Friday, February 29, 2008

Giving Children the Confidence to Achieve their Goals

kids confidence achieve goals
We may not realize it, but a child starts developing the confidence he will need to achieve his goals at a very, very young age.
How you react to a tiny baby will have a powerful impact on his belief, as he grows, as to whether he can successfully manipulate the world around him.
If a baby is ignored when he cries, for example, this can have a hugely disempowering influence on his personality - he may learn at this very early age a deep-seated belief that says (although he has no words yet) "It doesn't matter what I do, I can't change what happens to me."
On the other hand, every time that you react to an infant, or show a tiny child that he is capable and can do something for himself, you are nurturing the basic belief that he can take action and be successful.
After all, isn't that what goal achievement is all about?
Happy parenting,

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Goalsetting and How to Eat an Elephant

Goal setting and goal achievement is much like eating elephants, your child might be entertained to discover :) ... goals and elephants should be done one bite at a time!

Being confronted with a big task can be overwhelming for any of us. And it takes real skill to step back and break that task down into manageable chunks.

If you practice this skill over and over with your child, he will be much better equipped to effectively achieve his goals and also to handle big challenges that other people will throw at him from time to time in the future!

Happy goalsetting with your kids,


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Importance of Setting Goals in Life

goal setting children
Children who learn the importance of setting goals in life will have a huge advantage over their peers in all aspects of life - both throughout their schooldays and later on when they leave school in their careers and other endevors.

Like a number of other basic skills, like having a good vocabulary and knowing how to get on well with one's peers, goal setting is a key success factor for your child.

To find out more about helping your child succeed, check out the e-book "The No Limits Child".

Happy goal setting with your kids,


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Goal Setting for Kids - Little and Often

When you teach your child to set goals, you are really aiming to make goal setting a habit that will stay with and benefit your child for life. And, as with brushing our teeth or combing our hair, the most ingrained habits are things that we do every day.

A powerful way to engrain the goal setting and goal achievement habit with your child is to encourage him to review his goal list each morning. This alone is a potent thing to do. To get even better results, encourage him to find at least ONE action to take for each of his current goals, TODAY, to move him a little closer to each of them.

Each action that your child takes towards achieving his goals may be small in itself, but with the habit of doing SOMETHING, however small, each day, he will become a master success at goal achievement!

Happy goal setting with your kids,


Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday morning chatter and UK update

Well, it is Monday and time for another UK ticker update. But first a bit about the importance of friendship and children. Since I have a sixteen year old daughter who is Aspergian I know first hand how difficult making friends can be for some children. Social skills do not come naturally to her and so she has trouble making friends. My eleven year old son on the other hand seems to have no trouble making friends and so this is sometimes very difficult for my daughter. My son will be invited to sleep overs and birthday parties, while she spends a lot of her time alone. I know she has acquaintances at school and with a little push from her they could probably develop into friendships, but because of her inability to know how to befriend someone this does not happen. I know she is very likeable and she has a good heart and anytime we are in town and someone recognizes her they always say hi to her and ask her how she is doing.

This got me thinking about the fact that if I could sit in her pocket and observe her for the day, I would probably see signs from other people that they are willing to be her friend and spend time with her, but she either does not pick up on the subtle cues or if she feels a bit anxious may do something to give the impression that she is not interested when that could be the furthest thing from the truth.

My daughter has worked very hard with a speech language pathologist since she was quite young to learn social skills and how to make friends, but because of her Asperger's she still struggles in that department.

If you notice that your child seems to be a loner and has trouble making friends it may be a good idea to talk to a professional about what you can do as a parent to help him in that area. Not all kids are born with these skills and sometimes a little help may be needed.

Now for the weekly up date.

Well I tried to update my ticker but the website is down for a bit but according to my calculations I will be leaving for the UK in get this 9 Days woo hoo!!!
For ideas on How to Help Your Child Make Friends!

Happy Friendships,


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Conversation and Friendship

By the time your child starts school he will most likely start to pick up on how to start conversations and make friends,thus building his social skills. Some children are better at it than others and find making friends easy. But for children on the autism spectrum making friends and having meaningful conversations can be very difficult.

Developing social skills will help your child to build his self esteem and these skills are imperative when he becomes an adult. You will be doing your child a great service by helping him while he is young to be a better conversationalist. Simple things such as teaching your child to use eye contact when speaking to someone and smiling can be a great start, so try and suggest this to your child if he is not doing it naturally.

If you have any concerns that your child's social skills are severely lacking and he is having problems making friendships with his peers, it may a good idea to seek professional help. Social skills do not come easily to some children and more guidance may be needed.

Happy Social Skills,


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Goal Setting for Kids - Concentrate on What You Already Have

goal setting kids

The danger with some goals, particularly large or difficult ones, is that your child can become overwhelmed and start to think too much in terms of what he doesn't have.

"Focus on your goal" and "focus on what you already have" do not have to be contradictory, although it can seem so at first glance.

When you encourage your child to set goals, a powerful technique you can teach him is to make a list of all the things, resources, skills and friends or contacts that he ALREADY HAS that can help him achieve his goal.

Happy goal setting with your kids,


Friday, February 22, 2008

Nurturing Your Child's Passion

After watching the movie "Miss Potter" it got me thinking about how unlikely it would have been for her to continue with her wonderful stories and illustrations had she not at least had the support of one parent. Her Mother never accepted that her daughter was truly talented, but her Father encouraged her every step of the way and delighted in her amazing imagination.

It is very important that we as parents and caregivers help our children discover their talents. Watch your children when they are at play and pay attention to what excites them. Every child is born with something that they excel at. It may be an artistic ability or perfect pitch or even the gift of the gab. Whatever it is, it imperative that you support your child and guide him so he can realize it's and his full potential.

Happy Parenting,


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Goal Setting - Writing it Down

goal setting writing child
When teaching your child to set goals, a key skill or habit to focus on is writing the goal down.

Although your child might think he is very clear on his goal inside his head, the very act of writing the goal down helps our brain to commit to taking action.
If your child is very young, drawing a picture of the goal can work just as well!

Happy goal setting with your child,


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Self Esteem and Goal Setting

self esteem kids goal setting
When you boost your child's self esteem you are giving her a powerful foundation for goal setting and achievement.
For ideas on building your child's self esteem, you might be interested in this parenting article:
Give Your Child the Gift of Self Esteem

Happy parenting,

Monday, February 18, 2008

Goal Setting for Kids - Planning to Succeed

goal setting kids
Goal setting for kids should be FUN and not a chore. Making a plan and taking action are integral parts of goal setting and goal achievement. It's important to teach your child that sometimes the first (or second, or third...) plan that he makes will need to change - and that is OK, not a "failure" but simply a learning step.

For instance, I made a plan for some creative writing that I'm working on. I felt it was a good plan and was looking forward to working it. However, during the first week I found that the time of day that I had planned to write was not working for me. Rather than continue to try to FORCE myself to write at an unsuitable time of day because that was what my plan said, I went back and started with a new plan!

Encourage your child to see this kind of experience as an integral part of the goal achievement process, not as a set back. Only by taking action and learning can we refine our plans and lay out a path to successful, FUN goal achievement!

Happy goal setting with your kids,

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fake laughter is good medicine too.

I had mentioned a few posts back about my experience with the self development workshop that I went to. I learned so much about myself and was also taught many tools to use in the everyday world to keep myself on track. One of my favourite was a laughing exercise that you can use when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and works great for your kids too when they wake up with the grumpies.

The instructor said to make a habit when you get up in the morning of looking in the mirror and then making yourself laugh for three full minutes using a time of some kind. The term "fake it till you make it" works really well here because there is scientific evidence that your brain does not know the difference between a fake laugh and a real laugh. The same feel good endorphins are released and the same muscles are exercised and the even if the laughter is not genuine your brain and your body still gets the positive benefits.

Try this with your kids and it will not take long for you both to get into a happier mood. Laughter is not only good medicine, it is also contagious and just watching someone else have a good belly laugh can get you laughing and joining in on the fun.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The secrets our teens keep.

I was shocked when a friend of mine told me that a co/worker friend of his, just found out that his nephew committed suicide. The boy was only nineteen and no one had a clue that he was troubled and so all the adults are blaming themselves for not recognizing that the boy was suffering from depression.

When I think of my own sixteen year old daughter, I always clue in pretty quick when depression rears it's ugly head because she spends too much time in her room and doesn't seem to want to eat much. I could not understand how no one had a clue what was going on in this kids life? For one thing the toxicology report found that he was high on drugs and his family did not know he took drugs. They did know that he drank, but to the best of their knowledge, not to an excess. He seemed like a good kid, hard worker at his job, and no one was the wiser as to the inner torment this kid was actually going through.

Parents seem to be the last people to know what is going on in the lives of their teens. The signals are not always there and sometimes they may be so subtle that a busy parent may totally miss the signs of depression. Depression is insidious and can sneak up on a teen before they even know what is happening.

The signs of depression are there if you look carefully for them. It could be as simple as a teen sleeping more than usual or having trouble sleeping. His appetite may change where he seems to be eating more and gaining weight or not eating and losing weight. This is not a cookie cutter disease and just because one teen experiences depression one way, another teen may have totally different symptoms. The bottom line is depression is a disease and not something to take lightly. If you have a suspicion that your teen may be suffering with depression, get some help. If you can't get your teen to talk, talk to your family Dr. and get some advice before it gets out of hand.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Goal Setting and Passion

goal setting with kids
When we talk about goal setting, both for adults and children, we often talk about "finding our passion" and discovering goals that really motivate, inspire and excite us.

This is indeed one of the great aspects of goal setting, that it can empower us to pursue dreams and ambitions that can otherwise seem out of reach.

There are lots of ways to use goal setting in our lives and our children's lives, and following passions is one. Another is to use goals to direct our activities in areas and endeavors that bring calm and serenity to our lives.

It's important to find a balance between the pursuit of ambitious goals, where we go outside of our comfort zone, and goals that are more aimed at helping us maintain a sense of satisfaction with our current situation - with finding happiness in what we already have around us.

Happy goal setting with your kids

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Goal Setting and Patience

I few days back I posted about my goal to tame my new pet, a wild Field Mouse called HazelMouse.

I caught this mouse at work - she had come in from the nearby fields as it was so cold outdoors. Unlike house mice, which tend to live in human buildings all year round, field mice usually only come into our houses during the winter. In any case, this little mouse came into our office and found some chocolate on the desk and nibbled at it! So I baited a (mouse-friendly) trap with chocolate and caught her.

She has a special home in my drawer at work and a special mouse-house at home, and I take her to and from the office with me and spend time playing with her each day. She is healthy and active and enjoys her food.

The great thing about this goal is that it truly meant a lot to me. Unlike a lot of goals such as work or career or financial goals, that often mean a lot to our logical selves, taming my lovely mouse was a goal that meant a lot to my HEART. It makes me FEEL GREAT when I see my mouse happily playing, eating and grooming, and when she comes up to sniff at my fingers rather than running away, it really makes me happy.

Encourage your kids to set goals that really make them feel passionate, or happy, or some other positive emotion when they are pursuing the goal. Herein lies the path to HAPPY goal setting rather than just ambitious goal setting. Both are good, but helping our children to find happiness during the pursuit of their goals will empower them more than most things in life!

Already, HazelMouse will sit tamely and calmly on my hand and have a wash. True evidence of the power of happy goal setting along with a bit of patience!

Happy goal setting with your kids!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

UK update a bit about Valentine's Day and Kids.

Well it is about that time again, time to post an update on my ticker for my trip to the UK, but I will leave that until the end.

Wow can you believe it is Valentine's Day tomorrow. That special day when love is in the air if you are a couple and if you are not well maybe not so much. Don't let that keep you from celebrating the day because you are not with that special someone. When I was a single parent I still enjoyed Valentine's Day because I would celebrate it with my children. We would order in or we would work together to cook something really special for dinner and we would always have an ooey gooey chocolate cake for dessert. After that we would cuddle on the couch together and watch a movie. I have many fond memories of the time we spent together and even now my hubby and I may go out to dinner but we always bring home a cake to share with the kids later, it is tradition.

All children need to feel that they are special and you really want to spend time with them. In our hurried lives we often make everything else a priority and now is the time to change that. Make Valentine's Day for the kids you will be making some wonderful memories and also helping to build your child's self esteem, how awesome is that!!!

Happy almost Valentine's Day

Now for the ticker update


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Internet Safety for Kids

internet safety for kids
Internet Safety for Kids

I was shocked to hear on the radio this morning that a UK study has shown that 1 in 4 children between the ages of 11 and 16 have actually arranged to physically meet someone that they met online.

It seems that children are still unaware of the dangers of internet predators, and we need to be vigilant and aware of our kids’ online activities in order to ensure they are safe.

For more information, check out Kids Goals Internet Safety Guide for Parents, and read about our shocking online kids chatroom experiment showing just how easy it is for a child to be targeted by an unscrupulous adult online within minutes of surfing to a chatroom.

Safe internet browsing with your kids!


Monday, February 11, 2008

Goal Setting for Kids – You Are Not Alone

goal setting for kids with friends
Goal Setting for Kids – You Are Not Alone

Goal setting can be quite a lonely process if your child thinks he has to do everything himself without help or support from others.

When our children set goals, sometimes they are competitive and this can enhance the feeling of “I’m alone on this one” – but goal setting never has to isolate our children from the outside world and the support of his family, friends, teachers or peers.

When your child sets a new goal, encourage him to think specifically about who could help or support him as he takes action towards his desired accomplishment.

• Is there a friend of the family who has useful experience, contacts or resources?
• Is there a friend at school who might enjoy working on a similar goal so that your child can pool his efforts and resources with a partner?
• Can he ask for advice or resources from a teacher, a local club or society, or at his local library?

Humans are social creatures and we achieve our greatest potential when we work in tandem with our fellow man. Goal setting does not need to be lonely!

Happy goal setting with your kids,


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Goal Setting and Set Backs ... continued

goal setting kids set backs
When guiding your child through the goal setting process, a useful thing to do is to help him think about what obstacles he might encounter.

Positive thinking is a key part of goal setting, and it is crucial that your child learns positivity and self-confidence by setting and achieving goals (of any size) over and over during his formative years. Thinking about what obstacles may arise is not about being "negative" - it's simply a way of acknowledging when you set the goal that all will not necessarily be smooth sailing and that is OK.

As we mentioned in yesterday's post, set backs are normal and if you help your child to realise that, you will take some of the pressure off him.

Your child can anticipate some things that might interfere with him getting his goal, and you can help him brainstorm ways to deal with them. For example, if your child has a goal involving PE at school, he could realise in advance that forgetting his PE kit could interfere with his goal - and you could help him set up a way to minimize this - putting up a hook near the door to hang his PE bag on for example, so that it is easy to remember when he leaves the house.

Your child can enjoy the creativity involved in overcoming obstacles on the route to his goal, rather than pressure himself for being human and therefore imperfect!

Happy goal setting with your kids,


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Goal Setting and Set Backs

Goal Setting and Set Backs

One thing that is important to teach children when goal setting is that it is normal and OK to have set backs as we work towards our goals.

Just like wobbles and even falls are part of learning to ride your bike, set backs and slip ups are all part of learning and of moving towards your goal, so teach your child to take them in his stride and get back to his plan when he experiences one, rather than giving up on his goal.

Goal setting and achievement is not about perfection or unbroken discipline. Help your child focus on the goal and not being perfect on the way to achieving it!

Happy goal setting with your kids,


Friday, February 08, 2008

The Screen of the Mind..

I mentioned a few blogs back about an amazing experience that I had with a self-discovery workshop that I had taken in January. The workshop was specifically designed to teach each student how to get to the Alpha brain wave state using a special guided imagery technique. After the Alpha state is achieved the student is then asked by the instructor to imagine a white screen, just like a regular theater screen. The purpose of the screen is to run a movie in your mind about how you desire your life to be. I found this exercise to be very profound for me because I had many amazing insights. Some of the things that I thought I desired did not appear on the screen. The reason I am talking about this technique is I was thinking it could be an excellent tool to use with your children to help them realize their goals.

Explain to your child that the mind is very powerful and can help us to realize our goals. Most people only use a small percentage of their minds and this is a way to use more of our mind. By getting very relaxed, perhaps by listening to soothing music or a even a short-guided mediation CD, we are able to use parts of our mind that will help us to realize the goals that we set for ourselves. When your child looks very relaxed ask him to pretend he is in a movie theater all alone and he is looking up at a big white screen. He is going to be the one who runs the movie and it will be all about the goal he has set for himself .He can imagine what it would look like when he has the goal he desires. Ask him to imagine how it feels, what it looks like, but to not say a word just imagine the movie on the screen is all about his own personal goal and how wonderful it would feel to have it. Instruct him to imagine what he would be feeling like when he realizes his goal and to keep seeing that vision on the screen.

Once your child is ready he can slowly get up and leave the theater and instruct him to count backwards in his head from 20-1 and when he reaches one he is to open his eyes.

Now the fun begins. Ask your child to describe in as much detail as possible what he saw on the screen and what kind of emotions he experienced. You may be surprised at how clearly your child can describe the experience and how excited he will be while he is telling you all about it. Young children are very good at visualizing as they still believe in magic and miracles and as we get older this seems to get more difficult. The beauty is though, as with most things, practice does make perfect.

This technique works best for children who are about eight to twelve as once they hit the teens many kids will not be open to trying it, but of course with all things there is always the exception to the rule.

I tried this with my son a few times and he really enjoyed it and said he would like to learn more about meditation.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Learning Styles

Learning Styles

Kids are like learning machines - their brains are developing and expanding at an incredible rate. However, each child still has a preference as to HOW to learn, and it is always valuable to spend the time to get an insight into your own children's preferred learning styles.

Some kids learn easily in the traditional school formats of linear note taking, while for other more creative personalities it is essential that their imagination is stimulated for them to learn effectively. Some kids love to learn on the computer, and if yours do then that can be very effective. (But please be aware of the issues of internet safety!)

Happy Parenting,


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Goal Setting for Kids

Goal Setting for Kids
Teaching your kids how to set goals and encouraging them in their efforts is a life-long gift that should be started as early as possible.

The more times that a child sets and achieves a goal - however small - the more she is likely to believe in herself and develop a confident personality!

Happy Goal Setting with your kids,


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Goal Setting, Patience, Kids and Mice

Goal Setting, Patience, Kids and Mice
This is my adorable field mouse. Her name is HazelMouse. My goal is to tame her so that she will come to me and sit in my hand. Unlike domestic mice which are bred to be easier to tame, field mice are much more skittish. I'm lucky to have caught HazelMouse while she is quite young. Already she will come up and sniff my fingers before dashing away and having a wash while she thinks about it! It's tempting to grab her but that would destroy all the good work I've done sitting still and being patient with her.

Kids too need to learn patience when it comes to setting and achieving goals. Good things are worth waiting for! But as parents it is vitally important that we remember that time is very different for a child than it is for us grown-ups.

Do you remember how the 6 week summer holiday felt like it went on forever? Similarly, it is really important for kids to have short term goals so that they feel they are achieving things and not just waiting for the good stuff for what seems like years.

Luckily for me, time is different yet again for mice. My HazelMouse probably feels like she has been getting to know me for years, whereas in fact it has only been a couple of weeks!!

Happy goal setting with your kids,


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cooking with your child

Cooking with your child - WACKY CAKE

Well the dog lovers among you will be pleased to hear that the whippet we rescued on Friday has been reunited with his delighted owners. It turns out the poor dog was attacked by a German Shepherd dog and ran off and got lost. He was very happy to go home!

I was happy that he was safely back with his family, but sad to say goodbye, so to cheer us up we made...

Monicka's "Wacky Cake" recipe:

(not quite sure where the name came from, maybe because it is so, so simple to make) ages 10 and up

1 1/2 cup cake or pastry flour
1 C. sugar
3 T. cocoa (unsweetened like Hershey's)
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
6 T. applesauce
1 T. white vinegar
1 t. vanilla
1 C. cold water

If you aren't fussy, you can make this as a "snack cake", mixing, baking and serving from the same pan. No need to oil the pan.

Sift dry ingredients into pan. Add liquids, covering with water. Mix thoroughly.

Bake at 350 degrees (moderate oven) for 25 to 30 minutes.

Makes one very moist chocolate cake. Frost as desired or dust on confectioner's sugar.

Cooking with your child is a great bonding activity and very satisfying - especially when you tuck into your creation at the end!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Kids and Pets - Family Pets

Kids and Pets

Do you have a pet in your family? We have a dog and a mouse. And yesterday we seemed to have acquired a second dog! A stray whippet with a collar but no tag followed my husband home last night. He's a very timid creature, very like a fawn with huge brown eyes, delicate legs and a slightly nervous disposition. He does love cuddling on the couch though, where he snuggles up as if he's lived with us forever.

Of course we will report the dog found and if his owners are searching for him we hope to reunite them. In the meantime we are enjoying having an extra pet in the family!

A dog is a big responsibility, and if your child wants one of his very own to look after it's important that he knows what is involved. One way you might approach this dilemma is to visit a local animal sanctuary and offer to foster a dog for a period of a few weeks. If your child rises to the challenge and enjoys every aspect of looking after the visitor, then the arrangement could become permanent, or another dog could join your family for good! If on the other hand your child finds that he can't cope with all the extra chores that owning a dog entails, then you have all had a valuable experience and the sanctuary has had the benefit of a temporary foster home!

Article on kids and pets: The Family Pet

Friday, February 01, 2008

Forigiveness cont....

On Wednesday's blog I wrote a bit about the importance of teaching your children forgiveness, and how crucial it is to put past hurts aside so they can move forward. Forgiveness is powerful stuff and the discovery workshop I took last weekend emphasized just how important it was to forgive others who have let you down and hurt you, but in actuality the most important person to forgive is yourself. How many times have you let yourself or others down and then felt guilty about it. Teach your children that guilt is a very toxic emotion and one we need to rid ourselves because it keeps us from truly loving others and ourselves.

Kids can be so hard on themselves and tend to blame themselves when things are not right in the family and this chips away at their self esteem. It is imperative to sit down with your children and teach them how to set the guilt free and forgive and love themselves. I learned a very powerful exercise in the workshop I took, but teaching your children to drop the guilt and forgive themselves can be as simple as substituting guilt with motivation by emphasizing and calling attention to what your children are doing right, not what they are doing wrong. Praise them every chance you get and also make sure to give them lots of hugs!!!

Happy Parenting,