Here are 4 ways they can learn to speak for themselves:
1. Give them a say in decisions about their lives. This doesn’t always mean they get what they want. It means they can participate in the discussion, voice their opinions and be heard.
2. Encourage them to make eye contact and speak to adults on their own behalf. This could begin with ordering food at a restaurant or paying for an item at the store.
3. Let them face appropriate consequences at school, or during extra-curricular activities. This teaches them to be responsible for their actions and to deal with the emotions that follow.
4. Allow them to solve their own disputes with others, only stepping in when necessary.
This is What I Know: When kids have a voice, they are more likely to be resilient, motivate themselves, take on new challenges, learn from their mistakes, take responsibility for their actions, and ask for help when they need it.
Until next time…
19 Apr 2023
How does role-playing help kids deal with challenging circumstances?
Unexpected challenges will happen and it’s easy for those challenges to stop kids in their tracks. Although you can’t save children from every challenging situation, you can give a beneficial tool to help them better navigate the challenges and choices they will face.
The next time your child is struggling with how to handle a situation or not sure what choice to make, try role-playing. It gives your child’s brain a blueprint of what they can choose to do.
Role-playing also gives them:
a safe space to express themselves
a sense of control and calm as they work through their emotions
an opportunity to problem-solve as they act out the solutions to the situations.
A few days ago, my son Kai came home from school upset. There was something going on at school so he vented about the circumstance. Then, of course you know me, I asked what emotions it triggered. We talked about his emotions and then we role-played the circumstance.
I said, ‘Kai you be you & I will be the other person.’ I acted out my role in the circumstance he was facing at school and as he acted out what he was going to choose to do or say, I could see relief and less stress on his face. Then we reversed roles. We even started being silly by changing our voices. We both laughed. It was a way to add some humour to a serious situation.
The more fun you make role-playing, the more it will put your child at ease and the more they will enjoy doing it.
Until next time…
21 Dec 2022
Feel Stressed and Overwhelmed?
It’s easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed when you have a lot on your plate – the same may be true for your kids. Everyone has times in their life when it feels as though the world is speeding up and keeping up seems impossible.
I find it easier to keep things in perspective when I take time for me. Making time for ‘You Moments’ is crucial to feeling inner peace. When you take the time to do things to create inner peace your life appears less chaotic. This is also important to model to your kids.
Here are a few things that I do to help me regroup when I feel stressed and overwhelmed:
Pen to Paper – writing out your feelings, nagging thoughts and worries helps clear the clutter that can sometimes take over your mind. I find it very healing to slowly rip up the paper after writing it – a great way to let go of stress and feel a sense of calm
Gratitude Break – feeling and expressing gratitude not only boosts emotional and mental well-being, but also boosts your immune system and your happiness. Focusing on what you enjoy and are grateful for, helps to shift your mood and mind to a happier state.
Breathe – I know this seems obvious but the quality of breaths you take makes a BIG difference in helping you feel calm and relaxed. I notice when I feel stressed and overwhelmed, I tend to take shallow breaths and sometimes even hold my breath. Be conscious of taking big, deep breaths in, hold for 5 seconds, then breathe out. Try five in a row.
Music – listening to your favourite music or singing along to a song can provide a temporary escape from a stressful day. Choosing specific lyrics can help you look at your day differently.
Talk with Friends and Family – carve out time to give them a call. It can be helpful to share your concerns and to hear what is happening in other people’s lives. It reminds you that you are not the only one to feel stressed and overwhelmed.
Drink Water – stress can be caused because our bodies are thirsty. Sip water continuously throughout the day. Being dehydrated can make even the simplest task overwhelming and frustrating.
Revamp your To-Do List – create two columns – a MUST DO and a would be NICE to DO.
In the MUST DO column, put everything that is time sensitive and needs to get done that day. In the NICE to DO column, put the things that you would like to accomplish but if you don’t, ‘oh well.’
As you complete a task, cross it off! Crossing tasks off your list feels so good – ‘YAY! I got that done!’
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…
11 Dec 2021
Your Mindset: Friend or Foe?
Your mindset can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
This what I know: Your mindset matters! It determines what you are willing to experience, ideas you are open to and who you see when you look in the mirror. Changing your mindset doesn’t happen by chance. It happens by choice.
Here are 4 simple effective ways to train your mindset to be your friend:
1) Add the word YET at the end of a thought to give Hope and Growth. Ex: ‘I’m not good at that … yet.’ The simple word YET reminds you that your efforts will pay off and that there is room to learn and grow.
2) Mind over Matter. Instead of choosing to focus on the obstacles that are in your way – focus on what you want to achieve. Acknowledge the obstacles and then choose to focus on your desired end result to keep you motivated.
3) Affirmations. What you tell yourself and repeat, over time will be what you believe. Choose your thoughts wisely. ‘I’m not enough’ will create a very different feeling than repeating ‘I am enough’. Only you have the power to choose what you tell yourself.
4) Gratitude. Choosing to focus on something you are grateful for is a powerful mindset shift that boosts happiness and helps you bounce back from challenging times and move though tough emotions. Since your brain can only focus on one thought at a time – choosing to look at what you are grateful for (especially during difficult times and mistakes made) is a powerful practice that strengthens resilience.
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…
30 Nov 2020
Guess What We All have in Common?
‘What emotion are you feeling?’
When you think about truly sharing your emotions, would you prefer to leave the conversation or conveniently find something else to talk about? Maybe it’s because you don’t know how you are feeling or maybe you want to shout ‘none of your business!’ Or is it because you think sharing emotions makes you look weak?
EXPRESSING EMOTIONS CAN BE TOUGH.
As human beings we enjoy feeling comfortable – ever heard a mattress commercial? All the marketing company has to do is focus on how comfortable the mattress is – SOLD! We LOVE comfortable. Emotions are not always comfortable. They are messy, awkward and can feel down-right painful both mentally and physically.
You may be able to fool yourself into believing that by ignoring or suppressing emotions you won’t have to face them. Wrong. Not acknowledging your emotions causes burnout, health challenges, anxiety, and strained relationships
EMOTIONS AREN’T YOUR ENEMY.
Emotions are a natural and normal part of the human experience. Emotions are the one thing we all have in common. We may not have experienced the same circumstances – but we have all felt angry, sad, anxious, frustrated, disappointed and overwhelmed. Isn’t it comforting to know you’re not alone?
SURPRISE! EXPRESSING YOUR EMOTIONS HELPS:
reduce stress & anxiety
establish stronger relationships
bring harmony and well-being to your mental and physical state
Instead of suppressing your emotions, use these 3 ways to help you move with and through your emotions:
1. NAME YOUR EMOTIONS
There is a release that happens just in saying your emotion out loud, ‘I’m feeling sad.’ It makes it feel less intense. Acknowledge your emotions, instead of making yourself feel bad, wrong or weak for feeling. Next time someone asks, ‘how are you feeling?’ tell them. You are allowed to feel. You are supposed to feel. You will also be giving permission to others to speak up about their emotions.
2. RELEASE EMOTIONS IN A HEALTHY WAY
Create a list of healthy ways to move through your emotions. This will help you get clear about strategies that are helpful. Post it somewhere that will serve as a reminder. When you are experiencing an uncomfortable emotion you can easily forget what helps you move through.
3. FIND YOUR CALM
Being able to calm yourself in the moment from tough emotions and overwhelming circumstances is often easier said than done. Knowing ways to help you relax and decrease stress will calm your mind and body quickly. If one way doesn’t work for you, try another one. Some of my favourites are paying attention to my breath, relaxing with a cup of tea or coffee, humming or singing and watering my plants.
You would never take dead batteries, place them in a flashlight and expect it to shine – yet there are times you will drain yourself emotionally and stick yourself into work, relationships and conversations and expect to shine.
Reach out, ask for help and accept support. You Matter!
Until next time…
18 Nov 2020
Start Each Day with an Intention
‘You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump. And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.’ Dr. Seuss ‘Oh The Places You’ll Go’
When we went into lockdown last March I definitely came down the ‘Lurch’ with an unpleasant bump. All my presentations were cancelled. It was a scary time for me. How was I going to ‘un-slump’ so that I could move forward and not stay scared and worried?
The answer…I started creating a daily intention.
Intentions are like a GPS. They give your brain direction – a focus that creates a structure for your daily choices. It doesn’t mean you won’t have any challenges or uncomfortable emotions throughout your day – it means you now have a compass that:
Clarifies your choices.
Keeps you focused throughout the day.
Boosts your happiness and peacefulness.
Helps you live in the moment.
Daily intentions give you hope, accountability and keep you moving forward. And that is exactly what my intentions of ‘I choose to be courageous to reach out and ask for help’ and ‘I choose to be open to new possibilities’ did. They helped me ‘un- slump’
It was slow moving at first. I had moments of frustration, disappointment and even sadness. I did a lot of deep breathing, mindful meditation and writing in my journal. In choosing to keep moving forward, guided by my intentions, I was able to create my new virtual presentations for teachers, students, parents and businesses. And I have to say – I am loving it!
Until next time…
6 Oct 2020
Boost Well-being with a Dose of Gratitude
As we find ourselves and our children/students adapting to a new version of what school looks like, whether it’s ‘online learning’ or ‘in building learning’, we may all be experiencing challenging circumstances which can trigger some tough emotions like: anger, sadness, frustration, anxious or disappointment.
Is there an antidote to help you and your children/students bounce back from these challenges and emotions? YES!
It’s called GRATITUDE.
Feeling and expressing gratitude not only boosts emotional and mental well-being, but also boosts your immune system and your happiness.
How do you teach children the skill of gratitude?
Below are 3 grateful activities that are a fun way to practice and express gratitude.
1. VISUAL DISPLAY OF GRATITUDE
Create a tree, a banner, a board or a collage as a display to encourage children to focus on the people, experiences and things in their life that make them feel grateful and appreciative. Every day have them reflect and write one aspect of their life they are grateful for. By adding their paper to the display they deepen relationships and become more connected to the people around them.
Journaling creates a practice of connecting to gratitude and helps with their writing skills. Daily entries in their own private journal about the people, events and things they are grateful for, helps them with emotional resilience and self-esteem. For those who may say, like my son, ‘I can’t think of anything’, here are some helpful hints:
What did you do today that was fun?
What makes you happy?
What do you look forward to when you wake up?
Who or what makes you smile?
What did you do today that made you feel brave?
What made you proud today?
Who was kind to you today?
What is your favourite place to visit?
3. CREATE A JAR OF JOY
A Jar of Joy is a fun, creative way to help children practice gratitude. Begin by providing a jar large enough to hold daily gratitude notes. Then personalize the jar with decorations using ribbons, stickers, pompoms, sparkles, markers etc
After decorating the jar, it’s time to add the ’gratitudes’ they have written about people, places or things. They can also add photos or cut out images from magazines that depict their gratitudes. Whenever they are having a challenging moment where they need a joyful lift encourage them to take a gratitude from their jar and have a brief discussion about it.
Being reminded to focus on what they enjoy and are grateful for, will not only shift their mood and mind to a happier state, but also yours.
Gratitude is transformational! Choosing to focus on what you are grateful for transforms how you feel about yourself, others and your life!
Until next time…
10 Jun 2020
Listen. Learn. Grow
So much is changing and will continue to change.
Through all the changes, we want the best for our children and students. We want them to act in a way that will promote respect, kindness and compassion.
Children learn best by watching us. They see us as the example of what to do and what not to do.
Observing how we approach challenges, how we talk about others, and how we handle tough emotions influences their choices and their beliefs. Our actions will always speak louder than our words.
We can’t expect children to be different from what they see us do, despite what we may tell them.
Being a role model isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being aware of the times you mess up, admitting it and learning from it, so that children learn to do the same. Being mindful of the choices you are making and the messages you are communicating takes practice and listening.
It’s important that you listen to children’s worries, the questions they ask, the fears they may be experiencing and most importantly the emotions they are feeling. Listening to them without judgment – listening – even if you think their concerns and emotions are unfounded.
Listening from a place of love, respect and compassion will create a strong connection and build a trust that will let children know, ‘They Matter. They are Important. They are Enough.’ – even in the most challenging times.