Category Archives: stress

Stress Free Morning Routines for Kids

Mom, where’s my lunch money?

I can’t find my backpack!

What happened to my homework?  If the dog didn’t eat it who did?

Get in the car… Get.  in.  the.  CAR!

Did the school bus just go by?

It’s back to school here in Georgia.

Have you established a morning routine with your crew?  Or are you back to dreading the early morning rush and late night homework sessions?  One of the most stressful times of the day for many parents and children is the early morning rush of getting to school on time.

Although back to school start dates may vary around the country, one thing that doesn’t vary is the manic morning rush to get everyone out of the house and off to school/ work on time. To change manic mornings to  tranquil transitions create a morning schedule that is congruent with your family’s style.  Not every personality style reacts well to a timed schedule and a stop watch mentality but you can create a school morning scenario that matches your family’s unique preferences.  Here’s how:


Four tips for creating a stress free morning

  1. Begin by discussing as a family the goals that everyone has for the morning.  Be at school and work on time?  Eat a healthy breakfast?  Have a positive mindset? Have all the supplies you need for the day? Get everyone’s input to make sure everyone is clear on what is expected.
  2. Plan ahead by getting things ready the night before–  I’m a big fan of this approach. When my children were little we got clothes out and backpacks ready the night before.  Even now I prepare the night before for my next day.
  3. Leave yourself enough margin  to arrive on time—  The idea of margin is a good one. Plan for the necessary amount of time with some extra time added in for unforeseen difficulties.  Teach children to create a schedule by working backward from the time they need to arrive at school.  Then follow through.
  4. Spend some quiet time in gratitude. This is a definite part of my morning and a great start for families as well.  Share a devotion with the family as you eat breakfast.  This is so different from the rushing-out-the-door, pop-tart-in-hand approach that often characterizes the morning routine.
  5. Share a positive affirmation that sets the tone for the day–  Make the affirmation a question to get the biggest mental impact. One example is: “How can you make it a great day for someone?”  Sharing a positive thought at the last good bye can create a positive mindset that lasts all day.


Related Posts:

Personality Style and Motivation

Begin School with Intention

Create a Growth Mindset

Wyatt Learns about Being Organized

It’s time to catch the school bus and Wyatt can’t find anything.  Where is his backpack?  his lunch money? Wyatt is about to learn a valuable lesson about the importance of being organized and the benefits of planning ahead.  This adorable story offers simple helpful ideas that kids and parents can use to make life less stressful and more fun.

Wyatt the Wonder Dog: Learns About Being Organized



5 Ways to help children develop GRIT

Prepare the child for the path; not the path for the child.  (author unknown)

Businesses today are dealing with the effects of our parenting styles from the 80’s and 90’s. Because I do coaching and training with businesses, I hear the results of those indulgent parenting styles everyday. Children who got participation trophies for just showing up at an event, now expect careers that reward the same type of behavior.  While we focused on developing self-esteem in our children, in many ways we developed an entitlement mentality instead.

Today looking back, there are important lessons that have been learned about self-esteem and it’s connection to affirmation and achievement.  Parents and educators today can benefit from our experiences.  Here’s what we know now: Hollow affirmations about how smart and talented children are without regard to the outcome, create an entitlement mentality.  Realistic affirmations and encouragement based on a children’s abilities and efforts develop children with grit. What is Grit?  Grit is made up of passion and persistence,  necessary ingredients for success.

How to prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child

Here are five ways as educators and parents we can develop children with grit who are not only successful but capable of handling the occasional failure or disappointment as well.

1 Connect–Take time to listen and develop the relationship.  We all need to know that someone cares about us, our feelings, our experiences and our perceptions of the world. You don’t have to always agree  but do take the time to listen.

2.  Believe– Teach children to believe in themselves by believing in them first.  Let them know the potential, the strengths, the talents that you see in them.  Especially in the face of failure,  you may need to remind them of those abilities that you see so clearly.

3. Expect achievement-Don’t settle for less than you know your child can deliver.  Encourage them to set big goals and then stretch to reach them.  Help them relish the challenge and obstacles involved. Encourage them to develop problem solving mental muscles and to see failure as a time to learn and grow.

4.  Hold them accountable– Some of the best lessons learned are those that are the hardest.  Help them develop persistence and perseverance by encouraging a never give up mentality. Don’t accept excuses and rationalizations.  Remind them that even when they don’t feel motivated, the team, the community, their family is counting on them to give their best.  Sometimes we don’t experience success until we learn to push past our own resistance.

5. Celebrate effort— Recognize the goals accomplished and the effort involved in reaching them.  Even in the face of failure show your excitement and approval for the energy and focus that it took to stay the course.

Related Posts:

Developing Resilience:  The Story Behind Kid President

Three Steps to Helping Kids Develop Self Discipline

What if failure is really a gift?


Teaching with Heart:  Understanding Personality Style

Do you sometimes feel that students at your school are speaking a different language?  Do you wonder how to motivate and inspire them?  In this ebook you will D-I-S-Cover your own personality style and learn to work in the strengths of each personality by recognizing the secret fuel and environmental needs for each.  Understanding the personality styles of students can revolutionize how you interact and lead in the classroom! teachingdiscover

 Click on the link below to purchase the ebook:

Teaching with Heart: Understanding Personality Styles














7 ways to help a perfectionistic child

Is your child a perfectionist?

Do they put more pressure on themselves to succeed than you do?

Does he become hysterical when he misses one question on a test or doesn’t make the highest grade?

Does she collapse into tears when she strikes out at bat or misses a catch?

Does he always seems to be beating himself up about something?

If you have a child that is hard to motivate and who could care less about grades or hitting a home run, then this might seem like a dream come true.  A child that actually cares about their performance?  How wonderful!

But the parent of a perfectionist knows that there is a great deal of concern about the amount of stress and pressure that this child puts on himself.  These children tend to have a skewed vision of success and hold impossibly high standards for themselves.  They are driven and committed , with little patience and even downright frustration for siblings or friends who do not pursue the same standards of excellence.

Since our society places a great deal of importance on both academic and extracurricular success, you may find that perfectionistic tendencies are actually exacerbated at school and in sports activities.  However, this is more than a child putting their best foot forward and being the best they can be.  This is a child that has unrealistic expectations of themselves and who has great difficulty handling mistakes of any kind, much less failure to win top honors.  The persistent drive to be perfect at all times, sets a child up for constant worry and disappointment.  In addition, he rarely has down time when he can relax and be himself  without striving to meet performance expectations.

Where does this perfectionistic drive come from?  Brene Brown in her excellent book entitled The Gift of Imperfection, notes that her research indicates perfectionism is at it’s root a desire to please others.  It is based in a feeling of never being good enough and always striving for reassurance.

What practical steps can a parent or educator do to encourage and support a child that is a perfectionist? Here are a few:

  • Evaluate the messages that you give both directly and indirectly.  If you are frequently acknowledging the high grades, first place trophies, or being the best on the team to others, then you are encouraging the child to only feel worthwhile when they measure up.    Make sure that you praise and recognize the effort and the energy put forth to succeed not just the end result.
  • Re-frame losing as an opportunity to learn.  Even when a child succeeds, note the energy involved.  “Wow, your hard practice paid off!”
  • Help the child with unrealistic and unhealthy thinking practices.  Perfectionists tend to think in extremes.  “If I win, then I’m a winner and perfect.  If I lose I’m a loser and stupid.”  Help them discover the place of authenticity, “Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail, but I’m always worthwhile no matter what.”
  • Don’t protect children from mistakes.  Instead help them to see the learning and opportunities in failure.  Be open and honest about modeling the mistakes that you make and how you handle them.  Teach them ways to handle disappointment and failure in a positive way.
  • Make sure the message that “you are enough just as you are” permeates all of your interactions so that children don’t feel they have to earn your approval through their actions.
  • Look for the humorous and light-hearted moments in life. Engage in some activities where the child does not have to perform or be the best.  Instead schedule time for things that are fun, relaxing or require a new skill.
  • Point out examples of people who tackle disappointment and failure in their own lives, yet are ultimately successful.  Watch movies and read books with characters that are good role models.

Related Posts:
3 Ways to Teach Your Kids to Be Leaders
4 Secret Skills Kids Need to Succeed Today
The Greatest Gift a Teacher Can Give


12 Grab ‘N Go Lesson Plans for School Counselors!

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)



3 Ways to Help Children Cope with the Stress of Change

Moving to a new neighborhood.

Making new friends.

Starting a new class or moving to the next grade level.

A new brother is born, parents separate and divorce, an older sibling goes away to college.

Children, like adults thrive on the security of routine and the familiar.  Even when we know that change is coming, we often wait until the last minute to reconcile ourselves to the anticipated change.

There’s a cartoon of a dog that pulls and pulls at a rope tied to a stake, trying to break away.  He wants to venture out into the world and explore. Suddenly, the straining and pulling causes the leash to break and the dog is free.

Guess what the dog does next?

He grabs the ripped end of the leash, runs back to the stake and ties it securely to the stake.  Then the dog returns to pulling and barking and straining at the leash.

Do you know anyone like that dog?

Don’t we all try to return to our comfort zone when change occurs?

Instead of adapting and preparing for the change…

We worry.

We anticipate disaster.

We search for ways to avoid it.

How can we help children cope with the stress of change?

Look for Meaning

When an anticipated change is looming on the horizon, begin a discussion of the event early and help children look for meaning or learning opportunities in the change.  This is more than just taking on a positive attitude.  Help children (and possibly yourself as well) to consider the advantages of the change.

Will moving expand your horizons so that you get to experience new locations and traditions?

Will learning to get along and care for a younger sibling develop responsibility and social skills?

Will making new friends expand your knowledge of the diversity in the world?

Even negative events like divorce and loss can help children develop coping skills that will serve them later in life. Experiencing loss ourselves develops empathy for others when they encounter troubles.

Ask the Right Question

Children and adults tend to ask the question, “Why me?”  “Why did this have to happen?” when faced with change.  What if there is a better question that we need to ask?

What if we instead ask ourselves, “What’s the opportunity in this? What is to be learned?” Sometimes in the midst of discovering the answer to the second question we learn the answer to the first one.

Find the Needed Support

Children who are experiencing change cope best when given support and an opportunity to talk about the change.   Support can come in a number of different ways.  It might be a close friend or a family member.  It might be someone that has traveled the path before  and who now can encourage others.  It might be a teacher or a coach.  It could be a professional counselor or mentor.  In any case, the hardest part of any stressful time is the feeling of being alone and you just might be the support that a child needs to weather the storm.

Related Posts:

5 Easy Steps Kids Can Learn to Problem Solve

How to Raise a Resilient Child

Wyatt Goes to Kindergarten

Wyatt has never liked change, at least not at first.  Once he tries something new, he usually finds he really likes it.  Now that he is about to begin kindergarten, Wyatt is really worried.  Will he make friends?  Will he get lost in the new school?  Will he miss his mom?  Join Wyatt in his latest “wonder-full” adventure! Wyatt-kKindergarten_thumb
Wyatt the Wonder Dog: Goes to Kindergarten


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