Empowering Parents To Teach: Mindful Parenting for ADHD

The Book To Help You Mindfully Parent A Child With ADHD

I came across the book Mindful Parenting for ADHD by Mark Bertin, M.D. at my local library. As I began reading it, I knew I had to share it with you! While I do not have a child with an ADHD diagnosis, as an educator I like to read as much as I can to understand the diverse learning and behavioral needs of children. This book is a must read for caring parents who are looking for a helpful explanation of ADHD.


*Note: This post contains affiliate links



This book starts by focusing on the adult–how our thoughts, expectations, and attitudes affect how we parent. As a parent of a child with ADHD, it is important to understand that a lot of the behaviors your child may exhibit is part of an underlying problem with executive functioning. Understanding your child and understanding ADHD is essential for you to go about helping your child the best way you can. The more aware we are, the better we can react and respond to difficult behaviors. The way we parent will make a difference in our children’s lives.  This book reminds us that our actions impact our children and guides us towards a positive impact. The author suggests that we keep in mind how much positive versus negative feedback that a child with ADHD hears from us.  Because kids with ADHD often need a lot of behavioral correction, the child may be receiving too much negative feedback. Being mindful of this will help a parent balance the ratio between negative and positive feedback (p.89).


Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habitsGhandi


Once we have worked on controlling our own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, we can begin to help our child do the same. The next few chapters give parents concrete ways they can help guide a child’s behavior and set clear limits with consistency.  After this, the focus turns to addressing a child’s needs in school. I can imagine that this will be very helpful for parents as they advocate for their child. The author gives insight into what type of instruction benefits children with ADHD and what level of organizational support may be required.


One weighty decision parents likely face is whether or not their child requires medication to help their executive functioning. It appears to me that the author’s goal in this chapter is to give parents researched-based information on medication, not to persuade parents that they should medicate their children.  The only way to make an informed decision is to gather information. I like how the author brings in the concept of mindfulness to this issue stating, “Don’t believe something only because someone else says it’s true” (p.162). This can be applied to any source of information (especially on the internet) and it is wise to seek out information sources that are credible. Even after reading this book, parents should continue their research on medications from other reliable sources.


In the final chapter, the author delves into mindfulness activities for children. He shares suggestions to help in areas such as: paying attention, responsiveness, awareness of thoughts, awareness of emotions, compassion and gratitude. In each of these areas, he shows us how we demonstrate these behaviors ourselves and how we can foster them in our children. Being a role model of mindfulness for our children is crucial. Social modeling is a powerful learning tool. To educate yourself more on the importance of social modeling, google “Albert Bandura” and “Social Learning Theory” to find reliable sources to read on the subject matter.


Keep up the good work moms and dads :)


To purchase a copy of this book, click on the picture below:


Need a book written for kids? I love this one:

Empowering Parents to Teach- 5 Ways to Green Your Child's School Lunch

Five Ways To “Green” Your Child’s School Lunch


The choices we make every day affect our planet. Daily habits that we often don’t even think twice about can either help or harm the Earth. That is why is it important as a parent to teach our children good habits that are mindful of our impact. If we establish good habits now, we are helping both our children and our planet.


Essentially, every area of our lives can be analyzed for improvement when it comes to helping maintain a healthy environment. Today, I am going to focus on just one: our children’s school lunches. Every day many of us pack a lunch and send our kids off to school. Ever stop to think how much trash is produced from those lunches? Are we focusing more on convenience than nutrition? There are many things to consider when we choose what to put in our children’s lunch boxes. In efforts to reduce the amount of trash produced and provide our children with proper nutrition, focus on these five things:


*Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase from Amazon, I receive a very small fee at no extra cost to you.


1. Reusable Packaging

Ditch the little plastic bags! If you use plastic bags to hold a sandwich or snacks, count how many you use every day in your children’s lunches. Now multiply that by 180 (the typical number of school days in a year). How many plastic bags do your children throw away each year? For example, if you only use 2 every day then your children are throwing away 360 plastic bags! Do you use 4 a day? That’s 720 plastic bags a year! If you switched to a reusable source, you are now saving those 360 or 720 bags from ending up in a landfill.

What should you use instead?


Stainless steel containers

Stainless steel or glass is your most eco-friendly option. You may not want to send a very young child with a glass container, so stainless steel is a great choice. Some products available:




We have two Lunchbots that look similar to the one pictured. They have worked well for us and have held up for years. There are more types of these available with different numbers of divisions for food.


Washable food bags

We love these! This company has so many fun patterns to choose from so there is bound to be one that your child enjoys.

Plastic containers

Of course, there are always plastic containers to help you avoid disposable one time use bags.

Rubbermaid sandwich kit:

Ikea food containers:

We have both of these sets.  I use the cold pack from the Rubbermaid set every day. The Ikea set has so many sizes, that I can always find a container to fit what I want to pack! The extra small size has come in very handy.



2. Reusable or Compostable Utensils

To reduce waste even further, have your child stop throwing away plastic spoons, forks, and knives. Or, if they do throw them away, pick a better material that can be composted or biodegrades easily. Here are some choices:

To-Go Ware

This set of bamboo utensils has everything you may need: knife, fork, spoon, and chopsticks. The outer sleeve holds the pieces very tightly when closed preventing the utensils from spilling out and getting lost. We have a set of these, too!


Compostable utensils:



These utensils are made mostly from non-GMO corn and can turn into soil in 3-6 months when composted (according to the information on their packaging). Even though they are considered disposable, I still have my children bring them home every day to wash them and reuse them. When the time comes to dispose of them, I know that they will biodegrade much faster than plastic utensils would.


3. Cloth Napkins

An often overlooked place to reduce the amount of trash in your child’s lunch is his or her napkin. Simply giving your child a cloth napkin can take away one more piece of trash every day! You can easily find these in many stores, but if you prefer online shopping Amazon’s got you covered with this set below.

4. Fresh Food 

All of the things we put in our children’s lunches is meant to provide them with the best nutrition we can give them. It’s tempting to put convenience over nutritional value at times. It seems easier to buy prepackaged processed food and quickly throw it in a lunch box while we make a mad dash to school. Now matter how early you wake up, the morning seems hectic and lacking adequate time to get out of the door. Examine your child’s lunch. How many items in there are actually just empty calories that fill your child’s stomach but don’t really provide nutrition? What can you pack instead? Give yourself time to plan ahead of time what kinds of nutritious foods you can pack.  Develop a routine of preparing and packing those foods until it becomes second nature. Remember, it all begins at the grocery store. If you don’t buy junk, it won’t end up in a lunch box.


Looking for suggestions on what to pack? Parents magazine’s Lunch For a Month gives 30 healthy lunch ideas given by celebrity chefs (click here for the article).



5. Avoid Overpacking

One thing I noticed about my children’s lunches in the beginning of the school year was how much they actually ate. They came home with a lot of uneaten food. Of course, they claimed that they did not have enough time to eat. Which I do not think they are fibbing about, they have a short lunch (in my opinion). Knowing that they only have a certain amount of time to eat, I want every bite to count. I needed to pack less food, because over packing would result in more waste not more eating. If I packed too much they will naturally eat the things they like the most and the rest may end up in the trash. I do not want to waste food, so I pack only what they eat.


This brings me to a huge issue in schools: food waste. If your child buys lunch at school, they may be throwing away a lot of food. For example, in the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2014, they estimated that students threw away $100,000 worth of food a day. Perfectly edible food just thrown away! Click here to read the full article highlighting this problem. There are steps that a school can take to help alleviate this. Ask your child’s school if they participate in the U.S. Food Waste Challenge. Click here to learn more about the U.S. Food Waste Challenge and what schools can do to help.


Little changes can make a big impact if enough of us do it together!



Empowering Parents To Teach- Mardi Gras Race

Mardi Gras Race

After reading the book, A Catfish Tale: A Bayou Story of the Fisherman and His Wife by Whitney Stewart, I realized that Mardi Gras was right around the corner and my kids knew nothing about this holiday!  I decided that this year, they will learn all about Mardi Gras. I began by designing a fun Mardi Gras race that incorporated a lot of different elements found at Mardi Gras.


Let the race begin!

The race has four stations with an activity to complete at each one. Every activity reinforces the concept of Mardi Gras. To win the race, the kids will race each other to be the first one to complete all four stations.


I did this race with my own boys. Before we began, I walked the boys through each station explaining what they were supposed to do and the significance of the activity.


Station 1:  Put On Your Costume


Empowering Parents To Teach- Mardi Gras


We learned from our book that during Mardi Gras there is a big parade.  People often dress up as kings, queens, jesters, or clowns.  You often see people wearing masks.  The very first station had  jester hats in Mardi Gras colors (purple, gold, and green) and masks to put on.  Once they had their hats and masks on they rushed to the next station.


Empowering Parents To Teach- Mardi Gras



Station 2:  Find The “Baby”


Empowering Parents To Teach- Mardi Gras


I explained to my kids that during Mardi Gras people eat a special cake called a King Cake.  Hidden in the cake is a small plastic baby.   The person who finds the baby in their piece of cake has good luck and they have to buy the King Cake next year.


In this activity, the kids will have to find the “baby” hidden in Mardi Gras colored pasta.  I did not have a baby small enough to hide, so I thought of Lego figures.  To make it even more challenging, I actually only hid a Lego head in the pasta mixture.


The “babies”:

Empowering Parents To Teach- Mardi Gras


Hide the “babies” in colored pasta:


Empowering Parents To Teach- Mardi Gras

See the baby?

Empowering Parents To Teach- Mardi Gras

Now it’s hidden!



Ready to go:

Empowering Parents To Teach- Mardi Gras

Outside, ready to go!


Empowering Parents To Teach- Mardi Gras

Searching for the Lego head (a.k.a baby)


Station 3: Throw The Beads


Empowering Parents To Teach- Mardi Gras


It wouldn’t be Mardi Gras without those plastic beaded necklaces.  Parade goers excitedly try to catch beaded necklaces that are tossed out.  In this activity, the kids have to throw the beaded necklaces around the wooden posts (our parade goers).  This was the trickiest station.  It was very challenging for the boys and my youngest just ended up placing the beads on!


Each kid had three necklaces to throw.  They were told ahead of time who got green and who got purple.


Empowering Parents To Teach- Mardi Gras


Their attempts:


Empowering Parents To Teach- Mardi Gras


Empowering Parents To Teach- Mardi Gras


Station 4: Make Music


Empowering Parents To Teach- Mardi Gras


To finish the race, the boys had to pick one instrument and do three laps around the yard playing their instrument. This activity reinforced the importance of music!


That’s the end of the race!


To continue our Mardi Gras learning, we will read these books:


We will practice our French with these super cute cards:


We will also make our very own King Cake and hide a Lego minifigure in it (after baking of course!)

Empowering Parents To Teach- Mardi Gras


*This post contains affiliate links






Empowering Parents to Teach- Easy Dinners

Dinners For Tired (or Busy) Moms


Fresh food is always best. But in real life, we have days where we just want to get through a tough night or we don’t have a lot of time to chop vegetables, make food from scratch, or keep a constant eye on the stove. These meals are for those days.  They are not fancy but they will get through the night!


We’ve all been there. You’re tired, utterly exhausted, but you still have kids to feed. Especially when you have a new baby at home, getting dinner on the table sound like a monumental task. Running on empty with lack of sleep, the witching hour comes at dinner time. You are trying to prepare dinner while the preschooler (or toddler) melts down, the baby wants to be held, and you can’t leave the stove because your pot may boil over!


Or perhaps your nights are busy. Your kids get off the bus at 3:30, they have to get their homework done and eat before being at sports practice at 5:30. You really don’t want to get fast food, so you are looking for something quick and easy to prepare.


Sometimes, it’s both of those scenarios together!  It’s not easy getting dinner on the table when your attention is pulled in so many directions and time is tight.


After the birth of my second child I stopped saying that I cooked dinner, instead, I heated dinner. Buying things that were for the most part already made, I just needed to heat them up. While my youngest is now four and I’m out of the lack of sleep baby fog, there are still days where I need a quick dinner. Sometimes when I prepare these quick meals it reminds of the baby/toddler days and I thought I’d share my easy dinner ideas for those of you may need them :)


If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, it is a goldmine of products that are already made that you can just heat up.


Note: I cook primarily vegetarian meals. However, all the recipes that have “fake meat” can be substituted with real meat (the frozen kind that you just heat up)!


So here is my list of easy to prepare dinners for a tired or busy mom:


1. Orange Chicken, Peas, and Clementines


Empowering Parents to Teach- Quick, Easy Dinners



This is one of my family’s favorite easy dinners.  I have to thank my sister in law for sharing this idea with me! The rice (found in Trader Joe’s frozen section) cooks in the microwave for three minutes.  The “chicken” morsels bake in the oven just like chicken nuggets so you don’t have to stand by the stove keeping an eye on things. You easily heat the peas in the microwave for a minute or two. Simply defrost the orange sauce packets in warm water and top it on the chicken when it is done baking.  Plate your rice, add some delicious orange chicken and peas. It’s so good!!


If you grab a bag of clementines from the market, they make a great dessert!


2. Pierogies and Sweet Peas

Empowering Parents to Teach- Quick, Easy DinnersThis one is the quickest meal ever!

My boys love pierogies! It is actually my youngest favorite food.  My mother taught me how to make pierogies from scratch and of course those are always the best. However, when time is tight I go to Mrs.T! The pierogies only take five minutes to boil and they are done.  Heat the peas in the  microwave for a minute or two (depending on your microwave) and you are set! If you have the time, heat butter and chopped onions on the stove for the most “homemade” taste. Have some fresh fruit for dessert to round out this meal.


There are twelve pierogies in a box. My boys typically eat about four to five pierogies each, so depending on the size of your family you may need to purchase a couple of boxes :)


3. Chicken Parm and Broccoli


Empowering Parents to Teach- Easy Dinners


If you don’t have time to steam some broccoli or need gluten-free pasta:


Empowering Parents to Teach- Easy Dinners



Boil some of your favorite pasta- whole wheat, rice, corn, or quinoa pasta. Heat fresh broccoli in a steamer pot or buy the microwave kind to make it faster. Bake the chicken patties or Morning Star “chicken” according to the package. For the last five minutes of bake time add a little bit of pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese to let the cheese melt on top. As the chicken is baking, have your sauce heating on the stove, add the broccoli to the sauce. Once everything is done, plate your pasta and sauce, then top it off with the chicken patty!


4. Meatball Subs and Carrots

Ok, this is so easy! Heat the meatballs or meatless meatballs in pasta sauce according to the package.  Fill a bun with meatballs and top with parm or mozzarella cheese (or fake cheese). Heat up a side a carrots and you’ve got a quick, filling, dinner!



5. Black Bean Burgers, Mashed Potato, and Corn


Empowering Parents to Teach- Easy Dinners


Oh how I love Morning Star Black Bean Burgers! They are simply delicious and only take a few minutes to grill on the stove. Slice some veggies to top it- lettuce, tomato, yummy avocado, pickles, etc. Pair with the already made mashed potatoes you find at the deli department in your local grocery store (or instant potatoes) and some canned corn you’ve heated up and you’re golden!


I did not include corn in the picture because I’ve had the hardest time finding organic canned corn in our local grocery stores! Hopefully, your grocery stores still carry it!


6. Sloppy Joes and Salad


Empowering Parents to Teach- Easy Dinners


These are so easy! Brown some meat or “fake meat” from Morning Star.  Once the meat is fully cooked, pour the Sloppy Joe sauce into the pan, simmer until ready. Add them to a bun, sprinkle cheddar cheese on top and you’re done! On the side, grab some greens from one of those ready to go salad mixes and add veggies that you have in the fridge! Easy, simple meal :)


Leave a comment below and tell us what your favorite super easy dinner is to make when you are tired or busy!



Easy Sensory Play: Play-doh and Water


There are many easy ways you can use things you already have around your house to engage your child’s senses.  One simple sensory activity is to take some play-doh and add water!


As my kids played with play-doh one day, my son asked for a cup of water to pour over the dough. After that, both of my boys began exploring the water’s effect on the play-doh’s texture and consistency. Squishing it with their hands, cutting it with tools, and squashing it flat were highly enjoyable to them. Such a simple thing led to so much fun and a fantastic sensory play experience.












Empowering Parents to Teach- Sensory Play



As a bonus, if you leave the play-doh partially submerged in water overnight, the colors will begin to run into the water.


So, if your little one is bored and looking for some fun, break out the play-doh and add some water!