Episode 2: Having a Flight Plan!

"Everything you need to raise a happy, confident, resilient toddler 
undamaged by living through a pandemic!"

Show notes:

In this episode, number 2 in the series, we’re looking at what you are trying to achieve with your parenting.
The long-term goal of raising a happy, confident, well balanced, resilient adult with strong self-esteem and good mental health.
In this episode we also talk about successful parenting which is having a sense of direction – just like a pilot guiding a plane to it’s destination.

In this episode:

  • We talk about the destination of your parenting
  • ​How being a pilot and being a parent is not so dissimilar.
  • ​We look at why too much correction can be bad for your relationship as it is demoralising for your toddler so we look at ways to help you change from yelling, arguing, forcing, or even bribing.
  • ​Grab a coffee, or a glass of wine, and sit and talk about what to focus on as parents – just like planning a holiday!
  • ​Think about what are important principles to your family- respect, kindness, working hard …..

The destination of your parenting

Would you get in your car and set off from London to Edinburgh without a map or turning on your Sat Nav?

Probably not!!

So why it is most families don’t ever think of what they are trying to achieve with their parenting?

I believe that good families – even great families – are off track 90% of the time and I believe the key to successful parenting is having a sense of direction and a clear vision of your destination.

I remember when I was on my first NLP Practitioner course in London with Richard Bandler and Paul McKenna and I got chatting to a really nice chap from Holland who was a pilot and he told me something that really surprised me – the majority of the time an airplane doesn’t travel on its specific flight course – it’s actually 90% off course most of it’s journey!!

I have often wondered how planes reach their destination, when there are so many factors such as air currents and the weather constantly moving them off course. Obviously, the pilot’s navigation instruments, skill and expertise help to bring the airplane to its safe destination and throughout the flight; the pilot is constantly guiding and adjusting the plane towards its intended flight path.

But the key thing for me was that the ultimate destination is always in the pilot’s mind all through the journey, and no matter how far away from its route the plane is flying, they are constantly steering the plane back towards the intended destination.

This made me think that bringing up children is not so dissimilar to piloting a plane and most of us don’t even have a flight plan!!

It is impossible to be a perfect parent all the time – that only happens in Hollywood films and it’s difficult staying on a really tight defined course because there are too many variables, such as your children’s personalities, the pressures of work, other children in your family, looking after elderly relatives and all the other unexpected dynamics and challenges of everyday living.

But effective and successful parents have a flight plan. They know where they are going and what they want to achieve – they have a strategy, not necessarily a specific hard and fast map cast in stone, but an overall plan to guide them to their destination.

By designing and planning an appropriate parenting path in your mind, you too can keep yourself from straying too far off course, and it will really help you to reach your parenting goals.

So, the analogy of the aeroplane being 90% off course throughout most of its journey and yet still arriving safely at its destination is a very appealing one to me, but hopefully thought provoking enough to make you think about where you are going in your parenting and where you want to end up!

Every family is unique with its own way of doing things and with its own rhythm but the great thing about sitting down together and talking about where you all want to go focuses you on the destination and makes being a family exciting – a bit like planning a holiday!!

Stephen Covey wrote in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families”

 “The wonderful thing is that vision is greater than baggage”.

In my TODDLER Roadmap I have created a couple of posters to pop up on your fridge to help remind you that you can download – just sign up to join my TODDLER Roadmap training community here.

So, let’s have a brief look at designing your family’s flight plan so you can have a safe and enjoyable trip and not just fly by the seat of your pants!!!

There’s loads more detail and depth around this topic in my TODDLER Roadmap.

But to kick start you let’s look at:
  • ​Learning what’s important to your family
  • ​Developing the family relationships, you want
  • Building the “we” mentality of co-operation
  • ​Staying positive
Let’s start with learning what’s important to your family.

What’s your family all about?

These are busy, hectic, and stressful times. Families face difficult pressures on time, emotions, and money. Often homes become the place where everyone takes out their frustrations, tiredness, or irritability. But I believe with a little bit of awareness and stepping back from your current situation you can remain strong, happy, and supportive of each other.

What makes some families strong? What is their flight plan?

Researchers have worked on finding answers to this for years but it’s not about the experts – it’s about you and your family.

So how do you pass on the baton of life to your children – do you know where you are trying to get to as a family?

I believe the strength of a family comes from your inner beliefs and values – you as the parent, as you are the one flying the plane. If you know what you are trying to achieve which is to develop happy, confident, resilient, independent, well-balanced adults then in the long run you will succeed, and you won’t be blown so easily off course.

Take a few minutes here – pause and get a piece of paper so you can write down all the things you believe are important in a family – things like respecting each others ideas, thoughts, and opinions, respecting someone else’s belongings – being patient and taking care of younger children, showing tolerance, kindness, and patience towards others, being helpful, working hard at school, showing tenacity, being curious or conscientious, being dependable and reliable, being adaptable, being generous and fun loving, being thoughtful, being well-mannered…. whatever you feel is important.

Just write down all the things that you believe are important principles in life and in family life in particular.
It’s also important to think about what your values mean to you and how you live them.

Just relax and write down your ideas and thoughts.

When you’ve done that read over your list and re arrange them in to your top 5 list of priority values.

Did that surprise you?

It’s also a great idea to get to get your partner to do the same thing so you can see if you are both “singing from the same song sheet” and are both going in the same direction.

If you find you’re not – don’t panic – have a coffee together or maybe even go out for a glass of wine to chat over what’s important to you as a couple as it’s really important for your kids to know and be clear about what your values are.

Take some time to really be clear about what you want your family to stand for. This is an important part of planning your parenting destination.
Write down all the things that you believe are important principles in life that you want your child to grow up having like kindness, working hard at school, telling the truth, being reliable, being polite, having self-respect, self-discipline, and resilience and maybe a sense of humour!

It will give you clarity, direction, and confidence.


Dear Sue, I’m finding my little boy Jake challenging. He used to be easy going as a baby but now I’m finding him hard work with tantrums and not doing as I ask him. Is this typical toddler behaviour or a sign of something more serious? Rula Nowak from Gdańsk in Poland.


Relationships with toddlers change as your child develops independence, language, and big feelings.
Strengthen your relationship by listening and talking with your toddler, doing everyday things together, and giving him positive attention.

A warm and responsive relationship with you is key to your toddlers’ development and wellbeing.
When you have this kind of relationship with your toddler, they feel safe and secure. A sense of security gives your toddler confidence to explore the world and learn. And as your child explores the world, they learn how to think, understand, communicate, behave, show emotions and develop social skills.

Your relationship with your toddler: what to expect.

The toddler years are really all about independence. So once you grasp that concept it makes nurturing your toddler easier to understand and handle.

Children develop quickly in the toddler years. As your toddler develops, you’ll probably find your relationship with them changes from when they were a baby.

Your toddler is learning that they are a separate person from you. They’ll want to be independent – they might want to feed or dress themselves or put on their own seatbelt. At the same time, your toddler might fear being separated from you and not want you to leave them with other people. It’s a time of mixed emotions!

Your toddler’s ability to use and understand language will develop very quickly during this time which is exciting. This language development means you can share more activities and games and start working on developing and expanding your child’s social skills like sharing and turn-talking. For example, you can play with a ball and say: ‘Roll the ball to me’ or ‘It’s my turn now’.

Your toddler’s emotions are developing too. They’ll have big feelings but won’t always be able to control them or find the words to express them. Your little one might express frustration through having a tantrum. If you can tune into your child’s feelings, you might find that you can sometimes stop tantrums from happening. And tuning in is always a good way to build and nurture your relationship.

Module 4 of my TODDLER Roadmap covers this in far more detail called ‘Handling Tantrums Positively’ and it’s where I show you my unique ‘Circle of Confidence Technique’ that will save your sanity!

Sign up here.

Funny Ways Toddlers Say ‘I Love You’

My son tells me that he’s going to put syrup on me and eat me up. I take it as a compliment since he loves pancakes!” — Sage Mommy
Read More….

What’s the way your toddler shows you that they love you and we’ll read some of them out in the next episode ?
My Toddler Roadmap looks at all the aspects of raising your toddler so they are not damaged by a unique time in history – living through a pandemic – & each module will help you to nurture your child’s mental health and wellbeing and this podcast is linked to my Toddler Roadmap training.

I’m going to hold your hand, support and guide you through everything you need to know about raising happy, confident resilient kids – today’s toddlers but tomorrow’s adults!

I want you to relax & have total confidence that you’ve got a parenting expert who’s got your back – showing you the way to happy, confident kids and knowing the pandemic didn’t damage your kids long term!

In my TODDLER Roadmap Course and Community I will give you the step by step guide for handling toddler tantrums and why they happen, I give you the roadmap for potty training, why kids become fussy eaters and what to do about it. I show you how to build self confidence in your toddler and explain why they say ‘why?’ all the time, I give you my parenting hacks on how to handle sibling rivalry when another baby arrives, I tell you about the importance of play and how to handle when they say ‘NO!’

I tell you how to handle whining, crying, and biting. I show you my tips for getting kids into a good bedtime routine and why that’s important. I talk about why reading with kids is so important and why singing nursery rhymes with them helps their language development. I show you how to handle night terrors and I look at the bigger picture to your parenting – not just the socks and pants of life that we all get stuck in!

So, I’m really excited to share with you my Toddler Roadmap.

Sign up to my Toddler Roadmap here.

Join my Facebook Group Community

I have created a private and safe space for us all – a Facebook Group called ‘Don’t Stew ~ Ask Sue Atkins’ where you can ask me anything from niggles, worries, or problems or perhaps you’d just like some new ideas or you’d like to make some new friends.

Jump on and join in – it’s free from finger pointing or tut-tting – it takes a village and we’re all in this together!
It’s like a community clubhouse – to make sure we get together to chat, laugh and support each other on the journey – so grab a coffee and let’s get social 😊

Click here to join the community!
In the next episode you’ll learn how to handle crying, whining and genuine distress and the dreaded TODDLER TANTRUM. You’ll discover my practical ways to avoid them, handle them positively and get over them quickly and also be given unique access to my free downloadable Behaviour Diary to help you to work out and spot your child’s tantrum triggers so you can avoid them!
© Copyright Sue Atkins 2022
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