April 25, 2014

Stress Free Kids Book Review

stress_free_kids_bookStress Free Kids Book Review

By Shara Lawrence-Weiss

Is yelling the new spanking? Some parents say yes while other parents maintain that drinking is the new spanking. What’s going on that so many of us need an anger outlet through yelling or liquor intake? Lori Lite, Shark Tank winner and author of Stress Free Kids, points to stress as an underlying cause of parent anger and frustration. Lori hopes to shed light on numerous ways in which parents can manage stress and in turn, alleviate the stress of their children. The end result? A happier home for everyone!

The full title of Lori’s book is Stress Free Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Helping Build Self-Esteem, Manage Stress, and Reduce Anxiety in Children. We could all use a little help in these areas, right? I need the help, as well, and I’d like to tell you about Lori’s book in hopes of assisting your family (as well as my own).

Growing up in a faith-based home, we discussed Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” {NIV} This simple truth is something that many of us lose sight of, though, isn’t it? It’s not easy to renew our minds day in and day out as stress piles high, job frustrations stand in our way, housework mounts, and daily bustles cloud our thought patterns. What can we do? Lori provides wonderful tips and advice in her popular parenting book. I will highlight a few of my favorite statements for you:

– For example, in lieu of turning to reality TV to zone out when the stress becomes too hard to handle, you could instead rely on your newly acquired stress-reduction techniques. Imagine the effect on your child if you model this behavior by saying, “I’m stressed. I’m going to sit down and breathe deeply.” Or, instead of having a short fuse during a homework session (as a result of chronic stress), you say, “I don’t remember how to do this math, but let’s figure it out together.” Modeling behavior and demonstrating to your children ways in which they can show up in the world without succumbing to stress equips them with invaluable tools to cope. You can learn to respond instead of reacting. Taking a deep breath allows this response to develop. {Page 27}

– When you relax, you begin to parent from a place of calm and knowing. You gain access to a parenting soul that allows you to trust yourself, your knowledge, and your ability to parent. You begin to realize that childhood is filled with bumps and bruises. You see these as teaching moments when your children gain access to the coping skills they will need for the rest of their lives. {Page 29}

– Q: What are some signs of stress in children? How do I identify stress in my kids? A: Some signs to look out for are clingy behavior, nightmares, bedwetting, stomach aches, headaches; and all kinds of aches or pains that don’t seem to have any validity. Preoccupation with a particular incident, teeth grinding, frequent meltdowns, withdrawing from friends and family, and changes in sleeping patterns are additional signs. {Page 34}

– One way to know if your life is out of balance (or to measure your life balance), is to notice how many times a week you eat fast food. Fast food means fast life… {Page 48}.

– A big part of a child’s healthy development involves cultivating her imagination – giving her the tools and space to immerse herself in a world that is entirely hers. It is in this space of exploration that children go through the important business of figuring out their place in the world and how they would like to maneuver in it. Imaginative play lets children reframe vital information and learn how to problem-solve. {Page 67}

– Page 74 offers a fun list of A-Z’s, sharing ideas that decrease stress. (I won’t give away all of the secrets here…you can buy the book to learn more!)

– On Page 187 parents will gain valuable tips for explaining death to children: an experience that most parents dread. Lori provides age-appropriate insights, sure to be appreciated by readers.

Throughout the book Lori encourages family communication and teamwork. On a television program I recently heard an Amish character state: “When everyone lifts, the burden is light.” Lori’s book is a great reminder of what can be accomplished when a family shares the journey as a team, making the burden light for each member.

I have worked with children for more than 25 years now (I also have four kids of my own) and I love that Lori mentions many of the tools I’ve put into practice for stress reduction with kids: art, music, writing, dancing, breaks from electronics, nature, cooking, laughter, reading, and more. In addition, Lori’s book discusses constructive choices parents can make in order to handle anger (these are tips that we all need, right?) and ways to problem solve stressful situations.

I love the tips on Page 154, sharing ways that parents can communicate, “I’m listening to you!” All children want and need to be heard. Even adult children want this from their parents!

You will also find helpful advice about sports, traveling, healthy eating, holidays, grief, terror, and more. Lori’s compilation of ideas will assist you in the parenting journey and in your quest to renew your mind.

What do fellow parenting experts have to say about Lori’s book?

Ava Parnass of Listen To Me Please shares: “Lite understands that ‘relaxed parents equal relaxed kids.’ What I particularly love about this book is how Lori divided her chapters into categories: Imagine, Parent’s Point of View, Lori’s lessons (which are poignant moving stories) plus Mindful Mantras and  Sanity Savers.”

Wendy Young of Kidlutions states: “Stress management can be taught.  It’s not something that’s on the radar of most parents, and it’s not something that is often talked about, nor is it mentioned in most parenting books. No wonder teaching stress management techniques is one of the things I do often with clients in my office. You don’t have to go to therapy, though, to learn breathing techniques, affirmations, visualization and muscular relaxation. No siree! It’s all in Stress Free Kids book!”

Get Involved:

Visit the Stress Free Kids site

Join Stress Free Kids on Facebook

Follow Stress Free Kids on Twitter

About Lori Lite

Lori Lite, founder of Stress Free Kids, provides fun parenting solutions to reduce stress and bring wellness to daily living. Her accessible tips, stories, and parent’s guide show families how to integrate relaxation exercises and activities effortlessly throughout the day.

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