being a quick helper with a different task so they can feel happy and prideful (self worth building) that they’re helping. (self worth building)
- Perhaps they can help you get the diapers and wipes together (self worth building) into your diaper bag for their baby sibling (one thing you can cross off your list and you’re still moving the needle forward on getting out the door!- a win/win for everyone! (making your life easier)
- I would teach them to learn responsibility (self worth building + making your life easier) for the mess they created by showing them how to clean it up.
- d. Then, honor your promise to bake a cake with them in the near future. (self worth building)
- You can allow them to help with the cake in a small way.
- Ask them for help with a quick cake task like finding a bowl for you or help pour the cake when you’re done. (self worth building)
- By helping with the cake tasks, it builds confidence and all kinds of independent skill building with gross and fine motor skills, cause/effect, etc..Their eyes will light up bonding with you as they accomplish a task too! (self worth building)
- You’re giving them a sense of pride, accomplishment, and inner feeling of joy being with their mom or dad. (self worth building)
- I would teach them to learn responsibility for the mess they created by showing them how to clean it up. (self worth building + making your life easier)
- If they made a mess, you can show them how to clean it up and then let them do it themselves. You’re teaching them responsibility, accountability, and consequences for their actions in cleaning up and making a mess now and for future messes too! (self worth building + making our life easier)
- To learn more about the Prodigi Kids Self Worth Parenting Paradigm, read our free eBook. You'll gain a deeper understanding of how to raise your child with core beliefs of self worth and the neuroscience behind it.
- Bring our products into your home to encourage a more loving engagement with your children and support our mission to make our Self Worth Parenting Paradigm the norm!
Turn the most stressful moments into teachable fun moments! Every time. You can find more of my mom tips for how to raise kids with positive self worth discipling them with teachable moments in the Kid Tips section. There you’ll find the best ideas to help make your parenting journey easier and teaching your child to love themselves at the same time There’s nothing sweeter!!!
I also invite you to read every blog in this discipline section, particularly the blog on setting love boundaries. Here’s an example: Kids love to be helpers and learn so I patiently taught them how to do everyday tasks so that when they got bigger, I wouldn't have to do it.
You’ll find the answers to your most stressful parenting moments and learn how to use teachable moments in the Kid Tips section here.
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About the Author Karen Braveheart, CEO
Karen Braveheart is an attorney turned entrepreneur and mom of three who deeply cares about making the world a happier place by changing how we raise our children. Learn more