Summer holidays are a  time when your child is relaxed and happy without the usual school anxieties and concerns. Not wanting to wish the time away, you know it’ll soon be the usual rush for new school uniforms, shoes etc. but then the anxiety starts!

Last September was the busiest ever month for CHAMPS Confidence coaching for stressed out children, teens and their fraught parents. The emotions of the new term can be overwhelming unless they are addressed and managed in good time. 

Commonly known as the ‘back to school blues’, thousands of kids and teens struggle with anxiety and negative emotions with the thought of returning to school after the holidays, don’t let yours be one of them.

Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Take Positive Action. Don’t allow the emotion to take over. 
  2. Talk about how you feel.
  3. Change your mindset and mental state by asking better questions. A great question is… “What has to happen for me to feel better about School?”
  4. Create a positive outcome. Think about how you would like to feel.
  5. Don’t let people get in your head. Easier said than done… but block them out with positive actions and thoughts. 
  6. Remembers things are NEVER as bad as they first appear. 
  7. Get some anxiety about school coaching to help.

Hope these tips help.

Thanks, Annette 😉

Fondly referred to as the professional woman’s Oscars, the Venus Awards are something many woman only dream of.

So as you can imagine I’m super thrilled to be in the final 3 for the Influential Woman Venus Awards for the Portsmouth region sponsored by VW Peter Cooper.

VW Peter Cooper Venus Awards Sponsor

So what exactly is an ‘Influential Woman’? 

“Motivates others and makes a difference”

CHAMPS Academy has been making a difference in the lives of young people for over 14 years, helping them to build confidence, resilience and believe in themselves through…

  • Skype Coaching
  • Workshops
  • DVDs
  • Audios
  • Special Themed Webinars
  • Kids Confidence App

Providing proactive solutions and practical help so young people achieve all they can in life.

There’s something emerging in the mobile world that every parent must know about to protect the emotional well-being of their child.

Social Media Anxiety Disorder is on the increase with many teenagers confessing to ‘being lost without their phone’ and admitting to checking it within a few minutes of waking up each morning (not to mention the average of 134 times during the day)!

The concerning issue is around young people’s FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), the perpetual trap of missing something. Missing a great post, missing some ‘exclusive’ news one of their ‘friends’ shared and they don’t want to be the last to know. This has created an unhealthy obsession leaving young people stressed, exhausted because of poor sleep quality and more prone to mind based issues.

Too much importance placed on socialising online can result in what I refer to as the Triple-A effect: Attention, Approval and Acceptance. Gaining likes, followers and comments can deliver a momentary boost for young people, but this only provides a false sense of endorsement that feeds the ego for a moment before the next wave of approval must be gained, creating a perpetual spiral of emotions. As a result, people resort to sharing more daring and often untrue information, to gain the acceptance on social media that they’re not able to receive in the real world.

A study presented at a British Psychological Society conference in Manchester by researchers, Dr Heather Cleland Woods and Holly Scott of the University of Glasgow. They provided questionnaires for 467 teenagers regarding their overall and night-time specific social media use. A further set of tests measured sleep quality, self-esteem, anxiety, depression and emotional investment in social media which relates to the pressure felt to be available 24/7 and the anxiety around, for example, not responding immediately to texts or posts

Dr Cleland Woods explained: “Adolescence can be a period of increased vulnerability for the onset of depression and anxiety, and poor sleep quality may contribute to this. It is important that we understand how social media use relates to these. Evidence is increasingly supporting a link between social media use and wellbeing, particularly during adolescence, but the causes of this are unclear”.

Addicted Pupils

And a surprising connection to the rise in anxiety and emotional issues in the classroom is pupils’ nomophobia ~ the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.

The mind quickly becomes consumed with fear and panic displaying physical manifestations such as panic attacks, shortness of breath, dizziness, shakes and even fainting.

The importance young people place on their mobile to the point of addiction and the extreme anxiety felt being without it was further highlighted in the ‘Sara Cox on Friendship’. The insightful W Channel documentary about the personal impact of technology and what it means to be a ‘friend’ in the 21st century.

This also revealed that with so much reliance on their mobile, teens quickly lose other essential skills like initiative to work out where their friends are hanging out in college or resilience to adapt to things changing.

So if your teenager is in danger of ‘text-neck’, FOMO and nomophobia then time for a mini digital detox to help them appreciate there are still many real-world experiences they need to manage emotional wellbeing.

When the clocks change to mark the end of British Summertime, the nights start to draw in and kids can find themselves walking home from school or afternoon activities at dusk.

Because children don’t have the same sense of time or judgement they often hang around, chat with mates and only realise they should be near home when it’s getting dark. This can leave them anxious, vulnerable, and disorientated which cause them to make misjudgments, not to mention make you feel on edge until they come through the door.

It’s reported that minor road traffic incidents involving kids increase just after the clocks change. Children are less able to judge speed and distance during dusk and quickening darkness.

It’s also a time that sees an increase in bullying incidents too.

Here’s how to help your child keep safe during the darker months…

  1. Help them become more aware of their surroundings. Point out landmarks, safe routes and encourage them to always look and listen so they can make appropriate and safe decisions
  2. When picking them up from afternoon activities, get them to always stand in a well-lit or busy area.
  3. Do they T-walk? In other words do they text and walk at the same time? ‘Distraction Disorientation’ is the quickest way for a situation to happen. Headphones, mobiles and other distractions all create a false reality of being transported elsewhere that consumes their attention
  4. Be aware of any abnormalities with your child’s bag, clothing or other school items that could indicate a situation of intimidation or bullying
  5. Encourage your child to be open with you about anything that happens outside school. Often kids blame themselves for others behaviour so feeling like they can talk to you helps to catch situations early

By Annette Du Bois

 

Weekends, evenings and school holidays are all times when children have more time on their hands than they know what to do with. And if not directed or have something planned, boredom quickly sets in along with the mischievous ways to either get attention or just occupy their time.

Admittedly there are times when children misbehave but often there’s a reason for it, and often it comes down to boredom.

Finding alternative ways to keep children amused doesn’t always have to cost (apart from your time) and when you tap into a child’s imagination there’s an everlasting amount of activities and adventures to be experienced.

  • Play Board Games (also teaches essential social skills like cooperation, taking turns and communication)
  • Play Catch – use different sized balls (great for motor skills and great fun)
  • Read Stories (get your child involved by adding special character voices for a super fun story and encouraging them to read if age appropriate)
  • Get Creative – how many different things can be experienced from a cardboard box and some crayons/pens, etc?
  • Go to the Park – a great way for kids to run, jump, climb and have fun – for free (just add refreshments or a picnic for a fun filled adventure)

These simple ways and others will encourage your child that there are other ways to entertain and enjoy time that doesn’t involve cost or sitting in front of the TV. When kids are actively involved in activities, boredom is hard to find!

By Annette Du Bois

Whilst every child suffers tummy aches, feel overly tired and have the odd tantrum from time to time but sometimes these can be forewarning of other underlying issues.

Children feel stress too but often without the ability to clearly understand or communicate their feelings it comes out in different ways.

Keeping track and paying closer attention to recurring complaints and issues your child is having helps you to identify and help them deal with the underlying cause.

Things to look out for…

  • Tummy aches before and after school
  • Out of character behaviour such as shouting, crying or screaming
  • Over tiredness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Recurring headaches
  • Unexplained lethargy

If you notice any of these that seem to be recurring then speak calmly and lovingly to your child. Offer reassurance that if there’s anything they’re feeling it’s better to talk about it.

Children often internalise their feelings and it’s crucially important your child can work through their thoughts and feelings in a safe and managed way. Appropriate analogies can be very helpful to children opening up to you, comparing a situation to something they already understand can be the key to unlocking a closed door.

Try this… carrying more and more feelings around with us is like… “adding more and more books to our school bag, or a shopping bag that we keep putting items into, eventually what happens to the bag?” So when we feel something, instead of carrying it around and making ourselves feel heavy, we happily talk about it, deal with it and then let it go.

By Annette Du Bois

So it’s out with the ice cream, lazy days and no routine to getting up early, sitting in class and making new friends.

The start of term can be a nervous, worrying and fearful time for many children.

Moving class, going to ‘big school’ or just getting back into term time routine can create a lot of different emotions and feelings, which need acknowledging.

Any change in a child’s life can be a challenge and the beginning of the autumn term can be one of the biggest changes they feel unprepared for. Here’s a few quick tips to help your child feel more in control of the transition back to school.

  • Routine: We all find comfort in certain routines, so create a school day routine that helps your child become familiar and relaxed. Make time to create a more calm start to the morning, read to your child whilst they’re having breakfast if possible. Or at the other end of the day create a bedtime routine that provides calm reassurance.
  • Communication: Chat regularly with your child about their day so they feel comfortable about telling you things that are bothering them or making them worry. Being able to put their mind at ease early on will help them process things with more prospective.
  • Continue the Fun: Going back to school doesn’t mean not having fun anymore. Plan things to do after school and if possible with new friends made – or have them over for tea to help create stronger social skills early on in the term.
  • Clothes of Confidence: Getting dressed in the morning can be a time of worry as the day ahead weighs heavy on their mind. Kids love superheroes and every character puts on an item of clothing that makes them into a superhero. This is great for children to imagine they’re like their superhero in the morning putting on their clothes of confidence to feel stronger, happier and more able to cope.

Change for children is not always easy to understand but the more tools and support they have early on the easier it is for them to manage their emotions and feelings for a happier school life.

From confidence building and communication to bullying or behavioural issues, I can offer your child tools they can use and apply in their everyday life at home or at school.

Call me on 01243 601236

By Annette Du Bois