“Name it to Tame it” written by Abby Hottle SLP and Renee Mattson  M.Ed.


“Name it to Tame it”

It’s a phrase coined by Dr. Daniel Siegle, author of The Whole Brain Child, No Drama Discipline and co-founder of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. Name it to tame it is a great strategy to help your child conquer and identify with their big emotions. Are they feeling scared? Are they angry? This is where you can come in an create a meaningful, teachable moment to support your child by identifying what he or she is feeling. The act of being able to put a name on a big emotion is therapeutic and healing.

Consider helping your child come to the conclusion on their own, for example, thinking out loud by saying something such as, “I wonder if you’re feeling scared about going back to school?” or “It sounds like you are feeling mad.”  or “I can see from your face (or body language) that you are sad.”

For some children who have more challenges understanding and using a lot of language, offer less words. For example, “You’re mad!”

Remember that it can be tricky to process a lot of words at a time when a child is experiencing a big emotion.  This can happen even when they are super excited.
Try to cater your language to their specific needs.

Name it to tame it works best after connecting with your child.
First Offer a hug, a gentle touch, or some sort of physical touch.
Then Name it to Tame it.

Name it to tame it also applies to behavior. Let’s name the behavior and increase the child’s awareness and understanding of what they are doing. For example,
We don’t “talk nasty.”
We don’t ” grab toys”
We don’t “have hurtful hands”

Without naming it we end up running in circles, and generalities that we can’t exactly pinpoint.
Without pinpointing we are not able to zero in on what it is we do not want to happen anymore.

The same can be true when we are trying to identify what we want…

Be Nice
Be a Good Boy
Be Kind

These are all honorable expectations but way too general for little ones to understand.
So next time specifically name what it is you are looking for.

We use kind words to talk to our family and get what we need.

We wait our turn instead of grabbing toys from our friends.

We use our hands to play and show what we need but never to hurt.

The same is true for naming routines or special things you do with your family.
If there is a specific name for the routine or special activity we are much more likely to hold to it and follow through on doing it regularly. The naming of it helps us to hold tight to it – name it, tame it… claim it!  When we name what we want or don’t want from our kids it is easier to function as a family.

Remember naming it is the first step, and  then you really need to
Teach Model and Practice new things to do in an effort to replace the old behavior.

Name it.
Teach it.
Model it.
Practice it.
Replace the old named behavior with the new named behavior!


“Two Steps Forward, Look…Two Steps Backwards” by Renee Mattson M.Ed.

Many times couples will call us to help them with a certain part of their child’s day.

“Help! We have morning time routines that are stressful and unproductive.”
“Help! We have bedtime routines where no one is listening & everyone is stressed out.”

In both of these situations (and in others that we deal with), we often tell our clients to look two steps back to the routine that happens just before the current routine.  So for morning time, we look back towards bedtime… and for bedtime we look back towards daytime.

We tell them to ask themselves:
What happens at bedtime that could affect the morning time routine’s success?
What happens throughout the daytime routine to positively or negatively affect the bedtime routine?

In the middle of stressful times in your day (especially morning and bedtime) parents and children get carried away by “time crunch stresses” and these time crunches cause everyone to be a little more cranky, emotional, and dramatic.  If you can preplan these time frames by doing some preemptive work in the time frame before hand, you might make morning and bedtime go more smoothly.

Making Mornings go more smoothly by looking two steps back towards the bedtime routine.
1. Set out clothes the night before (some families even let their kiddos sleep in their school clothes so there is no drama about clothes when they awake in the morning.  Whatever works right?! 😉
2. Bring clothes downstairs the night before so you don’t have to make so many trips back and forth in the morning
3. Have children go to bed as early as possible the night before so they are well rested and get out of bed a little easier, and make sure parents go to bed earlier too so everyone is a little nicer in the morning.
4. Set up a plan for wake up for yourself that allows you to get out of bed before your kiddos, so you are on offense rather than defense.

Make Bedtime routines more doable by looking two steps back towards the daytime routines.
1. It’s hard to have the patience to follow through during the bedtime routine when everyone is exhausted. So, first, really work on following through when you have more energy during the day .    Showing your child that you are consistent and that you follow through as best you can in your day to day interactions will help the interactions at night time go more smoothly.  This is because they will know from their experiences with you during the daytime that mom and dad consistently mean what they say… If you are “willy nilly” with your daytime policies, it is very difficult to follow through solidly with your bedtime policies because everyone is a little more cranky and tired and worn out by bed time.    So, making your follow through solid during the daytime will help you follow through better at night time.
2.  Draw out the plan for bedtime with your kiddos at a separate time of day (other than bedtime) so that you can have a clear conversation and demo about how you want it to go without everyone being too exhausted to hear or see it.  Teach outside the moment and never in the middle of the temper tantrums right before bed.
3. Make up a visual checklist of the things that have to be done before you enter into bedtime, and then during bedtime, encourage your child to check things off as you go. Share the power and control by adding choice and flexibility in the order of how things get checked off, and add in connection time.
4.  Be willing to have your child TAKE a LOSS (door closed, lights out, lost favorite toy) if they get out of bed.  Remember you didn’t take these things from them… they lost them by choosing to defy the routine.  If they choose to stay in bed, then they choose to have the door open, the light in the closet on and their favorite toy in bed.

These things may help you to release out of this power struggle and give them  the power to change their day or night.









Pool Rules!!!

Pool Rules!!!

After spending several days lounging at a pool on vacation, I have some specific observations…

Pool Rules are always posted
So that the life guards and management can hold the guests accountable…
Are your House Rules posted?
If not they should be.
It will make it so much easier for the management (you the parents) to follow through if the rules are posted.
Have your drawn out a plan for your pool rules that are visual and easy to see… You may want to keep this rule list laminated or in a sealed plastic Baggie in your pool bag.

Focus on Go behaviors
When kids are running at the poolside instead of yelling STOP RUNNING! (Which is always a pool rule)…
Try yelling… WALK…
Giving kids the GO behavior to focus on is more productive than barking at them about the STOP Behavior.

Make your self crystal clear (like the sparkling pool waters).. Click here to Read more
Speaking of Stop Behaviors if you have to say stop make sure you are crystal clear about what it is they need to stop.   Instead of throwing out a multitude of STOP IT’S, QUIT IT’s , ENOUGH of THAT’s… Get specific and crystal clear on what you want your child to put an end to.   Also teach them to be crystal clear with each other so they can tell their friend or relative what they do not like about the play situation.
Instead of saying Stop it… Say, “Stop hitting your brother with the pool noodle.”
Instead of saying Quit it… Say, ” Quit splashing the lady while she is reading her book”.
Instead of saying Enough… Say, “Enough crying and fussing over going to the snack bar again.”

Try not let the Pool Scene stand in the way of your Follow Through…
The Pool is one of those dreaded places where kids are naturally apt to make a scene…
They are hot and bothered and overwhelmed and so are their parents.
All eyes are on the parents when their child acts up and the whole pool arena becomes a
parent judge-a- thon where all the other parents can critique and evaluate how you handled a sticky situation.
Don’t let the parenting pressure at the pool affect your rules, consequences, and follow through.

Make a Plan that is leveled and logical.
Have a plan that involves sitting out or rewinding the situation  if you have misbehaved.
Taking a break at the car or in the bathroom (if you are fussing… Have another mom ready to help you with your other kiddos if needed)
Or simply going home (taking a loss) …even if you just got there

To avoid the bad behavior in the first place… 

  • Make sure you leave before the afternoon “I need a nap” fussing ensues.
  • Make sure everyone is well hydrated and well fed
  • Break it up with different options for play and fun… Not everyone wants to swim all day.
  • Connect with your kids… Play with them, join in the fun a little or else they will try to get your attention in inappropriate ways.
  • Just like you would never forget to pause and put on sunscreen, Pause before they jump right in and go through the plan and the rules of how this pool time is going to look.

The moral of the story at the pool is clear…
Set rules and boundaries and don’t be afraid to follow through even if it means packing it up and trying it again tomorrow.


Father Them… Anyway

The idea for this post came to me this morning when I saw a quote from Mother Teresa of Calcutta.mother teresa

I have read it several times before and tried to use it as a model  myself when dealing with difficult people in my life, but today it rings true as a model for fathers…

Here is my own version to help Dad’s everywhere deal and cope with the most difficult job of parenting…

Children can be hard to manage and control…

Lead them anyway

Children can make messes and fuss when things don’t go their way…

Play with them anyway

Children can say horrible things that sound disrespectful and scathing…

Forgive them and allow them to Rewind anyway

Children can be expensive and require us to sacrifice so much…

 Support them anyway

Children are always breaking the rules…

Be clear and firm about your rules anyway

Sometimes it’s just easier to give in than to deal with the melt downs…

Children are begging for consequences…

So,  follow through anyway

Children are needy and should be able to do more things on their own…

They are begging to be shown new skills…

So help and teach them anyway

Lead, Play, Forgive, Support, Be Clear and Firm, Follow Through, Help and Teach your children. 

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO OUR CLIENTS (These dads are some of the best dads on the Planet who really care and want their families to function better… They know they cannot do this difficult job on their own and together with their child’s mother they have decided to get the support they need to make this job a little more doable).

Contact us… at info@childinbloom.com   We are here to help!







Teach Model and Practice MUTE

Kids say the Darndest things.  
They ask adults their age,
They ask teachers if they are pregnant (when they are not… YIKES!!),
They tell their grandparents their breath stinks
and they say things like, “I don’t like you”
or “Yuck, your green beans taste like throw up”How do we teach our kids to filter what they think from what they say?

Here is a Child in Bloom approach to help…

We have to identify the behaviors that are not okay.
No Hurting  No Fussing No Disrespect
This means: no hurtful words, no fussing words, or no disrespectful words.

We have to give them new replacement behaviors or new things to say or do.
We have to set expectations and consequences for behaviors.
We have to teach model and practice these things… VISUALLY
We have to follow through on these expectations and consequences
We have to notice the positives… when they do it correctly
When you TEACH MODEL AND PRACTICE show your child
the difference between
Thinking and Saying

Use thinking bubbles and talking bubbles
in your visual storylines to show the difference.

As our child’s first  and most important teacher, it is your job to help them gain the filter and become aware of what needs to be MUTED and what is okay to express.
Give your child lots of scenarios to practice and role play.
Giving them opportunities to brainstorm new ways to handle sticky situations.

Here are some scenarios to start with…


“The Bus driver is in a bad mood today.” I can think this (thinking bubble),
but I better not go up to the bus driver and say,
“Why are you being so  mean today?” That might make the bus driver crazy mad.”I don’t like the spicy chicken my mom made for dinner.” I can think this (thinking bubble)
but I cannot say “This chicken is horrible.”   Of course that might hurt my mom’s feelings.

“I already have the gift that grandma gave me”, I can think this (thinking bubble), but I cannot say, “Uggh I already have this game!” That will make your grandmother feel badly.

Giving kids new phrasing to replace the old phrasing might help:
What about saying to the bus driver something nice…
“Have a good day.”
What about saying to mom something nice about something else on your plate,
“I really love the sweet potatoes you made.”
What about saying to your grandmother,
“Thank you for the gift”

It is okay to teach children to MUTE or CHANGE the negative talk that happens in their brain before it comes out of their mouth…