Just Start Somewhere.

Dear Diary,

I have been avoiding you for quite some time now.
Yes, avoiding you.
Please don’t take it personal.
This is most definitely (and legitimately!) one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” situations!

I could list 1,001 reasons why I haven’t been writing but at this point, are they really relevant? Are they really what I want to focus on? Do I really want to focus on the past or do I want to move forward and focus on the present, the future? Yes, that is what I want – to move forward. I am certain there will be a time and place when sharing my 1,001 reasons for not writing with you will make sense. And I am certain there will be a time when I feel more comfortable sharing them (I know, odd coming from me, the one who feels comfortable sharing everything), but right now is not the time.

And that is really hard for me to do because folks, if you haven’t guessed it yet I am an anal-retentive, logical, sometimes-organized person! The whole idea of writing posts that don’t reflect my life chronologically drives me bonkers! The whole idea of not thoroughly explaining to you all how I have arrived at this type of post drives me bonkers! I want to explain to all you newish folks why I started with “dear diary” and how this post actually fits in within the grand scheme of The Orange Rhino Challenge.

So why don’t I write those posts you ask? Why don’t I take you back in time with me? I don’t know! I go to write those posts and I hit a block. Actually, I hit a lot of them. Think of it this way. You know how when you don’t call a friend one day and think, “oh, I will call her tomorrow?” and then tomorrow doesn’t happen or the day after or the day after that? And then before you know it more than a month has passed and you still want to call but feel so bad for not calling that you don’t actually make the call?

Yeah, well that is how I am feeling about my relationship with writing right now. Oh how many times I have yearned to write to you dearest diary. Oh how many times I write to you in my head but then avoid writing to you in reality. Oh how many times I sat down to write to you and instead surfed Facebook because the distance between us had grown so much and with it my hesitance., and my fear but we will save that for another day. And oh, oh how many times I said to myself, “just write already, you know you want to, you know you will feel relieved once you start, you know it is a great stress relief, just do it!”

But I couldn’t just do it. I guess you could say that I fell out of my habit of writing. I lost my groove (am I allowed to even admit that here?) and I think we all now how hard it is to get back into a groove. It is brutal! The whole “no more eating chex mix for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert” practically killed me yesterday but alas, I had to get back into the groove of eating better as my body was begging me too. And don’t even get me started on the having to get back into the going-to-school-groove after vacation. Yesterday was Such. A. Tough. Morning. And Day. And Night. Everyone is tired, cranky, disappointed, just wanting to be in pajamas and therefore struggling. Fun times!

I did manage to get into those two grooves yesterday and have continued them today. Partly because the out-of-groove period was so short and well mostly because I had no choice! But getting back into the writing groove? Well clearly it hasn’t been so easy-peasy! But I desperately want to get back into the groove so yesterday I did something about it.

I just started somewhere. Anywhere. 

Just Somwhere 1.4.16I told myself to, “just sit and write, stream of conscious style like you used to do. Write to your ‘diary’; it might not be your ideal format for this post but it will get you started so just to do it.”

“Just do anything,” I said to myself. “It doesn’t matter if it is good or meaningful or post-worthy, it just needs to be a start. You just need to start writing. You just need to start practicing again, to get the flow going.”

So that is what I did, that is what I am doing. And wouldn’t you know it, it feels fantastic! I can feel my desire to write to you again, as in sooner than a year from now, growing. Feeling fantastic is a pretty contagious feeling and all I needed to get to that feeling was just starting somewhere.

Just starting somewhere…
Without fear if I would succeed.
Without fear if I would continue to succeed.
Without fear of what people would think.
Without fear of whether or not I would do it right.
Without fear if I was doing enough to get going.

Without fear of well, anything that could keep me back from just doing.

It wasn’t easy letting go of aforementioned fears but I can tell you, it was worth it. AND, if you are like me and are struggling to go after something you want, perhaps, oh say, learning to Yell Less and Love More in 2016, it will be worth it for you if you let go of any fears, hesitations, excuses, concerns you have that are holding you back from starting your own journey to be an Orange Rhino. You don’t have to let go of those feelings forever, just long enough so that you can Just Start in the moment. Because once you get started, once you start to gain momentum and feel fantastic, you won’t want to stop. Trust me.

Will you, will WE, have setbacks along the way? Will you, will WE, have setbacks oh say hours after we started? Probably. And then we will just start somewhere again. We will take any step forward that we can and that step will matter because it will move us forward.[pullquote]Will you, will WE, have setbacks along the way? Will you, will WE, have setbacks oh say hours after we started? Probably. And then we will just start somewhere again. We will take any step forward that we can and that step will matter because it will move us forward.[/pullquote]

Great you say, but what blooming step can I take? Here are a few in no particular order because again the point is to just do something, anything to help close the distance between your goal/desire/dream of yelling less and your current state. They may seem like small steps, but small steps are bigger than no steps and more importantly, the small steps will lead you to where you want to go!

  1. Tell a friend you want to yell less. Tell more if you have the energy, and if not, no worries! You can grow your support circle as time continues.
  2. Surround yourself with orange reminders. Print out one orange rhino (download here) and put it up. Add more as your commitment grows.
  3. Write a diary entry to yourself about what is holding you back and let it go. Email it to me if you want to officially send it off and free yourself of it.
  4. Track your triggers for just 1 hour (here’s a free download or you can find it in my book with more details) Forget days. Just do an hour. Just get started.
  5. Set you phone timer for 20 minutes. Tell yourself that you just need to stay calm and choose a more loving tone for 20 minutes. You can so do that! If it needs to be 5 because it is a tough day, then do 5. Just start somewhere!
  6. Pick one, just one tip you want to try today and use it over and over and over.
  7. Adjust your expectations to help you get over your hesitance by telling yourself, “Today I am just getting started. I don’t need to worry about success right this moment. I just need to get started. I just need to get my mind more engaged in The Orange Rhino Challenge.”

Just starting somewhere certainly isn’t easy, but I think that not starting at all, that wanting to do something and not doing it all is a heck of a lot harder and a much greater burden to carry.

* * * * *

Phew! I did it! I achieved my goal for this week. Did I struggle all last night and this morning about sharing this without any connection to all of my last posts? Yes! Am I sitting here thinking I should save this post for later, for when I have written the posts that lead up to it so that everything is “in order” and “done the way I would ideally do?” Heck yeah. But again, I can’t do that. If I wait, if I don’t just take another step forward by posting, I will get stuck again and I don’t want to be stuck – I want to be moving forward, closing the distance between my dreams/hopes/goals and where I am today.

Who is with me? Who is moving forward today? What 1 step are you taking?

* * * * *

YLLMcrop2 If you would like more details to get started, you might enjoy this blog post: 12 Steps to Yelling Less or my book which gets a lot more detailed! You can the entire scoop on it here: “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids–and How You Can Too! A thirty-day guide with tips, stories, and insights. 

 

6 Tips to Happier Siblings and Therefore a Happier Me!

It’s funny how life can work out.

On April 29th I received a new book in the mail from a colleague.
On May 2nd I tore my ACL.
And on May 3rd the fighting between my boys intensified greatly.

Understandably, though, right? I mean, here I was, stuck on a couch, unable to play with my kids, hardly able to hold a conversation, and completely unable to crawl into bed and give good night snuggles. Not only were my boys already on edge with everyone as a result of witnessing my accident, but now they were also desperate for my attention of which I had so little to give. So, they started fighting with each other even more than before which is to say, their fighting went from slightly intolerable to majorly intolerable and oh my gosh did it make me want to SCREAM!!!

Luckily, the book I had received was Dr. Laura Markham’s new book, “Peaceful Parents, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life.” I mean, talk about perfect, timing! Every second I had enough energy, I read Dr. Laura’s book for I simply could not put it down. All of the non-preachy insights and ideas that just made good, logical sense that I knew I could remember and implement had me hooked!

I would love to share with you all that I took away from the book because I know that fighting siblings is a wonderful trigger for yelling. Gosh, between the extra noise, the lack of peace, the frustration around, “why can’t we just get along and have a fun family time,” the physical outbursts at each other, and the competition, it all leaves me wanting to yell! Am I right?!

That said, I underlined and highlighted so much in the book that if I shared all of my takeaways I would just be re-writing the book J So alas, here is my main takeaway and then a few other takeaways that have been game changers for me in how I approach my boys when they are fighting and how I approach parenting in general.

My Main Aha: Kids need coaching on how to problem solve when they are fighting, not just to “work it out” by themselves.

You all know I am a fan of the concept that discipline means to teach and that my role as a mom is to teach my kids. Before this book, though, for the most part I followed the “work it out” themselves approach. Sure when things were huge I stepped in, but for the most part I let them figure things out. This worked sometimes (think small issues) but for the most part, one kid just ended up frustrated and either walked away screaming at the other or came running to me crying. Which when I think back, makes total sense! Kids aren’t born knowing how to compromise, how to listen to each other, how to make “I” statements, or how to “fight fairly and productively.” How can I expect them to “work it out” themselves when I haven’t really, truly taught them the tools to do so in the first place? I mean sure, here and there I share a lesson, but the lesson really needs to be right then and there during the fight so it can be put to use. I need to coach them. I need to teach them to problem solve on their own. Which is exactly what I focus on now – teaching them to problem solve. Teaching them this skill is so much more than about reducing sibling fighting by the way; it’s about giving them a life skill that is so ridiculously important, on so many levels. So focus on teaching them problem solve I have. And the results have been mind blowing.

About one week into my injury, the boys were out fighting in the back yard over who could use the red toy (because obviously the blue one at their feet was inferior. Duh.) I gave it a few seconds to see if they could figure it out and when I realized things were about to escalate, I stepped in and used Dr. Laura’s tips.

“Uh-oh! It seems we have a problem. But we can solve this. Let’s see. Why don’t you each tell me what you think the problem is…without using your brother’s name. Andrew, you go first….Okay, James, your turn….This is like Scooby Doo guys! It’s a mystery as to what the solution is. Let’s problem solve; what can we do here?”

Side note: the amount of times I bring cartoons into my parenting sometimes scares me, but it does make relating easier! Moving forward.

I followed Dr. Laura’s suggestions for how to continue the rest of the conversation. Within minutes, NO JOKE, and without raised voices or tantrums, the boys ON THEIR OWN came up with a solution. Before I could even say “good job!” they had run off playing TOGETHER. Laughing. Happily. Like I said, Happy Siblings = Happy Mom. I then SAT in a chair UNINTERRUPTED!!! for 20 minutes watching them play. It was a miracle. It was beautiful.

Coaching my kids through a fight instead of letting them work it out on their own was the biggest take away for me from the book and it has continued to be a useful insight/tool/life saver. Just the other day two of my boys were walking together, holding hands, whispering to each other and evidently making a plan. They had been fighting minutes before but with the mere prompt of, “Looks like we have a problem,” they figured it out. Again, lifesaver!

Here are 5 other inspiring tips that have made this summer a wee bit more peaceful. (Note: these are my interpretations of her points; I might interpret somewhat wrong so apologies Dr. Laura if I do. Regardless, you inspired me to think and act better so thank you!)

  1. Use “And” instead of “But”
    The word but sends the message that whatever you just heard and acknowledged, well doesn’t really matter. “I know you are angry BUT we don’t hit.” It’s okay to be angry. That shouldn’t be dismissed. So instead I try to say things like, “I know you are angry AND we don’t hit.”
  2. Focus on “Taking Turns” instead of “Sharing”
    Taking turns on the child’s initiative (outlined in book) promotes generosity from with-in which is a great life skill as opposed to forcing sharing which doesn’t do so as much.
  3. Beware of Unintentionally Fostering Competition between Siblings
    The simple and personally frequent statement of, “Stop picking on your brother!” automatically pits them against each other as opposed to: “In this house we use kind words.”
  4. Use the Past to Find the Positive
    I am a firm believer in catching my kids being good as a really useful parenting tool. That said, this summer it has been HARD, hard, hard with one of my kiddos. Dr. Laura’s advice? If you can’t find something positive now, use an example from the past. Duh! So simple, so effective.
  5. Keep Kids from Ganging up on Each Other
    This is a huge one in our family L which saddens me to no end. I so often say, “You and you, don’t exclude him” which puts the “offenders” on defensive (we aren’t!) which means the chances of behavior changing are slim to none! Using the Socratic method of asking questions instead of accusing works better. “We aren’t leaving anyone out, are we?”

51W1RnmJewL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_“Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings” truly empowered me to get the sibling fighting in my home to a better place and I do feel that we have made major strides in that department…with room to improve, of course! But seriously, with less fighting and shorter fights, there is a lot more happiness in this house and for that I am way grateful. It’s been a hard summer as is and I can’t imagine how it would have been if the fighting was where it was 3 months ago! Yuck. So thank you Dr. Laura for sharing your book with me and for making my life a wee bit saner!

The Orange Rhino Challenge App!

I know how cruddy it feels to classify oneself as a “parent who yells way too much” and I just don’t want you to feel that anymore because I know how great it feels to call oneself an “Orange Rhino Parent!” This is why I created all sorts of different tools to help you out on your journey to “Yell Less” like The Orange Rhino CommunityThe Orange Rhino store…The Orange Rhino Book, “Yell Less, Love More”…and now (drum roll please) The (new and improved) Orange Rhino Challenge App! I am super psyched about the App as it is a great complement to my book and it helps you do all the things that helped me stop yelling like…

Testing out all sorts of silly and unique ways to stay calm,
Talking positively to myself,
Tracking my progress visually,
Writing down when and why I yelled to determine my triggers,
Creating a plan for said triggers, and
Getting friends to support me in staying to said plan.

Oh, and did I mention it is free?! Yep, it is! It is only for iPhones right now but when we get enough interest and positive feedback, I will look into raising funds to create an Android version. Until then…here are some key screen shots of the App along with directions on how to best use the App.

HOME PAGE
Goal Complete– Daily Inspirational Quote
– Visual Goal Tracker: Set your own goal in the Goals page and select whether or not you want the graph to appear. The graph will always show your most recently achieved goal in the center (1 day included!) so that you constantly remember that you CAN indeed Yell Less because you have already done so! Also, once you successfully achieve your goal, The App will ask you if you want to go onto the next goal!
– Personal Mantra: Type in your own mantra that speaks to you and motivates you! Change it as frequently as you wish.
– Access to Settings: Three horizontal lines under the Rhino will take you to settings page where you can select daily tips, set an alarm, back date last yell.

 

 

 

Daily Tips      New Goal!


JOURNAL

Journal– Traditional Journal:
“Write” out all your frustrations so that you don’t let the frustration out vis-a-vis a yell. Enter as many as you wish each day. Scroll through them to identify any patterns, also known as triggers. Tap on the arrow on right to make an entry.
– Trigger Tracking Journal:
Enter all triggers as you identify them as well as a potential solution. Make sure to tap on save afterwards to save changes!

 

 

 

 

 

Journal Entry   Trigger


THE LATEST
– Stay in touch with my latest insights, stories, and tips by getting up-to-date posts from my Facebook page, Twitter Feed, and blog


SUPPORT

Support– Get in touch immediately with your support network! Add up to five names from your phone’s contact list to your support list. When you want to yell, text or call them and get instant support!
– Connect with other Orange Rhinos by heading over to The Orange Rhino Community. Ask questions on how to handle a specific trigger. Ask for extra support. Read other posts and find hope that you can yell less and peace from knowing you are not alone! Find Orange Rhinos like you going through similar struggles.

 

 

 

 

 

GOALS
Set Goal – Personalize your journey by picking the best goal for you. Make sure to select “Set Goal” to save your preferred goal.

– Determine how you want to monitor your success. Do you want just the days counter to appear or also a progress chart?
– Decide your rules for The Challenge. If you want to go a set number of days straight without yelling but you yelled, reset the counter…but don’t reset your determination or belief that you can do this!

 

 

 

 

SETTINGS
Daily Tips– Daily Tips: Set a specific time (say, first thing in the morning?) to receive daily tips pushed out as notifications on your phone. Make sure to select “Set Time” to save your tip time.
– Backdate Last Yell: Capture every day you haven’t yelled by updating the date your Challenge successfully started.
– Set Custom Alarm: Set an alarm to go off at tough known moments with an Orange Rhino inspirational sound and a short message of support for yourself. (Note: You will not see a list of all of your saved alarms and at this point you can not upload your own sound…maybe in the future!)

 

 

 

 

photo 4   Backdate Yell
Please note: This screen shot of daily tips is old – you actually get tips, i.e. do pushups and not quotes! 

Daily Alarm   Short Alarm Message   Days of Alarm

To set alarms follow these steps in this specific order! (1) Tap on the “+” (2) Tap on Random Sound, select sound, press done (3) Type in short message (4) select “Repeat Options” to select all Days the alarm should go off (5) Select time (6) Tap “done.”

So there you have it – the basic layout and functionality of The Orange Rhino Challenge App! Just like parenting, my goal here wasn’t perfection, but rather progress and I continue to progress further developing this App and others. I hope you enjoy using The App as much as I enjoy looking at the screen shots and dream of using it (eh hem, I am an Android person!) You can download the app on iTunes

Happy Downloading!

15 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution to Stop Yelling at Your Kids

Orange Rhino YellingYou all know that in January 2012, I promised my four boys, then ages five and under, that I would go 365 days straight without yelling. I had just been caught yelling at them by the handyman and the disappointment in myself that I had become a yelling mom, a mom I so never thought I would be, coupled with the sheer embarrassment, pushed me to finally admit that enough was enough and that I needed to change.

After numerous starts and re-starts, I finally met my goal on February 6th, 2013 and well, I just kept going, and going. The upsides to not yelling, like less temper tantrums, tears (both my kids and mine,) and berating myself, along with more listening, enjoyable bedtimes, and laughter (just to name a few) made all the hard work so worth it that I had no desire to pull back my efforts! I have only had a few slip ups since that February day, but with new health concerns for my three year old, new parenting challenges and new personal struggles, I am finding that the increased level of stress is making it much harder, like, much, much harder, to respond calmly instead of yelling.

So, when December 31st rolled around, instead of sitting down to make a list of any new resolutions, I decided to make a list of reminders for how I could continue to succeed at my old resolution of not yelling at my kids. I hope my list helps you out as well because I know I am not the only parent struggling with this resolution!

Preventative Measures to Keep Yells From Growing in the First Place

  • Schedule a scream if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed or get a stressful phone call. Letting out a big ‘ole yell outside, in the garage, or into the closet relieves tension instantly and gets you to a less grumpy place.
  • My mom told me to rest because I needed to. Of course I said I didn't need to. I ended up not getting up for 2 hours. Mom was right - I needed the break! Loved this moment!

    My mom told me to rest because I needed to. Of course I said I didn’t need to. I ended up not getting up for 2 hours. Mom was right – I needed the break! Loved this moment!

    Take care of yourself. Prioritize sleep, exercise, me-time, and connecting with friends so that you are in a better place to combat personal things that can push you to yell like: hunger, exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed and experiencing any tough feeling of parenthood like loneliness or not-good-enough-ness.

  • Surround yourself with orange by sticking orange Post-It notes in oh-so-popular yelling areas and by wearing orange clothes so that everywhere you go you are reminded of your promise to be an Orange Rhino and not yell. That and well, orange gives off a warm and energizing vibe, a vibe desperately needed to keep yells away!
  • Laugh, talk and cuddle with the kids whenever you can because when you are all connected and regularly enjoying each other’s company, you all behave better! Seriously. Joyful moments breed joyful attitudes, remember that!

Tips to Stop a Growing Yell When Preventative Measures Don’t Cut it.

  • 279637_10150723865045004_5947675_oRe-tape newborn pictures that have fallen down off bedroom doors so that when naptime is a struggle or when some darling child needs one thousand and one cups of water to fall asleep, you are reminded how fragile your child was, and always will be, so that you are inspired to proceed with gentle and not harsh words.
  • Exercise to get your body, instead of your mouth, moving! Drop and do a push-up so you don’t yell a put down! Do jumping jacks so that you stop feeling so jumpy and irritated! Let the endorphins released from exercising (stretching included) bring you to a happier place.
  • Start vacuuming, scrubbing the floor, or wiping down counters to get the similar calm-down effect as exercise. Added bonuses? Also get a cleaner house, more sculpted arms and if vacuuming, a noise to drown of the yelling of the kids which you know can be a major trigger!
  • Say, “I love you sooooo much” so that the blatantreminder of how strongly you feel about one of your munchkins dampens the desire to yell. Saying “I love you” is like an elixir to stop yells, especially when it is said over and over again which lets be honest, will be necessary sometimes!
  • 72224_10150308214670004_6138642_nStare at a favorite picture in the room of you and the kiddo driving you nutso so that you focus on the positive memory you shared and not the current negative one you are experiencing. In other words, zone out for a minute so you don’t blow up for 10 minutes! Remember, if no picture can be found, staring at an inspirational quote or personal mantra also helps get you re-centered. One favorite mantra: “I can do this. I will not yell.”
  • Splash cold water on your face to cool down. Or put your head in the freezer, whichever. You know you can get hot when a yell starts to grow which can make you get irritated. And if you get irritated, then you will probably want to yell even more! And if you want to yell even more well…then literally cooling down is a lifesaver. Note: If you are in the car, open the window and put your head out like a dog. Just watch out for passing cars of course! Ha!
  • Find perspective by saying you are grateful for whatever annoying thing happened. For example, “I am grateful my son spilled his milk all over the floor because it meant he was trying to learn how to do it himself.” Or “I am grateful my son spilled his milk and not my coffee. That would have been a disaster.”
  • Sing out emotions or just sing for the heck of it because even though you have an awful voice, it gets attention! Plus, singing, “I am so angry I could yellll,” makes you laugh both at yourself at your kids (in a good way, of course) because their, “mom is a wicked awful singer” expressions are priceless.

Alternatives to Yelling When All Else Fails and a Yell is Inevitable.

  • Turn the yell into garbledegook (I am not sure that is even a word, but that is the entire point.) When a yell is literally on the way out and you are too late, jumble all the words and sounds up so that you sound ridiculous. This will not only stop the kids in their tracks, but it will also make us all laugh which is an instant mood changer. Likewise, talking like a robot or as if you have marshmallows in your mouth, also work.
  • Stress Ball 2Squeeze the nearest squeezable thing (and no, this definitely does not include kids!) Think Play-Doh, kitchen towel, cereal box, pillow, jacket, steering wheel, or seat of a chair. What also works is putting your hands in your back pockets and squeezing (the pockets that is, not your butt!)
  • Just let out a primal scream, but leave all words out. The reality is that sometimes it does feel good to scream; it just doesn’t feel good to yell negative sentiments at others. So if a yell is most definitely coming out, let it out but just save the words and aim it away from the kids. (P.S. I always follow this up with an, “I’m sorry I lost my cool.”)

And last but definitely not the least, the most important of all ways to ensure that you don’t slip into your old yelling habits, should you slip up–rather, when you do because you might be an Orange Rhino but you are still human–make sure to immediately forgive yourself. Remaining mad at yourself will just make you grumpy, angry, and disappointed which are three surefire ways to make it even hard to keep yourself from yelling when the next tough moment arises.

YLLMcrop2For 85 more ideas on how to stop yelling at your kids, and for a detailed step by step guide to further help and inspire you, check out my new book, “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids–and How You Can Too!” available in all major bookstores and online here.

How to Yell Less This Holiday Season

DSC_0492

(c) The Orange Rhino

At 12:30 today, my 12-day Christmas vacation with my entire family begins. I must admit, I am equal parts excited and equal parts nervous. Oh how excited I am to see my kids smile on Christmas morning, to hear them squeal with joy when they see what Santa left, to feel them all snuggled up next to me as we watch movies together and just lounge around without a care in the world. And oh how excited I am to have my husband around as a second hand to help out, to not have to drive to appointment after appointment, to not have to jump out of bed for fearing of running late. Yes, there is much to look forward and I can feel the excitement growing in my belly.

But of course I can also feel the nerves, the nerves that know that Christmas break is a hard time for me to “Yell Less and Love More.” There are just too many personal triggers that get all fired up!

Like being around too many people without any alone time.
Like eating too many sweets and junk food and eh hem, drinking too much wine.
Like seeing too many things that need to be cleaned up and organized.
Like hearing endless tantrums because my kiddos are overtired and overstimulated.
Like feeling disappointed that Christmas, the most magical day of the year came and went so quickly. Too quickly.

Ugh, and these are just the holiday triggers! Shoot, these are just some of my holiday triggers! Oh how I am nervous that I will not enjoy my holiday vacation as much as I hope because I will be so busy fighting off these “seasonal” triggers on top of all my other normal ones! Ha! It’s a good thing that a super simple, super inspiring, super helpful acronym about Yelling Less came to me as I flew back from Los Angeles a few weeks ago. Ya ready?

I plan to “Yell Less and Love More” this holiday vacation, to embrace all the joy of the season, all the joy that my children bring me, all the joy I feel from being with my family, by simply finding J.O.Y! Yep, it is as simple as that! I am going to,

J. Jot down all my known triggers that appeared during past holidays.
O. Observe my notes to find both trends and which triggers are the most “popular.”
Y. Yell Less by creating a plan to manage said popular triggers when they arise.

J.O.Y.Simple, inspiring and helpful, right?! I know, simple is a bit of an understatement. Taking the time to write down triggers (when and why I yell) and observing notes isn’t necessarily a simple task; it actually can take a lot of focus, thought and time. That said it is a straightforward task that leads to straightforward and useful answers. Once I know my triggers, I can create a plan to manage them. And once I have a plan to manage them, I can act on said plan. And once I act on said plan, I can start to change, I can start to Yell Less and Love More; I can start to find more JOY-full moments in the day and enJOY said moments more! And when you give a dog a donut…. Oh wait, wrong example.

But speaking of donuts, this is how I am currently embracing J.O.Y. so that when 12:31 hits later today, I am less nervous and more excited! Here are my

Top 5 Holiday Triggers and Solutions
Trigger:
Too many people and not enough alone time
Action: Create a secret signal with my husband that means “I need a quiet breather now or else I will explode.” Encourage him to do the same. Go to the “bathroom” as soon as everyone sits down to a meal. Kidding. Kind of?!

Trigger: Eating crappy food (eh hem, Chex Mix for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!)
Action: Prioritize exercise; do not skip just because it is vacation! Explain to husband and family that the best gift for me is time to exercise, that it makes me a more pleasant and present person to be around! And try to drink as much water and as little wine as possible. Ha!

Trigger: Being overwhelmed by new gifts and the immense need to organize
Action: Give one laundry basket to each person to collect gifts; have each person bring basket up to room at the end of the day. Tell myself over and over and over again that, “It will all get cleaned up. Focus on the joy that grew as the mess grew.”

Trigger: Endless tantrums
Action: Find empathy. This is easy. I remember crying as a kid because my brother got better toys. I remember falling into heaps of tears at bedtime because the day was over. I remember stuffing my face with candy while decorating the gingerbread house. I remember sneaking downstairs after bedtime on Christmas Eve to catch Santa. I remember all of this leading to lots and lots of lots of meltdowns. I plan to manage this trigger by remembering that my kids are doing just what I did and that this week isn’t just hard for me, but for them too!

Trigger: Feeling disappointed that a great day is over (and that maybe I missed out?)
Action: Look at pictures from the day and share fun memories from the day out loud! When I relive a moment that was wonderful, the disappointment fades as the realization that it was great and that I really was present grows.

And when all else fails, I will just ask for a hug from my kiddos or just give them one as hugs from my kiddos have the most magical way of bringing me immense joy. Are you ready to Yell Less and Love More this holiday? Here are two free downloads to help you get started! Click on the image for the trigger tracking sheet and trigger action plan!

Orange Rhino Trigger Tracking Sheet jpgOrange Rhino Trigger Action Plan jpg

Happy tracking and enJOY having more JOYfull days with your family as you wrap up 2014! And no joyfull is not a typo, totally intended as yelling less has made my days much more full of joy!

 


YLLM1Learn more about tracking triggers and creating a plan for all different types of triggers in my new book, “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids and How You Can Too!” It’s a 30-day guide complete with 100 alternatives to yelling, simple steps to follow and honest stories to inspire you on your own journey to yell less. Prepare yourself: it isn’t just a parenting guide, it is also a parenting memoir with stories that you will probably relate to and will most definitely make you both laugh and cry!