Ideas in practice

From Rage to Zen (three steps to calm an angry child)

Posted by on Jun 1, 2013 in Blog, Ideas in practice | 0 comments

From Rage to Zen (three steps to calm an angry child)

You know that feeling you get when you see a massive storm front approaching? Black clouds roll over promising nothing but misery, the pressure suddenly drops taking with it your stomach and everything you ate that day. You feel like you are about to plunge into the depths of darkness. Bravely, your turn and face the storm because “Courage” is your middle name and after all, you are partially responsible for the source of it – that deceptively cute child that is currently preparing to unleash a wrath of fury. And there is this one moment when you still have a chance to avoid a crisis… and then the moment passes and all hell breaks loose. Enter the angry child. Now you find yourself needing to go from rage to zen as soon as possible. Fortunately, I’ve got some ideas for you. Step #1: Give Yourself a Ground to Stand On When an angry child storm hits, it hits everyone and it hits hard. As parents, we are often left reeling and exhausted from the experience of just trying to survive the onslaught of anger hurled our way, let alone find ways of calming the rage. Thus, in order to calm an angry child, we  first need to ground ourselves. That means you need to find your zen-like self: calm you mind – just close your eyes and breathe out loud. The idea is to block out as much of the angry stimuli as you can. By closing your eyes, you are shutting out the visual stimulus. By breathing you are giving your ears a soothing and rhythmic sound to focus on.   calm your emotions – pay attention to how you are feeling and how those feelings are physically impacting your body (e.g. your heartbeat, your breath, etc.). Then deliberately bring those physical sensations down a notch (e.g. slow your breathing, relax your muscles, etc.). calm your face, especially your eyes – we don’t think of this often, but your face is what your child is looking at and where they get their cues about your feelings. Make sure it reflects the calm you intend to convey. Step #2: Give your Angry Child a Ground to Stand On Here’s a secret–> an angry child has disconnected from their surroundings and is trapped within their anger. Your job is to help them find a way to reconnect with their surroundings and pull out of the anger that has overwhelmed them. To do that, try these: Time-outs can be very effective if they are done well (i.e. as an actual time away from a tense situation rather than a punishment). To make this work, gently and calmly take your angry child to their room and explain that they are to stay there until they can calm their feelings, then they can come out. The point here is to remove them from the situation that is upsetting them and take them somewhere where they can connect with what is familiar to them. Hug your child or hold their hand or simply put your arm around their shoulders. It sound counterintuitive but physical contact has a powerful effect on children and your touch can serve not only as a conduit for them to release some of their anger but also helps them reconnect with their surroundings. The Quiet Circle or other ways of quieting one’s mind and body are effective in grounding your child through breathing and visualizations. Step #3: Help your Child Understand her Anger Just because your child has calmed their rage doesn’t mean they are no longer angry. The key now is to help your child understand why...

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25 Easy Ways to Help your Child Improve his Math Skills

Posted by on May 25, 2013 in Blog, Ideas in practice | 0 comments

25 Easy Ways to Help your Child Improve his Math Skills

So, your child struggles with math? They pay attention, they work hard, they do their homework and yet… those tricky math concepts simply refuse to sink in. You bring in tutors, you practice flash cards, you spend hours going over worksheets, drilling your child in the car or at the breakfast table. You tell yourself that if your kid just keeps at it, one day, it’ll “click.” But deep down, you’re worried that they’re falling further and further behind. Your child’s teacher is worried too. And your child is starting to think they’re not smart. Worse, you’re starting to wonder if that might not be true. Well, here’s the truth about math skills: Actually, it’s two truths: Your child’s intelligence has little to do with his math skills Improving your child’s math skills is as simple as teaching them how to think logically and mathematically To read more, head on over to Pragmatic Mom where I am a guest blogger this week! Want more ideas on raising intelligent, creative and empowered tots? Sign up for some smart parenting tips. About the Author: Karla Valenti is a writer, blogger, founder and CEO of NiSoSa, and Creative Director for Rock Thoughts. Get more on Facebook, Twitter, G+, or Pinterest. © Tot Thoughts – smart parenting for smart child...

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5 Powerful Ways to Boost Self-Esteem

Posted by on May 18, 2013 in Blog, Ideas in practice | 0 comments

5 Powerful Ways to Boost Self-Esteem

“I hate the way I look” your child mutters turning away from the mirror in anger. Or perhaps, “everyone is smarter than me” or “I’m no good at sports” or “I just can’t do anything right!” The list goes on, and for children with low self-esteem, it’s a long one. You try explaining to your child why they are wrong, you point out other people’s failings (after all, no one is perfect), you comfort them and help them find ways of improving, you even talk to their teachers… but nothing seems to help. Your child’s confidence is in the pits and you don’t know what else to do. It’s a heart-breaking situation for any parent and an incredibly disempowering one for your child. Fortunately, it’s not an insurmountable one. There are five powerful ways that you can help boost your child’s confidence and you can find them on Purpose Fairy where I am thrilled to be a guest blogger this week! I’d love for you to stop by and check them out. Want more ideas on raising intelligent, creative and empowered tots? Sign up for some smart parenting tips. About the Author: Karla Valenti is a writer, blogger, founder and CEO of NiSoSa, and Creative Director for Rock Thoughts. Get more on Facebook, Twitter, G+, or Pinterest. © Tot Thoughts – smart parenting for smart child...

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The Secret that Great Parents Know about Dealing with Fear and Uncertainty

Posted by on May 11, 2013 in Blog, Ideas in practice | 0 comments

The Secret that Great Parents Know about Dealing with Fear and Uncertainty

Fear and uncertainty are as much a part of parenting as bruises and band-aids. They are part of your every day and they will continue to be so no matter how old you get nor how much your children grow up. But that’s ok. Because you’re better than your fears and uncertainties. And as troubling as they can be, they don’t need to weigh you down in your mission to empower your child. Here’s the secret that great parents know –> raising an empowered child is not about eliminating fear and uncertainty, but finding ways to master it. How? 1. great parents embrace uncertainty Uncertainty deals with the realm of what we do not know. Which is to say, almost everything when it comes to our role as parents. And the vastness of that uncertainty can be overwhelming. Even for great parents. The difference is that great parents are nevertheless willing to venture into the realm of uncertainty. Why? Because it pushes them to grow as a person and as a parent. You see, great parents are willing to make mistakes. They are willing to look like fools in front of other parents. They are willing to put up with public displays of anger or affection. They are willing to hear everyone from experts to strangers tell them how they are wrong in their parenting. And they’re willing to do this for years, not knowing whether they are even making the right choices. They do this knowing full well that it represents a life wrought with mortification and heartbreak. But they do it anyway, because great parents know that this uncertainty is a small price to pay for the extraordinary opportunity to shape a human life. 2. great parents uncouple fear from uncertainty Fear is simply our reaction to uncertainty. Think about all the things that keep you up at night. When you look closely, you realize that they are all based, not on fear, but on uncertainty. For instance: Your fear that your child has low self-esteem is an uncertainty about whether you have instilled them with a positive sense of self. Your fear that your child is being bullied is an uncertainty about whether your child is empowered to take care of themselves. Your fear that your child is not excelling at school is an uncertainty about whether your child is bright and capable. Our fears are based not on what we know (i.e. your child has low self-esteem, is being bullied, is failing) but on what we think might happen (i.e. they won’t be able to thrive or take care of themselves). That’s a big difference and it’s important to understand it. Because even though uncertainty begets fear, it is not the same thing. Fear is an often-times paralyzing emotion, uncertainty is doubt about specific events that may happen and can be addressed. Great parents experience uncertainty, they just don’t let it cripple them in fear. 3. great parents acknowledge fear and what it is trying to tell you Fear itself is not a bad thing. It’s actually a warning, giving you a heads-up about something that might happen. That doesn’t mean it will happen. Great parents understand this and use fear as an indicator of things they need to focus on: Your fear that your child has low self-esteem means you should focus on helping your child develop a positive sense of self. Your fear that your child is being bullied means that you should focus on empowering your child. Your fear that your child is falling behind in school means that you should focus on finding strategies that work for your child. 4. great parents do something...

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The Single Most Effective Way to Help Children Overcome Fear

Posted by on May 4, 2013 in Blog, Ideas in practice | 2 comments

The Single Most Effective Way to Help Children Overcome Fear

Let me start with a little story. A while back, the Negotiator had an opportunity to run a zip line through a forest. The zip line was easily 100 feet off the ground and ran a loop through seven landing platforms. Awesome, right? He was nervous, but also really excited at the adventure of zipping through the trees… until we reached the top of the hill where the zip line launched and he saw how high we actually were and how fast the others were going. (I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous myself; however, recognizing the importance of letting our children engage in dangerous play, I wanted to encourage him to try it out.) We climbed up to the top platform and had one of the guides walk him through the process, explaining the harness, the hook-up, the launch, etc., so that the Negotiator could see how the whole thing worked. The Negotiator was still on the fence so the guide strapped himself in to a harness and zipped from one platform to the other to show the Negotiator how easy it all was. And as soon as the guide took off, the Negotiator started crying. Here’s the thing, the Negotiator was pretty nervous about the whole thing. But he wasn’t crying because he was afraid. The Negotiator was crying because he was disappointed in himself. He realized that, for all that effort, he was unable to control his fear and that this fear was preventing him from doing something he desperately wanted to do. (I know this because that’s pretty much what he told us). We tried helping him work through this feeling and “be brave” but he simply walked away, the disappointment heavy on his small seven-year old shoulders. As I watched this sad little boy make his way down the hill, it occurred to me that he had actually been brave, perhaps not brave enough to run the zip line but nevertheless brave for having made the effort, and that counted for something. How Fear Limits Us Fear is an emotion caused by a perceived danger (which may or may not actually be real). It is a mechanism that our body uses to protect us. When we are afraid, we are more cautious and that keeps us safe by driving us towards what we know and recognize and away from what is new or unfamiliar. Unfortunately, that is also how our fear limits us, because in our cautiousness, we do not go beyond the boundaries of what we already know. What distinguishes those who are crippled by their fear from those who move past it, is that the latter do not view their boundaries as static, but rather as a temporary stage they can overcome. And they overcome it with bravery. Bravery is a quality that we draw upon that enables us to push back on that fear (as if we are persuading our mind to disregard the fear mechanism). This quality is not something that we turn on and off (i.e. you are either brave or not), but rather a state that we experience to varying degrees depending on the circumstances. Thus, we may be brave enough to do some things at a given moment in time, but not others. That doesn’t mean we lack courage overall, just that we haven’t amassed enough courage to overcome our fear over that particular event. But, we can overcome it if we learn how to collect bravery. Pebbles of Bravery Most acts requires a certain amount of bravery. Think about it this way: before you start any given activity, you need to cash in a...

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How to Keep Your Kids Safe (without actually being there to protect them)

Posted by on Apr 27, 2013 in Blog, Ideas in practice | 2 comments

How to Keep Your Kids Safe (without actually being there to protect them)

Your heart is pounding in the dark, your hands are clammy, and your mind is reeling with the near-miss your child had today. You know that feeling… when you’re up all night worried about something your child did or said, endlessly replaying something that happened (or almost happened), wondering what might have been the outcome had you not been there.   Well, I have some bad news for you: this struggle for your child’s safety is a life-long pursuit, the only thing that will change are the perceived “dangers.” And what’s more, you won’t always be there to prevent them. Fortunately, I also have some good news for you! You may not always be there to ensure your child’s safety but there are some things you can do to empower them to protect themselves. Child Safety Tip #1: Help your child understand danger The point here isn’t to talk to your kid about all the dangerous things that are out there (I assume you do that already). Rather, it’s about this: (a) remember that there are benefits to certain “dangers”  You see, a lot of times, things become dangerous when kids don’t understand them or don’t understand how to handle them. This is actually a problem of lack of experience, and sheltering our children from harm only promotes further harm down the line. Why? Because kids learn a lot about themselves (their skills and abilities, as well as their weaknesses) when they are able to participate in a broad range of experiences. If we don’t allow them to have these experiences, we deprive them of opportunities to test their limits and develop some of the skills they need to overcome new challenges. On the other hand, letting our children engage in “dangerous play” helps them learn how certain things impact them and what they need to do to protect themselves. (b) learn to distinguish what is and is not a “big deal“ This just means that not everything that is scary or could potentially cause an injury needs to be deemed “dangerous” (e.g. climbing a tree), and if we can help our children distinguish between what is truly a cause for concern and what is not, we’ve gone a long way to protecting them.  Sure, our kids may get hurt or injured climbing trees, but that’s not a reason to stop engaging in certain activities. Rather, we need to teach them how to handle the fall-out of some of these choices in a positive and productive way (not to avoid these choices). Child Safety Tip #2: Teach your child to be brave Bravery and courage don’t come naturally to all kids. That’s not to say they cannot slowly build a stash of courage. Why does courage event matter? Because making the right choices (the ones that will keep your child safe) often requires a great deal of courage. Child Safety Tip #3: Help your child find mentors You are your child’s first mentor, but you will not be the only one (nor the primary one). That mentor will probably be one of your child’s peers (at least until your child is old enough to be more discerning). Yikes! So, teach your child how to find the right mentor, one that will provide him with support, guidance, and positive feedback once you been so callously removed from this role. Child Safety Tip #4: Establish a habit of communication with your child Start developing positive ways of communicating with your child. That means you need to talk, talk, talk. And remember, you’re not talking at your child but with your child. So, first understand why your kids don’t want to talk to you in the first place. Then help...

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