So, we stumbled across a Shark Tank open casting call in Las Vegas right after the new year. We live/work in San Diego, so Vegas is only about a 5 hour drive. It felt like fate. We have made a ton of strides as a business in the last couple years, but we have a LONG way to go to be the leader in kids eye wear we want to be. I thought a Shark could help, and worst case scenario, I'd have a fun experience to blog about! Check out the quick video of how it went when I went to Vegas to audition our fun sunglasses for Shark Tank! While I obviously could not film myself pitching the producers, I included the rough text of my 1 minute pitch below so you can picture it. Hope you find it interesting, it was really fun to do! We won't know how we did for a long time, so now we just sit and wait!
Shark Tank Casting Call
Our Pitch (or close to it! Kind of a blur what exactly was said!)
Hi, I’m Scott, founder of Roshambo Baby. I am seeking a $X investment for X% of my company. Here’s the simple problem we solved: 50% of the lifetime UV damage done to your eyes occurs before the age of 10 years old. Despite that, the kids eyewear industry is full of cheap, breakable, frankly, ugly stuff largely made in China. It made me and my wife sad. We solved that by going to Italy and creating a line of matching baby, kids' and adult unbreakable sunglasses that can do this. [SHOW OFF HOW FLEXIBLE AND AWESOME THEY ARE!] Full damage and lens replacement guarantee, so light they float, certified safe for baby, BPA free, lead free, all that stuff. You can drive over these in your car and chances are they’ll be fine. Trust me, we’ve done it.
But that’s not the only reason I am here. The reason I have like permanent jazz hands about the unlocked potential of my company is because while our frames can also do this, they can also do this [PULL OUT A PAIR OF SHADES WITH A PRESCRIPTION LENS IN THEM!].... all of our frames are prescription friendly and kids can swap out their prescription lens for a new frame color every day if they want to! There is nothing quite like our product on the optometry market. We launched an affordable prescription fulfillment service on our website last year to rave reviews from parents. We are at the tip of an iceberg. Think Warby Parker for kids.
We are poised to take this innovative product to a wider audience. I want to be the market leader in children's eyewear because Little People Deserve Big People Shades. But I need a shark to get there.
Parenting is a delicate balance of knowing how to raise your kids with integrity while also preparing them for the real world.
Sometimes this means doing things that seem counter-intuitive to make sure our kids are actually hearing what we are saying and learning from situations.
Something that I learned from teaching and in the first couple of years of parenthood is that opportunities to talk to children without saying no is so important.Now as a mother of two, parenting without saying no, don’t, and stop is an important part of my every single day.
Sometimes it’s hard to admit that hearing no is really tough. And in a very real sense,I by no means want my children to grow up without having ever been told noand my kids still hear no on a daily basis. It is absolutely part of life and one I want them to hear.
However, I have drastically cut down on its use in our home by saying no without actually using the word. And in cutting down, it has made use of the word more effective for us. So why would I advocate for adopting the “parenting without saying no” approach?
Very simply… because they listen better.
The way we are hard wired as humans is to listen to the sentence structure. We sometimes hear the first part of a sentence, almost always hear the last part, but rarely hear the middle unless we have our complete attention on the person talking to us. And really, what young child is giving us their undivided attention at all times?
Beyond just the way we hear, it’s also important for all of us to have clear directions. If we are given vague instructions, it leaves a lot of gray area. This is because there are a thousand alternatives to “not” doing something, but only one course of action that should be done when told specifically what to do.
So why would we not want to adopt a system that helps our children listen to us better? Or be more obedient?
So how do I remove negative words when talking to my child?
It’s really easy to say no… WAYtoo easy. So it’s not going to be a cake walk to retrain your mind to ditch negative words and actions like “no”, “stop”, “don’t”, “can’t”, etc. but it is possible. It took me a long time and I am still not perfect. It’s all about practice.
Instead of saying “Ican’ttalk right now” when I am waiting on hold on the phone and my daughter comes to ask me a question, I say “I am on the phone right now. I can talk to you in a little bit”. I do this because I am focusing on what she is going to hear. If she is not giving me her undivided attention, she may only hear “talk right now”. Instead, I want her to hear “on the phone” and “in a little bit”.
Related: Need help navigating your child’s behaviors?
Likewise, if my daughter is in danger and is too close to the street I am not about to yell “Don’t go in the street!” because I don’t want her to hear the last half of it. I want her to hear “Come here please!” or “Move away from the street!”
Alternatives to saying no & using negative language with kids
There are numerous examples I could give, but thought some of the best were in the image above. We have also replace “don’t touch” with “please keep your hands to yourself”/”please keep your hands in your pockets” (we go to antique stores a lot).
And my husband is working on not using “my ears don’t hear whining” because she has shut down too many times. Instead, we encourage her to use her words and express her emotions in a way that we can understand.
Yes! This has everything to do with the idea of being intentional with our words and giving clear instructions to our children. Using positive phrasing actually has the ability to set clearer boundaries than the word no itself.
Magda Gerber once said “A child who is never told “no” is aneglectedchild.” And I completely agree, but sometimes it’s also more abouthow we tell them no, rather than the word itself! We must affirm what our children need to do. Rather than discipline and teach them by telling them what not to do, it’s a lot easier to tell them exactly what we want them to do. In telling a child not to hit, maybe he thinks “Well can I kick?”
When my daughter threw a small wooden ball and it hit me in the forehead instead of saying “NO! Don’t throw that!” I simply said “Ow! That really hurt. Please keep your toys in your hands.”
In the end my parenting has become much more intentional by using negative language and “no” lessand coming up with a more positive approach. It makes the power of “no” retain its meaning and has created clear boundaries for my children.
Get the Positive Discipline Cheat Sheet
Need help reframing how you see or respond to situations with your kids? This cheat sheet will help you through some of those tough moments when you want to react with frustration instead of love. The sneak peek is below, but be sure to subscribe to download the full, printable version!
Watch this response to many of your questions & concerns about reducing negative parenting language.
**Edited for Author’s Notes:
The list provided is simply a visual to help say no less. In fact, that is the thesis of my article. In no way have we ditched the word “no” forever. It’s all about finding alternatives and choices, especially in the hard moments as a parent when nothing is working.
Also, the phrasing of “negative language” and “positive language” simply refers to the grammatical English term in that the sentence is or is not negative.
For more responses, such as one to the “we will not buy that” alternative, please watch the video.It explains how we say no, divert attention, and create boundaries with our words. Thank you all for your great feedback and responses!
Magnetic toys and tools from Child.com.au can be foundhere
Thanks to Child.com.au for sponsoring this post as well as 10 readings of my storybook Mason’s Greatest Gems. The book shares how to “mine your inner gems” and develop virtues. Character building activities such the one described in this post are a great follow-up to the story.
Child.com.au has donated each institution I visit a $100 gift voucher to use on educational materials from their extensive range.
I recently enjoyed visiting a primary school in Mount Isa (outback Queensland) to do a reading. This visit was especially fun because the kids knew all about mining as their town had a huge mine in it!
After the book reading, I asked the children to name the virtue from the scenarios on the free printable found here and the child who answered correctly got to stand up in front of the group holding the gemstones I had prepared (pictured above). After all the gems on the worksheet had been covered, we went through the virtues again by asking for new examples (and the students then sat down as their virtue had a new example described).
One shift in thinking has drastically improved my parenting, and that ismoving from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset about being a mom. This growth mindset says – you are always learning and it’s never too late to make a more positive choice. When you make a mistake it’s not an indication that you are doomed to be a failure; it’s an opportunity to grow.
The concept is easy enough to understand, but changing the thinking habits I had wasn’t as simple. One of the interesting things about growth mindset that Carol Dweck states in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, is that we can have a growth mindset about one area of life, but not another – that’s how I was about parenting. I had a growth mindset about things like creativity and academic learning. However, when it came to parenting,I expected myself to be a natural at being a mom.
I felt so awful about making mistakes in parenting. I’d feel so terribly guilty that I could barely make room for more positive, growth oriented thoughts. However, over time I discovered certain phrases that would quiet down thenegative judgmental inner voiceand allow me to learn instead of getting stuck in a place of depression and hopelessness. Here is a collection of those phrases that encourage a growth mindset about parenting.
10 Phrases to Encourage a Growth Mindset in Parenting
Always learning– short and simple, you can think about this phrase to remind yourself that it’s healthy to be in the process of learning, you don’t have to know everything.
Connection, not perfection– this is my personal favorite growth mindset phrase for rememberingthe priority in my relationships is connection, not getting every detail perfect. It is useful to think when I find myself getting stressed about a family event not going as planned, when I want to support a friend and don’t quite know the right words, or when I find myself waiting for just the right time to talk or play with my kids.Connection, not perfectionnudges me towards what matters most.
This used to work for us (or I thought this would work for us) but I am empowered – I can make a change when things aren’t working.It can be hard to have a growth mindset when something you thought would be perfect for your family….isn’t. We put a lot of store in parenting choices like schooling, breastfeeding, foods we feed our kids, childcare, sleeping arrangements and so on. It’s not to say the way we handle these decision isn’t important, they are. However it is a mistake to believe there is one right way and if you find it everything will be great. Sometimes we have to make a change, and it can be humbling and scary, but holding on to patterns that don’t work for your family is no way to be a leader. Which leads us to another phrase that helps you have a growth mindset about parenting…
It takes strength and wisdom to recognize you need to change course, and then take action to make that change.
I made a mistake and I am a big enough person to learn from it and move forward instead of clinging to something that isn’t working.Sometimes it stings to admit we were wrong, but compounding a mistake by clinging to something that isn’t working for you isn’t the answer. Learning from it and moving on is freeing.
It’s never too late to make a more positive choice.Sometimes I’ve been caught up thinking that everything is a mess – why bother? This phrase reminds me that making a more positive choice is always an option.
I am a work in progress and this is part of that progress.It’s great to have a vision of where you want to be, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that the process of learning and growing has great value. You are someone valuable right now.
I always have potential for growth.Yes you do – you are not too old, too broken, too dumb. You have potential for growth. It’s helpful for me to remember I am not stuck being one particular way; through effort and time I can change if I wish.
What have I learned from this?Reflecting on what you’ve learned, even from the most uncomfortable situations, helps you grow.
The Christmas season is starting to get to me. I can't get enough of the holiday lights, the music, and the preschool performances, but the crowds, the chaos, and the never-ending to-do list are starting to make me feel more like the Grinch than the magical little Christmas elf I'd like my children to experience. I blame it on the fact that Iwon'tbe home for Christmas.
On Christmas Eve morning, my husband and I will be up at 5 a.m., only this time our predawn wake-up call won't be our 11-month-old, who has recently pushed back his wake-up time to at least 5:30 a.m. (lucky us!). Instead, we're setting our alarms to catch a flight to Florida to celebrate Christmas and ring in the New Year on the beach. Undoubtedly, a vacation is just what I need; except, my two children are coming with us, and as most parents know, a vacation with two kids ages 3 and under is really just a trip — and a stressful one at that.
While we've traveled during the holidays before, this is the first time we'll be flying with two kids and the first time we'll be away with a child who actually expects Santa's bounty to show up on Christmas morning. This has definitely complicated things and forced me to come up with a strategy months in the making. Each of my tips has its advantages and disadvantages, but I'm fairly certain they're the only way I'll survive traveling this Christmas without losing my mind.
Ship gifts in advance.This morning, I stood in a 20-person line at the post office and mailed all of my kids' prewrapped presents to our rental in Florida.I went minimal this year, but it still cost me $40 (thanks, abnormally shaped box!). Still, I figured it was cheaper than checking yet another bag at the airport, with the added benefit of not having to lug that bag around. While it's great to have most of my shopping done a full week before Christmas, it did mean that I had to shop early, wrap early, and generally be more organized than normal.
Buy travel-friendly gifts.While I didn't buy my kids a lot of gifts, pretty much everything I did buy was really travel-friendly. New swimsuits and pajamas would have had to be packed anyway, some new coloring books and little games for my daughter will make our flight home easier, and our Disney MagicBands clue my little lady in on her major gift: a trip to Disney that didn't have to be packed at all!
Schedule a diaper delivery.Whether Diapers.com, Amazon, or Honest Company is your preferred provider of diapers, wipes, and baby bath products, now is the time to schedule a delivery straight to your rental or resort. One tip: try to only order as many diapers as you think you'll need. No one wants to leave behind 100 diapers . . . or find room in your luggage to take them home.
Book a car service to the airport.This might seem like an extravagance, but when my husband and I did the math, it was actually cheaper for us to get a car service to take us to the airport than to park there for more than a week. Plus,curbsidedrop-off means that I'm not stuck alone with two kids and all our luggage for the 30 minutes it would take my hubby to park the car and shuttle back to the terminal. Win, win.
Find a good baby rental service.If you're like us and renting a condo that doesn't come complete with a crib and other necessary baby items, find a local company that will rent them to you. Ours drops off a full-size crib and high chair (my two must haves) before we arrive and picks them up after we leave. In the past, I've rented jogging strollers and bouncer seats, and while the items weren't quite as nice as the ones we have at home, they did the trick. I recommend packing an extra crib sheet and sound machine from home, or you might have a few sleep-deprived nights as your baby adjusts to the new environment.
Pack strategically.I always keep a packing list on my phone so I can add things as I think of them. Some less obvious items that I'm planning on taking include my long-retired baby monitor, necessary so my husband and I can hang out at my parent's condo next door while our kids are asleep; a breast pump, so we can have a couple of dinners out without the kids; and lots of extra chargers and headphones because, hey, an iPad or iPhone has been known to keep me sane on many a flight, car ride, and dinner out.
Bring a little bit of Christmas with you.I struggled with whether being away from home on Christmas would kill a little of the holiday spirit for my daughter, but I decided a few extra days on the beach were worth ditching the possibility of a white Christmas. Still, I'm packing her stocking to fill for Christmas morning, a couple of her favorite ornaments to hang around our rental, and portable speakers so we can play lots of holiday music. Add in tons of family time, and I think our beach Christmas is going to be worth the trip.