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28 Sep 2022

It Hurts to be Bullied

Being bullied happens too often, and it can make kids feel scared, sick, embarrassed, anxious, depressed and sad. Bullying can make them feel alone with nowhere and no one to turn to.

That’s why Paul Davis (internet safety expert) & I decided to invite Emily, who is 18 years old, to join our podcast to share her bullying story that began in grade 3.

Words from Emily: ‘In grade 3 no one liked me & I don’t know why. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t fit in. I was the one who got picked last in gym class. I kept saying grade 4 will be better. It did get better for a while until the day our teacher asked us to mark each other’s spelling test. When mine was returned to me I saw messages written on it, “You’re not smart! You’re dumb!”

You feel so hopeless. You believe you will never get out of being bullied. You have no reason to go to school – you hate it there. My principal tried to help and for a while it was fine until it wasn’t. When you’re 9 years old you are just starting to figure out life and when the adults have no hope of fixing the situation you feel alone.’

Paul Davis reminds us that we need kids to know if they speak out about any type of bullying, they will be supported.

Once Emily entered high school, she had an idea…click here to watch or here to listen to the full podcast where Emily shares her idea.

One piece of advice to adults from Emily: ‘The most helpful thing an adult can do for a child that is being bullied is to take the time to listen & to let the child talk about how they are feeling & then help work through their emotions together, so it isn’t just on the child’s shoulders.’

Until next time…

24 Mar 2022

Ever Tried to Avoid an Emotion?

Don’t you wish you could pick and chose the emotions you want to experience?

I have.

Especially during lockdown and online learning. I remember one morning laying in bed, mentally preparing the start to my day.

I was telling myself…

‘Today I won’t feel irritated. I felt irritated yesterday and it was exhausting, not today!’

Within 10 minutes of getting out of bed my son was already complaining about having to log on to do his learning – he was asking for his fifth snack and it wasn’t even 9 am yet!

I was irritated!!

I couldn’t avoid it. My body and brain felt irritated without my consent.

This is what I know: I quickly learned that emotions can surprise you and they aren’t to be avoided and can’t be avoided for the long term. We are emotional beings whether we are comfortable with it or not!

So, the real practice becomes in allowing ourselves to feel and acknowledge our emotions and then find healthy ways to move with/through them.

Here are some simple and effective strategies that I find helpful:

                   • deep breaths (make your exhale longer than your inhale)

                   • remind myself that it’s ok to feel what I’m feeling

                   • notice where the emotion impacts me physically (neck pain, stomach ache , heart rate)

                   • 5 min meditation

                   • talk to someone

                   • go for a walk

                   • listen to music

What helps you move with and through an uncomfortable emotion?

10 Mar 2022

Feeling Overwhelmed?

There is so much going on in the world! You may feel a lack of control which affects your mood, your daily routine and your interactions with your children. So many kids are also feeling the same stressors.

We all need a break! We need to focus on the things we can control.

Being intentional about spending time together is something you can control. Time together supports kids in feeling secure, loved and less anxious.

Here are a few things my son Kai and I enjoy doing together:

  • Reading stories before bed – I like to use fun voices as I read – this gets both Kai and I laughing!
  • Preparing a meal together helps us build connection and creates a sense of accomplishment.
  • Hiking or walking/bicycling in a park or the woods. Leaving life’s distractions and busyness for the calm of nature, improves our ability to relax and let go.
  • Choosing an activity or game your child/family enjoys. Kai always chooses mini sticks – not one of my favourites – but hey 🙂
  • Writing in a journal that has written prompts inspires him to write and reflect. To get your children started, download the UPower mini journal. It has a story, quotes, posters & questions. They can do it independently or you can do it together.

This is what I know: Focusing on the areas of your life you can control gives you the mental and emotional boost you need to keep moving forward.

8 Feb 2022

Because I Felt Like It!

Ever wondered, ‘Why is my child/student acting this way? Why are they being rude, disrespectful or hurtful? That’s not like them.’

Ever asked, ‘Why did you do/say that?’

Here’s why: Emotions.

I’m sure you have heard this response to the above questions… ‘because I felt like it!’… and it’s probably true.

A circumstance happened that caused them to feel frustrated, worried, upset, angry or stressed. However, the circumstance wasn’t the only reason for the behaviour, the circumstance triggered an emotion and the child reacted out of that emotion causing a behaviour.

Since emotions are super easy to react out of, they can easily impact choices leading your child/student’s to behave in a way that is not their character.

The next time they have a behaviour that doesn’t reflect who you know they are, instead of asking ‘why did you do that?’

ASK: ‘What emotion were you feeling when you did or said that?’

Watch my video to learn more about my take on behaviour & emotions.

Until next time…

26 Oct 2021

Are you feeling discouraged and want to give up?

When times are tough and emotions run high, it can be easy to feel discouraged and want to give up.

In those times try this:

1. Be aware of the emotions you are feeling (name them). Honour them by reminding yourself it’s OK to feel them.

2. Take some deep breaths and reflect back on how far you have actually come. The challenges you have overcome to get you to where you are today, use this as strength to keep moving forward.

3. Remind yourself that the journey isn’t supposed to be perfect and that you have the tools to dig deep and keep going.

This is What I Know: Challenges are chapters of your life not your whole story! You Are Enough! You Matter! You’ve got this!

P.S. These strategies also work for your children/students.

Until next time…

29 Sep 2021

Do you know what makes you happy?

Do you put your happiness on hold?

Do you wait for a special occasion or a goal to be achieved?

This is what I know… Looking for ways to bring happiness into your life is very important to your emotional and mental well-being.

Think of everything you could do to create happiness. It might be talking to a friend/family member, going for nature walks, writing in a journal or watching/playing sports. It could be as simple as starting your day with your favourite breakfast food, song or cup of coffee/tea.

Write your happiness list on a big piece of paper and put it where you can see it.

You have now created your guide to HAPPINESS – a guide that will remind you how to tap into your happy place when you are feeling stressed, anxious or ‘blue’.

I forgot to add…your happiness list should not include ‘I’m only happy when_____ is happy.’ Never let your happiness depend on someone else’s happiness.

You deserve to be HAPPY! Make it a conscious choice!

P.S. Have your children/students create their own list.

Until next time…

26 May 2021

It is a BIG Deal to a Child

Children come to us with what seems like an overwhelming reaction to something we see as ‘no big deal’. To them, it is a ‘BIG deal’.

It can be easy to dismiss the distress your child is experiencing, not because you don’t care, but because you want to add logic, ‘everyone else is experiencing the same thing’ or ‘it will pass’.  You may even think, ‘compared to what I’m going through or what’s going on in the world, it’s not a big deal’ and then shrug off their feelings.

It’s important to let kids know that you see their sadness, frustration, upset, anger and worry and that you are going to help them through it.

A few weeks ago my son started crying and then sobbing. He missed his friends so much. My heart was breaking seeing his sadness.

Initially my brain wanted to use logic with him, ‘There’s nothing we can do about it. All your friends are probably feeling the same way.’

I wanted to fix it, but I knew I needed to let him release his emotions. So I sat beside him & let him cry. When I saw he had gotten all his tears out, we talked about what we could do together to help him through his ‘big deal’.

When our children are in an emotional state, our job is not to problem-solve. It is to support, comfort and listen with empathy.

Until next time…

29 Apr 2021

Strengthen Kids Well-being through Play

Kids are facing challenging times. They have had to adapt to so many changes and countless cancelled extracurricular activities that they enjoyed and looked forward to.

And what does this trigger… lots of tough emotions that can affect their overall well-being.

One way you can nurture a child’s well-being and help them release their emotions in a healthy way is by engaging in play – an essential component to developing their resilience, confidence, happiness and overall health.

By actively playing with kids you create a stronger bond that shows you care and appreciate them. When I play with my son, it strengthens our connection and becomes the gateway for him to open up about his concerns, emotions, worries and joys.

Support a child’s play experiences by being present and engaged in:

  • Outdoor fun – a walk, a hike, bicycling, rollerblading, shooting hoops
  • Games – cards, board games, hide & go seek, scavenger hunt, video game for 2 or more
  • Activities – crafts, painting, baking, jigsaw puzzles, Lego
  • Music – sing, dance, play an instrument, write a song
  • Books – read out loud together, play the characters in the book, make funny voices, change the ending

Another way to support your child’s play experience is by asking them to write a list of activities that they would enjoy doing with you. You can then choose something off their list that helps them feel good.

If you’re short on time, you could say, ‘I have a busy day but I have saved 15 minutes to do an activity that you like.’ We do this with our son and he always says, ‘Let’s play mini sticks.’

We set the timer and play. Even 15 minutes of quality play, makes a positive difference by adding joy, laughter, problem solving and connection.

Until next time…

14 Apr 2021

You Can Do This!

With the current announcement of students not going back to in-person learning after the April Break and with everything else going on in our world, there are many emotions being felt.

Allow yourself to feel.

Keep reaching out – sharing – talking with respect for self & others.

Let’s keep supporting one another.

Resilience isn’t a solo event – it takes a community.

Your feelings may be BIG but our Strength together is BIGGER and Stronger!

Until next time…

18 Mar 2021

What Kids are Telling Me

As a parent/educator it can be frustrating when your children/students won’t communicate with you. They clam up and it feels like they block you out. Trying to get through seems like a tug of war… and your team is losing!

By acknowledging and validating their emotions, you give them permission to feel what they are feeling. Without acknowledgement and validation, they are more likely to react by shutting you out. When they feel understood they will be more open to communicating and sharing. They will know that you are on their team.

I have asked kids what helps them when they are feeling angry, overwhelmed, anxious, irritated or sad. This is what they said

Until next time…