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Parenting Pathway #101: Touch Your Baby

To your baby, “touch is as important as sleeping and eating,” says Tiffany M. Field, Ph.D., Touch Research Institute of the University of Miami Medical School. A caregiver’s intentional touch has physical benefits, such as improved circulation and increased digestion, in addition to emotional bonding. Massaged infants show deeper sleeping patterns, reduced anxious behaviors, and significantly reduced stress responses, such as heart rate and stress hormone levels. Unfortunately, the placid, “good” baby may actually be deprived of the stimulation from touch that she needs simply because she does not demand it.

Find ways to make intentional touch part of your routine with baby. After each bath, don’t just pat her dry, take time to gently stroke and rub her back, arms and legs with your hands. While naming each body part, kiss her head, her hands and her feet. While changing his diaper, help him to experience “same” and “different,” a basic early-learning concept, as you gently rub his legs with cloths of different textures. As you are relaxing and watching your favorite television program, help him relax by laying him on the floor and making a “heart-shaped” rhythmic stroke on his chest while chanting or singing softly. This intimate interaction is essential for the development of baby’s body and spirit.

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Parenting Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Parenting coaching session, Click Here or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
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Parenting Pathway #102: Instill the Inspiration for Work

Our children learn about the meaning of work from us. When we use phrases such as, “I have to work so we can buy food” or “I have to go to work or I’ll be in trouble with my boss” the message we send our children is that work is forced, dreaded, and a necessary evil. Though well intentioned, explanations such as these do not allow our children to learn about the joy of working, of using your skills, or of learning and living your passion.

It is our responsibility to instill in our children a belief that they will someday have the opportunity to work at something they love • that their days can be spent in fulfilling and meaningful ways. Look closely at the words you use to describe why you work. What do your children believe about the work you do? Are you positively inspiring your child to seek his passion? By your example, would she believe that she can achieve her dream job?

If you love your work, let your children know. If you don’t love your work, consider working with a coach to discover how your dream can be achieved.

Coaching Inquiries: Do you enjoy your work? What would your children say if we asked them that question? What are they learning from you about work? How could you make work a precious legacy, passed on from one generation to the next?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Parenting Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Parenting coaching session, Click Here or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
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Parenting Pathway #103: Money Talks, Children Listen

It’s never too soon to educate our children about money. If we wait until they are teenagers, their spending habits are already set. According to Teenage Research Associates, older teenagers spend an average of $153 each week, 7% have a credit card in their own name, and 18% have access to a parent’s credit card. As adults, we understand all too well the lack of magic behind a checking account and credit card. But to young children, we may still appear to be like a Genie who can make money appear out of thin air. Here are some ideas for creating a more realistic, healthy view of money:

1. Credit cards are not magic. Children will have a difficult time understanding credit limits if reality for them has been a closet full of new clothes or an expensive video game system. As parents, we need to be more aware of how many credit card purchases we make in front of impressionable children. One way to take the magic out of credit cards is to pay cash for as many purchases as possible, at least in front of the children. Save credit cards for large purchases and private shopping trips. If that is impractical, be sure to explain that you have to pay people back for everything that you buy. Show your child a billing statement and point out how much you will have to pay each month for the clothes you bought.

2. Piggy banks are a child’s first introduction to the financial world, so use them as examples of other banking practices. Check out MoneySavvyGeneration.com. They have created The Money Savvy Pig•, a piggy bank with four chambers, one for each of the financial choices that children have when they earn or receive money: Save, Spend, Donate or Invest. With this method, you give them control over the money in their lives. In a respectful way, it asks children what they think is the best choice and allows them to make it, thus allowing them to transact in an adult world, your world, without feeling controlled.

3. Be at choice with money. The transparent pig allows both parents and children to see the results of the choices made over time. This gives parents the opportunity to discuss financial choices and their implications. Our relationship with money is also made clear in the words we choose to use. When telling a child that you are not going to be buying that toy he or she “just has to have,” consider an explanation that is about choosing or not choosing to purchase, rather than one that gives the perception that we are victims of money.

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Parenting Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Parenting coaching session, Click Here or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
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Parenting Pathway #104: The 4th Trimester

Are you a new parent, or about to become a new parent? Nothing compares to bringing your first baby into the world. Many new parents experience an overwhelming rush to prepare for their new baby in many ways. This preparation includes everything from buying baby furniture, clothes, and diapers, to learning the baby lingo like aspirator, rotavirus, and layette, to name only a few.

In the USA, the resources available to “parents to be” are tremendously abundant. Resources range from Labor and Delivery classes to books and magazines on every parenting topic imaginable. 

Many “parents to be” get caught up in all the “doing” prior to a new baby’s arrival, spending most of their pregnancy taking child preparation classes, reading how to raise and care for your new baby books and magazines, and learning the baby lingo so the right baby equipment can be purchased.

Unfortunately, getting caught up in all the “doing” can interfere with the “being” part of our preparation. Preparing for what I like to call the “4th Trimester” is about preparing emotionally and mentally. In creating a fulfilling life with your baby, it is critical that you take the time to stop and look at your feelings, think through the incredible change that is about to occur in your life, ask yourself powerful life changing questions, and begin to take steps that will ensure your life with your new baby is even more fulfilling than life before baby.

Coaching Inquiries: How can I be more emotionally ready for a new baby? What do I want to make sure are part of my life after the baby arrives? How would I describe a fulfilling life with my new baby?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Parenting Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Parenting coaching session, Click Here or Email Christina.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH
U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

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Parenting Pathway #105: Approach Life With Curiosity

While vacationing with my family at the beach, I learned so much from my two year old as I watched her explore the sand with endless curiosity. I watched her pick up everything she came across on the seashore from broken shells to sea weed and I began to wonder what life would be like if adults lived life with such passionate curiosity; looking carefully and closely at everything that came our way. 

A two-year-old’s eyes are unconditionally curious. As an adult this curiosity is often difficult to achieve because of our life experiences, either first or second hand. However, curiosity lives within each of us and has since we were born. Many gifts accompany curiosity and include newness, the unexpected, pleasant surprises, learning, growth, love, friendship, and so on. My challenge for you this week is to allow yourself to approach life with passionate curiosity. I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you’ll find. 

Coaching Inquiries: How can I live this day with passionate curiosity? How can I use the power of curiosity to live a more fulfilling life? What gets in the way of my curiosity? What am I missing by not exploring life with curiosity?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Parenting Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Parenting coaching session, Click Here or Email Christina.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH
U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

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Parenting Pathway #106: Bedtime Prayers

Many of you may share with me the practice of saying bedtime prayers with your children when you tuck them into bed at night. This habit is good for children and adults alike. Taking the time to slow down at the end of the day and to be mindful of the gift of life is a great way to lower stress and raise enjoyment.

I grew up saying a traditional bedtime prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I shall die before I wake, I pray to the Lord my soul to take.” As a child, those last words about the possibility of me dying before I woke and asking the Lord to take my soul was pretty scary stuff to say out-loud, just before I was left alone and in the dark. 

When my first daughter was born 5 years ago, I decided that our family would say a new bedtime prayer and this is what we say before we close our eyes at night: “Now I lay me down to sleep. I thank you Lord for all I keep. Protect our family through the night. Keep us safe and hold us tight.”

After we say this prayer, I ask each of my girls four questions: Who would you like to ask God to bless? What would you like to tell God you’re sorry for? What would you like to ask God to help you with? What would you like to thank God for?

We take turns sharing our answers to these questions. For the past year, my now 2 1/2 year old has been asking God to help her paint. She’s quite the artist these days so I think her prayers are working! 

I am blessed to have this nightly experience with my children. I end each day in awe of my children’s thoughts, feelings, daily reflections, and hopes for tomorrow. I’m amazed each evening at what I hear and how I feel as together we say our bed time prayers. And I know it helps me to end my day on the right note.

Coaching Inquiries: How is it that you end your day? Would saying bedtime prayers be a good habit for your family to establish? What is important for you to say to your children? What is most important for you to reflect upon before you tuck yourself into bed? 

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Parenting Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Parenting coaching session, Click Here or Email Christina.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC (Christina@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH
U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

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Parenting Pathway #107: First Day of Kindergarten

When my oldest daughter started Kindergarten, it was a moment full of emotions including excitement, pride, sadness, fear, and many others. Below you’ll find a list of some of the things that helped me take in this experience and make the most of it. I invite you to try some of the following things when it is your turn to send your child off to his or her first day of school!

Top Ten List for Parents (or “How to Survive the First Day of Kindergarten”)

  1. Ask yourself • How can I make the most of this occasion for my child and for me?
  2. Read the book The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn to your child the night before the first day of school.
  3. That morning, make your child a special breakfast.
  4. Just before your child leaves for the bus, sit quietly and rock your child for a while. Enjoy and take in every aspect of that moment with all of your senses and your intuition. Then give her a big hug and kiss, say “I Love You!” and that she’s going to have a great first day of school
  5. Introduce yourself and get to know the other parents.
  6. Once you’ve put your child on the bus or dropped her off at school, go home. Sit alone quietly in a comfortable place, close your eyes, breathe, and take in the moment. Allow yourself to explore your feelings and thoughts for a while.
  7. Capture this experience by journaling your thoughts, feelings, and notes about the event. When your child comes home from his/her first day of school, capture all that he/she has to share by writing it down in a special place.
  8. Do something you love that you haven’t been able to do in a while. Then do something new.
  9. Look at the last five years of pictures you’ve taken and celebrate a job well done.
  10. Tell your story by sharing your thoughts and feelings with those you love.
  11. Finally, before sending your child off to school, write your child’s full name on her back with a permanent marker so she won’t get lost or misplaced. (I’m just kidding • but I have to admit that I did consider it for a moment just before she got on the school bus!)

Coaching Inquiries: Who do I want to be as a parent? What do I do that teaches my child important values? What are the questions I can ask my child to help her/him make the most of this new experience?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Parenting Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Parenting coaching session, Click Here or Email Christina.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC (Christina@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH
U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-332-9747
Fax: 415-634-2301

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Parenting Pathway #108: Leadership Development for Parents

I recently taught a Leadership Development course for a group of fairly experienced group of managers. As I was designing the course, my challenge was to share information that would have long-term impact. I chose to focus the content on the key skill of emotional intelligence and its role in our “bottom-line” based world of work.

Our discussions centered around the impact that leaders have on the emotional and physical systems of those whom they lead. Humans have an open-loop limbic, or emotional, system. This means that we rely on the connections we have with those around us for our own emotional, and in some cases physical, stability. Our bodies transmit signals that can alter hormone levels, cardiovascular function, sleep rhythms and even the immune system inside those around us.

A few examples:

* In intensive care units, the comforting presence of another person not only lowers the patients’ blood pressure, but also slows the secretion of fatty acids that block arteries.

* In a study of 70 work teams, the Yale School of Management found that team members who sat in meetings together ended up sharing moods, good or bad, within two hours.

As a parent, I am a leader and developer of the little people in my home. I am responsible for creating the emotional environment that impacts the physical and emotional systems of my children. If under stress, even when putting on a “happy face,” my body is transmitting signals to their body that could put them into the same stressful physical state. And, when I feel joy bubbling though my veins, the hearts and minds of my children get to feel it too!

Take this with you: What signals are you transmitting? What toxins in your inner core are spreading to those around you?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Parenting Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Parenting coaching session, Click Here or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

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Parenting Pathway #109: A Child’s Pace

Last evening, as I was resting in my bedroom on the second floor, I heard my four-year-old daughter run from the playroom in the front of the house, to the basement, back to the first floor, outside, up the stairs to the bathroom and, finally, into my bedroom.

She runs everywhere she goes. For her, every moment is to be embraced, every space to be leapt into. Her pitter-patter made me think about how many adults lose that fervor for life • how we can so often be seen mulling joylessly through the day. I reflected on how I sometimes let an entire day go by without feeling excited about anything or looking forward to being anywhere.

Thankfully, we are not only teachers of our children, but students as well. So, tomorrow, take this child’s wisdom with you into the world. Arise from your rest, determined that something amazing and undiscovered is awaiting you. Assume that something magical could be around the next corner. And most certainly, don’t walk • run!

Coach Inquiries: Who are children in your life who can serve as your teachers? What are they trying to teach you?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Parenting Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Parenting coaching session, Click Here or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

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Parenting Pathway #110: Awareness

With the arrival of Fall, children are returning to, or beginning, school. There are many opportunities to meet new friends and maintain existing bonds of friendship. As children are being exposed to those who are different from themselves, you may notice your child’s struggle with “awareness.” Awareness, according to Dr. Bruce Perry Medical Director for Provincial Programs in Children’s Mental Health for Alberta, Canada, is the ability to recognize the needs, interests, strengths, and values of others.

Because children are overwhelmed with sensory input from the moment they are born, they must categorize this information to make sense of it. When it comes to understanding others, children will categorize people into terms they can understand. My daughter is beginning the process of exploring her own awareness when she says, “You have yellow hair and I have yellow hair. We match.” And, when she observes, “Toni’s skin is brown and mine is pink.”

Unfortunately, if a child has limited exposure to someone of another ethnicity, body type, skin color, religion, or culture, she will be more likely to keep categorical, and often, inaccurate impressions. And, when a child lacks the ability to be aware of others’ needs and values, she is at risk for developing prejudicial attitudes. Having formed ideas about others without knowing them, she may continue to make categorical judgments: “She speaks English with an accent, so she must be stupid” or “He’s fat, so he must be lazy.” This undeveloped thinking feeds the hateful stereotypes that lead to bullying, teasing and violent behavior.

To support your child in the development of awareness, encourage him to get to know each of the children in his class. Together, seek to discover the many ways in which he is both different and the same as his peers. Integrate a study of differences into your learning at home, through books, art projects, day trips to museums or cultural fairs. As you learn about differences, be conscious to avoid a focus on the surface, stereotypical aspects of them. For example, if studying Native Americans, avoid merely making construction-paper headdresses craft; rather, read about tribal customs, languages, religions, and history. Set an example for your child by developing diverse friendships of your own and openly discussing your appreciation of differences.

Every child should have the opportunity to learn about and interact with others who are different: in ethnicity, religion, language, learning styles, family background, and more. The more you as a parent contribute to an awareness of diversity, the more solid a foundation your child will have to grow into an individual who is proud of her differences and values the differences in others. 

Coaching Inquiries: What example are you setting for the awareness and appreciation of diversity? How could your child’s life be enriched through exposure to something new?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Parenting Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Parenting coaching session, Click Here or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com 
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