Archive for the ‘children’ Category

The Blossom Method ™– the revolutionary way to communicate with your baby from birth

November 25th, 2013

ARE YOU A PARENT OR PROFESSIONAL?

Join the International Parents & Professionals Community (IPPC). Our monthly Parent & Professional Support Call is Tuesday, November 26th. Topic: “The Blossom Method ™– the revolutionary way to communicate with your baby from birth” an interview with guest expert, Vivien Sabel.

Imagine how much easier life would be if you could talk to your baby and understand his or her emotions, needs and wants. In The Blossom Method™, Vivien Sabel supports you to do just that – through learning about your baby’s non-verbal communications. With this groundbreaking technique, you will learn how to meet your baby’s needs before he or she cries, and how to talk back so that your baby feels understood.

On this call you will learn:

  • How and when Vivien discovered more about infant communication
  • The Blossom Method and the value of this communication tool
  • Specific examples of infant communication and their meanings
  • The value of using the key features of The Blossom Method with all children from toddlers and teens
  • What parents and professionals are saying about The Blossom Method

The Blossom Method™ encourages you to understand and communicate with your baby from day one, leading to an even happier, settled baby and a strong parent–child bond.

This call and audio recording is F-R-E-E for IPPC Members. This exciting international parents and professional community is surprisingly affordable and includes monthly parent & professional support calls, guest faculty calls with parenting and family experts, quarterly Q&A calls, instant access 24/7 to support resources, and a supportive, non-judgmental & downright awesome community of parents & professionals…all for just a few pennies per day. Click here to find out more


Got unhappy kids?

September 23rd, 2013

ARE YOU A PARENT OR PROFESSIONAL?

Join the International Parents & Professionals Community (IPPC). Our monthly Parent & Professional Support Call is Tuesday, September 24th. Topic: “Growing Happy Kids” an interview with guest expert, Maureen Healey.

We all want to raise confident and happier kids today but the question remains how? Maureen Healy, author of Growing Happy Kids, shares how to nurture a deeper sense of confidence and ultimately happiness in children. Come along and learn about the keys to children (and even perhaps your own) lasting happiness.

On this call you will learn:

  • Difference Between Self-Esteem and Confidence
  • How Confidence Connects to Happiness
  • What the 5 Building Blocks of Confidence Are
  • Things to Avoid
  • Keys to Your Kid’s Happiness

Maureen Healy is a popular author, speaker and healer working with parents globally. She writes a popular blog for Psychology Today and PBS along with her book, Growing Happy Kids, which we’ll talk about on the support call. Her next book, The Energetic Keys to Indigo Kids, comes out next month about how to help our most sensitive children thrive.

This call and audio recording is F-R-E-E for IPPC Members. This exciting international parents and professional community is surprisingly affordable and includes monthly parent & professional support calls, guest faculty calls with parenting and family experts, quarterly Q&A calls, instant access 24/7 to support resources, and a supportive, non-judgmental & downright awesome community of parents & professionals…all for just a few pennies per day. Click here to find out more


Summertime success, really?

July 22nd, 2013

Okay, I bet I got you thinking…what’s the CQ up to talking about “SUCCESS” and summertime in the same sentence?

Yup, it’s kinda funny to think of summertime as a time when you want to encourage success, but it’s so filled with opportunities to learn, grow, and explore beyond the classroom.

So I ask you dear reader to think about what summertime success would look like for your child. Then ask your child what a successful summer would look like for them? You may even want to get some art supplies and get creative with this.
I imagine there are quite a few differences, and lots of opportunities for learning from each other.

Here’s the beauty of this exercise- both of you have a visual creation of what’s important, and from here you can begin negotiating the differences.

Your kiddo wants more electronics time and you want more reading time, look to find a way you can both get your needs met, and teach the art of compromise.

They want to go a sports camp with their friends, and you want them to join the academic camp, how can you come up with a compromise and create a win:win?

Life is all about negotiating differences, learning to communicate your needs, and how to be flexible when things don’t go your way.

Now that you and your child have an agreement on what a successful summer looks like, be a detective and collect evidence of positive moments.

As you’ve heard me mention before, Dr. Rick Hanson talks about Taking in the Good, and savoring positive moments.

Here are some ideas to savor summertime success:

*Take Instagram pictures of summertime success moments (both your definition and theirs)
*Create a Wordle  (word cloud) with key phrases or words that describe your child’s
summer of success
*Make a collage of words and images depicting their summertime goals
*Put together a scrapbook or Smashbook of summer highlights (need some inspiration
search Pinterest for ideas)
*Make a summer movie and include a highlight reel from key moments of summertime
success
* Get creative and ask your kiddo to come up with ideas to celebrate their successes!

Need help negotiating differences and create a win:win with your child? We hear you! Join us on the upcoming International Parents and Professionals Community Support call “You Can’t Make Me: Effective Boundaries and Follow Through for Motivating Kids! Practical and positive strategies to build cooperation, responsibility, and mutual respect with children” Click here to learn more


Using art to teach boundaries, respect, communication, and cooperation

July 9th, 2013

Last month’s International Parents and Professionals Community Support call was with Dr. Jane Bluestein and we talked about practical and positive strategies to build cooperation, responsibility, and mutual respect with children (if you missed this ‘must listen to call’ you can find out more here https://thecreativityqueen.com/bluestein).

It got me thinking about how important it is to set boundaries and clear expectations with kids. Also, the importance of very specific and concrete consequences (both positive and negative).  I find that the kids who struggle the most are often the ones whose parents flip flop on boundaries (sometimes a NO turns into a YES) or a child’s negative behavior triggers you to lose your cool or frustrates you to the point that you give in.

Summertime means more time with your family, more sibling time together, and more unstructured time. All of that can lead to arguments, annoyances, and frustrations.

You can teach your kiddos lots of great skills using art, such as respecting boundaries, communicating wants, cooperating, and learning consequences.

Here’s a creative playful CQ activity:

Get a large piece of paper and set the rules for playing together. Let your child know how long you’ll be making art and the expectations (such as helping pick-up the materials, asking for help, etc). Explain that you’ll be working together or that they will be working with their siblings. Pick a theme to create, this time of year an underwater theme or at the beach is a fun theme to explore. Tell your child that they can create on one side of the paper their own scene, and you (or their sibling has the other side of the paper) and explain that the middle of the paper is where they can create things together. Be clear that they need to ask before touching another person’s materials or going on the other person’s side. Let them know what the consequences will be ahead of time for good choices and poor choices. If your children are doing this together monitor the process, provide feedback, and explore choices.

Depending upon your child, you can provide basic materials such as markers or crayons, or you can provide sensory materials such as glitter glue, pom-poms, finger paint, or play-dough. Use this experience as a teaching opportunity to explore respecting boundaries, develop communication skills, such as asking for what you need, tolerating frustration, and organizing materials. Recognize positive choices and explore consequences of poor choices.

Every moment is a teaching moment, so help your child develop the skills to understand and respect boundaries, communicate their wants, and learn the consequences of their choices.


Give Yourself a Break!

June 7th, 2013

Mini-breaks are so important. They help us to recharge, reconnect, and recenter. However, there are just so many hours in the day, and it’s easy to fall into the mindset that when there’s free time we must fill it, and yes we all know lots of things to fill it with.

So put down the phone, turn off the computer, step away from the laundry pile…

 

  • Give yourself permission to have a mini-break. Modeling to your children that it is healthy to take a break and chill without having to “plug-in” to electronics is a priceless gift.  Make a public declaration that it’s your time to relax. Tell your parenting partner  they are in charge or ask a friend to babysit. If you don’t have anyone to watch the older kiddos- put on a timer and let them know you are not to be disturbed until the timer goes off, unless it’s an emergency (and be clear what’s an emergency). Have a few new movies on-hand that you’ve collected and stashed away for these moments.
  • Declare a mini-break before your batteries have run out. It’s common to push through the exhaustion and overwhelm and think you can get a few more things done. However, this can lead to a very reactive, cranky behavior, and you may do or say something that is not very nice. You don’t want your child modeling this behavior! Know your triggers, state how you feel, and tell those around you what you need. You’ll be able to help your child identify their triggers and needs by calmly sharing your own.
    Spend your mini-break wisely. You may be temped to catch up on paperwork, get some laundry done, start dinner, or check your emails. Don’t go there. Instead do something (or nothing) that helps you to center and renew yourself. Want to teach your child how to recognize their needs so they avoid a meltdown or tantrum? Model this by creating a list of min-break activities on the refrigerator for each person in the family. Do this with your kids and have them add actives to their list (and decorate it too). When it’s time for you to take a mini-break pick an activity from your list.  Let your family know this is what you’ll be doing and teach your kids to do the same.
  • Create a mini-break retreat space. Go into the bedroom and light a candle and rest with a scented eye pillow, sit outside with a cool drink and a book, go to the bathroom (turn the lights down so you don’t have to look at the bath toys or tub that needs to be scrubbed). Have a ritual that you do, and things on hand to help you quickly renew, such as magazines in a basket, scented candles, or art supplies in a special box.
  • Help your child create a mini-break retreat space too.  I like to teach families and educators how to create a calm-down area. Find a space where a child can chill out and fill it with self-soothing activities. If your space is limited put pillows in a corner or a small tent to create a designated area.

Need more support and ways to help your child? Join us on the upcoming International Parents and Professionals Community Support call “You Can’t Make Me: Effective Boundaries and Follow Through for Motivating Kids! Learn  practical and positive strategies to build cooperation, responsibility, and mutual respect with childrenClick here to learn more


Parties, play dates, performances, oh my! 6 tips to help your child navigate a busy schedule without overwhelm, meltdowns, or tantrums

May 13th, 2013

It seems like this time of year there’s a party, play date, or performance almost daily. This can become an overwhelming time of year- especially if your child has a hard time transitioning or is very sensitive to their environment.

Here are 6 tips to help your child navigate this busy social time so there are less meltdowns, tantrums, or shutdowns.

  1. Pick and choose- As a parent make decisions that will be in the best interest of your child. You know if you run from a visit with your parents, then off to a theatre show your child is performing in, then to an after party with the cast members, your child may be “spent”, and that’s often when behaviors deteriorate. Limit the number of activities, and model to your child that saying “no, thank you” is perfectly acceptable.
  2. Prepare- Pick out clothes in advance, plan snacks or meals for the day, decide how long you will attend these events and how you (and your parenting partner) will respond if your child wants to stay longer.
  3. Let your child know the plan up front- Be clear on the plans for the day, expectations, the length of the visit, and if there is a concern about your child’s behavior be clear on what will happen if they become upset or act out (and then follow through on what you said you would do). If they easily become overstimulated create a word or signal that you both can use to remind your child to take a break from the activity they are doing. Reward good behavior with something meaningful and simple, such as letting your child stay longer at an activity or choose the story to read at bedtime.
  4. Don’t forget to eat and drink- I know this is so simple, but how easy it is to forget especially when we are so busy and engaged in an activity. Plan for snacks, meals and water breaks so your child’s blood sugar doesn’t drop or they don’t become dehydrated, which can lead to meltdowns.
  5. Teach your child how to self-soothe and self-regulate- When your child’s behaviors start to become regressive you know they are about to have a meltdown. Step in and help them learn how to self-calm. Head outside and go for a 5-min walk, smell and look at flowers, name the birds, look for bugs. Use your car as a “relaxation station” in -between traveling to different places. Spray calming scents like lavender or chamomile, have a bag of books, crayons and paper, (no mess) modeling clay, and soft snuggly pillows, and turn on some chill tunes. Teach your child how to take restorative mini breaks throughout the day.
  6. Encourage an art break- Use art to help your child calm and reflect on their day. Get creative, pull out some simple art materials and ask your child to make pictures. Here are some ideas to get you started, feel free to improvise: Ask your child to draw pictures of their favorite thing that happened during the day, ask them to make pictures of what the liked the least or anything that was frustrating, upsetting or annoying, ask them to make a picture of what they are feeling, and what that looks like. If there was a difficult situation, ask your child to make a picture of what they could have done differently to handle it.

Yes, it’s a busy time of the year with so many exciting things to do. Help your child manage the transitions with ease with these tips. If you need more support, we’d love to help you. Learn more about our amazing International Parents and Professionals Community and all the resources, and support you can access 24/7 to help your child be the amazingly awesome kid you know they can be!


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


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


Challenging Kids, Stuck Families, Difficult Cases: Creative Support for Child Quandaries

March 25th, 2013

ARE YOU A PARENT OR PROFESSIONAL?

Join the International Parents & Professionals Community (IPPC) monthly Support Call Tuesday, March 26th. Dr. Laura will be speaking on the topic “Challenging Kids, Stuck Families, Difficult Cases: Creative Support for Child Quandaries”

There are times when both parents and professionals are at a loss of what to do to help a child. Perhaps you’ve experienced this: a child that is withdrawing and you’re worried they are cutting, the kid who gets bullied and retreats into video games, the teen you tiptoe around because one word will set them off, the child who comes into your office and refuses to speak, or the child who has an explosive temper and nothing seems to help them when they are mad?

You may be worried about your child, a child in your classroom, or a family in your practice, and you are feeling totally at a loss on how to best help them. You may feel like things are stuck, getting worse, or you’re just out of ideas.

Even the most seasoned professional gets stuck, and even the most patient parent feels at a loss. We are just so human and sometimes when the problem is so close to us we can’t see the alternatives.

So the CQ decided to create a unique call to address these child quandaries.

On this call we will explore:

  • The reasons why children shutdown, act out, tantrum, and meltdown.
  • How to create support strategies and interventions that will engage challenging children
  • What are your stuck areas or hot buttons? How you can identify and transform these personal/professional triggers so you are more open and present with children during difficult experiences.
  • Creative tools and strategies influenced by art therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and positive psychology to help children self-regulate
  • Plus, attend this call live and share your child quandaries (as a parent or as professional) and receive support and feedback!

Don’t miss this unique call that will support you where you are feeling stuck and overwhelmed, with strategies specific to your situation, so you can help those kids so in need. This call alone could transform a child’s life! Click here to find out more


Clam Kids: 3 Creative Ways to Help Your Kids Calm Down

March 19th, 2013

Ever feel super overwhelmed and you just want to crawl into bed and hide under the covers and hope the house is still standing when you re-emerge from your hibernation?

Yes, there are better ways to deal with the chaos and get back into your calm. As a parent you’ve got skills. Yeah, skills!

You know it’s time to take a walk, skip the pile of laundry and zone out on Facebook, head over to Yogurtology, or close the bathroom door and channel your inner Calgon “take me away” moment. Sometimes you are faced with the yucko moments of crying kids, last minute projects, fighting siblings, and it seems impossible to find your “Happy Place”. You’ve still got skills. You know your triggers (and sometimes you even take a break before your buttons are pushed too far), you can say no thank you, you can ask for help, you can hide out in the bathroom until you’ve chilled out enough so that no one gets hurt. Yeah, you’ve got skills.

However, kids don’t come with pre-made skills.  They don’t know how to say something is bothering them, how to ask for what they need in a polite and calm way, how to say no thank you, how to identify their triggers, what they are feeling, or how to calm their system down…unless you teach them.

Want to help your child develop some skills?

Teach them put words to what they are feeling. When you help your child develop a feeling vocabulary they will be more likely to communicate with words instead of tantrums or meltdowns. Although this may seem like a basic preschool lesson, if you’ve got older kids you know they too need to re-learn this basic skill (and maybe your honey needs a refresher too)

Here are 3 creative ways to help your child to develop a feelings vocabulary so they can learn to self-calm:

  • Create a feelings matching game. Create index cards with images cut out from magazine, or hand drawn. Label the feelings and make two sets of matching cards. Mix the cards up and place them face down and try to match each pair.

 

  • Create a feelings game. Create a game like chutes and ladders (or any other type of board game). Add images or words identifying different situations and feelings. Make words or images on the “chutes” about poor choices and negative feelings, and the “ladders” positive choices and positive feelings. For example, add a ladder with words/ images “I helped my brother clean-up, I feel proud”

 

  • Create feelings photos. Take pictures of exaggerated expressions using a polaroid instant camera, or print out images and label them (this is also fun to do using instagram). You can velcro these on to a feelings board, add them to popsicle sticks, or make funny feelings puppets out of the faces. Then use these to help your child identify what they are feeling and disrupt the meltdown before it becomes full-blown.

If you need more support, please reach out and we can find the resources to help you.

In March you can receive individualized support in several ways:

*Join the LIVE Event: To Medicate or Not:What Choices Do I Have? Q& A with Heather Chauvin http://heatherchauvin2.eventbrite.ca

*or Join the IPPC Support Call Challenging Kids, Stuck Families, Difficult Cases: Creative Support for Child Quandaries  https://thecreativityqueen.com/ippc/