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So, How Far Have You Come in Your Parenting?

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Where were you two years ago in parenting?

Sometimes we get so caught up in the present-day challenges we forget to look back and see the progress we’ve made. 

And we should! 

A week before the 100th episode of the Hand in Hand Parenting Podcast,  Elle and Abigail do just that, with an affectionate look back over the last two years they’ve been making the podcast.

Abigail talks about how her kids have adopted, rely on, and now take ownership of the tools, and Elle recalls the sleeping and eating challenges they’ve overcome, plus how emotionally aware her kids are since the tools have become a regular feature of family life.

Now, your turn!

Here’s why we need to look back sometimes…

This episode serves as a reminder of all the miraculous change and good you are doing now and can expect more of in the future.

Listen this week and then scan back over your own milestones, challenges and successes and drink in how far you’ve come. 

How many can you chalk up?

Listen to So, How Far Have Your Come in Your Parenting?

Come celebrate the amazing work you are doing as parents. 

More support for your parenting

Get these five ideas to make parenting less stressful to keep close when things get hard

Read A Love Letter to Parents

Can’t chalk up any recent high points? Listen to Are You Headed for Parent Burnout?

Stay connected

We’d love to hear about your parenting challenges. You can follow Hand in Hand on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Be sure to drop Elle and Abigail a message at

Get weekly tips, ideas, and inspiration for your parenting in our newsletter



The Best Ways to Rise Strong After Mom Shame

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Your heart sinks as you join the long line of people snaking the aisle at the grocery store.

Your baby is already making those noises she makes when she wants you to hold her, and there are about 15 minutes until she needs feeding.

You are pretty sure this line will take double that.

How did this happen?

You tried to get out to the store all day, but between your friend dropping in, the late nap, and your toddler refusing to get on his shoes you arrived late. (There’s 15 playful ideas for getting out the house here). 

Now, he’s begging for snacks, your baby’s cries are escalating and this line doesn’t seem to be moving. You pull your baby out of the cart and land her on your hips and she quiets for a few minutes.

But with about three people ahead of you, she’s screaming again. She’s late for her feed. You notice your son has dumped a few fistfuls of candy bars into the cart, and he wails as your dump them back out. The baby cries harder, and you quickly unbutton your shirt so she can feed, you can pay, and you can all get to the car.

You fumble in your bag for the dried apples your son likes and hand him one. 

You breathe. It’s going to be ok…

An Already Hard Situation Gets Harder

And then a stranger taps you on the shoulder.

“The feeding room is over there,” she nods. “You shouldn’t breastfeed here. It’s offensive.”

The Best Ways to Rise Strong after Mom Shame 

Have you ever been mom-shamed? Or felt judgment in your parenting choices? That moment when things are already feel bad and some person moves in and just makes things feel a hundred times worse?

Join us this week as Abigail describes the gut-wrenching time she got mom-shamed smack bang during one of her most desperate times in parenting.

She explains the exact advice she got that helped her rise strong and move on from mom shame, and we talk about how you can too. 

  • See mom-shaming for what it really is
  • Who to turn to when you’ve been mom-shamed
  • Why you deserve support when parenting gets hard
  • Small but mighty ways you can help empower other moms and pass mom caring on

Bounce back from parent shame. Join us this week for The Best Ways to Rise Strong After Mom Shame.

Get More Resouces For Rising Strong After Mom Shame

Abigail invites you to join this intimate call with five of the wonderful mom’s she’s worked with. Find out what transformations they made in their families, and how you can too.

Sign up now – spots are limited.

Join here:


What happens when you want to walk out on parenting?

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So, today we’re talking about the less sunny side of parenting. And when we say less sunny, we really mean those dark, never-ending winter-like days that are bleak, lonely and cold.

They hurt.

Some of us live in denial of these days – and it’s easy to see why. In a world of social media where every picture seems to radiate warmth and snuggly good feeling, saying your experience is any different can open doors to shame and judgment.

Even when we admit it, it’s often as whispers while we’re alone. “I want to walk out on parenting,” is not something you’d usually proclaim at your mom and toddler group.

If you wanted to keep going, anyways.

But today we’re plummeting those depths in honor of us and in honor of you, because if you have no place else (and we sincerely hope you do – listen to suggestions in the podcast) this should be a safe space.

You all are working so hard at being kind, calm parents – and everyone needs a space to rage.

On the podcast this week, we’re shedding light on:

  • Why parenting gets so hard
  • At least three things you can try when things get tough
  • How to find peace in parenting lightly when life is overwhelming
  • One tool you must try to find hope in the hard moments

If you’ve ever dared think you can’t go on with parenting, or if you’ve stuffed those feelings down so long you can barely feel them, we ask you to listen in this week.

Join Abigail’s Free Class on Anxiety

Catch Abigail’s free class on anxiety. Click here to get practical tips on flipping anxiety and living a freer happier life. Join class. 



Powerful Ways To Banish Fear of the Dark (and other things that kids say go bump in the night)

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Powerful ways To Solve Your child’s sleep issues using the Hand in Hand Tools

Your kid is going crazy about taking a bath. Just won’t. You wrangle and wrestle. It’s nearly bedtime after all. You are sooo close!

Then when you finally make it to the bedroom, your child refuses to put on pyjamas. Then requests a drink. And then another. Doesn’t want to brush their teeth. Needs a certain toy who, yes, you guessed it, is missing. 

Will sleep ever come?

Finally, your child makes it under the covers but as you go to turn off the light, your child screams, “No!” I’m scared of the dark.”

“Mama. Don’t go.”

Should You Stay or Should You Go?

And you are left with the question, do you stay or will you go? (Or at least try?)

We called this podcast powerful ways to solve your child’s sleep issues because, oh boy, if there was ever a parenting challenge made to test, it’s this. 

The end of the day. 

Alone time insight. 

A moments peace or a chance to rest yourself. 

Sleep looms bright in our minds. 

But so many times looms dark for our kids. 

Why Do Some Kids Just Hate Bedtime?

Today we’re talking why kids have such a hard time with bedtime. (And why we do!). And why sleep issues can be easy to dismiss. Know this – they are MUCH MORE to do with us than our kids. 

On Powerful Ways to Banish Fear of the Dark (and other things kids say go bump in the night) we cover:

  • Lights? Music? Do distractions work?
  • How to take tiny steps toward fear
  • One key thing about leaning in and connecting 
  • The counteractive way to banish bedtime blues
  • Hunting down the feelings behind your child’s words

Listen now to Powerful Ways to Banish Fear of the Dark More Resources to Solve Your Child’s Sleep Issues

Like this thinking? Read Three Gentle Ways to Fight A Child’s Resistance to Bedtime or Sleep and The One Question You Need To Ask To Help a Child Sleep Better

Get more pre-bedtime games here: Five Games to Help with Bedtime Refusal

Take inspiration from this mom’s story about how she used play when her child got scared at bedtime

Last chance to transform your parenting in Parent Club. Grab your spot now, doors close Wednesday. Click here to discover your bonuses, and everything else Parent Club offers you.


How to help Kids Manage Their Friendships

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So there it is. An invitation. Your child is waving it in your face with a grin brighter than gold.  

And you?

Does your heart soar?

Or sink?

  • Acceptance
  • Similarity
  • Belonging
  • Self-worth
  • Influence
  • Betrayal

Here’s Why OUR Friendships Matter

Friendships can arouse big feelings – in us as well as our kids – and how we approach the joys and the ickiness friendships can bring requires us to separate. We need to remove the “us” from the “them.”

But it can be tough untangling our own feelings when we invite friends into our families. (or they invite us). 

This week, we’re inviting you to spend a minute or two thinking about the friends your child has, and the common challenges that come up when kids make friends (or don’t!).

From Friends to Frenemies – the good, the bad and the ugly with kids and friends

  • An explanation about why kids exclude others that you may not have considered
  • Why friendships are fluid and how to use the Hand in Hand Tools to anchor relationships
  • When to get involved in friendships and drama, and when to let go
  • Why your friendships influence how you handle children, friends and their fallouts
  • One tool you can use to ease your children’s friendships along
  • One conversation to try when your child is getting controlled in a friendship

Helping Kids Get Along: How Laughter Can Bring Friends Together highlights a great way to help kids build bridges. 

Need New Friends?

It can feel lonely parenting in a new way. And it’s hard to forge a new path without support. It’s why we created the Parent Club, a daily online spot where you can go find your tribe. Get answers from instructors, tailor the tools to your own family, take classes, get coaching, and meet together for weekly and monthly Lives with instructors (and our founder Patty). 

The Parent Club is open now – for one week only!

From September 19 to 25th, you can join the Parent Club. Click here to learn more. 


How to Keep Your Family Strong and Loving after Divorce

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Coping with divorce?

When today’s guest, instructor Kristen Zuzek Volk, found Hand in Hand, she’d almost written off a loving relationship with her daughter.

After divorcing, her two kids were screaming, crying and acting out, her daughter sometimes for nine hours a day.

Coping? Not really.

Kristen was hard on them, and harder on herself.

Even therapy didn’t work, so a parenting philosophy like Hand in Hand was the last thing she thought would help.

She was wrong. 

Find Peace in Your Parenting After Divorce

Hand in Hand’s tools brought dramatic change to Kristen’s family. She learned how to see through her kids’ “crazy” behavior to the deep hurt causing it, and she found she could heal that hurt using the tools.

Today her kids are teens.

And they are also a tight, bonded, happy unit.

If you’re coping with life after divorce, find out how you can use the tools to reach your kids. How to hold them. Anchor them.

Learn how Kristen dealt with custody transitions, differing parenting styles, and upsets that came with separation.

And learn how she navigated Special Time and Staylistening as a single parent.

If you are separated or divorced, if you are co-parenting or raising your kids mostly on your own,  if you feel isolated, or live with a partner whose parenting style is drastically different to yours, there’s support for you in this week’s podcast.

Listen to How to Keep Your Family Strong and Loving after Divorce. 

More Resources for Parenting After Separation or Divorce

Helping Children with Divorce or Separation is a wonderful resource.

If you loved Kristen’s reminder to herself “Do you want to do this the easy way or the hard way,” print this poster for your fridge. (Wait! You’re a dad? Then you’ll want this copy!). 

There are 12 Books for Children Dealing With Divorce here

Work with Kristen

Kristen Zuzek Volk is based in Colorado and works with parents in person and online. You can email Kristen directly here. 


How to Handle Your Child’s Negative Words

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You probably never imagined words like these erupting from your child’s mouth. 



Hurtful words. 

But here they are. 

“I hate you!”

Or worse. “I hate myself.”

“I want to die.”

Words that make us want to curl up and cry. Admit defeat. Give up parenting altogether. Except, of course, we can’t. 

Even piling on hugs and love often doesn’t appear to soothe a child hurling those words (and thoughts) in those moments. 

So what’s an emotionally-drained parent to do?

This week on the podcast, we’re talking about the times our kid’s words get hurtful, whether they’re aimed at us or themselves.

  • Where these words come from
  • When to take notice, when to take action
  • Ways you can respond that shift those thoughts and feelings
  • When play works better than words

When kids say stuff like this, it’s hard. It’s worse when it feels like yours are the only ones saying them. They aren’t. Join us this week for support and suggestions for how to move on when your kid’s words get hurtful. 

More resources for when kids words get negative:

For more about how kids acquire harsh language, read this article

You can listen to negative language as you would a child cry when you staylisten. Here’s the science behind the tool and how it works.

What is Hand in Hand Parenting? All you need to know about the listening tools.

Become Mother-Flipping-Awesome!

Join Abigail’s rocking new community and be mother-flipping-awesome. Go here to get registered now.

Stay connected

We’d love to hear about your parenting challenges. You can follow Hand in Hand on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Be sure to drop Elle and Abigail a message at

Get weekly tips, ideas, and inspiration for your parenting in our newsletter


Can Special Time Really Increase My Child’s Level of Cooperation? 

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Want to increase your child’s co-operation? Have them listen more? Reduce clinginess? 

Sometimes special time can feel like the magic balm in parenting.

It can:

  • Boost your child’s confidence. 
  • It can build their resilience. 
  • It can ease your own parent guilt about not spending enough “quality time with your kids. 
  • And, one of the biggies, it can INCREASE children’s co-operation. 

It does all these things! We’ve seen it countless times in our own families, but here’s the thing. Although it can increase co-operation, it isn’t guaranteed to.

Especially if you aren’t setting up Special Time the right way. 

So today, we’re talking about exactly why special time is so useful for increasing your child’s levels of co-operation. 

  • How to set it up so that you stand the best possible chance of seeing this happen. 
  • Are you using Special Time as maintenance or rescue? Why does it matter?
  • And the difference between Special Time as a bargaining tool and the genuine invitation of setting everything aside for your child and the big effects that has. 

If you’ve ever felt like Special Time wasn’t delivering the way you hoped, come problem-solve with Abigail and Elle on the Podcast this week. 

Listen to Can Special Time really increase my child’s level of cooperation? 

Set Up Your Special Time for Success

Get all the help you need making Special Time a regular feature in your family. Join the Special Time Challenge, and increase your child’s co-operation and reduce parent guilt. 

You’ll get a daily tip to action to make sure you are getting the most you can from this amazing tool, and access to our pop-up group, with even more support, including lives with our instructors. 

It starts on September 4th and its free, so what are you waiting for?

Join here



Do You Know the Best Way Out of Parent Anger?

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What gets you super seething mama mad?

Is it the constant asks and requests, the “Mom where’s my… that’s so overwhelming?

Maybe it’s the piles of toys and dishes and chip packets you asked to be tidied but are still smirking at you from the living room?

Maybe it’s the stubbornness and defiance your child shows when you ask them to take a bath after giving them a wonderful day out?

At least, you think it’s that the cause of all your parent anger!

But what if that’s not really it at all?

What if the source of your rage is connected to the limits you are setting. Or, more correctly, not setting?

What does parent anger have to do with setting limits, anyway?

This week on the podcast we’re sharing what behaviors make us blow and figuring out why. We show you how why, when you peel back the layers of feelings tightly packing your parent anger, you might well find a mama who was too exhausted, too overwhelmed, or too oblivious to set limits with her kids.

And we talk about why not setting limits leads to rupture. 

Do you know the best way out of Parent Anger?

This week, we’re talking:

  • How to start identifying your triggers and trace the source of your dissatisfaction
  • Why setting limits (or not setting them) leads to arguments and rage
  • What your parent anger can teach you, and how to recover from it
  • The power of frontloading to keep your family on track and running without disruption
  • Why good limits begin with getting clear on your values
  • Abigail also shares two good tips for getting good “anti-rage” systems in place

Join us on the podcast this week for Do you know the best way out of Parent Anger?

Listen now:

Abigail and Elle are Taking A Break 

We’re nine episodes away from 100! And while we love and appreciate the chance to connect with you weekly, we also need to set some limits – with our own schedules.

We’ll be taking a bit of a break after episode 100, and we’d love to ask you a favor!

How Have Things Changed?

We want to feature your voices in episode 100. If you want to be included leave us a message.

All you need to do is to include these three things:

  • Your name or pseudonym
  • Where you are from
  • And answer, “What has this podcast done for your parenting?”

You can also call:  818-643-1714

And if you can’t call, email Abigail and Elle at

More support for Parent Anger:

These five ideas and wonderful in times of parent meltdown: Crazy Mad: Five Ways To Ward off Parent Anger

Listening Partnerships are THEY BEST way to offload anger and examine your triggers. We also use them to explore our parenting values. Download this free guide to Listening Partnerships to get some set up.

For daily answers to your parenting questions join our wonderful free community. Join Parents Connect

What Could We Do Better?

While we’re rebooting, share your ideas! Please let us know how we can do better, and what parenting topics you’d most like for us to cover in future episodes at

Stay connected

We’d love to hear about your parenting challenges. You can follow Hand in Hand on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Be sure to drop Elle and Abigail a message at

Get weekly tips, ideas, and inspiration for your parenting in our newsletter


How to Make Your Kids Love Chores (guest starring Abigail’s son)

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If you catch yourself late at night, surrounded by toys, folding clothes and wondering why you don’t have time or energy to take a shower, ask yourself:

  • Why am I doing all the chores?
  • Where are my kids when I need them?
  • And why aren’t those helpful little mice from Cinderella a real thing?

And then breathe.

Because chances are if you don’t, you’ll explode the mother lode with a tyranny of “Why do I never get any help around here?

“Why do you NEVER pick up?”

“Why do I have to ask you THREE times,”

You know,  all that fun explosive stuff you promised you wouldn’t yell.

Things Are About to Change

This week on How to Make Your Kids Love Chores we’re looking at some great ways you can actually get down and dirty with getting your kids on board with helping around the house.

On the podcast this week, we’re talking:

  • Working with your toddler’s natural inclinations to help
  • Getting clear on what works for you and your kids when it comes to chores
  • Working on a feedback loop that encourages chat and change
  • Figuring out what’s holding you and your family back from a workable chores plan
  • The debate between rewards, charts, and consequences

And Guest-Starring…Chores From a Kid’s P.O.V

Abigail’s son even makes a (surprise) guest debut this week and shares some very insightful reasons on why he detests doing laundry! (We giggled!).

Join us this week if you are tired of battling the kids around chores, or you just don’t know where to get started on setting chores for your kids.

More To Help You In Your Quest in Managing Chores for Kids

Take a look at this primer on Hand in Hand Parenting’s approach to chores

Here’s our podcast on Emotional Projects

Remember that study we talked about where kids love to help pick up? Here it is

And, since it’s good to harness help in the toddler years, get this Transition to Toddlerhood guide if you have an ankle-biter. Download now

Stay connected

We’d love to hear about your parenting challenges. You can follow Hand in Hand on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Be sure to drop Elle and Abigail a message at

Get weekly tips, ideas, and inspiration for your parenting in our newsletter