Practical Skills to Build Resilience in Children and Teenagers

Excessive stress and anxiety causes a lot of pain for kids and parents alike and can lead to a wide range of issues…

From worrying thoughts to sleep problems…

Avoiding school, sports or other activities…

Difficulty concentrating and learning…

..and sometimes even physical symptoms like fatigue, lightheadedness, upset stomachs or vomiting…

And what’s more, if the underlying issues are not addressed, things can worsen over time…

In fact, roughly half of all mental health disorders start by the age of 14.

That’s why early intervention is vital.

But the good news is resilience helps children to cope with stress and overcome everyday challenges.

And the best part?

Resilience can be boosted by teaching children practical skills.

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The Story of Two Boys

On a beautiful late summer morning, two young boys started their first day of primary school.

They were very much alike, these two boys.

Both came from caring and nurturing families, both were bright and engaging and both—as young children tend to be—were eager and excited to start school.

Recently, these two boys, now young adults, finished year 12.

They were still very much alike. Both enjoyed basketball. Both played the same video games.

And both, as it turned out, had gone to the same well-regarded secondary school.

But there was a difference.

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The Importance of Being Grateful

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. and this got me thinking about gratitude and how wonderful it feels to be thankful and appreciative, even for the small things we experience in everyday life.

And it turns out there is a growing body of research which shows there are many psychological benefits to being grateful, including feeling happier and lowering stress, depression and anxiety.

And of course feeling good about helping others feel good too!

Not only that, there is also scientific evidence that expressing genuine gratitude on a daily basis can improve physical health as well by improving quality of sleep, cardiovascular (heart) health and immune function.

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Reflections From Listening to Deepak Chopra

There are a few interesting ideas that I am still processing since attending the “I Can Do It” conference and I thought I would share some of them here.

Deepak Chopra has written many books but it was nice to hear him talk in person and share what was on his mind. He introduced the notion that science, religion and philosophy are all systems of thought and we we need all three, but that you cannot fully appreciate reality through a system of thought.

He believes that you can only truly come to know reality through meditation that will take you beyond thought. He asked the rhetorical question, “What is awareness?” His response was that awareness is about becoming fully conscious and, in essence, it comes back to the question of “What am I?”

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I CAN really do it now!

I had a wonderful uplifting experience on the weekend at the Hay House, “I CAN do it!” conference. Over 3,000 people packed the Melbourne Conference Centre to hear speakers from around the globe talk about life and how we can connect with our core selves and live with joy.

The keynote speakers included Dr Wayne Dwyer, Deepak Chopra and Doreen Virtue and there were several other inspirational speakers mixed in to the program.

Dwyer reflected on life and despite clearly being in a lot of physical pain was able to deliver a powerful message. Nick Ortner demonstrated the use of an interesting concept known as “tapping” to help remove negative thought patterns. Chopra delivered a solid message, combining meditation and science in an accessible way.

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Term 3, 2013 – News

It’s hard not to let the weather influence your mood… I do love the colder weather and we have had some awesome winter days, although sometimes the rain makes it hard to go outside… But I have been jumping in puddles with my 22 month-old son and having fun in the rain anyway!

We are already four weeks into term 3! Where did those school holidays go?! Well, at least it is good to be back into the routine of school.

Here’s what’s new:

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School Readiness: Discover if your child is really ready for school

I wrote about school readiness back in 2009 (see here). Since then we have assessed countless preschool children to help parents make an informed decision about their child’s readiness for school. We have gained a lot of experience along the way and we have refined our assessment process to include emotional readiness.

You should be aware that some school readiness assessments do not take into account the social or emotional aspects of development. Frankly, such assessments are a waste of time, effort and money. You want to know where your child is really at with their broader development, not just what their IQ is. Not only that, but a high IQ alone may not be sufficient to gain early entry to school.

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Our New Video – Melbourne Child Psychology

We made a video last week for the website. It was certainly a new experience for me! Writing the script took some time, but actually delivering the lines was another story! After a few takes, many laughs and some double takes, I was able to overcome my stage fright and deliver the lines in a semi-coherent way. 🙂

We took the main part of the video at the front reception, with my favourite photo if a perfectly breaking wave as a backdrop.

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The Art of Getting Things Done With Kids’ Homework

The art of getting things done is to have a system and then implement that system. Dave Allen is the guru of “getting things done” of the modern era. Though his books and seminars he has actively engaged with people to organise their life and get things done!

For kids, it is about getting organised and taking action.

The 5 Keys of Getting Things done

Key 1: Capture your thinking
This means have a place to write everything down. Either in a diary or a notebook or on an electronic device.

Key 2: Define actions and next step
The key here is to define what the work to be done and use the right map

Key 3: Use the right map and organise information in appropriate categories

Key 4: Review actions

Key 5: Track the big picture

You can watch a video of Dave Allen in action here.

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Waves of Positive Emotions

I have been enjoying a morning run along the beach for the past few months now (well, I wouldn’t technically call it a run, more like a slow jog or shuffle!). It is such a great time for me to think about things and clear my mind. Something about being close to the water that gives me a real buzz (yes I run along the sand and sometimes my feet get wet!).

On my jogs this week I have been thinking about emotions, both positive and negative and how they tend to come upon us likes waves. I have started to wonder how much attention we pay to positive emotions?

In my work with kids, I love exploring emotions. I have a nice set of cards with both positive and negative emotions. The positive emotions include cards such as, inspired, motivated, joyful, awed, confident, hopeful, happy, respected, strong, secure, captivated, fascinated, powerful, appreciated and amazed, to name the key ones.

When I ask kids to explain what these positive emotions feel like and give an example, I am often stared at with a blank face! I have to define the positive emotion and then give an example myself before kids even understand what I am getting at! What is going on here?

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