You want the best for your family—to set up your kids and teens for success and create a happier, calmer family life. But when do you learn how to parent, how to parent a teenager, or how do you raise successful children?
What if there was an online parenting program that could answer all your questions but still lets you choose the strategies that fit your family’s needs? Millions of families around the globe have had success with Triple P Online, and it can help you too!
In the optimal world, we would all take a really good practical parenting class before we become parents. Unfortunately, that almost never happens. Usually, we go into it with high expectations, and then our toddler quickly humbles us to the point of giving up. Parenting should be rewarding and FUN! You should feel like you are making a difference in this little one’s life, teaching her everything she needs to know to become a properly socialized contributing member of society.
Luckily, no matter your stage of uncertainty or frustration, I can help you turn this around. Initially, you need to invest some time and energy into learning a new way to approach parenting. The time you invest now will be returned to you a hundred or even thousand-fold in increased cooperation, respect, control. Imagine a time when your parenting authority is completely present and effective.
If you are spending minutes, even hours a day in frustration and ineffective tactics, it may seem impossible to add more to your plate. However, this is EXACTLY what you need to do to turn this around. And it will happen so much faster than you think.
Indoor air pollution is caused by a combination of particles like pollen, dust, Bacteria & Viruses, pet dander, mold spores and smoke combined with ozone, invisible gases and volatile organic compounds which are emitted by building materials, furniture, carpeting, paint, cleaning and personal care products.
Original article available here…https://greatist.com/health/healthy-fast-breakfast-recipes
We admit it: There are some (OK, many) mornings when it’s all we can do to will ourselves out of bed and grab a fistful of cereal or a granola bar on our way out the door.
A gourmet breakfast isn’t a realistic everyday goal. But that doesn’t mean we should settle for a sugar rush that’ll leave us sad and hungry a half-hour later. You’d be surprised how many healthy breakfast ideas require very little effort when put into practice.
We’re about to blow your mind with everything from über-easy, make-ahead breakfast muffins to lots of delicious vegan breakfast ideas and healthy smoothies you can whip up in just minutes. Overnight oats recipe? Oh, yeah. We’ve got a killer one of those.
There’s also no need to limit these healthy breakfast recipes to the morning hours, friends. Expand your horizons and try these 31 healthy options to satisfy those breakfast-food cravings all day long.
Here’s a vegan take on a classic summer breakfast sandwich. Instead of mayo, a fluffy, rich mixture of nuts, garlic, miso paste, and nutritional yeast is spread on hearty whole-grain bread. Then slices of ripe tomatoes are layered on — we love to mix red and yellow heirlooms.
Season this open-faced sandwich with ribbons of basil or shiso, kosher salt, and fresh cracked black pepper.
Sometimes simple is just better. Top two lightly toasted slices of whole-grain bread with smashed avocado and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Layer on two sunny-side up eggs for a healthy dose of protein and you’ve got a well-rounded breakfast.
Try this superfood twist on classic PB and banana, using sunflower seed butter (or your favorite seed or nut butter) and a sprinkling of whole raw chia seeds, which are packed with an amazing array of nutrients.
Share on PinterestPhoto: Chef Savvy
Here’s a simple and delicious smoothie for the morning rush. It takes less than five minutes to blend fresh or frozen fruit (banana and berries work well) with Greek yogurt and a liquid of your choice (milk, juice, coconut water — whatever you like).
This recipe makes two servings, so freeze one overnight and let it thaw throughout the day to enjoy in the afternoon.
Share on PinterestPhoto: Food, Fitness, Faith
One of the easiest, healthiest, and tastiest breakfasts out there is a classic fruit and yogurt parfait. The best part? It can be made with any toppings you like. Choose fruits that are in season to get the best flavor. But in a pinch, (thawed) frozen will do.
Share on PinterestPhoto: The Chubby Vegetarian
Smoothies are a perfect on-the-go snack any time of day. Blend frozen bananas, peanut butter, soy milk, Greek yogurt, honey, and a few ice cubes and you’ll swear you’re sipping a milkshake.
If this is a morning snack, keep it in a tight-sealing container and secure it in a pocket in your gym or work bag. For an afternoon boost, prep it the night before and freeze it. Remove it in the morning, and it will be thawed and ready when that 3 p.m. lull sets in.
Share on PinterestPhoto: Nutrition in the Kitch
This one’s perfect to try out as fall sets in. In your favorite small container (with a reliable lid!), layer rich pumpkin pie cashew cream with plain Greek yogurt and a handful of granola, and then sprinkle with cinnamon.
The best part? Pumpkin is a bona fide superfood rich in beta carotene, which is essential for eye health.
Share on PinterestPhoto: The Recipe Critic
A fruit salad of berries and mango gets extra texture, body, and protein from a scoop of quinoa. Toss the whole shebang around until the quinoa is evenly distributed. Then drizzle on a sweet-tart dressing of honey, lime, and basil and toss to coat evenly.
This recipe makes 4–6 servings, so you can prep in advance and throw together a serving or two as you need.
Share on PinterestPhoto: Busy Girl Healthy World
This is the ultimate busy-bee breakfast. Combine oats, chia seeds, blueberries, vanilla, almond milk, and maple syrup in a sealed container and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, top with slivered almonds and half a sliced banana and you’re ready for breakfast. If you’re in the mood for something warm, heat in the microwave for 1–2 minutes.
Share on PinterestPhoto: Healthy Nibbles and Bits
Savory oatmeal? What the… ?! Yes, this recipe takes oatmeal to a whole new level. Quick-cooking steel-cut oats (or regular rolled oats) are cooked in the microwave, mixed with white cheddar cheese, sprinkled with diced red pepper and onion, and topped with an over-easy egg.
Bonus: This recipe has useful tips for cooking in the microwave without making a mess. (We admit it: We’ve wreaked havoc a few times. Sigh.)
Share on PinterestPhoto: Iowa Girl Eats
Here’s a new way to enjoy quinoa: Make mini quinoa breakfast quiches! These two-bite mini muffins are light and fluffy. And this recipe can be adapted to include your favorite
veggies (spinach or zucchini works well) and cheese (ummmm, cheddar).
Share on PinterestPhoto: Tales of a Kitchen
Cooking quinoa in milk (dairy, soy, or almond) with healthy spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric infuses flavor into this great substitute for a classic hot breakfast cereal. Plus, it’s high in protein.
Simply put all the ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Then simmer, stir, and top with your favorite seasonal add-ons.
Share on PinterestPhoto: The Suburban Soapbox
Try this superfood twist on the classic combo of PB and banana. It tastes like breakfast for dessert, if dessert were healthy. All you need is love — in the form of chia seeds, a banana, some PB, and milk of your choice. And time: The pudding can rest in the fridge for four hours, but overnight is better.
Share on PinterestPhoto: Oat & Sesame
Turn a classic summer quick bread into oatmeal with this recipe. Adding shredded zucchini and chia seeds to the simmering oatmeal pumps up the nutritional value and starts your day with a serving of veggies. Throw on a handful of toasted walnuts for added crunch.
Share on PinterestPhoto: Simply Quinoa
By this point, it’s obvious we think quinoa makes anything better. So when it comes to muffins, it’s a no-brainer (especially if you add flaxseeds, oats, banana, and applesauce, too). Try these moist little bites for breakfast or an after-lunch treat.
Share on PinterestPhoto: Watching What I Eat
Cookies for breakfast? Yes, please. While Oreos or Chips Ahoy may not make a balanced breakfast, these soft, thick, chewy cookies are a top-notch choice. The recipe calls for carob chips, but you can substitute semisweet chocolate chips.
Plus, you can pick and choose what you like to mix in for flavoring — go for almond butter and raisins in one batch and peanut butter and chocolate chips in another.
Share on PinterestPhoto: Hummusapien
With oats, shredded zucchini, and maple syrup, this vegan breakfast will start your day with veggies and grains. Make a batch of these baked oatmeal cups in advance, keep them in the fridge, and grab one for breakfast on your way out the door.
Share on PinterestPhoto: Chocolatexdiaries
Oatmeal is a great option for a hearty snack or breakfast, but what’s the best way to make it more convenient and portable? Bake it into squares! In this recipe, a crisp topping covers a layer of apples over a base of banana and oats.
Tip: Individual servings can be frozen and later thawed or warmed in the microwave.
Share on PinterestPhoto: Martha Stewart
These oat-based muffins (pssst… it’s a Martha Stewart recipe) are packed with healthy carrots and zucchini and lightly sweetened with raisins and a pinch of sugar. Use a mini muffin tin for smaller portions and cut back on the brown sugar or choose a healthier substitute).
Share on PinterestPhoto: Minimalist Baker
These tasty, easy no-bake granola bars will remind you of your morning oatmeal, but you can eat them anywhere you like. This recipe calls for honey, but we like to replace it with maple syrup to make the bars vegan.
Share on PinterestPhoto: Well Plated
Any recipe that fits a serving of veggies into a delicious baked good is a winner in our book. These muffins are jam-packed with better-for-you ingredients — coconut oil, zucchini, banana, and whole-wheat flour — plus chocolate chips for an extra bit of sweetness.
Share on PinterestPhoto: Dinner at the Zoo
Finally, a muffin without allllll that sugar. These are simple to make ahead of time, and they last all week — great for grab-and-go breakfasts. Blend or whisk eggs with spinach, bacon, and cheese, and then pour the mixture into muffin tins. Bake for 15–20 minutes before serving.
Tip: Once they’ve cooled, store them in the fridge. They’ll warm up nicely in the microwave in your office (sorry it smells so good, co-workers).
Share on PinterestPhoto: Bowl of Delicious
Yes, it’s possible (and easy) to make a quiche in the microwave! Cover half a cup of spinach with water in a mug and microwave it for a minute. Drain the water and add an egg, milk, cheese, and a crumbled slice of bacon. Mix thoroughly, and then microwave for three more minutes.
Transfer it to a container to eat later or enjoy it right away.
Share on PinterestPhoto: All Day I Dream About Food
Wake up to a house smelling like sausage and effortlessly put breakfast on your plate, all thanks to the beauty and benefits of a slow cooker.
Layer the vegetables, sausage, and cheese in the slow cooker; top with a mix of eggs and cream (you’d be fine using regular or nondairy milk for a lighter option); and you’re just one sleep away from a delicious and hearty meal. (And yes, of course you can omit the sausage.)
Share on PinterestPhoto: Sugar-Free Mom
Fried eggs are great, but how about baking a whole egg in a muffin tin or ramekin with veggies and cheese, using a lot less oil? A batch of these babies will feed the whole family for breakfast and make Monday feel like Friday. (Yes, you’re a star and they appreciate everything you do.)
Share on PinterestPhoto: Minimalist Baker
Here’s a yummy vegan way to have chocolate for breakfast. A bowlful of quinoa cooked in almond milk and flavored with cocoa and maple syrup makes for a flavorful, filling, protein-rich base. Top with banana, berries, and vegan dark chocolate (read the label — some brands of chocolate use milk products).
Share on PinterestPhoto: Nutrition Stripped
Craving dessert for breakfast? Or breakfast for dessert? This gluten-free, vegan bowl should hit the spot. Simply bake a blend of berries in the oven until soft, remove from the oven, and sprinkle with shaved vegan dark chocolate (it’ll melt into the warm fruit) and crunchy toasted coconut.
Serve in bowls with warm or cold nut milk.
Share on PinterestPhoto: Kbaked
These hearty, wholesome, and not-too-sweet muffins make the perfect portable breakfast. Flaxseeds provide a healthy dose of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Mashed banana (one of our favorite healthy baking substitutions) allows for a slight reduction in the added fat and sugar, too.
Share on PinterestPhoto: The Comfort of Cooking
This is a perfect pick for apple season. Cut your favorite kind of apple into wedges and scoop nut butter onto each slice. Sprinkle with oats or granola and cinnamon and drizzle a bit of melted chocolate on top.
Share on PinterestPhoto: Minimalist Baker
Stuck with last night’s leftovers? No problem. If you have some leftover tofu and veggies (like peppers and kale), you’re good to go for this easy eggless scramble. (Yes, it’s vegan.) Combine your ingredients in a pan and throw some potatoes on the side for a hearty dish.
Share on PinterestPhoto: Jessica in the Kitchen
The “compote” part might make this recipe sound complicated, but we’ve got your back. If it’s not a slow weekend morning when you’re ready to spend some time in the kitchen, use some substitutes (like regular jelly) to top these tasty PB waffles.
Bonus points because they’re gluten-free AND vegan, so no one has to miss out.
You put a lot of effort into your workouts, always looking to perform better and reach your goals.
Chances are you’ve given more thought to your pre-workout meal than your post-workout meal.
But consuming the right nutrients after you exercise is just as important as what you eat before.
Here is a detailed guide to optimal nutrition after workouts.
To understand how the right foods can help you after exercise, it’s important to understand how your body is affected by physical activity.
When you’re working out, your muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel. This results in your muscles being partially depleted of glycogen. Some of the proteins in your muscles also get broken down and damaged (1, 2).
After your workout, your body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair and regrow those muscle proteins.
Eating the right nutrients soon after you exercise can help your body get this done faster. It is particularly important to eat carbs and protein after your workout.
Doing this helps your body:
- Decrease muscle protein breakdown.
- Increase muscle protein synthesis (growth).
- Restore glycogen stores.
- Enhance recovery.
Bottom Line: Getting in the right nutrients after exercise can help you rebuild your muscle proteins and glycogen stores. It also helps stimulate growth of new muscle.
Protein Helps Repair and Build Muscle
Consuming an adequate amount of protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins. It also gives you the building blocks required to build new muscle tissue (1, 6, 7, 8).
It’s recommended that you consume 0.14–0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight (0.3–0.5 grams/kg) very soon after a workout (1).
Carbs Help With Recovery
Your body’s glycogen stores are used as fuel during exercise, and consuming carbs after your workout helps replenish them.
The rate at which your glycogen stores are used depends on the activity. For example, endurance sports cause your body to use more glycogen than resistance training.
For this reason, if you participate in endurance sports (running, swimming, etc.), you might need to consume more carbs than a bodybuilder.
Consuming 0.5–0.7 grams of carbs per pound (1.1–1.5 grams/kg) of body weight within 30 minutes after training results in proper glycogen resynthesis (1).
Eating plenty of carbs to rebuild glycogen stores is most important for people who exercise often, such as twice in the same day. If you have 1 or 2 days to rest between workouts then this becomes less important.
Fat Is Not That Bad
Many people think that eating fat after a workout slows down digestion and inhibits the absorption of nutrients.
While fat might slow down the absorption of your post-workout meal, it will not reduce its benefits.
For example, a study showed that whole milk was more effective at promoting muscle growth after a workout than skim milk (17).
Moreover, another study showed that even when ingesting a high-fat meal (45% energy from fat) after working out, muscle glycogen synthesis was not affected (18).
It might be a good idea to limit the amount of fat you eat after exercise, but having some fat in your post-workout meal will not affect your recovery.
Bottom Line: A post-workout meal with both protein and carbs will enhance glycogen storage and muscle protein synthesis. Consuming a ratio of 3:1 (carbs to protein) is a practical way to achieve this.
Your body’s ability to rebuild glycogen and protein is enhanced after you exercise (9).
For this reason, it’s recommended that you consume a combination of carbs and protein as soon as possible after exercising.
Although the timing does not need to be exact, many experts recommend eating your post-workout meal within 45 minutes.
Bottom Line: Eat your post-workout meal within 45 minutes of exercising. However, you can extend this period a little longer, depending on the timing of your pre-workout meal.
The primary goal of your post-workout meal is to supply your body with the right nutrients for adequate recovery and to maximize the benefits of your workout.
Choosing easily digested foods will promote faster nutrient absorption.
The following lists contain examples of simple and easily digested foods:
- Sweet potatoes
- Chocolate milk
- Fruits (pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi)
- Rice cakes
- Dark, leafy green vegetables
- Animal- or plant-based protein powder
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Protein bar
- Nut butters
- Trail mix (dried fruits and nuts)
Combinations of the foods listed above can create great meals that provide you with all the nutrients you need after exercise.
Here are a few examples of quick and easy meals to eat after your workout:
- Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables.
- Egg omelet with avocado spread on toast.
- Salmon with sweet potato.
- Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread.
- Tuna and crackers.
- Oatmeal, whey protein, banana and almonds.
- Cottage cheese and fruits.
- Pita and hummus.
- Rice crackers and peanut butter.
- Whole grain toast and almond butter.
- Cereal and skim milk.
- Greek yogurt, berries and granola.
- Protein shake and banana.
- Quinoa bowl with berries and pecans.
- Multi-grain bread and raw peanuts.
It is important to drink plenty of water before and after your workout.
When you are properly hydrated, this ensures the optimal internal environment for your body to maximize results.
It’s especially important to replenish fluids if your next exercise session is within 12 hours.
Depending on the intensity of your workout, water or an electrolyte drink are recommended to replenish fluid losses.
Bottom Line: It is important to get water and electrolytes after exercise to replace what was lost during your workout.
Consuming a proper amount of carbs and protein after exercise is essential.
It will stimulate muscle protein synthesis, improve recovery and enhance performance during your next workout.
If you’re not able to eat within 45 minutes of working out, it’s important to not go much longer than 2 hours before eating a meal.
Finally, replenishing lost water and electrolytes can complete the picture and help you maximize the benefits of your workout.
I’m coming up on 38 years of marriage. Years ago that wasn’t odd. In our culture today it’s a long time and people marvel. They wonder how we have such a strong marriage. I started wondering too.
Our marriage isn’t perfect. We’ve had some rough times. But for the most part, it hasn’t felt difficult — why is that?
Especially when many people struggle so much — why is that?
What’s the secret sauce that makes a marriage strong?
Is mine just easier? I used to think so because our pairing has a supernatural story to it. But now I think differently.
We’re still people and people have issues. There must be something we do or don’t do that lends itself to why our marriage is strong.
I looked at my marriage and then asked a group of people to find answers.
The primary thing that makes a marriage strong is so obvious we miss it.
It takes two. Two people who make the same decision. Two people who form a partnership. Two people who make life mutual.
One person cannot carry a marriage no matter how much they try or hard they pray. It isn’t 50/50 — it’s 100/100.
A strong marriage takes two.
Before our wedding day we faced and accepted the mindset of forever. Forever is a big word to commit to. It’s scary. How is anyone supposed to know what will happen next week let alone forever? What about this and what about that questions rush through your mind.
But dedication to this commitment forges a strength to endure no matter what life throws at you.
There’s a reason the old traditional vows said for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part. It’s normal to hesitate before saying them — it takes commitment that doesn’t give up when life get hard.
A strong marriage takes true commitment.
My marriage began with God in the center. Many of those in the group I asked put God in the center also. If you think about the origin of marriage this only makes sense.
The one who designed marriage, God, established it as a covenant between Him and the couple. So if He’s in the covenant, He’s involved. And if He designed it, it’s wise to have Him in the center.
Marriage in our culture has been reduced to a piece of paper or a business contract. Covenant is an archaic word to many but it’s much more powerful than a contract.
A strong marriage takes the help of God
Many marriages begin with what people call love when in truth they have feelings. We can feel love but love in truth is a choice. Building a strong marriage takes many choices and choosing love is the first choice to be made.
Things happen and feelings follow but having a commitment to love will supersede emotions. Choosing to commit to love will be visible in the choices that follow.
Love does no harm. Love serves. Love honors. Love is not self-serving. Love lifts up. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love speaks up and corrects with gentleness and grace.
A strong marriage takes choosing love.
Life is complicated and so are relationships. It takes many things to build a good strong marriage — and keep it strong. It’s a process so don’t be too hard on yourself.
Building anything of value takes time.
With the help from the group I asked, here is a list of building blocks to add to the things above for a strong marriage.
- Communication — active listening
- Intimacy — emotional and physical (sex)
- Willingness to grow together
- Play — laughter — sense of humor
- Love them more than being right
- Good will toward each other
- Compassion — understanding
- Cooperation — Happy willingness to help each other
- Support — encourage one another in hopes and dreams
- Humility — Being able to apologize even if you’re not wrong
And the list goes on…
A strong marriage takes many things but most of all it takes two people building together.
- What on the list can you use?
- Can you add to my list?
- Get some love for yourself here.
- Partners are satisfied with communication.
- Partners handle their differences creatively.
- They feel very close to each other.
- Spouses are not controlling.
- Partners discuss their problems well.
- They are satisfied with the affection they show and receive.
- There is a good balance of time alone and together.
- Family and friends rarely interfere.
- Partners agree on how to spend money.
- Partners agree on spiritual beliefs.
- Are equally willing to make necessary adjustments in their roles,
- Reporting satisfaction with the division of housework,
- Working hard to have an equal relationship, and
- Making most decisions jointly.
- Problems sharing leadership.
- One partner is too stubborn.
- Stress created by child-rearing differences.
- One partner is too negative or critical.
- Feeling responsible for issues.
- One partner wishes the other had more time.
- Avoiding conflict with partner.
- One partner wishes the other was more willing to share their feelings.
- Difficulty completing tasks.
- Differences never get resolved.
For many married couples, falling in love and saying “I do” was the easy part. Living happily ever after is the part that takes a whole lot of work.
My family history doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to the vow “until death do us part.” My parents divorced when I was 18, and on my mom’s side alone, not one single marriage has lasted (keep in mind, she’s one of eight siblings). One might think this would make me a cynic when it comes to marriage — but for some unexplainable reason, that’s not the case. Maybe I’m an idealist, but I think you can fall in love with your best friend, grow old together, and even live happily ever after.
I sought out some honest advice from real people who might have insight as to what makes a marriage stand the distance. I reached out to all the married couples and divorcées I knew and asked them the burning question, “What’s the secret to making a marriage successful?” Read their words of wisdom below:
- Share everything with each other. Most importantly, everything you are feeling. There is no way to be on common ground if you don’t communicate how you’re feeling.
- Whatever bad stuff happens, remember this, too, will pass.
- Affection breeds more affection. Touch each other, kiss each other good morning, and have plenty of sex (even when you’re old!). It’s too easy to get out of the habit, which makes you feel distant. Intimacy and physical affection really help keep you connected.
- Children can be stressful, but they, too, will grow up.
- Let the little things go and think big picture. Since you’re in it for the long haul, are you really going to care who did or didn’t run the dishwasher when you look back in 10 years? Remind yourself that your relationship is much, much bigger than anyone minor incident.
- Fill the fridge with his favorites — it’s easy to do, so just do it.
- Take time for yourself to do what you love, what makes you happy and gives you energy — being successful as a couple will only work if each of you is strong and fulfilled as an individual.
- Avoid giving the silent treatment. Talk about things that bother you as soon as possible; don’t let your emotions build up, because you’ll likely explode.
- Let go of hurts more easily, and try not to dwell on things that annoy you.
- Don’t be afraid to compromise. It sounds like a bad word and like you are giving up on your “ideals,” but in reality, it’s about the push and pull of a relationship. Try rating how much you want something on a scale from one to 10 and have your partner do the same. So if eating out is a five for you and staying in is a nine for him, then you should stay in that night.
- Don’t take each other for granted. You have to work at it all the time.
- Be spontaneous. Change things up every once in a while, whether that means a last-minute vacation or a card for no special occasion. Grand gifts and the smallest gestures can go a long way when you’re with someone for a very long time.
- Be nice! This can be harder than it seems sometimes, but remember that you (hopefully) love the person more than anyone else on the planet and you chose to marry them, so treat them with kindness.
- Be patient. You both might grow together at different times and in different ways, so you need to give and take to make it last forever.
- Celebrate when good things happen, and be expressive about it.
- Find new things, new hobbies to do together like road biking, a cooking class, or starting a garden. It’s just another reason to spend time together building your bond, and it keeps the excitement going.
- Marry someone you like killing time with.
- Tell them what you need. As much as you want them to, they can’t read minds. Tell them that you feel disconnected and that you want a day alone together or date night.
- Speaking of date nights, go on them and have fun! It’s important to set time alone regardless of how busy either of you get — especially when you have kids. Even if you’re overworked, overtired, or low on funds, it doesn’t take much time or money to reconnect. It can be as simple as going for a walk or cooking dinner together.
- Make a budget together. It’s a great way to talk about your plans and dreams for the future and how to make them happen.
- Surprise each other like you used to do when dating with special notes, small gifts, baking them a favorite recipe or planning a weekend away. It lets the other person know you’re still in love with them, and it makes you feel the love, too.
- On the other end, when your spouse does do something special for you, show appreciation. They may know that you think all those positive things, but it’s nice to hear them out loud.
- Build your partner up and support them to be all they can or want to be.
- Take time to put yourself in your spouse’s shoes before judging. You want to avoid unnecessary criticism or negativity as much as you can.
- Make each other laugh. Try not to take everything so seriously.
- Communication is key. When your marriage hits certain speed bumps, remind yourself that when you come out on the other side, your relationship should be better and more evolved. Make sure the tough times lead to improvement, and if you keep making the same mistakes, reevaluate why.
- Have couple friends but also your own friends who you hang out with on a regular basis, without your spouse.
- Be more generous with time and money.
- Be happy yourself. If you’re in a slump, there’s a tendency to take it out on your spouse or want them to fix it. You have to fix yourself.
- Don’t get defensive. Try to come at things from a place of love and kindness, and don’t assume you’re being attacked.
- Trust and be trustworthy.
- Try to always remember why you fell in love with your partner. Whether it was their sense of humor or ambition — always remind yourself.
- Say “I love you,” and tell your partner they look attractive.
- Appreciate what you have and realize that marriages at times can be fragile and need to be taken care of.
- Enjoy the NOW. Add a house, kids, etc. to the plate, and things just keep getting more complicated. Whatever phase you’re in, embrace it and enjoy it.
Building Healthy Relationships With Your Kids
Parents have an important job. Raising kids is both rewarding and challenging. You’re likely to get a lot of advice along the way, from doctors, family, friends, and even strangers. But every parent and child is unique. Being sensitive and responsive to your kids can help you build positive, healthy relationships together.
“Being a sensitive parent and responding to your kids cuts across all areas of parenting,” says Arizona State University’s Dr. Keith Crnic, a parent-child relationship expert. “What it means is recognizing what your child needs in the moment and providing that in an effective way.”
This can be especially critical for infants and toddlers, he adds. Strong emotional bonds often develop through sensitive, responsive, and consistent parenting in the first years of life. For instance, holding your baby lovingly and responding to their cries helps build strong bonds.
Strong emotional bonds help children learn how to manage their own feelings and behaviors and develop self-confidence. They help create a safe base from which they can explore, learn, and relate to others.
Experts call this type of strong connection between children and their caregivers “secure attachment.” Securely attached children are more likely to be able to cope with challenges like poverty, family instability, parental stress, and depression.
A recent analysis shows that about 6 out of 10 children in the U.S. develop secure attachments to their parents. The 4 out of 10 kids who lack such bonds may avoid their parents when they are upset or resist their parents if they cause them more distress. Studies suggest that this can make kids more prone to serious behavior problems. Researchers have been testing programs to help parents develop behaviors that encourage secure attachment.
Modern life is full of things that can influence your ability to be sensitive and responsive to your child. These include competing priorities, extra work, lack of sleep, and things like mobile devices. Some experts are concerned about the effects that distracted parenting may have on emotional bonding and children’s language development, social interaction, and safety.
If parents are inconsistently available, kids can get distressed and feel hurt, rejected, or ignored. They may have more emotional outbursts and feel alone. They may even stop trying to compete for their parent’s attention and start to lose emotional connections to their parents.
“There are times when kids really do need your attention and want your recognition,” Crnic explains. Parents need to communicate that their kids are valuable and important, and children need to know that parents care what they’re doing, he says.
It can be tough to respond with sensitivity during tantrums, arguments, or other challenging times with your kids. “If parents respond by being irritable or aggressive themselves, children can mimic that behavior, and a negative cycle then continues to escalate,” explains Dr. Carol Metzler, who studies parenting at the Oregon Research Institute.
According to Crnic, kids start to regulate their own emotions and behavior around age three. Up until then, they depend more on you to help them regulate their emotions, whether to calm them or help get them excited. “They’re watching you to see how you do it and listening to how you talk to them about it,” he explains. “Parents need to be good self-regulators. You’re not only trying to regulate your own emotions in the moment, but helping your child learn to manage their emotions and behavior.”
As kids become better at managing their feelings and behavior, it’s important to help them develop coping skills, like active problem solving. Such skills can help them feel confident in handling what comes their way.
“When parents engage positively with their children, teaching them the behaviors and skills that they need to cope with the world, children learn to follow rules and regulate their own feelings,” Metzler says.
“As parents, we try really hard to protect our kids from the experience of bad things,” Crnic explains. “But if you protect them all the time and they are not in situations where they deal with difficult or adverse circumstances, they aren’t able to develop healthy coping skills.”
He encourages you to allow your kids to have more of those experiences and then help them learn how to solve the problems that emerge. Talk through the situation and their feelings. Then work with them to find solutions to put into practice.
As children grow up, it’s important to remember that giving them what they need doesn’t mean giving them everything they want. “These two things are very different,” Crnic explains. “Really hone in on exactly what’s going on with your kid in the moment. This is an incredibly important parenting skill and it’s linked to so many great outcomes for kids.”
Think about where a child is in life and what skills they need to learn at that time. Perhaps they need help managing emotions, learning how to behave in a certain situation, thinking through a new task, or relating to friends.
“You want to help kids become confident,” Crnic says. “You don’t want to aim too high where they can’t get there or too low where they have already mastered the skill.” Another way to boost confidence while strengthening your relationship is to let your kid take the lead.
“Make some time to spend with your child that isn’t highly directive, where your child leads the play,” advises Dr. John Bates, who studies children’s behavior problems at Indiana University Bloomington. “Kids come to expect it and they love it, and it really improves the relationship.”
Bates also encourages parents to focus on their child’s actual needs instead of sticking to any specific parenting principles.
It’s never too late to start building a healthier, more positive relationship with your child, even if things have gotten strained and stressful. “Most importantly, make sure that your child knows that you love them and are on their side,” Metzler says. “For older children, let them know that you are genuinely committed to building a stronger relationship with them and helping them be successful.”
By being a sensitive and responsive parent, you can help set your kids on a positive path, teach them self-control, reduce the likelihood of troublesome behaviors, and build a warm, caring parent-child relationship.