Archive for April, 2013

Bully Be Gone: 9 tips to help your child deal with bullies

April 30th, 2013

If you have a kid or work with kids, then you’ve heard all about bullies. From zero tolerance to no bullying schools, it’s a big topic at school, at home, and in the media. We hear of children being pushed too far and hurting others or themselves because they were bullied.

I believe that “bullies” provide valuable learning opportunities and children with SUPPORT can grow and become resilient from these experiences.

Here are 9 tips on how to help your child learn and grow in positive ways from their experience with bullies:

1. Listen-Your child may feel like they are not being heard or understood. You may not agree with what you child is saying, however by listening to and trying to understand your child you will help them process their feelings, make choices, and learn to problem-solve. Use art making to explore feelings around bullying and allow your child a safe place to process their feelings without judgment.

2. Don’t jump in to rescue (unless it’s a safety issue)- Safety can mean psychological or physical. If you feel that your child safety is at-risk, then intervening is paramount. Otherwise, allow your child to problem-solve and brainstorm possible ways of handling the situation. You can use the art making process to explore choices and options. If you quickly intervene, then your child may begin to feel like they are incapable of making decisions or handling difficult situations (which may create a whole lot of enabling behavior in the future).

3. Let them know you’ve got their back- After exploring their options, if what they try doesn’t work, you can look at other options together. If the situation escalates let them know you’ve got a plan of action.

4. They may be embarrassed, and that’s okay-If the situation escalates don’t allow your chid to go at it alone, no matter what they say. Kids sometimes don’t want you to intervene because they are afraid it will only make things worse or that they will be embarrassed. Again, if it’s a safety issue, or they have tried to change the situation and it has not gotten better, then it’s time for you to step in and contact the teacher or school administration.

5. Watch your child’s behaviors- If you notice your child shutting down or withdrawing, or their grades slipping, it’s an indicator that something is going on. Look for subtle cues that they are having trouble coping and don’t ignore the chronic statements about hating school, find out what’s going on.

6. Sometimes you just got to look at other options- I’ve seen many children who stay in a negative environment without support, and they start to shutdown. All of a sudden they are depressed, anxious, or getting into trouble. These kids have expressed that they can’t handle a situation in so many ways, and they feel like no one is hearing them. Perhaps the environment can’t be fixed, or the administration is unwilling to make changes, or your child’s attempts to assert himself/herself has only create more bullying. It feels like you’ve tried it all, nothing seems to be getting better and it seems to be getting worse. It’s time to explore other options.  Explore what other academic choices, what environment does your child thrive in, how can you empower your child, and how can you address the underlying issues so that it doesn’t become a reoccurring pattern wherever they go.

7. Create opportunities for empowerment-Bullying and bullies trigger fears and inadequacies , help your child learn how to manage their fears and develop assertiveness skills by building competency and mastery. Help them learn how to manage smaller difficulties by introducing your child to developmentally appropriate tasks that challenge them. Explore sports, learn new skills, attend new places or camps, and help your child learn how to overcome challenges with support and encouragement. The art making process is a great way to develop coping skills and build mastery.

8 Build social skills- Some children who are bullied have a difficult time fitting in socially. They may be socially immature, or have a hard time making or keeping friends their age. Again, look for situations where they can develop skills socially and learn how to cope with frustrations, manage transitions, be flexible in a fun and supportive environment.

9. Explore therapy- With so many therapists teaching skills today you’ll likely find someone who can help your child with their feelings and behaviors. Therapy is a great place to try out new skills, learn how to adapt and change, and safely express feelings. Many children who have been bullied carry emotional scars and talk about these painful experiences years later. Provide your child with a safe place to process and move through their feelings so they can make positive changes (and seek out positive relationships).

Children love learning, so tap into their natural curiosity and creativity to help them develop the skills they need to say buh-bye to bullies. Need some more support? Join us on the IPPC Q& A call, May 7th. Get your questions answered LIVE~ Click here to learn more


Is your child bright, but lazy?

April 23rd, 2013

ARE YOU A PARENT OR PROFESSIONAL?

Join the International Parents & Professionals Community (IPPC) monthly Support Call Tuesday, April 23rd. Dr. Laura will be speaking on the topic “Bright, but Lazy? Tools to help children succeed in school when it appears like they don’t care”

It is almost the end of the school year and for many children this is a very stressful time of the year. You may have opened up the grades from your child’s report card this quarter, and you were shocked. Maybe you thought they were doing fine, but found out they are struggling or they have been missing lots of homework. Perhaps you are a professional working with children and families struggling to help their bright child; they’ve tried everything to help and it seems like their child just doesn’t care or they are just “lazy”.

Please do not wait until the end of the year to get your child the help they need! Join us on this support call detailing steps you can take to help your struggling child succeed.

On this call you’ll identify:

  • Indicators that your child or the children you work with are in need of support ASAP
  • Quick action steps you can take to help your child get back on track with their academics
  • Signs that signal the need for more support, and what you can do to ensure that your child receives the support they need
  • Concrete plan of action to help your work with the school and address your concerns
  • Underlying concerns that may be impacting your child’s success and how to create interventions that address these issues
  • Options and alternatives to help your bright child be a motivated and successful life-long learner
  • Plus, you’ll leave with creative art and cognitive behavioral strategies to help children who become easily “stuck” and “overwhelmed”

If you have a child who is struggling with academics or your know of a children who is having a difficult time it is imperative that you join this support call! Click here to find out more


Master Mindful Moments with These Creative Tips

April 16th, 2013

Mindfulness is a hot topic these days. It seems like there’s so much literature popping up on the benefits of focusing on the present moment, right here and right now. Reported benefits include awareness of your body, focus and attention, emotion regulation, and increased sense of self (Perspectives on Psychological Science).

Kids are naturally mindful, and left to their own desires they could easily lose hours in mindful play and curious explorations. We can tap into this natural creative state to help children who become easily dysreguated learn how to be in the present moment, all without a yoga mat or “Om”.

Master Mindful Moments with These Creative Tips:
Be aware of the sensations your body is experiencing by speeding up and slowing your engine down. Help your child to become aware of their breath and them encourage them to slow it down.

Blow bubbles and see who can make the biggest bubble with slow breath. See who can make the most bubbles with fast breath. Slow down and make bubbles with your hands.

Play red light/ green light and teach kids to be aware of their bodies, inside and out when they move and stop.

Mimic a fast animal, like a rabbit, then slow down like a turtle.

Show off your dance moves: play music that gets your engine revved, and then play music that slows your engine down.

Decorate your instruments. Create rattles and drums out of household object, paper plates, or various containers; decorate with ribbons, feathers, markers or glitter.

Color together with crayons quickly and make a scribble drawing, then slow down and make slow looping swirls.

Color a page with chalk pastels quickly, then slow down and smear the pastels into he paper with your fingers.

Slowly mix paint colors and see what you create. Paint your hands and make handprints.

Smell scented markers. Close your eyes and play guess the scents with different smells.

Open a new container of Play-doh. Smell and squish it.

Draw a picture with your non-dominant hand.

Paint or draw to classical music, speed up or slow down, depending upon the song.

Make a self-portrait looking at yourself in the mirror.

Paint with right hand, then switch to your left hand, and alternate hands while painting.

Create a squiggle and then ask your child to make a drawing from the lines you drew.

Make a sensory quilt art. Use furry fabrics, feathers, rough textures such as sand paper and adhere to contact paper (or use glue) to create squares of mixed textiles.

Make moon sand: 6 cups of play sand, 3 cups of cornstarch, 1 1/2 cups of cold water. Mix the water and cornstarch together and gradually mix in the sand, one cup at a time. Store in airtight container. (use 2-3 tablespoons of water to revive it).

Eat juice flavored ice cubes. Snack on a hot ball candy or jolly rancher. Try to make bubbles with hubba bubba bubble gum.

These powerful sensory activities that will help your child be in the here and now. Think of ways you can help your child connect with these senses (touch, smell, taste, sound,  and sight). Use these activities to help your child create a toolkit of mindful activities to help them self-soothe and regulate when they need to calm their systems down.

Need some more tools and strategies to help your child or the children and families you work with? We’ve got lots of practical and invaluable information for you to access 24/7. Click here to learn more