Monday, April 21, 2014

I Am Who I Am

Poetry creation is an incredible way to help tweens and teens deal with feelings, try on new ways of being or express themselves.  Following is a piece of poetry shared with me by a middle school student:

I Am Who I Am

By: Mya G.

I see the way the other girls walk
I see and hear the way other girls talk.

I don't walk their walk.
I don't talk their talk.

I am beautiful.
I am hopeful.
I try to be the one you wish for.
But I am no one but myself.

If I'm not the one you're looking for,
please move on and leave me single instead of broken.

I Am Who I Am!

I know I am beautiful.
I know I'm not perfect. 
I know know I have made mistakes.

I know I'm not like other girls.
I don't want to be like them only because I am who I am.

I don't want to be like "them".
I want to be different.
I want to be heard.
I want you to listen to what I have to say.
I've got the same right to tell my opinions as you do.

I Am Who I Am.

Nothing can change the I inside.
I stand up for myself.
I am important.
I am beautiful.
The aforementioned poem was submitted to me by a student at the school in which I provide therapeutic services.  It is being shared with her and her mother's written permission.

More Support for Teens and Self-Esteem 

See our exclusive workbook, "My Thoughts on Life: A Teen Girls' Guide" and FREE bonus user's manual to help young women clarify issues in their lives and build self-esteem.  This resource was used world-wide within an hour of it's release!

and the FREE Bonus Manual:

Find out all about it HERE!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Feelings Eggs, Anytime of the Year for Play Therapy or Home

Feelings Eggs 

There are so many fun ways to teach about feelings.  In play therapy, I  love to try creative interventions that are seasonal to open up discussions about emotions.  This one lends itself well to the Easter holidays, if you are working with kids who celebrate. This activity can really be done anytime of the year and does not have to be associated with Easter at all.  


You could call this activity "Eggheads" and do it any season you care to!

Here's a simple activity that can be used in early childhood, all the way through the teen years (if you have willing participants).   Here's how I do it:

1.  Using a clear wax, or white crayon, draw face shapes on a boiled egg. We kept it simple for young children, but feel free to add surprised, scared, irritated, perplexed, etc., for older kids or teens.  You might even wish to get a little fancy and write the word on the backside of the egg...combining social-emotional skill-building along with vocabulary building!  Imagine doing this in a class of thirty...that would be quite a large range of emotions.  In a really large group, you might wish to have kids use non-toxic, washable markers to run over the faces (and words on the back, if using with older kids).

2.  Provide egg coloring cups and allow the child/ren to dye their egg(s).

3.  When the feeling face appears, have the child identify a time he/she felt that way.

4.  Have the child identify helpful ways to deal with that feeling.  (If in a group setting, invite other students to weigh in.)

5.  Discuss with child/ren if they can think about times when somebody might have more than one feeling at a time.  

6.  Use your own imagination to expand upon this concept! What else would you do? We'd love to hear about it! Leave us a message in the comments below!

More Resources for Feelings

To see more of our resources that help with BIG feelings, GO HERE.




Sunday, April 13, 2014

3 Causes of Misbehavior and What You Can Do About It

What Causes Misbehavior?

One of the questions I have asked myself as a mom, the question I am often asked as a therapist and the one that continually presents itself in my role as consultant to early childhood programming is, "What is causing this child to behave this way?"  Generally, this question is in relation to misbehavior.  Interesting how that happens, isn't it?  Seldom do we stop and ponder what is making children behave...even though we know that whatever we pay attention to, we get more of! 

You're Child Isn't Doing It On Purpose

As a mom, I am cognizant that my own kids' misbehavior isn't their way of trying to make myself miserable. As a therapist and consultant I know there exists tons of research that supports this notion, and gives us plenty of proactive and positive ways to respond and change things.  I spend hours every week, supporting early childhood teachers in Reflective Guidance, helping them understand this and search for creative and positive ways to intervene and change things.

The Three Things that Contribute to Misbehavior

So, here are the three places to look when a child is misbehaving.  It's where we should all start when dealing with a child's misbehavior.  We may get a clue about what is at the root of the problem, which can help inform us as to how to best proceed.

When I'm consulting or providing therapy (or even dealing with my own kiddos at home), I always start with these three things in mind.  

Relationship - Sometimes, the relationship between you and the child is in need of strengthening.

Developmental - Sometimes there is a skill deficit, pure and simple.

Self-Regulation - Sometimes kids need support in learning new tools to handle BIG feelings.

After we identify which issue seems to be at play, we can proceed with coming up with a way to resolve the concern.  Easy peasy, right?  

More to Keep in Mind

Check out this awesome infographic from Teach through Love, which I found on Pinterest. Score! It lays out this concept beautifully, alongside of some tips that can get you started on how to respond.  Amazing things happen when you build relationships, rather than try to control.  

More on Relationship Building 

Looking to build deeper, long-lasting connections with your kids (whether they be your own, children in your childcare or classroom)?  Try BLOOM: Helping Children Blossom, the book I co-authored with Dr. Lynne Kenney.  This book can revolutionize the way you run your household, parent your kids and the very way you relate to everyone around you.  Check it out for HALF-PRICE!

Related Articles

Monday, April 7, 2014

More than 30 Sugar-Free Easter Basket Ideas

Looking for some ways to keep kids healthy through the Easter holidays?  Skip the sugar and find ways to fill Easter baskets with fun, activity-based goodies that will last much longer than a sugar-buzz!  Ready? Here goes. Click on any link (more than a dozen more with pictures below the list!):

Be sure to also add in Fun with Feelings: Playdough Mats
They're FREE!


What healthy things do YOU put in your child's Easter basket? We'd love to hear! Link back to one of your posts about it, if you care to!

Related Posts: 

Click on link below picture!

Happy Easter Butter Lamb: Make one for your table!

Lori Lite: Stress Free Kids: A Parent's Guide

Under Pressure

Pressured schedules, screen-time, social stress, academic expectations, bullying, sensory overload, family seems all roads lead to stress. And stress taxes our adrenal system, leaving us less able to cope, grow and thrive in this world.  When left unchecked, it also can contribute illness and disease. Stress can be powerful, but so are the tools that can combat it!

An Indispensable Guide

Lori Lite, founder of Stress Free Kids

Fear not, one of the go-to experts on stress, Lori Lite, has written an indispensable guide for for parents: Stress Free Kids: A Parent's Guide to Helping Build Self-Esteem, Manage Stress, and Reduce Anxiety in Children. Don't let the title fool you, though.  This book will also help adults better manage stress and anxiety, too. We could all use a little of that!

You Don't Need Therapy to Manage Stress

Stress management can be taught.  It's not something that's on the radar of most parents, and it's not something that is often talked about, nor is it mentioned in most parenting books.  No wonder teaching stress management techniques is one of the things I do often with clients in my office. You don't have to go to therapy, though, to learn breathing techniques, affirmations, visualization and muscular relaxation. No siree!  It's all in Stress Free Kids book!

Gift It to a Friend
Stress Free Kids is chock-full of the good stuff...ideas, examples, activities and MORE!  If you have a favorite parenting book you give to new parents, you just might want to add this alongside it.  It's just that good!  Go ahead, gift it to a friend, but be sure you grab a copy for yourself!

Yours Truly 

I am pleased as punch to have contributed a chapter to this book.  I provided content for the chapter on Grief and Loss, entitled, "When a Loved One Passes Away".  In this chapter, Lori shares a very poignant story of her own experience with the death of a loved one when she was younger.  This chapter can help any family assist children in coping with unthinkable loss. It provides a developmentally appropriate framework to address grief.  And grief tops the charts when it comes to stress.

Play, Play, Play

The book also contains information from child therapist, Ava Parnass, MSN, CS, on the importance of play, providing the reader with suggestions and guidance in supporting young children in play. And play should never be underestimated.  It is a powerful tool in which children learn about how life works, learn to solve problems and gain crucial social emotional skills.  Ms. Parnass also provides practical tips for defusing challenging playdate situations.  Have you ever had any of those? 

The book also highlights the work of some other notable experts (Dr. Jodi DiNatale, Dr. Laura Markham) in the areas of parenting, stress and trauma.

Don't Miss It 

Don't miss this book!  You can buy the paperback version, or grab it on Kindle.  Inside you'll find a wealth of supportive ideas that can change the landscape of your family, improve behavior and health.  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Take Care of YOU...Kick the Carbs and Stop the Sugar

Free MP3 Download

The free MP3 download of the conversation I had with Angelle Batten, M.Ed., CHHC, recently is now available!  Sign up to get it HERE.

It Can Change Everything 

Whether you are trying to overcome food allergies, lose a few pounds or jumpstart a major weight loss program, get more energy of feel better, the Beyond Organic 14 Day Cleanse may be just what you have been looking for! 

Busy Parents Can SO DO THIS! 

Some of us are so busy, it feels as if our heads could spin! If it's hard to imagine losing weight and becoming the best version of yourself, think again.  This program has worked magic for about 1,000 people in the past 8 months.  I am one of them!  If you know you're ready to take the plunge and get your own jumpstart, go HERE!

Whether you wish to participate in this cleanse or not, you can listen in to some great information by Angelle.  It's FREE!  Get the MP3 download HERE.  There's absolutely no obligation at all. Just get some info that may help you and your family, and join the cleanse now or when you are ready, if you so desire.  (The next cleanse registration ends April 21st at 5pm CST.)

Related Posts with More Info:

Yours in health,

Thursday, March 20, 2014

When Feelings Overwhelm: How to Help a Child


Feelings.  I deal with them daily as a therapist.  We all deal with them daily as human beings.  Feelings have the ability to enhance our lives.  They also have the knack to detract from our lives, when left unchecked, when overwhelming and when we don't have the right tools to deal with them.  

The Good News 

The good news is that tools do exist to deal with every shade of feeling we can experience.  These are tools we can teach our kids.  I've spent my career developing and honing these tools.  And I've also seen firsthand how these tools transform lives.  

Feelings Mountain

See the "feelings mountain" shared on the post graphic?  I've been making those for years with kids.  It depicts what is shown to the world, but what is up underneath it all, too.  It's a great visual to help kids identify that they have a variety of feelings swirling around inside of them.  The feelings in this graphic are REAL feelings, as experienced by an elementary student just recently.  The student dictated the feelings while I added them to the mountain.  Our kids can experience a sense of overwhelm with feelings.  They look to us for help.  We can totally help them with this! You can't punish a kid out of a can only support him and give him a new, better way to cope.  This is why we're starting out our list with books that support adults in raising and caring for children.'

"You can't punish a kid out of a can 
only support him and give him a new, 
better way to cope."

Here's a closer look at Feelings Mountain:

And speaking of Feelings Mountain, it's interesting to note that Dr. Lynne Kenney has a bit of different twist with her Anger Mountain:

Parenting/Teaching/Caregiving Books

Getting our own stuff together is the ONLY way we can help our kids get theirs together.  Really.  Get a new sense of calm and begin to see yourself "in your child's corner".  You are not pitted against your child. Your child is always doing the very best he or she can.  Learn how to control your reactions and develop a whole new kind of relationship with your child.  A harmonious home does wonders for ALL!

Learn how to control your reactions and develop 
a whole new kind of relationship with your child.

It's why Dr. Lynne Kenney and I wrote BLOOM: Helping Children Blossom. We'll start off there:

1.  Bloom: Helping Children Blossom.  Move away from punishment (which doesn't work) and towards solutions that help your child with new thoughts, words, actions.  This book is a game-changer!  Instant download from Kindle.  This book has 50 years of combined clinical experience by Dr. Lynne Kenney and me.  PLUS...we have lived to see the magic that happens when these principles are embraced and used daily! Think of the teachings in this book as a multivitamin for your relationship with your child!

2.  Also, check out Dr. Kenney's "Family Coach Method". Dr. Lynne does not disappoint.

3.  The Gentle Parent by LR Knost.  Available on Kindle. Read it.  That is all.  See what we had to say about  it here.

(PS...You don't need a Kindle Device to read a Kindle book.  We tell you all about how to read a Kindle book right from your computer or mobile device right here!)

4.  If I Have to Tell You One More Time by Amy McCready.  My youngest took that exact stance depicted on the cover of Amy's book when he was a younger child.  I guarantee you that we did not help him break that habit by yelling, punishing or time-outs.  Not even close.  More about that, later.  McCready's book offers you a respectful, relationship-based way to help your child cooperate.  


This can be tricky.  Kids with anxiety present with a variety of concerns: it can look like fear/worry, oppositionality, anger and more.  Once you know you are dealing with anxiety, there are many ways to support a child.

5.  Anxious Thoughts.  This printable can help kids who are old enough to write about what their thoughts are.  For the younger crowd, simply have *+them draw pictures of things that trouble them.  This printable could also be used for angry thoughts, happy thoughts or just about any thoughts someone could have! 

6-61.  Worry Warriors.  We compiled this list of support strategies a while back.  It has been one of our most viewed posts EVER! Anxiety and anger are two of our most searched topics! (PS...I didn't count wrong...the post above actually has MORE than 50 activities!)

68. Lori Lite's Stress Free Kids is a NOT-TO-BE-MISSED book!  Yours truly has a chapter in the book about helping grieving children.  More to follow on this book in a future post!



117-121.  5 Tips to Help Kids Cope with Sad Feelings



122. Worry Woos: Fuddle: Dealing with Confusion.  Any of the boxed sets by the Worry Woos is worth every single penny.  Quality and genius all wrapped up in a cute kids' product that help with coping skills and self-regulation.  Woo~t!  Plus, the Woos are past recipients of the Kidlutions Preferred Product Awards for Social Emotional Development.  If you use their products, we think you'll agree!


Printables on Anger, Self-Esteem, Divorce, Grief, Friendship and MORE!  FREE!

123-137. Our FREE printables to help with a variety of feelings!

138-156.   Books that help with ANGER.

Mixed Feelings

157. Kimochis.  Have no fear (or go right ahead and feel it if you do)! The Kimochis are here and they can help you deal with any feeling imaginable.  I adore the Kimochis and they are also a recipient of our Kidlutions Preferred Product Awards for Social Emotional Development.

158.  And for hundreds more resources on dealing with feelings, see our FEELINGS and PLAY THERAPY boards on Pinterest!

159.  Now through the end of March 2014, in celebration of Social Work Month, you can get any of our resources on Teacher's Notebook for up to HALF OFF!

How do you help kids deal with feelings?

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