Kids experience the same emotions as adults – anxious, sad, disappointed, embarrassed, angry, scared—to name a few.
A key part of emotional resilience is teaching children strategies to help them manage and navigate emotions in healthy ways. This will make a difference not only throughout their childhood, but also as an adult.
Since everyone is different, what calms you and helps you move through your emotions, won’t necessarily work for a child.
During one of my presentations, a young student shared that counting helps calm him. I replied with ‘counting to ten is a great strategy.’ He said, ‘No – random numbers…10, 18, 52, 6, 103, 186…’
Imagine that he is in the throes of an emotion and someone starts counting…one, two, three, etc. Instead of calming him, his emotional state would heighten from the frustration, as he’d feel that what truly helps him isn’t being honoured – random numbers.
This is why it’s so important to know beforehand what works best for each child when they are experiencing an emotion. Ask them what they find helpful.
Then create a list of their ways so you know what to suggest when emotions arise. Post the list somewhere that will serve as a reminder for both you and them.
This is what I know: Being mindful of the ways that work best to support a child’s emotional needs, shows them that you are being empathetic and attentive. This builds connection.
Until next time…
31 Jan 2023
How to Boost a Child’s Confidence
As parents, guardians and educators you want the children in your life to believe in themselves and their abilities no matter what!
So how do we arm children with the ability to bounce back from those negative, disrespectful judgments and opinions that challenge their belief in themselves?
Since we can’t save them from the all the tough moments they will face – the best use of our energy is to give them tools to boost their confidence.
Although they don’t have control over what other’s choose to say, the GOOD NEWS is… they have the final say in what they choose to believe about their body, their talent, their abilities, their life and their UNIQUENESS!
Below is an exercise I used growing up to help strengthen my confidence and self-worth. I use it with my 10 year-old son and thousands of students. It’s called a UPower Thought. UPower is your personal power to choose your actions, reactions and beliefs regardless of the circumstances.
Creating their own UPower Thought is a way to boost their confidence and to talk back to their self-defeating thoughts. They will hear their voice many more times than they will ever hear anyone else’s.
On a piece of paper have them write the hurtful or disrespectful word(s) they have heard.
Rip up that piece of paper while saying the words ‘I choose to let go.’
Then take a new piece of paper and write the words: ‘I choose to believe I am…’ (they will fill in the rest with what it is they actually want to believe about themselves regardless of the negative comment/judgment).
‘I choose to believe I am enough.’
‘I choose to believe I am amazing just the way I am.’
‘I choose to believe I am someone who makes a difference in the world.’
‘I choose to believe I am courageous and kind.’
Have them take a few minutes each day repeating their UPower Thought to themselves. The more kids hear their own voice saying encouraging words, the more their confidence and self-worth will shine!
When you encourage kids to practice creating their UPower Thought, they will start to see themselves differently. They will learn that what they to say to themselves is in their control and what they choose to tell themselves matters.
Until next time…
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 myvideoto learn more about my take on behaviour & emotions.
Until next time…
6 May 2020
Teaching Kids to Bounce Back
Children are experiencing a lot of changes during this unprecedented time. They are missing their friends and their extended family. Their routines have been turned upside down. They may be frustrated with staying home and overwhelmed with the conversations around COVID-19.
As a parent, you might wish you could shield them from the challenges they face, but that’s neither possible, nor beneficial for building their resilience. During this time it’s especially important to help them see their challenges as an opportunity to learn, grow and bounce back so they can keep moving forward.
Here are 3 tips to help your child be a ‘Bounce Back’ kid:
1. Explain that everyone is facing changes and challenges. Ask them to write out all the choices they can make from the challenging circumstances they are experiencing. This will change their focus from ‘what happened’ to ‘how can I move through this’
2. Each day they will experience different emotions like anger, disappointment, happiness, frustration, sadness. At times these emotions will feel like they are riding a roller coaster. Knowing that these emotions are normal and experienced by everyone will help them realize they are not alone and that it’s OK to feel a range of emotions.
3. Encourage them to come up with healthy ways to release these emotions (drawing, talking to someone, reading, watching a show, journaling etc). Have them create a list so that they know what to do when these emotions arise. Put the list in a place they can see everyday. It’s also important for you to know their healthy ways to release their emotions so that you can remind them what to do when they are feeling overwhelmed.
Let your children know you are always there for them.