frustrated kid

What if failure is really a gift?

Your child is up at bat and strikes out.  She throws down the bat and stomps off the field,  tears in her eyes.

While doing his homework, your child can’t figure out the answer to a math problem. He crumples up his entire paper in frustration and slams the book closed.  Not a chance of starting over tonight.

Educators today often refer to encouraging a growth mindset in children.  What does this mean?  Given the fast pace of the world that we live in it is critical that children learn to use critical thinking and problem solving as a way of life.  Gone are the days when reading, writing and ‘rithmetic were the staples of a child’s education curriculum. Today we are concerned with not only what children learn but how they learn and how they can apply that ability to challenges they will face in everyday life.

Two Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset

Begin by re-framing the idea of imperfection and failure.  In the past we were all taught to strive for perfection.  Practice makes perfect was the motto.  However, focusing on striving for perfection can create an environment where imperfection and failure is not tolerated or is avoided.  Instead, re-frame imperfection as a part of the unique person that we all are.  

 In a previous post, I wrote about the benefits of embracing our limitations and how something beautiful can come from that.  In her book, The Gift of Imperfection,  Brene Brown shares research that shows when we acknowledge our imperfections and actually consider them the building blocks that shape us and make us who we are, then we develop into a more joyful and resilient person.

Sean Stevenson, motivational speaker, was born with osteogenesis imperfecta not expected to live past birth.  He identifies accepting his disability as a gift rather than a burden a being a turning point in his life. It was this decision that has shaped his life as a successful motivational speaker and teacher.  In a growth mindset, challenges become opportunities for self-improvement.

The second way to develop a growth mindset is to actually welcome all opportunities to learn and grow especially those where there is the risk of failure.  We learn more from our failures than we ever do from our successes.  Of course this is hard to accept when we are in the midst of a failing experience but think back over your own history.  Aren’t there important lessons that you have learned from failure, even if it was to try a different path?  Taking imperfect action and accepting that failure is often a consequence of taking risks,can be a gift, but it takes a proactive mindset to learn and grow from the benefits of each.  

Related Posts:

What if You Embrace the Difficulty?

Why Failing First Leads to Success

4 Secret Skills Kids Need Today

Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Winning

Wyatt the Wonder Dog didn’t make it on the All Star baseball team and he feels like a loser.  All  his friends will be playing baseball this summer, while he and his pesky sister, Callie, visit grandparents at the beach.  How Wyatt learns to handle disappointment and failure will be an important lesson for the future.  Will he give up trying new things?  Will he have the confidence to try again?  Are there some things that take more practice and persistence to learn than others? Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns About Winning
Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Winning (Wyatt the Wonder Dog Books) (Volume 5)

 

 

summertime memories

3 Ways to Make the Most of Your Summer

Make the most of summer by starting an intention and reflection practice with your children. Beginnings and endings are an essential part of life.  We learn from our experiences when we bookend our time with an intention at the start and reflect on the results at the end.

Make the Most of Summer Memories

  • Set an intention for the summer months–  It doesn’t have to be serious, complicated or long.  Here are some examples:
    • Play! Have fun!
    • Spend time together as a family
    • Read lots of  books
    • Learn something new everyday
  • At the end of summer reflect on whether or not you followed your intention.  Again, make this a pleasurable experience:
    • Write or journal about how you took action on your intention
    • Create a photo collage depicting the intention
    • Draw pictures that show how you acted on the intention
    • Make a family video describing how the family as a whole made summer memories
  • Celebrate the end– I know the summer just started!  But plan now for a fun way to celebrate the end.  Incorporate the reflection in the  celebration.  Show the video, share photos or drawings.  Share the best and the worst parts about the summer and plan what you want to do again next summer.  An end of summer celebration will give you something to look forward to all summer long.

Related Posts:

Create Summertime Memories through Writing

Summertime Family Fun

Make Summertime Reading Time

 

Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Winning

Wyatt the Wonder Dog didn’t make it on the All Star baseball team and he feels like a loser.  All  his friends will be playing baseball this summer, while he and his pesky sister, Callie, visit grandparents at the beach.  How Wyatt learns to handle disappointment and failure will be an important lesson for the future.  Will he give up trying new things?  Will he have the confidence to try again?  Are there some things that take more practice and persistence to learn than others? Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns About Winning
Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Winning (Wyatt the Wonder Dog Books) (Volume 5

leadership values

4 Leadership Lessons to Prepare Your Child for the Future

I’ve talked to several parents recently who have adult children living at home, unemployed and directionless.  A current report confirms that for the first time in modern history, the most popular living arrangement for 18-34 year old young adults is living at home with their parents.  Frequently these are young adults who have completed a college degree but who are unable or unwilling to find employment.  Parent reactions range from enabling to frustrated.

What went wrong?

I believe that we have raised the expectations of children without teaching them the skills necessary to accomplish those expectations.  Many times we have provided them with a life full of material things and pleasurable experiences but free of challenges and hardships that teach the strategies necessary to set and accomplish goals.  These are lessons learned in the early childhood years.

I recently attended a business association meeting where scholarships were given to some of the top high school seniors in the area.  The accomplishments of these young people were impressive;  they not only had grade point averages that were off the charts but they logged in an impressive number of service hours in local charities, excelled at sports academics, and/or the creative arts.  They were valedictorians and class presidents.  They created organizations and began movements around issues they were passionate about. They won awards.  Some even had full scholarships to West Point or  well known universities.

What personal qualities are necessary to be a leader in today’s world?  What are some of the important lessons that these young people  learned and practiced to be leaders in their own lives?

Four Qualities of Leaders

  • In a society that values convenience and ease, leaders learn to value effort.   They are not put off by hard work.  They believe that a goal worth doing is a goal worth expending energy to accomplish. They don’t expect success to be easy.
  • In a society that values speed and velocity, leaders learn the value of patience and focused determination.  Achieving personal goals is a slow process that takes sustained personal effort.  Leaders learn to put off gratification now for the reward in the future.  They don’t expect to be an overnight success.
  • In a society that values continual entertainment and pleasure-seeking, leaders learn the value of hard work and follow through even when the process itself is not rewarding. They have embraced the fact that achievement of any goal involves many moments of discomfort and hardship.
  • Finally, in a society where entitlement and expectation of success without effort is the norm, leaders learn to be risk takers who take failure in stride.  They are not put off by the possibility of rejection or defeat but instead see it as an opportunity to learn how to be successful in the future.

Our challenge as parents is to offer support to our children while encouraging the development of autonomy and responsibility.  Equipping young adults with the necessary skills to be leaders in their lives will prepare them for a successful future.

 

Stuff Parents Want to Know:  Answers to Frequently Asked Questions 

In twenty years of school counseling I’ve been asked a lot of questions.  This ebook is a compilation of some of the most common ones along with some effective strategies and books you can read with your child to address the problem. stuffparents   Click on the link below to purchase:

Stuff Parents Want to Know: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

summer time renewal

5 Ways to Create a Summer of Renewal

Does summer mean a time of renewal for you?

How do you make that happen?

Here’s how NOT to make it happen:  Dive into the weeks ahead with no plan except to fill every moment with enriching activities.  Schedule back to back camps or sports activities for the kids. Volunteer for every possible  need or request that comes your way.  After all, since you work with kids all year, you are the perfect fill in at vacation Bible school or scout camp. Plan exhausting family vacations and spend time on the road or jostling for  space in line at crowded theme or water parks.  Catch up on lots of classes and get the credits that you need…

I think you get the idea. If this is your plan (or lack of one) then you will return to school in the fall exhausted… and in need of a vacation.

How to Create an Oasis of Summer Renewal

  1. Take time to reflect and be aware:  What do you most need to feel refreshed and energized?  Relaxing time by the pool to catch up on your reading?  An exercise plan to get you back in the routine of regular exercise?  Quality family time to really connect and share? An educational class that will get you up-to-date and excited about new trends?
  2. Survey your family:  Rather than assume that the kids want to spend all summer at the pool or standing in line at the theme park, set up a family meeting to get everyone’s idea of a perfect summer.  You may be surprised at what is important to them.
  3. Set goals and create a plan:  Schedule events throughout the summer.  Create balance with family vacations and time for kids to explore and discover on  their own.  Studies show that creativity and critical thinking is enhanced with unscheduled  and unstructured time.  This is as important for you as it is for your children.
  4. Post a calendar and the plan: Keep everyone informed of the scheduled and unscheduled time and their responsibilities.  Re-frame “I’m bored” as a sign that a child needs to get creative and read, play a game or do something active outside. It’s not your responsibility to keep everyone entertained.
  5. Keep a gratitude journal:  Every evening review what family members are grateful for and either write it down, take a photo or draw a picture for your journal.  At the end of the summer you will have a great record of summer time memories!

Summer time can be a time to be renewed and energized or a time of exhaustion and over work.  The real key is to create a plan and follow through on it.  I wish you a summer that is an oasis  of renewal in the busyness of life.

Related Posts:

Creating Summertime Fun

Create Summertime Memories through Writing

3 Ways to Slay the Boredom Dragon

 

Wonder what Wyatt is doing this summer?  Visiting his grandparents at the beach… Check  out the Wyatt the Wonder Dog Book Series, children’s books with an empowering message.

wyatt2

Need some activities to keep the kiddos engaged with the lesson in the story?  I put everything together for you in one book!

Wyatt’s Little Book of Lesson Plans, Worksheets and Games

Here are activities, lesson plans, discussion questions, coloring sheets, word search puzzles and games for each of the six Wyatt the Wonder Dog Books.  Over 75 pages of ideas so that you can create lessons on cooperation, teamwork and leadership skills to quickly extend and incorporate the Wyatt stories.

 

                     

http://wyatthewonderdog.com/activitybook

 

children reading books

Make summertime–reading time

Summer is almost here!   Planning to relax and chill out? Worried about keeping the kiddos entertained?  Afraid they will be brain-dead from too much screen time by the time school starts back?

Summer is a great time to encourage kids to spend time reading. Not only is it entertaining but studies have shown that over the summer months, students typically lose many of the reading skills that they have worked so hard to gain throughout the school year. Parents can prevent this by making sure that there are plenty of opportunities to read. Even reading for just 15-20 minutes a day can make a big difference.  It’s so important that the state of Georgia has issued a summer reading challenge designed to keep kids engaged in reading.  You can read about it here.

Engage Children in Summertime Reading

One of the best ways to get children engaged in reading is to model it yourself.  Set aside reading time when the whole family reads and shares what they are learning.  Discuss the characters, anticipate the plot and ask questions.  What if the main character did something different?  What if the story was set in another time or place?  What if you had to make similar decisions?

There are a lot of great books out there too that are not only exciting adventures but wonderful messages as well.

Young adult author, Martha Orlando has a  trilogy that is packed with action, humor and inspiration. For a young adult book that is a real page turner pick up A Trip, A Tryst and a Terror, Children of the Garden and  The Moment of Truth.

My friend Erin Casey, has penned two terrific young adult books in her Zany Zia Hats To Where series. In the first book, An All Knight Adventure, Evan Tanner is transported to a castle in the middle ages where he conquers his fears in order to battle dragons and bullies. In Lost in Comanche Country, Marianna bravely navigates between Indian warriors, hungry mountain lions and cowboys out for revenge, while learning that despite all our differences we still have much in common if we will but take the time to get to know each other.

Jordan Crowl, author of Ed’s Journal is a talented author and illustrator who has written a series of character education books  (12 at last count)  that allow the reader to determine possible choices and consequences.  These books make for great discussions between children and parents, as well as a wonderful classroom lesson too. Check out all the titles in this interactive series.

For the younger set, my favorite author is Helen Lester.  Her books are humorous, clever and teach an important lesson at the same time.  A couple of my favorites are Hooway for Wodney Wat  and Listen Buddy.

 

Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns About Winning

Finally, I have to mention my own series of books about Wyatt the Wonder Dog.

In the first book, Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns About Good Manners, Wyatt learns what to do about a bossy friend who doesn’t use his manners.

In the second book, Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns About Being Organized, Wyatt learns how to plan ahead and organize his day, a skill that I’ve had many adults tell me they need to develop as well!

In the third book, Wyatt the Wonder Dog Goes to Kindergarten, Wyatt learns that adjusting to change can often be very rewarding.

The fourth book has Wyatt wondering what he will get for Christmas in, Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Giving.

In the fifth book, Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Winning.  Wyatt learns what it takes to be a winner after the disappointment of not being chosen for the traveling baseball team.

In the sixth book, Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Cooperation, Wyatt learns to be the Superhero among his friends as they build a fort and learn cooperation at the same time.

Happy Summertime Reading!

Related Posts:

Create Summertime Family Fun

Create Summertime Memories

3 Ways to Slay the I’m Bored Dragon

Last week… Special ends June 4th!!

Four of my best selling books:

Wyatt Learns about Cooperation, Wyatt Learns about Good Manners, Wyatt Learns about Winning and Wyatt Learns about Being Organized.

Wyatt the Wonder Dog -Cooperation Cover

Wyatt_the_Wonder_Dog_Cover_Manners_KindleWyatt the Wonder Dog Learns About WinningWyatt_the_Wonder_Dog_Front_Covr-Organized[1]

Plus Wyatt’s Little Book of Lesson Plans, Worksheets and Games

Digital Cover New

 




angry child

Do your kids push your buttons?

Does it seem like your kids just naturally know how to push you buttons?
Do they know that nothing makes you more crazy than…
waiting until the last minute to do a project,
leaving toys out where you trip over them
begging you for candy while you are checking out a month’s worth of groceries,
or what ever your pet peeve is?

You can feel it coming… You get angry and frustrated…quickly.  It’s like someone lit the end of a trail of gunpowder, leading right up to a big explosion.

We’re hooked.

And the drama begins…

The good news: You have a choice.

  1. Stay in control–I know that’s the point right?  Your child is out of control though and as the adult you need to do what it takes to maintain your calm and control.  Take a deep breath.  Turn on your objective mind and re-frame the situation.  Remind your child of the boundaries and rules in a calm voice.  If necessary, take a break and come back when you are under control.
  2. Refrain from arguing and threatening–  These are techniques that escalate the drama rather than solve the problem. Besides, is “you’ll never come with me to the grocery store again!!”  a realistic option?   Your child knows it’s not… When it becomes a power struggle there is bound to be a battle to the end and you may not be the winner.  If you need to discuss the situation and review rules and consequences wait until you are both calmer.
  3. Set up a later time to review the problem,- Restate the rules and teach the appropriate behavior.  This is not the time to label a child as lazy, or irresponsible or bad or any of the other negative labels that are often applied.  Instead, frame this as a situation where he/she has not yet learned the necessary routine and skills.  Then just as you would if he brought home a failing grade in math, set aside some time to ‘tutor’ him in the appropriate behavior.

You can prevent being the drama mama, by planning ahead and recognizing your role in the dance.  Disconnect those buttons and create a proactive plan for dealing with out of control behavior.

Related posts:

5 tips for thriving with your strong willed child

It’s Mine!  Tackling the Sharing Dilemma

5 steps to keep your cool

 

While supplies last… end of the school year special!

Four of my best selling books:

Wyatt Learns about Cooperation, Wyatt Learns about Good Manners, Wyatt Learns about Winning and Wyatt Learns about Being Organized.

Wyatt the Wonder Dog -Cooperation Cover

Wyatt_the_Wonder_Dog_Cover_Manners_KindleWyatt the Wonder Dog Learns About WinningWyatt_the_Wonder_Dog_Front_Covr-Organized[1]

Plus Wyatt’s Little Book of Lesson Plans, Worksheets and Games

Digital Cover New

Regularly: $60 Now: $50 (plus $5 postage)!



 

I only have a limited supply, so get these while they last:)