ANXIETY / FEAR, Stay Present, U Time

THE HERE & NOW

The easing up of lock down brings with it a mix bag of emotions for all of us, some excitement and relief, others apprehension and tension.

The problem as in everything in life is that we are ruminating on the past or fearful of the future, neither of which exist. We need to bring our attention back onto the here and now. I call this Present Parenting and its something that requires some practice and effort, not because it’s unnatural and we have to learn how to be more present, but because we’ve formed the habit of Auto Pilot Parenting, which is not natural but an unconscious coping mechanism in response to today’s busy world. We just have to remember how to naturally be, which is what we will do through the following exercises.

PRESENT PRACTISING ACTIVITY

  • Think of an activity you would like to try out for this ‘Present Practising Activity’. For me, cooking is a good activity to practise being ‘Present’.
  • Pick something stimulating or a bit challenging, this will keep you interested and focused on the task at hand for longer.
  • Choose a time when you are by yourself to start with, it’s easy to get distracted when our children are around.
  • Now go and do it. If it’s exercise, get up and go for a run, even if it’s just up and down your stairs for five minutes. Try not to think of something that you’ll have to wait to do such as taking up a new hobby like knitting. Of course, this would be a great present practising activity to do but not if you haven’t got any wool or knitting needles as that’ll become your excuse to put this exercise off until they arrive tomorrow. As we know, tomorrow never comes. Whatever you choose, do it now. Not later or tomorrow, this is a Present Practising Activity—the time to do it is now.
  • As you engage in this activity, stay focused on what you are doing and feeling in each moment. You may hear that annoying little voice in your head telling you, ‘This is stupid, stop wasting time, you’re too busy, there’s lots of more important things you should be doing’. But don’t let it bully you into unconsciousness. Stay present!

When cooking, I get absorbed in what I‘m doing, I need to concentrate to prevent chopping a finger off or burning myself.

I stay engaged by choosing to cook different dishes each time to challenge myself and keep me present, if I wander off mentally, I could ruin my evening meal, so I focus on the task at hand. This way, I experience the different tastes, textures, and smells, and I’m not thinking of anything else except what I’m doing, making it also therapeutic, as any worries are forgotten. Time seems to fly by in this flow state. Then once we practise feeling in the flow in new activities we enjoy, we know we can experience this day to day in general too.

If you can’t think of a specific activity to practise being present in, and don’t like cooking, then try practising while having a bath. Feel the warm water surround you, notice the sparkling bubbles floating on the surface and the scent of the soap. Feel your skin wet and soapy, and take in the full experience of having a bath.  Luxuriate in this refreshing experience. How often do you bath without thinking about these things or without really enjoying the experience? 

That’s because when bathing, we are usually somewhere else in mind, and instead of relaxing in the present moment and enjoying the pleasurable experience, we take it for granted, and it becomes another Auto Pilot chore.

Anything we do often tends to end up this way. We become desensitised by its familiarity.

To appreciate the little things and stop our minds from wandering off on a rampage of doom and gloom, we just need to stay in the here and now, the only place we can ever really be!

Don’t forget you can get a- FREE 35-minute hypnotherapy anxiety relief down load, simply by signing up to our Happy Childcare Newsletter now (you’ll get invited to do so each time you visit our site and we’d love to have you in our club!)

And you can check out my interviews this month with Charlene Walters phd on her inspirational women series here https://ownyourother.com/blog/f/inspirational-women-series-an-interview-with-emma-grant

and with The Dorset Book Detective by clicking the link below.

Until next week,

Stay Present, Em x

Thanks for Photo’s by Alyson McPhee Jason Briscoe bruce mars niklas_hamann on Unsplash

Behaviour, BELIEFS, Esteem, MEMORIES, Proactive Parenting

STUPID STICKY LABELS

What negative beliefs to you believe about yourself?

Photo by Cheron James on Unsplash

Self-limiting beliefs stack up, and children are constantly adding to them over the course of their lives as they discover more and more things they can’t do.

If not overcome, self-limiting beliefs can become the enemy to success and happiness. Especially potent are those beliefs created by authority figures such as from parents and teachers.

If a child is told that they ‘Will never be any good at_____’ fill in the blank with a subject, these negative comments stick in their subconscious mind. They then believe them to be true, even if years later they have proved them to be wrong. Often, they will look for ways to prove those authority figures right, albeit subconsciously. Then, when their negative self-beliefs and attitude inevitably causes them to fail, they’ll think ‘Well, the teacher did say I would never be any good at it, and look—they were right!’

We need to challenge our children’s self-limiting beliefs and find out where they came from and whether or not the source was correct or reliable? 

Seeking to prove them wrong, rather than right, and reinforcing the things that our children are good at and can do. There will always be things they find challenging, but they shouldn’t avoid them or believe they are unachievable, nothing is impossible with the right support and encouragement.

OUT OF DATE INFO

Children under seven are very impressionable, they particularly take in things that upset them or stand out as most significant, especially traumatic events. They then sort and store these experiences in their subconscious mind for future reference, which then becomes available to assist them in the future.

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

This is helpful if the information is right or is intended to keep them safe in some way, but sometimes it can be wrong, misguided, and outdated. Information received while young is based on a young child’s perspective and may not be appropriate to them as they get older. Even when they have grown up and outgrown it, they may still be acting, thinking, or feeling based on those past experiences.

‘Self-limiting beliefs stack up, and children are constantly adding to them over the course of their lives as they discover more and more things they can’t do.’

This causes them to create fears and restrictions on themselves, and if others impose limiting expectations upon them, they add to a child’s own self-limiting beliefs, especially if they believe them or they remember situations or comments that reinforce them.

Fortunately, with the right encouragement, support, and belief, children can combat and overcome these self-limiting beliefs.

Children believe others over themselves most of the time, so, if they have fallen off a bike many times, their mind will tell them ‘You can’t ride a bike.’

But if we can convince them that they can. With some patience, persistence, and practice, they’ll believe us and start practicing until they eventually learn how to ride that bike. Because we have said and believe they can, they start to believe it themselves.

As Proactive Parents, we need to show them that their limiting beliefs are inaccurate and find evidence to support why they can do something that they believe they can’t.

If they say they are no good at sport, we can remind them of an occasion when they were, such as when they came first in the egg and spoon race. Our job is to question their beliefs and point out how vague they are being, by asking them in a confused tone;

‘Sport? … What sport in particular are you no good at?

 And; ‘What do you mean by no good exactly?’ This will make them think less generally.

If they reply; ‘I mean I’m no good at rugby.’

We could say; ‘Well that’s not all sport, that’s just one activity, but why do you think you are no good at rugby anyway?’

They might reply with; ‘I didn’t score a try last week.’

We could then ask; ‘Did everyone else score one?’

They may respond; ‘No only two people scored a try.’

We could continue; ‘So are none of the others any good at rugby also?’

To which they would have to honestly reply; ‘No some are good.’

STICKY LABELS

Regardless of talent, ability, qualifications, experience, money, or even if they follow ‘The Seven Steps to Success’ which we will reveal in later blog posts, none will make a difference without our children having Self-belief.

If they don’t believe that they can do something, then they won’t be able to do it, even if we are really encouraging and believe in them. Their self-belief influences everything, including their performance throughout school and academic potential.

These self-beliefs often lead to success in areas they feel confident and believe they can do well in, but in those they don’t, they’ll likely avoid or not do so well in.

There will be a variety of subjects in school, some they will not always enjoy, but they will be more likely to persist if they believe they can achieve good results in them, and we can help them build their self-belief by;

  • Believing in their capabilities — If we do, then they will.
  • Giving them responsibilities — Showing them that we believe and trust in them when it comes to important matters and giving them responsibilities makes them more responsible.
  • Helping them — If they are struggling in any subject at school, or any other area of their lives for that matter, mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally, we can help them overcome these obstacles and succeed by getting them the help, support, and resources they lack or need.
  • Encouraging them to be proactive — Taking action will give them the confidence to believe that they can achieve anything, even if they fail. It’s the fear of not being able to do a thing that stops them from believing they can. They have to gain confidence through achievement, and self-belief through doing and proving to themselves they can.
  • Complimenting them — Pointing out their efforts as much as their achievements and being specific. A general ‘Well done’ is not enough, we need to elaborate. Well done for what exactly? To replicate their success, they need to know exactly what it was they did so well in order for them to apply that to something else in the future.
  • Not over doing it — If we are too general or praise them when it’s not due, then they will not believe our praise to be genuine. Our children’s self-belief comes from the support and encouragement of others, including ourselves, but words of encouragement or trying to boost their ego with praise alone, will not work. They have to believe and feel good about themselves for genuine reasons. No matter how many times we tell them they are the best at something if they know they aren’t, they won’t be fooled. And the more they perceive us to be lying about what they think they can do, the less likely they will be to accept our genuine praise or compliments.

No matter how much praise we give or belief we have in our children, it’s what they believe and achieve, and whether it’s important to them or not, that counts, which is down to their own self-image. We’ll look at self-image in later blog posts too but over the last two weeks I’ve noticed the emails I’ve received from parents have revolved around sibling rivalry and arguments, especially during half term school holidays, so next week we’ll address The Art of Intervention.

If you would like an issue covered in next month’s blog posts, please email me the issue to emma@happychildcare.club

Until next time, Stay Present,

Em x

Thanks for featured image Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Behaviour, Esteem, Proactive Parenting, The U URSELF Routine

THE SELFISH CHILD

As Proactive Parents, we are preparing our children physically, emotionally, and socially for life in the real world without us. This doesn’t just mean when they grow up and leave home, it means when they have to go anywhere or do anything without us, such as starting school and childcare.

The foundations we build to support them now, such as having routines and fostering self-confidence and self-belief within them will be essential. 

Our children are our prize possession, so we have to make them feel like the prize. Their self-esteem will be determined by the respect, admiration, and appreciation they receive.

That’s why we are ultimately aiming for a Selfish child!

This word is not to be misunderstood or taken in a negative, egocentric context though. Here, when referring to making our children more selfish, we mean we are helping them to build more of the five self’s below;

SELF-BELIEF – What our children believe they can do, achieve, or be.

SELF IMAGE – How our children view themselves, for example; how they see their intelligence or physical attractiveness.

SELF RESPECT – How well our children look after and treat themselves generally, including diet and exercise.

SELF CONFIDENCE – How our children act or assert themselves and how sure they are in their own ability.

SELF ESTEEM – How our children regard and acknowledge their good qualities and think and feel about themselves in general. Including how much they like themselves or believe that they are a good person, deserving of all the good that life has to offer or not. And how close their ‘real self’ is in alignment with their ‘ideal self’. That is—how they feel they measure up against the version of themselves they think they should or the way they want to be.

These five selves all impact upon one another, but not always. One child may have a good self-image and find themselves attractive, but may not have any confidence in their academic ability. Another may excel at sports but have low self-esteem in every other area of their life, it just depends on what they place value or importance on in their lives.

Children just want to fit in and feel like everyone else. If such a definition as ‘normal’ exists, then that’s how we want to help our children feel.

We can do this by validating at every opportunity that how our children feel is normal and okay, such as, it’s normal to get angry when someone snatches a toy off them. 

This can be difficult, as our first response to our children’s undesirable behaviour is to insist they act or feel a certain way that’s more acceptable. For example, if they get angry and shout or hit out at the injustice they think they’ve received from the other child who snatched a toy off them, our first reaction would be to tell them not to be angry and that ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’ and usually we insist they say sorry to the other child they have upset, but we can often forget to validate that their feelings of anger were normal under those circumstances. Because they can’t articulate in words to the child who snatched the toy off them how they feel, they get frustrated and angry. Yet most if not all children would feel the same.

Photo by Andre Guerra on Unsplash

The reason we don’t validate their anger is because we don’t like to see our children angry as it can be an unkind, ugly emotion at times, so we try to prevent or stop it, and this serves to make our children feel bad or wrong for feeling angry.

We can only go so far in helping our children though, they play the most important part themselves, so it’s time to step back and allow them to be themselves.

This should come naturally, yet with so much influence and input from others, over time, they can find being themselves is not so good. That’s when they try to change themselves to fit in or to become accepted by others. This can be damaging to their self-esteem and can affect their self-confidence in all areas of their lives, sometimes creating unhealthy habits.

Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

KNOW THYSELF

Our children knowing themselves is essential to their happiness, health, and success. But only they can learn who they really are and discover what they really like, without knowing this, they will be aiming at the wrong goals in life.

Socrates the philosopher once said ‘Know thyself’ but this can be perplexingly difficult for our children at times as they are constantly changing.

Photo by frankie cordoba on Unsplash

We can support them in their uncertainty by helping them form a positive impression of themselves and life in general while they are young. This is important because they carry their beliefs about themselves as a child into adulthood, and those beliefs determine what they do and who they become in the future. Our children will become whoever they believe themselves to be. Yet a large contribution of beliefs and their self-image will be formed from other people’s perspectives.

Unfortunately, other people’s negative opinions about them can stick in their young, impressionable minds, even as adults. These create self- limiting beliefs’ which we will explore in the next blog, that can hold them back if not challenged.

If you would like an issue covered in next month’s blog posts, please email me the issue to emma@happychildcare.club

Until next time, Stay Present,

Em x

MEMORIES, MILESTONES, PARENTING

SWEET 16

Well it’s happened the first coming of age milestone, our first-born turns 16!

It’s an emotional day.

We couldn’t have imagined the beautiful person you would become then!

Like all loving parents, our children are our life. Everything we do, we do it for you. But soon you’ll be doing stuff for yourself, now you’ll have your national insurance number you’ll be able to work and legally able to do other things we’d rather you didn’t. But so far parenthood has been a very rewarding journey, full of love and laughter, and we just want you to know Holly how very proud your Dad and I are of you.

Since the day you were born you just love to literally laugh out loud and to make others laugh too!

You had a tough entry into the world, giving me a tough time in the process, but since your initial birthday you have been an easy child ever since, and we want to thank you for giving us the best 16 years of our lives so far.

You’re funny, confident, caring, and full of that zest for life. You are always up to trying new things and giving anything a go, always facing your fears with determination, whilst always being thoughtful and empathetic towards others.

We’re so eternally grateful for everything you have taught us, especially all that’s good about this world.

We can all remember that moment we brought our first-born home from hospital. 

On tonight’s Snow Moon I will reflect on the day you were born. I remember that snowy February day like it was yesterday, my husband Paul putting the car seat down in the middle of the living room and us both staring at our new arrival Holly, for what felt like hours. 

We were just in awe of her. Scared and anxious at the same time. 

All those fears surfaced. 

How would we cope? 

What do we do if she cries? 

How will we know what she needs?  

When?  

And why? 

What if we don’t know how to be good parents? 

Now on her sixteenth birthday, as a Mum, I feel so proud, privileged and happy to have come this far, to have learnt so much but more importantly, to love and feel loved by such a smart, wonderful, funny, kind and crazy daughter. 

The pride and love I feel for her every day are overwhelming. Making that difficult birth and all those doubts and fears pale into insignificance. 

Yes, even the toddler tantrums and teenage angst has been worth every minute.  

So much so, I feel saddened that she is growing up way to fast, and I long for those baby days back. 

Yes, children change your life in many ways, but always for the better.  

It may be hard to imagine now when you’re in the thick of dirty nappies and sleepless nights, but it’s in those ordinary moments together, that one day, you’ll linger with your memories longing to go back.  

Parenting is a very rewarding time and can be lots of fun if we let it. Enjoy and treat every day as a special one, because while your child is young, every day really is special and full of firsts. First words, first steps, first pee on the potty, first day at school, first boyfriend, all of which are magical moments for you and your child to cherish.

Believe me, the time really does go so quickly, one day you are crying into your pillow, begging for some sleep while they are teething, the next you are crying into a tissue as you are waving them off to university!

When your baby becomes one of your best friends!
DAD AND DAUGHTERLY LOVE

One day in the not so distant future, those dreaded night feeds, school runs, class assembly’s, duvet days and trips to the dentist, will become the best moments in our lives.  

Today they are ordinary every day events, although tomorrow they’ll become the most extraordinary, priceless, irreplaceable nuggets of time in our lives. Time that all too often we take for granted because we are disillusioned that the work and worries that occupy our mind, are the things that need our attention the most.  

Yet, neither now nor in the future will anyone or anything, ever bring us the joy, fulfilment or happiness that our children do. 

I wish they were both still this age!

Happy Birthday Holly Love Mum & Dad xxx 

Behaviour, Routine, SLEEP, U Time, Us Time

CHILDREN NEED DOWN TIME

Having quiet U Time and Us Time, time to rest, relax, and daydream throughout the day is just as important as napping or sleeping at night.

Since publishing this months blog New Year Old You https://happychildcare.club/2020/01/10/new-year-old-you/ I’ve had emails from parents saying they have no problem sleeping, that they are so exhausted they could sleep standing up, but their kids won’t sleep!

As we know, our children want to be with us all the time, flattering as this may be, we need our U Time, and they need their sleep. We have to find ways of encouraging them to want to go to bed and make bedtime a comfortable, relaxing experience they’ll look forward to.

There’s no Magical Cure, Sleeping Potions, or Sand Man in the world who is able to make our children sleep if they don’t want to. Nobody can really make anybody sleep if they are not willing to do so, not even a Hypnotherapist like me. But there are ways in which we can help our children to relax and feel comfortable to sleep alone, soundly throughout the night. 

Having quiet Us Time, time to rest, relax, and daydream throughout the day is just as important as napping or sleeping at night. Usually a cuddle and a picture book helps children to relax, and by finding a book that has a message you’d like to convey to your child is especially useful, the children I mind enjoy the Tony Ross Little Princess Story books, the I don’t want to go to bed! one can be found on Amazon here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-Want-Bed-Little-Princess/dp/1783440171/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=i+dont+want+to+go+to+bed+book+PRINCESS&qid=1579861528&sr=8-3

Physical and mental capacity is impaired with too much activity and stimulation. This can be nearly as bad as none at all, making learning to relax a useful skill.

A day at School or Nursery sandwiched between child-minders, breakfast, or After School Clubs and family and friends is exhausting and demanding for our young children. This is just what we expect our children to do as part of their normal day.

Children are so busy playing!

Providing an adequate amount of activity for their age and allowing them plenty of time to do things, unrushed, can help them with all the comings and goings of everyday life.

For babies, any activity or visits should be short and sweet.

It’s easy to overestimate what they need or what they are capable of tolerating. Routines such as nappy changing, bathing, or a trip to the shops are physically and mentally stimulating and exciting to them.

A bath before bed aids sleep!

We might not feel we’ve exerted ourselves by taking a trip to the shops, followed by a visit to Auntie Sue’s, but our baby will have.

Everything is new to them, and as they are constantly learning and encountering different experiences, we must allow plenty of periods for them to rest and process them.

Tempting as it is to play with them for hours on end with noisy, colourful toys, or wake them for a cuddle, passing them around cooing friends and family, this can all be too much for them to tolerate.

Friends & family overload.

They soon become tired and irritable for what seems like no apparent reason. Then after such a busy day, we find ourselves puzzled as to why they cannot sleep, wondering why they are fighting it.

Why don’t they just fall straight to sleep when we’ve tried our best all day to wear them out? 

Well, the answer is, they simply cannot relax when they are irritable and past the point of sleep.

As they have no control over what happens to them, and no way to communicate their feelings, they become frustrated and upset.

And being picked up while fast asleep and moved can be a rude awakening that none of us would welcome.

Babies don’t understand the journey has come to an end, and it’s time to get out of the car, into the hustle and bustle of a busy supermarket. They were happy fast asleep. So, we have to be as sensitive, understanding, and accommodating to their needs as possible by offering uninterrupted, regular rest periods in order to prevent them becoming overtired and anxious.

RELIEVING ANXIETY

It’s easy to spot if our children are overtired by how they behave.

Their emotions will be exaggerated, seeming unnecessary or inappropriate, displaying either frustration, sadness, anger, or all of those.

These emotions determine their behaviour, dictating how they act. Those feelings are there for a reason, they can help children regulate themselves if they understand and learn how to manage them.

When we recognise they’re feeling emotionally tired, we can reassure them they are simply tired and will feel better after some rest. Most children become emotionally stable and behave appropriately with adequate rest.

After a good night’s sleep or a short nap, they wake feeling refreshed and happy once again.

If not, then getting to the real problem and resolving the issues will be essential before expecting them to sleep well. 

We need to make sure they are not anxious or stressed but are relaxed before bedtime.

Problems from the day can be left simmering in the back of their mind at bedtime, or fears over future events can bother them.

If they have things to face the next day which they are not looking forward to, such as a test at school or even a visit to the dentist, these worries can cause anxiety, manifesting as nighttime wakings.

We can help eliminate concerns they have by using Us Time to let them discuss issues openly with us each day and by offering them the chance to relax daily. Offloading some of their worries and relaxing more will provide time to think, reflect, and rationalise their thoughts and feelings (we will look at ways to do this in later blog posts when we look at Esteem and The Bother Box). Make sure you join our Newsletter so you don’t miss it!

A regular bed time routine is key to a good nights sleep! zzzzz

Sleep is vital in restoring children’s mental and physical development and growth. As well as helping them to process the day’s events, and to make sense of all they’ve learnt and experienced. Without adequate sleep, their mental and emotional capabilities are affected including their concentration and physical coordination. So, when tired, they are more accident prone and clumsy, their memory and learning abilities are affected, making it difficult to learn, remember, or concentrate, and their behaviour, moods, and emotions are all disrupted.

Sweet Dreams!

They can even experience disturbances that hinder the production of appetite controlling hormones which could be a contributing factor in possible weight gain.

Children have difficulty sleeping for all sorts of reasons, and we’ll look at these over the next few blogs, so Stay Present until then, Em x

Images courtesy of Unsplash https://unsplash.com/