His demeanour changed as he said, ‘oh I like that.’
The Power of ‘YET’
Teaching your children/students to add the word “yet” at the end of a sentence changes how they think, feel and react to challenges and mistakes. It creates a mindset of growth, possibility and hope. It gives them the confidence to stay determined and put in the effort. It reminds them that they have the ability to learn.
I have created a “yet contract” that your children/students can sign to remind them to add the word ‘yet’ at the end of their sentence whenever they start to say ‘I can’t’ or ‘I’m not good at it’.
Until next time…
12 Aug 2022
Your Child Made a Mistake – Now What?
Has your child ever wanted to try something new but you know they didn’t because a voice in their head was saying, ‘I could make a mistake, look silly and end up feeling embarrassed.’
Mistakes can cause children (adults as well) to question their ability, their self-worth and affect their confidence. They may decide to only try things they know they are good at.
Mistakes happen even when they try their very best. It’s how you approach their mistakes that makes all the difference.
How to Handle Your Child’s Mistakes
Your reactions can influence their resilience, confidence and self-worth. It can determine how they handle mistakes and what they see themselves now and s an adult.
Teaching a child that mistakes are an opportunity to learn and grow will encourage them to keep trying.
Instead of focusing on what they did wrong, focus on supporting them through the emotions they may be feeling like embarrassment, frustration, anger and disappointment. (totally normal)
Help them to:
Reflect on their mistake: What would you do differently the next time? Who could you ask to help you improve?
Redirect their thoughts: What could you be grateful for from the mistake? At first they might think, ‘there is nothing to be grateful for.’ The simplest way to discover what they could be grateful for is to ask, ‘What did you learn from the mistake? (could be as simple as they learned that you support them)
Changing the way they think about mistakes, gives them a gift that will make a difference for years to come
Encourage your child to try a new skill or task with enthusiasm and joy, reminding them that they are not only growing as a person but also learning so much about their wonderful self!
Until next time…
19 May 2022
How to Get a Child to Ask for Help
I can remember my son at 2 years old saying, ‘I can’t!’ My husband and I both looked at each other and thought ‘no way is that going to be his mindset!’ Every time Kai would say, ‘I can’t!’ we’d have him repeat, ‘I can. I just need help.’ This is now an ongoing mantra in our home.
This mantra gives your child courage.
Changing ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’ allows your child not only be determined and successful but only to believe in possibility. Adding ‘I just need help’, creates an opening to ask for & receive support.
Getting a child to ask for help is a skill.
THINK ABOUT THIS: What emotions are making it harder for your child/student to ask for help? Emotions like embarrassment, fear, frustration and shyness can stop them from having the courage to reach out for the help and support they need and deserve.
REMEMBER THIS: Getting a child to ask for help is a skill that shows strength, confidence and curiosity. It’s an important part of a growth mindset.
TRY THIS: The next time you hear your child/student saying, ‘I can’t’ gently remind them to replace those words with…
I CAN. I JUST NEED HELP!
Until next time…
5 May 2022
Does Your Child Worry?
It’s normal for kids to worry from time to time. The worrying child can be filled with lots of stressful ‘what ifs’.
What if they don’t like me?
What if I don’t make the team?
What if my parents/teachers get mad at me?
What if I can’t do that?
Kids have vivid imaginations, making it easy to create worse case scenarios for their worries.
Choosing What You Say to a Child
Reminding the worrying child that they have control over what thoughts they choose to focus on, is essential to helping them move through their ‘what ifs’.
Resist the urge to say, ‘You don’t need to worry. You’ll be fine. Stop thinking about it.’ Kids tell me they find these words unhelpful.
Instead, TRY THIS… acknowledge the worry and the emotion that the worry triggers. Then have them do the following exercise to help them move through their worry.
A student emailed me after one of my presentations, ‘I can’t believe it. My friend betrayed me. The person I thought was my friend told other people a secret about something that was happening in my life. I am so upset, especially since she promised she would not tell anyone.’
I remember something very similar happening to me when I shared confidential information with my friend and the next day she shared our conversation with other friends. I was surprised, hurt and angry. I felt my friend had betrayed me. I wished I had chosen not to share. I wish I could have made my friend keep secrets instead of gossiping.
Although I couldn’t change the choice my friend made, I did have choices in how I reacted to this upsetting circumstance.
Let’s look at a few of my options:
A) I could choose to talk to her about how I felt. B) I could choose never to talk to her again. C) I could choose to tell her only things that I didn’t mind other people knowing.
In order to choose what choice would work best for me, I had to first decide what I wanted as my End Result (my goal). Having an End Result is so important because it’s what guides your choices.
The End Result I wanted was to keep her as a friend because there were qualities about her that I appreciated. For me, CHOICE A and C worked the best. Letting her know how I felt and realizing that she wasn’t good at keeping a secret helped our relationship.
Not everyone will have all the qualities that you think they ‘should have’, but that doesn’t mean that you have to write them off. I suggested to this student to share their disappointment and to find qualities (like humour, kindness, generosity) that they enjoyed about their friend and choose to focus on that. In doing this, it would help rebuild their friendship and still create a relationship where they could enjoy spending time together.
However, if their friend continues to treat them in a way that feels hurtful, then I suggested that it was important to decide whether the friendship/relationship was worth continuing.
This is what I know: Although you may not be able to control what others say and do, you do have control over how you act, react and the choices you choose to make and the boundaries you choose to create
Until next time…
7 Apr 2022
Do You Fess Up When You Mess Up?
Ever caught yourself yelling to your child ‘CALM DOWN’ – only to realize that it was you who needed to calm down first?
When I asked this question on my Instagram story over 90 percent said YES.
As parents/educators, there will be moments where we are dysregulated and reactive.
What if we used those moments as teachable moments? This would remind kids/students that we too are learning the skill of self regulation and when we mess up – we own up!
1) The next time you react in a way that you are not proud of – apologize and share with your child/student the emotion you were feeling when you yelled.
It may sound like this, ‘I am sorry that I yelled, I was feeling frustrated.’
2) Let them know what you will do the next time to help you find your calm.
It may sound like this, ‘When I am feeling frustrated, I’m going to take three deep breaths before I speak.’
3) Share the choice you wish you would have made and what you will do next time.
It may sound like this, ‘I wish I would have shared with you that I was frustrated and I wish I would have spoken in a calmer voice.’
It’s not about perfection – it’s about progress!
This is what I know: When you model self-regulation, you are giving kids the invaluable life skill of developing emotional intelligence.
I want kids to know it’s possible to face adversity and still choose to believe in yourself! That is why, in my presentations to youth, I share stories about two dreams I had growing up and the challenges I encountered along the way.
My first dream was singing the national anthem at a Blue Jays game. Despite being told NO multiple times, and feeling frustrated and embarrassed each time, I chose to keep asking. My persistence and belief in myself turned that dream into a reality.
The second was auditioning on Canadian Idol. I made it past two rounds of judges only to hear from the celebrity judges, ‘You can’t sing, give up and do something else!’ When I left the competition that day, I felt sad, frustrated, angry and disappointed. I wanted to give up! But then I realized, if I chose to give up, I wouldn’t be respecting myself nor my dreams. So, I chose to keep singing and recorded multiple songs.
Even though I encountered many challenges, I’m so glad I decided to learn the important lessons those challenges were teaching me – lessons of determination, putting in the effort, and most importantly – bouncing back from disappointment so that I could move forward with even more motivation to pursue my dreams.
This is What I Know: We can’t save our children/students from challenges and tough emotions, but we can support them, share with them, and teach them ways to keep going. Reminding them that it’s not as much about the challenges and emotions they face, as it is about who they choose to become and how they choose to bounce back. Challenges are chapters of life, not the whole story and when life gets tough, I want them to know…They Are Enough!
Until next time…
29 Jun 2021
It’s been one tough school year!
Even though amusement parks have been closed, I have felt like I have been riding a roller coaster with lots of ups and downs. School opened, school closed, school opened, school closed…causing my emotions to be all over the place – sad, happy, frustrated, disappointed, excited, upset – you get the picture.
That’s why I decided it was more important than ever to focus on gratitude – to focus on what meant a lot to me – what I valued most. I realized that ‘the practice of gratitude’ benefitted me, not only mentally and physically, but also emotionally. Focusing on what I appreciated shifted my mood and mind to a happier state.
With that in mind I want to give a HUGE round of applause to:
Educators (in all capacities): Connecting with students through a screen is tough. Even though you had to quickly adjust and adapt to a new way of interacting, you stayed committed to keeping students interested and engaged. You made a difference for so many kids. You handled their silliness, their emotions & their interruptions with grace.
Parents/Guardians: Being home with your children 24/7 was a test of your patience, endurance and ingenuity. You had to take a more active role in your child’s education, even though you may have been working at the same time. You survived your kids constantly reminding you, ‘I’m hungry. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m hungry.’
Students (including my son Kai): It was a tough go. They had to give up so many routines they looked forward to, like recess, taking the school bus, after school activities, socializing with friends and for some, the before and after school programs. My son told me, even though he could see his teachers and friends virtually, it wasn’t the same as in-person, making it more difficult to stay motivated. I thank our children for being brave, determined, tolerant and patient (a difficult one for all of us).
I believe that no matter what is happening in your life, it is possible to focus on what you are grateful for, even if it’s the tiniest ‘gratitude’. Sometimes, for me, it was simply the thought of sitting quietly for five minutes sipping a coffee.
Wishing you Joy, Fun & Laughter!
Until next time…
10 Jun 2021
Why did you say that/do that?
We tell our kids ‘Be Kind!’
We tell them kindness matters, that being kind makes a difference not only for others, but also for themselves.
Here’s the thing…our kids want to be kind. Whenever I do a presentation for students, they always tell me that kindness matters.
When we see our kids making choices that show kindness we feel proud. When we see a choice that isn’t kind, we immediately ask, ‘WHY did you say that/do that?’
While it is helpful to know the answer to that question – I believe there is a more important question to ask.