Category Archives: Take a Break Time


Emotional Fitness Advice for parents: Stop trying to make your kids happy. Contentment fits better with Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional Fitness Tips for parents about teaching contentment.

The above bit of parenting advice was prompted by this Daily Prompt: Community Service: Your entire community — however you define that; your hometown, your neighborhood, your family, your colleagues — is guaranteed to read your blog tomorrow. Write the post you’d like them all to see.


As the first skill I wish all could learn is the capacity to self-sooth, here are three Emotional Fitness Training exercises devoted to creating calm. Here are three self soothing exercises that are easy to learn, take minutes to practice, and in time become almost automatic, providing you practice them as directed .  If you do not already use these or similar ones, take time to learn them. When you have mastered them, teach them to your child.

Tip one: The One Minute Meditation.  Take a slow deep breath in, Hold until you feel tense, slowly breathe out; when breathing in for your next breath say “Thank” and smile gently.  That is what EFTI calls a Calming Breath.  Keep breathing but normally; observe,and count your breaths. When you have counted ten breaths, take another Calming Breath and go on with your life.

Tip two: Sloganeering calms negative self talk.  Calming slogans need to be short and contain only positive words.  Examples: “Staying strong,” “Moving on,” “Doing my best,” or “Kindness helps.”  When stress builds doing the one minute Meditation and then continuing to repeat a calming slogan over and over in your head blocks negative self-talk. Some sing a song, others pray.

Tip three: Relax your face. A relaxed face, what EFTI calls Soft Face involves keeping  your jaw relaxed, your teeth unclenched, your lips almost smiling, your eyes wide, your eyebrows un-knotted, and your forehead smooth. Practice in front of a mirror.  Then when tensions mount, consciously  make Soft Face. You will be surprized to find anger and stress leaving you.


Parenting as always been hard work and today’s parents are further burdened by the emphasis on happiness.  Happiness is a by-product and much less ours to control; contentment, however is within each person’s reach.  If you have done the best you could, enjoyed what you could, been kind to all you meet and grateful for what has been granted you contentment should blossom.

Sharing is caring, so if you found this post useful, please share it with another.  For all you do, thank you.

For all you do, thank you.

Katherine, Founder, CEO and Jill of all at EFTI

Articles and links of interest



Got this from Facebook Friend Ruth Braithwaite.  Dancing combines two Emotional Fitness Exercises and is a wonderful way to be with your kids.

Today’s blog post was inspired by this Daily Prompt: Childlike Explain your biggest regret — as though to a small child.  “Sorry for hurts I didn’t mean; sorrier for the ones I did. You will understand more when you are all grown up.  Right now, we need to laugh, play, and dance.”

One of the rules for a good relationship is to make sure the fun and good times outweigh the bad times. Dancing together is fun particularly with the small ones.  Some teens can’t take dancing with parents or even seeing parents dance.  Life will go on.

emotional fitness training’s parent advice and tips

All parents have regrets and all kids have been hurt and often in ways parents never knew.  One emotional fitness tactic  is to know the difference between abuse, neglect, and good enough parenting.  Another is to repair the relationship when hurt is expressed.  

Tip one: Abuse is easiest to define as creating physical pain that leaves marks.  A spanking on a padded baby butt is not abuse.  A slap on a hand that turns it red is.  Sexual abuse is adult use of children for their sexual pleasure and need not involve intercourse.  Imprisoning a child is also abuse.

Tip two: Neglect is failing to nurture or  keep safe: always withholding love and affection; never praising; not getting a child medical care; not sending a child to school.  Neglect is also failing to discipline properly so children respect the rights of others.

Tip three: The CARE Response repairs hurt relationships.

  • C = Confront unacceptable behavior and sometimes this is done too loudly particularly when a child has stepped on your last nerve.
  • A = Allying with the child’s feelings and if you are very angry, you need to calm yourself first, and perhaps take a time-out. If that is necessary say “We need to talk about this when I am calm, I love you and I need to think things through before we talk some more.”
  • R = Reviewing what was unacceptable. Start by asking your child why he or she thinks you got angry.  Amazing some of the answers you will hear.  Be honest if you over reacted, but also state what was unacceptable about the child’s behavior.  End the review only when the child can say what he or she did that was wrong.
  • E = Ending on a positive note.  Sometimes this means a hug, sometimes it means you apologizing for your part, often it can be a simple “I know you will do better next time” or if you over-reacted “I know we will both do better next time'” gives the gift of loving.


Parents need lots of emotional fitness and my eBook Parents Are People Too is an Emotional Fitness Program specifically designed for parents.  It grew out of my experience foster parenting teens, but is also backed up by my professional knowledge as a therapist.

If you are parenting a teen, you might find my smaller eBook When Good Kids Get You in a Gottcha War helpful.

I always suggest plan Me-time, Family and Friend Time, and Quiet Time, daily and for longer weekend breaks.  Helps keep a better balance when you have to discipline.  You will be surprised at how the quality of your life and your children’s life will improve when you laugh and play together.

As always thank you for following me. If you know someone else who will benefit from my thoughts, share. Liking, commenting, and sharing are other ways you can help me stay strong and spread some ideas others might find helpful.

As I tell myself a thousand times a day, stay strong, give lots of love, be grateful, live now, have lots of luck.


Articles and links of interest



Unplugging you and your kids from their electronic devices challenges your emotional fitness; doing so strengthens  your Emotional Intelligence.

Spoiled Brat picture used in an Emotional Fitness Blog post

emotional fitness thoughts ABOUT unplugging

I love my connections.  I love being able to distract my down moods by searching for some laughs or playing a gain.  I get a small rush from likes, a bigger one from comments, and a great one if someone shares a post. I could stay connected all day every day.  I am an internet junkie.  I unplug regularly, it isn’t easy, but doing so matters when it comes to my physical health, emotional health, relationships, and leading a balanced life. 

Many worry about the down side of internet connectedness for our youth. But just as many parents see connectedness as a plus.  As with so many things, Emotional Fitness Training sees connectedness as being  a “yes/and” subject,  not an “either/or” one.


Tip one: Don’t rush to get your kids hooked up. One father wants to get his seven-year old an email address or Facebook page.  Lots of parents are buying tablets for their two and three-year old offsprings.  My time frame for a personal tablet? Once the child has learned to read.

Tip two: Use with.  The younger the child, the more using a tablet or computer needs to be a mutual toy and promote parent and child play time.  Read a book to your child on your Kindle.  Do puzzles with a child on your computer. But do with and then follow with a bit of hands on, real life fun.

Tip three: Use as an incentive and a consequence. When our kids learned to drive, getting the car became a big incentive for improving behavior.  With our foster children the right to make phone-calls served to motivate. Cell phones, computers, and tablets are privileges to be granted as a reward for demonstrating maturity and withdrawn if immaturity prevails.

Tip four:  Assert your right as a parent to monitor.  Forget pleas or cries about privacy made by teenagers.  Your child’s safety is your responsibility.  My father and mother made sure they met my friends and visitors.  Easier way back when and as we lived in a relatively small town.  And even then they didn’t know everyone I was friends with.  Still, they made a point to know most.

This is much harder, of course, when it comes to internet friends.  What to do? Monitor and sneakily as well as openly.  One parent I knew became a fake internet friend of his daughter.  Oh the things you can do to keep a child safe.

At the same time, don’t go crazy, some parents will follow kids, check every phone call or e-mail message.  Not good.  Better to just do spot checks, now and again.

Tip five:  Model what you want from your child. When I ran workshops, I asked all parents to disconnect.  Some simply could not  unplug; anxiety ruled them,  for the most frequent protests were “What if my child needs me?” “What if there is an emergency?” I

f you cannot unplug because such thoughts rule, fear is also ruling. What to do besides reading my book Parents Are People Too An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents?

My other suggestions: Learn the difference between and emergency, a crisis, and life happening.  Check out you and your child’s most frequent cell phone calls. Most are for immediate support not an emergency.

Moreover, in a major medical emergency, you do not want your child calling you.  You want them to get 911 help immediately. Calling you delays such help. Here are two personal  stories about cell phones and emergencies.

David fell once years ago on a hike  with our dog.  He seriously injured his knee.  He had to crawl back to the car having  left his cell phone there.  He couldn’t get me – mine was turned off for a business meeting.  He did get a neighbor who came and took him to the hospital and our dog to her house. Had he not gotten her, he would have had to call 911, and at least they would have gotten him to the hospital. What they would do with the dog was his worry. 

He recently had a diabetic partial shut down on a hike. Guess what? He had his cell phone, but was out of range and couldn’t call for help.  But he was helped by other hikers until 911 could be called.

My point? Cell phones can be useful in real emergencies, but not always; besides emergencies are rare events.

What is an emergency?  David’s partial shut down was life threatening, his injured knee was not. The knee injury might  have been life threatening if he had  out on the ski trails, but not in a park on a warm summer day.

The crisis workers on my Mental Health Teams were required to carry beepers and then cell phones and to keep them active 24/7. Rather than be driven crazy, we taught all our clients the difference between an emergency and other needs for help. Here are the When To Call 911 guidelines the Visiting Nurse Service of New York’s Mobile Community Support Team gave  to parents.  I have turned them into an Emotional Fitness Training Poster Coach. 



If you cannot unplug consider yourself an addict. That does not mean you must give up connectedness entirely, but it does mean you need to make it a point to start unplugging regularly.  Make a turn-off date with yourself for at least one hour today.  No cheating which means not at bed time or a meeting where you have to unplug or will be out of range.

Make your unplug date for a time you normally surf and then consciously do something that also brings you pleasure.  I unplug to read and often stay unplugged for longer than I thought I would. Keeping a balance keeps all strong.

So as I always suggest plan Me-time, Family and Friend Time, and Quiet Time, daily and for longer weekend breaks.   You will be surprised at how the quality of your life and your children’s life will improve.

As always thank you for following me. If you know someone else who will benefit from my thoughts, share. Liking, commenting, and sharing are other ways you can help me stay strong and spread some ideas others might find helpful.

As I tell myself a thousand times a day, stay strong, give lots of love, be grateful, live now, have lots of luck.


Articles and links of interest

P.S. This blog post was in response to Word Presses Daily Prompt. Their prompt “Sometimes, we all need a break from these little glowing boxes. How do you know when it’s time to unplug? What do you do to make it happen?”


Time to take a break, find me time and family time.  Know what the experts have found when researching reliance or emotional fitness?  Here’s one thing known to work.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. Henry David Thoreau  Read more at

Stopping to smell the roses strengthens all.

Stay strong

Part of emotional fitness, what others call  Emotional Intelligence and something you want your kids to develop, comes from stepping into nature’s world.  Doing so with your children connects you both  to a wider world, provides important life lessons, as a well as  family and fun time.
Remember to share and care. Small acts, pushing a like button for example, matter and make a difference in someone’s life.
Thank you for all you do.