Archive for the ‘worry’ 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

Is There Something Wrong with My Child? Indicators Parents & Professionals need to be aware of

October 22nd, 2012

Join the International Parents & Professionals Community (IPPC). Our monthly Parent & Professional Support Call is Tuesday, October 23rd. Topic: “Is There Something Wrong with My Child? Indicators Parents & Professionals need to be aware of”

Have you ever worried that your child’s behaviors were just not typical, and you’re concerned that something might be wrong? Maybe you thought they would just grow out of it, but it’s still there (or maybe gotten worse). You’re wondering if this is ‘normal’? You’d like to get some more information, but you’re worried that your child will be labeled or need medication. This candid call will answer your questions.

On this call I’ll share:

  • Indicators that something is happening with your child and they may need more support
  • Should you be concerned if things are fine at school, but your child acts out on you and his/her siblings
  • What if your child is having lots of problems at school? I’ll share with you what you need to know to help your child at school
  • Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity, Autism, Sensory Processing, Learning Disability, Anxiety, Depression? Are you confused and overwhelmed? It seems like everyone has their opinion about your child and you don’t know where to start to get help. I’ll share with you helpful information on finding support that’s aligned with your family values
  • Are you worried about your child receiving a diagnosis, being labeled, or medicated? We’ll talk about your options so your child can get the help that he/she needs
  • Plus, I will share tips on navigating the maze of professionals: what to look for in choosing a professional to help evaluate your child, what treatments may be beneficial for your child’s diagnosis, and what you do NOT want when you choose a professional to work with your child.

You will leave this call with clarity, ready to take action that will best support your child holistically. This call is F*R*E*E* to all IPPC members. Join us on this information filled call.

Click here to learn more about our supportive community and all the resources for children and families

Ease back to school anxiety

August 23rd, 2012

As a parent or professional you can’t help but hear these words everywhere you turn- It’s back to school time. It’s everywhere, from the ads with dancing kids in their new school clothes to the reminders to pick up school supplies. If you’re a child who likes learning or likes going to school, then it’s an exciting time of year. For other children who struggle with academics, worry about “mean kids”, or easily get overwhelmed and stressed, it can be a very difficult time of the year.

There are so many feelings associated with this time of the year: excitement (about seeing friends) worry, (will the new teacher be “nice”), fear (will I have to sit next to the boy who picks on me again this year), dread (I heard that you get lots of hard homework in 4th grade, what if I can’t do it).

So if your child starts to change their behaviors as they head back to school, realize they may have a difficult time expressing their worry, anxiety excitement, and fear.

Here are 3 creative ways you can help your child positively express their back to school anxiety:

  1. Get artistic with the worries: Recycle an old book or get a blank journal to make an art journal. Use magazines and make a collage cover for the book. Cut out words and images of all the back to school worries, everything from anxiety about “mean kids” to worries about where you’ll sit during lunch time. Glue the images or use decoupage (or cover with clear contact paper). Acknowledge your child’s feelings. Now flip the book over and on the back cover. On the back cover use magazines and words of all the positive exciting things about going back to school, such as seeing friends, art class, recess, etc. Again glue the images or cover with decoupage or clear contact paper. Use this book throughout the year to write down or draw feelings and thoughts. For stressful thoughts and worries flip to the front cover and start filling in the book, for positive thoughts and good things, flip to the back cover and fill in the pages. (It’ s two books in one). If you are using a recycled book with words, paint over the pages with acrylic paint or use artist gesso and add images and words to the painted pages.
  2. Get playful with the worries: Create dioramas of school. Do you remember dioramas? They are miniature models. Use a shoebox, or cardboard box and create a small version of a school or classroom. Furnish it with mini chairs, desks, teacher and students made from modeling clay or other modeling materials. Your child can play out their feelings in this miniature world.
  3. Get expressive with the worries: Do you have a kid who loves to perform? Channel that creative energy into creating a back to school TV show. Use your video camera and film your child play-acting the teacher and/or students. Use props or costumes and have your child come up with a few characters to solve a problem they encounter. This can be reflective of a real life situation, or they can use their imagination.

Need some more tools in your toolbox to help your kids with back to school worries & stress? Join us next week for the International Parents & Professionals Community Members Only Call “Raising Confident Children Through Mediation” with Guest Expert Heather Chauvin. Learn more here

How to make back to school freak out free

August 8th, 2012

The count down to back to school has arrived and this time of the year can easily become overwhelming for parents and children alike. For some children transitions are really difficult; plus feelings of excitement/nervousness can easily lead to power struggles, meltdowns, shutdowns or freak-outs! If your child is at a new school, or is transitioning into a grade with more responsibility, or they have a new teacher, it can be a very stressful time (especially for children with poor coping skills). Get into the back to school swing with these sanity saving tips.

Here are 5 ways to make back to school freak out free:


  1. Get into the rhythm of the school year- Start to shift bedtimes and morning wake-up times a bit earlier so the first week of school isn’t a battle to get your kiddo up or to bed.
  2. Schedule time for summer schoolwork- I know most kids will be so very upset about the idea of schoolwork during the summertime! Likely there are things that they need to complete for summer, before heading back to school; and if they have no summer schoolwork you can assign reading (or visit your local tutoring company to get a jump on the year ahead).  Use positive rewards, such as earning computer/electronic time AFTER they complete the work requested.
  3. Channel their excitement into action- Start collecting back to school items, purchase new school clothes, and have your child pick-out their own binders and backpacks.
  4. Get creative- Customize backpacks, binders, and folders with unique designs. Head to the art store and pick up cools supplies to customize their back to school stuff. Use fabric paints, stencils, sew on patches, or add other flair to backpacks. Start with blank folders and binders and add scrap-booking elements, or create cool original designs with colored duck tape and sharpies.
  5. Express the fears, worries and anxieties of back to school through art- Many well intentioned parents and adults will try talk a child out of their worries. Your child may express their fears and you may begin to lecture, minimize, or rationalize why these feelings are not true. Instead of quickly reacting to your child with reasons why their fears are unjustified allow them an opportunity to express these worries through art. Create a school worry box, journal, or use paper to draw, write, or play out all the things your child may be worried about.  Allow your child an opportunity to express their worriers and concerns without censoring their thoughts and feelings.

Here’s a bonus tip- Take care of yourself during back to school time. Your child will pick-up on your worries and stress about their upcoming school year. So take the time to nourish yourself and BREATHE!

You can learn some cool tools to help your child and yourself become more calm, focused, and relaxed in our upcoming International Parents & Professionals Community Members Only Call “Raising Confident Children Through Mediation” with Guest Expert Heather Chauvin.  Click here to learn more

As an IPPC member you’ll also get instant access 24/7 to our popular audio Homework Power Struggles: Steps to minimize the homework battles and make homework time peaceful” with lots of practical tips to help reduce homework power struggles and set your child up for their best school year yet!



Negative Thoughts? 3 Creative Ways to Help Your Child’s Negative Thoughts Become Unstuck

June 13th, 2012

Negative thoughts got your child down?

Your child is smart, funny, bright & amazing; yet sometimes they get really stuck on negative thinking, about themselves or worries about what might happen.  Research suggests our brain has a negativity bias, where we are biologically programmed to look for the negative experiences to keep ourselves physically safe.  Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist and author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom shares that negative experiences “stick” to our brain more than positive experiences. So if you know of someone (child or adult) who is always seeing the glass half-empty have a bit of sympathy that they are functioning from their “sticky” brain.


Here’s the good news, you can retrain your brain and help your loved ones shift their thinking to a more positive state.  Dr. Hanson calls this “Taking in the Good”.  Here are three creative ways to take in the good and help negative thought patterns come unstuck.


  1. Help your child identify the underlying need that your child’s negative thought is attempting to protect them from. I sometimes explain that negative thoughts are trying to do a job, such as keeping you safe and protecting you from bad stuff; but sometimes those negative thoughts get rowdy and start causing lots of problems and they need to be fired. You can act out your best Donald Trump and fire those negative thoughts. For example, your child may be worried about making new friends and they think no one likes them. These thoughts may be attempting to keep your child safe and protect them from feeling vulnerable and unlovable.  Acknowledge those negative thoughts and then give them the boot (your child can get very playful and write down or draw out negative thoughts and then “fire them”).
  2. Now play detective with your child. Together look and find evidence of times when your child is feeling those underlying emotions they desire to feel, such as lovable, safe, and vulnerable when they are connecting with others. Be playful during this process; the more you make it into a positive game, the more likely your child will be excited to play along.
  3. Get Creative! Ask your child to use their imagination and create all the times that they feel those positive feelings. You can make a big poster of positive things they do that remind them they are safe, and loveable- such as petting the dog, hugs from mom and dad, snuggling in bed, playing with their friend, swimming with their brother/sister. When your child is feeling negative thoughts, acknowledge their underlying feelings and reconnect with a positive experience. This could be as simple as looking at their poster, making art around things that feel good, asking for what feels good (hugs, cuddles), or choosing from an activity that is on the poster they created.



Make this process something that everyone in the house is involved in. Ask yourself how negative thinking is impacting you (and your relationships). Want some honest feedback? Ask your partner and listen without interrupting.  Practice this in your home: look for things that are right with others, create your own poster of positive images that remind you of the good in your life, discuss three good things that happened to you each day at dinner or before bed, choose those yummy activities when you start to revert to stinking thinking and train your brain to look for the positive.


If your parenting partner is not on the same page and you find yourself battling them (again and again) to help your child. You are not alone! Here’s a powerful secret… when you make positive changes the family system changes. I’ll be sharing powerful information to help your family make changes in the upcoming support call Parenting SOS! What to do when you and your child’s parent have different parenting styles?  I look forward to playing with you on the call!

Do you argue over homework?

May 21st, 2012

If you and your child were fighting recently it’s likely that you were arguing about homework. It breaks my heart to hear about how homework power struggles damage a parent and child’s relationship- and how children lie, manipulate, shutdown, yell, and procrastinate over homework. The impacts to their self-esteem and your relationship are long lasting.

The truth is homework time does not need to be a battle-ground, and you can help set your child up for life-long success if you teach them how to positively communicate, and ask for support to get their needs met…

…and you don’t need to yell, threaten, lose your cool, or dread the volatile homework hour either.

Your child is amazing, smart, creative, and you can help them be successful in school and in their lives with some extra support.

Want to learn some encouraging tools to help your child manage homework headaches and worries and return peace to your home?

Join me on Tuesday, May 22nd for the International Parents & Professionals Community (IPPC) Support Call “Stop Homework Power Struggles: Step to minimize the homework battles and make homework time peaceful” * Don’t worry if you can’t make the call, you’ll have access to the audio recording you can listen to anytime 24/7!

On this call I’ll share:

  • Ugh, why is my child procrastinating when they could just get their homework done? You learn why some kids struggle and what you need to know to ensure you are setting your child up for success
  • By shifting this one thing you will make homework time less stressful and chaotic for everyone in your home
  • How to make homework time head-ache free with these 4 simple tips
  • Are you overcompensating for your child? I’ll share with you how you can help support your child without rescuing them, so they learn responsibility
  • Creative strategies to help you stay in your parenting authority when your child is pushing all your buttons
  • I’ll share with you the homework life saving tip that will help you keep your sanity! This alone is worth your IPPC membership
  • You’ll leave this call with lots of practical tools you can apply immediately to make the end of the school year the best one yet!


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 now for all of the exciting details


I would love to share with you tools and strategies to support your child so they can feel happier and more confident, and end homework battles for good!

How to keep your sanity during the holidays

December 5th, 2011
holiday family

photo by David Castillo Dominici

It’s the holidays and the stress of the year is upon you. All that crazy frenetic, “doing”, busy, energy, of rushing around not only impacts you, but your children too. Yup! So if you want to stay sane, you need to physically slow down. I know that may not be so easy with all the things you’ve got going on. So if you can’t stop the rush of the “going”, you can slow down physiologically. Simply put, we can slow down our body responses and here’s a simple way to do it. Take a minute, while you’re in the airport, before you walk into the mall, or a stressful family event. Before you act you can slow down your heart rate and breathing, which will make you feel more calm (and less reactive when problems arise).

So take a minute and imagine tensing up all the parts of your body, starting from the top of head, all the way down to your feet. Tense and tighten everything and hold for the count of ten, then exhale and release. Do this three times in a row and you’ll be feeling more relaxed for sure. Best part is you can do this with your kids too.

If you are traveling with the kids pack up some fun small activities, such as travel games, coloring books, Mad Libs, small package of model magic, and comic books. Kids need down time too so they can self-regulate. A final tip to keep your sanity- say “no thank you”. It’s simple, yet oh so effective.

Having problems at home and need more support? These parenting resources will help your children and teen.

7 Tips to Make Life Less Fearful

October 27th, 2011

FEAR- its a big topic these days. I’m seeing so many children, teens, and adults impacted by fear. Whether it is fear from a weak economy, fear from not doing things good enough, fear of embarrassment, or fear of spooky things in the closet, fear impacts everyone. With Halloween right around the corner you may want to use this as an opportunity to explore your (and your children’s) fears.

All the Halloween decorations are a great opportunities to talk about things that are scary. Create open opportunities to explore what things you or your children are afraid of. By gently asking what kind of things your child is scared of you may uncover some areas you can grow more. The 7 creative tips below will help you create emotional safety as you explore your (and your children’s) fears.

Fear has rippled through the economy and impacted daily choices. How has it impacted the average household and what are some creative ways to reduce stress for the whole family?

As much as you would like to believe that adult worries do not impact your whole family, it’s just not true. Children are tuned into their parents moods and actions. This occurs from the attachment bonds as babies and continues throughout the parent child relationship. When there is uncertainty in the household it impacts the whole family and creates a sense of feeling psychologically unsafe. You can use some of these tips to help create a feeling of safety and consistency even during fearful times.

1. Keep a schedule:
I can’t stress this one enough. I know that life is filled with unexpected events that can change a schedule at any moment: however creating a schedule and doing your best to maintain it provides consistency and safety.

2. Follow through with meaningful rituals:
When families face crisis there is a tendency to isolate from others and most rituals and celebrations are diminished. It is important to honor celebrations, even at times when things are difficult. The celebration does not need to be “fake” or pretending things are fine if they are not. Instead find a way to honor the person or situation in a respectful and loving way.

3. Stay connected:
Fear, loss, and feeling misunderstood often leads to withdrawal from others and may lead to depression. Stay open and connected to others even in time of great difficulty. This is a powerful opportunity to allow others to support you and will deepen the relationship.

4. Do not impose adult problems on your children:
You child does not need to know the specifics about the stress you may be encountering. It is not helpful for you to share with your child your financial worries or job worries. You do not need to share specific details with your children. For instance if they ask for something you cannot afford you can answer with,”We are choosing not to buy that right now”, rather than, “We can’t afford that, you know things are really hard right now and we do not have extra money for you to get whatever you want”.

5. Be open without being fearful:
You can model open communication with your family without giving a message of fear. If you are talking about the state of the economy or about someone who lost their house or job you can clarify how your family is safe. For example, “That happened, but we have a savings account, a good job, our home, and each other”.

6. Listen and normalize:
Sometimes listening is enough, without trying to problem solve. You can normalize feelings by letting your child know that adults have feelings like worry, anxiety, sadness, anger too. Talk about how it is normal to have these feelings and different ways they can express these feelings, such as journal writing, talking to a friend, petting the dog, going for a walk, etc.

7. Do something:
Cognitive behavior therapy suggests that doing something different or thinking something different will influence how you feel. If you want to reduce the worries and fear it’s time to take action. Turn off the bleak news and do something pleasurable. Have an art night scheduled where everybody in the family makes something together. This is a great way to build relationships, have fun, while doing something emotionally positive and teaching valuable self-soothing skills.

If you live the Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton area child art therapy can help your child develop new coping strategies to overcome their fear and worries . To learn more sign-up for your complimentary child 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 and implement to help your child. You can lean more here .