Ep. 116- 3 Ways to Bring Mindfulness into Your Parenting & Home with Dr. Christopher Willard

by | February 17, 2022

Ep. 116- 3 Ways to Bring Mindfulness into Your Parenting & Home with Dr. Christopher Willard

by | February 17, 2022

The Fresh Start Family Show
The Fresh Start Family Show
Ep. 116- 3 Ways to Bring Mindfulness into Your Parenting & Home with Dr. Christopher Willard
/

LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE

Today on the Fresh Start Family Show, Wendy and Terry have a conversation on the power of mindfulness for families with Dr. Christopher Willard, a psychologist, author and educational consultant based in Boston specializing in mindfulness. 

In his 20 years of psychological and meditation practices, Dr. Willard found the incredible importance of utilizing the same methods for children by using fun learning practices. 

Today Dr. Willard’s shares his wisdom to help bring practical mindfulness strategies to families and support a peaceful home. 

This conversation will help families:

1. Learn fun and practical ways to bring mindfulness into your family

2. Discover simple strategies to build resilience

3. Find a balanced path through the pandemic


Are you ready for a LIVE & IN-PERSON immersive learning experience with me and some incredible other teachers?
Join me in Carlsbad, California for a learning experience like no other!

** There are very limited spots and they are filling up quick so save your spot now!! I can’t wait to see you!


Episode Highlights:

  • Introduction to Chris & his work 
  • Chris’ journey into mindfulness
  • Intertwining children’s learning and mindfulness practices
  • Children learning through play
  • Sensory awareness
  • Modeling mindfulness to our children
  • Co-regulation with kids

Resources Mentioned:

Freedom to Be LIVE Course

Alphabreaths

Good Enough: 40 DEVOTIONALS FOR A LIFE OF IMPERFECTION by Kate Bowler

Strong Willed Kids Guide

Not able to listen or want to read along with us?

Here is the episode transcript!

Wendy:
This episode is brought to you by the Fresh Start Family Freedom to be personal development course, You can learn more over at FreshStartFamilyonline.com/freedomcourse. Hello, hello listeners. I’m so happy that you are here for a new episode. I’m Wendy Snyder, positive parenting educator and family life coach. And this episode is a good one. You guys were talking about mindfulness today, and this one was actually recorded a while back. I am so embarrassed to say this, but it was actually recorded more towards the beginning of COVID, which is crazy to relisten to this because you guys it’s been like two years.

Wendy:
How has it been two years since this whole pandemic deal began? Right? I think so many of us are still in shock that it’s lasted so long. I am very optimistic that we are on the tail of this thing, but anyways, this file actually of this episode or this, this conversation kind of got lost when I had to buy a computer, a new computer a while back, which by the way, apple has the best customer service on the planet. I just want to say that because when I experienced a company that just has phenomenal customer service, I want to shout it on the mountaintops, but I had kind of a bad experience with a computer. I had a fan that was, that was really loud. You actually kind of hear it in this episode.

Wendy:
So thanks in advance for your patience, with the sound, not being as perfect as I like it as a perfectionist. I hate imperfection anybody else, a perfectionist, but it still sounds great. This episode still sounds great, but I had to get a new computer to kind of figure out what the problem was. And this file kind of got lost in that transition. But I recently found this file on my hard drive and I was just beyond thrilled to discover it because it really is one of my favorite episodes we’ve recorded for a few different reasons. So I’m Dr. Chris Willard who’s today’s conversation is with, he’s a mindfulness expert and a psychologist.

Wendy:
He’s an author, he’s an educational consultant. And most importantly, he just is an awesome dad, but talking with him was just so natural and fun. And mindfulness has really been something that I’ve been on a journey to really understand the last few years and seriously, I think for a long time, I just, I just didn’t get it. It seemed like so hippy dippy and I was always like, yeah, I get it. I’m here. My mind is here. My body is here. Like whatever sure I’m mindful, but my goodness, God has been speaking to me a lot over the last year, especially encouraging me just to slow down and breathe more and focus on the right now, the right here instead of tonight and, and next week and next month.

Wendy:
And that can be quite the challenge for me. So just last week I was on a coaching feed for my bonfire support families and I book, but I became aware once again, but I had a headache. I get headaches a lot when I teach or speak, but I became aware of this as I was, as I was speaking and I was coaching and I, and I told my, my support group, I said, okay, like, you know what, I’m going to take a second here. I’m going to slow down. And I really just became mindful of what was happening for me in that moment. I grabbed some peppermint oil that I had next to me. I drank some water. I took some deep breaths. You’re going to hear us talk a lot about breasts in this episode.

Wendy:
And within a few minutes I felt better. So I realized in that moment that, you know, sometimes my mind can just like race, race, race. And anyways, I’m just not in the moment. I’m just not present to what actually is happening in my body or whatever’s going on. Right. Can you relate? So we, we definitely, we’ve been talking a lot about mindfulness inside of our bonfire support group over the last few years. And we’re always practicing the ability to slow down and just celebrate the moment we are in. Even if it’s challenging, even if the day that we’re having, you know, is long and we’re tired to celebrate the children that we are blessed with, even if they’re strong-willed and a lot of work, right.

Wendy:
And last week I actually stumbled upon Kate Bowler’s new book, it’s called good enough, 40 devotionals for a life of imperfection. And I actually read this excerpt to my bond, fair support community because it just kind of stopped me in my tracks. And as I went to record the intro for today’s episode, I realized that the first five to 10 minutes of our conversation with Chris got clipped somehow, I don’t know like what happened to this file. I swear, we enemy. It was like trying to make it doomed, but nothing was going to stop us from putting this episode out. But I realized that I had a few more minutes to record this intro. So I just thought I would read this excerpt from Kate’s new book.

Wendy:
I have her old book, she has many books, but one of the ones I’ve read is called. I think it’s called, I should know this title by, but I think it’s called everything happens for a reason and like other lies that I’ve believed in my life. And that was a really good book, but this new one I just ordered from Amazon, cause I’m really excited about it. But I think this expert expert will bless you in combination with this episode. So I think being awakened aware to whatever we’re doing today, being able to settle our souls so we can become grateful for the moment. That feels like a good intention to me.

Wendy:
And one that I want to practice more and more every day of my life. So let me read that to you. Now, this is a blessing for loving what is instead of what could have been from good enough, which again, I guess, is now available for pre-order. I thought it was actually coming in the mail, but I guess when I ordered it on Amazon, it’s actually on pre-order, but here’s the excerpt. Bless it. Are you who are attempting to love what is here? What is now you who recognize the wonder in pain, looking at life’s rear view mirror at those things that are gone, the person you were the quickness and sharpness of a body that didn’t tire as quickly. I’m going to try not to cry as I read this.

Wendy:
Cause I just relate so much to everything. She says, the relationships and jobs and aspirations, the people you can’t get back. Bless it. Are you holding the gentle compassion that wraps memories in grace and bless it. Are you turning your gaze from imagined futures that seem to call out with an unnecessary pressure and an urgency that wants to Rob you of what joys still exist. And oh, how bless that? Are you drawing a tidy boundary around today and calling it home for yesterday as a memory tomorrow is a Mirage. Bless it. Are you recognizing that the right sizing of reach and possibility is the heart’s ease of God’s good counsel, opening your eyes to all that is here.

Wendy:
Let its beauty seep into your pores and whisper words of peace receive and welcome reality in its completeness, giving over to God, all that is beyond your power to change or understand or return to once again. And in the meantime, embracing and loving the life you have the family, you have the pleasures that are yours right now. So good, right? Oh my gosh. So that’s pretty beautiful. And I just hope that that blesses your soul. Okay. So let’s get into today’s episode. I know you’re going to love it, but first a few reminders, listeners, number one, make sure you’re subscribed to our show over on iTunes or wherever you listen to our podcast.

Wendy:
And while you’re there, you guys I’d love to ask you if you would leave us a review reviews, just take three minutes usually. And they really help us get seen in the iTunes iTunes world. And when we are seen, we’re able to help more and more families across the world. And it’s also you guys, when you leave us a review, it’s just a great way to shoot us a quick little thank you note for this free weekly content that we create for you, because we love you. Number two, if you love our work here at Fresh Start Family, and you want to dig a bit deeper into the positive parenting work that I teach and the family life coaching work that I do make sure you grab our free guide that we have over on the website, FreshStartFamilyonline.com.

Wendy:
It’s a free guide to raising strong-willed kids with integrity. I know many of you that listened to our show have kids that have a beautiful strong whale, or perhaps just have kids in a power surge stage of life where they’re pushing back a lot and saying, no I won’t and you can’t make me. And that free learning guide will really support you in, in your journey to become creative with how you approach them. So you can get better results. They listen more, they cooperate better and you are able to build relationship and stay connected with them while influencing them to behave well. Okay, so go grab that FreshStartFamilyonline.com. And then lastly, friendly reminder that our upcoming freedom to be program is almost sold out, but we do have some tickets left.

Wendy:
So head on over to FreshStartFamilyonline.com/freedomcourse, to learn more and grab your ticket for this life-changing personal development course. I bet many of you probably didn’t even realize I’m a certified life coach too, huh? Yup. I’m both positive parenting educator and certified life coach. I think that’s what really makes us unique here at Fresh Start Family. So this freedom to be program is really a life coaching program that changes everything for us as parents and in our marriages. And really just with everyone that we love, including ourselves. So Eddie who makes sure you go over to the, FreshStartFamilyonline.com/freedomcourse to learn more and grab your ticket if you’re interested, but are you ready families for this incredible conversation on mindfulness?

Wendy:
Okay, let’s do this. Enjoy help me welcome Dr. Chris Willard to the show.

Stella:
Well, Hey there, I’m Stella. Welcome to my mom and dads podcast. The Fresh Start Family Show. We’re so happy. You’re here. We’re inspired by the ocean Jesus and rock and roll and believe deeply in the true power of loving kindness together. We hope to inspire you to expand your heart, learn new tools and strengthen your family. Enjoy the show

Wendy:
Terry and I both like we are just really, I think all parents right across the world right now during this wild and crazy season that we’re in just really needs your messaging more than ever right now. So thank you for taking time to be here with us. I’m gonna just read your bio real quick, Chris, and then I’m gonna pass it back to you. Yeah. Okay. So listeners, Dr. Willard is a psychologist and an educational consultant based in Boston, specializing in mindfulness. He has been practicing meditation for 20 years and has had led hundreds of workshops around the world with invitations to more than two dozen countries. That’s so awesome. He currently serves on the board of directors at the Institute for meditation and psychotherapy and is the president of the mindfulness and education network.

Wendy:
He has presented at TEDx conferences and his thoughts have appeared in the New York times, the Washington post mindful.org and elsewhere. He is the author of 15 bucks. That’s amazing, including growing up mindful alpha with just my personal favorite for parents professionals and children, along with six sets of cards and therapeutic games available in more than 10 languages. And you teach at Harvard medical school. Amazing.

Chris:
What else have you been doing Chris, come on.

Wendy:
Amazing. So that of course is, you know, you’re amazing just more than your story, but tell us more about your journey. How did you get here? How did you become passionate about what you do every day? Tell us a little bit more about you and your family. How old are your kids, all that good stuff.

Chris:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s, you know, it’s a, it’s a funny journey and I think, you know, mindfulness is, is, you know, it’s so super trendy these days and, and, and, and yet, you know, I really think it existed in, in so many ways before, you know, we started calling everything mindfulness and it can seem like this exotic thing or this new thing, but the reality is we’ve all had experiences of mindfulness. And, and, and so like, I actually look back at when I was a kid and again, never heard that word mindfulness. And, you know, I went to this like really sweet nature camp where actually my son just went this summer and it’s, he loved it too. But like we do things like we’d go in the woods and they’d say, let’s walk as silently as we can in the woods.

Chris:
And we’ll, we’ll notice more of that way and we’ll hear more that way. And we’ll see more that way the animals will come out and maybe the counselors were just trying to get us to shut up is if you’ve ever tried to walk without making a sound, it takes so much focus to, you’re just focused on the ground and the sensation and the movement. And 20 years later I took a mindfulness course. We did mindful walking and it was really kind of the same thing. And then sitting down in the woods and let’s notice all the sounds in the forest. Can you hear the trees whispering to each other? Right. And you know, or like just like watching clouds in the sky with my dad and like all these experiences that many years later, you know, had kind of like planted the seeds of an, of an openness to this idea of mindfulness in me when, you know, the reality is like, I kind of rediscovered mindfulness because I was sort of a basket case in college and took a couple of years off to, you know, I don’t know, find myself, get my shit together.

Chris:
However you want to put it, you know, like dealing with depression, dealing with anxiety, dealing with like, you know, some major substance abuse issues. And, and I found mindfulness, but my parents basically dragging me on a mindfulness retreat and suddenly everything was transformed. I felt happier. I felt healthier. I felt more focused. I felt more creative. And I was like, you know, like anyone who’s newly converted to something. I was like, I want to teach this to everybody. Right. And I finished school, I was an English major, then went back and was a teacher for a couple of years, felt like I was not a very good teacher. And, and then went back to school to become a psychologist, a therapist.

Chris:
And, and from there it felt like a really natural way of bringing mindfulness in at that point. I actually didn’t think I wanted to work with kids. I’ve been such like a, a not very good teacher. I had no idea what I was doing. I couldn’t control the kids at all or vantage the kids, excuse me. Not try to control them. But like, I was like, I can’t deal with kids. And I ended up actually just having an internship, working with kids and, and then kind of got interested again in like working with teenagers and kids and stuff like that. And, and then bringing mindfulness to that. And then kind of like just things snowballed. I wrote a book, you know, that’s turned into a bunch of other, like, fun kid’s books and, you know, then like traveling and sharing this stuff all over the place, which is like, I love traveling.

Chris:
So that’s been just, I just feel so incredibly lucky. And then six years ago actually had kids or had one kid six years ago. And then I was like, please throw away my first book from right. And I do actually still think it’s a good book, but you know, and then, you know, and I’ve now got a six year old and a two and a half year old and, and they have something of an interest in this stuff sometimes, you know, on a good day, but that’s kinda, you know, brings me to where I am now, where I’m, I’m a parent and I love that. And I teach and I love that, you know, and I, I, I, I like work with parents and I work with kids and I consult with schools and I consult with different psychological organizations and, and just have a lot of fun with this stuff and, and writing too.

Chris:
So I just feel like incredibly lucky and, and I get to have a pretty flexible schedule and spend time with my kids. I think we, we all spent a lot of time with our kids. We’ve bonded. We are bonded. Yeah.

Wendy:
Wow. That is amazing. Incredible. Very, very cool. Okay. Well, awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing all of that. So let’s, let’s get right into it when it comes to mindfulness. I okay. So, so your first piece of wisdom that you’re going to bring to the table today is how we can make it things fun, learn fun and practical ways to bring mindfulness into your family. And I can’t wait to hear this. And your books are really a great example of that, right? Especially like the alpha breath book. It’s so good. I can’t wait to really get this in front of more and more of my, my bond fare members and my membership group, especially. So tell us more about that.

Chris:
Yeah. So alphabreaths was like, you know, it’s actually, I mean, so many of my books and I like inspired by the people I work with are inspired by, you know, my own kids. And you know, that that got started because I was reading, oh my gosh, what is the name of that book? It’s some Eric Carl book. That’s like, I can, you know, like bang my chest, like a gorilla. And like watching my son who was two years old at the time, like do all that stuff. I was like, oh my gosh. He like understands English. This is crazy. And these other like funny, you know, breaths that my friend Daniel, who I wrote the book with had come up with and other ones, and then, you know, when you’ve got two and three-year-olds, you’ve got, you know, everyone gives you alphabet books. And I was like, wait a minute, breathing alphabets.

Chris:
Right? Like fun activities with movement. Put it together. Alpha breaths. Like the title is awesome. And I called up Daniel who had been kind of the guy who came up with stuff like the superhero breath. Although he actually says some five-year-old came up with the superhero breath, but some of these other kind of fun breathing practices, butterfly breath, alligator breath, things like that. I was like, Hey, do you want to do a book together? We didn’t even really know. We knew each other a little bit. And he was like, yeah, dude, I love this. And we got on a phone call and we wrote the whole book in about 15 minutes. That is amazing. We came up with a big brainstorm, you know, sent it out.

Chris:
And you know, the thing about writing books, you know, which again, I love, but they it’s like from idea to, to contract, to like the book actually appearing in your hands, took, took like four or five years, which is so frustrating when you’ve got a good idea and you want it, you want to see it in person, but then it’s become like such a fun thing. So, you know, for folks listening or folks watching, you know, it’s got things in it. Like, you know, and if you’re listening, I’m trying to think of what one might be like, you know, a is the alligator breath and you hold your arms out and you like mush them up, like big alligator jaws as you breathe in and you breathe out as you snap your job’s shot or the ninja breath, just trying to breathe as silent as possible, which takes so much focus rate things like this for an right.

Chris:
That T is the Teddy bear breath, you know, before bed, you maybe put a Teddy bear on your belly and just rock it to sleep with you. So these kinds of things that are just fun and, and it’s just been, it’s such a pleasure to see it take off and, and not just like for myself, but just like the people are enjoying this thing and learning something. And like literally two or three times a week, I get a picture from some kid in Australia doing a, you know, an alligator or, you know, someone in South Africa doing, you know, like, you know, underwater breath, like, and, and then people sending us new ideas.

Chris:
And so we actually just two weeks ago signed the contract for alpha breaths to, as my son calls it too many alpha breaths, you know? So it, it it’s just been, I don’t know, it’s, it’s been so fun and so rewarding on so many levels and, and kids have fun with it and they make up their, and you know, like I was actually like, I Googled it the other day and there’s all these like teachers doing YouTube videos of it. I was like, I had no idea all these people are using it. So it’s just been, it’s been such a pleasure. And I just feel so lucky that, you know, being able to contribute and share this stuff, and then people find it useful and fun. So that’s just been such a treat.

Chris:
Yeah.

Wendy:
Hey, families, let’s chat for a minute about the biggest adventures to ever come in a little box that Toniebox is an imagination building screen, free digital listening experience that plays stories, songs, and more. It’s designed for little listeners ages three plus, and it’s the perfect Storytime companion for tiny hands and active imaginations. And good news is we have partnered with Tony’s to give away a Toniebox starter kit this month to one lucky winning family. All you need to do to enter is head on over to Instagram. You can find me at Fresh Start Wendy, and look for the post that says Toniebox giveaway to enter good luck after you enter head on over to Tonies.Com to check out the huge library of stories, including kid favorites, like paw patrol, Octonauts despicable me and diary of a wimpy kid.

Wendy:
Just use code Toniepodcast at checkout for 15% off. Okay. Back to the show. Yeah. So tell me about that part, Dr. Willard. So I know as being a positive parenting educator, that kids learn incredibly well through play, right? Like if we, so, you know, the way it works in our program, you know, in relation to breath. Right. And I, and I, I have more questions for you just about mindfulness in general, how it helps us, because I still we’ve had a few experts on the show. I have friends that teach mindfulness and I’m still like, maybe it’s because I’m such a busy body and I’m out of my body a lot, but I’m literally, I’m honestly like, what do you mean I do do not even understand what does this mean to be mindful?

Wendy:
It’s hilarious. So I want to ask you about that in a second more, but when it comes to kids, I know that they learn so well by play. And when we make it fun, right. So I can teach my parents all day long. Hey, when things get tense, when misbehavior arises, we want to create the space between the stimulus and the response, right? Like the more, you know, when it, within that space lies your ability to choose your freedom, all this stuff. Right. And at the same time, like you are going to be able to teach that to your child by modeling it. Of course. And then also like the, the kids don’t learn. Great. If you’re like, sit down, we’re going to have a lesson now on how to breathe when you’re upset. Right. Like they just learn so well through play, which is such a beautiful, you know, you do that so well in your books, they get to, they get to have fun with it.

Wendy:
Right. They get to have visualization, which I think is so important for adults too, because it’s all the same. Right. I mean, we maybe I’m just speak for myself. Do you feel like this too? But I literally forget to breathe. Like I forget.

Terry:
Yeah. I think there’s definitely moments in the day where I, I do forget. And I think, and I was kind of relating all of this that you were talking about, and maybe I’m skipping ahead to your next question, but this idea of like teaching the skill of being present, it seems like that’s what you learned on that nature. Walk early on that there’s such a beauty in that. And then, you know, for the parents, there’s a, by-product of like, well, yeah, they’re, they’re going to be quiet for the moment, but I think just the life skill of being present, I think that’s what you’re noting in your life. You probably spend a lot of time, like you said, outside of your body,

Wendy:
Even when he says, even when you say the word present, I still unlike what does that mean? Like, cause I’m always, so I’m planning for the future. I’m thinking about the future. I’m like, well, what is the effect of this activity that we’re doing right now, going to be on the future, maybe listeners can relate. But is that in essence, what mindfulness is, Dr. Willard is like slowing down to just feel your breath, your body, the things around you and focus on the light right. In this second is that

Chris:
Yeah. And I think with, with some intention, like, you know, there’s so many definitions of mindfulness out there, but, but to me, I’ve kind of reduced it more recently to whatever it is you’re doing, knowing that you’re doing it. Right. Like, do I know that I’m eating right now? Do I know that I’m walking right now? And there’s all these other, you know, like paying attention to the present moment with acceptance and non-judgment, and like, I think that’s all a big part of it, but fundamentally it’s just really being like aware and awake to whatever it is that we’re doing in the present and checking in with our senses. Right. Our thoughts, as you said, they’re often a future they’re off in the past. Like the research actually says, that’s where our minds go. Wouldn’t be when we stop for a second. Right.

Chris:
But when we come into our senses, like, boom, if I clap my hands, like we’re present for the sound of that handclap. And then our mind goes off again. But finding these ways to just come back to our senses, right. See touch, smell. Right. Like that brings us really in and things like breathing. And I mean like alphabets, like, you know, technically it’s really not mindfulness. It’s like kind of a joke, but the breath helps us to settle down and, and, and calm our body down self-regulate so that we’re getting into the present. And I think this is also so important with our kids. Like one of the, one of the things that I’ve been very inspired. There’s this meme I’ve seen floating around online that says never in the history of calming down, has anyone ever calmed down by being told to calm down as a teacher?

Chris:
I have relayed as a parent, I relayed as a therapist. And it’s like, if we want the thing that’s really cool about mindfulness is that it’s contagious. Actually all of our emotions are contagious. We probably noticed, right. Especially when we spend a lot of time together recently, and the way I can help my kid to calm down and self regulate, it’s not going to happen unless I’m well-regulated. So the more I, as a parent or a therapist or a teacher am able to settle myself with my breath, with my senses, right. Then a kid who’s really struggling. Right. What that’s going to do is it’s going to tell them that, that I’m safe to kind of come back to and reconnect with, even after a conflict, even after a blow out, even after a, you know, really difficult tantrum, what our kids need to know is that we’re still there for them.

Chris:
And we’re ready when they’re ready to reconnect. And that we’re not shaming them, that we’re not like pushing them away. Right. But that like, we’re, we’re here, we’re present. Right. And I think that’s where mindfulness becomes so important for us adults, for us parents, it helps us stay even keel when the role does not even keel and when our kids are not. And I think that’s, that’s where it’s really so powerful. And it is like, you know, there’s this cool study, like parents who practice mindfulness, the kids are happier. If communication is better in the family, you know, kids sort of like behavior is better. In fact, the best predictor for a kid with ADHD, you know, doing well with mindfulness is actually, if the dad practices mindfulness, the behavior improves, which is crazy, rad, well, that study and like, you know, are people like, like parents, like if, if one of you two practices mindfulness for a week, the other one is gonna in your even know the other one, doesn’t know the other, one’s going to say like my relationship’s much better this week, we’re getting along better.

Chris:
I’m happier, greater levels of satisfaction with your relationship. So it’s like, you know, these effects are also contagious and ripple out. It’s not just like the kids having a tantrum and we say, go do some hot chocolate breasts, right? It’s like, no, we settle ourselves down. And that, that signals to the kid that they’re safe and that they can learn how to settle themselves down too. And we do that together. This is a process called co-regulation because kids can’t when they’re young regulate, right. They need us to kind of take the lead on that and, and be their prefrontal cortex to help them settle and find that space between stimulus and response. And, and, and, you know, it’s kind of fun that you bring that up. That’s actually the next book I have coming out, my wife and I wrote a kid’s book together about the spaces in between inspired by yeah.

Chris:
Like, you know, the space between your in-breath and your out-breath or your left step and your right staff and between your thoughts and your feelings. And just to help kids start to tune into that and notice that that exists, that, that little pause where we can find our growth and our freedom. So, yeah. Thanks for bringing that up. I love it. I love it.

Terry:
So our next point is all about discovering simple strategies to build resilience. Give us, give us some nuggets on that.

Chris:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I, you know, I think during the pandemic, right. You know, especially where we’re, we’re all struggling to feel resilient and kind of try to, you know, grow our way through this. And, and the reality is in, in traumatic difficult situations, there’s a few ways we can go, right. We can fall apart or we can come through them stronger. And to me, I’ve been really reflecting on this time. Right. Of how can we actually come through this stronger and better people that our family, stronger families, stronger communities, and like right at the beginning and my wife and I, and, and March, we’re watching the kids play in the yard and I was trying to sound deep. And I was like, the kids are never gonna forget this time.

Chris:
And my wife is actually a medical historian. So she studies plagues and pandemics and how they, I know, right. It’s like, you know, topical, it’s very popular right now.

Terry:
Yeah.

Chris:
Awesome. I know it’s such a cool thing. And she was like, kind of rolled her eyes and she’s like, historic, like, people are not gonna, no, one’s gonna forget this time. For thousands of years, people are gonna remember the pandemic of 2020, and maybe it’s 121. And, and really thinking like, you know, watching everyone online and be like, I’m gonna, you know, like learn five languages and I’ve got to read war and peace and they’re gonna run a marathon in my living room. And like, you know, we’ve got kids, like, I’m not doing any of that stuff. Right. And so it’s not like, what do I want to do during this time? But the question for me has become who do I want to be during this time? I don’t want my kids to run me. Right. Like as a guy that like read the whole encyclopedia, or is it guy that was really present for them through this?

Chris:
And how do I want my neighbors to remember me? Like the guy that took the last roll of toilet paper from the grocery store,

Terry:
We all know that person.

Chris:
right. Exactly. And like, how can this really clarify our values? And, and, and to me, it’s like, you know, how can we, you know, like as, as Mr. Rogers, you know, there’s that great quote from his mom? Like what, for the helpers, right? Like how can we actually not just look for the helpers, but how can we be the helpers? And, and, and when you look at people that have come out of difficult situations, more resilient, if you look across history or you interviewed people that have been through traumatic experiences, you know, one thing that they all had in common was, was an adult in their life who was steady and consistent. And the other thing that so many of them had was that they, that they were a part of something bigger than themselves and found something meaningful.

Chris:
And to me, it’s trying to find what are those things for our family to do, right? Like, can we, you know, like make artwork and send it to the senior center where they can’t get visitors, right. Can we, you know, make signs, you thanking the first responders and, you know, the, the frontline workers during this and, and, and thank them, can we write, you know, like, right. You know, inspirational stuff in, in, in chalk, on the sidewalk, can we help out our neighbors and get them toilet paper? Right? Like, what are these things that we can do within our community, right. Sewing masks, or, you know, I’m looking at, you know, like in my own neighborhood, there’s kids that are like, will come, like, make a chalk mural for your kid’s birthday.

Chris:
We’ll come do a singing telegram for your kid’s graduation. Like, I mean, and these are so meaningful because they’re building resilience for the kids. They’re, they’re actually making our community closer than it might’ve been otherwise in our totally polarized time that we’re in right now, how can we in even our smaller communities find these ways to build new connections. Right. My mom, like, you know, reading books out loud to my kids, like on FaceTime because we can’t visit right. Things like this. Like how can we get, you know, older kids, tutoring, younger kids online to help them catch up. There’s so many things that we can do to actually come out of this stronger as individuals and as communities.

Chris:
And, you know, and it’s also still a really hard time, but that we can actually come out of the stronger. And that’s what I really hope that we can, we can do with this, this pandemic time particular.

Wendy:
I love because it’s all focused in more in the present. It’s less focused about, oh, no, the kids are going to get behind, or the kids are going to lose, you know, communication with their grandparents, or, oh, no, we can’t travel this year. So they’re not going to be able to go have, you know, or, you know, just this morning, I literally woke up thinking my daughter’s turning 13, she’s becoming a teenager. And, oh my goodness, she’s not going to be able to have that party. She always wanted, you know, and so I love this. And I think it relates back to this, this mindfulness has, because, you know, I’m sure those thoughts come and go, right. I’m sure that’s part of your expertise is to teach us how to easier, let them go. But then to just to focus in on like, okay, well, what can we do right now? And what is happening in the present?

Wendy:
Like, what is, you know, what is the chalk on the ground say? Like, what, how can I contribute? And I love that because it brings it back to like right now, everything is about like, what am I mindful? I’m still like trying to process all this. Cause I swear, mindfulness. I just have a tendency to be like out there, I’m doing it. I’m doing it.

Chris:
And what can we do right now? Right. What can you do predict six months or six weeks, we can predict the next six hours maybe for our kids and our families and, you know, create routines and rituals and, and not like, you know, the pandemic started. Everyone’s like, all right, homeschool. Like at eight 15, we’re gonna like do reading. And at eight 30, we’re all going to meditate for half an hour. And then at nine we’re gonna like, you know, learn how to make sourdough. And, and it’s like, then the next day, two days later, everyone’s like nine to 12 Minecraft, well, one potato chips for lunch. Right. And it’s like, there’s an in-between here. Yeah. But I think this is where like, routines, like first, this then that is, I think better than like eight o’clock, eight 30, that.

Chris:
Right. And it makes it predictable for us. Right. We develop post-traumatic stress when things are unpredictable. So how do we just make the day predictable for ourselves and our kids? It actually makes us more resilient to do just simple things like that.

Wendy:
Hey, there, families pausing this episode for a moment to say, thank you to Troomi wireless for supporting the Fresh Start Family Show and for helping keep our kids safe. Both of my kids have true meet phones now. And they are just such a great alternative to an iPhone. If you’re like me, and you’re trying to wait as long as possible to give your kids smartphones, Troomi devices, give us the parents the ability to get in touch with our kiddos at any time, but help keep kids safe by setting boundaries in the parent portal, which by the way, is so easy to set up, to include text and voice calls only because these phones do have the ability to add apps and internet. If you’d like, as your kids get older, I really do advocate to do that.

Wendy:
Only when they’re in high school, I do allow my kids to have apple music on their devices too, which they love for car rides and airplane trips and skateboarding or whatever. So when you use the code Fresh Start now through February 28th, you’ll get a free, troomi a12 device. When you sign up for a discover service plan, you guys, that’s $179 kid safe phone for free. So head to troomi.com now to check them out and just use the code Fresh Start. Okay. Back to the show

Chris:
Morning, check-in with their family roses and thorns, you know, at dinner before bed, right? Things like this that just help us to connect and communicate, have things that we look forward to. We’re not having to plan a whole day because we know how the routine’s going to go. All of this saves a lot of energy and helps the kids feel safe and secure when they kind of know what’s coming next too, because we know it’s coming in six months, but again, we know it’s, we can make the day predictable for them. Yeah.

Wendy:
Yeah. Is that what you, is that what you’re referring to when you say, which is our final point, Dr. Willard is find a balanced path through the pandemic. So the balance, are you referring to like the sequencing versus the strict scheduling, or tell us just a little bit about that to wrap up our episode, and then I want you to tell listeners where they can find you and I, and we’ll talk about that in a second, cause I wanna, I wanna make sure we get your book saw on, over on our website, on the Fresh Start Family shop page.

Chris:
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that is a, is, is like still, you know, everything is different, but still making sure we like honor birthday parties. Right. Who knows what Thanksgiving and other holidays are going to look like, but that we still have them to look forward to in some way. Right. That we, you know, we, we still honor weekends being different from weekdays. And of course we are now, you know, mostly going back to school and you know, whether it’s online or hybrid or whatever these things look like. So, so routines are coming back also, which is helpful. But I think, you know, all of this helps us kind of muddle through this time in a, in a somewhat more balanced way. And, and again, that settles us, which also in turn helps, helps the kids settle.

Chris:
And I think also to remember that this will end. Yeah. Again, we don’t know when, but like I remember I saw this piece of research like five years ago. That was like, if you plan a vacation, even if you never take it, it actually lifts up your mood for a few weeks. And so I’m like telling everybody I’m like plan your vacation. Like you don’t know when you’re going to take this vacation right. Day after you get the vaccine or something, or like good treatment. And it’s like, what are you going to do on that vacation? Who are you going to invite to the first barbecue? Like after this thing is done, right? Like, you know, what, what restaurant are you going to go back to? Right. Kind of like looking forward to, we don’t know when, but we know it will happen at some point. And like, what do you want to do?

Chris:
And having that be a conversation when you call up your other parents and friends, like, where are you going to go on vacation? What are you going to do when this is over? When you can travel again, when you feel safe enough to go out to a restaurant, what park are you going to go to? What, you know, like, again, like this reminds us that this will end is the, can feel like when is this gonna end? And like, yeah, the world will be different in some ways, but like, there’ll be a lot that we can do again. And it’ll be great. So just keeping, keeping our eyes on the fact that we don’t know when, but we know it will, it w this, this, this level of intensity and isolation will end. And, and I think that helps us keep going and talking about that with our kids too, because we remind them and then they can remind us, you know, and those days that we’re feeling down, they’re like, yeah, but maybe next summer, you know, we’ll take that trip.

Chris:
You know, we’ll go back to that restaurant. We’ll have that party right. For my birthday next year. And, and that, that, that keeps us all going as a family. And, and, and remembering that this, yeah, the, the, this particular time change,

Wendy:
I even think about, you know, when you’re talking about all that, remembering that the intensity within our homes is going to change. Like I was just had this thought the other day of like, wow, we are going to wake up one day. Everyone’s going to be back to work and school there’s for me, I was thinking about myself, there’s going to be a really quiet home, and everything’s just going to be back to normal. And it’s going to be this beautiful, like space of gratitude and appreciation. And there’s going to be just health and abundance, and it’s going to be so exciting and we are not going to be so stressed out all the time in the home. Like, there’s going to be like mom and dad. Aren’t like, there’s just going to be this less, like one less layer of stress, like being that this year is the pandemic.

Wendy:
And there’s an election and there’s racial tensions. Like it’s just such an intense year. That is, I think, pulling us out of this ability to be mindful. And it’s not always going to be like that. So one day there’s going to be, we’re gonna, you know, and we can let you know what you remind us of Dr. Miller is so beautiful is that we don’t have to wait for that day to become more mindful and balanced and peaceful, and we can practice things right now for sure. And it’s like, there’s going to be, there’s going to be days when you’re just a mess. And then there’s going to be days when you’re like, I’m doing, I’m doing great. I did my breast this morning. I meditated like yesterday, Terry and I, Terry woke us up. We meditated at six, and then we did our prayer time.

Wendy:
And, and today we did it, you know, like there’s just balance. There’s going to be this day and that day. And, and that’s okay. But one day there will be, there will be more like, I think less of like the stress, which I think really affects our homes and our parenting. And in the meantime, doing more things like you teach us is really going to help us. So tell us more, Dr. Willard, where can listeners find you tell us? I w I like, I wish, I don’t know if you know them by heart, but like, can you, what is all the books that are available? Like, or like, I guess we can just, but I guess your, maybe the top five that you would recommend, or we can just, but I love, I love, I love what you teach and tell listeners everything.

Chris:
Yeah, absolutely. So you can find more about me, Dr. Christopher Willard, Dr. Christopher Willard dot com is my website on Instagram. I’m Dr. Chris Willard and I do a daily challenge or a monthly challenge. So it’s actually, September has been alpha brass. August was summer. I think October is going to be a self-care challenge. November will either be a mindful eating or a mindful gratitude challenge. So a little prompt every day. And then, you know, I’ve got some like courses and stuff on my website. And, and then my book, which I feel really proud of too. And I think can be really fun. There’s some for parents like growing up mindful and raising resilience, and then there’s some for teenagers, there’s like an anxiety workbook for teenagers that I’ve done.

Chris:
And then for kids, I’ve got these, these fun kid’s books, alpha breaths, my wife and I wrote a book called the breathing book together. That’s really, you know, like try balancing the book on your head and turn the page with your breath and kind of fun stuff like that. And then, yeah, I, you know, I, I just should, the pandemic has led to a lot of creativity for me. So, you know, I’ve got some other fun books coming out in the future too. So like this equal to alpha brass and that in-between book with my wife. And I’m actually, this is one of the more ridiculous ones, but a book about how feelings come and go. And it’s called feelings are like farts.

Chris:
So, you know, the seven year olds will like that one. So we’ll, we’ll, it’s still, still trying to get a contract for that, but we’ll see, I think that’s, that’s gonna be a fun one.

Wendy:
They are going to love that. And I will say, I love, I love learning through books, because like you said earlier, learning through books is so fantastic. But so many of us are basically learning the same things that our kids are learning, that they have this like, cause it’s such a new generation, right? Like they get to have parents who are because of the wonderful exchange of information and education. That’s so freely flows these days. Like they get to be this next generation that learns this stuff when they are like little and we never did. Right. So now we’re learning this stuff at age, you know, 30, 40 years old where we’re like, oh my gosh. So we have to stop and breathe and be mindful about where we are right now and how the like, feel the wind on our skin instead of worrying about like the election or whatever.

Wendy:
Like what, like it’s also new to us. And when we stop and teach our kids and especially through books, cause it’s such a connected time, like connected way to, to be together, we are learning it. Like we are being taught the same thing and then you’re connected and then you’re together. Right? Cause I think so much of parenting is like, you need to learn this kid because you need to be better at calming down or not flying off the handle when your sister gets in your way or whatever it is. And it’s like, well actually we all are probably pretty similar. We all are learning the same thing. Like yeah. Terry with his career, my, with my career, like, like the kids with their friends or schoolwork or whatever it is, like we’re all in this together.

Wendy:
So

Chris:
Yeah. And I think that those are the best kids books are the ones like, you know, you know, as I became a parent and started reading kids books, which I never did till I became a parent, right. Since I was a kid, but it’s like, oh, the best ones are really so much like teaching the parents something at the same time. And I, and I, and I love that, that it’s like, we’re all learning together as we read this kid’s book and we’re learning how to be better parents and the kids are learning how to be better kids. And it’s just, yeah, I think that’s just so fun about being a parent and really good children’s literature, I think can really do that. Yeah. Yeah.

Wendy:
Yes. Well, we will make sure we put everything over on the show notes page for this episode. So listeners can find you and thank you for your dedication to all of this. Dr. Willard, thank you for your passion for helping families and kids with mindfulness. And we just are really grateful for this talk today.

Chris:
Thank you. Yeah. Wonderful to meet you both and yeah, let’s stay in touch

Wendy:
More info about everything we talked about in today’s episode had to Fresh Start Family online.com forward slash one 16.

Stella:
For more information, go to FreshStartFamilyonline.com. Thanks for listening. Families have a great day.

Wendy:
Alright, families, that’s a wrap. I hope you love today’s episode. As much as I loved recording it for you. And if you want to learn more about the Fresh Start Family freedom to be life coaching weekend course then head on over to FreshStartFamilyonline.com/freedom course. To learn more. We have all the information about pricing, location dates, and you’ll see that we even have a payment plan to make this affordable for everyone who wants to join us. So head on over there and check it out and you can always email me. If you have questions, Wendy, at FreshStartFamilyonline.com. Just remember seats are very, very limited. We only have 20 seats available and we already have five tickets sold.

Wendy:
So that means we have 15 tickets left and I want you to be able to join us. So go ahead, go check it out now. FreshStartFamilyonline.com/freedomcourse. And I can’t wait to see you there.

If you have a question, comment or a suggestion about today’s episode, or the podcast in general, send me an email at [email protected] or connect with me over on Facebook @freshstartfamily & Instagram @freshstartwendy.

 

Learn more about how Positive Parenting Curriculum can transform your life through these Fresh Start Family programs

Want to see what Positive Parenting looks like #IRL? I love to stay active on both Instagram & Facebook, giving you guys a glimpse into my real family life!

Hey Momma!

So great to meet you! Want to get notified when new Fresh Start Family Show episodes drop? If yes, pop your email in below & I'll send you weekly encouragements! Plus ... I'll send you our most popular FREE learning guide download "How to Raise Strong Willed Kids with Integrity" ... let's be friends!

You have Successfully Subscribed!