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Our creative team is always developing and discovering new tools and activities for children and teens to master the everyday emotional challenges of their lives. Check back often to see what's new and how you can help your child.

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January 28th, 2010

Storm Fears: Helping Kids with Weather Worries

It may not just be the dog who runs under the bed during a thunderstorm. Children can get frightened too by loud thunder and lightening. Kids often have lots of concerns about the What ifs of weather. What if the storm gets worse? What if l get hit by lightening? Even in areas with no hurricanes, they may wonder, What if a hurricane lands right on top of our house?

Parents can help kids with these weather worries. It’s a good idea to talk about sensible safety measures, such as staying inside until a storm blows over, and never standing under a tree during a thunderstorm. Inform them that the safest place to be in such storms is a strong building or a car, with all the windows rolled up. Discuss where flashlights and a portable radio are located inside the home, in case of a power outage.

For many children, helping them gather accurate information about storms is also a smart approach. FEMA For Kids posts lots of scientific information about weather. For instance, the average thunderstorms last 30 minutes and occur in every state. In fact, at any given time, there are 1,800 thunderstorms happening somewhere on earth. Accurate information helps kids realize that storms are commonplace, and do not last too long.

Another smart approach to help children deal with the What ifs of weather is learning powerful strategies to outsmart fear. The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids® teaches children skills to take charge of worry and anxiety. The Tool Kit contains activities for children and teens to block fear from growing, understand that many worries are highly unlikely, and practice accurate and confident coping thoughts. Kids and teens weather worries can quickly diminish, and they can then turn their attention to helping the dog during thunderstorms.

January 23rd, 2010

Emergency Relief Kits Build Resilience in Children and Teens

WHAT’S IN YOUR EMERGENCY KIT FOR KIDS?

You may have seen the TV commercials from FEMA telling you to “Get A Kit, Make A Plan, Be Informed”. FEMA and the Red Cross stress the importance of an emergency supply kit for all families in case of a disaster. The tragic events in Haiti have definitely highlighted the importance of emergency preparedness, and emergency relief kits for us all. These very important kits include essentials for at least three days: food, water, flashlight, batteries, blankets, cell phone and other necessary supplies.

These vital supplies will meet the physical needs of your family, yet many parents wonder how they will meet the emotional needs of their children who have experienced the traumatic stress of a disaster. So many adults feel they are at a loss to help a child who has been through a traumatic event. And sometimes, the adult may have the same feelings, making it even more difficult to help the child.

What do you say to a child who asks, “Why did this happen?” “Will things ever be the same?” “Will we be OK?” It’s very common for traumatized children to become depressed, anxious, angry, immobilized or numb. How can you help your child find the resilience necessary to survive the physical and emotional trauma of a disaster? Fortunately, there is a new way to help children and teens who have experienced some of life’s greatest challenges.

The Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit for Kids™ teaches twenty powerful resilience skills to help young people K-12, survive even the most tragic of events. Children learn how to accept and manage their feelings of sadness, guilt, and anger, maintain self-care and a daily routine, develop a long-term perspective, problem-solve, set new goals, and deal with bad dreams, flashbacks, and anxiety about the future. These are only a few of the many resilience skills they will learn to cope with shock, loss, and trauma.

Take care of the physical and emotional needs of your children and teenagers. When you make your emergency relief kit, be sure to throw in the Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kits for Kids. Give your children the stress treatment they need and help them be ready to meet any challenge.

January 19th, 2010

Helping Children When A Pet Dies

The family pet may have always made your child laugh or listened to your child’s secrets. When a pet dies, that loss can be especially troubling for children. It may be the child’s first experience with death, or it can trigger memories of an earlier loss. This can raise feelings of sadness, grief, guilt, or anger.

It may be comforting for the child to share good memories of the cherished pet. Some children might like to draw pictures or write notes about the pet. Talking about how the child showed love and tenderness toward the pet can be especially healing.

Some children may not rebound after the loss of their pet. For these youngsters, the death represents a trauma. Sometimes, children re-play the traumatic event over and over in their minds, and for example, keep thinking about their pet being hit by a car or being put to sleep. Children also may suffer from bad dreams The Buld Up Your Resilience Tool Kit for Kids™ teaches effective coping strategies to handle big problems. Children can quickly learn tools to turn off the scariest and saddest of thoughts, and ways to deal with bad dreams. They learn how to think in accurate and comforting ways when dealing with change and loss. These are only a few of the twenty powerful tools contained in the Tool Kit, which teaches a comprehensive system of staying strong in the face of difficulty, and helps children know that in time they will be OK.

January 15th, 2010

Earthquake Fears Skyrocket in Kids

The media is inundated with news on the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Anxiety in children and teens is high as they see the shocking pictures and hear about the world mobilizing a massive relief effort to help the quake-stunned area. Parents are seeking answers to the many questions of nervous children and kids, such as “Will there be an earthquake here?”, “What would happen if an earthquake destroyed OUR house?”, or “What if you get killed in an earthquake?”

These are very difficult questions for parents, and often, no matter how reassuring a parent can be, kids and teens worry. Find calm and solid ways to deal these questions and your child’s anxiety in the Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids®. Tools such as “Power Talk”, “Let It Go”, and “Can You Prove It?” are a few of the many tools which build an effective stress treatment to help children manage their anxiety about earthquakes and other very scary things.

January 12th, 2010

Afraid of the Hospital: Kids Can Outsmart Worry

It’s understandable that children and teens worry about routine medical procedures. Their anxious thoughts may include, What if something goes wrong?, I’m afraid of needles. What if I’m all alone?, What if it really hurts?

Many hospitals, in an effort to reduce anxiety in children and adolescents, have made improvements by creating kid-friendly environments. Some medical centers have identified special staff to prepare kids for their hospital visit. Before the day of the surgery or procedure, information is explained, so kids know what to expect. Answers to questions looming in the minds of young people and parents are also answered. It is reassuring, for example, that at least one parent can be with the child for much of the hospital stay. These efforts are important because research has shown that preparation and support during hospitalization speeds healing, both physically and emotionally.

There is an additional way to prepare young people and provide support prior to hospitalization They can learn empowering coping methods to make the daunting anxieties of a routine hospital visit much less scary. The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kid®s, developed by experts, uses strong anti-anxiety and stress treatment techniques, to help young people take charge of worry and fear. The Tool Kit contains 20 powerful tools, such as talking back to fear with strong words, blocking What if thoughts, reducing the focus on unlikely situations, and stopping anxious thoughts from spreading. All of these skills and more, prepare and support youngsters, arming them with strategies to handle their hospitalization with more confidence.

January 8th, 2010

Athletic Confidence in Kids

Crimson Tide beats Texas Longhorns 37-21 in BCS National Championship! The lure of college football and all athletics is strong for many youngsters and their parents. For many children self-esteem is based on fantasies of their own athletic success in football, basketball, soccer, or tennis.

Kids’ self-esteem can suffer early on when they realize they are not good athletes. There are many gifted young athletes in our world, but the majority of children and teens are not born with the athletic ability to send them to college or pro teams, or even to be selected for their local school teams. The Charge Up Your Confidence® Tool Kit for Kids helps children understand they can enjoy athletics and feel good about playing sports without being the ’best”. Tools such as Finding Your Hidden Treasures, Three Great Moments, and the Trying Trophy are a few of the self-esteem activities children can easily understand and help them realize that there is value in effort, in improving their own skills, and in enjoying playing a sport. Watch child confidence soar with 20 confidence tools designed to boost self-esteem and help children value themselves in all areas of their lives.

January 6th, 2010

Kids React to Terror Threats in the Air

Anxiety in children has skyrocketed after the recent airline bombing attempt on Christmas Day. Kids and teens worry – - and hearing about the heightened terror threat throughout the media makes their worry worse. Many are afraid to fly or even visit an airport. Nervous children and kids can feel better as they learn tools from the Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids®. Tools such as, “No More What If’s”, “Super Sayings” and the “Popcorn Tool” teach young people how to think in ways that protect them from worry and help them to see the threats in an accurate and non-anxious way. See how these tools and many others can be the stress treatment young people need to meet the challenges of living in today’s world.

January 4th, 2010

Starting a New School in January

Sometimes children and teens start a new school in January. Perhaps the family has moved, or decides a new school would be a better fit. For some of these youngsters, instead of having carefree thoughts over the Christmas break, they may have concerns about their new school such as, What if I don’t fit in? What if nobody likes me? Who will I sit with at lunch? What if the work is too hard? These thoughts are normal and natural – after all, going to a new school is a big transition, with many unknowns.

There are a number of ways a parent or family member can help a young person face this challenge of starting over in a positive light. For starters, have a frank discussion with the child, listening carefully to any fears and worries. Visit the new school beforehand if you can, so the child knows how to find the classrooms, gym, cafeteria, and bathrooms. Maybe the child will be taking a new bus or a new route to school. Preparation is a big part of how you can help.

One of the biggest worries young people have about starting a new school is making new friends. Encourage the child to stay in touch with friends from the old school. At the same time, encourage making new contacts. Present realistic expectations, such as talking to several new kids in the first week. Schools are used to “the new kid,” so avail yourself of the school’s resources, such as teachers, school counselors, and school psychologists.

If, after some time, you notice your child or teen is not making a good adjustment, there is another resource available. Tool Kits for Kids LLC has created “emotional first aid kits” to help young people feel stronger and more secure when faced with change. The Charge Up Your Confidence Tool Kit for Kids teaches 20 powerful strategies to boost self-esteem and improve social competence. These emotional life skills are just what’s needed when a young person feels uneasy about starting a new school mid-year. In this Tool Kit, children quickly learn to think in confident and strong ways, act in confident ways, and learn methods to deal with self-doubt, loss, criticism, and mistakes. This Tool Kit comes in two editions, one designed for ages 5 to 11, and the other for ages 11 to 18.

Another of our Tool Kits, the Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids, helps anxious and nervous kids handle situations with a realistic and positive outlook. This Tool Kit also comes in two editions, one for Elementary School children, and one for teens in High School/Middle School. Kids learn how to turn down the volume of worried thoughts and replace them with competent and accurate thoughts, which gets them ready for new experiences.

Starting a new school in January can be empowering, especially when given the right tools to keep confidence steady and minimize fear. Learning to handle change well prepares children and teens for the many important new situations to come.