Dee Hillman


Productive Parenting

Real talk! I’ve been seeing so much content urging moms to take a moment for themselves so they can boss up and get it done. You know what? I don’t have that option. My village works during the day! Sure, I have wonderful people around me and a very supportive husband that can give me a few free hours during a weekday, but that’s not a phone call I would make on a weekly basis. I use those favors wisely!

So, what does the mom with multiple children (say, I don’t know…FIVE!) do when they’ve got to reply to emails, write or ideate? Well, if you’ve done your due diligence with “home training” you can totally go out with multiple children and have a peaceful, joyful, and productive time in public.

My independent three-year old is in training, too!

Here’s how:

#1 – Establish a clear response from the child when you give them a directive.

This is so important! So many times I see parents tell their child something and then the parent asks, “Did you hear me?” or “What did I just say?” If you establish a clear response from the child beforehand that communicates what you just said to that child was heard and understood, it will minimize the back and forth that is so frustrating in public.

The clear response from my children is, “Yes, ma’am.”

This is so powerful! If you’re in public and your child decides to act a complete fool, as they love to do…the sound of your clear directive, followed by their clear response stops the chaos immediately. As soon as a child can talk, they can reply with a clear response to your direction.

Take your children out often so they can practice appropriate behavior in public.
#2 – Establish a method for interruptions.

If you are on the phone, talking to an adult or another child, you need to have a way for that child to communicate they would like to speak to you. For me, “excuse me” is disruptive. So we chose this method:

  • If I’m talking to someone, the child who wants my attention, touches me on the arm.
  • I then touch the child’s hand and keep my hand on their hand to let them know I acknowledge their presence and will address them as soon as I get a break in the conversation.
  • When I’m ready to speak to the child (don’t make them wait long), I give them my full attention and address them directly.

This is such a peaceful and impressive little method. It keeps the child calm and you as well and stops the, “MOM, MOM, MOM…” that makes everyone’s eyes roll in the coffee shop.

We’re able to attend ceremonies and long events because of the home training practices in place.

#3 – Teach your children appropriate language.

We’ve got to be clear on the language that is okay for our child to say. If you want her to not say “dang it” and “shoot” when you tell her “no” then you’ve got to model the appropriate responses.

My mother taught me early on, children are novices. They need to be taught everything! We simply can’t leave their behavior to chance. If they are doing something you do not like, guess what? You can reteach them a new way to response to replace the negative behavior pattern.

A child left to himself brings his mother shame
– Proverbs 29:15

For me, if I tell my child “not right now” and they reply with a big sigh, kick their legs in the air, and turn away from me in a huff…we’ve got a problem. That response is not the lovely plant I’m trying to grow and that weed has got to come up!

So, we’ve got to identify the right way to respond, teach that behavior. and reward it when it happens. And then, monitor it closely to make sure the response becomes a habit that sticks at home and in public.

I run errands with the kids all of the time!
#4 – Be realistic!

Tired and hungry children are not cooperative…at all! So do yourself a favor, make sure they are fed, rested, and ready to go before attempting to hangout somewhere.

Was able to do lesson planning while the little ones read at the library.
Practice makes perfect. And with continued tries, you’ll be able to lose the anxiety that you’ve been feeling with having your kids out and about.

Doing a sound check before a performance. The kids were sitting quietly behind me.
I remember when my second eldest had disruptive sensory outbursts every where we went. I learned how to have tough skin and get over embarrassment quickly. I also learned some occupational therapy tricks that made him calmer in the grocery store or while waiting in line at Jamba Juice.

For your sensory seeker or child on the autism spectrum, try these tricks:

  1. Beef jerky. It’s tough and takes your full attention to chew and swallow. It’s a very distracting food to give a child who craves stimulation. Instant attention grabber that will occupy a sensory seeking kid.
  2. Weighted backpack. I would put heavy books in Ethan’s backpack to slow him down. It prevented him from running and that extra “work” it took to carry the books (not too heavy of course) was a source of comfort and reduces the risk of sensory overload. For more information on how to do this properly, check out this link.
  3. 1 lb. ankle weights. I also used ankle weights on Ethan to slow him down. He was a runner, spinner, and crasher. The weights were fun “work” that made him distracted, slower, and stronger. Wrist and ankle weights can help promote muscle strength and stability and increase sensory awareness to the hands or feet!
Visiting a friend who was recuperating, and I brought all five kids with me. 

I hope this post was helpful to the mama who is ready to crush their goals with kids in tow.

I was busy planning our extra curricular activities for the year while the kids played nearby.

If you’ve got some productivity tips on how to live seamlessly between motherhood and work, leave them in the comments below. I can’t wait to read your responses!

Dee Hillman Avatar

19 responses to “Productive Parenting”

  1. Carolyn Bims Avatar
    Carolyn Bims

    What an amazing READ!! Number 3 Teaching children the appropriate language was extremely helpful. I have a 10 year old and 8 year old boys and so often they give me the “buffs &puffs” I will definitely implement more of your methods. Thank you

    1. Dee Hillman Avatar

      So glad you got a chance to read! Lots of prayers and love to you on this parenting journey 💖

    2. chavette johnson Avatar
      chavette johnson

      I loved it.

  2. Ebere Avatar

    Great job mama! I especially love your technique for interruptions! BTW, I didn’t know you have a boy Ethan! My boy is Ethan too!

    1. Dee Hillman Avatar

      Thanks for reading, Ebere. That interruptions technique is excellent and it’s fun to practice, too! Oh…and Ethan is such a handsome name. ☺️

  3. CeeCee White Avatar
    CeeCee White

    Lady Dee!! This was amazing!! So many helpful and insightful tips, and I must say that I’ve used most of these tips on my daughter and nieces and nephews! Like you, my mom taught us early and I’m proud that our family has some of the most well mannered children. We get compliments all the time. Im definitely going to pass this blog on to mothers around me. If its ok, I can print it out and post it in my moms daycare for some of the parents there!

    1. Dee Hillman Avatar

      CeeCee! I’m so glad you had a chance to read the post. Please pass this along to the moms…what a great idea ☺️

  4. Kelly Avatar

    I love this! I think our biggest struggle is the clear response/clear directive. My older girls are constantly feeding off of each other’s actions, especially when one misbehaves and the other notices and wants to call it out, causing them to also misbehave – and the cycle continues. I think if I can find a way to be clear and concise with my directions & teach them to respond quickly in word & action, it will cut out a lot of the repetitious nagging. Sometimes I think Heaven, my eldest, has some sensory things going on. At home she often just bursts out in random yelps, is rarely still even when reading or watching a video and is constantly distracted; usually unable to follow directions without stopping to do or look at something else along the way. Thanks for writing this. I still don’t know how you do it all (other than Holy Spirit given ability) but at least I know its possible, which gives me hope for our little wild tribe haha.

    1. Dee Hillman Avatar

      Girl, I’ve got a wild tribe, too! But it’s amazing how they fall in line when it’s time to go somewhere. Take a deep breath and remember consistency is key. Thx for stopping by!

      1. Charlene Avatar

        WOW…This is so awesome…!!!! Lady Dee, you provided some very helpful tools and applicable techniques for new and older Moms alike. Sharing your stories and your transparency prayerfully will give more Moms the courage to seek helpful advise and not be ashamed or discouraged if their children struggle in different areas or act out,…it’s not the end, your encouraging testimonies offer hope, tools and solutions. Thank you for sharing and look forward to more good reads…..

  5. Jennifer Avatar

    Love it Dee! Thanks for the tips. I will definitely be implementing especially as Jayla is getting older. We have to be on the run and I don’t want to leave her behind.

    1. Dee Hillman Avatar

      Sis! She’s gonna love having a “seat at the table” watching mommy win 💖

  6. Renita Avatar

    Wonderful tips and great inspiration! Spoke with you at choir rehearsal on Tuesday. Was not aware of your blog but glad I know of it now. I’m being helpful grandma these days and really appreciate your tips on how to keep everyone in the family happy and healthy!

    1. Dee Hillman Avatar

      Thanks for reading, sis! Let’s get the little ones together soon 😊

  7. Sonya Bryant Avatar
    Sonya Bryant

    What a great story. Some many valuable tips and information…and let’s not even talk about the beautiful pictures. Such happy babies. This can be and should be a book, a story and/or article in the “Children” magazine. Great job Sis.

    1. Dee Hillman Avatar

      Thanks, sis! I’m so glad you visited the blog and enjoyed my post. ✨

  8. Tiffany Avatar

    Thank you for your time and dedication to you blog. It has blessed me! Some of the tips were helpful reminders and the rest were great tips to implement at this moment! Faision is definitely a sensory seeker. I try to have fidgets and a coloring assignment for him when I know we will be sitting for a while. Coloring gets his focus…until the sheets are finished! Lol

    1. Dee Hillman Avatar

      Hey, Tiffany! Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I love to hear other parents’ experiences with their kids’ sensory needs. It’s definitely something we should be talking about more to shift how we manage behavior. 🙌

  9. Jeannemarie bordoli Avatar

    Dear dee, I think of you a lot since the concert at bay view last Saturday. My rule of thumb is to pray for someone if they cross my mind and you do it a lot. I hope you have contacted padre pio and my Jesus by now. You certainly have an adventurous life and I wish you lived closer. God bless you and your family. Fondly, peace and prayers. Jeannemarie bordoli.

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