Tag Archives: cobb county elementary school books

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








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.


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.





The Benefits of Play

As chilly winter days transition into balmy spring time, children and adults both anticipate spending more time outdoors.  Unfortunately, the school environment doesn’t always cooperate with the onset of spring fever as students prepare for and take mandated tests or complete end of year projects.  Some classes forgo recess altogether in order to focus on academic excellence.  A nationwide study on how first through fifth grade children spend their time at school found that on a randomly selected day, 21% of children did not have any recess  at all.

What are the benefits of recess?  Here are a few:

  • Brain research show a relationship between physical activity and the development of brain connections.
  • Children who are active at school continue to be active at home.
  • Children develop social and behavioral skills as they learn to exercise leadership, negotiate, take turns and resolve conflicts.
  • Memory and attention are improved when learning is spaced out and recess provides a necessary break from academics.
  • Play for children is not just a social and physical outlet, it is a real learning activity.

How can adults encourage positive play? The best way is by setting the stage before hand.

  • Just as in the classroom, develop a specific set of rules for children to follow.  Encourage them to be a part of the process and then commit to following the rules.
  • Brainstorm games that encourage responsibility, cooperation, and communication. Make a list of the games to facilitate child choice.
  • Anticipate and discuss the most  common problems that are encountered on the playground:  not including everyone in a game, not encouraging others or putting someone down because of a lack of ability, not following the rules.
  • Develop a system for students to solve problems when they occur.  Practice with role-play how to handle disagreements.
  • Regularly review the process to see how it is working.

Related posts:

Children and Friendship Problems

Good or Bad Decision?

Teaching Kids How to Handle Emotion

Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Cooperation

Wyatt wants to play Frisbee. Max want to build a fort and Callie wants to have tea party. How do the three friends reconcile their differences? Can it be done? When Wyatt doesn’t get his way, Max’s mother suggests he be the Superhero for the day. Join Wyatt as he learns how the magic of cooperation and compromise can bring the five friends closer together.

Wyatt the Wonder Dog -Cooperation Cover
Wyatt the Wonder Dog: Learns About Cooperation (Volume 6)

6 steps to take charge of test anxiety

As the school year winds down, anxiety ramps up.  There is anxiety over completing projects. There is anxiety over passing to the next grade.  But most of all there is anxiety over testing.

The best way to eliminate test anxiety, is to put testing in it’s proper perspective.  In an education world where testing, test scores and data have taken on a life of it’s own, this is a difficult thing to do.  The purpose of tests is to provide information; information on what an individual student has learned and what they have not learned so that future teaching can begin from that point.

Instead tests are used to evaluate and assess teachers and even entire schools as to whether or not they are missing the mark.  Because so much is at stake, this increases everyone’s anxiety and this emotion gets passed on to students.

Parents as well can increase anxiety by putting too much emphasis on testing, rather than on the learning experience itself.  A student who values and is engaged in the learning process throughout the year will naturally be prepared for doing well on a test.  Excessive focus on tests as a gateway to the future, whether passing to the next grade or admission to the college of their dreams can create undue stress.

Given that despite our best efforts, children may become stressed out over upcoming testing, what are the best ways to deal with anxiety when it rears it’s ugly head?  Here are 5 tips to to help a child take charge of his feelings.

  1. First and foremost acknowledge the feeling rather than brushing it off or providing a distraction.  Instead of, “Don’t worry.  You are so smart, you’ll do fine.”  Try, “You are worried about passing the test?  Tell me about that.” Help the child identify how he knows he is worried both physically (heart beating faster, shallow breathing for instance) and mentally (I keep thinking about not passing, blanking out answers etc.)
  2. Create an positive image of who the child wants to be going into the situation.
    1. “I want to be calm and confident.”
    2. “I want to be focused and know the answers to the test.”
  3. Teach some simple breathing skills to calm down the physical symptoms, so he can begin working on the mental skills.  Point out how calming the breathing, calms the body.  An easy one is box breathing:
    1. Breathe in for 4 counts
    2. Hold for 4 counts
    3. Breathe out for 4 counts
    4. Hold for 4 counts
    5. Repeat
  4. Identify and challenge the thoughts that are creating the anxiety by providing a different thought pattern to replace the anxiety producing thoughts.  Creating a simple repeatable phrase that the child can learn and repeat when they feel the worry starting is helpful.  Instead of thinking “what if”  change the thought to “what is”.  For example instead of thinking “What if I get the test and don’t know any answers?”, change the thought to “I’ve worked hard all year and I choose to be calm and confident of my ability.”
  5. Create a plan that the child can follow on his own:  “Whenever I notice I am getting stressed out, I will:
    1. Remember my positive outcome: Who I want to be.  How I want to feel.
    2. Stop and breathe
    3. Repeat my phrase
  6. Check in to make sure the plan is working and tweak the plan  if it is not.  Create a positive expectation that the anxiety is something that the child can be in charge of rather than something to avoid.

Related posts:

5 Steps to Raising Up a Confident Kid

Stressed Out?  An Unconventional Cure

Teaching Kids How to Handle Emotion

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

Just for you!  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.









Teaching Kids How to Handle Emotion

Just as children need to learn their colors, letters and numbers, they need to learn how to identify and express their feelings.  Parents and educators often focus on the former and ignore the latter.

How often do you hear a parent quizzing a children  on colors or recognizing the letters in their name?

How often do you hear them ask a child to identify how they or someone else is feeling?

See what I mean?

It’s not that we don’t think it’s important… it’s one of the many sides of the emotional/behavioral equation that we expect children to ‘just get it’ without specifically teaching them the different nuances of feelings and what to do about them.  We wouldn’t expect a child to just naturally know the color blue or yellow without being taught, right?  So why would we expect that they would know how to recognize, name and cope with feelings without being taught?

If we teach children anything, we often teach them to ignore and stuff negative feelings while promoting positive feelings.  We distract or redirect.  I know we think we are doing them a favor when we do this, but without the negative feelings, we can’t truly enjoy and appreciate the positive ones.

Here’s what it takes:

Be Aware-the first step in helping children understand feelings is to increase awareness.  Point out their feelings and those of others.

  • “I see you are angry because you are talking really loud and pointing your finger at your sister. “
  • “I see a big smile on your face.  Going to the park really makes you happy doesn’t it?”

Teach Coping Skills–teach children that all feelings are okay, but all the choices we have to act out our feelings are not okay.  It is their job to make reasonable decisions about how to express their feelings.

  • “Being angry with your sister because she took your toy is okay.  Grabbing the toy back and hitting her is not.”
  • “Feeling excited about going to the park is okay.  Jumping on the couch because you are excited is not.”

Teach Positive Behavior–Be sure to teach children what is acceptable in addition to what is not acceptable.  Simply sending a child to timeout without being clear about alternative behaviors does not correct the problem in the future.  If necessary, you may have to suggest some possibilities initially.

  • “I know that you were mad when your sister took your toy away but grabbing the toy back is not okay.  Instead you need to tell her how you feel and ask for the toy back.”
  • “I know you are excited about going to the park but jumping on the couch tears up the couch.  What else could you do when you are excited?”

Understanding their own feelings, both positive and negative, and relating to the feelings of others is critical for personal well being and building relationships.  One great way to teach this without waiting until you are in the midst of an emotional breakdown, is to read books or watch movies and then ask:

How did the main character feel in the story?

How did they act out that feeling?

Was there a better way to express their feeling?

What was the consequence of expressing their feeling in that way?

Here’s a good book to start with:

Wyatt Learns about Good Manners

Wyatt is always wondering about something and lately it is how to get his friend, Max to change his bossy ways.  What can he do?  Join Wyatt as he considers some rather unusual options until he finally discovers that a heart to heart talk with Max can create a new friendship with an old friend.  Wyatt_the_Wonder_Dog_Cover_Manners_Kindle
Wyatt the Wonder Dog: Learns About Good Manners


Related Posts:

Helping Children Cope with the Stress of Change

It’s not all about ME! Teaching children empathy.

How to Raise a Resilient Child