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

It’s likely that most children at some stage of growing up will experience a dip in confidence and have short term low self esteem. It could be a change of school, challenges with friends or just changes at home that make them feel unsettled for a while.

But what happens when momentary lack of confidence turns into something that controls their thoughts, feelings and emotions and life choices? Bullying, body issues, home insecurities or other problems that create long term confidence issues has a lasting legacy.

This was evident in episode2 of Hillary Devey’s new Channel4 program ‘The Intern’, featuring my-wardrobe.com. Lisa Palmer, had a passion for fashion, which came about from being bullied in her younger years about her weight, etc.

Throughout the program you could see that Lisa was meant to work in fashion but the one thing that could have prevented her from achieving her dream was her obvious lack of confidence.

This is the sad truth of so many people who have a dream in their head but few get to actually achieve it as they remain shackled to their past. Things that were said and done in childhood get carried forward with all the demoralising and debilitating memories preventing them from achieving their ultimate aspirations.

Thankfully Lisa’s passion for fashion carried her through to be The Intern at my-wardrobe.com, but I wonder what opportunities Lisa may have missed through her lack of confidence, had things not worked out on the program?

How has the memories, feelings and emotions of your childhood influenced your adult life?

Recent reports have revealed that 60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily for most children are beneficial. Walking, bicycling, skipping, dancing, swimming and playing are all good ways for children to be active and promote general childhood fitness.

Because children grow at different rates at different times, it’s not always easy to tell if a child is overweight. For example, it is normal for boys to have a growth spurt in weight and catch up in height later. A sedentary lifestyle in young people can have negative health consequences both now and later.

Weight control: Increasing physical activity helps children’s weight. The constant high energy activities will naturally be beneficial to their overall fitness.

The need for obesity interventions is clear. Overweight children are at increased risk of many health problems, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, respiratory and orthopaedic problems. Self-esteem and socialisation frequently suffer. And that is just the beginning. Not only does obesity follow children into adulthood–40% of overweight children and 70% of overweight adolescents become obese adults–obesity in adolescence is independently associated with chronic diseases that develop in adulthood. Therefore by getting children involved with fun activities they enjoy from an early age will really benefit them long term.

Bone building: Physical activity in childhood may have lasting effects on bone development. Exercise may lower osteoporosis risk by increasing bone mineral density. Though most attention has focused on exercise in later years to reduce or restore bone loss, the skeleton appears to be most responsive to the effects of activity during growth.

Cardiovascular protection: While cardiovascular disease is primarily manifested in adulthood, risk factors appear much earlier in life and typically persist. A substantial body of research documents the positive effect of physical activity, particularly at aerobic levels, on cardiovascular risk factors in adults, but the evidence for children is more limited. However, training the heart and lungs like any other muscle group, if done correctly, can never be a bad thing.

Mental health benefits: Exercise has a beneficial effect on mental health for children as well as adults. For example, some studies have documented improvements in depressive and anxiety symptoms. Exercise and general well being has helped to improve children’s physical self-image and general self-worth, perfect for helping children be more confident, fitter, more healthy and happy individuals.

 

What are your memories of Valentine’s Day when you were younger?

From the discussions I’ve had recently with people I’ve come to the conclusion it’s a bit of a ‘marmite effect.’

As children and teens some said they enjoyed the anticipation of receiving the pile of cards, sweets or other tokens of ‘love’  from ‘secret admirers.’

And others absolutely dreaded it!

Those same feelings that children and young people feel today are no different and it falls into 2 of the most basic feelings:

  1. Love
  2. Rejection

If you were one of the people at school that had a pile of cards then you felt loved, wanted and popular.

But if you were lucky to get even one valentine (not including one from Mum – I’ll treasure those forever), then rejection, and disappointment ruled your day. Now that it’s become more commercialised, the pressure to send cards, gifts and other expensive items are even greater.

And for teens it can be equally troubling – the confusions of love and commitment to a boyfriend or girlfriend can lead to things their emotions and body are not yet ready for. Love is not lust or a quick fumble to regret later because “it’s Valentine’s!”

Remind children and young people in your family that it’s not about how many cards or gifts received but the love and appreciation for those closest to them. Talk openly about any anxieties they have to ‘conform’ or feel accepted.

Belief Systems…

What you believe and feel as an adult is largely from what you experienced as a child. Past experiences can significantly influence future results, especially confidence and processing positive and negative thought patterns.

Belief systems are a form of labeling and create development barriers, limiting the brain to expand beyond the familiar. Self belief is a very important mentality and can help or hinder a child’s development and life.
To help you and your child take charge of the roller-coaster of emotions you need to help them believe they can succeed and go beyond what they think.

Just as what you currently believe is not real, it’s the culmination of past labels, judgements and experiences that create ‘learned helplessness’, the same is true for your child.

Here’s why it’s said the elephant never forgets…

The story goes… a young elephant living in captivity is tied to a tree with a strong rope or a chain. Instinctively it tries everything to break free but isn’t strong enough and finally gives up struggling. It tried and failed many times and will never try again. When the elephant is fully grown, it’ll be tied to a small tree with a thin rope. It could simply free itself, but its mind has been conditioned by the past and doesn’t even try. The huge elephant carries the limitations of the past.

“Fears are nothing more than a state of mind” ~ Napoleon Hill

 

There was once a boy who couldn’t control his temper – here’s how the story goes…

There was a boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had knocked 37 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to knock those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

“You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave scars just like the holes in the fence. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out, it won’t matter how many times you say ‘I’m sorry,’ the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.”

 

There are a number of reasons why bullying starts, and none of them ever acceptable. When in the middle of all the pain and emotion it can be difficult to see clearly. But one thing is certain…

Bullies never pick on people they perceive as being strong or confident.

In other words the weaker someone appears, the easier target they are for a bully. As hard as we all try to eradicate it, bullying continues, blaming the bully only keeps it alive and actually empowers the bully to continue.

“Just as a boat needs wind in its sails, so the bully needs power over its victims”

The last thing that children with low self esteem feel is confident, but they must project confidence to avoid becoming the victim.

Understandably it’s easier said than done so here are a few quick tips to help children start to feel more confident.

  • Belly Breathing – nervous breathing is quick and comes from the upper chest. Deeper, more confident breaths come from the belly. Focus on breathing deeper allowing the breath to come from and return to the tummy, like this… Breathe in (tummy expands). Breathe out (tummy goes in).
  • Posture – victim mentality is easily spotted from how a child stands. Practice standing tall, shoulders back and relaxed and head slightly tilted up. Avoid rounded shoulders and looking at the floor.
  • Body language – similar to posture. To appear more confident, make bigger movements with the body. When walking, lengthen the stride and make it more deliberate, sit upright, look attentive and alert and smile – even when that’s the last thing you feel like doing.
  • Voice – a confident voice is louder, calmer and well paced. Practice voice projection, varie the tone, volume and pitch. Think of how a mouse would RRooaarr!

Practice these regularly and take away the bully’s power.

Project strength not weakness even when you don’t feel like it…keep practising until you feel, act and are stronger.

It’s one of the best ways to take away a bully’s power and help you become more confident and happy.

One of the best ways to help children think more positively is to use upbeat, exciting and positive language. Sunny words, produce sunny thoughts, even if it’s raining!

Consider swapping…

  • I feel ok to… I feel great
  • It’s raining again to … excellent another day to put on our wellies
  • I can’t to… let me see if I can

The more positive power words children hear, the more it begins to have a positive and profound effect on their thoughts, energy and behaviour.

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