Thursday, November 10, 2016

Important Tips to Help Your Kids Learn about the Election and Its Aftermath

Like many of you, my heart is heavy as we watch the upheaval this election has brought to our nation.  Now is the time to help our kids, those who are aware of what is happening, deal with any anxiety and learn from the historical events in play.  After all, they will be choosing our leaders in a few short years. Let’s look at several points to help overcome heightened emotions and to help us think through complex issues.

Find a quiet time and place to look at what is happening with your children, if they are interested in doing so.  Remind them that you will keep them safe.  Remember your thoughts and emotions are a big influence on your kids.   If your emotions are running high, try to let them abate a bit before talking, so your reasoning can come through.

Emphasize the Head AND the Heart.  While it is normal to get upset at election results that didn’t go your way, or protests that turn violent, now is a good time to also look at what we can learn from the entire electoral process and our political system.  This is a great time to learn about things like our current election process, the Electoral College, and how the transition from one administration to another will work, using reliable sources.  Here is an article that suggests some questions and responses for discussion:

Show them to take what they view in perspective.  Sound bites and headlines can be alarming and often are meant to heighten your emotions.  This “sky is falling” mentality from many biased members of the press is apparently what sells.  If one article or story is particularly alarming, looking at another trusted source or two can help downplay any sensationalism.

Be mindful of the type and amount of news content you and your family consumes.  Young minds soak up what they see and hear and can have trouble keeping things in perspective.  Make time to discuss what you choose to view to help with that perspective.  Look for any positives in what you are seeing.  And make “screen free” time to decompress and get life back to normal.

Ask your wise elders what they think.  They’ve seen many close elections and a fair share of unrest.  They also have seen how we often come out the other side just fine or having learned a few tough lessons.  Have them tell stories of previous memorable elections.  They’ve seen improvements in our society that we may not recognize and can also discuss changes they feel are needed. 

Seek to understand other points of view.  Our beautiful, complex society is made of many people of different races, religions, origins, and economic levels.  We are not a “one belief fits all” nor a "we all have the same struggles" society any more than “one size fits all” works for all body types. Seeking to understand why other people think like they do leads to a greater empathy and understanding for all.  The ability to identify what we agree on gives us a place from which to discover ways to better our great nation.

Look to your spiritual practices and beliefs.  Prayer, meditation, spiritual readings, and more all help us bring our minds and hearts to a higher level.  What aspects of spirituality help you get past negative emotions and learn and grow as a person?
And finally….

Seek help if you need it.  If you find yourself particularly distraught and have trouble moving back to “life as normal”, seek the support of a coach, counselor or minister.  Remember your struggles can impact your kids.  We are passionate about helping folks like you learn to move past troubling issues.

I believe in our great nation and the people that live in it.  The family – your family – is going to help bring us to an even better future.  Let’s get started by embracing what works and identifying creative ways to address what needs changing!   Join our community at  and through our Social Media links in the website.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

3 Important and Easy Ways to Foster Gratitude in Your Family

By Guest Blogger Angela Woodrow:

It is November….  a month to give pause and reflect on gratitude and gratefulness.

The dictionary defines the adjective ‘grateful’ as, “…feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful”.
The dictionary defines the noun ‘gratitude’ as, “…the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”.

Practicing Gratitude and Gratefulness is an art and science. These are terms that get tossed around a lot. Fine-Tuned Families strives to give you useful tools and tips to help you parent smarter. So let’s break this down to thoughtful, useful nuggets to chew on:

The art is the practicing of the attribute; infusing it daily in to our lives meaningfully - not by automation.  The science is to know and recognize the action and to apply the action with thoughtful intention.

That is the theory behind how to Parent Smarter and live life by your design.  In our hearts and minds, we want our families to know and show gratitude. We want our families to be able to recognize and practice gratefulness.

Cultivating Gratefulness and Gratitude is a daily practice that, if forgotten or left to ‘automation’, grows weak or even worse, disappears.
Could you and your family increase your awareness and practice of gratitude and gratefulness this month? Think about this:  It only takes 3 weeks to make a new habit.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all ‘upped’ our gratitude quotient and began the New Year with a higher level of ‘gratitude competency’?
Here are three simple ways to increase your meaningful and intentional gratitude/gratefulness practice this month.  May it be a practice that continues with you and your family throughout the years to come!

1. Say ‘Thank You’…in complete sentences.
This is an important skill and element to ensure the practice is not an ‘empty habit’.
“Thank you for opening the door for me.”
“Thank you for bringing me my backpack, Mom.”
“Mark- thank you for picking up the extra ingredients at the grocery store today.”

Ask you family to make the effort to say ‘Thank you’ in complete sentences…watch and listen for the difference it makes.

2. Have a ‘Do Good Day’.
Target chores around the house the kids can earn money doing. The money they earn on that day goes to ‘sharing something with others’ - donating earned money to a food bank or homeless shelter or to another local community nonprofit.  Is money tight right now?  It does not have to be big or grandiose…the ‘Do Good Day‘ is meant to be sincere. Why not clean up and clear out the toys and books your kids have out grown and donate them to the local homeless shelter?

3. List out 5 things you appreciate or are grateful for each day.
The list can build on a sheet of paper taped to the wall. If you have one of those chalkboard walls allow your artists to record and decorate! Some families keep a gratitude journal. If life is really pulling you in 50 directions, post it notes made in the car that can be posted where all the family wash hands or hang coats is a great way to get started acknowledging your gratefulness!

Happy November, Happy Thanksgiving!  We wish you a Happy Fine-Tuned Family Journey!