Tips and Tricks

Healthy Sleep, Happy Family

  • Create a regular sleep routine and stick to it. As part of your routine, add activities to relax your mind and body: stretch, brush your teeth, take a bath, put on pajamas, write in a gratitude journal, and turn out the lights.

  • Stop watching TV or using your smartphone at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Illumination from electronic devices triggers your brain to be alert and suppresses the release of sleep hormones (melatonin). This impacts your ability to fall asleep and sleep quality.

  • Create a quiet, comfortable sleeping space. The ideal sleeping temperature is 65 degrees. Use a fan to circulate air and provide calming white noise.

  • Avoid drinking caffeine after 12 p.m. It takes a full eight hours to metabolize caffeine.

  • Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes. This creates a physical outlet to release energy and reduce stress.

  • Avoid substances that disrupt sleep. Drinking more than one to three drinks per night can disrupt sleep rhythms. Although alcohol may cause you to fall asleep easily, once it metabolizes (three hours later), it may wake you up.

Building Strong Communication With Your Partner

  • Prepare to articulate your concerns: Think about what you want to share before beginning a conversation. Remember that your partner cannot read your mind; you must verbalize your feelings and needs.

  • Consider your environment and timing: Choose a space where you both feel comfortable. Remove distractions, such as television and phones. Be sure your partner is ready to hear what you have to say.

  • Avoid finger-pointing and blame: Share your feelings using “I” statements; for example, “I feel angry when you dismiss my feelings about your family.”

  • Listen carefully: Focus on your partner’s words instead of the next thing you would like to say.

  • Don’t interrupt: Even if it is hard, give your partner space to share with you by not interjecting when they are speaking. Giving them time to share their feelings will make them feel more heard.

  • Stop and reflect on how you are feeling in the moment: If you feel too upset or angry, put the conversation on hold and come back to it when you feel more at ease.

  • Focus on one topic at a time: Avoid raising multiple topics in a single conversation, as this can create resentment or hurt. Focusing on one topic allows each partner to express their feelings and move toward resolution or compromise.

  • Keep talking and prepare to compromise: Ongoing communication is the only way to make progress. Relationships require compromise and patience. Try to meet your partner halfway and validate their feelings. Don’t dismiss or minimize their perspective.

Connecting With Your Teen

  • Create time, without distractions, for a conversation: Ensure that the TV is off and cellphones are put away.

  • Listen instead of lecturing; take turns sharing your perspectives.

  • Ask your teen for help in understanding their experiences.

  • Ask for your teen’s opinions.

  • Withhold judgment; give your teen a safe space to express their emotions and feelings.

  • Be open to what they have to say, even if you disagree .

  • Pay attention to your teen’s reactions.

  • If you’re concerned about your teen’s health or safety, let them know. Explain that you are monitoring them because you care about them.

  • Encourage your teen to develop their own solutions.

  • Stay in touch with your teen and spend quality time together.

  • Connect by finding common ground and similar interests.

  • Send your teen one text a day that includes a positive statement.

Stress Less

  • Spend time with your loved ones, family, and friends on a daily or weekly basis. Try to text a friend or loved one something positive each day.

  • Reward your hard work with something to look forward to each day: Making a good dinner, talking with a close friend, or watching your favorite TV show.

  • Meditate or take time to reflect upon your thoughts. Try listening to uplifting music, audible books, or podcasts while relaxing or sitting in traffic.

  • Keep moving: Make an effort to get our of the house/away from your desk to physically move your body.

  • Immerse yourself in the great outdoors for 30 minutes per day: Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin,” is proven to improve mood, decrease depression and anxiety, and reduce the risk of serious health conditions.

  • Exercise for 30 minutes at least three or four times a week. Exercise is proven to release endorphins (pleasure hormones) in your body while expelling unhealthy stress.

  • Try journaling or deep breathing during stressful times. A series of three deep yoga breaths lowers your blood pressure and calms your entire body. Relaxing your body will calm your mind.

  • Practice acceptance: Let go of what you cannot change and stop thinking about troublesome topics when a resolution is not easily discovered.

  • Create reasonable to-do lists: Each day, create a list with five tasks that are easily accomplished. Cross off each one once it is completed – and absorb the success.

  • Reflect upon things in your life that you are grateful for each day: Chronicle these feelings in a gratitude journal.

Healthy Ways to Improve Your Child's Self-Esteem

  • Let your child know that your love is unconditional.

  • Be verbally and physical affectionate.

  • Offer accurate praise for true accomplishments and encourage your child to take pride in their victories, large or small.

  • Create a safe and loving home environment that is a sanctuary from the outside world.

  • Encourage your child to explore, try new things, and meet new peers.

  • Spend 15 minutes each day with each of your children to focus on their feelings, including fears, challenges, happiness, sadness, excitement, or insecurities.

  • Be careful with your words and what you say to your child.

  • Make time to play, laugh, and have fun with your child: Every day, sit on the floor with your child to play.

  • Allow your child to take healthy risks and make their own choices.

  • Assign age-appropriate household chores to help your child feel pride in being responsible.

Homework Without Tears: Ending the "Homework Battle"

  • Be your child’s homework partner, not the “homework police.” Determine the role each of you will play in the success of homework being completed. For example: parent helps child prioritize assignments; child estimates how much time is needed to complete each assignment or tasks within an assignment.

  • Create a productive environment in which your child can focus and be comfortable. Choose a space in your home that provides the least amount of distraction with sufficient workspace and lighting.

  • Allow your child to take breaks after a reasonable amount of time. First, assess the amount of homework and predict how long it will take to complete each task. Then, determine the best timing for a break, based on the complexity of the tasks.

  • Model problem-solving approaches and patience during difficult tasks. Begin by reviewing what you understand about the task. Then, identify what would be helpful to know and what information is needed to move forward. Provide examples of how you use problem-solving strategies when faced with difficult tasks in your own work.

  • Break down projects into smaller tasks to increase your child’s confidence and sense of accomplishment. Identify each task within the assignment and determine its order. Check off completed tasks to provide visual confirmation that they have been completed. Encourage your child to have a sense of satisfaction for each completed task. This process helps your child understand that the homework is manageable.