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  • gretchenrubin 12:00:29 on 2018/11/06 Permalink
    Tags: , children, , guide, , , ,   

    Gift Guide for Kids in College and Middle School, Suggested by My Daughters 

    One of the great joys of life is giving people gifts that they want and need—and a big happiness stumbling block is not having any good ideas for what such a gift might be.

    I decided to ask my daughters what they'd suggest, for people wanting to buy gifts for children their age.

    My older daughter Eliza is a sophomore in college. She suggests:

    • temporary tattoos (such as these)
    • fun flip-flops for the shower
    • Command hooks of various kinds
    • twinkle lights
    • nice pens
    • a smart speaker
    • soft blanket
    • fun keychain
    • bean bag or inflatable chair (I have to admit, I had no idea what an "inflatable chair" was, but Eliza explained that it's something like this.)
    • a fun collapsible umbrella
    • gift card to Starbucks or food places

    My younger daughter Eleanor is in middle school. She made the point that this is a tough age for gift-giving, because kids are too old for toys but too young for many items that adults would enjoy.

    She suggests:

    If you're looking for unexpected, delightful gifts for recipients of any age, check out the MoMa Gift Store.

    What are your suggestions for good gifts for these ages?

     
  • feedwordpress 12:00:14 on 2018/04/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , book recomendations, , children, , favorite books,   

    My Favorite Books About Parenting. 

    Mother’s Day is coming up, so in honor of the holiday I decided to make a list of my favorite parenting books. I’ve read many parenting books, but there are a few that really stand out to me – in many cases, I’ve read these books several times.

    One thing I've discovered is that when a parenting book is truly excellent, its advice is just as helpful for dealing with adults as with children. Children and adults are more alike than we sometimes assume. For instance, when I was researching habits for Better Than Before, my book about habit change, I did a fair amount of research on the design of pre-school and kindergarten routines.

    So after reading these books about parenthood, I’ve applied most of what I learned to my adult relationships, with equal success:

    1. How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

    How I love this book! It has helped me tremendously as a parent – and in every other aspect of my life. In fact, I probably think more about its lessons in the context of adult interactions that I do of child interactions. I've read it at least five times. It’s very wise, and it’s also a very fun read.

    One of the most important lessons I learned from this book? Make people feel happier by acknowledging that they’re not feeling happy. When we acknowledge the reality of other people’s feelings, they know they’re being heard. Instead of denying feelings like anger, irritation, fear, or reluctance, we do better to articulate the other person’s point of view. It turns out that when people’s bad feelings are acknowledged, those feelings dissipate more easily.

    This was a giant revelation to me. It really, really works. If you’d like to read a post I wrote on this subject, it’s here.

    2. I also love Faber & Mazlish’s book Siblings Without Rivalry.

    3. Practical Wisdom for Parents: Raising Self-Confident Children in the Preschool Years by Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum.

    I love this book, in part because it’s a terrific book and in part because it was written by two people whom I really like and respect. In fact, as I describe in my book The Happiness Project, I played a small role in the book’s inception. (You can also read that story here.)

    If you want to listen to a two-minute episode of "A Little Happier" where I describe one of the many wise things that Nancy Schulman said to me, it’s here.

    4. Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children by Michael Thompson.

    I’m a giant raving fan of Michael Thompson’s work. It’s practical, realistic, and insightful, plus it’s written in a very engaging way.

    Here’s a post I wrote about a passage from the book about why it’s a bad idea to "interview for pain." Again, this principle is just as true for adults as for kids.

    5. I also love Thompson’s book Mom, They're Teasing Me: Helping Your Child Solve Social Problems. If you want to hear "A Little Happier" episode where I talk about one of the most important lessons I gleaned from that book, it’s here.

    6. The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel.

    This is a very useful book that emphasizes why it’s important to let children make mistakes, suffer consequences, handle disappointment, and deal with boredom as part of their growing up.

    What are your favorite books about parenthood? I’d be especially interested in any recommendations aimed at parents of twenty-something children. My older daughter isn’t twenty yet, but she will be, before I know it. The days are long, but the years are short.

     
  • gretchenrubin 17:43:43 on 2017/07/25 Permalink
    Tags: children, , , , , ,   

    Help! Have Ideas for a Four Tendencies Quiz for Kids? 

    Four Tendencies Quiz Kids

    I’m getting geared up for publication of my book The Four Tendencies — planning the book tour, getting ready to launch the major pre-order bonus (stay tuned for that!), thinking about my book talk.

    I can’t wait for the book to go out into the world.

    One question keeps coming up, over and over, and I want to sit down to figure out the answer before the book hits the shelves: people keep asking me to write a version of the Four Tendencies Quiz aimed at children — so I’m going to try to draft one.

    I need to adapt the existing Quiz so that it uses vocabulary that children understand as well as examples that resonate with them. How do I help determine if a child is an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel?

    I could really use your suggestions and ideas! What questions should I ask? Related to dealing with school, parents, friends, coaches, classes, pets, anything that’s part of a child’s life.

    I asked this question over on my Better appmy free app that’s all about the Four Tendencies — and got such helpful, insightful responses, that I decided to ask here, too.

    One difficulty is that an eight-year-old and an eighteen-year-old inhabit very different worlds. I’m not going to write multiple versions of the child test (at least not at this point), so one challenge is to try to be general enough to cover most ages.

    For some children, their Tendency is very obvious at a very young age. For other children, it’s much harder to determine. Partly, of course, this is because children aren’t autonomous in the way that adults are. Also, their lives tend to include tremendous amounts of accountability. Nevertheless, in my experience, it’s often possible to see a child’s Tendency.

    To spark your thoughts, here are the questions from the adult version:

    1. Have you kept a New Year’s resolution where you weren’t accountable to anyone—a resolution like drinking more water or keeping a journal? 

    • Yes. I’m good at keeping New Year’s resolutions, even ones that no one knows about but me.
    • I’m good at keeping resolutions, but I make them whenever the time seems right. I wouldn’t wait for the New Year; January 1 is an arbitrary date.
    • I’ve had trouble with that kind of resolution, so I’m not inclined to make one. When I’m only helping myself, I often struggle.
    • No. I hate to bind myself in any way.

     

    2. Which statement best describes your view about your commitments to yourself?

    • I make a commitment to myself only if I’m convinced that it really makes good sense to do it
    • If someone else is holding me accountable for my commitments, I’ll meet them—but if no one knows except me, I struggle.
    • I bind myself as little as possible.
    • I take my commitments to myself as seriously as my commitments to other people

     

    3. At times, we feel frustrated by ourselves. Are you most likely to feel frustrated because…

    • My constant need for more information exhausts me.
    • As soon as I’m expected to do something, I don’t want to do it.
    • I can take time for other people, but I can’t take time for myself.
    • I can’t take a break from my usual habits, or violate the rules, even when I want to.

     

    4. When you’ve formed a healthy habit in the past, what helped you stick to it?

    • I’m good at sticking to habits, even when no one else cares.
    • Doing a lot of research and customization about why and how I might keep that habit.
    • I could stick to a good habit only when I was answerable to someone else.
    • Usually, I don’t choose to bind myself in advance.

     

    5. If people complain about your behavior, you’d be least surprised to hear them say…

    • You stick to your good habits, ones that matter only to you, even when it’s inconvenient for someone else.
    • You ask too many questions.
    • You’re good at taking the time when others ask you to do something, but you’re not good at taking time for yourself.
    • You only do what you want to do, when you want to do it.

     

    6. Which description suits you best?

    • Puts others—clients, family, neighbors, co-workers—first
    • Disciplined—sometimes, even when it doesn’t make sense
    • Refuses to be bossed by others
    • Asks necessary questions

     

    7. People get frustrated with me, because if they ask me to do something, I’m less likely to do it (even if they’re a boss or client).

    • Tend to agree
    • Neutral
    • Tend to disagree

     

    8. I do what I think makes the most sense, according to my judgment, even if that means ignoring the rules or other people’s expectations.

    • Tend to agree
    • Neutral
    • Tend to disagree

     

    9. Commitments to others should never be broken, but commitments to myself can be broken.

    • Tend to agree
    • Neutral
    • Tend to disagree

     

    10. Sometimes I won’t do something I want to do, because someone wants me to do it.

    • Tend to agree
    • Neutral
    • Tend to disagree

     

    11. I’ve sometimes described myself as a people-pleaser.

    • Tend to agree
    • Neutral
    • Tend to disagree

     

    12. I don’t mind breaking rules or violating convention–I often enjoy it.

    • Tend to agree
    • Neutral
    • Tend to disagree

     

    13. I question the validity of the Four Tendencies framework.

    • Tend to agree
    • Neutral
    • Tend to disagree

    But a new question for the kid’s version doesn’t need to inspired by this existing Quiz. It could be something completely different, as long as it shows the differences among the Four Tendencies.

    I appreciate any thoughts or examples you might have!

    The post Help! Have Ideas for a Four Tendencies Quiz for Kids? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 18:11:20 on 2017/06/21 Permalink
    Tags: , children, , , , , , ,   

    Podcast 122: Tackle a “Power Day,” People Who Question Your Good Habits, and What’s Your Advice about College-Bound Children? 

    Update: The September book tour for The Four Tendencies is set! I’ll be going to New York City (obviously), Boston, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.  I hope to see you there — please come, bring friends. Info is here.

    Try This at Home: Tackle a “Power Day.” In episode 6, we discussed a “Power Hour.”

    Are you wondering if you’re a Rebel? Take the quiz here to see if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel.

    Happiness Hack: Jen explains why having a two-person book group has made her happy. (I love one of their reading choices, Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead.)

     Happiness Stumbling Block: Kelly’s in-laws discourage her from eating the way she likes to eat.

    I mention several strategies of habit change from my book Better Than Before.

    If you’d like to know what a low-carb zealot like me eats every day, here’s the post.

    Listener Question: This week, I have a question for listeners. My daughter Eliza is starting college in the fall, and I would love insights, suggestions, experiences, and advice about dealing with a child going off to college. This is a big transition, so I would love to hear people’s ideas.

    Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth gives herself a demerit for lamenting the end of the first grade for Jack.

    Gretchen’s Gold Star: How I love the waterfall in the ravine of the North Woods of Central Park.

    Two Resources:

    1. Follow me on LinkedIn — just go to happiercast.com/linkedin.

    2. In just 21 days, you really can take steps to make your life happier—without spending a lot of time, energy, or money. I’ve created four premium 21 Day Happiness Projects for you to follow, if you want to tackle one of these common happiness challenges. Or buy the Omnibus, to get them all. Find out more by clicking on the links below.

     

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

    I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial,  including postage and a digital scale — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

    Also check out StitchFix, an online personal styling service with real stylists who handpick clothing for you — your taste, your schedule, your lifestyle, your budget. Sign up at StitchFix.com.

     

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” Check out these great shows: Side Hustle School and Radical Candor and Happier in Hollywood.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 122: Tackle a “Power Day,” People Who Question Your Good Habits, and What’s Your Advice about College-Bound Children? appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 11:00:00 on 2017/06/10 Permalink
    Tags: children, , , , ,   

    “Sometimes I Dream About Him When He Was Younger, and I Remember It with Such Sweetness that It Wakes Me.” 

    “I also can still see many of Sam’s ages in him. New parents grieve as their babies get bigger, because they cannot imagine the child will ever be so heartbreakingly cute and needy again. Sam is a swirl of every age he’s ever been, and all the new ones, like cotton candy, like the Milky Way. I can see the stoned wonder of the toddler, the watchfulness of the young child sopping stuff up, the busy purpose and workmanship of the nine-year-old…

    “I held him loosely and smelled his neck. Sometimes when I dream about him, he’s in danger, he’s doing things that are too risky, but most of the time he’s stomping around or we’re just hanging out together. Sometimes I dream about him when he was younger, and I remember it with such sweetness that it wakes me.”

    –Anne Lamott, “Diamond Heart,” in Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

    My daughter graduated from high school this week, so you see where my head is.

    The post “Sometimes I Dream About Him When He Was Younger, and I Remember It with Such Sweetness that It Wakes Me.” appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 18:07:04 on 2017/06/07 Permalink
    Tags: , children, , , , , , , ,   

    Podcast 120: Very Special Episode of Listener Questions about the Four Tendencies. 

    Update: Congratulations to our beloved producer, Kristen Meinzer — her hilarious, addictive podcast By the Book got picked up! She and her co-host comedian Jolenta Greenberg choose a different popular self-help book and report what it’s like to live “by the book” — for their pilot, they lived by The Secret, next up, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Check it out, subscribe!

    Every tenth episode, we do a “Very Special Episode” that’s different from our usual structure. For this VSE, we discuss listener questions about the Four Tendencies.

    Want to take the Quiz, to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel? It’s here.

    Want to listen to the episodes dedicated to each Tendency?

    Upholder is episode 35 — “Are you like Gretchen and Hermione?”

    Questioner is episode 36 — “Do you always ask why?”

    Obliger is episode 37 — “Can you meet a work deadline, but can’t go running on your own?

    Rebel is episode 38 — “Do you hate being told what to do?” Note: we weren’t able to interview a Rebel as part of that episode; if you want to hear from a Rebel, check out this interview with the brilliant Chris Guillebeau (bestselling author and host of the podcast Side Hustle School) about his perspective as a Rebel. Start listening at 25:15.

    My book The Four Tendencies hits the shelves in September. As I mention (often!), if you’re inclined to buy the book, it’s a big help to me if you pre-order it. Pre-orders build buzz among booksellers, the media, and other readers; it makes a very big difference to the fate of a book.

    Questions we discuss in this episode:

    “How can a doctor quickly figure out someone’s Tendency?”

    “How can I as an Upholder parent better understand my Rebel child?”

    “I’m an Obliger who works for a Questioner. How can I feel less frustration?”

    “As a Rebel, how can I tell myself to eat healthfully and exercise?”

    “I’m an Obliger, and I’m resisting the new office policy that we show a badge. Is this Obliger-rebellion?”

    “An Obliger friend keeps busting through her budget — because she owes it to other people to spend. What’s up?”

    “I’ve realized that my Obliger Tendency is affecting my dating life, for instance, by being too accommodating. How do I create a balance?”

    If you’re intrigued by the Four Tendencies, and want to join the lively discussion on the Better app, sign up! It’s free. You can start or join an accountability group (Obligers, I know many of you want to do that), ask questions, have discussions about your own Tendency or dealing with someone else’s Tendency.

    Elizabeth’s Demerit: Elizabeth wanted to start hiking on the weekends with friends; it hasn’t happened.

    Gretchen’s Gold Star: Gold star to everyone who has provided me with their perspectives, examples, and questions about the Four Tendencies. I have a lot more insight into other people — and myself.

     

    Resources related to the FourTendencies:

    1.  Try the Better app — it’s free, fun, and informative.
    2.  Take the Quiz to learn your Tendency.
    3. Buy a Tendency mug — complete with the Tendency’s motto! So fun. (Scroll down.)

    1pix

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

    I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial,  including postage and a digital scale — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

    Also check out ThirdLove, the lingerie brand that uses real women’s measurements to design better-fitting bras. Try one of their bestselling bras for free, for 30 days, by visiting ThirdLove.com/happier.

    Also check out Audible. Audible has an unmatched selection of audio-books, original audio shows, news, comedy, and more. Get a free audio-book, with a thirty-day trial, by going to audible.com/happier.

     

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” Check out these great shows: Side Hustle School and Radical Candor and Happier in Hollywood.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 120: Very Special Episode of Listener Questions about the Four Tendencies. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 19:08:38 on 2017/05/01 Permalink
    Tags: , , children, , , , , ,   

    A Little Happier: We Don’t Always Know When Children Are Wasting Their Time. 

    As a parent, it’s very tempting to try to prod our children into useful or enriching activities: play chess, practice piano, play tennis.

    But sometimes children want to do things that might look like a big waste of time—and when my children are doing that, I remind myself of the many examples I’ve heard of, where what looked like “wasted time” to an adult ended up being very useful to that child, later in life.

    Because of my current obsession with color, I was reading a book called How to Decorate put out by Farrow & Ball, a well-known maker of paints and wallpapers.

    This passage I read is from Joa Studholme, who is part of Farrow & Ball’s creative team.

    “I had no formal training. I am Farrow & Ball homegrown, nurtured by an astonishing group of people. However, as a child, I did spend an inordinate amount of time rearranging my set of Caran d’Ache crayons to see how different colour combinations worked. My dolls’ house was constantly redecorated and I was always experimenting with colour, painting my ceiling bright yellow to try to fill the room with sunlight or creating cosy spaces in cupboards by painting them dark.”

    As a child, did you do something that adults dismissed as “a waste of time” that proved to be no waste? Or have you seen that phenomenon in children you know?

     

    Check out Smith and Noble, the solution for beautiful window treatments. Go to smithandnoble.com/happier for 20% off window treatments and free in-home or on-phone design consultations and free professional measuring.

    Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

     

     Happier listening!

    The post A Little Happier: We Don’t Always Know When Children Are Wasting Their Time. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • gretchenrubin 23:44:24 on 2017/04/12 Permalink
    Tags: , children, , , , , , , , , , , , studying, , ,   

    Podcast 112: Pick a Uniform, Time Yourself, and a Deep Dive into a Conflict with a Boss. 

    Update: There’s an official launch date of May 18 for Happier in Hollywood, the fantastic new podcast that Elizabeth is doing with her longtime writing partner and friend, Sarah Fain. Of course I’m biased, but it’s so good.

    Try This at Home: Pick a uniform.

    Here are the two articles I mention about wearing a uniform: “Why I wear the same thing to work everyday” by Matilda Kahl, and the follow-up article, “Saatch & Saatchi has a Dress Like Matilda day.” So fun to see this uniform in action! (The photo above shows people at the “Dress Like Matilda” day.)

    We talked about Kim Scott, co-host of the podcast Radical Candor and author of the bestselling book Radical Candor, who wears a uniform of an orange sweater and jeans.

    1pix

    I also mention the article “Obama’s Way,” the interview by Michael Lewis where President Obama talks about paring down his decisions about choosing suits.

    Happiness Hack: Clare in Seattle suggests timing yourself to see how long a task actually takes.

    Deep Dive: We return to Cindy’s listener question, which we discussed in episode 108: “My boss quit smoking, and now wants to join me in my precious solo lunchtime walks.” Listeners raised so many excellent points.

    If you want to take the Four Tendencies quiz, it’s here–find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel.

    Speaking of Kim Scott, because so many listeners suggested using “radical candor,” we actually called her to ask  how to use radical candor in this context. For more info on Radical Candor, check out the podcast. And here’s a photo of the “Flintstone House.” It’s pretty kooky.

    1pix

    DCIM100GOPRO

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Listener Question: Tara asked for study tips, because she’s a mother, working full-time, and studying for online course.

    Demerit: Elizabeth’s glasses were scratched and hard to see through — for years. But now she has new glasses! Demerit becomes gold star.

    Gold Star: I give a gold star to Eleanor, who used a cute video of baby sloths to calm herself while getting a shot.

    New feature: I’m starting a new feature; each week, at the end of the podcast, I’ll list “Two Resources for You.”

    1. Check out Elizabeth’s terrific young-adult novel, Flower.
    2. The Better app, which is all about the Four Tendencies, is now free! It used to cost $9.99/month, but I decided to make it free.

    If you want easy instructions about how to rate or review the podcast, look here. Remember, it really helps us if you do rate or review the podcast — it helps other listeners discover us.

    I do weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

    As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

    Check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid trips to the post office, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a 4-week trial,  including postage and a digital scale — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

    Also check out Little Passports. Check out “Science Expeditions” — the new educational subscription with a science theme that kids and parents will love. To save 40% on your first month’s subscription, enter the coupon code HAPPY.

    Visit Framebridge.com — a terrific way to get your art and photos framed, in a super easy and affordable way. Use the code HAPPIER at checkout to get 15% off your first Framebridge order. Shipping is free.

    We love hearing from listeners:

     

    To sign up for my free monthly newsletter, text me at 66866 and enter the word (surprise) “happier.“ Or click here.

    If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a rating or review. Click here to tell your friends on Twitter.

    Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material. (Not sure how to review? Instructions here; scroll to the bottom.)

    How to Subscribe

    If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

    Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen to the award-winning Happier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

    Want a new podcast to listen to, with the same vibe as Happier? The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” The first shows are Side Hustle School and Radical Candor. Elizabeth’s show with her writing partner, Sarah Fain, will be Happier in Hollywood, so stay tuned for that.

    HAPPIER listening!

    The post Podcast 112: Pick a Uniform, Time Yourself, and a Deep Dive into a Conflict with a Boss. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 04:09:14 on 2016/09/06 Permalink
    Tags: , children, contentment, , , more, , , , satisfaction   

    A Little Happier: Having More Doesn’t Always Make Us Happier. 

    toycars

    I wrote about this story in my book The Happiness Project; its lesson is just as true for adults as for children.

    I’ve never forgotten about that little boy saying sadly, “I can’t love lots of cars.”

    If you like this story, and would like to hear more wisdom from the teacher who told it to me, you can check out the excellent book that she wrote with her colleague: Practical Wisdom for Parents: Raising Self-Confident Children in the Preschool Years, by Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum.

    If you want to get the  Moment of Happiness newsletter, where I email you a quote about happiness or human nature every morning, sign up here. I love gathering and sharing quotations.

    Want to get in touch? I love hearing from listeners:

     

    Happier listening!

    The post A Little Happier: Having More Doesn’t Always Make Us Happier. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
  • feedwordpress 21:47:17 on 2016/08/23 Permalink
    Tags: back-to-school, , children, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Back to School: How to Help Your Children (and You) Form Good Habits. 

    back-to-school

    In the United States, it’s back-to-school time. And that means getting back into the habits required by school.

    So many things to manage! Waking up on time and going to bed on time. Packing the backpack for school, with homework, permissions slips, lunch, sports clothes, etc. Doing homework. Showing up promptly throughout the day. Plus, many children have after-school activities, so there’s just that much more to remember.

    The question is: how can we help children form habits that will help them handle this load, without our constant nagging and supervising?

    I’ve thought a lot about this myself, because each year when school begins, it hits my family hard. We have to work to get back into the swing of routine. Upholder that I am (see below), I relish this routine, but the other members of my family don’t agree.

    In my book Better Than Before, about habit-formation, I learned one key fact that many habit experts ignore. There is no magic, one-size-fits-all solution for habits. The thing that works for me may be the opposite of what works for you. We need to form habits in a way that suits our nature. And the same is true for kids.

    In Better Than Before, I identify 21 strategies that we can use to master our habits. So there are many from which to choose, as you try to help your child. Consider, for example:

    Strategy of Convenience — this is the most universal strategy. We’re all more likely to do something if it’s easy to do it. So make it easy for your child to stick to a habit. If you want him to hang up his coat, clear out the closet so there’s plenty of room, or put in hooks that are quicker to use than hangers. If you want her to practice an instrument every afternoon, figure out a way so that all the equipment can stay at the ready, instead of needing to be hauled out and put away every time she practices.

    Strategy of Inconvenience — likewise, we’re less likely to do something if it’s a pain. If you want him to stop sneaking cookies, put the cookies in a hard-to-open container on a high shelf. If you want her to stop hitting the snooze alarm in the morning, put the alarm clock across the room, so she has to get out of bed to turn it off.

    Strategy of Distinctions — people are very different from each other, but we parents often try to make our children form the habits that work for usDon’t assume that because something works for you — that you work best in a space that’s very quiet and spare, or you think most clearly early in the morning, or you like to get everything finished well before the deadline, or you like to have a lot of supervision — that the same is true for your child. Pay close attention to how that child works best.

    I made this mistake with my older daughter. When I work, I must be at a desk, and I kept trying to get her to work at a desk, instead of sitting in a chair or on her bed. It drove me crazy. How could she be productive on her laptop, when she was sprawled across her bed? Finally, light dawned. Just because I work best at a desk doesn’t make that a universal law of human nature.

    Strategy of Abstaining — this strategy works well for some people, but not for others. Talk to your child, and explain, “For some people, it’s too hard to have a little bit of something, or to do something for a little while. They find it easier to give something up altogether. Do you think that for you, it would be easier to stop ________ [playing that favorite video game, using that app] than to try to do it just a little bit? Or maybe just do it on the weekend?” Your child may surprise you. Maybe not, but maybe.

    Strategy of Other People — to a huge degree, we’re influenced by other people’s habits. So if you want your children to adopt a habit, adopt that habit yourself. If you want them to be organized in the morning, be organized yourself. If you want them to go to sleep on time, go to sleep on time yourself. If you want them to put down their devices and read a book, put down your device.

    Strategy of Foundation — It’s easier to stick to our good habits when we have a strong foundation. That means getting enough sleep; not letting yourself get too hungry; getting some exercise; and (for most people) keeping our physical space reasonably orderly. So to help your child manage habits well, make sure to emphasize things like bedtime, not skipping meals, physical activity, and clutter.

    Strategy of the Four Tendencies — In this personality framework, I divide all of humanity into four categories: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell a child’s Tendency until young adulthood — but some Tendencies are obvious from a very young age.

    To figure out your Tendency, here’s a Quiz (more than 500,000 people have taken it). You could ask your child to take the Quiz, or read the short description of the Tendencies here — in many cases, you will very easily identify your child’s Tendency.

    Or here’s a extremely over-simplified version, but to give you an idea:

    If your child seems to need little support during the school year, that child is probably an Upholder.

    If your child asks a lot of questions, and says things like, “But what’s the point of memorizing the state capitols?” “I didn’t do that homework because it’s a waste of my time, and the teacher is an idiot,” your child is probably a Questioner.

    If your child is able to do tasks when given reminders, deadlines, supervision, but struggles to do things on his or her own, that child may be an Obliger.

    If, to a very noticeable degree, your child wants to do things in his or her own way and own time, that child is probably a Rebel. If you ask or tell a Rebel to do something, that Rebel is very likely to resist. It’s very helpful to identify a Rebel early, because the strategies that work for the other Tendencies often backfire with Rebels! It’s not the case that “all toddlers are Rebels” or “All teens are Rebels.”

    In just about every situation, it’s extremely helpful to know a person’s Tendency, because it makes a big difference in what works. For instance, the Strategy of Accountability is crucial for Obligers; often helpful but perhaps not necessary for Upholders and Questioners, but counter-productive for Rebels! Supervision, nagging, and reminders will make a Rebel child less likely to keep a habit.

    The Four Tendencies framework is a huge subject. In fact, right now I’m finishing up an entire book about the Four Tendencies, and how to use them in different situations. (To be notified when that book hits the shelves, sign up here.)

    If you want to hear more, you can also listen to discussions on the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast. Elizabeth and I have talked about it several times, for instance, here.

    How about you — have you found any strategies or tips for helping a child to form good habits? The pressures of  school make it very clear that for children as well as for adults, having helpful habits makes life a lot easier.

    The post Back to School: How to Help Your Children (and You) Form Good Habits. appeared first on Gretchen Rubin.

     
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