29 May 2024

What is the Impact of Sharing Your Experiences?

Opening up about our experiences can feel scary.

I can empathize with that feeling. It took me a long time to share the challenges that I faced in my life, especially the ones I perceived as my imperfections. I was afraid people would judge me and think I wasn’t good enough. I worried about being rejected or criticized.

Instead, to my surprise, I found that sharing my story created opportunities to connect with others, revealing that I wasn’t alone. People told me that my openness and vulnerability gave them courage to share their own stories, giving them hope to move through their own challenges.

Sharing our thoughts, opinions, and personal experiences allows others to get to know us and discover what we might have in common. While not everyone will resonate or appreciate us, many will feel a sense of connection.

What’s interesting is, that when you share, it often puts others at ease and gives them the courage to do the same. You may discover that, just like you, they were worried about being judged.

This is what I know: You can’t control what others think of you, but you can control what you think of yourself. Stepping out of your comfort zone and authentically sharing your story is not only beneficial to your personal healing but it also gives others the opportunity for connection, support and healing.

Until next time…

16 May 2024

Ditching the phrase ‘make a good choice’

I avoid saying ‘make a good choice’ to my son. I’ve found that saying ‘good’ isn’t specific enough. Instead, I encourage him to make choices that align with his character. I emphasize specific character traits by saying, ‘make a respectful choice’, ‘make a determined choice’, ‘make a kind choice’, ‘make a responsible choice’ etc.

Remember that choice you made out of anger? It seemed like a ‘good choice’ in the moment to say it, do it, post it or type it. That’s why it’s important to be specific with your kids, since emotionally-driven choices can initially appear to be the right one, yet ultimately lead to regret and remorse because the choice didn’t show their character.

When faced with a choice, I want my son to think beyond the emotions he is experiencing. I want him to consider the consequences of his actions. Rather than doing or saying what feels ‘good’ in the moment, I want him to make choices that demonstrate respect for himself and others, determination to pursue his goals, kindness towards those around him and responsibility for the consequences of his actions.

This is what I know: When you give a specific character trait for your child to base their choice on, it helps them move beyond their immediate emotions and concentrate on the person they aspire to be.

Until next time,

1 May 2024

How to Help a Child Overcome Loss

As children travel through life’s various challenges, they will inevitably need help to overcome loss.

Whether it’s in sports, extracurricular activities, relationships, or in everyday life, shielding kids from experiencing loss deprives them of the potential for personal growth and resilience.

Helping children overcome loss is vital for their development.

Be there for them as they confront and process the loss. Instead of trying to fix or change their emotions, listen to their thoughts and emotions with compassion and understanding.

Whether they are feeling sad, disappointed, angry or frustrated, create a space where they feel safe to express themselves. By recognizing and accepting their feelings, you teach them that it’s okay to experience a range of emotions and that they are not alone in their struggles.

Help them recognize that within every loss, there are often hidden opportunities or alternative paths waiting to be discovered. By reframing their perceptive on loss, they can often uncover hidden silver linings and find renewed hope and optimism.

Watch the video to learn one parent’s approach to his child losing her best friend.

Until next time…

18 Apr 2024

How Powerful is Self-Talk in Shaping a Child’s Resilience?

Recently, I had a conversation with my 11-year-old son about his self-talk during challenging moments—whether on the ice or in everyday life.

I asked him, “What do you tell yourself when things don’t go as planned? How do you bounce back?”

His response was simple yet powerful: “I tell myself, ‘I got this.’ And I keep repeating it.”

When his self talk is, “I got this,” it not only impacts his confidence and determination but also influences the path he will choose to take.

Whenever your child is facing a challenging time, the words they repeat matters. It’s the difference between perseverance and belief in themselves or self-doubt and defeat.

I encourage you to ask your child what they could tell themselves that would give them the power and confidence to bounce back from  mistakes, misplays and challenging circumstances.

Here’s What I Know: In teaching them the power of self-talk, you will equip them with a valuable tool for navigating life’s inevitable challenges with courage and resilience.

Until next time…

4 Apr 2024

Do you speak to your child’s way of listening?

Do you find yourself wanting to give feedback in the sports or activities your child is engaged in? Are you speaking to your child’s way of listening?

Our son plays hockey.

My husband and I found that giving immediate feedback on his performance as soon as he steps off the ice or during the car ride home, wasn’t landing well.

As parents we thought we were being helpful and supportive. We thought we were speaking to his way of listening. Instead, it only caused frustration and irritation. Not only were we off in our timing, we also realized we weren’t speaking to his way of listening.

Fortunately, we recognized this and called a family meeting where we asked him, ‘What do you need from us?’ and ‘How will you hear us best?’

He shared that he didn’t want to talk right after because he needed time to decompress from the competitive adrenaline racing through his body – makes sense. He said, ‘When I’m ready, I want to hear two things I did really well and two things I can improve on.’

This allowed his voice to be heard and created connection. It also gave us valuable insight into how and when he hears information best. It helped us speak to his way of listening.

By empowering our son to voice his needs, we’re helping him self-advocate and also giving him a sense of independence. This not only benefits him in hockey but also in all aspects of his life, especially relationships.

Just as teamwork is crucial in his hockey, it’s also essential within the family unit. By working together and understanding each other’s perspectives, we are able to better support our son in his athletic pursuits and personal growth.

This is what I know: It’s important to recognize that what works for you may not necessarily work for your child. By being open to adjusting your approach, you learn to speak to your child’s listening, which is essential for fostering a healthy parent-child relationship.

Until next time…

21 Mar 2024

How to Help Kids When They Act Out

Sometimes kids act out without being mindful of their words and actions, which may result in misunderstandings. And when that happens it can be embarrassing and frustrating, not only for us, but also for them.

How we help kids when they act out, is what matters.

Below are strategies I use with my son:

1. Encourage reflection: Prompt your child to reflect on their actions and consider how they could have handled the situation differently. Encourage them to think about the impact of their words and actions on themselves and others.

2. Cultivate empathy: Help your child consider the feelings of others by prompting them to reflect on how their actions might affect others. Ask them to reflect how they think their actions may impact others and encourage them to consider the feelings of others. Acknowledge and praise children when they demonstrate thoughtfulness and mindfulness in their words and actions.

3. Teach problem-solving skills: Help your child develop problem-solving skills by discussing different ways to approach situations and brainstorming possible solutions together. Encourage them to think about potential consequences before acting.

4. Promote self-compassion: It’s natural to feel guilt and sadness after mistreating someone, even if it was unintentional. Guide your child to apologize, forgive themselves and focus on the lessons learned. Teach them to be kind to themselves when they mess up.

This is what I know: Establishing a nurturing environment when kids act out fosters an atmosphere where children feel safe to share their thoughts and emotions and where they feel supported in their efforts to learn and grow.

7 Mar 2024

From Chaos to Calm: How to Nurture Self-Regulation

In my role as a speaker in schools, I have the privilege of connecting with many parents and educators. From their insights and my personal experiences as a mother, I’ve come to understand that one of the most daunting challenges lies in effectively nurturing self-regulation in not only children/students but also ourselves. 

Have you ever experienced a moment when you’re feeling perfectly composed and then, out of nowhere, something happens that triggers your emotions to go into overdrive? In an instant, you react in a manner that leaves you feeling guilty. You may be preoccupied by a sense of remorse as you replay the situation in your mind, pondering how you could have handled it differently.

When my eleven-year-old son is not listening or is agitated, it triggers frustration within me which can easily lead to anger. Responding from one of those emotions can result in giving unreasonable consequences or regrettable responses.

We often hear about the importance of teaching children self-regulation. However, the challenge becomes practicing self-regulation ourselves in order to effectively instill this skill in them. You can’t help a child regulate until you have self-regulated first.  ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ doesn’t work anymore.

Consider giving these simple, yet impactful strategies to take you from chaos to calm.

For Parents/Educators:

  • Name your emotion: For example, say, ‘I’m feeling frustrated.
  • Notice physical signs of emotions such as rapid heartbeat, clenched hands or muscle tension.
  • Pause and take deep breaths. This helps you manage your own emotions and demonstrates self-regulation to the children/students. When you’re feeling calm, you’re better able to assist others in regulating their emotions.

While nurturing self-regulation can be challenging, the benefits are worth the effort. Not only does it cultivate stronger relationships, it also reduces anxiety, lowers stress, builds resilience and fosters empathy.

Until next time…

22 Feb 2024

Crash Course on Resilience for Kids (Part Two)

As children navigate the ups and downs of growing up, resilience is a necessary tool to guide them throughout their journey into adulthood.

We can’t change that they will face challenges along the way. What we can do is give them resilience-enhancing strategies so these challenges don’t break them.

Implementing the strategies provided in this message, combined with those shared in my previous newsletter, will enable kids to face challenges with courage, learn from setbacks and foster a positive mindset.

1. When they view challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, it transforms their way of thinking and gives them hope. This change in mindset helps them handle problems, recover from tough times and learn from the experience.

2. They can be confident and have self-doubt, be brave and feel anxious, be afraid and excited – all at the same time. Teaching children to embrace the complexity and often the discomfort of their emotional experiences enhances their ability to navigate the unpredictable journey of life.

3. Since the brain can only concentrate on one thought at a time, deliberately choosing to focus on gratitude becomes a powerful practice for building resilience. By regularly thinking about what they are thankful for, children realize that they have the ability to choose the thoughts they focus on.

4. Building a support network strengthens resilience. Joining a club, sports team, volunteering, connecting with family members and friends creates connection and belonging.

By providing your kids with these resilience-enhancing strategies, you will see their challenges turn into triumphs, setbacks into stepping stones and problems into opportunities.

Until next time…

8 Feb 2024

Crash Course on Resilience for Kids (Part One)

I’ve been hearing more and more about the lack of resilience skills in our young people particularly noticeable in the aftermath of the pandemic.

In light of this, I’ve created a crash course aimed at strengthening our children’s ‘resilience muscle’ for their overall well-being and future success. Here are the initial four strategies; stay tuned for more ways in the next newsletter.

1. Life is a series of ups and downs. Giving kids the opportunity to find solutions to challenges and mistakes, will enhance their ability to problem solve. It will also give them the confidence to face adversity.

2. Not everyone will like them. Even though that may hurt, it’s essential for children to understand that, even in the face of non-acceptance, they possess the power to love and accept themselves unconditionally.

3. It’s totally normal to experience emotions. Some moments bring happiness and joy, others cause disappointment and frustration. Challenges bring up emotions that can feel overwhelming and vulnerable. Expressing their emotions helps them communicate their needs, seek support and navigate difficulties.

4. Help them reflect on past experiences to identify challenges they have faced and overcome. This process helps them recognize their ability to navigate difficulties, fostering a sense of accomplishment. The realization that they’ve effectively dealt with challenges in the past instills the confidence required to approach similar situations with more calmness.

By arming children with the tools to navigate life’s twists and turns, you empower them to face challenges with courage, learn from setbacks, and cultivate a positive mindset. The efforts you put in today will shape their well-being and success for the future.

Until next time…

11 Jan 2024

Riding the Waves of Life with Determination

Every challenge you have faced and the choices you have chosen to make has created who you are today.

Picture yourself as the captain of a ship. Sometimes the water is calm and the choices are easy. Other times, the calm waters give way to crashing waves, intensifying the difficulty of your choices

Knowing your destination is crucial for guiding your ship in the right direction, and this holds true in life as well. Being clear about the person you want to be, the character traits you want to process, and the goals you want to achieve, gives clarity when navigating through tough challenges. You have a destination and even if the massive waves of your circumstances try to throw you off course, you persevere and continue moving towards your ultimate goal.

When you aren’t clear about what matters to you, it’s easy to allow circumstances and the emotions they trigger, dictate your actions and choices, which leads to a feeling of being out of control. Acting with intention instills confidence.

By respecting your goals, and acting in alignment with them, you will find yourself making small choices every day that help build the person you imagine.

Remember, it’s your choices, not your circumstances, that truly define you. Consider who you want to become, the traits you want to embody, and the goals you wish to fulfill. This now becomes the destination that guides you.

What I know is: All is possible when you choose to be determined, put in the effort and most importantly – BELIEVE in YOU ALWAYS – even when you are in the midst of a fierce storm!

Until next time…