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Nov. 21, 2022

Episode 74: Quick!! Call the Stress Nanny! with Lindsay Miller

Episode 74: Quick!! Call the Stress Nanny! with Lindsay Miller

In this episode DJ chats with Lindsay Miller, The Stress Nanny, who offers great advice on managing our own stress, as well as helping our children gain the skills and the tools to manage their stress. Listen in as they discuss tips to accept the chaos and embrace the calm when you start each day, appreciating the time you have, showing empathy, finding time for self care and uncovering opportunities to be creative.

Lindsay Miller is a kids mindfulness coach, mindfulness  educator and host of The Stress Nanny Podcast. She is known for her  suitcase tricks and playful laugh. When she's not playing catch with her  daughter or rollerblading on local trails with her husband, you can  find her using her 20+ years of child development study and mindfulness  certification to dream up new ways to get kids excited about deep breathing. Having been featured on numerous podcasts,  platforms and  publications, Lindsay’s words of wisdom are high impact and leave a lasting impression wherever she goes.

• [5:25] DJ & Lindsay consider how we handle the stress in our lives will have a lot to do with how our kids manage stress, too. 
• [15:53] “When we can embrace both the imperfection of the moment and simultaneously accept it as a moment in our parenting journey, we have so much momentum.”
• [26:29] Lindsay discusses the importance of noticing the signs that your kids are reaching their limit.
• [37:32] The Stress Nanny shares how we can help our kids develop self-awareness and empathy.

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DJ Stutz  0:13  
We think you should know that Imperfect Heroes podcast is a production of Little Hearts Academy USA.

You're listening to Episode 74 of Imperfect Heroes - Insights Into Parenting, the perfect podcast for imperfect parents looking to find joy in their experience of raising children in an imperfect world. And I'm your host, DJ Stutz. Lindsay Miller is a kid's mindfulness coach. She's a mindfulness educator, and she's the host of the stress nanny podcast. She is known for her suitcase tricks, and her playful laugh. And when she's not playing catch with her daughter, or rollerblading through local trails with her husband, you can find her using her 20 plus years of Child Development Study and mindfulness certification to dream up new ways to get kids excited about deep breathing. She's been featured on a number of podcasts, many platforms and publications. And Lindsay's words of wisdom are high impact and leave a lasting impression wherever she goes. There's so much to learn. So let's get started.

How do you feel when you're searching for parenting tips and resources on your own? You know, Tiktok and Instagram aren't always the best answers. And if you could engage with like minded like hearted individuals who want to give, receive and share ideas, and support experiences, well, tomorrow is the last day to register for the Cicerone society. I only open enrollment for this three times a year, and You are cordially invited to join us. So a Cicerone is a mentor or a tutor, someone who knows a lot and is able to walk other people through new knowledge. And isn't that what we are for our own kids? Well, this is an opportunity for you to meet and discover other parents just like you. And we will help you identify your own personalities and parenting types, and discover how that works with the various personalities of your children. So embrace the power of sharing stories, discover your strengths, and be accountable during our weekly sessions, bring a friend and know that you might make more friends here, as well. And we're limiting this class, this new class, that just 20 people. So register today, to start strengthening your familiar relationships, and providing boundaries that bring clarity, and then walk further down that path that will lead you to be the confident, calm parent, you dream of being. And we'll see you there. I was originally going to air this program in January. But after talking with Lindsay Miller, I saw the connection between the stress we feel and the holidays, and the stress our kids feel during this time. And so I move some things around. And we have her with us here today. I know that I'm managing stress all year long, sometimes more so than others. And as much as I love the holiday season, I will often feel the stress of trying to make it just right. I know that just right looks different to different families. And I see some families in my own circle that go all out every year, and others that barely get a treat. For me, this year, the big stress is if we're even able to get in our own home or if we will still be living with our kids. And I feel sad and somewhat stressed that I won't be able to do the decorating and the cooking that I traditionally do. And so I think it's funny that usually at this part of the year, I may be stressed about so much to do. And yet this year, I'm stressed about not having so much to do. Well, Lindsay Miller is the stress nanny, and she has some great advice on managing our own stress, but also helping our children gain the skills and the tools to manage their stress as well. So let's listen in. Welcome everyone and thank you for choosing to spend the next little bit with imperfect heroes podcast, and today we are talking about a really important thing that our kids have been going through For the last two years, we have been going through a lot in the last two years, we'll see what comes up in the future. Some people are still nervous about restrictions or lack of restrictions, and those kinds of things, but stress, and I actually have the stress nanny here with me. So Lindsey Miller, how are you doing?

Lindsay Miller  5:25  
DJ, thanks so much for having me. I'm doing great. I'm so excited to be here today.

DJ Stutz  5:29  
Well, thank you. I'm really excited to have you here. So as we're talking about stress, and our kids and what's going on with them, and then how we handle the stress ourselves will have a lot to do with how our kids manage stress. Right, Chris? Yeah, yeah. So what are some of the things I think first even identifying that you are under stress? Yes, sometimes we react just like with that gut rancher, with what we automatically do. And this is kind of how we're doing. And then we don't really realize that it's stress that we're reacting to.

Lindsay Miller  6:08  
Yeah, definitely. Well, I like to start out with a story. In my early 30s, I was navigating Hashimotos and a myriad of other like challenging circumstances, I was helping my sister start up a business that year, and I had a toddler, I, we got a puppy. And you know, just it was normal for me to be up till to get up at six or seven. Not really mind what I was eating or drinking, you know what I mean? But like the I just was swimming in a ton of stress. And it just was normal. And I think so often, that's what life is like for us, right? Like, we go along, and we're swimming in stress all the time. And we don't realize it until something happens. And in that instance, I had an autoimmune flare, have Hashimotos I had an autoimmune flare. And my health just kind of tanked at the end of that year. And so I had to spend some time kind of sifting through and what was shocking to me were the number of stressors that I was navigating during that phase of my life without being aware of them, just like you mentioned, like, without acknowledging like, this thing was stressful. This thing was stressful. Later that year, we did an IVF transfer, also very stressful from like a mental, emotional, physical standpoint. You know, there were just so many things we were navigating that were rough. And I just was like, no, no, this shouldn't bother me, I shouldn't you know, I shouldn't be affected by this, or I should just be able to move through this without it being a big deal. And I feel like that mindset in and of itself was part of what landed me in that scenario, right? It's because I didn't acknowledge I didn't say, I need to take really good care of myself, because I'm doing XYZ because I have a toddler. Because the puppy is wearing me out. Because I'm trying to help my sis with this business. I didn't take extra good care of myself or acknowledge that I've maybe needed a few more tools to manage the stress. I just tried to absorb all of it. And eventually, they kind of took me down.

DJ Stutz  8:01  
Yeah, you know, it kind of reminds me of, maybe you've had this experience, I know it happens to me frequently. I'm kind of immune to a lot of noise. I'm oldest of seven, five brothers, I have five kids. I've taught kindergarten for many, many years. And so a lot of times I don't realize that the noise is amping up and being up until it stops. And for some reason, whatever, the noise will stop, and I'm like, Oh, that was really noisy. And you can feel it in your body. Just how you can relax and you didn't realize you were stressed. You didn't realize how tight your body was, from all that noise. But then when it is gone is when you realize, oh, I guess that was stressful. Yeah. And yeah, what are some of the things then that we can do? To help us recognize that the stress levels are getting a little louder as it goes, before we go a little nuts?

Lindsay Miller  9:09  
Yeah. One of the things that I encourage parents and kids to do is to try to connect with a sense of calm at the beginning of the day. So you know, that looks different for all of us. There are some people who love to meditate and just take some deep breaths sitting next to their bed, right? And sometimes for parents. It's a quick and easy way to access calm. It's for some people it's just like taking a few mindful bites of breakfast, where you just kind of savoring the taste and the texture and the smell, you know, even if you're racing out the door, just grabbing your granola bar and feeling the texture of it in your mouth. Just some small moment where you connect to a sense of calm and presence so that throughout the day, when you feel like things are just like ratcheting up pretty quickly. You can access that calm again, right but it's challenging to act That's the column like you said, when we're already just like, maxed out in terms of, you know, the chaos that swirling around us. So if we can access it at the beginning of the day, it's easier to return to it. Right. Like for kids, we talked about, you know, talk about taking a deep breath when they put their backpack on in the morning, just taking one deep breath when you put your backpack on, or when you're hopping out of the car, you know, when those first two steps out of the car, you'd make mindful steps. So you just notice, like your feet on the ground, and you take that full step from your heel to your toe, you know, you're walking, and then you you go into school. And when we can introduce presents early in the day, it's easier to notice, like, whoa, I'm really out of whack, right? Or, oh, whoa, I'm just like, feeling really overwhelmed. I'm feeling not present at all right? So if we're in the thick of like a work meeting, and we get a text from our kid who's sick at school and know, our partner is saying that they're not able to do pick up for soccer. And you know, if we just are in the thick of it throughout the day, if we've accessed presence, we can find it again and be like, Whoo, I'm just feeling really overwhelmed. Right now I'm gonna take another deep breath to return to that sense of presence. And then we can move through that stuff. But if the stress just escalates, escalates, escalates throughout the day, without kind of coming back down to steady state, it gets really, really hard, like you said, to notice that we're completely dysregulated. And then also to bring it back down effectively.

DJ Stutz  11:26  
That is such a good piece of advice, because I think we do start our days, like we hit the floor running so much. And so to me, you know, you think, Oh, I just want to sleep that extra 15 minutes it the Yeah. The What is it the snooze bar. Yeah. And, and get that, but then you pay a price for that, too. For me being able to get up. When I had the kids that were little, you know, we only had four when they were all little together. No all came later. But to be able for me to even just go get up and snuggle in with one of the kids and wake them up with snuggles was something that helped me center my day, and get better get started on getting ready before the kids get up. So that I've just got that little bit of a head start and a chance to, you know, take a breath and to feel Yeah,

Lindsay Miller  12:30  
to do something for you right before you're kind of like in service for for a lot of the rest of the day. Well, and I love how you mentioned, just taking that moment to snuggle up with your kiddos. I mean, because presence can come in those moments too, right? Like, we can smell their hair, we can look them in the eye. They're like little bleary eyes in the morning, right. I mean, there's so many opportunities to just tune in and like be present and focus. And if we can, if we can set that intention at the start of the day each day, you know, there, like you said, there's so many opportunities to, to put put it to action.

DJ Stutz  13:05  
Well, and then another thing too, I kind of think about is that if I'm taking that moment for me that snuggle time with my kids, was just so precious, you know, they're still kind of asleep, and they're waking up slowly. And maybe you're humming a little song. And that was so calming to me, but then also for my child, a much better way of waking up. Then we're like, let's go, let's go. Time to get up. How many times do I have to tell you get out of bed, you know? And so you're getting two for one.

Lindsay Miller  13:41  
It's true. It's true. And you may you know, depending on the kid, right, you may end up needing to have a little bit more of a firm, firm encouragement to get out of bed. If they're snuggling a little longer than you then we'll work with your boarding schedule. But yeah, I mean, one of the things I think with with mindfulness and mindfulness is the way that I approach stress reduction. And one of the things about mindfulness and parenting is that it's like the, the message that you share is so crucial in that regard, right? This idea of being imperfect and embracing that those moments because even if it is like a moment when you are racing out of the house, and trying to you know, like somebody's shoe is nowhere to be found. And it's five minutes past when you need to leave and the carpool kid down the streets waiting for you know, it's just too much. There's still the opportunity in those moments that take a deep breath and just be like, and this is what parenting looks like today. Right? Yeah, this is like, this is chaos I am I'm going to remember that there were some really chaotic moments and accepting those instead of fighting them and saying like, we should be this we should be this we should be this. Acknowledging and then just like giving ourselves the credit that we deserve for doing our best, even though sometimes things don't go the way we play. There's awkward Add 30 breads there do

DJ Stutz  15:02  
exactly yeah, you're exactly right. And I'm wondering, too, if we can kind of remember, it's not going to be this way forever. Yeah, you know, there were times, you're just struggling with all these little kids, and now they're grown up. And they all have families that their own, and I'm doing a whole different thing. My life is completely different. And so it's sometimes it's hard, I think, to recognize that this isn't going to be forever, you know, by you only have so long with these kids to even kind of laugh at their hard moments, because this is going to be stored at Dell at the wedding.

Lindsay Miller  15:48  
Yeah, this is gonna be one that we don't forget. Yeah, yeah. And that's where I think that mindfulness as a tool is, is so effective, because when we can embrace both like the imperfection of the moment, and simultaneously accept and soak it up as like, a moment in our parenting journey, there's so much momentum that we have as a result, right? Like, it's easy in those moments to feel stuck and frustrated and angry, and we can feel all those things, right. And then we can simultaneously feel a sense of appreciation for the opportunity to have this little soul in our home, right, or to be able to have this much time to interact with them before they fly from the nest. And so I think mindfulness can be such a great tool for families, especially because it family life is filled with those kind of like paradoxical moments, right? Where you're looking at one emotion that's like way up here, I can't, you know, contain my joy over this moment with my child. And then the next one is like, I couldn't be more angry at that, you know, it's just like, there's so many moments like that, that being able to hold space for both. Yeah.

DJ Stutz  17:01  
And I, and I think you bring up such a good point, and I'm so glad that you mentioned it, is that we can fight these moments. Right? Or we can just say, Yeah, this is hard right now. What can we do to help myself to help my child move forward? Rather than fighting it? But looking at it in a different way? Yeah.

Lindsay Miller  17:28  
Yeah, reframing it totally. And that's where I mean, I think sometimes as parents it can, we can be so mired in our frustration, which is understandable, right? Parenting is such a challenging job. But sometimes we can, if we're too stuck in our frustration, we can blame our kid or think they're out to get us or we can, you know, we can create a story around what's going on, that's not actually helping us move forward or connect with our child. But what mindfulness can help us do is kind of stop, like, whatever stress is swirling around us. The families that I work with, we talk about knowing what's going on inside of you, knowing what's going on outside of you, and then making a choice on purpose. So if you're going to approach a situation mindfully, you're going to notice, like, I'm feeling so frustrated right now. And angry, and I like, tried to prevent this from happening, and it didn't work out. And I my kid is again, you know, that's really bothered me. And then what's going on outside of us, you have a tiny human there, who is doing their best to navigate life, you know, with the tools and the skills that they have. And the choice on purpose is how to connect with that human honoring the both people's experience in a way that moves you both forward, right. So if it's a little one who's like, consistently, like getting out the door, you know, and you're just like, fed up with it, and you cannot handle one more last jacket or homework that they don't know where it is, knowing like, I am feeling so frustrated and overwhelmed and angry, because this is something I asked him last night if he had this, and he thought that it was in his backpack, and now he doesn't. And so we can go there with that whole story, right? Like, and this happens every week. And I can understand why we can't just get this. And we can acknowledge like, this is a pattern, it's normal, that I would be so frustrated, because it's something I've tried to navigate and work with him on. And clearly, we could use some other tools. I have a human here who's about to go to school, who would benefit from some compassion for me, along with maybe some help to, like get out the door. How can we create like a meaningful connection or at least a neutral connection in this moment, you know, like so I'm sending him off with my regard and he knows that I love him. And that I also leave space for us to have a conversation about this after school and figure out a new tool or I'm gonna go search my Pinterest board again to figure out what I can do to make the minder chart on my back door. You know, whatever it is, but yeah, giving ourselves like a momentum forward is one of the benefits The reframing mindfully because like you said, if we if we spin backward and create a story that just builds our frustration, it doesn't actually lend us the momentum, we need to make it through the way we probably want to.

DJ Stutz  20:12  
That is so important. And I think, too, sometimes we think I need to meet time, right? For sure. I need to have some time to recharge and to do this. But the reality is, you don't really have a whole hour or, you know, a half a day or whatever, available in that day. And so what are some things maybe that you can do? When you don't have, you know, something to set aside for your me time? And sometimes it goes on for more than a day?

Lindsay Miller  20:52  
Yeah. I mean, let's be honest, let's be honest.

DJ Stutz  20:56  
Yeah. I mean, when I was raising my, my four little ones, I was staying at home raising kids, my husband was working. And so he would get all the overtime he could to try to bring in that extra money. There were weeks. He worked 8200 hours, a 60 hour workweek was very was a short, waiting for him. And so then I was left alone managing, yeah, everything and stressing out. He's working these ridiculous hours stressing out. And there really wasn't time for me to just go and get a massage. Right? Yeah. Oh, yeah. That was not even thought about.

Lindsay Miller  21:40  
Right. Yeah. Like you don't have that. Sometimes you don't have the time. Sometimes you don't have the resources. Sometimes you want the energy. Sometimes you don't have all three, right? Like, there are a variety of reasons why it may not be feasible for you to go take a lot of time. One of the things that I like to encourage parents to do is to work with the time that they do have. So you know, and you're great at helping parents figure out solutions for like the imperfect moments, right? If I need or want alone time, but But right now, I'm out on a walk with my kids, like, is there a way I can connect with nature? Right now? Could I pick up a leaf? Could I smell a flower? Could I you know, could I make a little tiny moment for me in this walk? And then could I make another one? You know, like, is there a way I can play while my child is playing? So if the playdough is out, you know, I think a lot of times is as parents who are great at trying to multitask, which is a fantastic skill. But it's also okay, sometimes if like we grab the play to ourselves and make something that we would want to make, you know, like, the other day, I was drawing with my daughter, and I made like this flower, you know, as she's working on her project, or if you know, we're outside, and we're just like trying to get everybody in the car, or it just feels crazy and hectic. Again, taking those deep breaths and saying Take a deep breath. It sounds silly, like, well, there's so much going on in my life, taking a deep breath is not going to help, right. But from a physiological standpoint, it really does change, like the way that our body's responding to stress. And it can decrease our cortisol levels. So being able to say, you know, like, if you're at a stoplight, and everybody is screaming in the back of the minivan, and you're just about feeling like you're about to lose your mind, and you would do anything for some quiet time. If you take that deep breath, and like notice the seats supporting you like what support do you have in place, you may not have the support you want right now, right? But that seat you're sitting on, it's supporting you. So like sink into it. Right? Like sink into that seat and let it support you and take that deep breath at the stoplight. So that stoplight breathing, it can be really helpful because it's a good cue a good reminder to just at a stoplight, take a deep breath anytime you're at a red light. Because as moms, we're like taxi service all afternoon, right? So there's tons of opportunities for us to get the breathing. Yeah, yeah. Another thing for parents that I like to encourage is anything creative, right? So if your child again, has the crayons out, and you can just be doodling. Or like this morning when I was writing, I still write my daughter. She's a teenager notes in her lunch. And, but but I got myself some stickers that I like and some pens that I like. So it's just like a 32nd creative activity for me in the morning. And it brings me joy, right? And it's a nice benefit that she also has a little note for me and her lunch. But like I have the things that that I want so that it's a creative moment for me. And again, it's like less than a minute, but I take you know I take pride in that tiny little square of paper and it's a small little getaway. Another one that can be helpful, is it I don't know if you're familiar with Zentangle Have you heard of that? No. It's like a meditative drawing technique that can be really fun for parents. You just do like a scribble. It's like a line, a looping line that like doubles back on itself. And then you just make patterns in each of the segments. So when you do that looping line that loops back on itself, you have all these tiny segments, and just start making patterns in it. And there are Zentangle patterns, you can look up people, like give their ideas all the time. But really, you can just make whatever pattern you want in there. And patterns are really soothing for our brains. So a lot of people who do Zentangle, they just call it like meditative drawing, because they're able to just sit and take a minute, draw, and then feel a sense of just like release or relaxation, in the thick of a crazy day, right? And you can get interrupted with Zentangle and come back to it, right, because as parents, a lot of times the problem with self care is that we get interrupted constantly, right? And so we're like, I just want 10 minutes, you know, and instead of Zentangle, you might get like, one segment of your thing, right or three patterns in one of the segments, but you can just always come back to it. Because I think for parents, that's one of the keys is having like a creative outlet or a relaxation, that like you just anticipate you're gonna get interrupted if you don't. It's a great gift. Right? Yeah. You just kind of anticipate it. And then so anyway, yeah, I would say play with them whenever possible. If they're doing clay, you pull out the clay and give yourself meant to play when you're outside in nature, take some minutes to connect with nature. Do the stoplight breathing. And then if you feel like doing some Zentangle it's a super fun doodling activity that can be just really relaxing.

DJ Stutz  26:29  
Well, if that's hysterical, because I actually used to do that. But I had no name for it. I didn't know what I'm doing. Maybe you made it.

For me. Yes. Thank you world. You're welcome. But that's hysterical. And I think too, like we bring up the clay. So playdough clay, all of that is very soothing for kids, especially some neurodiverse kids that physical that pushing that everything. Parents can get the exact same benefits from it. So if you have a kiddo that's playing with the playdough, get in there. Yeah. And you'll find that pushing that rolling, that all of those things are soothing to you, as well. And so I love that you brought that up. I know, some when my kids, they were between like two and 10. And, you know, my boys said it's a miracle no one died. These kids. They were pushing limits all the

time. Yeah, you know, they had this need for physical dances and jumping and climbing and all of these things. I thought, oh my gosh, I'm just scared to death is gonna get really, really hurt. But yet, you kind of have to let them go through all of that as well. And there were just a couple of times it was was too regular. But I was just so over it. My husband's at work. I've gotten nowhere. I literally went into my closet, closed the door to my closet, and just sat in the dark and the quiet the clothes, muffle the sound. And it felt very calming to me. And before long, I'd see you know, 20 little fingers reaching under the door. Mommy. Are you? Yeah,

Lindsay Miller  28:34  
I know, for kids. We do like the calm corner. But I think yeah, there's so many moms who have a column closet. It brings a whole new meaning to coming out of the closet, right?

It's really like taking a space that you know will be soothing, right? I mean, I love that you found you knew, Okay, I just need I do I need quiet I need and those were before the days of noise cancelling air pods, right? It's like not like you could just put them in and like tone it down a notch. But like you figured out ways to get what you needed in, you know, in the moment. And I think honoring those needs is so important. Because I think a lot of times, it's like we were saying at the beginning, when we let our stress levels escalate. And we're like, I can just take one more thing. I can take one more thing I can, you know, deal with one more thing. It's when we get to the point that we kind of explode. Right? That we were like, Oops, Yep, that was too far. And sometimes it takes getting there multiple times to recognize that the signals, but I think once we notice, we noticed that things are ramping up for us and we can take the time to like, do one of those activities that we know will help us come down from it. It can be like so much service to ourselves, right and to our families because we can show up the way that we want to.

DJ Stutz  29:47  
Yeah. And I think we put so much emphasis on noticing the signs on our kids noticing when they're hitting their limit and they're about to blow up Man, or whatever. But do we really take the time to notice our signs that we're about to blow? And then do something about it?

Lindsay Miller  30:11  
Yeah, it's such a good point. Because I think like, one of the activities that I do with kids is empathy flashlight. And so we'll talk about shining our empathy flashlight on another person and shining it on ourselves. So we'll talk about and then sometimes the need to turn it off, right? Because we can all burn out if we have our empathy flashlight on all the time. Right? So we talk about it in terms of like, what do you need in this moment? And then what what does this person need? And how can you connect those two things. And I think as parents, it's like you said, so often, we're so attuned our flashlight is like, a big light beam on our kid, right? And what they need and how they're doing, which is such a gift to them. And it's also a gift when we can shine it on ourselves, and then synthesize those two people's needs in that moment, right? Because it doesn't do our kids any good. If we're like running ourselves ragged, for them to be at their happiest. It's because eventually we burn out, right? And so if we can kind of start to point the flashlight on ourselves sometimes and see what we need, like, I'm going to stop and get myself a Boba drink on my way to the sporting event, because I could use a little pick me up, or I'm going to stop and grab myself something to eat. Because I haven't eaten all day before I go pick up my kid. Yeah, right. And I think if we can, if we can give ourselves some of the time with the empathy flashlight, we show up more fully. And then we also show our children how to care for themselves, like when they're when their parents too, right.

DJ Stutz  31:42  
Yeah. You know, what a thinks you can maybe help me in understanding this part. I think having a network is really helpful in stress reduction. So you know, when my kids were little, we lived in Las Vegas, and it's 8 million degrees in August, right? Yeah. And we were all broke, because we were all stay at home moms, right. And there was a Burger King that opened about a mile away, and it had the indoor playground. And there were like three or four of us. And we would get together probably a couple of times a week, and go by a small drink, because there are free refills. Let the kids play for an hour or two while we keep refilling and we're talking and yakking and sharing and,

and having that mom lady time together, and the kids are just having a blast in the they don't do the balls anymore. But they know the yells and the slides and all these things. And it wasn't so hot that we couldn't breathe. And so I think finding maybe other people that you can share an experience with that, you know, you can go I'm sure Burger King didn't appreciate it all that much. But they never said anything to us. But we were able to combine and talk about some of our concerns and our issues and our frustrations and the good things that were happening and the funny stories that we could share. And I guess it depends on the personality. For me when I can sit with someone and laugh whether I'm telling the story or I'm hearing the story. My stress levels do very well.

Lindsay Miller  33:41  
Yeah. Laughter is huge, right? Yeah. Yeah, I think that that's such a good point that the village is so important, right? We each need a village as we're raising our kiddos and not availing ourselves of a village is is a tricky choice to make. And it's right now what a lot of families are experiencing is the need to kind of rekindle their relationships in their village or, you know, rebuild a village or some people, you know, they moved during COVID, or families that have, you know, maybe the connections that they've had with people have shifted, or they've changed a little bit. And so those connections, they're looking for different ones. And I think there's a lot of village building going on right now. And I think it is so crucial for parents and children to have like a network of support, because like you said, the camaraderie, the just shared experience, it goes so far in helping us normalize the struggles, right, the moments that are less than perfect. And then it helps us also figure out like what's working for someone else? And that's maybe a tool that can work in my house too, or how am I, you know, like, how am I doing? What resources do you have access to? Or would any of those be supportive for me too? There's just so much we gain when we draw on like the strength and support of others as well. Yeah.

DJ Stutz  34:56  
And I'm not entirely convinced That's that we're done with the isolation, that if something else comes up or, you know, I just worried that there could be something around the corner, that could throw us back into whatever craziness that they want to put us through. So I wonder if it's important, I think, for us to take this time, where we do have the ability to make those connections, you know, it's kind of like having money in savings, or having some extra food in case there's a big storm or whatever, and you don't have to rush down to the store with the crazies that are buying everything, you know, to eat. That was the there's a relationship reserve that we need to build as well.

Lindsay Miller  35:59  
Yeah, I think that's a great way to put it a relationship reserve. But there's so much that shows that relationships lend themselves to resilience, right. And so I think that's what you're describing is continued resilience, like the ability to weather any storms that come whether it's within our own homes, or whether it's external, and taking, taking the experiences of the past few years and integrating them forward. Part of that is like starting to re establish connections, right, and revisit social commitments that we've had in the past that maybe it's time to look at, you know, connecting with again, and giving ourselves the opportunity to invite friends over or invite other couples out, or, you know, having a girls night or some something that kind of starts to build that relational capital again, because I think for a lot of us, it was, you know, it got kind of depleted during COVID, because we couldn't connect, and so we just kind of got out of some of our habits of connection. And I think you're right, that now it is a time when it's an opportunity for us, like being being able to take advantage of it is so important.

DJ Stutz  37:05  
Yeah. So what are some of the things that we can do to help our kids understand their own stress and things that they can do? How to see the signs within themselves? I know I worked on that a lot with my students. Yeah, big deal. For that really is Yeah.

Lindsay Miller  37:31  
Yeah. So this is actually where I specialize in working with kids and helping them practice emotional regulation, helping them practice just self awareness. So they can develop it, there's actually a part of our brain that is in charge of that, right, that kind of oversees, like our emotional reactions, our mental space, our you know, how we're doing physically. And that part of our brain doesn't get exercised unless we invite it to, right. And so as we invite kids to kind of take stock of what's going on within them, we give them the opportunity to bring that part of their brain online. And the more we use it, the stronger it gets, and the more of a player it becomes in our everyday decisions. So when kids are little, I like to focus on helping them identify emotions. And we do that by having empathy for where they're at. Right? So instead of saying, don't be sad about that broken dinosaur, we say, right, and you're good at this, where we say like, oh, my gosh, your dinosaur is broken, that is so sad, that is your favorite dinosaur. And I mean, you know, this that as well. A lot of times the misconception is that if we sit with a child in the strong emotion, we're going to like exploded the emotion, right, and it's just gonna get bigger and bigger and bigger. And there are times when kids are in a swirl, and it does tend, you know, that does tend to happen. But a lot of times, if we lead with empathy, we start out by helping them name it, and they name it, and then they can tame it, right. And so they know what's going on. Like, they don't know this huge, awful feeling inside, they just know it feels yucky. Right, and it's you're devastated, because that's your favorite dinosaur and your brother just ripped its head off. That's you're so angry, and you're sad. And so when we give them the words, we give them the vocabulary, then on the next interaction, to use the word to describe what's going on inside of them. And that so I think that's the first step is giving them the words. And then the second step is helping them like I mentioned earlier, know what's going inside, know what's going on inside of them, know what's going on outside of them, and then make a choice on purpose. We start to help them use big picture thinking. So we widen the lens of our interaction in that moment and say like, This is so frustrating that your brother took your pencil you were trying to do your homework and then your pencil is gone. And now you just want to eat I know you crumpled up your paper because you're so angry. Let's take a minute and look around and see like why do you think he maybe took your pencil and again, this might be a conversation you have 10 minutes later or half an hour later, right? Sometimes they're not in a space to have Have it right in the moment. Yeah, if it's like a slow Bill, you might be able to intervene. But if it's a quick, you know, a quick reaction, emotional response, you won't be able to, and you'll have to address later. But like, we'll look at that there's another one of these pencils on the floor, you and your brother have the same pencil, it looks like maybe yours fell on the floor, and you just thought he took yours. But yours is actually look there it is, like we have it. And so like, sometimes when we can help them, like zoom out, then maybe the next time his brother takes his pencil, instead of us saying, like, every time you always are hitting your brother, I can't believe that, you know, like, can't be that mean to him? You're hopefully we're not saying like you're an awful child, but maybe parents do that. I mean, I think some sometimes in the heat of the moment, you know, things are said that are regretted later for sure. Yeah. But I think in those interactions, it can be really, really challenging to help them see the big picture, because we're so hyper focused on like, the injustice or the thing they did, and instead helping them problem solve, like, so the next time this happens, maybe before you get super irate about it, before you get really angry, why don't you look around and check under the table, look around and see if maybe your pencil is there, right? Like we give them the tools they need for the next time. And that's where that self awareness piece comes in. Because if we don't give them the language to describe the emotion, and we don't give them the practice and kind of seeing the big picture and problem solving, we're just going to be like monitoring, or what's the word I'm looking for? Well, you're breaking it up breaking up the same fight over and over and over again. Right? And we might we might be doing that anyway, because that's parenting sometimes. Right, exactly. But sometimes with kids, when they have the tools they need, they can start to reflect, like, I'm feeling this right now. So I need this, I'm frustrated with this person right now. So this is the help I need. And the more we can help them become independent problem solvers, and independent emotional regulators, the more like we lighten our load, and give them the tools that they're going to build on, because eventually they're going to be in friend circles, where they're going to need to manage those emotions, right? And they're going to need to have the language. So the earlier the better when it comes to helping them exercise that part of their brain that kind of take stock. And then another one that is common is like when kids are hangry. Right? So if you're coming home from school, and your child is having a meltdown in the back of the car, you're like, when was the last time you ate? Or when when is the last time you how much water did you have today? You know, and again, if they're not in a place to kind of think through that maybe you have the conversation later, but bringing awareness to the fact that like, did you know that you're you know how much water you drink and how much food you eat, that impacts your like how you feel emotionally. And when we can start having those conversations early. They just build, right. And so the awareness builds and so then all of a sudden, our kids are like, I think maybe I need a snack before I started screaming at John, you know, like, yeah, yeah, but looking for, like you said earlier, like the early detection, like my stress levels are about to reach epic proportions. And I need some intervention. Yeah. And I think sometimes we forget, and you're again, so good at pointing this out. We forget that, like, I've had 42 years of stress busting techniques, you know, like, learning how to manage stress, learning how to work with it, what it feels like 42 years, and there's still some days when I struggle, right to manage my stress levels. And little kids. I mean, they've only had a few years of learning to manage stress. And after COVID I mean, they just had a whole heap of stress on them, you know, that most of us who had decades longer were struggling to manage that stress, right? Yeah, for sure. So if you think about it, from like, an everyday perspective, with kids, they don't have a lot of the tools yet. And so anytime we can give them the awareness that they need, and the tool to work through it, we're like building their toolbox of stress tools. And so that when they are 42, you know, like they've got a good stock, but it's understandable that they don't have a ton when they're little.

DJ Stutz  44:08  
Yeah, one of the things that I encourage with my own coaching that I do with the families I work with, is having a practice time. So having a fun night of the week and the family gets together and you practice what to do if somebody takes your toy or takes your pencil or you know what to do if you're feeling hungry, and you're just mad at the world. And and so we practice so I always did it so that I was the bad you know, I was the bad kid. Yeah, one any Mike? Sometimes you'll say, oh, Joe is always making Susie mad Joey Do you know, you don't want to feed into that? But say, oh, Susie is playing with those Legos and I need some of those Legos for the thing I'm building What can I do? And then you can let them practice when it's fun and silly, and you can be goofy about it. And, you know, Ed, it's okay to even set a time that you're going to do this once or twice a week. And it's when everybody has called on. Don't do it if they're

in the middle of a crazy mama. Yeah, for sure. But I think giving kids a chance to practice. Yeah, outside of the event really can help.

Lindsay Miller  45:34  
Totally, I love that. Well, and the same thing, you're like, you're building self awareness in that moment, too, right? Like you're using that part of the brain that's kind of like monitoring what's going on thinking at a higher level, like metacognition, we're looking at, we're thinking about thinking like, okay, usually when this happens, I do this, I hit her. But if if mom wants me to go hit the punching bag instead, then let's practice hitting the punching bag in a time when I feel angry, and running practice running to the punching bag or running to the Yeah, I love that. Yeah.

DJ Stutz  46:06  
That's great. So Lindy, if people want to learn more about what you have going on, or how they connect with the stress, Nanny, I love that name.

Where do they go?

Lindsay Miller  46:19  
Yeah, so you can go to my website, the stress nanny. And then I also have an Instagram at the stress nanny and the stress nanny podcast. So I'd love to connect in any of those spaces.

DJ Stutz  46:30  
That's awesome. And in fact, we're going to make sure we have all of that information in the show notes. So people can just click on links, and we'll get you to where you want to be. And before we go, I always ask my guests the same question. How would you describe a successful parent?

Lindsay Miller  46:54  
I would describe a successful parent as one who invites love, whenever possible, builds connection, and values the child, like for all their uniqueness. That's how I would describe a successful parent.

DJ Stutz  47:13  
I love that this is those just some great things to consider and remember, you know, embroidered on a pillow drama. Have those reminders? Those are great answers. Thank you so much. And I hope that people take the time to check you out a little more, and you have some great ideas to offer. And so thank you for spending this time with us.

Lindsay Miller  47:37  
Thank you so much for having me, DJ. It's been a pleasure. You betcha.

DJ Stutz  47:45  
All right, let's recap. Try to connect with a sense of calm at the beginning of the day. As you're climbing out of bed as you're getting dressed, do something that helps you connect and breathe, and feel the moment. Number two, don't necessarily fight the chaos. But except that for today, or for this moment, you just have chaos. And move with it. Number three, appreciate that this isn't going to last forever. Kids grow up, needs change, times change. Number four, take advantage of the time that you have available. Even though you're with your kids, you can still notice the nature around you, you can enjoy the smell of a rose, or the wind on your face. Number five, look for opportunities to be creative. Just sitting with your kids and coloring with them. decorating a cookie or a cake, singing a silly song. Whatever it is that you love to create with, go for it. Number six, it's really important to show empathy to others. But it's also important to show empathy to ourselves. Yeah, I'm having a tough time. And understand that things get a little difficult and hard and give yourself a break. It's really important to have your own support group, your own posse, your own entourage, whatever you call it, but your own group of friends that you can go and laugh and do things with that will help you leave the world behind for a little while. And then number eight we talked about building up a relationship reserve. We talked about having money in the bank or food in the cupboards in case there's a storm or something big event. Well, it's also important to have a reserve of friends that you can count on and be looking to add to that whenever you can. And number nine, help arch Children learn how to do self care in the moment, taking that breath, stomping their feet, giving a shout, just shout, I want you to yell for three seconds, loud, loud, loud, and then let them get that energy out. So if you're interested in finding Lindsay and her podcasts, it's a great podcast, I'll let you know. All the contact information is there in the show notes. 

So a couple of months ago, I was approached by an educational support group. It's called Council Academy. And I was asked if I was interested in putting together a certified program for tweens and teens who are interested in creating their own babysitting business. Well, of course, I was interested. And so from December 18, to the 22nd, we will meet for just one hour at 6pm Mountain Time, and students will learn about child development for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary aged kids. They're also going to learn how to manage conflict, what to do with the unexpected, like if the power goes out, or there's a big storm that hits those kinds of things. We're going to talk about some basic first aid. And then this is something that's a little different than some of the other courses that are out there, how to approach your babysitting as a business. So where are you going to find safe clients to work with and how to get repeat business. So there will be a quiz at the end. And then you'll get a certificate showing you have completed the course. 

Next week, I am talking with Doug Newell, about honestly listening to our kids and what that really means. It's so important all throughout all the air. But in our efforts to make the holidays special for them. They sometimes actually go unheard through it all. So check it out and see what I mean next week, and until next time, let's find joy in parenting.

Transcribed by

Lindsay MillerProfile Photo

Lindsay Miller

Kids Mindfulness Coach

Lindsay Miller is a kids mindfulness coach, mindfulness educator and host of The Stress Nanny Podcast. She is known for her suitcase tricks and playful laugh. When she's not playing catch with her daughter or rollerblading on local trails with her husband, you can find her using her 20+ years of child development study and mindfulness certification to dream up new ways to get kids excited about deep breathing. Having been featured on numerous podcasts, platforms and publications, Lindsay’s words of wisdom are high impact and leave a lasting impression wherever she goes.