Archive for March, 2012

10 Phrases That Every Child Needs to Hear From the Adults in Their Lives

March 19th, 2012

What would happen if …your child embodied these 10 phrases? Imagine the difference it would make in your child’s life.

I call these the 10 commitments, the words your child needs to hear from you:

You are lovable:

No matter what, you are lovable. You do not have to do anything or be anything more than what you are to be loved and to be lovable. In this moment I recognize you and love you just as you are.

Sometimes it hurts:

At moments life is painful and there is nothing you can do to make it any better. It just feels bad and I am here to be with you in these difficult moments.

You are safe:

Although I can’t protect you when things go wrong or you are scared, know that you have within you tremendous courage. Even when things feel dark and hopeless, take a deep breath and know that you are in this moment okay.

Let me try and understand:

I may not know what it is like to be you, I don’t know what happens in your heart and in your mind, I don’t know why you act the way that you do sometimes, so please help me understand. I am willing to listen and respect what you have to say.

I respect you:

You have different ideas, and see the world differently than I do. Sometimes we struggle to

meet eye to eye, but who you are as a person is good and kind and there are moments when I look at you and have such deep respect for the person that you are.

Teach me:

At times I forget to be patient, sometime I snap at you, at times I want things done quickly, and done “my way”. Please continue to teach me patience, remind me to be flexible, show me the gifts that you have in your heart about love and kindness. I can learn so much from you when I am willing to slow down and just be with you.

You are good enough and you are whole:

Please remember that nothing anyone says or does, or nothing that you can do or say, will make you less that whole. You are loveable and there is nothing that you can have, do, or be that will make you more loveable that who you already are.

You are worthy:

You are worthy of happiness, love, and kindness, and all goodness, no more and no less than any other being. Sometime I struggle to remember this in my own life and I thank you for reminding me.

Let your uniqueness shine:

I know at times it feels like things would be better if you just fit in and you were like everyone else, it feels isolating to be different and stand out. I honor and celebrate what makes you uniquely you, no one else on this planet can take your place, and that’s truly remarkable.

I am sorry:

I try to help you grow into being a happy and kind child, and sometimes I try too hard and I forget what an amazing gift you are. You are funny, kind, you have such a generous heart, and love to laugh and play. I’m sorry for those times when I forget to look at you with the love and compassion you deserve.

Thank you,

Your parent

If you are in the Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Venice Florida area and you are looking for child therapy, we can help. Schedule a Support Consultation here.

If you don’t live in the area, don’t worry. I created parenting resources to help children and teens you can immediately download  to help your child.

Play: Reduce worry and power struggles

March 7th, 2012

Jumping, running, playing- you’ve heard the positive benefits that play has on fine and gross motor skills and physical development, but did you know that play and exercise have therapeutic benefits?

Did you know research supports the benefits of play and exercise on reducing depression and anxiety? When excising and playing your body releases feel-good chemicals (neurotransmitters and endorphins), your body temperature rises, increasing calming effects, distracts you from worries, can improve sleep, strengthen your heart, lower your blood pressure, while strengthening the body and immune system. Yes, play is therapeutic!

Yet, given unstructured free time most children would prefer to watch television, play with their video games, text, be on social media, listen to music, or surf the web. Children are often in structured environments (sitting and listening) and then they unwind by plugging in to their electronics. When problems arise I often prescribe play to help children self-regulate their behaviors and emotions. Here are some common concerns that parents have regarding their children and some ways that play and exercise can be used therapeutically to benefit your child.

Children who have issues with sitting still, paying attention, focusing, doing homework can benefit from play after school. Your child has been focusing and working on paying attention all day and they need some time to release their pent up energy. Asking some children who struggle with attention and impulsivity (children with attention deficit issues, ADD and ADHD)  to do homework right after school is asking for a power struggle. Create a break between school a homework, take your child to the park, play tag, time them running and see if they can beat their time, go swimming, get out toys and play, paint, color, put on music and dance. Allow time to release energy and then create a transitioning calm down routine, such as a snack, before moving into a more focused activity.

Children who are anxious and worried can benefit from play and exercise to increase endorphins. Engage in gross motor activities, such as tossing a ball and naming worries and positives for the day, or blow bubbles and worries away and catch the bubbles that are good thoughts (use a big bubble blowing kit for expansive movement), or focus on a worry and then hula hoop for 5 minutes, and check to see if the worry is still as big.

Children who are frustrated can benefit from playtime where they can express their frustrations by ripping up paper with things that frustrate them written on it, or using a big piece of paper and painting with both the left and right hands, or bouncing on trampoline and naming all the things that bother them, or drawing/writing frustrations and throwing them in a basket.

Children who have a difficult time getting along with their sibling and peers can use play to work on positive communication, asking for what they want, learning how to cope with frustrations, and working out problems. Imaginary games, interactive art activities, or building with Lego’s provides an opportunity to manage differences.

Children who have a difficult time sleeping and self-calming can use exercise to help them get a good night’s sleep. Engage in running and swimming, or sports where they are continually moving (such as soccer or basketball). Make sure these activities happen in the afternoon or early evening so your child has plenty or time to regulate their body for sleep.

What play strategies you use to help your child?

If you are in the Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Venice Florida area and you are looking for child therapy, we can help. Schedule a Support Consultation here.

If you don’t live in the area, don’t worry. I created parenting resources to help children and teens you can immediately download  to help your child.