In Episode 150, I catch up with Karen Lock Kolp, M.Ed. of the We Turned Out Okay website and podcast. Karen is an early childhood development expert and parent coach. Karen helps worried and hovering parents by bringing reassuring, helpful advice and conversations. She offers simple strategies and guidance in her book, 10 Secrets Happy Parents Know: How to Stop the Chaos, Bring Out Your Child’s Good Behavior, and Truly Enjoy Family Time.
• Making little tweaks in our parenting can have positive effects that make our lives easier and calmer.
• Kids are very capable and can contribute a lot in the home.
• It’s important to lower our expectations of ourselves and focus on some daily connection time with family rather than all of the things we feel like we “must do” right now.
• Going through a tough time with at least one person is better than alone—find that person!
Audrey: I think they really need to just relax their expectations of themselves. There’s no way you’re going to be engaged, connecting, entertaining your children for their entire waking hours. You need to balance it. Try to do something fun every day, maybe for a little bit of time, but also finding those things that can keep your kids busy is really important right now.
Karen: As much as you can, make your home life structure so that there is a lot of connection, a lot of laughter, reading aloud to your child.
Karen: If you can read aloud to them and make it infectious and fun, you will find them wanting to read aloud to you. And that’s what we want. We want it to come from them. We want it to be motivated by them.
Karen: It’s a rare time for that. I mean, you talk about what is possible, which is an expression that Pat Flynn has used. He is an entrepreneurial podcaster. I really love him. He’s got the smart, passive income podcast and he’s just relentlessly positive. And he asked the question, “What does this make possible?” And it does make possible a whole bunch of scary things, but we can’t live in that space. We have to live like this. Maybe this will make possible some positive things. Maybe our children will discover clay in the brook behind the house and learn how to take that clay and make it into actual, usable, moldable clay.
Audrey: Even pretty young kids could help with some cooking, but I mean, if you have even an eight or nine year old, they can cook a meal for you and you can just teach them and then they can just do it on their own. And that would make them feel great and be an incredible life skill to take out of this time.
Audrey: My mindset is: everyone’s helping, no matter how young you are, we’re all going to do something.
Audrey: I think sometimes we just have to remember that our kids can do more. So if we’re thinking, “Oh my gosh, the house is a mess and I have to do it.” And I think that we can enlist our kids and now more than ever, we can just say, “Hey, we really need you.”
Karen: My goal is to change behavior so that you don’t have to do as much negative disciplining. You can just be happy because things are much more smooth.
Audrey: I think we just all need to take a deep breath and just realize that maybe there’s just little tweaks that we can do—simple things that actually make life easier, not harder.
Audrey: I also think that it’s really important during this time for people to find community.
Audrey: We’re all okay. It’s not looking great really anywhere. And that’s okay right now.
Audrey: I think it’s just finding whatever it is that works for you to get you in the right mindset to be able to be flexible and know that none of us really knows what tomorrow’s bringing and we have to just be okay with that because all we can do is try to make the most of today with whatever people we’re with.
Audrey: You took something that was really a scary, bad thing and turned it into something amazing.
Audrey: I hope that one of the outcomes from this is we all realize that we need each other and we can lean on each other and, we’ll get through this better together than alone.
We Turned out Okay (Karen Lock Kolp’s Website)
One Simple Thing
My one simple thing tip this week is to focus on strengths. When we’ve spent a lot of time with people, we can start to get fixated on their faults and the things they do that annoy us. Take a moment to list out the people you’re sheltering with and one strength you appreciate about each of them. Focusing on strengths is a great strategy for improving family relationships!
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My favorite this week is one of my favorite mood boosters: listening to music! Music, especially songs that have an uplifting beat or lyrics, are a great way to improve your mood.
Here are two of my current favorite “feel good” listens.