6 Meaningful Christmas Gifts for 2019

girl offering a wrapped gift

You know the drill. Your kiddo sees a toy. They want to have it. They need to have it. You secretly oblige in anticipation of Christmas. Morning comes. They tear through the wrapping paper so that shards of confetti fills the room. As paper flies everywhere, you see the smile on their faces. It’s exactly what they hoped for (insert excited shrieks)! And then weeks pass, maybe even just days, and that new toy they had to have is of no interest to them at all. Rather than storing unwanted toys in the closet this year, give the children on your list meaningful memories instead. Here are six connection-based gift ideas for ages two and up that we love for the holidays and all year long.

Big Life Journal (Ages 7+)

Big Life Journal for Kids helps children develop strong growth mindset skills through inspiring stories, colorful illustrations and engaging guided activities. Children discover how to believe in themselves and face challenges with confidence. They learn that mistakes are opportunities to grow and that they can achieve anything when they're persistent!

Big Life Journal

Why we love it: If you are a parent, grandparent, sibling, relative or friend, you can participate by being a child's  Journal Buddy. Spend quality time sharing, growing and connecting. Some of our inside favs include a gratitude scavenger hunt and the “Follow Your Heart” poem. And they have a special teen edition too!  

Silly Street Board Game (Age 4+)

Silly Street makes character builder games and toys that support cognitive learning and life skills. Silly Street Board Game helps to build qualities of confidence, creativity, empathy, adaptability, and grit.

Silly Street Board Game

Why we love it: This fun family game is pure silliness, just as the name implies. We love creating the board (yes, it’s a fun puzzle). Each card instructs you and your co-players to do fun, goofy tasks. This game gets the family thinking and moving. Be prepared for a good belly laugh!  

GoZen! (Age 5 to 15)

Feeling good is a skill! GoZen! uses animated videos to teach skills of resilience and well-being. Imaginative games, workbooks, cartoons, and quizzes help enrich this unique experience.  Why we love it: This innovative and interactive tool helps break down life’s big skills into bite-sized pieces for kids. It talks about sometimes complex things like feelings, stress and more in ways children understand! The animated characters help children learn to better understand what is going on inside of them using all of their senses and can be used with or without an adult.

Barefoot Books Mind and Body Set (Ages 4+)

This gift set includes two empowering practices that can be shared with children and adults alike. Yoga Pretzels includes 50 yoga activities and Mindful Kids includes 50 mindfulness practices that encourage kindness, focus and calming skills. These fun, powerful tools help build strength from the inside out to support all-around wellness.

Barefoot Books: Yoga Pretzels and Mindful KIds

Why we love it: Yoga pretzels is a great way to get moving (and laughing) with your favorite kiddo. The partner poses and movements are a fun way to build connection as well as inner strength and confidence.  We love Mindful Kids for its whimsical illustrations and easy to follow practices for cultivating focus, love, and stillness --- helpful for silencing the mind before bedtime. Some of our inside favorites are Sharp Eyes, Mountain Rising and Open Ears.  

Kids Cook Real Food (Age 2 - 13+)

This family-friendly cooking opportunity is a multimedia online course designed to help adults (yes you mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, etc) teach children how to cook. The courses are set up for a span of ages, from tots to teens, by offering beginner, intermediate and advanced level meals.

mom teaching her daughter to cook

Why we love it: This is such an amazing opportunity to spend time with your child and co-create meals from the heart. The recipes use real food from scratch, without the processed stuff. The Recipe Book is packed with recipes the whole family can enjoy. Food allergy? No problem. The course provides many substitutions for special diets. The focus of the course is less about the recipes and more about spending time together to learn, create and connect.

Generation Mindful’s Time-In-Toolkit and SnuggleBuddies

Ok, since connection is our jam, we would be a bit remiss if we didn't mention two favorites from our own community -- the Time-In-Toolkit and SnuggleBuddies. The Time-In-ToolKit is a step-by-step guide for nurturing social and emotional skills in children through mindfulness, child-led play, and positive discipline. This ToolKit includes PeaceMakers mindfulness cards and other playful activities that make learning about emotions fun, moving families and classrooms away from time-outs to Time-Ins! Generation Mindful Time-In-Toolkit The SunggleBuddies plush toy collection helps children name and share their feelings in daily playful ways, decreasing meltdowns and helping children feel safe. There are 7 different animals to choose from. Each plush comes with four mood emojis in a back pocket and a laminated feelings poster, calendar/journal. Generation Mindful SnuggleBuddies Why we love it The Toolkit’s superpower is in its Calming Corner, a space you create with your child (you too grandparents)! Together, you have the opportunity to design the space, choose calming tools and toys and further connection through naming and taming big emotions. Bonus, siblings love it too. We love the SnuggleBuddies because they are cuddly, relatable and engaging. The emojis make it easy for even young kids to share what they are feeling inside. The SnuggleBuddies are also great for military families and/or any family who has members living in different households/countries etc. PRO TIP: Grab a SnuggleBuddies and facetime your loved ones! This plush will get your child thinking and talking about their day. ----------------

Generation Mindful creates tools, toys, and programs that nurturing emotional intelligence playfully. Join 100,000 members and receive joy in your inbox each week including four free gifts when you join.

Which Is Better: Smoking Or Vaping?

Crazed Marijuana Vaping (e-Cigarette) Trend The vaping craze took the world by storm and caused a lot of fuss! It is one of the hippest trends and many people have started to use e-cigarettes instead of the traditional tobacco ones. The same thing goes with cannabis usage, as many users have walked away from traditionally [...]

The post Which Is Better: Smoking Or Vaping? appeared first on GC.

Better communication applies to self talk, too

Here is one exercise to begin developing positive self-talk:

Write down some of the negative messages inside your mind.  Be specific, whenever possible, and include anyone you remember who contributed to that message.
Next, to those negative messages write down a positive truth in your life.  Don’t give up if you don’t find them quickly.  For every negative message there is positive,  keep looking until you find them.

For example, you might write, when you make a mistake, you think, “I can’t do anything right.” Right beside that negative statement, your positive message could be, “I accept my mistake and am becoming a better person.”

Positive self-talk is not self-deception, positive self-talk is about the truth, in situations and in yourself.  When negative events or mistakes happen, positive self-talk seeks to bring the positive out of the negative to help you do better, go further, or just keep moving forward.

Better communication applies to self talk, too

Here is one exercise to begin developing positive self-talk:

Write down some of the negative messages inside your mind.  Be specific, whenever possible, and include anyone you remember who contributed to that message.
Next, to those negative messages write down a positive truth in your life.  Don’t give up if you don’t find them quickly.  For every negative message there is positive,  keep looking until you find them.

For example, you might write, when you make a mistake, you think, “I can’t do anything right.” Right beside that negative statement, your positive message could be, “I accept my mistake and am becoming a better person.”

Positive self-talk is not self-deception, positive self-talk is about the truth, in situations and in yourself.  When negative events or mistakes happen, positive self-talk seeks to bring the positive out of the negative to help you do better, go further, or just keep moving forward.

It’s Not About the Nail

Kindness in Anger and Conflict

What place is there for kindness amongst a mire of resentment and fiery anger? How is kindness, such a small effect and action undergone in a habitual manner, such a pivotal force when suffering from conflict with your partner, or even your friend? Kindness, politeness, and caring is of paramount importance when moving through conflict with your partner, and helping to prioritize the relationship rather than the anger or frustration.

In the words Sanaa Hyder, M.S.Ed., “One of the hardest things to do in a relationship is to be nice to your partner when you’re upset with them”. People, without exemption, have an incorrigible tendency to let annoyance, sadness, or other negative emotions twist into resentful anger towards the ones closest to us. It is a burden we all bear, and something that may sometimes complicate the struggles that arise within relationships with each other. There is nothing worse than compounding anger and problems, no? But there are means by which partners overcome this instinct, means in order to show gratitude and kindness in the heat of the argument.

The conundrum can be simplified into three main components of which are outlined by Sanaa Hyder. The first is to think positive thoughts. Strange, but it is necessary. The human mind will subconsciously influence decisions with what the mind prefers to focus upon. Thus, if you maintain a mindset focusing on the negative qualities of your partner, it is a recipe for disaster and attacking those faults when conflict arises.

The second method that is commonly forgotten, or conveniently, is to take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, actions, decisions, and others effects you have brought about. No one individual is faultless, emotionless, or has nothing to own up to when conflict is thrown in one’s face. When you make a mistake, say something hurtful, or realize something of your emotions, you must take ownership of the factor. This action shows integrity, and willing to admit wrongdoing or regretful actions, rather than lashing out in hot fury.

The final method most may adopt, is to, in the words of Hyde, ‘Let Hope Win’. This statement is vague, so allow me to explain. When someone opens the door for you out of courtesy, yet offers a genuine smile, how is it that you feel? How is that you feel when you partner goes out of their way in order to arrive home early for more quality time? The feeling of warmth and comfort at a partner’s off-handed acts of kindness are what’s a key emotion to remind oneself of. Do not neglect to do these gestures of good faith, even when closeness is at an intolerable level. These acts remind both you and your partner that you care more for each other than the negative anger that plagues you both.

Conflict is unavoidable, inevitable, and there will be most assuredly a time in which it will become uglier than whatever one could imagine. But with good faith in the relationship, with comfort and kindness as a method of affirming your bonds, the anger will not throw a wrench in the bond you and your partner, or partners, have worked endless hours for.

 

Hyder, Sanaa. “How to Be Kind When You’re Upset With Your Partner.” The Gottman Institute, The Gottman Institute, 27 Dec. 2016, www.gottman.com/blog/how-to-be-kind-when-youre-upset-with-your-partner/.

Couples in Conflict:The Top Three Articles for Conflict and Repair

Manage Conflict: The Six Skills

Today on the Gottman Relationship Blog, we continue the discussion of Manage Conflict by introducing Dr. Gottman’s six skills of conflict management. Many of us connect all too well with comedian Mitch Hedberg’s feelings when he quips, “I got in an argument with a girlfriend inside of a tent. That’s a bad place for an argument, because I tried to walk out, and had to slam the flap!”

While his commentary on the frustrations all couples feel in the face of conflict may hit close to home, or deeply amuse us, we know that problems in real relationships are rarely solved through stand-up comedy. In the interest of finding more constructive solutions, we would like to direct you to a different quote, that lovely old adage: Love is saying “I feel differently” instead of “you’re wrong.”

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Managing vs. Resolving Conflict in Relationships: The Blueprints for Success

In The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Dr. John Gottman’s research proves that 69% of problems in a relationship are unsolvable. These may be things like personality traits your partner has that rub you the wrong way, or long-standing issues around spending and saving money. Their research findings emphasize the idea that couples must learn to manage conflict rather than avoid or attempt to eliminate it.

Trying to solve unsolvable problems is counterproductive, and no couple will ever completely eliminate them. However, discussing them is constructive and provides a positive opportunity for understanding and growth. Let’s look at three “conflict blueprints” to help you and your partner constructively manage conflict around unsolvable problems.

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5 Steps to Fight Better if Your Relationship is Worth Fighting For

Conflict is inevitable in every relationship. Psychologist Dan Wile says it best in his book After the Honeymoon: “When choosing a long-term partner, you will inevitably be choosing a particular set of unresolvable problems.” However, Dr. Gottman has found that nearly 1/3 of all conflicts can be resolved with the right approach.

The popular approach to conflict resolution, advocated by many marriage therapists, is to put yourself in your partner’s shoes, listen to what they say, and communicate with empathy that you understand their perspective. It’s a decent method if you can do it.

But most couples can’t. Even happily married couples. After studying couples for the last 40 years, Dr. John Gottman has recognized that even happy couples do not follow the experts’ rules of communication.

By studying what these couples did, Dr. Gottman developed a new model for solving your solvable problems in an intimate relationship.

Read More

 

Dr. Harmony’s Just the Tip

What Are the Odds of Finding Mr. Right Online?

The odds of finding your ìsoul-mateî online are a lot better than you may think. It doesnít happen for everyone, of course, but it can happen for you. The world of internet or online dating has exploded over the last few years.

As our lives become busier and busier we need to make better use of our time and energy in our search for the one man who will make our lives complete.

The old saying, ìYou have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a princessî is no longer true. Why kiss frogs when you can read hundreds of profiles and look at the pictures that go with them for a small monthly fee? That saves time and moneyÖnot to mention lip burn.

These are a few good reasons to consider online dating:

(1) There is a wide range of men to choose from. You arenít limited to the men in your social circle or work environment.

(2) You have the opportunity to get to know a lot about a man before you ever contact him for the first time. You will know his age, marital status, what city he lives in, whether he has children, his height/weight and his likes and dislikes all from his profile. Youíll even see a picture of him.

(3) You have a better chance to present yourself in a favorable way. This is especially useful for those of us who are shy. We have time to think about how we want to say things about ourselves and can avoid being tongue tied. Even those who are more extroverted can take time to reflect on who they really are before writing their online profile.

(4) Online dating is certainly a time saver. You can meet so many more men in a lot less time than you ever could out in the real world.