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Workshops

 

Want to host a workshop for your pre-school or community group? Well & Ready™ workshops bring parents together for a fun learning experience where they develop critical, science-supported practices to help their kids thrivelearning testimonial

We assist Pre-schools and Elementary Schools in their effort to support and educate parents.
The Well & Ready™ Transitions and Mindfulness workshops are interactive, fun and designed to help parents support and further their child’s social/emotional development at home.
In these workshops, we give parents the knowledge, skills, and practices they need to foster connection, cultivate empathy and cooperation, develop intellectual curiosity, and nurture overall well-being.

Parents leave feeling:

  • Knowledgeable about the developmental stage their child is entering/in
  • Prepared for their role during this stage and how to best support the primary growth areas
  • Calm through new mindful practices they can apply to their parenting
  • Peaceful – now that they have tools/practices that they can use today
  • Connected with their school community now that they understand how to “partner” with their teacher and school to support their child’s healthy growth and have learned new approaches and skills with other class parents.

If you would like to explore how we can assist your school community, please contact us below:

 

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The Science of Positive Psychology & Well-Being

Slowing Down To “see” The Good!

What good qualities do you see in your neighbor? A stranger?  Your child? When you run into someone at the coffee shop (whether you know them or not): try to open your mind and look for positive traits in the people around you – they are right in front of you!

Practice:

  • Slow down – Step away from the frenetic pace, the quick judgments and short interactions. Spend a few moments being curious about the good qualities in your kids.  Is your son naturally helpful or patient?.  Is your daughter naturally optimistic and uplifting? Or maybe she’s got a lot of energy.
  • Write down three positive qualities that you frequently see in your kids – research has demonstrated that this simple act (after two short weeks) trains your brain to notice these qualities faster than others.

Nourishing Happiness

Happiness is now a science.  We now know the conditions and practices that are present in the lives of people who report being exceptionally happy. Highly happy people value their happiness:  they know what does and does not make them happy and intentionally do the things that make them happy.  What does and does not make you happy?  What do you need to prioritize in your life?

Practice:  

Find and increase the frequency of activities that result in the following for you:

  • Positive Emotions – feeling good about what you are doing
  • Engagement – intense focus and interest
  • Supportive Relationships – relationships that help you feel good about yourself
  • Meaning – things that matter to you; typically these reflect values you feel strongly about
  • Accomplishments – set goals (even small ones) and achieve them

Like these Practices? Sign up here to receive a new practice each week.

Practicing Mindfulness & Being Present

intention blockPause & 3 Deep Breaths

It’s human nature to want to connect with others and especially with our children. It is also natural to want to provide feedback to our kids (maybe all too often!)

When our kids’ behavior is less than optimal, it’s easy to simply react – sometimes harshly – to correct their behavior. We often overlook the importance of connecting before responding.  When we take time to connect with our kids, even for a moment, express compassion for their feelings and help them feel understood, they are much more open to our suggestions.  

Practice:

  • The next time your child is having a tough time, and you have the urge to correct them — take 3 big, deep breaths (which immediately lowers your blood pressure and heart rate) and calm yourself down so you can connect with your child before you try to address, or “correct” their behavior.

The Body Scan Mindful Break

The greatest gift you can give to yourself and your kids is to be present. Parents are required to attend to many various stressful, emotional and challenging tasks, that centering ourselves is one of the best ways to focus the mind, and pull ourselves into the present moment.

Practice:

  • Find a peaceful spot to lie down, sit or walk
  • Take a few deep breaths in and out. Let your whole body relax. Notice every inch of your body and how it feels.
  • Start with your feet and work your way to your finger-tips and the top of your head.
    • What sensations do you feel?
    • Are they loud or are they soft?
  • As you move to each body part, let go of each loud sensation and release it.
  • If your mind wanders,  gently bring yourself back to your body.
  • Once you have tuned into each part of your body and focused on easing up the tense spots you will feel lighter and be able to be more intentional  deliberate and present in the moment.

Like these Practices? Sign up here to receive a new practice each week.

Cut out the Clutter & Develop a Focus as a Parent

focus block

The Here-and-Now Practice

Paying attention to the here-and-now is really hard — especially when raising children. It is so hard to focus on the stage that you are in with your calendar or phone constantly pointing out the important things of next week, next month, or next year.  

Though there’s plenty of art to raising a child, there’s some really helpful science too.  We know that children develop in predictable patterns and stages, right down to the neurological wiring of the brain to the things your child may like to do.  Children gravitate toward activities that develop skills they need to grow – they are wired for learning from the day they come out of the womb, and they naturally learn through play.

Practice:

  • Set aside 10 minutes a day to focus on the present moment with your child.  It can happen anytime….when he’s immersed in play or when he’s doing internet research.  
  • Don’t ask what he’s doing, judge it, or make any suggestions.  Simply notice what your child is doing, and think about how his activity or focus relates to the stage he’s in – what’s he learning?  What skill is he building?  What does his interest suggest about him?  

Being in the here and now helps you get to know and understand your child, builds compassion, and active listening.

Discover Their Day

While adults are constantly thinking about the future, the past, planning, and analyzing, kids live in the present moment.  Focusing on the present time with your kids helps you connect with them and keeps you from missing the important (and often small) things that happen in their lives.

To focus on them, enter their world every day and give them an outlet to tell you about their day.  Not all kids are good at verbal communication, so here are a few other ways to help your child work through the good, the bad the ugly in their lives with you.

Practice:

  • Try “story drawing” — draw a character, give the crayon or pen to your child to draw the next ‘scene” – ask “what is going to happen to [character’s name]?”  You can let your child give the character a name. Then go back and forth drawing the story of “Johnny’s Day”.
  • Go on a walk, a bike ride, or do an activity together like swimming or a puzzle.  If you just allow silent moments to hang there, kids will often ask you questions or share their concerns when they have the space to do it.
  • Play pretend.  Kids use pretend games to make sense of their world and work through challenges they face.  if you play pretend games with your kids, and let them drive the storyline, you will get amazing insights into what’s going on in their worlds.

Any of these practices gives a child a vehicle to express and explore their situation and emotions safely.  Whatever the outlet may be, help her choose it and give her the space she needs to open up and share her world with you.

Like these Practices? Sign up here to receive a new practice each week.

Prepare Yourself & Your Child for the Next Phase of Development

Remember Your ABCs

Whether you’re moving your kids from one activity to another or from one stage in life to the next, transitions can be full of stress.  If you can stay calm and intentional, your child will have an easier time remaining focused on what s/he needs to do to move through the transition.  Here are two practices that can help you with transitions, both big and small.

Practice:

A is for ATTENTION – when things get too busy or chaotic, or we just don’t know what to do, we can always just stop what we’re doing to pay attention.  Pause and focus on the situation — it will help you get grounded

B is for BREATHE – paying attention to our breathing can help us become grounded and calm, a better state for compassion, connection, and making decisions.

C is for CHOOSE- breathing mindfully can help you make a more intentional and thoughtful choice about the next step.

Get In The Space!

Transitions can be tough on even the best of us, but the better prepared we are the better we do. To help your child approach a big transition, help make the experience as familiar as possible in advance.

Practice:  Transition Prep

  • Give your child age- appropriate information about the actual transition in front of him so he starts to form accurate expectations. Some children may want talk about what’s to come while others may want to look at pictures with you.
  • Describe the process, step-by-step so he can ask clarifying questions, prepare himself mentally and anticipate any feelings. This will help to ease the anxiety, limit surprises, and avoid frustration.
  • Spend time in the environment ahead of time — go visit the school.  The key is for the child to feel comfortable in the actual room or building he will be in so he can access that comfortable feeling when he school begins.

Like these Practices? Sign up here to receive a new practice each week.

Practicing Self-Knowledge & Self-Care

self block

Accept Thyself – Warts and All

We all have strengths and weaknesses, pet peeves and triggers, or what we broadly call “Your Stuff”.  It’s important to be aware of your “stuff” and conscious not to transpose your “stuff” onto your children. This all starts with self-awareness.

For example, if you grew up with a mother who was scared of spiders, you are likely to be scared of them too – after all when you were a baby, you saw how scary a spider is by watching your mother’s reaction!  But if you haven’t had a negative experience with spiders, your fear is mostly unfounded.  Become conscious of your “stuff” and make an effort not to pass it on to your children.

Self-knowledge and Self-care are critical to being a Well & Ready parent.  

Here are a few ways to learn your needs and care for yourself so you’re available for your family.

Practice:

  • Identify two triggers and weaknesses that have become “your stuff”.
  • Answer the following questions in a journal:   How do these affect your parenting?  Do they cause you to be impatient or over-react?  How can you gain control of your reactions and consciously choose a response to your triggers that are healthier for you and for your child?
  • Write down the response you’d like to use the next time you find yourself reacting to a trigger.  This will help you be more self-aware and keep it in the forefront in your mind when the need arises.

Take 5!

Next time you find yourself feeling tense or stressed, give yourself a time-out.  There are many ways to do this. As an example, when you walk, you increase the oxygen flow through your body and brain, which helps to clear your head and regain focus for the next event in your day.  Just the quick change of scenery can boost anyone’s energy and morale.

Practice:

  • take 5 and take a walk outside, at your office, at home, or at the airport – walk down the hall and back or up and down the stairs for 5 minutes.
  • If you don’t have time to go anywhere, sit in a chair, close your eyes, and take 3 slow, deep breaths in and out. Focus only on your breathing and try to keep your mind from wandering.   

Like these Practices? Sign up here to receive a new practice each week.

The Science

The Well & Ready™ approach incorporates the latest science from disciplines that affect parenting including Child Development, Neuroscience & Brain Development, Positive Psychology, Sociology, Education & Learning and more!

It takes a lot more than a healthy diet to thrive!  Well & Ready™ does the research to simplify the most reliable and useful science, translates it into practices that are easy to implement, and helps you personalize it to fit your goals and family dynamics.  We do the homework, you pick the practices that work for you, so you can relax and enjoy your journey.

Here’s the scoop on the science we follow:

Positive Psychology — The Science of Thriving!

The Positive Psychology Institute defines Positive Psychology as: ““Positive Psychology is the scientific study of human flourishing, and an applied approach to optimal functioning. It has also been defined as the study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals, communities and organisations to thrive.”  Martin Seligman, the “Father ” of the Positive psychology movement, often calls it the science of happiness and well-being.  We’ve never met a parent who didn’t want their kids to be happy!  The good news is that science has uncovered the “how” of happiness and well-being, or thriving.  You can easily incorporate its principles and practices into daily parenting to help your child develop the strengths and characteristics that will help him thrive.

Research has shown that people who thrive possess five measurable elements:

  • Positive emotions
  • Engagement
  • Positive Relationships
  • Meaning and Purpose
  • Accomplishment

To grow a thriving child into a thriving adult, learn the simple practices that lead to the five elements of well-being.

For more on Positive Psychology go here:

University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center

Mindfulness – The science and practice of being present with intention

A fundamental part of being a Well & Ready™ parent is being intentional. This requires being clear on what’s important to you, then learning the practices that can help you realize your desires. Mindfulness is the skill that enables to remain focused, in the moment, on what matters to you, and allows you to be intentional with your kids.  It’s the skill that helps you respond rather than react.  When you can channel your attention to focus on the present moment with an open mind of acceptance and curiosity, you will be better able to parent with intention.

Mindfulness helps you:

  1. Reduces Stress. 
    Mindfulness is about slowing down and connecting with the present moment. When you shift from a “doing state ” into  “being state” you can then begin to regulate your emotions and feel more relaxed.
  2. Improves Performance. 
    Mindfulness practices can help you gain focus and clear your head.  You can use mindfulness techniques to ground yourself at difficult times, develop resilience, increase a sense of control and tranquility into your day, or to clear clutter and gain focus. Applied to parenting. Mindfulness can help you be planful and deliberate in responses to daily situations. It can help you be present enough to savor special moments so you don’t miss them.  And, mindfulness can help you better manage daily stress and calm your nerves, so your family environment can be nurturing and joyful.
  3. Increases Self-Compassion.
    Writer Henry James said, “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” He was right. Kindness matters, and that includes extending that kindness to yourself.

Self-compassion and emotional resilience are imperative for overall well-being.  Mindfulness practices help you become more self-compassionate by decreasing your tendency to focus on negative thoughts and allow you to be gentle to yourself.  One of the tenants of Well & Ready™ is that parenting is inherently an imperfect vocation!  It’s full of pitfalls and landmines you can’t see.  Mindfulness practices can help you accept the imperfect moments and move forward with confidence and clarity.

For more on Mindfulness, go here: Mindful.org

Child Development, Neuroscience, and Brain Development – The science of the growing human.

The explosion of new research on child development, neuroscience and brain development over the past 10 years alone is staggering. The good news is that we now know more than ever about the relationships between the developing brain, behavior, and emotional growth.  The bad news is that much of it is debunking long held beliefs, and it’s not getting into the hands of parents, who need it most.

Some of the most surprising or fascinating developments include:

Letting babies “cry it out” affects the developing circuitry of the brain, can result in less-than-healthy “attachment”.

New studies in neuroscience have led to the discovery that the brain is highly malleable – we can change the wiring in the brain through new experiences, for much longer than previously believed.

Time-outs are damaging to healthy child development – Surprise!  Who knew?

Intelligence is a function of effort, not a fixed asset.

Excelling at something is a function of finding a passion, rather than off self-discipline.

The list goes on…

What does this mean for you?  Keep an open mind and be ready to learn.  What your mother did (with the very best of intentions and information of her time) might not benefit your child. We have so much more information to work with today.

To help, Well & Ready™ is keeping up with it all (or as much as we can!), sorting through what it means in practical terms for you, and incorporating it all into new and updated practices to help kids thrive.

For more on Child Development, Neuroscience, and Brain Development, go here:

The Center on The Developing Child, Harvard University

The American Academy of Pediatrics

Sociology – the science of the development, structure, and functioning of our world and society.

What does this have to do with parenting?  Everything!

Another primary element of being Well & Ready™ is being prepared.  This means preparing our kids to thrive in the future, and to do that, parents need to anticipate what will be required to flourish. What skills will be needed? What people will they work and live with?  What systems will they need to navigate?

According to the legendary, Pulitzer Prize winning Thomas Friedman (NYT’s columnist and author of Hot, Flat & Crowded; The World is Flat; That Used To Be Us; and most recently Thank You for Being Late) we have entered “The Age of Accelerations”.  In this incredibly well researched book, he explains how “…individuals must learn to be fast (innovative and quick to adapt), fair (prepared to help the casualties of change), and slow (adept at shutting out the noise and accessing their deepest values).”

While rapid change is becoming the new normal, what circumstances and challenges will our kids face?  How do we prepare them to thrive in a world we can only vaguely see? Many of you have heard about “20th Century Skills” which are gaining ground in schools.  But they are already looking outdated.

Researchers and futurists, can at least state with clarity that the big forces that are shaping the world ahead are rapid technological advancement, globalization, and the changing planet.  From this we can see that to thrive, our kids will need to be:

Open-minded

Innovative & flexible – able to adapt to new circumstances and information

Creative – able to solve complex problems in novel new ways

Systems-thinkers – understanding how one thing or change or people or dynamic affects another

Curious – able to be inquisitive

Communicative – able to relate to and communicate with people of all cultures, backgrounds, religions

Empathetic – able to see a situation or the world from another person’s perspective

Courageous – have the mental and moral strength to venture and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

Resilient – able to recover from or adjust easily to failure, difficulty or change

These are skills and aptitudes are rarely directly taught in schools.  So knowing how to instill these skills and traits in your kids while they are growing up is important in preparing them to excel when they are adults.

For more on our changing world, and how you can prepare, go here:

The Institute for The Future

The Brookings Institute – Skills for a Changing World Series

 

Why Well & Ready

Parenting in today’s world is tough.  let me count - no learn more

Parenting was never “easy” (just ask your mother), but the challenges you face today are altogether different from those your parents ran up against. You have less time, more resources to choose from, daily challenges that are ever-present and always evolving – not to mention an increasingly connected, boundary-less world, and a future we can barely predict.

Well & Ready™ helps you develop children that can thrive in that new, evolving world and brings parenting into the modern day by taking the latest research on well-being, child development, and sociological trends and delivering it all to you in an easy-to-use approach that helps you figure out and focus on YOUR parenting goals, and gives you the skills and simple ‘Practices That Pay Off’ that will get you there –saving you time, decreasing stress, and bringing the joy back to your parenting journey.

Well & Ready™ helps parents:

  • Cut through the clutter of information and translates the latest research on child development into easily actionable practices that you can build into your daily life.
  • Learn simple daily actions with Practices That Pay Off©:
    • Develop a strong, lasting connection with your child
    • Decrease tantrums and increase cooperative behaviors
    • Prepare for the next stage so you can anticipate and be ready for the normal ebbs and flows as they come
    • Become a mindful and deliberate parent
    • Move from being a reactive parent to being a proactive parent
    • Learn how to care for both your needs and your kids’ needs
    • Increase the ability to create joy-filled family life
  • Personalize & simplify the parenting journey with a process through which you develop your unique parenting manual.   This helps you:
    • Be thoughtful and proactive
    • Learn the skills you need
    • Apply simple practices that work for your family
    • Grow thriving kids into thriving adults

Stop flying by the seat of your (parenting) pants! The Well & Ready™ approach helps you focus on what matters most, cut through the clutter and confusion, and learn the skills you need to grow a thriving kid.

Relax and enjoy the ride.

We believe our kids are the future.  

We believe the future is brighter if we have more thriving young adults.  

We hope you’ll become Well & Ready™ today, and invite your friends to do the same. Together, it’s the GIFT we’ll give our kids and the world.  Join us.

Sarah & Susan

Co-Founders, Well & Ready™

Manifesto

manifesto header

We Believe our kids are the future. How we raise them matters

We Believe every child deserves unconditional love & acceptance

We Believe parenting is an imperfect, contact sport

We Believe mindfulness is like magic

We Believe self-care is the best fertilizer for parenting mojo

We Believe self-knowledge is a gateway to authenticity

We Believe in compassion. For all. Always.

We Believe empathy & kindness break down barriers

We Believe in the power of a supportive tribe

We Believe social/emotional health is the secret sauce to thriving

We Believe prepared and proactive is the new Black

We Believe in embracing transitions

We Believe innovation is our future

We Believe boredom leads to creativity

We Believe spilled milk is a learning opportunity

We Believe laughter is the best medicine

We Believe sleep is better than ice cream

We Believe in Date Night Discussions

We Believe connection is The Holy Grail

We Believe being vulnerable is required

We Believe in showing up

We Believe in the power of traditions

We Believe hope is learned

We Believe in being Well & Ready™