Julietta has helped families for over 20 years, bringing her unique ability to translate research, child development and Positive Discipline principles into everyday solutions.
388 5 Myths About Parenting Littles
Little kids can be so challenging! Sometimes it feels like a time to just get through—but wait, there are many powerful seeds to be planted in this very important time. In this episode I talk to Julieta Skoog and she busts the myths of parenting littles, like they’re “too little to help.” This is a must listen episode for parents of toddlers and preschoolers!
5 Myths About Parenting Littles – Julietta Skoog 
*This is an auto-generated transcript*
[00:00:00] Julietta Skoog: Really, once I discovered positive discipline, it gave me that real clear framework and language to support parents and teachers and grownups, and people working with kids.
[00:00:15] Hunter: You are listening to the Mindful Mama podcast, episode number 388. Today we're talking about the myths about Parenting littles with Julietta Skoog.
Welcome to the Mindful Mama podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Mama, we know that you cannot give what you do not have. And when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, Hunter Clarke-Fields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.
I've been practicing mindfulness for over 20. I'm the creator of Mindful Parenting, and I'm the author of the best selling book, raising Good Humans, A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and raising Kind Confident Kids. Welcome back to the Mindful Mama podcast. So glad you are here.
Listen, make sure you're subscribed so you don't miss any of these awesome episodes. And if you've gotten some value from the Mindful Mama podcast please go over to Apple Podcasts or Spotify and leave us a rating and review. It helps the podcast grow more. This is the way we grow and it's an incredible way to support us.
It just takes 30 seconds and I'm appreciate it. So much. Thank you.
In just a moment, I'm going to be sitting down with Julietta, a school psychologist, school counselor, parent Coach Julietta has helped families for over 20 years bringing her unique ability to translate research, child development and positive discipline principles into everyday solutions. And she is a master of these little.
Meaning that she just helps us translate what's happening for them and how we can just connect in much better way. And we talk about some of the myths about them, about, we're talking about the myth of the terrible twos and how maybe kids, we think kids are too little to help and being strong willed.
You're gonna hear us talk about a lot of different myths, and I hope this episode really shifts your idea about what it means to parent little ones, and maybe makes you even excited to really dive into this super important time. So join me at the table as I talk to Julietta.
Julietta, thank you so much for coming on the Mindful Mama podcast.
[00:02:52] Julietta Skoog: I'm so glad you. I'm so glad to be here. I'm just happy to be in conversation with you. I could talk to you about anything all day.
[00:02:59] Hunter: Julietta, I'm psyched to have you on because I know you personally after our little, our experience on the other side of the world from us in Abu Dhabi where we had great adventures and learned about Kimmel Botox.
Among the other things, and an amazing time. But I'm happy here today. Not to talk about K Botox, but about, but about your work in talking about littles and helping us with our littles because they're so confusing and challenging and difficult. How did you get into your passion about helping people work with little kids?
[00:03:40] Julietta Skoog: Love littles. You know what, I've always loved little people, and I can even remember back, I don't know if you fell this way, if this resonates with you, but I was one of those children who loved children. I can remember back being in loving my Montessori program because it was a multi-age and I could take care of the little children there, and I was always playing with the little kids in the neighborhood or having my own little side daycare even before I could babysit.
Then the minute I could babysit, I always. Was that person so loved being a camp counselor coached gymnastics. So children have always been in my world and in my wheelhouse, and I've always felt really comfortable with them and I've always felt like they are. often misunderstood. And I feel like I always had that sense even when I was very young, that they're trying to communicate something to us and it's not landing with the grownups.
The grownups aren't getting it, flash forward to my graduate programs. I have graduate degrees in school psychology and school counseling, and was really excited to work in schools. Really moved pretty quickly into those early years. I ran the preschool assessment team, that clinic for many years, evaluating young children, really getting a strong sense of just development and seeing patterns over time.
And then working in elementary schools with typically developing children, kids that had different developments. And I really loved working directly with the children, but I always felt that chasm between what the grownups were experiencing with their children. And so I really had this passion for that bridge in between of how to translate what the kids' behaviors were trying to communicate to the grownups and what the grownups were trying to get from the kids, and how they could meet in the middle and have a shared language.
So for me, positive discipline. The framework around positive discipline was really helpful. So there was a lot of, that was coming intuitively, I think for me. But really once I discovered positive discipline, it gave me that real clear framework and language to support parents and teachers and grownups and people working with kids.
[00:05:52] Hunter: That's amazing. Yes. I absolutely cannot relate to any of those things that you said about loving little kids when you were little. I did not love little kids and in fact, I've always been in awe. of the preschool teachers and the people who loved being around little kids. Cause I was like, they're self mind boggling.
Hahaha. And you were basically one of those people that I was probably like in awe. Or you're like, I get them, I can translate them, I can, I, yeah.
[00:06:25] Julietta Skoog: And I think back in, in my day, of like when I was babysitting, they would let you, they would let a 12 year old take care of
[00:06:34] Hunter: Oh yeah.
When I was. I took care of a two-year-old and an eight-year-old.
[00:06:39] Julietta Skoog: Yes. I remember having twin babies and they were like maybe nine months old, let's say. They definitely weren't walking and they definitely were like infants and they twins and they, the parents were like, bye, just give 'em a bath.
And I remember thinking, I don't know. No, I don't know how to do this. And they're really slippery. Oh my God. So the next time I came back I was like, this is not working. I knew enough to keep them safe, but the next time I came back to babysit that family, I brought my swimsuit and I was like, I'm getting in the bathtub with them.
And I literally just got in. I was like, I'm gonna be so safe and do this. I just
[00:07:14] Hunter: figure this out. Oh my God, that's amazing. I want you as my babysitter. Years ago, . That's so cool. Wow. Okay, cool. So you were, you had this affinity to littles and you feel like they're misunderstood. What did you mention positive discipline that really resonated with you?
What was it that, that framework and that way of thinking gave you, that was different from what other things were telling you?
[00:07:39] Julietta Skoog: Yes, so I found that, so it's the underlying psychology of positive discipline draws from Aryan psychology and the Arian part that was, that resonated with me so deeply throughout all my graduate work as a school psychologist and school counselor was this idea that behavior is purposeful.
That every human being, whether you're a child or grown up, that we are driven by a need for significance and belonging. So significance, meaning I. I can contribute and belonging, meaning I'm connected to others, and it just connected the dots for me for child development, both, biologically in terms of being so socially wired, hardwired to connect, to be attached caregivers, the idea that we are all just wanting to belong, that we are all wanting to contribute to feel like we matter.
So the whole respect part of that really. Just profound and really highlighted how I wanted to be with kids. I wanted to see classrooms and homes and help support those environments where the kids felt like they mattered and they were seen and there was respect there, and also that there was the opportunity for them to.
To contribute in a way that was meaningful, to really develop the, that capability. And I think that is really one of the hallmarks of positive discipline is like inviting children to discover how capable they are. And so this intersection between that psychological drive and also biological drive that kids are so capable.
if we let them, if we take the time to teach, if we invite them in a way through play, which is their office, which is the way that they learn and discover and explore when we don't shame or punish them for making a mess, but we see them as little scientists and can harness that to contribute and be capable.
[00:09:32] Hunter: So you said you were a Montessori
[00:09:35] Julietta Skoog: kid. I was just for a couple of years, but it was really profound. Just that preschool, kindergarten until we Oh, until we moved and then I was in because
[00:09:43] Hunter: yeah. Yeah. No, this is all this all sounds so very Montessori to me cuz like I, I'm a founding board member of a, the first public charter Montessori school in the state of Delaware.
And my kids have been in Montessori since they were like little and actually, so is going in, gonna go into our last year. She'll be eighth grade next. But yeah, that whole idea that kids are so much more capable than we under, than we understand. I remember just witnessing that in the Montessori classrooms, like seeing oh my God, like this woman is making blueberry muffins with a whole bunch of two, two and three year olds, and being like, what's happening?
[00:10:21] Julietta Skoog: When I, and I think I actually do think my, my, my mother was so drawn to that philosophy and I think that. That was the culture in her home was like everyone's capable. We also had, she was very, my mother was very sick, diagnosed when I was five, but really profoundly open six on, and I think that was because we had that foundation in her home of that we were seen that we were capable, that we mattered and in a, I had two sisters that we were taking care of each other as well, so there was definit.
That cultivation of that philosophy and then really the practical experience. And so I think coming on the other side, obviously as a grownup, reflecting back to that is how can we give that to kids? How can we give that experience without the trauma? It's not that they have to go through a horrible illness with a parent to like suddenly have to be completely independent, but it's this idea that we're cap. Kids are capable, seeing them. But also the language that positive discipline gave was this idea of being connected and firm at the same time. And I think there is a language and a tone that parents and grownups have sometimes with Littles that just don't, it's lost in translation, it's either to babyish or it's.
Dismissive. And so this idea of being connected and firm and the firmness around systems, routines, what's supposed to be happening, the consistency, the predictability, the rhythm, and Montessori has this, Waldorf has this, there's that. The idea of the rhythm and the ritual of a day that brings. Safety and security and predictability that allows kids to feel safe enough to be creative, explore, not push back or pump the brakes or dig into the power struggle,
[00:12:02] Hunter: yeah. Yeah. I could see that all my youngest daughter or my oldest daughter needed that all so much like that rhythm of first we do this and then we do this. We even had Monday night was pizza night, and Tuesday night was race. Friday night, and then we had soup night.
And then it would be like, what night is it? Oh it's pasta night. Yay. And that predictability was just super grounding and helpful for
[00:12:29] Julietta Skoog: them.
[00:12:34] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcast right after this break.
So let's talk about littles that are in there with the like frustrating ages of littles, right? So we, everyone has heard about the term, like the terrible twos and toddlerhood, right? Is this time that parents feel like we're just advised to get through it, right? Survived to toddlerhood and how do you like to reframe
[00:13:02] Julietta Skoog: this for.
Yes. And I think one thing that I'll add so that I don't paint myself as this, like incredible, Mary Poppins level, like with the young children, that was so just naturally understood them because I had that and then I actually had my own children. Oh, okay. And after I'd worked for years in schools, I married a teacher.
Like we could not have been more like prepared, but when you have your own children, it's a whole nother ballgame. I went right back to positive discipline and said, okay, let's retrain through this lens. She was colicky, extremely colicky, strong willed. They all are strong-willed. I'm, I get nervous when people would say that my kids are not strong-willed, but but it is really relentless and I think it's that part where, You get to these, this concept of the terrible twos, and then you're like, okay, I've made it.
But then they turn three and then they turn four. And you know what actually gets like harder? It gets more intense. And maybe by then you've had another three is maybe more intense
[00:14:06] Hunter: than two, three
[00:14:07] Julietta Skoog: and a half, always. Exactly. And I think this is one of those myths that it's like just get through the terrible twos and then.
You're fine. And so there's a lot of missed opportunity because you are just put in survival mode and you do a lot of enabling or a lot of just, I'm just gonna do it myself. I'm just gonna hold out, try and squeeze everything in during their nap or once I get 'em to sleep, oh, come to sleep and then clean up the mess and rinse and repeat the next day.
And there's this like culture of oh, kids, aren't they annoying and aren't the little, so ugh, or let's just get 'em into the play dates. I don't, I can avoid them. And so I think the reframe that you're asking about is really critical. And it really is a decision point.
When you, when they are young, and I remember actually going through. Really personally with my husband, when we had our three or a third of saying you've gotta reengage, like this is, we've gotta make a decision right now that we're not just complaining about oh, third, another baby or whatever.
It's like really having that mindset of this time mat, this time matters. and it doesn't have to take me down. It's understanding that yes, it is absolutely relentless. It is the most like relentless time you will have for sure the most intense time. And you've got an older one as well.
I know I've got a teenager now in middle school and I wouldn't say that it doesn't get any less time consuming for sure. , but there is an intensity of the physical nature of the, of these young kids when they're, where you don't feel like you have that separation from yourself. From a little person and and I think the reframe is that embracing that critical window that actually like , all of those behaviors, all of that relentless challenging. The tantrum, the screaming, the clinginess is actually that message of saying I'm here. You know what I mean? Like I am here and this is our time together.
And so we get to reframe this as this is our way to connect. This is our chance. We as the grownup. as the parents get to find the fun, get to invite the cooperation we get to see their eyes light up when we include them and teach them and actually take that time for training and set up, the routines and really discover how capable they are.
Like when we can engage. And say, yes, this is a relentless time, but it's not just about survive and get through it. It's about this is the time to teach into how they can thrive and how we can set up this awesome runway when they do get older. So I draw a lot from Lean, just as heavily on Dr.
Siegel's work, who's amazing. And his I actually, when I first discu, when I first discovered him, I think, through my students, but I think when I really appreciated him as a parent is when my oldest was four, and recognizing that there was this surge in brain development using his model of the brain and the palm of the hand, teaching her about her brain, empowering her about her brain as a preschooler, and understanding that actually it isn't the terrible twos, it's the, as he says, it's the terrible threes and the effing.
So you just think really like truly, the intensity of the fours are so hard, they're so emotional, and they're bigger at that point. So I think what can happen is like we think, oh, we just have to get through the terrible twos. Guess what? If you have that mindset, then you're just gonna hit the terrible threes
And if you think, oh, I just have to get through those, then you're just gonna end up in the effing fours. And if you get through that, then you're gonna get into the kindergartner, where now you've got all these habits and you haven't ever really established, teaching into coping. Capability independence around routines.
, and you
[00:18:00] Hunter: have to backtrack. You probably have some bad habits. You got, you've built up that then you have to not only stop, you have to take a train that's going 90 miles an hour in the wrong direction, slow it down, stop it, and then turn it around. It's harder.
[00:18:14] Julietta Skoog: It's all harder at that point.
That's exactly right. And so I'm like, there's always something, and that's where we look at with positive discipline. There will always be a list of challenge. With children because they're children, they are growing their behavior, their learning skills. They are not many. . And so now is the time.
It's not just oh, I just have to get through this part and then it'll be over. It's never over . So I have a dark take to it of this is it, this is your life, yeah.
[00:18:45] Hunter: I think that's so helpful though, because if we're just like, Oh, I just gotta get through this time.
Then we may not step into that big picture vision of wait a second, I'm burning myself out. Wait, I'm just trying to get through. You might just keep going with bad habits rather than saying, no, this, I can't sustain this for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10 years. If we can. If we say this is it, then we say, okay, this is either sustainable or this isn't.
As far as also our habits as parents and people who have needs. And then, saying am I happy with this relationship with this tiny person? And yes, what are the, what are the systems and framing and rhythm, how can we help this child to be more sustainable?
I remember, going back to the idea of Montessori, I remember. My brother with my youngest niece, like she was something like seven years old and she's daddy, can I have some water? Can I have some water? Get me a and you'd have to go up and get her a glass of water. And I was like, oh my God, how have you never figured out, how have you not gotten the picture of water and the glasses at the level that she can get it so that you are not this child servant?
Like this is that's an unsustainable way of doing things. That's just like getting through the.
[00:20:04] Julietta Skoog: And I think there's that part of the idea that and I think there, there is a misnomer. I think a lot of parents don't realize like how capable they really are, and so I think a lot of that, so many high reps for me in the clinic when I was evaluating so many young children over and over again developing this sort of concept that I'll share with you now, which is that, really by two, they can be practicing everything. Like really.
And I say 18. Really the lights start turning on for kids 14, 15 months. They're like, they get it. They start to really understand. They're starting to have those big emotions. 18 months. You can talk to them like I'm talking to you right now. And as you should. They really understand, and when you can be in that attuned, attuned with them, be in that presence.
And really looking at them in this way and with that presence of we can, we're doing this together, we're, I'm showing you the way I'm your guide here. Then by two, they really are open and receptive to practicing all of these things. So just like you're saying all of these around the house stuff, it's like getting dressed.
Bathing, toileting, feeding dr. Like all of these things are on the house, the cooking the clean cleaning, the r, the all, the getting out of the house, the transitions, all grocery store, like all these kinds of life things. If they're going to daycares getting the snack, all of these things when you can just your mind think two, they're practicing and so letting them.
That's the hard part, right? Is that you actually, that's the me do it. That's the me do it stage. I they want to try to walk down those stairs or hold onto it, onto the railing, and you wanna just scoop 'em up and shove 'em in their car seat and go, but thinking about this, , like as you said, it saves you so much time down the road when you can say by two, they're practicing by three instructional and by four they can be really independent.
And doesn't mean all four year olds are independent. I'm just saying like the capability and the potential when you start with little, so the reframe of just ugh, hurry up, get through it, do it for 'em. But when you've missed that window, like you've lost that for yourself, that awesome experience to be enjoying that time with.
And then positive discipline really gives us a lot of those like specific tools like creating a visual routine with them. Has a picture of them and shows, that they're getting dressed and I really start everything with by two. So I do visual routines by two, I start teaching kids about the brain in the palm of the hand when they're two.
Literally when they're two, I start teaching them about their brains. Using that model so that they can understand when they've had, when they're having that big emotion and what those really simple coping skills are to help them integrate again, and where we can, we go back to that safe space and we practice our breathing and our mindfulness at this age two.
Really starting these kinds of habits and routines early so that. Just in these little ways, little small ways. It's not like huge, but, so that when they're four, it's just the way we do things,
[00:23:08] Hunter: so what I'm hearing from you is that like we can both, there's like some, a big, some big expectation shifts that need to happen A, our expectation for this time and our expectations for twos and threes and what they can do and what they maybe should be involved in, right?
Rather than, Hey, you go take this device and go sit over there while I go do these things. Inviting them into that. But that also requires an expectation shift of really slowing down and allowing three times more time, four times more time than it would take for you to do it yourself. But then knowing that this time is all gonna be paid off later by a kid who can do, is capable and helpful around the house because they've had a positive experience being invited into all the different
[00:24:02] Julietta Skoog: things that we.
Yeah. And I think the reality check for, as a mom of three kids and working in all this stuff is that sure, we can't do it all the time. And so being intentional by finding those times when you can't, and you'd be surprised, when you talk about like slowing it down, there are times when you can do that.
Maybe it's not on your way to the pediatrician appointment when you have to be on time and you need to, in that moment that there are plenty of other times when actually you can let. Try it and explore it. And we have this experiential activity that we do in my positive discipline classes where I hand over these markers and I'm like, this represents your power now.
Do you want it? Start to give the pen. And then I'm like, oh, you're too little. Oh, we're in a rush. Oh, actually just let me do it. And that, that seeking of the power even more that you're inclined to have as a parent of I want that pun, versus when we can just say you've got time. If we make.
We can clean it up. Just handing those markers over and saying, let me see you do it. Look at you. That little pause that can give such a deposit, even if you can't do it every single time, that one time that you've done it that morning, for that morning, makes a difference. And the way that they see themselves and they puff up and they have that confidence and they tot around, they feel.
[00:25:21] Hunter: Yeah. I love that. So one of the things that, you know, when we, when parents of young kids, when they come to me and we talk about communication is, sometimes I ask them to even record themselves. Listen to what you sound like and just hearing, the way that we habitually talk to when kids, young kids, which is come over here, go over there, put this on, take this off.
Climb up here. Go over. Just don't do that. We're just this constant, if we listen to our. It can be this real constant barrage of just direct commands, which nobody likes. Even two year olds, no one. No one likes that. And so what I'm hearing from you, like this idea of when we can take time to give over those markers, to give that power to, let me see you do it, and to take the time to let them do it.
That's, even if they live in a world where they're being constantly commanded, which is in some ways almost inevitable in our culture with small children. When we can give them that autonomy, can really fill that cup for a while. So that then when we have to we have to say, get in your car seat or whatever it is they're less likely to push back against it cuz that cup, that, that sense of I can do it and capability and autonomy
[00:26:39] Julietta Skoog: has been shielded.
That's right. And we see there's the connection before the correction. And so when you feel connected to another person when they, in their little brains, they use the Dan Siegel model, feels integrated, they're receptive, their brain feels safe, they're gonna be more apt to join you for whatever is that next part.
And I think a lot of the a lot of the pain points for parents are transit. . And so when you can have that connection and meet them and give them that little piece, it's like almost like that piece of gum that like stick it and draw a little bit to the next thing you know. That's the transition from them going from one to the next.
They've gotta feel safe enough to go with you to that next thing or whatever it is that you're asking them to do or that next. So the connection part is that matters, and if there's been some deposits earlier, for sure it's gonna be in there. And when you can keep with that theme of recognizing they're a little human too.
They're not just getting dragged around. And and that the way that they are, their brain is developing. Through that play. Toddlers are so sensory oriented, preschoolers are so imagination oriented. When we can say, go pick out your stuff here, whatever they're into, go pick out your little character who's coming with us?
Go pick your stuffy. Who's gonna come with us? Let's go put them in the car seat with you. Having that little transition item that goes with them, or we're gonna be the. Choo train. Let's all be a train. Okay? Hook onto the train, the trains, go into the car. Come on. Are you gonna be the cabota or are you gonna be the leader?
Any of those connection strategies that makes them feel seen, gonna be the unicorn. Let's start flying. Let's go, or whatever it is that they're into. My le my youngest right now, she has been, if I could have done anything related to a ball or soccer or sports or anything, and she'd be like, I'll follow you anywhere you.
I also went through a sound of music phase that was hilarious. If I was just like, come on, I'm Maria, which Bon Trap kid are you? She would follow me like a little duckling. But yeah, it's it's that sense of, when you're talking about autonomy that matters. So and we live in the real world, so when you have established firmly.
This is our routine, right? We get up, we brush our teeth, we put our clothes on, we eat breakfast. We clear our place, we help clean up. We get ready for school or for our outing. We pack our back. We're headed out. When that is really established, like I said, in terms of little, I tap this little one old one here.
I'm gonna be here like an old one. This is our dinnertime routine with a picture of Leona and what's next. Then that part is we don't have to have a power struggle about it. They actually get to have a lot of autonomy because we're saying, here's what we're doing, and then how do you wanna. , like they have the autonomy around which coat they're gonna put on, or if we're gonna go out the back door, out the front door and then follow me, or if we're gonna be birds or we're gonna be frogs, so it's the idea. Yeah, like inviting that cooperation, inviting that opportunity for them to have some autonomy because that's how they're wired, and so when we don't give it to them, then they're gonna, it feels confusing biologically. It's, they're really gonna push back and have Yeah. That power.
[00:29:42] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.
Oh no, I was just saying I love, like I, we hear Connect before you Correct a lot and we love the, I love that. But I love the way you described it for us, like connect to them in their world and what their interests are. So connect with the sound of music or connect with this some playfulness, right?
As their world is about playfulness or connecting, in all those different ways. That's really beautiful. I. Sort of almost like real in your world aspect of that
[00:30:17] Julietta Skoog: connection. Exactly. And that's the Alerian psychology. Really, that's the connection for me is that perspective taking of getting into their world.
And specifically with Littles, it is understanding developmentally where they're at, like understanding where their brain is, like understanding that for three is the, and four is there is that, per Dr. Siegel that like. Surge in that right brain emotionality that it is a lot harder for them.
Instead of being like, what's wrong with you? You're acting like a baby. And I, going back to when it really resonated with me, when my older was four and having this massive meltdown, and this is, this was normally like a pretty capable kid and you're having huge emotions. And when I can get into her world and understand, wow, she's just having her big feeling.
It's not about me as a parent, it's not about my ego or what she should be doing or shouldn't be doing, then I'm able to respond in that way. So my connection, is really like getting their world. How are they looking at this experience? They were just playing happily and now we're gonna, they gotta leave or.
They've got, there's a new baby, around now they've gotta be quiet. That's gotta, that's hard for them. Or just seeing it from their perspective. It's the end of the day. They were at school day or they're really hungry, or they see another kid doing this so they wanna do it. Just really po It's that connection of seeing it through their eyes, like going and meeting them on that other plan that they live on and then being like, Hey, come over to my planet.
It's really fun over here. We brush our teeth here, but Meeting them over there first and connecting with them in a way that resonates with them. And a lot of that is about what their interests are, what their latest flavor of what they're into. .
[00:31:55] Hunter: Okay. So Julietta a common stressor for parents, right?
Is that let's, is that having a mess around the house in clutter? Oh my God, I drove my husband bananas. Like
[00:32:04] Julietta Skoog: you might have Is your husband a My husband is the same way. He's a real organizer. And declutter is your, does he do that to like de-stress
[00:32:10] Hunter: himself? Yeah. Yeah. It's amazing. I wake up on the weekend mornings and he's gone around and it's really wonderful.
I love it. But let's con like this idea about the little kids though Can we bring them into this piece of the house? Like at what age can we ask our kids to help out around the house and chores and things like that Because I think this is so important. It's interesting cuz I was recently talking to Shefali, so sorry for the podcast, and she said, my, my only expectations for my kids are like, don't be.
Fire, and and I forget what it was, but it basically was like, I was like, that's great, but I have a lot more expectations for my kids. So talk to me about this. Can we bring these little ones into keeping our house clean for our own sanity?
[00:33:04] Julietta Skoog: Yes. And when you say, what age can you start?
I will tell you, I start when they're. I start day one. I start family meetings when they're six months old. I think for me it's like when they're sturdy enough to be on your hip. Yeah. And that's when you're, that's when you're rolling, all right. All right. Yeah, I love eight months. I feel like they're, like, they're harder by that time.
They're more of like a raccoon, . But yeah, when you can have 'em like ready, then that's when you wanna, when the train has left the station. And I think to your, and I'll describe how, but I think to your point about. Dr. Shefali. And when we do, and I even looking at my own teenager yeah, this is why we're, why I'm obsessed with the littles and why it is so awesome to be all in now.
Because then you can say, okay, you've got it. You've given them the armor, like you've given them this Oh. So that you can totally let them be free when they need to be, when they go off into their adolescence and. Go be their person.
[00:34:02] Hunter: I can relate to that as a mom of a 16 year old now.
Like I, she knows she's got this, sorry,
[00:34:09] Julietta Skoog: go ahead. No, and that's how I feel. I really do, there's such a freedom and certainly, she's only 14 now, almost 14, but I think I can tell already within our relationship there's an ease and a trust that I have that I'm not like, oh God, for, to help you with all these things.
So the earlier you can start the better. Because I think it allows you that longer runway within your relationship with this human well to have that trust and that practice and that time and allow them to make tons of mistakes when the st when it's low stakes, okay, so let's talk about cleaning.
So number one is establishing part of a routine. Kids love routine, they love rituals. So there's two. That you're gonna be cleaning with your kids, one is gonna be an established time or two of the day, and that is just part of the routine. So it might be before lunchtime or after nap time, or it might be just the one time of the day for us.
It's after. At the end of the day before it is actually we have, we do, no, we do it before, before dinner, bath or shower. We do clean up our room and then we do a little meditation, which is just a practice of one of the coping skills and then we go into bathing. But we do two versions. So one is called contribution wheel of Choice.
You can make it whatever you want. We like making a little pizza pie. Wheel and I have a video of this that I can can share with you. Have a great, helpful video, links that I'll share with you. But have on that wheel all the things. It could be clean up the playroom, it could be clean up the do dishes, vacuum like anything around the house.
and it doesn't have to be age specific, like it can be clean the bathroom, it could be feed the dog, any sort of a contribution that we have, we spin the wheel after dinner and everyone does something on the wheel. So even when I had babies, we would go spin the wheel and we'd say, oh, okay, looks like we got laundry.
Let's go through a load of laundry in, and then that's what you, we go and we do that and they love being involved. And even when it would just be the baby that we throw the load in and that I'm on the floor and watch 'em and I'm talking to them just like this. Okay. And then we turn the dial and we.
Button looks like we've got a all you know, cold and is it a median load or is it a large load? Let's let talking to them in this way so that they just know this is just what we do after dinner or whatever that point is, that there is part of that larger contribution or that larger shore that we do.
And then in addition, there's all those other times throughout the day that we are inviting them in those around the house type of. Like I said, instead of you just waiting until they could be napping or they're asleep and you're doing all of those things, letting them be involved and slowing down those processes.
If you are vacuuming, if you are wiping down the counters in the bathroom, having them come in, that you're all, you're doing that with them before you're going. Out to do whatever it is you're doing for the activity. So thinking about some of those pieces, like for example, mine was always like we were gonna get all the breakfast dishes done.
We're gonna have the whole kitchen cleaned up before we go to the park, for example, on a Saturday morning. So everyone's involved and that firmness, this is what we're doing before we go do those fun things. And everyone is gonna come help and we're gonna have fun. We're gonna turn on. Disney music, and we're gonna, and I'm gonna be tickling them in between, or or they're gonna go play and be super focused on something else.
And then that's fine too. And I am humming along, doing my part as well, and then really hitting those. Like the cleanup spots as those hotspots. So I think the biggest areas are the kids' rooms and then maybe a playroom or the living room. And so having that established time, that is that designated cleanup of that spot every day.
And then it's just that. That kind of, that connection and firmness of this is what we're doing, and then really playing into their imagination, into their into the finding the fun with them. And let's see. Should we get all the blue ones? I like to play. I spy, I swear it is worked. It works from two on, I'll just say I spy with my little eyes, some theme blue and they'll go run, get something blue.
I spy with my little eye a train as I'm helping to clean up too. But I think it's that high reps of this is when we do it every day at that same time. Now you can have Alexa turn on the cleanup song and all of those things. But the firmness of this is what we're doing each time and we're not doing anything else until this.
So I am like missile locked in.
[00:38:30] Hunter: So what? What do you do if you have say, a four-year-old and the four-year-old starts to wander off and start to play during cleanup time? Now, because I know we wanna be invitational, right? We want it to be fun, but that can be frustrating, right? For parents like, you are supposed to be helping me with this, so now you're not helping me with this.
How do you approach a situation?
[00:38:52] Julietta Skoog: For me, it's just understanding they're still practicing their skills, their executive functioning is not like a 25 year old, they're still growing into that. So they are gonna get distracted. They are gonna wander off. So I go right away. I sw and I go, oh. And then, like you mentioned earlier, when it's like all these demands we're telling kids all the time right in, I go, oh, what are we supposed to be doing?
What were we doing? And maybe they're like, no, but I wanna, but it's boring. And then I might lean into some humor, right? And say, no. Oh no. Like I'm by myself. I'm melty. I need, but if I don't love you, how are we ever gonna get it done? Yeah. Yeah. And then they're like, but I don't.
And then there's the next thing like, yeah, but I didn't want to, but I wanna just do this. Then I might say the connection. I know it's hard. We have just a few more to do. It feels overwhelming. And sometimes I do pause and I look and if I feel overwhelmed by the. Then I know they are triple fold. Oh.
Because I am really strong executive function. . So part of that is recognizing like how overwhelmed. And there are many times truly where I've looked at a room and I'm like, oh my gosh. Like I am totally overwhelmed right now. So model, let's say, I know it's really overwhelming for me too. We're just gonna do this one section and then in really engaging.
And as soon as they're like, no, but I wanna play, you say yes. When we're done, you'll play, we're gonna put this right up here. I'll set it. I'm excited for you too. And then keep with those invitations. I use this metaphor a lot where I imagine that I am on, in a spaceship with eight rooms and like I said, our kids, our four year old is on a different planet.
They are where they're, the way that they see it's true the way that they see the world. And that situation. Is totally different from us. So I'm opening up these different doors trying to get to them. And some ways aren't gonna work. If I use humor and it doesn't work, then I'm not gonna try that again.
I might try the offering that those couple of choices. I know it looks really overwhelming. Do you wanna just start with those puzzle pieces and I can do this whole section of books right here. No problem. Maybe that will engage them. Maybe it's a song, maybe it's like really, bringing out their favorite like Little Mermaid song or whatever.
And you'll see it. They really still at, or they'll melt with that sometimes, or it's more of a movement thing where it's saying oh, I know you've already come over here. Do you wanna piggyback ride? Let's go. I'll we'll gallop back. So thinking about the physical part, littles are physical, like we've got to, it can't just be verbal.
It can't just be we've got it. We can't just yell from the other room, get back here. We've gotta go get their level, get with them and really guide them back with that physical part.
[00:41:21] Hunter: So this is like a, this is great and I love this like more complete description of this because because this is a big investment in mental energy and physical energy to be inviting small kids to be doing in these things sometimes, right?
But the point that, the overarching point that we wanna remember with this is that it pays off later that if you are like exhausted and you don't wanna be playful and blah, blah, blah, if you can practice. And yourself to be playful, to try five other different ways to invite them into the thing to, to really give it your best effort and be physical and all those things.
Is it really gonna pay off later? There's a lot more effort involved on there, a lot smaller, and then it pays off later because it's just normalized and this is part of your house. And then when you have a 12 year old, it's not such a big deal for them to do
[00:42:15] Julietta Skoog: all the different. A thousand percent.
And here's what I hear from parents all the time. Number one, they're like I'm just not fun and I'm not gonna be, and I'm, and that's not who I am. They also are like I'm tired. I'm working all day. Or I have a baby also, and I don't have time for that. And I don't have the energy. And what I ask 'em is they say, okay, so let's take that step back then.
You've got this toddler, this preschooler. When you imagine them when they're 25, who is the person that. to be standing in front of you. What are these skills? Yours will all say the same thing, right? We want them to be independent and happy and have a sense of self and be driven and compassionate, and have a sense of humor and be responsible and have healthy relationships, like all these like grand things.
And it goes back to actually the way that we started this conversation, which is then how are they supposed to get those things if we don't engage now in this relationship? And in these moments like this is when it starts. And so it doesn't mean that you have to be fun.
It doesn't mean that you aren't tired. You are, and yes, and. These are the moments when it matters. Like these are the moments on these day-to-day, it's the little micro, we say it's spreadable real moments or learning moments, like it's these little micro moments that add up and it's actually not forever like this feeling that, that heart feeling that you have, it really can.
Routines and habits can get established within a couple weeks. Kids really respond when you can just let go of expectations and just say we're, I'm just gonna practice this as part of the routine. Two to three weeks and just see what happens. You'd be amazed at really the shift. I hear this from parents over and over again.
They're like, in the beginning they would complain and they would say, ah, but I kept at it, which is that connection and firmness, that consistency, and they're totally like, now they just ex now they just expect it. Now they totally do it. So I think it's that part too of shifting your like I think parents can be so quick.
It's funny, they're just like kids, right? Like they're like, they also complain and don't wanna do it or give up too easily or don't wanna do hard things and then they're like the annoy that their little kid won't do that, so it's like thinking through stuff. Like we do hard things, we go on hikes or do you know, like you've gotta dig into that part too.
And I think sometimes people think with Parenting littles, that checkout time and it's no, this is it Like those are.
[00:44:35] Hunter: Yeah, this is a real check in time. Yeah, I know cuz as a parent of an almost the 13 year old, almost 16 year old, like there are, like, there can be an, there could be an hour and a half in my day, whether they're just up in the room with their door closed, I don't know what's happening.
So it's not as like physically time intensive. The problems are gonna be bigger. and I need to be connected to them. But yeah, like that this time with the littles, is this this is the definitely the check-in time. So what we talked about like with the cleaning, what might happen when, and you talked about taking something that could be a power struggle and moving it and approaching it in a lot of different ways to make it more invitational and, but yeah, holding that boundary.
what advice do you have for parents who are currently struggling with a lot of power struggles? What you know? What about the people who say that like connecting with them will reinforce bad behavior? Where does the parent start with that when they're having these power struggles? .
[00:45:37] Julietta Skoog: Yeah, I get that a lot.
They're like, oh, so now I'm supposed to just sing a song after they've just walked away from me . Or you threw that thing down and was like all sassy and now I'm supposed to just be like, oh, let's just play. Isn't that just letting them get away with that And and so I think, so I have two answers to this.
Number one is, slice it thinner. So sometimes you might hear this make the request smaller or slice it thinner. But do think about and this is where when we think about a power, right? Even just thinking about that parents get into such this I'm the, I'm the boss and I'm the, you'll listen to me and I'm the authority.
And then they wonder why their little one is like trying to desperately to regain some sense of control and autonomy. So the first part is to allow, be okay with that. Allow yourself to make that request smaller. You're not asking them asking two and a half year old or even a four and a half year old to clean up the entire playroom.
Maybe it's just that we really ex our expectations, like you were asking about expectations, that it's just that we set the timer for four minutes cause that's how old they are. And we're gonna get as many things in as we can. And we're gonna listen as we're gonna listen to two rounds of your favorite song and how a much is cleaned up is.
And so words I'm just asking you to, or it's just this one little section and then you know the rest.
[00:46:56] Hunter: This is interesting Julietta, can I just jump in here because I think this is interesting cuz what you're saying Yeah. Is really about this idea of the middle path and listening to kids, like you're saying, if you're getting a lot of pushback from kids like.
What you're describing is saying you're listening to the kids and saying, oh, this is really hard for you. I'm, and so let's figure out how it can be something that is doable for you. That's I think that's really key there is the fact that underlying what you're saying is this idea that we're actually listening and respecting, listening to kids what they're saying and giving them some respect as a human being by to listen.
[00:47:37] Julietta Skoog: And and when we can actually, like if, and I think that reframe is that discipline means to teach. I'm sure we've talked about this a lot, right? So we know this, we know that discipline actually means to teach. So if you're teaching somebody , if our goal is to teach them how to independently take care of their things, that's our ultimate goal, right?
For your 13 year old, they're up in their room, keeping their room tidy. Sure comes naturally to them cuz of your husband. But with that, like the idea with our littles, like that is our goal. We want them to take care of their things to have. To me, the other piece is the executive functioning.
We're teaching them how to organize. Where things go. So if that is our ultimate life skill, then in order to teach somebody, we've gotta help them and we can't help them or slice it thinner or look at it from that skilled perspective unless we get to it through their perspective. Totally. And really see through their eyes of what would be helpful for them in that moment.
Totally. So thinking about that from a teacher lens, what would help them learn this skill? What would help them practice this right now? Not. How do I get them to obey me? So going back to this idea then of if I just make it fun, they're gonna, it's gonna just positively re, it's just gonna reinforce that bad behavior.
But we know from neuroscience and where positive discipline. Gives us the language around this as well, is that kids do better when they feel better. And that is, that's it. Like I haven't met, I mean I, the thousands of students that I've worked with, even the ones that are like, I hate this school. I don't wanna be here good.
I wanna go to the principal's office. Even those kids that like from the outward think. Deep down it's like when they do, when they feel better, their behavior reflects that. And that's where the Alerian psychology and positive discipline come in. It's like when kids are encouraged, their behavior reflects that they are confident, they're happy, they're cooperative, they're proud, they're their tone of voice.
They don't have the baby voice anymore. They really have their age voice, that strong voice. So the idea that if. Make, if we connect that, it's gonna reinforce that bad behavior or them walking away. It just doesn't align with neuroscience. When kids, don't feel good when they feel disconnected, that is when their neg, more misbehavior shows up, they're gonna be more whiny, they're gonna have the tantrum, they're gonna have the power struggle, all of those things.
So the connection part really engages their brain to a place where they feel safe, they feel seen, and they're. To cooperate. So I just say it's really the neuroscience and the Arian psychology that kids do better when they feel better. And Jane, I'll send the author of the positive discipline books.
That's really where she leans into in such a beautiful way. And I invite parents to like, try out for themselves. I'm like, really? Okay. You play with that. See where that gets you. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:50:32] Hunter: I love that. Kids who feel better, j better, obviously, yes. That's so beautiful. I, Juliette, I think it's obvious that you and I could her geek out about these things for a long time.
I would. It's so fun. I think at some point we need to have we need to have a conference. Okay. We're not gonna even just, listener, if you think that's a good idea, you can let us know, but we're, we'll just put that out into the ether. I love talking to you about this. There's obviously so much more we could talk about.
I think there's so much here that parents are gonna find so, so valuable. So thank you. Thank you enormously. Where can people find you and is there anything we miss that you wanna leave them
[00:51:16] Julietta Skoog: with? Yes. I would gosh, time goes by so fast. I know I I really, I get into an e like a time warp too, where I lose time talking about this cuz I get so excited and passionate about it.
So definitely if I missed anything in this conversational listeners then please yes. Come find me. You can. I also have a special for your listeners that's a helpful download. Free download with five. To manage those big emotions. Cause I think what can happen is during these times of those transitions or those power struggles, I think where parents can can often get stuck is great, how am I supposed to get 'em to clean up or do the stuff when they're having a full on meltdown too?
And so that being able to embrace that and have some tools around that to be able. , not just, I think some tips around just like what we've talked about, obviously, that like when you, when we have these routines, when we have this kind of connection and invitation and space and environment to discover how capable they are, those are reduced dramatically, right?
Those big emotions and things like this. So a lot of what we've talked about today, so you can find that at my website, which is be spreadable.com/emotion. So that's our free download for tips for calming big emotions, be spreadable.com/emotions. And you can find me there. I do coaching. I have classes we have at Spreadable are a fantastic course.
I think it's fantastic online. Course it's on demand, self-paced for toddlers, for preschoolers, a whole positive discipline. That shows real families. We filmed real families using the tools, so there's no actors. You just get to see it in action and it comes with a lot of amazing and helpful resources.
So you can find email@example.com and Send any question my way. We send out a free newsletter each week that has really super helpful tips for parents of young children, parents of elementary
[00:53:20] Hunter: as well. So thank you so much Julietta for coming. I really appreciate It was fabulous talking to you again and seeing you because I know you're lovely and obviously you have so much to contribute here and just like this voice.
Connecting us to the little kids and that making them, those often misunderstood littles, helping them be more understood, definitely here and now today. So thank you so very
[00:53:49] Julietta Skoog: much. Thank you so much for having me. You are a gift. Your podcast, your book, your whole community is such a gift to this Parenting journey for all of us.
So thank you for all you do, Hunter.
[00:54:07] Hunter: Thank you so much for listening to this episode. I love what Julietta had to say. Kids who feel better do better. Yes. This idea of getting into their world. I feel motivated to connect with some toddlers right now and I don't even have any toddlers around me anymore, but I'm like, man, maybe I need to go talk to some toddlers cuz I feel so.
Motivated. So I hope you feel just as motivated if you have or parent of toddler or preschooler and seeing this as the critical window instead of as this like relentless time. Yes, let's, and obvi, it all goes back to you having your own. Rest and reprieve and support and all of those things that are so vital.
So I'm hoping you're getting that and making that a priority so that you gotta show up for these littles in your life with more groundedness, more presence. Although that's what they need so much, right? So much more than the most organic food or. Or the best toys or anything. They don't need any of that.
Stop roaming the internet for that stuff and take that time to practice being kind to yourself, practice being present, practice some mindfulness so that you can really do the effort it takes to show up to your kids in all those creative ways to invite them to the table. Yes. Okay, so I hope you really enjoyed this podcast, and if you did, I would love it if you would leave a review on Spotify or Apple Podcast.
If you didn't like us so much, it's okay, but if you would like to, I would love it cuz it really just makes the podcast grow more, makes such, such a big difference and you sharing it really makes a big difference. But listen, I wanna sh give a shout out to a reviewer to one. Who left a review, A Ways back, five Star Review.
She said, Mindful, brilliance love. This podcast. Hunter is a delightful teacher and mentor. Her teachings and guests offer a straightforward approach to Parenting in a powerful yet Mindful way. Thank you. Thank you. Oh my gosh, that is such a big deal. It makes me feel amazing. Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you would love to know. If you love this episode, tag me in it, maybe share on your Instagram stories, tag me in it at Mindful Mama, mentor, and share with your friends and all that stuff. That makes a huge difference. And hey, I'm wishing you a good week. I'm wishing you time, moments of rest when you need them.
Full nights of sleep. And some fun, maybe time with friends and some humor about this whole thing cuz man, we need that too. So I'm wishing that for you and some peace and ease and sparks of joy in your day. Even if it is as gray and rainy as it has been here in Delaware recently. I hope you and I, we should try to remember the sun is behind the clouds and remember it's always shining, reminding myself too.
Thank you so much for listening. Can't wait to connect with you again next week.
[00:57:32] Julietta Skoog: I'd say definitely do it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the better. It will help you communicate better and just, I'd say communicate better as a person, as a wife, as a spouse, it's been really a positive influence in our lives. So definitely do it. I'd say definitely do it.
It's so worth it. The money really is inconsequential when you get so much benefit from being a better parent to your children and feeling like you're connecting. With them and not feeling like you going all the time, or you're like, why isn't things working? I would say definitely into it. It's so worth it.
It'll change you no matter what age someone's child is. It's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's great investment in someone's family. I'm very thankful I have this. You can continue in your old habits that aren't working, or you can learn some new tools and gain some perspective to shift.
Everything in your Parenting,
[00:58:36] Hunter: are you frustrated by parent? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies, but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem so overwhelming with too much to learn? Are you yearning for community people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?
Hi, I'm Hunter Clarke- Fields, and if you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to seriously consider the Mindful Parenting membership. You'll be joining hundreds of members who have discovered the path of Mindful Parenting and now have confidence in clarity in their Parenting. This isn't just another Parenting class.
This is an opportunity to really discover your unique lasting relationship, not only with your children, but with yourself. It will translate into lasting connected relationships, not only with your children, but your partner too. Let me change your life. Go. Mindful Parenting course.com to add your name to the wait list, so you will be the first to be notified when I open the membership for enrollment.
I look forward to seeing you on the inside, Mindful Parenting course.com.