Archive for the ‘Parenting Tips’ Category

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

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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

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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/

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What happens when it’s not the fairytale you expected?

March 5th, 2013

I went to a conference last weekend and met a person who worked at Disney. She shared with me that Mickey Mouse’s character costume has been changed countless times because of children’s responses to Mickey. Interesting.
A clinician I worked with once shared that the most abused and projected upon toy in his child therapy office was Mickey Mouse. Hmmm.

It got me thinking about Mickey and what would cause such a stir. Mickey is a simple non-threatening kinda mouse, it seems like he’s friendly enough since he has friends, and even a girlfriend. Why would there be Mickey-haters or those scared of the Mouse?

My therapist colleague explained that many of the children who projected their anger onto Mickey were children who were robbed of their fairytale. They had experienced loss, abuse, sadness, anger, hurt, upheaval, bullying, let-downs. Their lives were not the way they were supposed to be, and they were mad/sad, and Mickey is an easy target for all those feelings.

I wonder how many children feel like they didn’t get a fairytale life. How many princesses have been let down to find that prince charming doesn’t make her whole, how many kids were out-casted to the role of Goofy, or that they never felt like they belonged and had to create their own internal magical kingdom build up with big walls and a moat for protection.

As adults we look to protect children, to shield them from the dragons (or at least minimize the impact). Yet, it’s in these moments of loss, change, struggle, when a child feels helpless and hopeless that everyone else got the pass to the fairytale and they didn’t, is when your presence matters the most.

Your Presence.

Not your words, not what you do to solve the problems, not how you try to help them fix it- but your presence.

Mickey Mouse doesn’t speak, he’s a witness to the tides of feelings that flow from children who cannot put into words the pain they are feeling. A witness who doesn’t ask the child to be different in the moment or try to fix, diminish, explain the child’s feelings away.

Art is a safe witness for many children a place where they can explore, express, escape. Just observe as a child picks up art materials and knows without guidance or direction how to express themselves. Then notice what happens as they get older, how their creativity gets squashed or marginalized and they start to express they are not good enough. Throughout their lives they are in need of a safe witness for their feelings.

How can you channel you inner Mickey Mouse and be a safe witness for your child?

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/

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Got impulsive, distracted, overwhelmed kids? “Egads, what do I do to help my attention deficit, impulsive (ADD/ADHD) child?”

February 25th, 2013

 ARE YOU A PARENT OR PROFESSIONAL? 

Are you looking for ways to help your child become more organized and focused? Tired of always reminding them to do what you asked? Frustrated by forgotten school work, disorganized rooms, and “I need that by tomorrow” last minute shopping trips? Worried that your child will not have the skills to succeed as a responsible independent adult?

It’s scary and overwhelming… so let’s come up with a plan to help your child and take of some of the stress and worry off you.

Join the International Parents & Professionals Community (IPPC) monthly Support Call Tuesday, February 26th. Dr. Laura will be speaking on the topic “Egads, what do I do to help my attention deficit, impulsive (ADD/ADHD) child?”

You suspect your child has ADHD, or perhaps you work with children who have impulsivity issues. You may be wondering if this term is being over used (and over diagnosed), you want to explore alternatives to medication, or provide the families your work with more concrete skills to help their child. Don’t miss this informative support call on a topic that impacts so many children & families!

On this call you’ll discover:

  • The struggles that parents of children with impulsivity and attention issues face. It’s good to know you’re not alone and what to expect if your child is diagnosed or you suspect that they have ADD/ADHD.
  • You’ll leave with a better understanding of your child’s behaviors and some of the things parents try to do that just don’t seem to work (and may make things even worse).
  • As a professional you may want to throw your hands-up in the air because of frustration and lack of changes. Before you do so you’ll want to learn more about how what you’re saying just may not “stick to the brain” of a child with ADD/ADHD.
  • I’ll reveal of “how-to”, easy to implement, creative tips and strategies that will help diminish power struggles over homework, daily tasks, and listening, so your child is set-up with skills for success.

You’ll leave this call with empowering information and a plan to help children with ADD/ADHD. Don’t miss this complimentary call for IPPC members. Click here to find out more

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Can you hear me now? What’s up when your child is acting out

February 19th, 2013

Your child tells their brother to stop hitting them, they aren’t listening, the fighting begins and someone ends up crying “mmmoooooommmmmm”,

Your teen asks if they can go on Facebook, you tell them no, and find them pretending to do homework while chatting with their friends online,

You told your daughter she has to watch her bother’s game and she spends the afternoon whining and complaining that she hates her bother,

Your child wants to go to McDonald’s on the way home from school and when you say no, he has a fit for 30 minutes,

Your child’s sister is on the computer/tv/phone, and it’s unfair. You hear about how wrong you are for the rest of the night,

Your child comes home from your ex’s house from a weekend visit and all of a sudden you are the “bad guy” for asking them about homework.

It seems like you can’t win, and  no matter what you do your child is upset or angry and once again they are yelling or arguing. Is there really such a thing as a peaceful home?

Here’s the scoop- all of our behaviors are an attempt to get our needs met, and each of us have different needs we are trying to meet. Some of us want more freedom, some want more control, some want to feel safe, some want to feel loved and understood, and some want more fun. Our needs are so very different, and when we are feeling like our needs are not being met, watch out- that’s when the negative behaviors arise. Depending upon who you are (and your life experience) you may shutdown or act out when you’re feeling like your your not being understood or your needs aren’t being met.

Often those negative behaviors are ways of communicating without the words- yelling, pouting, hitting, tantrums, are all ways of expressing, “can you hear me now?”

Not the best the ways to get your needs met, for sure.

So how can you help your child (spouse/partner) express their needs and feelings in a positive way?

CQ Playful Creative Activity:           

Bust out the art supplies! Help your child identify what’s important to them. Create images, words, collages of what they like, what is meaningful in their lives. Help them put words to what’s important. This will help you understand why they are so upset when their brother changes the channel when they are watching Sponge Bob. You can help by validating their feelings, “I know it’s important to you and you feel upset”.
Use art to explore choices, create images or a collage of things they can do when they are feeling upset. Help them to identify ways they can get their needs met, and if they aren’t able to get what they want, things that they can do to help them calm down. Sometimes knowing you are heard and that you have choices is a pretty powerful tool that can diffuse reactive behaviors.

Use art to encourage identifying and expressing feelings. Sometimes it’s hard to verbalize or even understand a painful experience. The use of art materials can provide a safe container for self-expression.

Are you in need of some more support to help your child? Join the International Parents & Professionals Community– We’ve got lots of resources, 24/7 access to information to help your child whenever you need it, a group of awesome community members, plus you”ll have access to the upcoming February Support Call “Egads, what do I do to help my attention deficit, impulsive (ADD/ADHD) child?”

Need more support for your child, or you’re looking for child or family art therapy in the Sarasota, Fl area? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Laura by clicking here.

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The Art of ‘Parenting by the Numbers’ to see your Child as a Unique Masterpiece

January 21st, 2013

I’m so super excited about the upcoming International Parents and Professionals Community Guest Speaker, Diana Dentinger.  Diana will be sharing The Art of ‘Parenting by the Numbers’ to see your Child as a Unique Masterpiece!

 Diana Dentinger was raised in a large Midwestern family, finished college and moved to Italy where she has lived since 1984, working as a Corporate Trainer. During those years she was certified in many behavior models while studying as a Neurobiology Therapist and she discovered  a “secret formula” based on your date of birth, (but it is not numerology).

As a mother of 4, she has seen how having this formula helped her more fully understand her children and made parenting so much easier. So after 20 years of training and coaching in Italian, she decided to offer her Number formula to the English speaking world and especially to parents. She’s sharing this very unique information with our community and you are going to LOVE this call!

You’ll want to join us for this Members Only call on Tuesday, January 22 nd. Click here access this Guest Expert Call (and all the other membership goodies).

Here’s what we’ll be sharing on the call:

~As a parent do you feel like you are fighting against your children to do things your way?

~Do your kids fight you and it feels like every little thing is an argument or struggle?

The true Art of Parenting is in being an art appreciator and not an art critic. Even more so, it is in appreciating what is unique about yourself and your relationships. If you are struggling with your relationships you may need a new perspective, and Diana is going share her unique system of Parenting by the Numbers. After 20 years of researching behavior, Diana created the most exact personality and needs profile providing an easy and effective way to understand ourselves, and our loved ones.

On this call you’ll discover:

  • How to use the antique symbols of Numbers to become a happy and satisfied parent and help your child become happier too
  • How your child is a work in progress and how you can use the Numbers to cultivate their unique strengths
  • What inborn qualities your child has and how these qualities can create conflict in relationships, and how you can draw upon these to help your child succeed.

You’ll leave this call with empowering tools to help you better understand the children in your life. Parents or professionals will learn unique information to guide children to be happier and successful (and reduce power struggles and arguments). Plus, you’ll learn all about the Numbers so you can apply this with your family immediately. Don’t miss this complimentary call for IPPC members. Click here to find out more

I can’t wait to welcome you to our awesome community and share Diana’s unique information too!

 

Until we connect again, let your brilliant light SHINE,

 

Dr. Laura Dessauer,

the “Creativity Queen”

Founder, International Parents & Professionals Community

 

P.S.- This call and audio recording is F-R-E-E for International Parents and Professional Community Members. Enjoy 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 now for all of the exciting details.

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Brain Insights: Make a Positive Difference for Children interview with Deborah McNelis

December 13th, 2012

Do you want to help set your child up for a positive and healthy new year? Join the International Parents and Professionals Community December support call with guest expert Deborah McNelis, an Early Brain Development Specialist, on the topic of Brain Insights: Make a Positive Difference for Children!

Our next monthly International Parents & Professionals Community (IPPC) Guest Faculty Call is Tuesday, December 18th on this call Deborah will share practical and important information that can shape your child’s brain!

The brain is greatly impacted by experiences. With the realizations you gain through this presentation you will learn eye opening ways to have a positive impact on behavior, moods and learning…even during busy every day life!

On this call you’ll discover:

  • The impact of the early years
  • What “out of control” behavior means
  • How important consistent nurturing relationships are
  • The importance of play for optimal brain development
  • How nutrition impacts behavior and learning
  • How to fit healthy brain development into your schedule with practical strategies for busy families.

You’ll get access to positive and practical strategies to help your child develop a healthy brain. This call is F*R*E*E* to all IPPC members. Click here to learn more about our supportive community and all the resources for children and families.

I adore Deborah and always learn something new when we talk. I can’t wait to share her pioneering and practical brain insights with our community! If you’re not a member of our community you can learn more here.

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Prevent Holiday Tantrums and Meltdowns at ANY Age

December 4th, 2012

The holidays are a very exciting and stimulating time of year, and regardless of your age you may find yourself overwhelmed, exhausted, and ready to meltdown from stress. Now imagine you are a child with limited control and resources to express and manage your stress. No wonder this time of the year can be overwhelming for kids and adults alike! Here are 4 ways to prevent holiday tantrums and meltdowns at any age:

 

  1. Overstimulation is… overstimulating! Running around from store to store and from activity to activity is exhausting for everyone, especially children who are sensitive to the environment or have sensory issues. All those bright lights and loud stores are enough to unnerve anyone.  Know your child’s limitations and don’t ask them to go beyond what they are capable of doing. Instead, arrange a play date, ask a relative to help out, have your spouse watch the kids as you go and take care of shopping or last minute details.
  2. Kids don’t always have the words to tell you. When children are exhausted and overwhelmed they don’t always have the awareness or ability to let you know that they are at their limit. Heck, even as adults we can easily minimize our spouse/partner when they say that they have had enough and need a break…”Oh but there are a few more things we’ve GOT to get done”! Listen to your child, look at their body cues, and help them identify when they need a break. By helping your child understand and positively express their limits you can avoid the meltdowns and tantrums, especially the public ones that leave you wanting to sneak out of the store from embarrassment.
  3. Get back to basics: Wacky schedules, too much sugar, not enough exercise will lead to mood dysreguation.  Keep a daily schedule with regular bedtimes and use a whiteboard to add special events.  Limit all those holiday sweets. A simple rule of 1 sweet a day can help diffuse the arguments over cookies and candy.  If your child drinks soda, it may be time to choose a natural soda or limit the amount of soda. Clean out the cupboards of salty snacks, toss the ice cream and other sugars, and get outside and exercise.  Head to the local YMCA, join a sport, or just get outside. Exercise helps reduce stress and regulate mood (and helps with anxiety and depression).
  4. Pick and choose what’s important. What do you want your holiday memories to be like? If you are trying to pack everything holiday into 4 weeks you’ll be creating memories, for sure, but they may not be the memories you would like your child to remember!

 

CQ Playful Creative Activity:           

 

Here’s a creative activity to help you choose what’s important for your family. Take a few minutes and some deep breaths then find some magazines (or just get paper and pen/pencils/markers).  Choose a few words that reflect what you would like this holiday season to be remembered as. Write those words or cut the words out from magazines and paste onto paper. Then write down all of the things you believe you “should” do over the holidays on a separate piece of paper.  Look at your list of things to do and remove activities that do not align with the words you desire to create. This can be an empowering activity for the whole family, to help your family choose what’s important (and not so much) for the holidays.

Set your child up for success by joining the International Parents & Professionals Community December support call with guest expert Deborah McNelis on  the topic of “Brain Insights: Make a Positive Difference for Children!” You’ll get access to positive and practical strategies to help your child develop a healthy brain.

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7 Creative Activities to Help Toddlers and Preschoolers Positively Identify and Express Their Emotions

November 13th, 2012

ARE YOU A PARENT OR PROFESSIONAL?

Join the International Parents & Professionals Community (IPPC) monthly Support Call Tuesday, November 27th. I’ll be speaking on the topic “7 Creative Activities to Help Toddlers and Preschoolers Positively Identify and Express Their Emotions

 

If you have a toddler or preschooler in your life then you are likely looking for tools to help children manage their big feelings? Perhaps you are looking for activities to engage your child and help them learn how to manage their behaviors? Maybe you are looking for creative support tools to teach children how to get along with others without hitting, screaming, and throwing a tantrum?  The Creativity Queen has got you covered!

 

On this call I’ll share:

 

Seven creative activities to help children regulate their social interactions, emotions, and behaviors. These activities will encourage young children to:

 

  • Express and communicate both verbally & non-verbally,
  • Identify and express their feelings, asserting themselves in positive ways,
  • Develop communication, problem solving, creativity and self-confidence,
  • Positively interact with other children and reinforce appropriate behaviors,
  • Participate in age-appropriate cooperative play, choosing positive behaviors,
  • and guide children through problem-solving and conflict resolution solutions

 

You will leave this call with art activities and creative ideas to encourage positive healthy expression with young children.  This call is F*R*E*E* to all IPPC members. Join us on this creative support call. Click here to learn more about our supportive community and all the resources for children and families

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