© 2012 Sedef Örsel Özçelik

Dec 19, 2008

X-mas is coming...

Christmas is coming :)  It is really the most wonderful time of the year.  The 'good wishes', 'the cards' and oh!  The gifts...  The kids are all excited!  They are waiting for their wishes to be answered by Santa...
Here is my gift to all children (if you as the parents are willing to follow ...):
Please do not push your children to hug, kiss or show unwanted affection  to any of the family members who they could only see once a year...   Please do not push your kids to say 'thank you' when they don't want to...  
Instead please help them find a different way to show their affection and appreciation!
They may color or draw a picture and give it as thanks or showing their affection.  A high-five may do the trick.  They can sing a song or perform their favorite trick instead.
You as the parents call for a meeting with your kids in advance.  You can talk about different ways to show affection and appreciation to all friends and relatives they will meet over the holidays.  Planning together may turn into real fun and a great opportunity to connect with your children...  
Whereas pushing your kids to do something they don't want to, would only teach them to be resentful...
I wish you a great holiday season...  May our lovely planet will have all the peace and love it deserves this season...
Merry Christmas,

Dec 5, 2008

5 Tips On Sharing

  1. Respect your children's property:  We as parents and society are the models of our children.  We demand others to respect our property.  We want to be asked when someone wants to borrow our book, pen, ladder, cd...etc.  Our children see this and they want to be asked as well!
  2. Respect your children's most important business: playing!  Children create stories and many different story lines during play.  They may need all their toys of the same variety for a specific story line.  
  3. Respect your child's dignity: Forcing children to share only hurts their feelings and help them lose their trust in our judgement.  Please do not force your children to share.
  4. Be a model:  Start sharing with your children and others as much as you can.  Share your books, bread, juice, clothes, your old toys, etc.
  5. Always Show Your Approval:  Whenever you see an action of sharing (a fall leaf picked  from the ground, a hug, a toy, candy, etc.)  by describing your child's behavior :"I can see that you just gave one of your m&ms to your brother, that's good sharing." 
Let's share...

Nov 20, 2008

The Lover Role

Today's hectic life style requires us, the parents, to carry many roles with their countless different responsibilities attached: Parent, businessperson, friend, lover, son/daughter, sister/brother are the first ones that came to my mind.  
We switch from the parent role to businessperson role, then simultaneously to friend role, then to another role... and this switching between roles goes on and on...
SO what is the one role we play mostly?  
When our kids are young it's the parent role...  Our businessperson role requires at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week... How about our role of being a "lover"?
Today I would like to remind you the importance of remembering our roles as lovers!  
Can you compare the difference in amount:  before having your first child and after having your first child!
"Playing, fulfilling and living" the lover role is as important to an adult as the parent role after having children!
When was the last REALLY romantic time/date you had?
Can you go out with your partner and have a romantic date at least once a week?
I know that many women's magazines mention this as a relationship saver or just something you need to do to make your partner happy (especially the father/husband/the man in your life)!!!
However, I would like to remind you the importance of playing the 'lover' role on your soul!  Regardless of gender, we all need intimacy!  And we need to spend some romantic time...  
IN BRIEF, to remind ourselves that we are not just parents...  but adults with many different roles who live life to its fullest extent!!!  
WHOLENESS includes all aspects of life!  Let's try to increase our time in the 'lover' role...  Here are some suggestions:
1 Have a set date night every week 
2 Start writing little love notes to your partner (send e-mail, phone messages, little post-it notes on the refrigerator, etc.)
3 Get some little surprise gifts for your partner (flowers, cards...)
4 Spend at least 15 minutes alone with your partner, giving 100% of your attention to him/her
5 Grooming yourself will help you to switch to the "lover" role effortlessly... (shave, have a manicure/pedicure, dress up, wear some perfume...)
6 Have fun...  sharing a laugh together will put you in the mood...


Nov 4, 2008

10 Easy,Healthy and Tasty Snacks for Kids

"You are what you eat!"

"What you eat affects how you feel and how you act!"

Have you heard the above sentences before?  We have all become quite conscious about our diets.  Cholesterol, calorie counts, blood sugar, good and bad carbs have become our daily conversation topics.  
Above all we have become more careful about our children's diet.  
Here are 10 healthy snack ideas for your kids (for 3 year olds and up):
  1. Carrot sticks or baby carrots with plain yogurt dip
  2. Dried apricots with walnuts
  3. Baked crackers with cheese
  4. Grated cheese melt in tortilla with mild salsa dip
  5. Granny Smith Apples grated and slightly cooked with cinnamon... Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream...  could be topped with some chopped walnuts.
  6. Frozen (pre-washed and rinsed) fresh grapes (do not serve this to young children) 
  7. Raisins with Macadamia nuts
  8. Banana and berry shakes (half a banana, a handful of berries and a cup of milk processed in blender)
  9. Cheese cubes topped with walnuts
  10. Boiled eggs with toasted whole bread

Oct 20, 2008

A simple tool for connection :)

Try writing small love notes to your children everyday!

You can put it in their school-bags, lunch-bags or pockets.  Or you can leave it on their bedside when they're asleep.  

What a wonderful discovery to find a love-note  from you :)

If they don't know how to read yet...  You can try drawing smiley faces, hearts, the sun or the moon...

Have fun!

Oct 2, 2008

I want to give you this short excerpt as a great tip :)

"Play is where children show us the inner feelings and experiences that they can't or won't talk about.....  Children don't say, 'I had a hard day at school today; can I talk to you about it?'  They say, 'Will you play with me?'..." Lawrence J. Cohen, 'Playful Parenting', Ballantine Books NY, Page 17

Sep 25, 2008

Meeting your baby for the very first time :)

Do you recall the very first time you have seen your baby? ... the first time you looked into your baby's eyes.  Can you recall the overwhelming feeling of love and affection you have felt in your entire being?  
If you can remember and recall that wonderful moment, at least once a day, your parenting will improve immediately and naturally :)
With my best, 

Sep 11, 2008

Fall is calling the summer is over...

We just came back from our summer vacation.  I unfortunately witnessed a very disturbing scene between a mother and her child, during my vacation.  
For that child and for all our children, I would like to excerpt dear Pam Leo's words:

"Hitting is violence...   
The only "lessons" hitting can teach children are to hit and to fear and distrust  those who hit them.

It is not nice to hit people; children are people.
Hitting children hurts their bodies, hearts, and minds.  Instead of sending the message that their behavior was bad, being hit causes the children to believe that they are bad."

pages 130-1, "Connection Parenting" by Pam Leo, Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing, Inc.

Aug 22, 2008

Living Life To The Full Extent!

Why are we sooo afraid of making mistakes?  I am only talking about those little mistakes that don't hurt anyone but make us look silly.  Why do we need to look so perfect?  
Are being exposed and being vulnerable so hard?  
Interestingly at those moments of great vulnerability we open our hearts 100%!  And start living life to the full extent.
Our children learn more by modeling us than any other educational modality.  So what kinds of models are we providing for our kids?  
Do we really want them to watch life like a movie from the sidelines?  Or do we like it better to see our kids live life to the full extent, realizing their existence from head to toe?  Whatever we want for our children in this lifetime, we should practice modeling that behavior right now!  
It is all in the now but never later...

Aug 4, 2008

No Regrets

This just came in time for me...  I would love to share it with you... With tons of thanks to Scott Noelle for his great efforts :)

"THE DAILY GROOVE - by Scott Noelle

No Regrets

As you progress and become a wiser parent, you may at times feel regret that you didn't "know better" when your children were younger.  You may even feel guilty at for "damaging " them.  If so, let Mother Nature inspire you to a more hopeful perspective.

Have you ever explored a wild a forest and appreciated the awesome way in which Life springs forth from the chaos?  Then you know Mother Nature never regrets.  She learns as she goes and always makes the best of things as they are.  She never looks back.

When a tree takes root in the shadows, Mother Nature doesn't regret giving it a "sub-optimum" start in life.  She trusts it will bend toward the Light and find a way to thrive.  And in doing so, the tree creates its own unique beauty.

She knows that no storm, flood, or fire can stop the endless Flow of Life through her children.

Copyright (c) 2008 by Scott Noelle"

Jul 25, 2008

Fire Island was very beautiful!  We had a good time to  talk, bond, laugh, cry and reflect...   
I realized 2 important things :
1) We all go through the same parenting journey, only with different experiences :)  
2) Just like our kids, we grow up as parents through trial and error too.  By taking the mistakes as great opportunities of learning and growth, we can reduce the feeling of guilt in our children's and our own lives...
Wishing you all the best :)

Jul 11, 2008

We are on vacation

Planning a vacation together for two families with two kids each is a major task. Thanks to our dear friends Susan and Cagatay we were actually able to get away... Fire Island became the closest location to get away to for a week.
We have all four kids with us: 9,5 years old Lidya, 4 years old Aidan, almost 4 years old Mira and 6 months old Eleanor.... Interests, needs, wishes, sexes and ages are all different. Yet everyone is having fun and enjoying...
Promising to get back to writing as soon as I will be back... And I am sending my best wishes to all parents and kids :)

Jul 1, 2008

By Scott Noelle

"THE DAILY GROOVE - by Scott Noelle

"What Happened?!

A crying child runs into the house from outside, seeking comfort.  The well-meaning parent's first words: 'What happened?!'

This common reaction is one of many subtle ways we teach our children values that we ourselves never consciously chose...

*What happened (the past) is more important than what's happening now (present).

*Reason is more important than emotions.  You can't simply have a feeling; you have to explain 'why'.

*Things happen TO you.  You don't create your own experience."

(Full text available at here)

When I read this piece, it amazed me!  
1) How correct it was! 
2) Just a simple reaction relayed so many messages... 
3) With just a simple acknowledgment of feelings :
'Oh you are crying, and you look hurt!'... we could teach the importance of the present moment and feelings...

Jun 21, 2008


I was lucky to receive this from a friend today:
"Usually we figure out what we think would make us happy, and then try to make those things happen.  But happiness isn't circumstance-dependent.  There are people who have every reason in the world to be happy who aren't.  There are people with genuine problems who are.  The key to happiness is the decision to be happy." -Excerpted from 'A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of 'A Course in Miracles' ' by Marianne Williamson
The above mentioned book is actually one of my favorites and interestingly I was the one to recommend it to the very same friend.  How incredibly nice it is that the seeds I sow came back as a reason to be happy today when I received this excerpt from her.
Would you like to plant a seed of happiness for your kids as well?  Just for today you can remember this quote and decide to be happy?  Please remember that our emotions pass on...  When you are happy and relaxed your children will pick on this and become more relaxed as well.  And please also do remember that our children best learn by modeling us, their parents.  When you consciously decide to be happy an smile more, they will model you today and tomorrow when they'll become parents too...

Jun 8, 2008


  1. Keep in mind that your child is not the first or the last child to throw a temper tantrum.  So regardless of wherever you are, imagine that your are surrounded by a non-stick/Teflon like material...  Not a single criticizing  look would stick on you.
  2. Take a deep breath!  And don't stop after the first one...  Try taking in deep belly breaths.  Remember that emotions are contagious.  A smile causes a smile, a yawn causes a yawn and an anger fit brings an anger fit...
  3. Try touching your child!  A loving touch sometimes is the only key to bring a child out of a monstrous tantrum.  Touching with love to her shoulder, her head, her back or better to the heart area will bring a therapeutic effect of calmness.
  4. Try changing the environment!  If you are in a crowded, noisy, hectic, flashing lit place you may try taking your child by the hand and leading him to a more relaxed physical environment.  Some place with soothing lights and  music in the background may not only help your child to calm down but may also help you deal with the situation in a calmer state...
  5. After a while if you feel yourself coming to the edge of a tantrum...  Please give yourself a time-out.   If you have a partner/parent  nearby, leave the job to this person and take a break.  If your are alone!  Close your eyes for just 10-20 seconds and go to a nice and calm place in your imagination.  When you come back you will have your patience refreshed and your tolerance level raised to deal with the situation.

May 30, 2008

Starting school...

Starting preschool is an exciting time both for your child and for you as the parent.  However, this adjustment period can be tough and scary for both of you, as well.  Here are some approaches you may try during the next couple of months to prepare both yourself and your child for the wonderful step in your life together...

Some physical approaches to prepare for starting school:
  • Doing some creative art together- Finger painting, drawing, coloring with crayons, molding clay...  These activities all help developing both the visual and fine motor skills of your child.  And these two skills are most needed for writing.  Improving his competence may help his confidence.  In addition, doing simple mazes and connect-the-dot pictures can also be pretty helpful for developing visual and fine motor skills of your child.
  • Asking your child to do some simple tasks all by herself- Simple tasks like pouring a glass of milk/water, using a fork and a spoon, hanging her own jackets after taking them off...  Some simple tasks that she will be expected to perform at school, and which also help learning coordination.  Learning coordination also helps developing fine motor skills.
  • Visiting the school at least once before the first day- Giving your child an opportunity to see his new classroom, where the bathrooms are, where the playground is, where the lunchroom is.  And also visit the drop off and pick up area.  You can explain at each of these spots what she will be doing during the day.  Walking through the school will help your child get familiar with the physical  environment.  (If you can make this visit during an actual school day, your child will also get a chance to see the children on action)...
  • Learning about the daily schedule at school-  You can play school with your child at home.  Practicing  the daily schedule:  waking up at the time that your child will wake up after she starts going to school; eating breakfast, snacks and lunch at the times she will be eating at school will help a smoother transition for her little body's biological clock.
  • Including your child in the getting ready for school process-  You can go on little shopping trips with your child.  You can buy his arts supplies, lunch box, school outfits/uniforms together.  Letting him make his own choices will help him internalize the idea of starting and going to school, as well.
Some mental approaches to prepare for starting school:
  • Reading to your child at least for 15-20 minutes everyday- Children's vocabulary shows vast improvement when they are read everyday.  A good vocabulary is proven to help learning to read and write.
  • Practicing listening-  Listening and following directions are fundamental at school.  So helping your child be prepared would be very helpful.  You can  play listening games with her.  You can ask her to close her eyes and listen to all the sounds around her.  Or you can play 'Simon says'  to encourage following directions.  Another idea is to play school with her.  You take turns in being the teacher and the student, and telling  made up stories to each other.
Some emotional/social approaches to prepare for starting school:
  • Talking to your kid about their new school-  Prepare your child about what he would  expect on the first day and on a common day at school by talking to him.  Listen to any worries that he may have.  Addressing all his fears, concerns or worries is utmost important.  Help him calm all his worries and fears with information.  You can read books and stories about starting school.
  • Pointing out peers who already started school- Meet with other children who go to school already.  By positively talking together with other children about their school experiences, you might help your child have a mental picture.
  • Creating a good-bye ritual-  To make the separation easier  for your child and to ensure her that you'd be back to pick her up, you can create a special good-bye ritual.  You may even want to start this ritual before starting the school.  This could be a special or silly phrase you may use "Hey diddle diddle, I will be back with a fiddle" or  a gesture like a high-five...  Something special for you two...  This will help enhance her feeling of attachment to you and help her feel more secure.  But whatever you do, don't sneak out!   This will only make your child more distressed.
  • Practicing social skills-  School is a social environment.  So preparing your child socially will be very helpful.  Your child will take turns, share toys, make choices, etc.  Organizing  play dates with other kids and moms will provide good opportunities to practice these skills.
  • Having a positive outlook-  Children are extra sensitive to their parents' feelings.  If you have any worries and concerns about your child starting to school... this will directly affect your child's emotional state in a negative way.  On the contrary, when you are upbeat and positive, your child will be relaxed.  Only when she's relaxed, she will have a pleasant experience.

May 20, 2008

The bigger picture...

I was reading somewhere about playing chess.  The writer was talking about how important it was to see the entire board in your mind's eye to be a successful chess player.  I admit I never played chess!  But I know what the writer was talking about.  About anyone or any circumstance that seems to get on my nerves...  if I could take a deep breath and remember that there's a bigger picture than what seems to be happening just now...  I can get myself to a calmer and more understanding state.  That state of being and understanding helps me embrace the given situation.
I don't mean to give the impression here that I have become eternally patient and understanding thanks to this method of remembering the bigger picture.  I make mistakes, too. And thank God I make mistakes and learn from them.  So that, my kids see that anyone can make mistakes and learn from them.  It's just that I want to teach them a more positive outlook in life.  I just want to teach them to realize and understand  what they feel.  And to teach how to carry themselves to a more constructive, creative, happier and confident state of being, once they were in negative moods.
As we are their most important role models, our children learn and grow up by watching us closely.   So how about trying to remember the bigger picture before making a move like a chess player.  Our lives are our chessboards that we play.  Let's have fun...  Let's be cool players who show young players how to play successfully...
With love,

May 11, 2008


To all the mothers (potential, expecting, surrogate, foster, adaptive, biological and not biological...)
The everlasting source of unconditional love in your hearts makes this world more beautiful and living.  On be half of the children of our old planet, I would like to thank you for all your love, patience, compassion and kindness.  
Happy Mother's Day!!!

May 7, 2008

5 More Ways to Deal With Your Child's Temper Tantrums

In addition to the previous posting, here are 5 more ways to deal with your young child's temper tantrum:
  1. Praise the child when she ends the tantrum: It is a well acknowledged fact that positive reinforcement ensures repetition of behavior.  While that reinforcement should not be materialistic, do make sure it is verbal.  Offering verbal congratulations for a child's end of the tantrum expresses that you value that ability.  Praising your child when she ends the tantrum would ensure that the span of the next tantrum may be shorter.  Next, offer your child another activity to refocus attention and soothe emotions.
  2. Teach the child healthier ways to express anger:  Take it upon yourself  to teach your child healthier and more effective means to express her anger.  Tell her that she has a better chance of being heard and understood  if she makes it clear that she is angry and why.  To teach your child to verbalize her anger would not only reduce and with time finish off the temper tantrums, but would also make your child more  communicative and verbal.  Another option is to ask your child, "Try another way," to managing and emotion or to respond to you when you ask, "Show me what you want."  Take her by the hand and be willing to be shown.
  3. Reason only when the child is calm:  To reason with a child throwing tantrum is useless and next to impossible.  Logic rarely works in a fit of emotion.  Instead wait till the yelling and crying is over and then talk with an older child.  This will make the child more receptive  and you have a much better chance of being heard.
  4. Do not take the child on a guilt trip:  Temper tantrums are not uncommon and specific to your child alone; hence do not make her feel that way.  Making a child feel guilty about throwing a tantrum could either make the child rebellious or make her retreat into a shell.  Both scenarios  are bigger problems.  So instead of making your child feel bad about throwing a tantrum, explain her why tantrums are unhealthy and uncalled for.
  5. Connect with your child's needs:  A  child throws  a tantrum  for a reason.  As a parent, your are supposed to be able to figure this out, as if by magic.  One way is to read up on the developmental needs of a child at each age.  Another way is to use your intuition  and "feel" your child's needs.   A third way is to observe the environment  and seek  to know what might  have triggered the disruption and remove the stimulus.  A final  technique is empathy.  If your body exploded in eruptions of tears and release, what would you need?  ....To be held, spoken to reassuringly, taken out of the environment, loved??? Connect with your child's needs through empathy and give her the positive message that you take seriously.  Not only will this give you a better chance of being heard, but will also  help your child develop a mature state of mind.  Once your child understands that you understand her, she will give you better responses.

May 5, 2008

5 Different Ways to Deal With Your Child's Temper Tantrums

Temper tantrums among younger children can be a source for discouragement among parents who feel overwhelmed and embarrassed by them.  The following are a list of 5 effective measures to control and deal with your child's tantrums. 
  1. Do not hit or punish the child:  What I have observed in parks, stores and playgrounds is that some parents' first response is to spank or hit the child.  While hitting or spanking the child might seem like the easiest and most efficient way to calm the child's tantrum, the truth is the hitting would make the child sulk and cry even more.  The younger the child, the more emotionality may be running through their small bodies and the eruption needs time to cool down.  The child who can only express what is inside does not easily control a tantrum.  Time is what the child needs and a removal from the stimulus.
  2. Do not bribe or reward the child:  Do not take the other road and try to calm the child by stuffing candy into her mouth, or by buying her a new toy.  This would immediately calm the child but will also give her the message that in future all she has to do to get her demands met is to throw a tantrum.
  3. Be patient: Keep yourself calm and composed during your child's tantrum.  Make sure you do not start one of your own while trying to deal with the one your child is throwing.  Your child is in the midst of upset, and your job is to remain calm pillar of strength.  Forget being embarrassed, and focus on connecting with your child and moving to the next step.  To calm  yourself, take deeper breaths sing soothingly to yourself and your child, use self-talk as in, "I can handle this right now.  I am calm and I love my child."
  4. Ignore the tantrum:  Sometimes the most effective way to deal with a tantrum is to simply ignore it unless harm is being done to himself or the environment.  Don't feed the disruption in attempts to soothe your child if you are unsure of yourself.  Instead take other measures to play music as a distraction.  Tell him you are going to go into another room now, and he can join you when he's finished, then without punishment or an attitude of withdrawal, simply go to another space.  The child will most probably tire on her own and settle down.
  5. Set a good example: Children learn most of the things from their parents by modeling and mimicking their behavior.  If your child witnesses you flying into a rage every time you are stressed or things are not going your way, chances are she will pick up the same.  Try to keep yourself as calm as you can in front of your child while you deal with everyday situations and life in general.  In fact why not model managing stress with your child as a great role model of taking walks, stretching, exercising or breathing deeply and effectively.

May 3, 2008

Parent Coaching For Enjoying Parenting Today And Everyday!

Parenting is the hardest job of our age.  It is very easy for parents to forget the joys of life and  parenting itself during everyday routines...  My name is Sedef Orsel....  And my job is to help parents to feel more confident and relaxed at their parenting job, so that they can enjoy life as a parent today and everyday!