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November 12th, 2013

Devastating Images of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines can Scare Children

In your home, you may be trying to minimize the visual images of the devastating typhoon that has crippled the Philippines. News reports are filled with horrific images that can be frightening to children.

In today’s high-tech world, it’s hard to completely protect children from the reality of heartbreaking disasters that flood the media. Some children may have lots of questions, such as:

• What happened to some of the people in the Philippines? Did they die?
• Could this happen where I live?
• Am I safe?

The truth is, these questions are not unlike those that adults wonder too. Parents can help their children by first listening calmly to their concerns. Providing a little bit of accurate information can also help children deal with this catastrophe. For example, a parent could say:

Sometimes bad things happen.
• The crisis in the Philippines is terrible, but one that doesn’t happen most of the time. Most people will live an entire lifetime without experiencing a storm like this.

Finally, if your child expresses sadness and concern for the victims, you can say, It’s important to care about other people. It’s good that you are the kind of person who really cares.

Some families may suggest the child draw pictures, write notes, or contribute in some way to agencies providing relief for survivors. During extraordinary times, children can feel better by being encouraged to be compassionate.

If you would like to read more about helping children deal with disasters and emergencies, you may find the following articles helpful:
Emergency Relief Kits Build Resilience in Children and Teens
Earthquake Fears Skyrocket in Kids
The Gulf Oil Disaster Images Hurt Kids

September 14th, 2013

I Wish I Were Popular In School

By the third grade, many children have observed that being popular looks great from the outside. Everyone wants to be your friend, sit next to you, select you for the team, or invite you to the next party. This trend often intensifies in middle school and can continue well into the high school years.

Many children dream of being popular and being valued by their peers. If they could only figure out how to achieve it. Kids often wonder, Do popular kids have super athletic skills, an amazing talent, great looks, perfect name-brand outfits, or special skills to make other kids like them?

Some children and teens even comment on the downside of popularity, noticing that some popular kids can be mean and exclusive. The issue of popularity is frequently addressed in children’s books and films, like the movie Mean Girls and the musical Wicked. Despite the downsides of popularity, children still want it.

What lots of young people don’t realize, is they are hoping for the wrong thing. It’s confidence that kids really need, so they can feel comfortable being themselves. If this leads to popularity, and that’s important to a child, great. If it leads to an internal sense of well-being, regardless of popularity, that’s great too.

Confidence is what counts, and there is a fast and clever way to boost children’s self-esteem. The Charge Up Your Confidence® Tool Kit for Kids includes the 20 best child confidence skills available today. Kids in grades K-12 learn to value their own opinions even if they are different from their peers. Young people learn to pay attention to their own strengths, recognize that trying is what matters more than just results, and see that helping others builds kids’ self-esteem. The Tool Kit addresses tough situations that can topple confidence, such as handling mistakes, facing criticism, getting through embarrassing situations, and learning that less than perfect is still OK.

Confidence is not a guarantee for popularity. It does however make young people happier and more sure of themselves.

August 14th, 2013

Back to School Goals

Do you know if your child or teen has goals for the new school year? Many kids do, although they may be described by kids as hopes and dreams. You can help turn their hopes and dreams into solid attainable goals. Here are some guidelines.

As school begins start a brief conversation with your child. A question like, Have you thought about what you want to accomplish this year? Or, What do you hope this school year will be like for you? Listen carefully to your child’s response.

Your child might say, I’d like to have more friends this year. Or, I want to learn to play the flute, or I want to do better in math, or I hope I make the basketball team. All of these goals are important. Here are some ideas to keep in mind when you have that talk with your child about their upcoming school year.

Help your child pick a couple of goals. For younger children picking one goal is a good place to start. For high school kids, a maximum of three might work well.
Help your child set realistic goals. Making more friends is a much more realistic and positive goal instead of trying to be in the popular group. Improving my math skills is a much more accurate goal than acing every math test.
Help your child make a plan to accomplish the goals. For instance, to win friends, initiating conversations and practicing being a good listener is an excellent place to start. To improve academic performance, increasing focused studying time and perhaps getting extra help on a routine basis is a good plan.
Every good plan should include a way to monitor progress. Tell your child you’ll check with them in a few weeks to see if the plan is working. Always praise efforts in working towards a goal. It’s much more important that achieving instant success.
To read more about topics related to Back to School for Kids, see the following:
Afraid of Giving School Presentations:
No One To Sit With At Lunch: ,

August 7th, 2013

Fear Checklist For Kids

Does your child have fears and worries? Here’s a handy checklist to find out.

I’m Afraid of ……..
_____ Monsters
_____ The Dark
_____ Kidnapping
_____ Robbers
_____ Aliens
_____ Thunder and Lightning
_____ The Wind
_____ Loud Noises
_____ Leaving My House
_____ Dogs
_____ Cats
_____ Germs
_____ Bugs
_____ Eating
_____ Getting Sick
_____ My Allergies
_____ Choking
_____ Throwing Up
_____ Sleepovers at someone else’s house
_____ Terrorists
_____ Scary Stories and Scary Movies
_____ Watching the News
_____ Getting Into Trouble
_____ Losing Something
_____ Taking a test
_____ Getting Lost
_____ When My Parents Go Out At Night
_____ Going Somewhere I’ve Never Been
_____ Doing Something New for the First Time
_____ Being Afraid
_____ ________________________
If you would like a PDF version of the checklist, click here : Fear Checklist For Kids

July 4th, 2013

Independence Day 2013

Tool Kits for Kids wishes you a happy and safe July 4th holiday!

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June 24th, 2013

What Children and Teens with Social Anxiety Really Need

• I won’t know what to say if I go to the party.
• I don’t know anyone in my class.
• If I start a conversation, kids will make fun of me.
• I don’t play sports. I have nothing to say.
• Other kids don’t know I exist.

Young people who are nervous and uneasy in social situations benefit from learning strategies to make friends, initiate conversations and handle group interactions. But practicing social skills may not be enough.

Recent research has shown that many socially anxious kids actually do possess some social skills. What these youngsters lack is the belief that they actually have the know-how. In other words, the perceptions of their social capabilities are not accurate.

Children and adolescents who view themselves as unsuccessful socially must also acquire confidence skills. They need to accurately recognize their strengths, monitor progress towards interpersonal goals and know how to recover when derailed. Without confidence skills, kids can exaggerate endless social doubts and failures.

All kids benefit from learning to bolster their self-esteem. It makes a significant difference especially for socially anxious ones.

Read more about social anxiety and confidence
No One To Sit With At Lunch
I Wish I Were Popular
Losing Friends and Making New Ones

June 7th, 2013

Social Status and Bullying

By third grade, most kids are intensely aware of popularity and social status. The desire to be cool and popular crescendos into middle school and persists until adulthood. Some young people will do whatever it takes to increase their status with peers. Sometimes, this may include bullying others, just to get a perceived edge.

The juggling for social status increases as a child’s need for acceptance, power and dominance grows. Kids often recognize their own place on the social ladder. No one wants to be at the bottom of the barrel.

Think of the social ladder in the following way. There’s the Top 15%, the Middle 70% and Bottom 15%.
Kids in the Top 15% often have strong social skills, are very adept at reading social cues and pay attention to power and dominance. Sometimes kids in this group are mean and aggressive towards others. Recent studies have shown that children in this group get teased and taunted too, but they seem to know how to deal with ridicule. This is how they remain in the top 15%. Many other kids aspire to be in this group even though the emotional price can sometimes be too high.

Kids in the Middle 70% know how to make friends too. They may not be as skilled in negotiating power and dominance conflicts as those in the very top group. Studies have shown that kids in this vast middle get pushed around too. More often than not, they are bystanders, or witness to the more severe bullying. Kids in the middle are sometimes in conflict over doing what’s right and what’s best for their own social status. They may want to stick up for a victim, but fear retaliation. There has been a lot of emphasis lately on empowering bystanders to do the right thing.

Kids in the Bottom 15% are often totally ignored by other kids or bullied rather harshly. If they are bullied, they often lack the skills to signal an aggressor to stop. Without meaning to, they may reinforce the aggressor by overreacting, crying or striking back. Sometimes these youngsters get in trouble themselves, leading to more frustration and hurt.

Parents and professionals were rightly concerned about the bottom 15% of youngsters, believing them to be principal victims of bullying. Recent research has shown that while these youngsters may be targets, kids in all rungs of the social ladder can be victims or aggressors too. Attention has to be paid to all young people, teaching them effective anti-bullying measures, empowering bystander actions, confidence skills and empathy training.

To read more articles of interest:
No One to Sit With At Lunch
I Wish I Were Popular
I’m Not Invited to the Party

May 25th, 2013

FEAR OF FINALS – PART 2

Be sure to read Fear of Finals Part 1. This will help you understand how to help your child now that it’s time to take the finals. Studying is finished and anxiety is growing because finals are so important. At the time of the test, young people have two jobs:

Job I – Taking the test
Job 2 – Fooling their body and mind to stay calm and keep their brain at
the highest level of functioning.

JOB 1 – This is the academic part.
•If young people attend class, complete homework and study, they are on a good path to good test performance.
•A good night’s sleep, a good breakfast and some mild exercise in the morning will help a brain perform well.

JOB 2 – This is the staying calm part
•Even though finals are important, when your child is actually taking the test, he or she must think of it as just another test not more important than any other test.
•Encourage kids to stay away from thinking about grades, passing, failing, getting into college or questions they don’t know the answer to. These are questions that are important, but should be addressed BEFORE STUDYING or AFTER THE TEST. Thinking about these issues DURING the test will flood the brain and body with stress hormones and make the child’s brain less efficient. The No More What If tool in the Outsmart Your Worry Toolkit for Kids is particularly helpful for this.
•Use calming techniques for breathing and muscle relaxation, such as those found in the Outsmart Your Worry Toolkit, specifically, Easy Does It Breathing and Let It Go. These techniques help to keep bodies calm.
•Self-Coaching techniques, such as silently saying, You’re doing fine, You’re OK, also help to keep brains calm.

Remember, calm brains perform better. You can help your child use thinking and behavior skills to outsmart test anxiety.

May 21st, 2013

FEAR OF FINALS – PART 1

It’s that time of year again. As the end of the year approaches, final exams grow closer and fears of finals start to grow. Test anxiety is a big problems for many youngsters and it often reaches it’s peak as young people study for these important tests.

Brains work best when bodies are calm. Calm bodies allow brains to concentrate better, process information well, problem solve effectively and retrieve information that is already learned. Important pathways in the brain stay open so that the benefits of studying can be used during the test.

Although a very small amount of anxiety actually helps performance by keeping the brain focused, this is unfortunately not what happens during test anxiety. Test anxiety floods the brain and body with stress hormones. The body is primed for a fight or flight response as opposed to doing well in an intellectual activity, such as taking a final. Concentration, information processing, problem solving and information retrieval all suffer as important brain pathways are closed by the anxiety response.

So how can a young person deal with test anxiety? First, worrying is fine, but only before studying, as fear is a good motivating force for studying. Once studying is begun, tell your child that being worried will actually hurt rather than help performance. Learning cognitive (thinking) and behavior skills to help stay calm during the test comes next. Read about these strategies in Fear of Finals – Part 2.

May 8th, 2013

Sports Anxiety in Children and Teens

It’s an exciting time for kids and families when outdoor school sports teams resume. Learning about sportsmanship, connecting with teammates, engaging in healthy competition, developing a lifelong love of sports and offering meaningful alternatives to video games and cell phones are just some of the benefits. What could be better? Not every kid feels this way. In fact, participating in sports can stir up anxieties and doubts in children. Here are a few scenarios:

•Your teen is a treasured member of a sports team. Everyone expects him or her to have an amazing season. Your kid feels mounting pressure and anxiety before each major game.
•Your middle school child is not on a sports team by his own choice. He feels left out at lunch and recess because he feels he has nothing to contribute and always has to make excuses why he’s not on a team.
•Your daughter had been told to drop a few pounds. She’s a good athlete but feels embarrassed about her weight. This affects her self-esteem.

Student athletes can be derailed by criticism from the other team, their own teammates, coaches as well as themselves. They need an effective plan to get back on track and stay focused. Confidence skills can do just that. Young athletes can also be thrown off base by negative What If’s which can break concentration and lead to panic. Anti-anxiety strategies can improve accurate thinking before and during a game.

Young athletes can learn how to maximize self-esteem and minimize anxious thoughts. It does take a bit of practice. Young athletes are used to that. Building emotional strengths along with athleticism is a winning combination. Read more about how to stay steady and strong during athletic competitions:
Turn Sore Sports Into Good Sports
March is Not Just About Basketball
Performance Anxiety in Kids

April 21st, 2013

Boston Bombings, PTSD and Your Kids

The Boston Marathon Bombers have been apprehended – one killed, one captured. It may seem like it’s over, but for many kids, it’s not. The terror that they experienced, by being a witness to the events in person, on line, or on TV is still there. Scary images of bombs exploding, law enforcement personnel with guns drawn, ambulances, helicopters, sirens, gun fights, and lock downs continue to run through their minds. These children are suffering with ongoing anxieties about similar bombings happening to them or in their neighborhoods.

Anxiety symptoms can include repetitive What If thoughts (What If there is a bombing in my town?), sleep problems, appetite problems, crying, explosions of anger, development of new fears (such as fear of going out in crowds, malls) and new anxiety habits (such as repetitive checking of locks in the house or avoidance of trash like the ones where the bombs were planted). These are very real symptoms and can cause genuine distress for children and their families. When the symptoms don’t go away, they can evolve into Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

What can you do to help your child worry less and be more resilient? Listen to his or her fears. Don’t minimize them. Reassure children that you are there to protect them and the likelihood of another bombing in their neighborhood is very low. Normalize their lives – be sure your child’s life goes on as normally as possible – school, activities, playmates. Distraction is always a good strategy. And remember, it takes time.

If you are interested in learning more skills about HOW to help your child, worry skills and resilience skills are just a click away. You really can help your child feel better.

April 17th, 2013

The Boston Marathon Bombing and Your Child

It happened again. Another terrible, senseless tragedy. A frightening event all over the news. A child was killed. Over a hundred injured. Children worry and worry and worry, Will this happen in my school? What about the races in my town? Will I be hurt in a bomb?

Many kids do not feel safe when they hear about events such as bombing at the Boston Marathon on Monday. It’s no wonder, as many adults don’t feel safe either. As parents, one of our many important jobs is to teach young people how to manage their fears in a what is often a very scary world.

It’s not easy to do this but you can get a good head start by working with your child on two concepts – likelihood and anti-terrorism efforts. It’s not realistic to tell your child that things like this NEVER happen. They do happen. Fortunately, they happen very rarely and the likelihood that something as dreadful as the Boston bombing will happen to your child is very, very, very low. Even though children may see or hear about something bad , it doesn’t mean it will happen to them.

The second concept is reminding your child of the strong and vital anti-terrorism effort of our government. Very smart people are working very hard to locate and capture the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon. Many terrorists have been apprehended before and brought to justice. It may be only a matter of time before these terrorists have been captured as well.

We don’t live in a perfect world. We don’t live in a world that is always safe. But we can help our children navigate their way through their fears in the best way possible. For additional readings on this topic, see Time Square Bomb Threat Can Scare Children.

April 3rd, 2013

Spring and Summer Vacation: Traveling with Children

It’s that time of year again, and many families are planning vacations or visits to grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins or family friends. It may feel like a vacation to children, but parents often complain that it feels more like a relocation than an actual holiday break. Overstimulated children out of their regular routines can be difficult. Different rules and expectations of your hosts can be even more challenging to parents who are trying to keep everything under control.

Try your best to maintain family rules while on vacation and always teach children to be respectful of your host. Realistically you might not be as successful as you would like. It’s important to remember that the holidays and holiday visits are time-limited. All too soon, you will be back home and involved in familiar routines. If your expectations for your children’s behavior return home with you, things will be back to “your family normal” before the holiday trip.

Here are other articles about traveling with children that may be of interest:
Kids Afraid to Leave Home
Air Travel Can Be Scary
Back To School Blues

March 24th, 2013

Cyberbullying Kids 2013

The use of social media has exploded, especially for young people. There are undoubtedly plusses, but one of the big minuses is the fear of cyberbullying in children and teens. Cyberbullying is bullying online, through emails, texts or any other form of social media. Kids are vulnerable and care deeply about others opinions. They can get easily humiliated and embarrassed by negative information spread about them which makes them particularly vulnerable online.

Here’s what’s known about cyberbullying in 2013:
•Studies report that 17% of kids have been bullied online. That’s almost 1 out of 5 kids who were cyberbullied. Other research found it to be as low as 5%.
•Cyberbullying has not increased in the last 5-6 years, despite growing concerns to the contrary.
•80-90% of kids bullied online are also bullied in person.
•Young people who are bullied in person or online can suffer from depression, poor self-esteem and anxiety. Some have suicidal thoughts.
•If a youngster is bullied by someone with more power or social status, the impact is often greater.

The big surprise about cyberbullying is that it has not escalated in the past 5-6 years. Yet even one youngster being bullied online is one too many.

What can parents do? It’s important to note that in all types of bullying, including physical, verbal and online, adults intervene in only 4% of the incidents. That means there is no adult intervention in 96% of all bullying situations. The number one recommendation to reduce cyberbullying is for parents to monitor, monitor, monitor. Know what your kid does online. Discuss it routinely. Make kindness, respect and empathy important values taught in the home. That’s the best defense.

Here are other articles of related interest:
Rumors: Building Confidence Helps Kids Handle Them
Technology and Constant Communication
Bullying: Confidence Helps Kids

February 20th, 2013

Should We Care About the Bullies?

Should we care about the bullies, the ones who tease, shove, punch, ridicule, and mock other kids? We absolutely must care to understand the bullying dynamic, help the victims, bystanders and the bullies themselves.

Here’s what’s known about bullies:
• Bullies exhibit a repetitive pattern of aggression in their formative years. Power and dominance is their game, and sometimes it seems as if the bully is winning.
• Bullying is widespread and is the most common form of violence in young people. The AMA estimates that 3.7 million youths engage in moderate to severe bullying each year.
• Some kids who are popular or in leadership roles can start to take advantage of others. This can lead to bullying behavior, because peers reinforce the power plays. Of course it sends the wrong message to the bully in training.
• Research has documented that some bullies grow up in homes where power and aggressive acts are valued. These bullies in training learn to disregard other people’s feelings. It’s what they see at home. Not all bullies come from such homes however.
• Bullies don’t always pick on the weak. Sometimes bullying behavior involves a complex jockeying for position among peers. Other times kids who are picked on try out bullying behavior to protect them.
• Most kids experiment with bullying behavior at some point in their lives. It’s one way they learn about power, dominance and the kind of person they want to be. The good news is that the majority of children do not engage in a repetitive pattern of cruel and aggressive behavior, even though they may have tested the waters.

To stop the cycle of bullying, victims have to learn assertiveness and social skills, bystanders need courage to stop bullies, and bullies need to learn empathy and compassion. Helping the victim alone is not enough.

Here are other related articles:
Turn Sore Sports Into Good Sports
I Wish I Were Popular
Rumors: Building Confidence Helps Kids Handle Them

February 1st, 2013

Can You Be Too Good to Your Child?

Sometimes out of love and a genuine desire to help, parents may inadvertently prevent their children from developing the best adaptive skills needed for a healthy physical and psychological life. In medicine, a recent study has shown that many children with severe allergies were raised by parents who over-restrict the amount of dirt and germs in their environment. It appears that a little more exposure to everyday germs may be a healthier alternative.

In much the same way, many loving and well-meaning parents restrict the everyday emotional turmoil a child may experience. Some parents try to do whatever they can to make things easy and stress free for their children. But stress free does not build happiness. In fact, the best way to learn to deal with stress is by experiencing it. Parents can be most helpful to their children by allowing them to experience age-appropriate stress and learn effective problem-solving strategies to deal with disappointment, mistakes and change. Again, a little exposure to life’s ups and downs can be good in the long run.

To read more about parenting today see:
Does Frequently Rewarding Kids Build Their Confidence?
Facing Fears in A Way That’s Fun and Really Works
Discipline and Confidence in Kids

January 17th, 2013

Is Your Child Too Afraid of Getting the Flu?

It’s hard to avoid hearing about the dangers of the flu these days. Internet, TV, radio, everyone is talking about how many people have the flu, how little flu vaccine is left, how sick people can get from the flu, etc. This rolling wave of information has hit the younger generation as well and many children are experiencing anxiety about whether they or their family members will be stuck down by influenza.

It’s natural for children to worry, especially about things they know that grownups are worried about too. A little bit of fear is OK. It can help your child remember to wash hands before eating and keep hands away from eyes, ears and mouth. It can help them be more agreeable to getting a flu shot, eating right and getting plenty of rest. These are safety measures that can be controlled. There is no guarantee that these precautions will prevent them from getting the flu, but they can greatly reduce the likelihood of getting sick.

Worry problems arise when kids worry a lot about things they can’t control such as:
• What if I get the flu even though I had a flu shot?
• What if I get the flu? Would I have to go to the hospital? Could I die?
• What if Mom or Dad gets very sick?

The best way to handle flu worries is to discuss them directly in a calm tone. Even if you are not feeling calm, it’s good to pretend that you are. It will help your child feel more secure. Explain to your child that it is not impossible that they could get the flu and reassure that the vast majority of people who get the flu do recover and go completely back to normal. Afterwards, try and engage your child in a pleasant distraction, like a meal or a game to help him or her get unstuck on flu fears. Soon spring will be here again flu fears should subside.

Other articles of related interest are:
Blood Test and Shots Scare Some Kids
Sick and Scared: Coping Strategies to Help Kids
Afraid of the Hospital: Kids can Outsmart Worry

January 15th, 2013

To The Siblings of the Newtown Sandy Hook Tragedy

Many of the twenty 6 and 7 year olds who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary had siblings. The siblings of the Newtown tragedy are not alone. A whole country mourns with them.

Can surviving siblings recover from such a difficult loss? In the aftermath of a loss, kids who have lost siblings might have all kinds of thoughts and feelings:

Can my brother ever come back?
I miss playing house with my sister.
My parents are crying all the time. What should I do?
It feels like a bad dream.
Why did this happen to me?
How come I survived?

Intense grief can include a mixture of great sadness, guilt, anger and fear. It takes a long time to make sense of something that seems senseless. In time, with the help of families, friends and those dedicated to helping children, surviving siblings can learn to integrate their loss in a meaningful way. As children face their profound loss, they need to find ways to keep their own identity intact and minimize frightening dreams and images. It is hoped that over time these youngsters will develop a longer term perspective about their future and retain a sense of hopefulness. This is called resilience, and it is possible.

Here are articles that can help children and teens learn about resilience in the face of significant tragedy:
Help Your Child Deal With the Death of Another Child
Helping Bereaved Children During the Holiday Season
When A Sibling Dies

January 9th, 2013

Kids Who Need to Lose Weight Need Confidence Too

Children and Teens who are overweight sometimes have low self-esteem. Heavy kids can be teased or embarrassed by other kids, even adults sometimes.

If your child is overweight there are smart initial steps you can take as a parent:
Say Yes to Real Food instead of snacks with empty calories
Say Yes to Tasty Fruits and Inventive Vegetables
Say Yes to Finding Fun Way for Kids to Move Their Bodies
Say Yes to Cooking Together and Making Healthy Food Fun

If you or your child needs extra help, consult with your pediatrician or nutritionist. This is also true if your child goes overboard and diets or exercises excessively. In addition to learning to eat smart and be active, overweight kids need to keep their confidence up. An overweight child can be sensitive to ridicule, rude comments and jokes. An overweight youngster can feel embarrassed and ashamed. These youngsters need strong strategies to deal with criticism from others as well as their own self-criticism.

Here are some confidence skills children can learn to stay on the healthy eating track:
Say Yes to Tracking Small, Positive Steps
Say Yes to Learning to Fend Off Criticism
Say Yes to Handling Embarrassment
Say Yes To Recognizing Their Unique Strengths
Say Yes to Valuing Their Own Beliefs and Opinions

You can read more about confidence skills helping overweight youngsters:
Child Confidence and the Initiative Against Child Obesity
I Hate How I Look
I Can’t Do That! Confidence Skills Help Children and Teens

December 27th, 2012

The Heroes of Newtown Made a Big Difference for Sandy Hook Children

Kids need heroes now more than ever. There were countless heroes at Newtown on December 14, 2012. Many people all around the world want to pay tribute to their selfless and valiant efforts.

The police who ran into Sandy Hook Elementary and prevented even more horror are heroes. The firefighters who were stationed at the Newtown Firehouse when terrified children came pouring in are heroes. The doctors and EMTs who were ready to care for the wounded are heroes. Sadly, this time very few people needed their care. These are our first responders and over and over again they have been on hand at every American tragedy.

Now, as a result of this latest mass shooting, we have a new kind of hero – teachers and educators. Some gave their lives, but all tried to protect the young children in their care. It has been said that, The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life. The staff at Sandy Hook Elementary did just that.

Children are watching today’s heroes. Many kids have wanted to grow up to be a police officer, a firefighter, or EMT. This week, one of the young first graders who was killed had dreams of becoming a firefighter. At his funeral, firefighters from Newtown and neighboring communities saluted him.

To read more about heroes and their importance in the development of young people, see these resources:
Tool Kits for Kids Newsletter Issue Featuring Heroes
Heroes Are More Important to Children Than Ever

November 14th, 2012

After Superstorm Sandy: Super Thoughts to Help Kids

Superstorm Sandy caused widespread destruction in the Northeast. It also caused lots of anxiety before, during and after the storm. Some families still have no power and heat; some have a tree that damaged their home; some couldn’t get out of their house or apartment; some kids are safe but not staying with their parents. There are a few kids and families who are dealing with extreme trauma, such as the loss of their home, fires, or regrettably the loss of a family member.

We have seen disasters before. Clearly the first order of business is to get food, gas, heat and begin the lengthy process of re-building. Some parents may also be concerned with their children’s emotional reaction which can linger well after the immediate crisis. Kids may verbalize or think some of these thoughts:

• I thought something bad could happen to me or my parents.
• I was afraid that a tree would fall on our house and hurt us.
• I was worried about my dog. I was afraid for my cat.
• I don’t want to sleep in my bed. I’m scared to go back to school.
• I am really worried about the next big storm
.

If you are observing your child and feel that he or she is too anxious or frightened, here are some suggestions that may begin to help.

1. It’s OK to Be Scared: Lots of kids are afraid of feeling anxious because it makes them feel out of control. In fact, being a little scared of a very big storm helps people get prepared and make wise choices, like staying inside, buying extra food, and getting flashlights ready.
2. Routines Really Help: Kids may not want to go back to school or go back to bed at a reasonable time. Routines actually can help the healing process. Even homework can help! It’s a good distraction and can help kids feel more in charge of their life.
3. Strong Thoughts: Here are some strong thoughts that can help your child:
We will get through this.
We can help other people get through this.
People care about us and have helped us.
We were prepared and made smart decisions.
4. Minimize Visual Images: Repeated exposure to trauma, including re-playing visual images of destruction can heighten feelings of anxiety in children and teens. Make sure your child is engaged in other activities, such as playing games, reading and listening to music, instead of re-watching the news.
5. Connecting with Others: Helping others helps. Check on your neighbors and family members in times of crisis. It helps kids feel better too.
6. Honest Conversation: It’s important talk about the storm with your children as long as it is not the only topic of conversation. Conversations don’t have to be long. Kids may have lots of questions. If everyone is safe, it’s a good time to emphasize what’s truly important – family, safety, togetherness.

Here are other writings which may be of help during this tough time of recovery:
-A Tree is Blocking My Driveway and I’m Scared
-Storm Fears: Helping Kids with Weather Worries
-Helping Bereaved Children During the Holiday Season
-Emergency Relief Kits Build Resilience in Children and Teens

October 17th, 2012

TRICK OR TREAT – Keeping Kids Safe on Halloween

It’s almost Halloween again, with all the excitement of a holiday that is eagerly awaited by children and teens. Parents want their children to have fun and appreciate the special activities of this holiday – dressing up in costumes, being in Halloween parades, maybe going to Halloween parties, and of course, Trick or Treating. Whether or not children actually consume all the candy they gather, there is nothing quite like the thrill for children of ringing a doorbell, yelling, Trick or Treat, seeing that candy fall into their plastic pumpkin or paper bag and walking home with a bag full of yummies.

Parents love to see their children be so excited, but this holiday finds many Moms and Dads struggling to find the right balance between encouraging kids to enjoy the holiday and making sure they stay safe. Don’t go trick or treating alone, Wear reflective tape, Watch out for cars, Don’t eat anything that isn’t commercially pre-packaged, Don’t go into anyone’s home, are just a few of the warnings that parents find themselves repeating to children as they begin their Trick or Treat activities.

A combination of calm, but firm warnings and proper adult supervision is the best way to make sure that your child is safe on Halloween. Children are often not aware of dangers and can easily become carried away with excitement of the day. There is a risk that some children become so worried about the dangers that they don’t want to join their friends for Trick or Treat. Parents can encourage these worried children not to let their worry stop them from enjoying the thrill of this very special day. Rather, use the holiday as a good opportunity to teach them responsible ways that fun and safety can go together. To read more about children and worries, visit Halloween Fears and Kids and Parents Need Strategies to Help Kids Stop Worrying

October 10th, 2012

TRICK OR TREAT – What to do when your child is excluded on Halloween

Everyone is going Trick or Treating together. Nobody asked me to go with them. I wasn’t invited to the Halloween party. It’s never easy for parents to see their child feel left out and alone at any time, especially on such a fun holiday as Halloween. There are a few things parents can do to help kids meet this challenge. Encourage your child to be proactive and not wait to be asked. There is always someone who needs a friend – asks your child to think about all the kids in class and find someone who might want to join them. Or, call the parents of a child who is already in a Halloween group and ask if your child could join. Inviting a child from an activity outside of school, such as a sport or dance, music or art class is also a possibility.

If all else fails and you can’t find a Trick or Treat pal for your child, try to make it fun as fun as possible. Maybe have a special Halloween dinner, bake Halloween cookies or watch a scary film on TV. Remind the child that even though this Halloween might not be ideal, there are many more Halloweens to look forward to. Your child’s social confidence might suffer a bit, but you can help them manage this disappointment by helping them to feel good about themselves and make the best out of a difficult situation.

If you would like to read more about Halloween and Kids, check out Halloween Fears and Kids

Learn how to handle a social disappointment, visit I’m Not Invited to the Party

September 1st, 2012

Helping Children Find Their Passion

Some kids acquire an absorbing interest, a passion that helps define them. This may lead to a lifelong interest or even a career in creative pursuits, science, math, or sports, to name just a few. Having a passion boosts self-esteem and helps create an individual identity that is strong and enduring.

Children do not always develop a passion on their own. Here are five ideas to encourage your child to discover an interest that truly matters to him or her.

1. If a child has a dedicated interest in an activity, that may be a signal to develop that skill further. If your youngster comes home from school and starts figuring out simple tunes on the piano, music lessons may be a good idea. If your youngster is constantly inventing games with a ball, sports might be a good direction to pursue.

2. Just because your child shows interest and talent, that activity doesn’t have to be the only one to pursue. When children are in elementary school, expose children to different activities. As children mature, they will undoubtedly be vocal about which activity is the right fit for them.

3. Don’t be afraid to enroll your child in an activity that he or she does not do well. There’s great value in such an activity. The child doesn’t always have to be the best at something to have fun.

4. Kids today need inspiring young role models. Have you watched the Olympics, especially with your children? These contenders in their teens and twenties are supreme examples of athletes who set powerful goals, demonstrate perseverance, and overcome disappointment when all comes crashing down. Talk with your kids about the amazing successes as well as the dashed hopes these athletes sometimes face.

5. Parents and other family members are often the best role models for children. Talk about what you love to do, what inspired you as a young person, and teach your child some of the skills you know well. Sometimes, children share the skills and goals of their parents. Sometimes they don’t. For example, your child may not love carpentry just because you do. However, working closely with a key adult figure can inspire that youngster to discover his or her own hidden talents. That can make all the difference.

You may also want to check out these earlier posts from Tool Kits for Kids:
Heroes Are More Important to Children Than Ever
Disappointment Can Build Confidence in Kids
I’m Not Doing Than! How Confidence Helps Kids Try New Experiences

August 2nd, 2012

After the Colorado Shootings: Kids Ask, Are the Movies Safe?

We are in the midst of yet another American tragedy. Many children and teens have heard about the movie theater shootings in Aurora Colorado that left 12 people dead, 58 wounded, hundreds psychologically wounded, and countless families dealing with the tragic aftermath.

After this horrific shooting, many young people may wonder,
Are the movies safe?
• Can I get shot too?
• Are my parents safe if they go to the movies?

A nationwide tragedy can trigger anxiety in children and teens even if they have no direct knowledge of the victims. These youngsters could have bad dreams, want to be near their parents and have lots of frightening scenarios in their minds. They may be afraid to go to a movie theater or other public places. Some adults feel this way too.

What can parents do to minimize fears in young people, who are more vulnerable to frightening information? First, limit your child’s exposure to terrifying news on television and the computer. Repeatedly hearing and seeing about tragedy intensifies fear. Second, if your child asks questions about the Colorado shootings or shows behavioral signs of avoiding movies and public places, a few words about probability may be helpful. Yes it’s true this terrible occurrence happened. However, the chances of it happening are very small. Finally, letting young people know that just because bad things happen in this world, doesn’t mean it will happen to them or someone they love.

Children and teens still need protection, regardless of how blasé they sometimes act. A parent can mention that after the Colorado tragedy, many trained professionals such as the police, rescue workers as well as doctors and nurses acted in a speedy and remarkable way. Their actions saved lives. Kids need to hear information about people who can protect them in addition to the few who do harm.

If you would like further information about anxiety in children following tragic situations, you may find these Tool Kits for Kids posts additionally helpful:

What Does Popcorn Have to Do with Anxiety?
Violence In the Schools: Helping Kids with Its Emotional Impact
Searing Images of the Disaster in Japan Scare Children Worldwide

July 25th, 2012

Olympic Dreams: Building Confidence in Young Athletes

Olympic athletes know that only split nanoseconds separate great athletes from making the Olympic team and eventually earning a medal. Studies of Olympians have shown that a competitor’s internal dialogue makes a huge difference in athletic performance. What does that mean? The way a young person thinks about confidence has often been linked to success.

Even if your child is not a future Olympic athlete, he or she can have magical sports dreams and high hopes of athletic achievement. Maybe your child dreams of hitting that home run, making a travel soccer team, or becoming Captain of a high school varsity team. Participating in sports, excelling in them, learning to be a team player as well as a leader are all worthy goals for young people.

How can you help you son or daughter reach a realistic athletic goal? Ask most Olympians, professional coaches and sports psychologists and they will probably say that athletic success is a mix of tremendous talent, lots of practice and solid self-esteem. All young athletes, whether they are recreational players, travel team players, varsity sport athletes or Olympic contenders have to master a confidence mindset to protect them when the chips are down.

A confidence mindset includes many emotional skills like dealing with criticism, focusing on one’s strengths, handling mistakes and perceived failure, managing imperfection and embarrassment, and setting realistic and accurate goals. Young athletes can learn these skills! Does it give them an edge in sports? Yes it does, because positive, encouraging thinking improves practice and performance. Confidence skills also help in other important areas of child development including academic performance and social situations.

Check out the Charge Up Your Confidence® Tool Kit for Kids.

And for more about athletic performance and confidence in children, here are some earlier posts:
Turn Sore Sports into Good Sports
March Isn’t Only About Basketball: It’s Time for Youth Sports
Athletic Confidence in Kids

June 29th, 2012

How To Help An Anxious Child Who Gets Out of Control

Many parents wonder how to help their anxious child, especially when the child
also becomes demanding, rude and oppositional. On the one hand, parents may understand that their child is frightened and upset. Yet on the other hand, when
a child misbehaves, that behavior can sometimes disrupt the entire family.

Parents need a good plan to help their anxious youngster who’s also out of control. A good plan involves two main parts. The first is that the child needs to learn tools and strategies to manage worry and fear, so anxiety doesn’t skyrocket. Kids can learn to use their thoughts to stop exaggerating fears, reduce the worried What If’s, and think in strong and accurate ways. The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids is a powerful first line of defense against anxious thoughts and feelings.

The second part of the plan involves how the parent handles the out of control situation. Here are a few guidelines:

• It’s easy to say and hard to do, but try to stay in control of your feelings. You are teaching your child how to manage overwhelming feelings by being calm and in control.

• If your child has broken an important family rule by hitting, destroying property or other aggressive actions, set firm and reasonable limits right away.

• A good place to start is to send the child to his or her room. Going to a private space to think about one’s actions is important when emotions are heated. It helps the child learn to stay in control of negative emotions. Some children have not learned to comply when parents send them to their room. Start by sending the child outside of the living room or family room. It’s important for the child to be separate from ongoing family activities, be quiet and think about the mistake.

• After the child has calmed down (depending upon the child’s age and ability to re-group), the child should apologize and accept responsibility for the mistake.

• Sometimes, the child’s behavior requires a consequence. A punishment should not be excessive or unfair. A smaller punishment that can be easily enforced often works better.

• Later, it’s a good to have a brief, calm discussion with the child about what was learned.

You know your child best. Keep in mind that an anxious child who is out of control needs a plan to deal with anxious thoughts and feelings, and also needs parents who set reasonable family rules and helps the child learn to follow them.

June 6th, 2012

Sleepover Fears

Imagine this scene. It’s around 10 pm on a Friday or Saturday night and the phone rings. “Mommy, can you come pick me up? I want to come home.” Many parents have received this phone call from their child who wants to come home from a sleepover.

The decision to allow a child to sleep away from home is a very personal one, one which changes from household to household. Some parents will not consider sleepovers until a child is a teenager, while others may allow a child to sleep out in the early elementary years if the sleepover house is a safe and trusted one. Children have different reactions to sleepovers as well. While some children can’t wait to sleep at a friend’s house, others are too anxious to try to spend the night away from their parents.

Other children may be very excited about a sleepover and do very well for the first, awake, part of the evening, but start to become distressed around bedtime. They no longer want to sleep over. Rather, they insist on getting home as soon as possible.

What happens? What changes occur that make a happy, excited child into an anxious child, unable to be comfortable sleeping at the home of a good friend or relative? Separation anxiety, or the fear of being apart from the security of a loved one is at it’s strongest at night. Often, anxious kids may be fearful of separating from parents at bedtime when they are home. This anxiety is worse when they are away. Although children may not be able to describe what they are feeling, they know they are scared. They feel an intense and urgent need to reconnect with parents, and at that moment, they are convinced they will not feel better until they are home. If they can’t connect with parents, child anxiety can reach the level of child panic.

It’s OK to retrieve your child from a sleepover. He or she may just not be ready. The fear of sleeping out does not predict future adjustment or ability to separate from parents. Try not to treat the return as a failure, and suggest that maybe sometime in the future, a sleepover could be tried again.

Tool Kits for Kids likes to share information about child worry and child anxiety. If you’d like to learn more about separation anxiety, take a look at these earlier postings from Tool Kits for Kids:
Kids Afraid to Leave Home
When Sleepaway Camp Doesn’t Work Out
Emotional Skills Help Children Get Ready for Sleepaway Camp

May 16th, 2012

Deadly Season for Teen Drivers – Think Safety!

USA Today reported yesterday (May 14, 2012) that the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day has been dubbed by auto club AAA and Volvo as “The 100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers.” This statistic becomes even more frightening as the report identifies vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death for teenagers in this country.

There are many factors which contribute to the Deadly Driving Season. Although teen drinking remains a major contributor to crashes, peer pressure, distraction, speeding and driving mistakes are even more deadly.

It is recommended that parents have a series of conversations with their youngster about safe driving and crash prevention. These conversations should begin early, even before the teen receives a driving permit and should be ongoing after he or she becomes a licensed driver.

Parents can add to the effectiveness of these safe driving talks by helping their teens develop a healthy sense of self-esteem and a strong resistance to peer pressure. It is essential that the teen driver be able to feel comfortable saying NO to friends who may be more interested in excitement than safety. Adolescents can be risk takers, and many can encourage their driving friends to speed up, weave in and out of high speed highways, not wear seat belts, or allow more kids in a car than is safe. Groups of adolescents are known to act more impulsively than individuals. Each additional passenger can increase the risk of unsafe driving.

Encourage your teen to understand that nothing is more important than safety. It’s OK to be different than your friends if you are keeping yourself and your passengers safe. Teens need to know that it really isn’t cool to put themselves or others at risk and that terrible things could happen if they don’t give their driving 100% responsible attention at all times.

Talking to your child is so important…If you are interested in more information on helping you teen develop a strong resistance to peer pressure, look at the Charge Up Your Confidence® Tool Kit, in which young people learn to recognize how they think and feel and learn to be comfortable with themselves, even if their views are different than their friends. Help make this driving season a safe and healthy one.

April 30th, 2012

Performance Anxiety in Children

A girl gets a major part in a school play, but starts imagining she will forget her lines. A child will be giving a piano recital and is afraid of playing the wrong notes. A teen has a big baseball game coming up. He’s co-captain and worries about his performance on the field and when he’s up at bat. A terrific student is terrified about her upcoming finals, since this is a make or break year for college.

Performance anxiety doesn’t just affect professional actors, musicians, athletes or scholars. Persistent worry and fear about performance and competence affects children and teens too. The fears are not always based in reality: oftentimes the young person is well-prepared. The girl with Broadway dreams knows her lines for the play, and the young music student has been practicing Mozart for months. Nonetheless kids with performance anxiety can experience mounting dread as their event approaches. Even though it may not be initially based in reality, performance anxiety can negatively affect performance. The child freezes, the mind goes blank, and the youngster feels as if he blew his big chance.

Without question, practice, rehearsal and study can help minimize performance fears. Reassurance and encouragement from parents, teachers and coaches are also unquestionably helpful.

Learning a set of skills to manage anxiety can be a valuable tool and can protect young people from escalating performance anxiety. For example, relaxation methods, imagery techniques, accurate thinking and positive self-statements can soothe the young actor, musician, athlete and serious student. In addition, self-esteem boosting skills such as handling self-criticism and mistakes, as well as self-reward and focusing on one’s strengths provide a real boost to confidence, keeping performance anxiety at manageable levels.

Powerful anxiety management skills and confidence building strategies can be quickly learned and mastered in the Charge Up Your Confidence® and the Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids®. The tools are effective, but not time-consuming, so learning them doesn’t take time away from play practice, music lessons, practice games or studying. Worry management and confidence skills are a great adjunct to managing performance anxiety, enabling children to focus on their passion, not their fear.

April 2nd, 2012

Teenagers Leaving Home for the First Time

If your teenager is leaving home for the first time to go on an extended class trip or summer program, you know it’s an important step in development. Independent experiences give young people an introduction to making their own decisions in a supervised setting and can have lasting benefits in preparation for college.

Some teens may wonder if they can handle being on their own because it’s a brand new experience. They may worry if it’s normal to have concerns about leaving home.

It’s understandable for middle school or even high school students to question their capabilities at handling independence. Ultimately, the decision to leave home for the first time should be up to the adolescent.

Some teens may not like to admit that the safety of home provides comfort and security. But it does for many teens, and being on one’s own even for brief periods of time can be threatening. If a teen has lingering doubts about leaving home, confidence-building skills plus anxiety management skills can prepare them. Self-esteem skills such as dealing with self-doubts, criticism, mistakes, embarrassment and imperfection can help adolescents feel stronger before taking that first big step. Similarly, they can acquire tools to minimize anxiety by practicing accurate thinking and calming behavior skills prior to leaving.

Teens today are masters at a wide range of skills, from test-taking skills, time management skills, complex math and writing skills, athletic skills and creative skills. Emotional life skills can be learned and perfected too. The High School/Middle School Edition of Charge Up Your Confidence® Tool Kit for Kids and Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids® helps teens learn emotional skills to successfully handle being away from home.

March 11th, 2012

Worried Parents, Worried Kids: Breaking the Cycle

Did you know that children often adopt worries and fears their parents have? If a parent feels there are dangers lurking, a child may also worry about safety issues, such as robbers, kidnappers, or murderers.

An anxious and fearful approach to life tends to run in families, due to the delicate balance between genetics and behaviors at home. Research consistently shows that an anxious child has at least one anxious parent. Excessive worry may not affect every child in the family, but it might derail the development of one of the children.

If you are a parent with worries and anxieties that may be contributing to your child’s fears, there is something you both can do to break this worry cycle. Together, you and your child can learn strategic tools to Outsmart Your Worry. Tools that focus on accurate thoughts and calming behaviors help get a grip on out of control worries.

Imagine minimizing the Worried What If’s that bother your child at bedtime or keep you up nights. You and your child can both learn to stop exaggerating worries about situations that usually never happen. Your kid can stop wondering, What if someone breaks into my house at night and takes me away? You could stop thinking, What if I’m not there when my child needs me at school or camp?

If you have a worried child ages 5 to 11, get The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids® (Elementary School Edition). It’s quick and fun, and learning worry management skills together can be a powerful experience. If your tween or teen worries about social pressures, failure, or something bad happening the family, the High School/Middle School Edition of the Worry Tool Kit can help. Your older child may prefer to learn worry-fighting tools independently. That’s OK too, because you can quickly get up to speed and practice the tools yourself as well.

The key is remembering that there are smart and strong ways to manage worry and prevent it from ruling your life and the happiness of your child. Here’s more information that you may find helpful:

-Mommy, Daddy Don’t Leave Me!

-Afraid of Giving School Presentations:Three Steps to Help Kids with Public Speaking Anxiety

-A Tree is Blocking My Driveway and I’m Scared

February 27th, 2012

Girls Ask, Am I Ugly? How Confidence Can Protect Them

There is a well-known new Internet craze grabbing the attention of some tween and teenage girls. They are asking Internet viewers to rate their physical attractiveness. Vulnerable girls may receive outrageous negative comments which can reinforce the concept that someone else’s concept of physical beauty is all that matters.

Many girls would never use Internet sites to assess their physical attractiveness. However, the question of their own physical appeal may loom large in their minds. When news is breaking about ugliness rating sites, parents can take this opportunity to discuss important aspects of beauty with their daughters.

For example, helping your daughter set realistic goals about her body, such as healthy eating and healthy physical activity is a great topic of conversation. This should also be paired with conversations about inner beauty, such as developing one’s passions, empathy, kindness and respect of self and others. Don’t underestimate the importance of developing a strong character along with fostering a strong body. Remember that girls are listening to you, even if they shrug off the conversation.

If you sense that your daughter’s confidence is shaky, this may be a good time for her to learn self-esteem boosting skills. Girls can learn smarter strategies to deal with criticism from others, negative self-criticism, imperfection and embarrassment. All of these skills are necessary to deal with the explosion of the ugliness rating craze. Girls can keep confidence steady and strong and value their own opinions, as they focus on their true strengths.

To read more about building confidence and concerns about physical attractiveness, check out these articles:
I Hate How I Look;
Rumors: Building Confidence Helps Kids Handle Them;
I Wish I Were Popular

February 13th, 2012

Valentine’s Day Blues for Teens and Tweens

Do your tweens or teens feel that they must have a love relationship? Young people today are assaulted by media ideas that to be truly valuable, you must be loved and in love. These romantic, but often unrealistic ideas are most highlighted around the time of Valentine’s Day.

Cards and chocolates, romantic gifts, and emails, IMs and texts filled with love, are the hallmarks of Valentine’s Day. Young people who are the recipients of these romantic recognitions often feel good about themselves, while those who are alone or single during this romantic time can feel sad. Low self-esteem and social anxiety can follow.

Creating a healthy sense of self-esteem is an effective way to prevent damage when young people don’t receive the romantic attention they would like on a media fueled Valentine’s Day. The Charge up Your Confidence® Tool Kit for Kids (High School/Middle School Edition) can help. Using tools such as Five Great Moments, Pattern of Positives and Getting to Know Me, kids learn to enhance self-esteem and create a positive identity. Other tools in the Tool Kit teach them to think in constructive ways and develop the skills so critical in developing and maintaining social confidence.

Help your child sail through this day with a smile. Feeling good about oneself as a unique and valuable person regardless of relationship status is a wonderful goal.

February 2nd, 2012

Parents Need Strategies To Help Kids Stop Worrying

Parents can’t control all the frightening information that bombards kids these days. Children may see a scary DVD on a play date, view an inappropriate You Tube video, or hear snippets of traumatic information on the news. Sometimes parents may have to inform children about a tragedy in the neighborhood or at school, before kids hear a distorted version of it.

Imaginative children as well as those prone to anxiety can weave pieces of frightening stories into a terrifying scenario. They may worry, What if something bad happens to me and my family? Since worry often intensifies at nighttime, exhausted parents are at wits end to come up with a creative plan to stop their kids’ worry from escalating.

The Tool Kits for Kids team are experts in combating worry and have designed a clever approach to help children and teens become stronger and smarter than their worry. Children often worry about events that rarely happen, yet they keep thinking about it and rehearsing this negative information in their mind. The Popcorn Tool is one of twenty powerful tools from the Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids® that helps kids stop obsessing about unlikely situations. The No More What If’s tool shows children how to stop fear from going wild. The 10 Minute Rules tool is designed to help adolescents block anxious thoughts from spreading. These tools and more help young people when they are worried and scared. They also provide parents with much needed strategies at their fingertips to short circuit their kids’ worry.

If you have a worried child or teen, you may be interested in the following information: Mommy, Daddy Don’t Leave Me; My Neighbor’s House Was Robbed; Do You Have A Child Who Worries About Death?

December 27th, 2011

A Resilient Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a classic story beloved by children and adults all across the world. It’s also a story about being bullied, taunted and teased, and triumphing in the end.

Many children identify with Rudolph. Most kids have been laughed at or made fun of by other children at some point in their lives. Some kids are targets of chronic bullying. Roughly 10-15% of today’s kids are the victims of severe bullying. Our friend Rudolph undoubtedly falls into that category. Another 10-15% of kids today do the bullying. Many of Rudolph’s fellow reindeers taunted and teased him relentlessly.

Rudolph manged to handle the bullying, staying strong and resilient. In the famous story, something magical and deserving happens. Rudolph saves the day by steering the reindeers one stormy night. His red-nose, once the object of scorn, now saves the day.
Rudolph remains an enduring model of resilience, which is but one of the many reasons that the story is so compelling.

If you have a child who begins to doubt herself or question his strengths because of criticism from others, you can help the child be more confident and strong. The Finding Your Hidden Treasures tool from the Charge Up Your Confidence® Tool Kit for Kids is one of 20 tools that helps kids recognize and value their positive qualities. Just like Rudolph, all children have unique attributes that make them shine.

December 7th, 2011

When A Sibling Dies

How do parents tell their child that a beloved brother or sister is dying? Most parents never have to face such a tragedy, but sadly some do. It’s never easy and it’s often complicated.

The whole family is in turmoil when a child has died or will be dying soon. Telling the surviving child some of the truth in an age appropriate way may be the hardest conversation parents will ever have with their child. It must be done with the utmost tenderness, the utmost respect. Be prepared for questions as time goes by. Here are a few of the questions a sibling may express.

Why did this happen? How come it didn’t happen to me?
I’ve always wrestled with my brother. Who can I do that with now?
Who will I play with? Who will I fight with?
Was this my fault?
Can you have another baby? I need another sister.

While discussing the loss of a child, it’s important to stress that the child who died will always be an important part of the family. There can’t be a replacement. You could say, You can always remember and love your brother/sister forever.

Surviving siblings have a tough road ahead. Children have to integrate the loss into their lives. It’s particularly difficult because moms, dads, grandparents and extended family are grieving too. There are grieving groups, weekend grief camps and professionals who can help the child and family deal with the loss.

There is another resource to help brave siblings deal with the loss of a brother or sister. The Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit for Kids™ helps children and teens learn strategies to heal and get stronger, while they are walking through the grief process. Very often siblings have very intense feelings after a loss such as guilt, deep sadness, anger, fear and anxiety. The resilience tools help manage these feelings carefully. Siblings learn how to keep their self-esteem intact, deal with frightening dreams and images, develop a longer term perspective about their future and retain a sense of hopefulness. Kids can keep the Tool Kit right next to them in their bedroom and review the resilience tools whenever they need to feel better.

November 9th, 2011

Elementary School Children Have Lots of School Worries

Have you noticed the increased academic pressure on elementary school kids? Its not uncommon today for children as young as seven to verbalize a host of school concerns. Their issues are vaguely reminiscent of middle school youngsters who have academic anxieties that have been multiplying in recent years.

What do elementary school aged children from 5 to 11 think about? Here are just a few of their concerns:

I’m really bad at math.
Some kids get left back if they don’t do their work. I’m scared that could happen to me.I’m the only one in my class who can’t tell time.
I have too much homework.
I don’t want to go to school.

There are many excellent opportunities both in and outside of school to provide reinforcements for learning. Some kids get help with reading, decoding and writing. Others receive skill-building in math. Still others have organizational tutors. Some parents spend hours helping their children with homework. There may be nightly tantrums, arguments and punishments. Some kids are plain exhausted from all these interventions.

Children also need emotional strategies to manage the anxieties, worries and fears that consume their young brains. Now, kids can use effective tools to counter worried thoughts and build confidence. It won’t be another source of added stress because the tools take minutes a day to learn. Children will need a little bit of practice to make sure the anxiety-busting and confidence-boosting strategies become a natural part of their lives. That’s where you come in.

Kids can learn to block worried What If’s, replace anxious thoughts with competent and realistic thoughts, use their mind and body to stay calm, and prevent worries about situations that usually never occur. When children feel steadier and secure, they learn better. To read more about managing worries about school, check out these articles:
Afraid of Giving School Presentations
Going Back To School is an Important Transition for All Kids
Math Drives Me Crazy

October 21st, 2011

OCD in Children and Teens – The Symmetry Symptom

Symmetry means even. Youngsters with this OCD symptom try to make things even. It is one of the more hidden symptoms of OCD. Often, parents and other people close to the child or teen may not be aware of it. Symmetry can affect many aspects of a young person’s life. Here are a few examples of this symptom.

• Repetitive behaviors – Children may touch or tap an object with their right hand and then feel compelled to do the same with their left hand.

• Interaction with people – A child sitting next to both parents might first lean next to one, and then feel compelled to lean against the other in the same way. Or, a child may feel compelled to speak to one parent and then to another.

• Arrangement of their environment – A child may need to arrange their belongings so they are even. For example, three dolls on one side of the bed, three dolls on their other.

• Doing behaviors an even number of times – A child may insist on saying Goodnight an even vs. an odd number of times.

Although these behaviors might not seem important to an observer, children with this symptom experience great anxiety if they cannot make certain behaviors symmetrical. The compulsion, the actual behavior of making things even helps reduce that anxiety. Unfortunately, as with every compulsion, the relief that it brings is only temporary, and ultimately makes this OCD symptom even stronger.

OCD in children and teens CAN be helped. Children with this OCD symptom can be taught to resist the urge to perform the compulsion. Cognitive Behavior Therapy teaches children thinking and behavior skills designed to relieve the anxiety from the obsessive thoughts, and the heightened anxiety they feel when they say No to making things even,

If you would like to learn more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children, you may find the previous articles helpful:

OCD and Worry in Kids
Checking and OCD in Children and Teens
OCD and Kids – Compulsive Handwashing

To learn more about thinking and behavior skills to reduce worry and anxiety, check out the Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids®

October 5th, 2011

Heroes Are More Important to Children Than Ever

There’s no question about it. There’s mounting stress and pressure on today’s children and teens. Kids still need to dream, have hope and believe in their own personal power. Having a hero is a great way for kids to sustain that dream and build optimism, which is so important in these complex times.

Have you ever asked your children who their heroes are? Some children might say firefighters, police or soldiers are modern day heroes. Other kids identify scientists and doctors as heroes because they save lives. Some kids might mention sports figures. There are also children who pick heroes right in their own family.

Heroes provide a blueprint as to how to make meaningful contributions to society. Heroes don’t have to be perfect to still have a powerful effect on the developing minds of young people. In fact, coping models who struggle yet succeed are often the role models most admired.

To learn more about heroes and their impact on young people, check out Tool Kits for Kids 2011 Fall Newsletter.

September 6th, 2011

I Don’t Like the Kids In My Class – I Don’t Like My Teacher

It’s time to return to school. Some children are already back in the classroom. They know who is in their class and they know their teacher. Other children may not begin school until after Labor Day. They may have just received the class lists and teacher assignments. Many children are happy with classmates and teacher…and many are not.

If you are the parent of a child who does not have friends in the classroom or dislikes the teacher, you know how difficult this can be. Children are often afraid of being alone in the class, at lunch or on the playground. Separation from friends who may be together in another class can be especially hurtful. Teachers who may be strict, very structured, or who yell a lot, may be intimidating to youngsters.

A disappointing classroom assignment can be challenging but it can also be a good opportunity for learn how to problem-solve. For example, learning how to make new friends and learning how to deal with different teacher ‘personalities’ are important life skills that youngsters can use for the rest of their lives. Following are two simple, but very effective interventions to help your child feel better.

1. Try to reflect your child’s feelings. Basically, this means to listen to your child in a non-judgmental way and repeat back what you think he or she said. For example, you might say something like, I know it’s hard when you don’t have your special friends in the class. Or, Yes, your teacher is very strict.

2. Children need to learn that a difficult situation can be a good opportunity to develop new skills. Even though it is hard to be in their classroom right now, making new friends and trying to get along with a new teacher, can help them feel better later.

Transitioning to a new school year can be a challenge for children and parents. Your support and patience can help children develop the confidence and skills they need for a successful transition. Read our Back to School Newsletter for more tips on managing September stress.

August 17th, 2011

Disaster Survival Tool Kit: A Resilient Plan for Kids

Some kids don’t have it easy at all. Their parents are getting divorced, and the kids are having a tough time adjusting. Or perhaps their family is having financial difficulties, which causes stress and anxiety at home. Some kids may have lost their home, through fire or a natural disaster. Some are dealing with the unthinkable – one of their parents have died.

All of these situations are traumatic for children and teens. Many young people are faced with these complex losses, and the number of families dealing with crises are on the rise. Half of all American children will be part of a family who gets a divorce. Close to half of these children will experience a second divorce in their family. Many families are experiencing significant economic hardship today and this has a negative effect on children’s academic, behavioral, and emotional functioning. Natural disasters, resulting in home loss, injury and loss of life is increasing, with costs in the U.S. reaching a billion dollars a week, with untold emotional costs. One in twenty American children will lose a parent through death before the child turns 18.

How can a child remain hopeful and develop their talents despite traumatic events? How do young people handle feelings of anger, depression and guilt without leading to aggression, self-harm, or substance abuse? And how can kids block repetitive terrifying thoughts, connect with others, and stay strong when dealing with major loss? It’s very difficult to recover from significant crises, but it is still possible. The word resilience has been used lately to signify powerful strategies that a person can draw upon when faced with serious difficulty.

Resilience in the face of tragedy is clearly admirable. Young people are particularly vulnerable and need more than tender loving care to move forward in their lives. Kids need a resilient plan to understand that their lives can get better and still be meaningful. They can reassuringly learn such a plan by using a disaster survival Tool Kit that builds resilience.

Read more about resilience and how kids can master these life-empowering strategies: Tragedy in Tucson: Help Your Child Deal with the Death of Another Child; Earthquake Fears Skyrocket in Kids; Resilience Skills Help Kids Cope with Divorce.

July 20th, 2011

I’m Not Doing That! How Confidence Helps Kids Try New Experiences

The world is filled with endless natural beauty, loaded with lots of new experiences along the way. Some children refuse to try new activities. This attitude can be very frustrating to parents. Some kids simply state, I’m not doing that!

There are children who won’t participate in classic summer activities such as swimming, diving, hiking, or roasting marshmallows at a campfire. What about kids who flat out refuse to try a musical instrument, sign up for a new sport, or visit a museum? Or what about playing with the same two friends, and objecting to expanding one’s social horizons?
There are many reasons children want to play it safe and do just what they know well. How much video game playing, texting, and TV watching can a young person do? In fact, kids are involved with electronic media about 7 1/2 hours a day, instead of actually learning, seeing and doing in the non-virtual universe.

Self-esteem issues are one of the main reasons that a young person stops trying. There is a new, easy way to build up your child’s confidence, by learning encouraging strategies to undercut fear, renew belief in oneself, and deal with common self-esteem blunders such as mistakes, criticism, and embarrassment. In just a week’s time, with a few minutes a day of practice, young people can acquire the confidence skills to help them say, Yes to new experiences. Then, the world is open to them.

To read more about child confidence, check out: Learning from Mistakes Builds Confidence and Losing Friends and Making New Ones: Confidence Helps Kids

July 13th, 2011

OCD and Kids – Compulsive Hand Washing

When most people think about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in children or adults, the symptom of compulsive hand washing is what comes to mind. Although this very famous OCD symptom is one of many possible
OCD problems, it has become the worldwide trademark of this disorder. The chapped hands, dry skin, and red knuckles which come from excessive hand washing are often the first clues that a child may be suffering from obsessive compulsive worrying.

Hand washing develops in this way. Children with this OCD symptom have an obsessive thought that something bad will happen if they do not clean their hands perfectly. The something bad can be different for different children. For example, some children worry that their hands have bad germs on them, others may fear that they will be responsible for making their families sick if they don’t get their hands perfectly clean.

To relieve this OCD worrying, children develop the compulsion to wash their hands over and over. They wash more frequently and for longer times than is necessary for proper hygiene. Often, they have precise routines that they feel they must follow. For example, they may feel the need to use a certain amount of soap, wash for a certain amount of time and in a certain pattern, followed by a certain amount of rinsing for a certain amount of time. Drying of hands in a particular pattern and for a particular amount of time can also be involved. If the routine is not followed precisely, the child may feel that the entire routine must be repeated from the start and performed perfectly. Kids feel better for a while after they do their hand washing routines, but the anxiety always returns, and the child feels a sense of urgency to do the hand washing routine again. OCD routines characteristically grow, – the hand washing routine that makes a child feel better at one time often becomes insufficient to relieve the anxiety in kids and the routine must be extended to give the child a feeling of relief.

OCD in children, and specifically, excessive hand washing CAN be helped. Children with this OCD symptom can be taught to resist the urge to perform the compulsion. Cognitive Behavior Therapy teaches children thinking and behavior skills designed to relieve the anxiety from the obsessive thoughts, and the heightened anxiety they feel when they say No to compulsive hand washing.

If you would like to learn more about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Children, you may find these previous articles helpful:

OCD and Worry in Kids
Checking and OCD in Children and Teens

To learn more about thinking and behavior skills to reduce worry and anxiety, check out the Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids®.

June 24th, 2011

Disappointment Can Build Confidence in Kids

Imagine a young person who has never known failure. He or she could have strong leadership and social skills, perform well academically, and be a star athlete. That’s a winning combination, right? Sometimes in college or high school that star kid may be smacked in the face with disappointment. Does that young person have the skills to deal with it?

It’s painful to watch your child fail, make a mistake, or feel disappointed. Yet, there is an upside to failure and disappointment. A child or teen can
learn to manage hurt feelings and mistakes and still come out whole. In fact, a little disappointment can build confidence in the long run.

Parents can help dramatically when their child’s hopes and dreams are temporarily crushed. Sometimes a kid gets a poor grade, doesn’t make the team, or doesn’t get a good part in the play. At times it’s fair, and other times it isn’t. If an injustice has been done, help the child understand it and evaluate if it is appropriate to question it in a respectful manner. Other times, it may make more sense for the child to move on, and try the next time. You may not realize it, but you are modeling ways to deal with disappointment.

Actually, handling criticism, mistakes, and failure are all crucial self-esteem skills. Young people need these skills when you are not there to help them pick up the pieces. Some experience with self-esteem setbacks is a necessary prerequisite for managing the emotional complexities of high school and college, when disappointment and revision of one’s goals is commonplace. The next time you listen patiently, help your child see his or her role in a difficult situation, and don’t rush to fix the problem. Remember you are teaching a much more valuable skill.

Other articles about self-esteem which also may be of interest are:
Learning from Mistakes Builds Confidence;
High School Students and Stress: Emotional First-Aid Tools Can Help

May 31st, 2011

Bullying: Confidence Helps Kids

Are kids meaner than ever? Bullying, rudeness and nastiness among children and teens is one of today’s hottest topics. The truth is every kid is affected by bullying. Here are the facts: Generally 10-15% of all school-aged children are the targets of chronic bullying. Roughly 10-15% of all kids do the bullying. Another 70% of all young people are theobservers of teasing and bullying and are often called bystanders.

Kids have not suddenly become meaner. But there is a change that makes bullying and teasing spread like wildfire. Clearly the internet, texting, and other forms of electronic media has made a nasty barb into a billboard ad for the
whole world to see. This can be devastating to the child who is targeted. It can erode a child’s self-esteem, lead to school-refusal, depression, anxiety, and in rare cases – even suicide.

Many parents and schools have been paying closer attention to the effects of bullying on young minds. Many schools have anti-bullying measures now in place and offer programs that value respect for differences and kindness. This is
clearly a step in the right direction.

Many adults wonder what else they can do to prevent their child from the isolation and fear associated with being a target of meanness. There is an additional set of skills that can help kids stay steady and strong – Confidence skills. Confidence help kids in a variety of ways. Confident kids pay attention to their own unique strengths, learn to value their own opinions and resist peer pressure, know how to deal with criticism, mistakes, embarrassment and imperfection – all crucial skills needed to stay strong in the face of rudeness and nastiness.

Confidence skills reduce the likelihood of becoming a target and helps kids recover if they are teased. Here are two other articles on confidence which may be of interest: Rumors: Building Confidence Helps Kids Handle Them and I Wish I Were Popular.

May 13th, 2011

Panic in Children and Teens

If you’ve witnessed a child’s panic attack, you have seen firsthand just how terrifying it can be. The child may have trouble breathing, may feel faint, have a pounding heart, or a sense of impending doom. The feeling is so intense that the child often becomes frightened that the anxiety will re-occur. A vicious cycle of panic is born.

There are many different reasons that panic can develop. Sometimes a child is afraid of school, social embarrassment, disappointing others, or that something bad could happen to a family member. A child may be worried about failure or have trouble separating from parents. When the panic is full-blown it is extremely difficult to problem-solve with the youngster. Don’t try just yet.

It’s helpful to stay with the child who is in the throes of a panic reaction. Quiet reassurance and a reminder that the feeling will subside in time is always a good idea. When the child is calmer, you can begin to piece together the problem. Some kids who experience panic find help in psychotherapy. Other children with repeated panic attacks receive medication.

All children and teens who panic need powerful tools to counteract the intense feelings, which can range from raw fear to rage and sadness. It’s best to practice these strategies when the child is relatively calm. For example, very anxious children and adolescents can benefit from breathing tools, relaxation strategies, and visualization techniques. And that’s just for starters. Other CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) tools, which teach accurate thinking along with encouraging, realistic power thoughts have repeatedly been found to be very effective in minimizing panic.
It takes practice, but strengthening the mind and body is precisely what’s needed. For a more detailed description of tools that fight anxious thoughts, see the Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids. Other related articles about panic that may also be of interest are: Do You Have a Child Who Worries About Death ; Air Travel Can Be Scary.

May 5th, 2011

Good vs Evil: Kids React to the Death of Osama Bin Laden

Children have been reared on the good vs. evil myth, with the good guy eventually winning. Many fairy tales, superhero stories, and even modern fairly tales like Harry Potter, profile the hero righting wrongs and defeating the villain. This compelling story line is used time after time and makes sense to many kids.

The recent killing of Osama bin Laden is a true to life example of good
triumphing over evil. Generations of kids know the refrain from the Wizard of
Oz, Ding Dong the Witch is dead. They know that sometimes the boogeyman has to be eliminated.

Some children will express concern about the recent events of May 1, 2011. They may wonder about the events of September 11, picking up bits and pieces of what happened nearly a decade ago. They may worry about terrorism and what will happen in the future.

Your answer to their questions depends upon the age of the child. Certainly middle and high school teens may benefit from an accurate discussion of
history. Younger children may need reassurance that sometimes the right course
of action is for the good guy to defeat the bad guy. They’ve heard this story before. But this time, it’s for real.

Other related articles about children’s concerns about terrorism are:
Times Square Car Bomb Threat Can Scare Children and
Kids React to Terror Threats in the Air.

April 21st, 2011

Checking and OCD in Children and Teens

Is the door locked? Is the stove turned off? Did I put all my books in my book bag? I need to check that the water faucet is turned off. For children and teens who suffer from OCD, these worries lead to repetitive behaviors, called Checking. Not every child or teen with OCD has the Checking symptom, but parents of children with this OCD symptom are all too familiar with the torment of a child who must check and check and check to feel comfortable.

In a previous OCD article OCD and Worry in Children and Teens, the O in OCD was described as an Obsession; an intrusive, unpleasant worry thought that is difficult to stop. For children who experience the OCD symptom of Checking, the obsession is often related to the fear that something terrible will happen. For example, if the door isn’t locked, a robbery will happen or, if the stove isn’t turned off, the house will start on fire. The fear of a terrible thing happening leads to a sense of urgency to do something to make sure it WON’T happen. It also leads to a behavior; a Compulsion (the C in OCD) called Checking, which at least temporarily, makes the worry better.

Let’s say a child is afraid of a robbery. He or she may think What if a robber breaks in? (That’s the Obsession) This leads to the Compulsion (I need to make sure the door is locked.) For most children and teens, checking the door one time is enough to make them feel comfortable. But for many children with OCD, once is not enough. If the child doesn’t give in to the need to check, the result is a feeling of heightened anxiety which is relieved only by Checking. Although Checking may relieve the anxiety for a short time, the worry returns, as does the need to Check – again and again and again. Checking can last from minutes to hours.

Unfortunately, every time the young person Checks, the stronger OCD becomes. Effective treatment for OCD involves helping kids resist the urge to Check, by teaching thinking and behavior skills designed to help manage the feeling of increased anxiety. Kids can learn to say NO to OCD .

If you would like to learn more about thinking and behavior skills to reduce worry and anxiety, check out the Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids®.

April 8th, 2011

OCD and Worry In Children and Teens

Many parents ask about the relationship between OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and Worry or Anxiety. They are related: OCD is one of many worry problems that fall under the umbrella of Anxiety Disorders. Kids with OCD worry a lot, usually about something bad that might happen and what they can do to prevent it.

The O in OCD stands for Obsessions. Obsessions are intrusive, unpleasant thoughts that are difficult to stop. OCD obsessions are different than the exciting obsessions people talk about, such as I’m obsessed with sports or I’m obsessed with shopping. OCD obsessions are negative and scary, such as, What if I get really sick? or What if I accidentally set my house on fire?

Obsessions cause a lot of worry in kids. Compulsions (the C in OCD) are behaviors which are designed to reduce child worry caused by the Obsessions. For example, children may engage in excessive hand washing to get rid of germs and check the stove many times every day to make sure the flame is off. Mental rituals can also be considered OCD behaviors. For example, some children repeat certain words, phrases, or songs silently in their head. Others may focus on repetitive sequences of numbers or patterns of lines or shapes.

The good news is that OCD is a very treatable condition. Children need to learn how to resist the OCD urge. Cognitive Behavior Therapy, commonly known as CBT is the treatment of choice and teaches kids how to say NO to OCD. Children learn thinking and behavior tools which help them manage the worry and the icky feeling they get when they don’t do what OCD wants them to do. Although it may not be possible to erase OCD, children can learn to manage the OCD symptoms so they are no longer troubled by them.

How does a child get OCD? Most research indicates a genetic predisposition…It’s likely that your child is not the first person in your family history to show signs or symptoms of OCD. As with many physical or psychological conditions, there is a range of OCD behaviors…children’s symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. There are several different types of OCD, such as checking, contamination fears, symmetry, and more. Check back with us and we will explain different OCD types in future articles.

March 24th, 2011

Confidence is Key for Children and Teens with ADHD

If you have a child diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), you probably have observed how frustrating it can be for the child. Even though your child has intellectual strengths, these capabilities may not be reflected in school performance. Your child’s academic and interpersonal functioning can suffer due to lack of attention, poor self-control skills, problems with listening, and difficulties with judgment and reading social cues.

There has been a lot of progress in helping these youngsters over the past decades, which is promising since at least 5.4 million children from 4-17 are diagnosed with ADHD. Moreover, the diagnosis of ADHD has increased by 22% between 2003 and 2007.

Kids with ADHD require a comprehensive approach. It has recently been reported that 66% of youngsters with a diagnosis of ADHD receive medication. There are a variety of school-based interventions that help these students such as organizational instruction, resource room, extended time for exams, and group or individual counseling. Outside of school, kids may be tutored, attend social skills training, and receive psychotherapy, in addition to developing athletic and creative talents. Sometimes it can be mind-boggling for parents to manage the interventions needed to help a child succeed.

What often hits parents at their very core, is watching their child fail or be rejected socially. This is all too common for kids with ADHD. Families rightfully worry about the impact of these setbacks on children’s self-esteem. Child confidence is especially important for youngsters with ADHD since they are frequently reprimanded, reminded, rejected, or ignored. Tools that help these children and teens focus on their strengths, face criticism and disappointment, resist peer pressure, recognize the value of personal effort, and deal responsibly with mistakes can go a long way.

Tool Kits for Kids recognize that families and kids with ADHD are short on time. If you have a few minutes, check out the Charge Up Your Confidence Tool Kit from Tool Kits for Kids to learn a powerful and quick way to bolster kids’ self-esteem.

March 15th, 2011

Searing Images of the Disaster in Japan Scare Children Worldwide

In your home, you may be trying to minimize the visual images of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that has crippled Japan. News reports are filled with scenes of cars being tossed like toys, raging water sweeping over entire villages, buildings collapsing, and threats of nuclear meltdown. These horrific images are frightening to children.

In this high-tech world, it’s hard to completely protect children from the reality of this latest heartbreaking disaster. Some children may have lots of questions, such as:

• What happened to some of the people in Japan? Did they die?
• Could this happen where I live?
• What does a nuclear meltdown mean?
• Am I safe?

The truth is, these questions are not unlike those that adults wonder too. Parents can help their children by first listening calmly to their concerns. Providing a little bit of accurate information can also help children deal with this catastrophe. For example, a parent could say:

• Sometimes bad things happen.
• We can’t change what happened, but we can learn from it. Scientists, rescue workers, and other trained people are trying to learn from the situation in Japan right now.
• Not everyone was able to be saved, but because the buildings were strong, many more people survived.
• The crisis in Japan is terrible, but one that doesn’t happen most of the time. Most people will live an entire lifetime without experiencing an earthquake like this.

Finally, if your child expresses sadness and concern for the victims, you can say, It’s important to care about other people. It’s good that you are the kind of person who really cares.

Some families may suggest the child draw pictures, write notes, or contribute in some way to agencies providing relief for survivors. During extraordinary times, children can feel better by being encouraged to be compassionate.

If you would like to read more about helping children deal with disasters and emergencies, you may find the following articles helpful:

Emergency Relief Kits Build Resilience in Children and Teens
Earthquake Fears Skyrocket in Kids
The Gulf Oil Disaster Images Hurt Kids

March 7th, 2011

Discipline and Confidence in Kids

Parents hear it all time…It’s important to love your kids, but love is not enough. And that’s right, it isn’t. Kids need love AND structure, approval AND limits, hugs and kisses AND No You Can’ts.

Kids need to learn how to live in the world and this learning starts at home. They need to learn to follow rules, stay within limits, and stop themselves from behaving in negative ways. Good discipline helps them do this.

When discipline is harsh or abusive, child confidence can suffer. Kids end up missing the message parents are trying to send and feel bad about themselves. That’s not what parents want to accomplish and it’s not good for their children. If discipline is consistently harsh, a child’s confidence can suffer and kids self-esteem can erode.

Good discipline is educational: kids should learn about good behaviors, not feel guilty or ashamed about their bad behaviors. Good consequences are brief, not excessive, and make sense. It isn’t necessary to make children feel bad about themselves. Never humiliate or demean a child. Kids learn much better when they can feel good about themselves, even when disciplined. Child confidence can survive discipline and parents can make sure this happens.

February 27th, 2011

The Academy Awards and Kids

Nothing gets the entertainment media fluttering as much as the annual Academy Awards. Although there are many, many categories, the entire country has been inundated with the names and faces of the talented actors who have been nominated to win this coveted award.

It’s a fun and exciting time. The Red Carpet, the TV specials, the bios of the stars, are all part of the thrill of wondering, Who will win? Adults and kids watch the show, look for texts, or follow the app on their IPAD.

Sometimes, kids get the wrong message from all the hoopla. It’s easy to think that being a celebrity is the way to be valued and respected. Children who lack confidence may aspire to become an actor to achieve the respect and admiration of their peers and the rest of the world. Unfortunately, their self-esteem may be put on hold as they try to achieve their own celebrity.

Make sure your child knows that it’s not necessary to be the best at something to be special. Being a famous actor is only one way to have value and gain respect. There are many pathways to personal importance and value, including hard work and effort in many fields. Trying, learning, participating in activities, caring about other people and the world are also very important.

It’s very possible to have great value even if you’re not famous. A casual reference to this fact can help your child enjoy the excitement of the Academy Awards and maintain his or her own sense of personal confidence.

February 9th, 2011

Children and Teens: The Joys of a Snow Day or, Mental Health and Snow

For children and teens, few things can match the joy of a snow day on a wintry morning. Today, the wonderful news of an extra day of freedom may arrive by text, e-mail, the Internet, phone, radio, or a banner on the bottom of a TV screen. Parents may remember the excitement of hearing their own parents yell into the bedroom, “No school, it’s a snow day!”

School can be difficult and homework often tedious. Kids may begin to run out of steam in the winter months. Academic pressures build for kids K-12, and worry and anxiety can grow as well. It’s very helpful to have a legal mental health day that gives young people a healthy break.

Child and adolescent psychologists have observed that in winters filled with blizzards and snow days, their practices get smaller, and not just because parents can’t bring their children to the sessions. Snow days help children stay calm, catch up, and have fun in the middle of the routine demands of a busy week. Anxiety in children and teens decreases and kids feel better.

School and routine are very important. Every day can’t and shouldn’t be a snow day. But the occasional snow day can be a ray of sunshine in a long winter. Whether the day is spent playing in the snow, sleeping in, catching up on homework, or spending a lazy day in front of the TV or on the computer, young people are given the gift of a short, but welcome break from the demands and routine of school. They often return to school in a better mindset, with more energy and greater enthusiasm.

January 26th, 2011

Technology: Constant Communication for Kids

Many parents can remember growing up without being in constant contact with their own parents and or peers. Communication was either in person, by telephone, or exchanging notes in school. The limitations of these methods of communication meant that most young people were not in constant contact with others and experienced a good amount of time being alone.

Not so today. Electronic and technical advancements are truly extraordinary and wonderful, but they are life changing. Our young people are able to communicate in a variety of electronic ways. Texting, cell calls, voice mail, email, Facebook, and Twitter, provide non-stop interaction. Children and teens walk down the street talking on the phone, text as they enter and leave school, checking for texts, or going on Facebook multiple times a day. Some even fall asleep secretly chatting or texting on their cells.

What will this do to children? For one thing, they will be different than their parents, especially in their ability to be alone. There may also be more worry and anxiety. Before the advent of electronic communications, young people accepted a certain amount of alone time. Now, children and teens K-12 have an expectation that they MUST be in contact with their peers at all times or feel that something is very wrong with them. Many experience a crisis of confidence if they cannot generate enough communications or if they are electronically bullied or demeaned by their peers. Problem-solving will also suffer as kids don’t have to solve as many problems on their own. Parents and peers are available to help and rescue at a moment’s notice.

Communication is essential for a happy and healthy life, but young people need to feel comfortable not being in constant communication. Parents can help them learn that being alone is OK, that spending some time with yourself, without interacting with others can be valuable and wonderful. It’s a great challenge, but one that can reduce worry, boost confidence and build resilience.

January 21st, 2011

High School Students and Stress: Emotional First-Aid Tools Can Help

Have you had a conversation with a high school student lately? Chances are, the young person may mention how stressed out he or she is. Tension can begin the moment students begin 9th grade, or even at the end of 8th grade as they anticipate their new role as high school students.

Everything counts, they say, and college is mentioned at least 10 times a day. They have to juggle grades, sports, sometimes college level classes, and extra-curricular activities. Navigating the social scene is not an easy task either. All of these pressures mount as an adolescent’s body and mind are being transformed into that of an emerging young adult.

Juniors in high school have their own brand of stress, often feeling as if they are dodging anxiety-ridden requirements for advanced classes and SAT or ACT preparation. Seniors experience significant stress too, especially during application time and when college acceptances and financial aid packages are looming in the background.

The high school experience can wreak havoc on kids’ self-esteem and trigger anxiety in children. High school students not only need to learn chemistry, pre-calc, global history, and answer document-based questions adeptly. They need emotional life tools to stay steady and strong in the face of self-esteem setbacks and mounting worry.

Tool Kits for Kids recognize that time is very valuable for high school students. We have developed two quick yet powerful ways to teach them strong confidence activities and effective anti-anxiety tools. The Charge Up Your Confidence® Tool Kit helps young people deal with imperfection, mistakes, criticism, self-doubt, and embarrassment – all which can derail confidence.
The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids® helps young people think and behave in strong and accurate ways to fend off anxiety – which if not checked, blocks effective performance and interferes with a sense of personal control.

These two emotional first-aid Tool Kits teach essential strategies necessary for success and happiness in the high school years and beyond. Specifically designed for teen’s independent use, the High School/Middle School Edition of the Tool Kits have won prestigious parenting awards.

January 13th, 2011

Tragedy in Tucson: Help Your Child Deal with the Death of Another Child

The recent tragedy in Tucson, Arizona has sparked intense reactions throughout the country and the world. Murder is always abhorrent, but the murder of a child is even more disturbing. Children can often ignore criminal acts when they involve only adults, but when a child is murdered, children are confronted with a reality that is too much for them to understand and tolerate.

Children do not expect to die and they don’t expect other children to die. This is a natural psychological framework that helps them feel secure in the world. When a child is murdered, this framework is shaken and children can be stunned and often feel very threatened. They wonder, Will I die? Could I be murdered too? They may develop other anxiety symptoms, such as trouble falling asleep, nightmares, difficulty separating from their parents, or increased irritability. Parents can play an important role in helping children deal with their child’s reaction to another child’s murder.

First, be there for your children. Make sure you can spend extra time together. Encourage them to talk to you about their feelings and their fears. Try not, to minimize their fears. Instead, reflect them. For example, try NOT to say, Oh, don’t worry, that’s impossible. Nothing will happen to you. Try saying something like, Yes, I know it’s scary. We don’t expect that a child will be killed. It’s very upsetting. You might also add that although it’s not impossible to be murdered, it’s very unlikely. You might also encourage your child to do something positive and constructive, such as organizing the children in class to write a letter of sympathy to the child’s parents.

Finally, be patient and give it time. With your help and understanding, your child will ultimately regain the framework of psychological security that existed before the murder.

January 7th, 2011

Turn SORE SPORTS into GOOD SPORTS

Young people, K-12 are raised in a world that loves competition and reveres winners. This is particularly true in the world of sports. Frequent activities for children and teens include avidly watching marathons, the World Series, championship football, March Madness, and golf matches to see who is The Best. After winning, The Best continue to be adored as they win endorsements for advertisements associated with the best products. Closer to home, athletic children often get big bonuses themselves as they rate high in social competence and popularity.

As a result, performance in competitive sports is closely linked to many kid’s self-esteem. Winners feel wonderful and are respected by their peers. Unfortunately, losers are not. For athletically gifted young people and for those who are able to see positive results from hard work and practice, competitive sports can be a glorious boost to self-esteem But not everyone is gifted and not every child sees high level benefits even if they work hard at improving their athletic skills. When so much value is placed on winning, it is no wonder that many children and teens find it upsetting to lose.

It is difficult for adults to learn to lose gracefully and it is even more difficult for young people. Child confidence can suffer with athletic losses and problematic behaviors may develop. Crying, yelling, name-calling, blaming others for the loss, and moping are a few of the sore sport behaviors which can emerge when kids’ self-esteem is wounded by losing.

It is unlikely that the global attitude towards placing great value on winning will change. The best athletes will be valued and the not so athletically gifted kids must learn to protect their self-esteem. There are countless dimensions in which child and teen self-esteem can be measured, and the world of athletics is only one. Parents want to know what to do to help their child deal with stress and cope with loss when their child is not an athletic winner.

Child confidence is the way to help children manage the stress of athletic loss. Feeling good about oneself is a good stepping stone to learn good sportsmanship behavior. The Charge Up Your Confidence Tool Kit for Kids™ was expressly designed to teach children self-esteem activities which enable them to discover and value their own special and unique qualities. For younger children, the Tool Kit is filled with interactive parent-child activities designed to build confidence. Find Your Hidden Treasures, Good For Me, and Trying Trophy are a few if the many elementary and middle school skills which will help nurture a child’s confidence. Self-esteem activities for teens include Pattern of Positives, Face It, and Effort is Essential.

When kids’ self-esteem is high, they can tolerate losing without feeling badly about themselves. Even though it may feel better to win, children with strong confidence skills are able to enjoy athletics even if they don’t win. Their healthy sense of self-esteem allows them to develop good sportsmanship behaviors. See how the Sore Sport becomes the Good Sport as child confidence grows.

December 31st, 2010

Mommy, Daddy Don’t Leave Me!

It’s Saturday night and you look forward to it all week. It’s time to go out and re-kindle your romance, but your child hates it when you leave.

It can start with a trembling lower lip and lead to screams and pleas not to go. Mommy, Daddy don’t leave me! Fears intensify and the What If’s begin…What If you get in an accident? What If I need you? What If you don’t come home? You have a great babysitter, it may even be grandma, but your child still begs you to stay.

You leave anyway and go out to dinner. You can’t enjoy your dinner and feel a lump in your throat. It’s hard to forget your crying child at home. You spend the whole dinner strategizing how to help your child. That’s not so romantic.

Many children worry and go through a period of time when separation is hard for them. If your tender explanations and reassurance are not enough, it may be time to try a different approach.

The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids® (Elementary School Edition) was designed by experts to help worried children ages 5-11 feel stronger than their fear. There are 20 award-winning tools to reduce anxiety in children. Kids learn to stop the What If’s, use words to make their worry less powerful, relax their minds and bodies, and use strong and accurate thinking to fight frightened feelings. The Worry Tool Kit contains anti-anxiety activities that appeal to children and work quickly. Use the Tool Kit now with your child and have romantic evenings that you can enjoy.

December 21st, 2010

It’s the Holiday Season!

All of us at Tool Kits for Kids wish you and yours a joy-filled holiday season, and all the best in 2011.

As this year and the first decade of the 21st century draw to a close, we invite you to read our 2010 Holiday Newsletter.

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December 9th, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards: A Model for Resilience

The death of Elizabeth Edwards hit hard for many people. She stood as a powerful example of a true fighter and celebrator of life, a woman who continued to persevere and go on with progressive cancer with a smile on her face, day after day. Her serious battle with cancer did not deter her enthusiasm or willingness to be true to her life and passion. News reports of Mrs. Edwards have even dubbed her as “Mrs. Resilience”.

What is it that makes one resilient? Do all people have this ability to go on in the face of sickness, a major tragedy or significant problem? What are the effects of these major situations on children if they are faced with monumental issues? Do we even know if they have developed the skills to deal with tragedy?

Resilience skills can be learned and parents can help in the process of providing skills to young people of all ages who need help with big problems or traumatic events such as sickness, grief, trauma, and divorce to name a few examples.

Tool Kits for Kids® has developed the Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit for Kids™ to help children and teens in times of crisis. The resilience kit includes tools to help kids deal with sadness, loss, guilt, and anger, short-circuit bad dreams and frightening images, and remain positive about their future. These tools can help children in the early stages of a crisis as well as the aftermath of a crisis to minimize long-lasting emotional effects.

You can’t leave resilience skills to chance, especially if your child is dealing with significant loss or other traumatic situations. You can help your child cope more effectively by using these award-winning emotional first aid kits for resilience.

December 4th, 2010

School Counselors Use Tool Kits: Helping Kids Build Resilience, Boost Confidence and Reduce Anxiety

Today’s school counselors play a vital role in the emotional, social, and academic well-being of young people. School counselors handle a multitude of issues from poor academic performance to school adjustment, bullying, social difficulties, as well as school and family crises.

At the recent NYSSCA Conference in November 2010, school counselors across New York visited Tool Kits for Kids exhibitor’s booth and found we shared much in common about today’s young people. All of our Tool Kits which provide emotional first aid solutions for resilience, confidence, and anxiety in children will be used in a variety of school settings to supplement the important work already being conducted.

School counselors today are often confronted with students facing trauma and serious difficulties. Our Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit for Kids™ will help children and teens in grades K-12 handle the overwhelming feelings of sadness, loss, anger, and guilt that often accompany emotional trauma. Many school counselors work directly with kids coping with divorce, grief, or violence and welcomed the resilience tools to help kids adapt and heal.

The issue of child confidence and children’s self-esteem is also of concern in the schools. School counselors across New York State plan to use the Charge Up Your Confidence® Tool Kit in a group context. The Confidence Tool Kit helps kids track their strengths, face criticism, deal responsibly with mistakes, and handle embarrassment. We were excited to learn that the Confidence Tool Kit will be used with groups of boys, kids with social and self-esteem concerns, and groups of special needs youngsters.

Every school counselor we met was looking for new ways to reduce anxiety in children. The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids® will used by school counselors to help kids think in strong and accurate ways about their fears, understand the low likelihood of their worries, make rules to conquer anxious thoughts, and stop what if thinking.

We are glad to have had so many rewarding conversations with New York school counselors about the positive ways we both can impact the lives of young people.

November 22nd, 2010

Helping Bereaved Children During the Holiday Season

Thanksgiving and Christmas are favorite holidays for many children and teens. The holiday season begins in early November and doesn’t wind down until after New Year’s. It is a joyous time for many, but for children coping with loss, perhaps the death of a parent, sibling, grandparent, or pet, the holiday season can be a difficult time filled with sadness and emotional trauma. Divorce, separation from family members, or moving away from close friends can also make the Happy Holidays much less happy. During a holiday season which focuses on togetherness, absence of a loved one grows even more painful.

Dealing with grief in children and teens is difficult. How do you help a young person who has suffered a major loss? Many people feel that time heals, and it does help, but resilience skills are essential to help kids cope with loss. Most adults are unfamiliar with resilience skills for children ….they are unsure what to say or what parent-child activities will help.

Resilience skills can be learned and bereaved children need resilience to get though the holiday season. The Build Up Your Resilience™Tool Kit for Kits has twenty thinking and behavior skills specifically designed to help young people K-12 deal with emotional trauma including grief and separation from loved ones. Tools such as It’s Not a Difficult Forever, No More What’s Next, and Still, help young people learn to bounce back from the emotional trauma of the loss of a loved one. For younger children who are bereaved, the skills can be learned in an interactive fashion, with the help of an adult. Older children and teens may prefer to learn the skills more privately.

Death, divorce, or separation is a traumatic stress for a young person and the holiday season brings a greater sting to the loss. Resilience skills can help. Try the Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit for Kids™ and help children coping with loss to find smart and strong ways to navigate their way through this holiday season.

November 11th, 2010

Afraid of Giving School Presentations: Three Steps to Help Kids with Public Speaking Anxiety

Anxiety about public speaking can start in the early grades and last through the middle and high school years and beyond. Just the thought of standing in front of a class and giving a presentation can trigger anxiety in children. Sweaty palms, pounding heartbeat, fear of embarrassment, and loss of focus are only some of the signs related to fear of school presentations.

Parents and concerned adults can help. Step 1 is to encourage the child to research the topic thoroughly and prepare a good report. Step 2 is to practice, and do lots of it. Not everyone is a natural speaker, and it can take a long time for a child to acquire public speaking skills. The child can practice alone, in front of a mirror, or give the presentation to family members. Technology can help too, and the child may benefit from recording the presentation as a means of practice.

Sometimes preparation and practice are not enough to calm the nerves of kids and teens who worry about an upcoming oral report. There are two sets of emotional
skills that can come to the rescue – reducing anxiety and building self-confidence. That’s step 3.

Anti-anxiety activities and children’s self-esteem boosting strategies can be learned. Tool Kits for Kids provides powerful, award-winning solutions to help kids. The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids® quickly shows young people in grades K-12 how to stop fears from escalating, relax their minds and bodies,stop what if thinking, and prevent anxious thoughts from taking over. The Charge Up Your Confidence® Tool Kit helps young people handle mistakes, deal with criticism from others, stop their own negative thoughts, and focus on their positive attributes.

Remember theses three steps to help your child face his or her next oral report and the many other school presentations to come. Step 1 is preparation. Step 2 is practice. Step 3 is the Tool Kit solution to help manage fear and build self confidence.

November 7th, 2010

EVENTS

Tool Kits for Kids® was proudly featured in an exhibit at The New York State School Counselor Association (NYSSCA) Annual Conference on November 5th and 6th in Tarrytown, NY.

November 5th, 2010

No One To Sit With At Lunch

If you are in Middle School or High School, you know what a big deal it is to eat alone in the cafeteria. There are lots of different reasons why you may not feel comfortable at lunchtime. Maybe there has been a shift in your friendships. You could be picking up subtle signs that you are no longer welcome at your old table. Perhaps you have just transferred to a new school and don’t know anyone yet.

Even if it feels awkward, it’s a good idea to discuss your feelings about your personal lunchtime situation with an adult, such as a parent, another family member, or a teacher or counselor in your school. Together, you can come up with a plan to determine whom you might feel comfortable with and where you would like to sit. It may be tough at first, but when you’re ready, you will have to take that bold step of initiating a brief conversation, or sitting at a table with an empty seat.

To help you get ready and follow through with a plan, you need confidence. Confidence helps young people try new things, adapt to change, recognize their strengths, and handle criticism, embarrassment, and imperfection. That’s just what’s needed to break into a new social group and find a place that feels right at lunchtime.

There is a way to bolster your self-esteem. The Charge Up Your Confidence Tool Kit for Kids can quickly help you feel better about yourself and help your confidence grow stronger. You will learn 20 powerful strategies in just a week. This is the secret ingredient needed to help you make new friends at school.

Discuss the Charge Up Your Confidence Tool Kit with your parents. The Tool Kit has won national awards because the tools are effective, clear, and easy to learn. There is an edition of the Tool Kit designed especially for young people in high school and middle school. Confidence skills can help you change your lunchtime situation and feel happier and more relaxed at a very important part of your day.

October 28th, 2010

Halloween Fears in Kids

Halloween is an exciting time for many kids. Costumes, parades, pumpkins, parties, candy…. What’s not to like?

For some children though, Halloween can be a nightmare. Creepy monsters, scary noises, spooky masks, unpredictable happenings, and horror stories may be a frightening overload for kids. This bombardment of terrifying images can set off all kinds of fears in children. They may be more afraid of the dark, have trouble going to sleep, worry about burglars or serial killers, or be afraid of aliens, monsters, or dead people.

Parents play a vital role in soothing and reassuring children when they are scared. If your understanding and explanations are not enough to quiet your youngster’s Halloween fears, there is another way you can help.

The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids® is the first line of defense against fears that go haywire. The Tool Kit, developed by experts, has received national awards of excellence, because it is packed with anti-anxiety activities that are effective and work quickly. Children learn to use powerful language, strong thoughts, and empowering imagery – all to block anxiety from taking hold. Use the 20 powerful strategies in the Outsmart Your Worry™ Tool Kit to stop Halloween fears from becoming everyday fears.

October 21st, 2010

My Neighbor’s House Was Robbed

Children hear lots of information these days and they hear it quickly. If a house was robbed in the neighborhood, the news travels like wildfire. In fact, one out of five families will be victims of crime. Statistics on burglaries indicate that a robbery occurs every 60 seconds. If you know about a burglary in your area, it is likely that your child will hear about it too.

It is understandable to be frightened after hearing about a robbery near one’s home. For some children and teens, finding out about a robbery close to home can trigger all kinds of worries about safety. They might not be able to shake their fears and anxieties can escalate.

Reassuring a child that your family makes smart choices, such as having secure locks and an alarm, may not be enough to quell the fears of a worried child. The child may still have repeated negative thoughts and images of harm. Oftentimes, these worries intensify at nighttime.

If you have a youngster whose worries about safety are getting out of control, it would be a good time to practice anti-anxiety activities. Tool Kits for Kids® has developed a comprehensive emotional “first aid kit” to help kids in grades K-12 manage frightened feelings. The winner of several national parenting awards, the Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids® is effective, powerful, and appealing to a worried child. Anxious kids worry about situations that rarely occur and believe that danger is lurking because it happened to someone else. The Tool Kit quickly corrects these perceptions and shows them how to think in accurate and empowering ways.

Sometimes bad things happen too close to home. We want our children to be prepared emotionally to deal with these tough, complex issues, and to still be positive and hopeful. The Outsmart Your Worry™ Tool Kit gives them the emotional tools to cope with the fear.

October 14th, 2010

Miner’s Dramatic Rescue: Watching Heroism and Resilience in Action

The world has just witnessed an amazing feat – the rescue of 33 miners trapped in an underground mine for 69 days. This is a triumph for the miners, the rescuers, Chile, and all those who participated in this global collaborative effort.

Many young people have been gripped by this survival story too, watching the best parts of humanity in action. Kids may be wondering, How did the miners survive for so long when they were trapped? or What did the miners do to be positive and not go crazy? The world will have to wait to hear the answers to these questions.

There are 33 stories of resilience and survival, which will undoubtedly serve as models of hope and strength for many. Now, the biggest concern is to help the miners manage Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – the psychological and physical symptoms which can impact people after suffering any kind of trauma.

Today, there are some kids and teens who have their own survival stories. They may not be trapped in a mine, but they have suffered significant losses. They may have lost their home due to a flood or other natural disaster. They may have lost a loved one. They may feel as though they are losing their family due to an impending divorce. These children may be wondering how to get through their worst of times.

There is a new, powerful way to help children and teens deal with trauma and big problems by learning resilient coping strategies. The award winning Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit for Kids™ helps kids manage intense feelings of sadness, fear, anger, and guilt, which often accompanies a traumatic situation. The Tool Kit, designed for ages 5-18, includes strategies to deal with frightening dreams and images, repetitive negative thoughts, and hopeless feelings. If your child is dealing with a crisis, help him or her avoid the difficult and often disabling symptoms of PTSD by using the Resilience Tool Kit.

October 8th, 2010

Blood Tests, Shots and Needles Scare Some Kids

Some kids and teens tremble at the very thought of a shot or blood test. They may become so anxious that they feel nauseous, cry, throw a fit, or even think they might pass out. Children who get worked up about shots often refuse to go to the doctor or beg their parents to postpone the appointment.

Parents and medical staff try all kinds of means to reassure and cajole the child. Trying to convince a child in the heat of the moment often does not work. Sometimes, a big scene is created, with lots of crying and screaming. This doesn’t help the child master his or her fears, nor does it prepare the child for the next time.

There is a new way to prepare your child to deal with the anxiety of needles in the doctor’s office. Your child can learn 20 powerful cognitive and behavioral tools in the Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids®. Our Worry Tool Kit is designed by experts and has received prestigious parenting awards because the anti-anxiety activities are effective, quick, and even fun for kids. Children learn to become experts in training their brain to cope with overwhelming fear. You will learn the right words to stop your child’s fears about shots from getting out of control.

Getting shots and blood tests is something all kids and teens have to face at times. Once children apply the worry-fighting techniques from our Tool Kit, anxiety in children diminishes and they will be better prepared to handle their fear. They won’t love getting shots or blood tests, but they will learn the tools to help them stick out an arm, take a deep breath, and take the shot.

September 30th, 2010

I Wish I Were Popular

By the third grade, many children have observed that being popular looks great from the outside. Everyone wants to be your friend, sit next to you, select you for the team, or invite you to the next party. This trend often intensifies in middle school and can continue well into the high school years.

Many children dream of being popular and being valued by their peers. If they could only figure out how to achieve it. Kids often wonder, Do popular kids have super athletic skills, an amazing talent, great looks, perfect name-brand outfits, or special skills to make other kids like them?

Some children and teens even comment on the downside of popularity, noticing that some popular kids can be mean and exclusive. The issue of popularity is frequently addressed in children’s books and films, like the movie Mean Girls and the musical Wicked. Despite the downsides of popularity, children still want it.

What lots of young people don’t realize, is they are hoping for the wrong thing. It’s confidence that kids really need, so they can feel comfortable being themselves. If this leads to popularity, and that’s important to a child, great. If it leads to an internal sense of well-being, regardless of popularity, that’s great too.

Confidence is what counts, and there is a fast and clever way to boost children’s self-esteem. The Charge Up Your Confidence® Tool Kit for Kids includes the 20 best child confidence skills available today. Kids in grades K-12 learn to value their own opinions even if they are different from their peers. Young people learn to pay attention to their own strengths, recognize that trying is what matters more than just results, and see that helping others builds kids’ self-esteem. The Tool Kit addresses tough situations that can topple confidence, such as handling mistakes, facing criticism, getting through embarrassing situations, and learning that less than perfect is still OK.

Confidence is not a guarantee for popularity. It does however make young people happier and more sure of themselves.

September 24th, 2010

A Tree is Blocking My Driveway and I’m Scared

In many parts of the country, this year has seen a record number of storms. Some of these storms have caused significant damage. The first order of business is to assess the damage and get it repaired. Perhaps it’s necessary to cut down some trees or repair the house or car. Some of the destruction may be so pervasive, that it takes a long time to re-build.

Ever wonder how children and teens feel about threatening weather and storms, especially when they hit close to home? This can understandably trigger lots of anxious thoughts and feelings about future storms. The principle fear for kids and teens is the question, Am I safe? Some children may react by running inside whenever the skies darken. Other kids may huddle in their parent’s room when there is thunder and lightening. Some continually monitor the weather channel. There are kids who have a host of What If’s, even when there is no weather danger present.

If you notice any of these behaviors in your child, it may be time to address kids and teens worry head-on. Your child will be quickly comforted by learning to use the anti-anxiety activities in our award-winning Tool Kit. The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids® is designed by experts to help manage anxiety in children in grades K-12. Kids learn to use powerful thoughts to stay steady and strong, stop worrying about low-probability events, relax their minds and bodies when fear is triggered, and take charge of unnecessary worry.

Sometimes though, kids have lived through a very tough time after a hurricane, tornado, or other serious weather event. For these youngsters coping with the emotional trauma after a storm can trigger even more intense worry and fear. Our acclaimed Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit for Kidsaddresses and soothes the terrified feelings that kids and teens have when dealing with the stress of a disaster. For these youngsters, it’s very important for them to begin to get on track with their lives and the Resilience Tool Kit can help with this process.

September 17th, 2010

I Can’t Do That! Confidence Skills Help Children and Teens

What if your child often remarks that he or she is no good at something? Maybe the child says, I can’t swim, I can’t do math, I can’t catch the ball, I can’t draw, I can’t talk to a kid I don’t know, or I can’t give a presentation at school.

Your child may have his or her own list of I cant’s and may frequently say, I can’t do that! Children who give up too easily lose out. They may stop trying, which prevents them from learning. This type of thinking and behavior lowers kids’ self-esteem and sets up a pattern of giving up just because a child doesn’t immediately excel or like something.

There is a new way for kids to stop saying, I can’t do that! The Charge Up Your Confidence Tool Kit for Kids™ changes I can’t thoughts into I can try thoughts by showing children how easy and effective it is to build confidence. The 20 powerful child confidence skills in our Tool Kit teaches children in grades K-12 empowering thoughts and behaviors to conquer self-esteem setbacks. For example, kids learn to accurately identify their strengths and proud moments, yet at the same time set positive, new goals and understand the value of their own effort. Other confidence activities include learning from mistakes, facing criticism from others, stopping self-criticism from inhibiting performance, and feeling comfortable with their own opinions even those different from others. The self-esteem activities children learn in our Charge Up Your Confidence® Tool Kit help them move forward and keep trying.

Childhood and adolescence is a time of discovering, exploring, figuring out strengths, and not being afraid of improving skills. Confidence makes this happen.

September 10th, 2010

Losing Friends and Making New Ones: Confidence Helps Kids

Losing an friend is often a painful experience for children and teens. Here are just a few examples of friendship losses which can be especially hurtful to them.

• An adolescent girl’s BFF has stopped texting and calling her. She is imagining the worst and wonders if she is being rejected.

• A boy did not make the sports team he wanted. His friends are still nice to him, but he feels left out at lunch and in many conversations.

• A child’s best friend moved away. The child who is left feels lost and all alone.

• A child has just started a new school. Everybody has friends from last year and the child feels isolated and alone.

• A child was deliberately not invited to a birthday party given be a good friend. The rejected child doesn’t know yet, but may find out soon.

Social relationships can make or break a child’s school year. If a child has lost a friend, or perceives a negative change in his or her social network, making even one new friend can be a step in the right direction. When children have had self-esteem setbacks, they need specific strategies to re-gain confidence.

If your child has experienced a self-esteem setback brought about by a friendship loss, your understanding and encouragement to seek out new friends can go a long way. You can also foster child confidence by introducing your child to self-esteem activities. Our Charge-Up Your Confidence Tool Kit for Kids™is just the remedy needed to bolster kids’ self-esteem after a shaky peer situation.

The Confidence Tool Kit for kids in grade K-12 was designed by experts to empower kids. Children will feel secure and capable again by learning to pay attention to their own strengths and use their body and brain to look self-assured. Social setbacks such as criticism from peers, embarrassment, and making mistakes are addressed in a reassuring way, with important step-by-step tips. Kids are also encouraged to rely on their own viewpoints, and at the same time be helpful to others. All of these skills and more are essential building blocks of confidence and are taught easily and effectively in the Charge Up Your Confidence® Tool Kit. These confidence activities help children and teens feel comfortable on the inside and give them the courage to make new friends.

September 3rd, 2010

Kids Afraid to Leave Home

Does your son or daughter have trouble leaving home? Maybe he or she texts you frantically at 10 p.m. wanting to come home from a sleepover. Is your middle school child reluctant to attend an out of town school trip? Perhaps your child refuses to try sleepaway camp or stay with a trusted relative. You may notice your child is clingy and distressed when going to school in the morning.

These are just a few examples of difficulties children may have with separation. Separation concerns are an understandable challenge of childhood. As a child matures however, if a child or teen has trouble leaving the safety of home, it can be problematic. A child can display a wide range of symptoms, from stomach aches (which have no apparent physical basis), heart-racing, crying, pleading, anxiety, withdrawal, and fearful thoughts.

A blend of reassurance and firmness is often a good approach when encouraging age-appropriate separations. Sometimes this is not enough when a child feels threatened with leaving the security of home.

Your child may need to learn anti-worry separation skills to help. The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids® is a powerful first line of defense against anxiety in children which can interfere with healthy separation from parents. Kids and teens worry is addressed head-on by learning to turn off their internal worry alarm. Nervous children and kids are shown how to think realistically when separation fears spike, stop worried thoughts from dominating their minds, use strong thoughts to calm fears, and make worry-blocking rules to control intense, scared feelings. The Tool Kit contains 20 easy to learn Outsmart Your Worry™ activities for children and teens which helps them feel stronger right away. See how this award-winning kit can help your child or teen get back on track.

August 25th, 2010

Going Back to School is an Important Transition for All Children and Teens

Going back to school is an important transition that all children face each year. You and your child are hoping for a productive year, one that’s filled with learning, new friendships, new activities, and confidence. It’s a good idea to prepare your child for the emotional challenges that lie ahead so hopes can be turned into reality.

Before school begins, gently ask your child about any worries or concerns about the new school year. Is the child worried about making friends? Does the child worry about lunch or recess? Is the child scared about going to a new school or trying new subjects and activities? Are there any concerns about school being too hard or getting too much homework? If the child answers yes to any of these questions or volunteers a different worry, you can help your child get stronger and emotionally ready to handle the anxieties of transition back to school.

There are two important sets of emotional skills that help all kids in grades K-12 stay steady and strong, especially in the face of new situations, such as starting a new school year. These skills include improving self-confidence and learning to mange worry. Both of these skills can be learned quickly, so your child can walk into school with a boost in self-esteem and a plan to handle worry and anxiety.

Tool Kits for Kids has created a powerful, new way to help young people with their thoughts and feelings, encouraging them make the most of their new school experience. Kids tell us that our Tool Kits don’t feel like work, because the activities for children and teens are fun. Our award-winning Charge Up Your Confidence Tool Kit for Kids teaches the 20 best self-esteem building strategies available today. Among the child confidence activities are looking self-assured, recognizing strengths accurately, setting realistic goals, valuing one’s own ideas, applying effort, and handling mistakes, disappointments, and criticism. Our nationally-acclaimed Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids is designed to stop anxiety in children from growing out of control. It teaches kids how to turn down the volume of worried back to school thoughts and replace them with competent and realistic thoughts.

You may have all the pens, pencils, markers, spiral notebooks, calculator, and book bag ready for your child’s new year at school. Prepare your child with the emotional tools needed for a happy and secure school year.

August 10th, 2010

Does Frequently Rewarding Children and Teens Build their Confidence?

Self-confidence makes a big difference in the happiness and well-being of children. It’s no wonder that parents seek out ways to boost child confidence.

Some parents believe that frequent rewards and continual positive feedback is the best way to improve children’s self-esteem. Of course it’s a good idea to take note of your child’s accomplishments, but that alone does not build confidence. Letting your child know how proud you are may be an effective strategy sometimes, but don’t overdose on it.

Self-confidence is a combination of external and internal positive rewards. When you say, Great job, Well done, or I’m so proud of you, you provide the external reward. The child’s beliefs about his or her capabilities, strengths, and efforts is what creates internal self-confidence.

Confidence skills can be learned. Examples of children’s confidence skills are recognizing their strengths, valuing their own opinion even if it is different from their peers, knowing that effort and trying really counts, looking self-assured, and using self-reward for a job well done. These skills all improve kids’ self-esteem and can be learned in a lasting, meaningful way.

Our nationally acclaimed Charge Up Your Confidence Tool Kit for Kids teaches children and teens in grades K-12 how to use these important confidence activities in the real world. The Confidence Tool Kit also provides clear strategies to deal with situations that can topple confidence, such as making errors, getting criticized, feeling embarrassed, and not being perfect.

August 5th, 2010

Resilience Skills Help Children and Teens Deal with the Loss of a Grandparent

Sometimes a grandparent dies. If you’re a parent or a surviving grandparent you may be worried about the profound effect this loss can have on the children. It may be the first time the young members of a family come face to face with a significant loss.

Grandparents play a vital role in many families. They are often perceived as the center of the family or “the rock”. Some grandchildren feel that their grandma or grandpa is especially wise. They may feel unconditional love and support from their grandparents. When that special person dies, grandchildren can feel their whole world is shaken. This can mirror how the rest of the family feels too.

After a grandparent dies, you may notice the child cries easily, is clingy, appears moody or angry, is worried about other family members, or maybe, shows no overt reaction at all. Some children may express their feelings openly, while others may keep their feelings hidden. But, every grandchild has his or her own reaction to the loss.

Grief and mourning are very hard on children. Resilience skills help in the process of emotional repair during this difficult time. Learning these important emotional skills can assist young people in dealing with the emotional trauma of the loss.

It may be comforting to know that resilience skills can be learned in an effective and lasting way. The nationally recognized Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit for Kids helps children and teens in grades K-12 handle the pain, stress, and sorrow that often accompanies the death of a loved one. Young people learn strategies to deal with change and loss, remember that there are still meaningful people in their lives, prevent new fears from growing, stop replaying frightening images, and reduce the occurrence of bad dreams. All of these strategies are important when dealing with the childhood trauma of death of a grandparent. The Resilience Tool Kit also includes tools to deal with the myriad of emotions following a significant loss, including sadness, fear, guilt, and anger.

Resilience skills help parents and surviving grandparents too. You can learn and refresh your own resilience skills along with the grandchild.

July 30th, 2010

After The Divorce: Resilience Skills Help Children Adjust

As with most divorcing families, change and adaptation frequently continue for some time after the divorce. Even if the child sailed through the early stages of the divorce process, it does not mean that every change will be easy. A child can be thrown by many events such as meeting a parent’s new love interest, learning of a parent’s re-location, dealing with a significant modification in the visitation schedule, being informed of a parent’s plan to marry, hearing about a new baby in the family, or becoming part of a blended family. Many children have thought about these possibilities beforehand, and some become increasingly upset, anxious, or angry. They may think, Just because you got divorced, why do I have to keep dealing with this stuff? Children and teens coping with stress after divorce may feel that they are forced to deal with your decisions.

Nearly 85% of Americans who divorce will re-marry, half within three years, and a third in just one year. Half of children in the U.S. will experience a parent’s re-marriage before turning 18. Half of all re-marriages begin with cohabitation. About 60% of re-marriages end in re-divorce. Children coping with divorce have a lot to deal with rather quickly.

Regardless of what change your child is facing, it is still most important to protect the integrity of your relationship with the child. For example, your child may welcome a new step-parent or reject that person outright. Either way, a new love interest or blended family can feel threatening to the child. The child may be afraid of losing you. This feeling typically occurs if there is a new marriage, new baby, move to a new location, or visitation modification.

In addition to providing a secure and constant parental presence if you can, your child may benefit from developing resilience skills. Resilience helps children cope with change, which in turn assists them in managing emotional trauma. The Tool Kits for Kids Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit was developed by experts who recognize that kids benefit from learning powerful emotional skills when dealing with conflict, childhood trauma, and crises – all common in post-divorce. The Tool Kit includes 20 comprehensive tools that help children and teens deal with change and loss, manage anger, handle anxious feelings, reduce negative thinking, and make hopeful and realistic plans for their future. All of these tools and more can be learned quickly in a way that makes sense to young people. Our Resilience Tool Kits are designed for kids in grades K-12 and have recently won two major parenting awards.

Read Earlier Post about this subject

July 23rd, 2010

What Does Popcorn Have to Do with Anxiety and Kids?

Worried thoughts that don’t stop, racing heartbeat, sleeping problems, nervous stomach, dread that something bad will happen, refusal to go away from home, fears that keep growing – these are just some of the descriptions of worry and anxiety in children. If you ever had any of these symptoms yourself, you know that anxiety is no fun at all. Kids and teens who have these reactions want them to stop immediately.

Children can learn smart and effective ways to manage their worry, fear, and anxiety. And popcorn has something to do with the remedy. The Popcorn Tool developed by experts is our signature tool in the Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids. All of the 20 anti-anxiety activities in our award-winning Tool Kit teach the strongest thinking and behaving strategies to stop worry and fear in their tracks.

Many kids in grades K-12 tell us that the Popcorn Tool is one of their favorites. This tool addresses the issue of probability. Worried children often keep thinking about situations that might happen, even when the chances of their worry actually occurring is very, very small. For instance, some children worry that their parents or other family members might become seriously ill, even though everyone is healthy. Other kids may worry about robberies in their home, even though they live in safe neighborhoods with safety precautions in place. Some kids and teens worry about failing in school, even though they try hard and generally do well. These worried thoughts can dominate a young person’s mind and interfere with learning, time with friends, sleeping, and having fun.

The Tool Kits for Kids Popcorn Tool is unforgettable. It squashes anxious thoughts about nearly impossible worries faster than eating a bag of popcorn!

July 14th, 2010

When Sleepaway Camp Doesn’t Work Out

Some parents will get that dreaded phone call from the Camp Director. It may go something like this, We’ve tried to work with your child and have spoken to you about the issues and difficulties we’ve been having. However, it is not working out and we think it is best for you to take your child out of camp. Please pick up your child tomorrow.

This kind of feedback can be a serious blow to a child as well as the parents. The camp’s decision is usually not an easy one to make. Sometimes the decision to remove a child from camp is in response to the child’s difficulty adjusting to camp or severe homesickness. Other times, the child is asked to leave because his or her behavior puts the child or other children in the bunk at risk. For example, a child may not follow directions, and leave activities unsupervised. Or a child may be verbally or physically threatening. Sometimes a child may be too sad or anxious, despite repeated attempts to provide emotional support.

When a child leaves camp prematurely, there can be a wide range of emotional responses. He or she may be sad, angry, regretful, relieved, or afraid of being in trouble with parents. The family first needs to get their bearings, and once the child is home safe and sound, talk about what happened in a calm, problem-solving manner.

Chances are that when asked to leave sleepaway camp, the child’s self-confidence may drop dramatically. You can help restore your kid’s self-esteem by helping to learn confidence skills. Confidence activities can help children face this rejection and remain steady and strong.

The Charge Up Your Confidence Tool Kit is a good place to start. Our award-winning Confidence Tool Kit teaches necessary tools to repair child confidence. The Tool Kit can also help you begin supportive and realistic conversations with your child about what went wrong. Despite the emotional wound of leaving camp early, a child needs to be able to face criticism calmly, learn from his or her mistakes, deal with self-criticism, survive embarrassment, and maintain a positive healthy self-image. All of these tools and many more are addressed in the Confidence Tool Kit, for children in grades K-12.

Some children may have been asked to leave camp due to anxiety or extreme homesickness. For these youngsters, try our nationally-recognized Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids, which teaches children skills to master their anxiety about being away from home.

The emotional trauma of leaving sleepaway camp unfinished is hard for children. You can help turn it into a learning, growing experience. Practicing confidence tools and worry-fighting tools is a smart way to get children on the road to feeling better and can help prepare them for the next summer.

July 8th, 2010

Accidents and Emotional Healing in Children

Kids are outdoors more often in the summer months. All kinds of unforeseen accidents can happen, ranging from sports injuries, car accidents, cooking accidents, to accidents at camp or on vacation. Families are often in an emergency mode when an accident takes place. They may have to go to the emergency room, see their child’s doctor, or provide home care.

Despite one’s best efforts, accidents happen.
Here are some important facts about childhood accidents in the U. S. Every year, the most common injuries are falls, accounting for more than 2 million emergency visits. Three and a half million children ages 14 and younger are treated for sports injuries. More than 775,000 of these youngsters are treated in the ER. Playground injuries hurt 200,000 children and 285,000 are treated for bicycle accidents. Car accidents account for 250,000 childhood injuries.

After the bone is set, stitches sewn, medication dispensed, medical tests completed, and reassuring words offered, the time for emotional healing begins. There may be physical pain associated with the accident, but the emotional pain is just as real and may take even longer to heal. After an accident, it is important to listen carefully and observe your child’s behavior. Do you notice any changes or concerns? For example, is your child crying more than usual? Is he or she afraid to participate in activities that were involved in the accident, such as driving in a car or playing on the playground?

If you do notice changes, your child will benefit from learning resilience skills. Resilience helps young people cope and recover from the emotional trauma of a physical injury. Our award-winning Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit for Kids may provide the solution you and your child need at this difficult time. The Tool Kit teaches smart and reassuring strategies to conquer the spectrum of emotional responses when a child is injured. There are specific tools to deal with sadness, guilt, and anger – all common reactions when dealing with the stress of an accident. In addition, our Resilience Tool Kit includes activities for children and teens, to stop flashbacks, deal with bad dreams, think about their future in hopeful ways, and maintain a positive self-image.

The Resilience Tool Kit, developed by experts, comes in two editions, one for children 5-11, and the other for young people ages 11- 18. The childhood trauma of accidents can be eased by acquiring powerful coping strategies to help kids stay steady and strong.

June 26th, 2010

Facing Fears in A Way That’s Fun and Really Works

Summer is here and with all that pressure-free time, it may be surprising that many children’s fears are back in full force. Some children worry about upcoming shots at the pediatrician’s office. Others may be afraid of bees or flying insects at the athletic field. Some kids hate summer storms and get frightened as skies darken. Some youngsters are afraid of the water and constantly protest about swimming lessons. There are kids that dread the family vacation because flying in a plane makes them really uneasy.

Overcoming childhood fears is a part of growing up. Many families want strategies and tools to help children and teens deal with fears quickly and effectively. Just telling your child, You have to face your fears, is not enough. There has to be a sound plan that makes sense to the child and builds lasting skills in an empowering way.

There is such a plan now available that can work and is appealing to children at the same time. The plan is called The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids. The Tool Kit contains 20 powerful tools and activities for children and teens to fight worry and diminish anxiety in children. It is designed for all kids in grades K-12, not just nervous children and kids, because fear is a common occurrence.

The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit teaches children skills to immediately stop fear from growing, help children use strong and accurate thoughts, stop constant worry about fears that usually never happen, make powerful rules to control worry, and use mind and body relaxation strategies. All of these anti-anxiety activities can start working right away to prevent kids and teens worry from interfering with summer fun. Now you can tell your child, It’s important to face your fears and we have a plan to help.

June 16th, 2010

The Gulf Oil Disaster Images Hurt Kids

Children have been bombarded with horrific images of the Gulf oil disaster. Pelicans covered in oil, tar balls rolling in with the waves, and beaches turning dark with oil are only a few of the heartbreaking pictures of the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history. Anxiety in children grows as they see these potent images day after day.

Kids and teens worry about what will happen next and may express some of these legitimate concerns: Will the animals die? Will the oil come to where I live or visit? What will happen to the fish? Is it dangerous? Will grown-ups be able to fix this?

Parents want to know how to help their children cope with the emotional trauma of the Gulf oil disaster. There is a new approach to teaching children skills which can strengthen them when dealing with stress of trauma and loss, such as this latest American tragedy. The skills that can help young people cope are called resilience skills, and there are 20 of these powerful skills in the award-winning Build UpYour Resilience Tool Kit for Kids™. The Tool Kit teaches children and teens in grades K-12 strategies to deal with anxiety about their future, cope with change and loss, lessen the power of scary images, manage their worries about grown-ups, and handle feelings of sadness, fear, and anger.

There are two editions of the Resilience Tool Kit. The Elementary School Edition for ages 5-11 is an interactive experience between children and their parents or other adults. Children benefit greatly when an adult learns resilience tools too. Clearly, the Gulf oil disaster has had an enormous impact on adults as well as entire communities. Adults can benefit too from learning resilience tools, as they help guide the child. The High School/Middle School Edition of the Resilience Tool Kit for ages 11-18 is more sophisticated, and designed to address the specific needs of this older age group. Children and teens directly affected by the Gulf Oil Disaster, as well as young people anxious about its impact can learn to navigate this latest challenge in a strong and hopeful manner.

June 6th, 2010

Rumors: Building Confidence Helps Kids Handle Them

If your child has had a rumor spread about him or her, you know how devastating that can feel. Today, with technology at kids’ fingertips, rumors can spread quickly and get further distorted in nanoseconds. Rumors are often experienced as a blow to children’s self-esteem, even if there is no truth to them whatsoever.

Parents and family can be a big support to children when they are sent into a rumor tailspin. It’s a good idea to help your child under- respond when a rumor takes hold and to remind your child of his or her strengths. Pay attention to your child’s confidence level, which can often dip during this time. Sometimes a rumor can especially sting because the child may wonder if it started as a betrayal from a friend.

The origins of rumors are sometimes hard to trace. What is important is to learn confidence activities and tools to protect kids’ self-esteem from further damage.

Building self-confidence skills can help buffer kids from getting out of control when faced with cruel and embarrassing rumors. The Charge Up your Confidence Tool Kit for Kids helps children in grades K-12 keep confidence steady and strong. The Tool Kit includes activities for children and teens to handle criticism, focus on one’s positive attributes, deal with imperfection and embarrassment, pay attention to one’s own views and opinions, learn from mistakes, and block negative self-defeating thoughts. These important child confidence skills are needed to weather the storm of nasty rumors.

May 19th, 2010

Sick and Scared: Coping Strategies to Help Kids When They Don’t Feel Well

Children can become frightened and worried when they don’t feel well, even if it’s a routine illness. Children may have lots of worried thoughts such as:
•What if I get worse?
•Maybe it’s something serious.
•I have a ton of work in school. I’ll never be able to catch up.
•I won’t be able to play sports for a while and I’m afraid I’ll lose my position on the team.

Children and teens need tender loving care from their families when they are ill and also may require the expertise of their doctor. When children have repeated worried thoughts about not feeling well, they may need to learn strong coping strategies to help their minds when their bodies are not quite right.

While it is certainly understandable that kids and teens worry when they are sick, some of their worries and scared thoughts may actually make them feel worse. To reduce the anxiety in children that often accompanies routine illnesses, kids need to think in accurate, realistic, and self-supportive ways. Here are a few examples of accurate anti-anxiety thoughts that help children worry less:
•I may feel bad right now, but I will feel better soon.
•I know I’ll get better because I am bring treated, my doctor and family are helping me.
•I can do my part by resting and taking good care of myself.

There is a new way to reduce anxiety in children when they worry about being sick with common illnesses. The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids® is for all kids and teens in grades K-12. Developed by experts, the Tool Kit teaches the best thinking and behaving tools to fight all kinds of anxious thoughts. Kids learn how to keep fear from growing, think realistically when worry spikes, distract their minds, calm their bodies, and stop imagining the worst case scenarios. These tools can be learned and applied quickly to provide emotional relief to kids who need to let their bodies do the work of getting better.

May 5th, 2010

Times Square NY Car Bomb Threat Can Scare Children

This time the terrorist threat had a good outcome thanks to the quick actions of many New York heroes from regular citizens to law enforcement. While we are breathing a sigh of relief, the recent car bomb threat in Times Square can trigger nagging questions in the minds of children and teens.

Kids may be wondering, Am I safe? My family goes to NY all the time. I’ve seen the Lion King. That was right near the car with the bomb. What if this happened where I live? Today’s kids and teens worry about safety and security frequently since it directly impacts their lives. This can stir up feelings of anxiety in children.

If your child is worried about this recent threat or what might happen in the future, there is an emotional first aid kit now available to directly address these concerns. The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids, developed by experts, for all children in grades K-12, includes 20 powerful strategies to fight worried thoughts about terrorism and other scary possibilities. In just one week, the anti-anxiety activities for children and teens teach them to become experts in stopping worried thoughts from getting out of control. The Tool Kit can help kids master the most effective thinking and behaving tools to stop imagining terrifying outcomes, think in accurate and realistic ways, understand the concept of probability, and use their minds and bodies to stop worries in their tracks.

We applaud the intelligent and swift actions of all our heroes behind the scenes who foiled this latest terrorist plan. See how the Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit can help children and families control worried thoughts and fears of terrorism.

May 2nd, 2010

Do You Have A Child Who Worries About Death?

Do you have a child who worries about death? This can be very distressing for parents. At times, many children worry about dying and often can’t get it out of their minds. This is not an uncommon worry today, in part due to the child’s own vulnerabilities as well as exposure to all kinds of media. Kids and teens worry about their own death or the death of a loved one, even when no one is ill. Yet they are still afraid.

Fear of dying can cause anxiety in children and can be triggered by something they have seen or heard, as well as their own internal thoughts. Oftentimes, thoughts about death intensify at night and interfere with everyone’s sleep. Many parents want to help their children with this fear. Excessive reassurance does little to quell the fear. At first, many parents may react with sympathy and understanding, but as time goes on, this can develop into a battle, with the child constantly seeking reassurance that no one in the family will die.

There is an effective method to help children and teens control their worry and lower their fears. On the very first day of using The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids, they can learn strong strategies to stop anxious thoughts from getting out of control. The Tool Kit includes powerful anti-anxiety activities that help children think accurately and realistically, essential to blocking repeated thoughts about death. Our signature tool, The Popcorn Tool, uses the best thinking strategy to finally put an end to worries about situations that are very unlikely to happen. Children who have frequent thoughts about death are actually practicing negative thinking and imagining terrifying events that are highly improbable. The Popcorn Tool as well as others in the Tool Kit teaches them how to immediately stop practicing these negative thoughts. The Worry Tool Kit, designed for young people in grades K-12, uses an appealing, original format that children find comforting, fun, and easy to learn. All the strategies and activities for children and teens can be learned in just one week. With practice, they will know how to outsmart one of the scariest fears that haunt many children.

April 26th, 2010

I’m Not Invited To The Party

Picture this scenario. Your 12 year old daughter comes home from school, is hysterical, and between sobs announces she wasn’t invited to a party she desperately wants to attend. Or, imagine this situation. Your 9 year old son, who isn’t the best athlete in the world, is not invited to a sports birthday party. You’re not sure if he knows about it, but you’ve heard through the parent grapevine about the party.

In fact, between 10 and 13 percent of all children experience some form of social rejection. Parents can help significantly when a child or teen is faced with being left out. In the hypothetical case of the 12 year old girl who was excluded, first let her express her fears, disappointment, anger, and doubts. Don’t act judgmental, be overly critical of those who rejected her, or blame her. Later, try to help sort out her contribution, if any, to the situation. Help her critically examine the group who excluded her. And finally, explore future options, such as other friends and acquaintances as well as school and community activities she can join, but overlooked. Don’t insist she take any steps rights away. Your job is to plant seeds, so she can evaluate them when she is ready.

In the case of the 9 year old boy who wasn’t invited to a sports birthday party, it may be a conversation you never have with him, especially if he has no knowledge of the party. Certainly, if he brings it up, listen, be supportive, and help him problem-solve possible solutions.

Very often when children experience social rejection, it is a blow to kids’ self-esteem. There is a brand new way to help restore child confidence, especially when young people receive a social wound. Children and teens, in grades K-12 can quickly learn essential confidence activities and skills, by using the Charge Up Your Confidence Tool Kit for Kids. Self-esteem activities children require such as recognizing their unique attributes, handling mistakes, recovering from criticism, and dealing with change are just a few of the strategies in the Tool Kit. These skills are precisely what are needed in the face of social rejection, to protect children’s self-esteem from further damage. The Tool Kit comes in an Elementary School Edition, which would help the 9 year old boy not invited to the sports party. The Charge Up Your Confidence Tool Kit also comes in a High School/Middle School Edition, ideally suited to help the 12 year old who was left out.

April 14th, 2010

Emotional Skills Help Children Get Ready for Sleepaway Camp

Parents often imagine the many wonderful opportunities that await their child at sleepaway camp. New friendships, water sports, healthy competition, zip lines, performing on stage, canoe trips, singing at campfires – the list is endless. All of these activities can lead to increased self-confidence, one of the principal goals of the sleepaway camp experience.

Some children adjust to summer camp like a duck to water. For other children though, nagging doubts begin to creep in their minds in the months before camp starts. Some children may express concerns about their confidence, such as, What if I have no friends? Maybe I won’t be good at anything. I hope the kids in my bunk don’t make fun of me. Other children may worry, What if I get homesick? or What if I feel scared at night?

It’s not just first time campers who question their confidence or feel afraid when they go away to camp. Even seasoned campers can have setbacks and fears.
Parents too have their own concerns and may wonder how their child will be able to handle saying good-bye, deal with the first few nights away, or remain strong on visiting day.

There is a new way to get ready for the ups and downs of camp by giving children skills to keep kids self-esteem steady as well as lessen anxiety in children. The Charge Up Your Confidence Tool Kit for Kids helps kids become experts in child confidence by teaching strategies to handle mistakes responsibly, get through critical comments from others, recognize one’s own strengths, and deal with imperfection and embarrassment. The Outsmart Your Worry Tool Kit for Kids helps kids think in strong and accurate ways, challenge and take charge of worries, and stop rehearsing negative thoughts and fears. These are only a few of the confidence activities and worry-fighting strategies in our Tool Kits. They are exactly what are needed to help children in grades K-12 have a successful sleepaway camp experience.

The activities for children and teens in our Tool Kits have won prestigious parenting awards because they are fun, easy to learn, and quickly help child confidence grow and anxiety in children diminish. At the end of the summer, parents want their child to say, This was the best summer ever! Give children powerful emotional life tools to make this happen.

April 5th, 2010

I Hate How I Look: A Concern Even For Young Kids

In this age of extreme makeovers and a hyper-focus on physical appearance and thinness, it is not surprising that body image concerns affect children as young as 6 or 7. Many believe the media, with its emphasis on physical perfection, contributes to the increasing concern about outward appearance in much younger children. For years, anxiety about body image has been common among teenagers, and is sometimes linked with more serious problems, such as eating disorders, compulsive exercising, and an inappropriate way of bulking up.

Now it’s not just teens that need attention, but elementary school children as well, including both girls and boys. Many parents wonder what they can do to help their children feel comfortable in their own skin. For starters, if your child is overly focused on their appearance, discuss realistic ways of being active and eating balanced foods to keep bodies healthy. This helps kids achieve their own personal best. Pay attention how the issue of attractiveness and weight is addressed at home. Make discussions about peer relationships a routine part of family discussions. Sometimes kids are teased by other children about having a big nose, or being fat or too skinny. This can be especially hurtful and a reassuring discussion with a parent can be invaluable.

Many parents make the connection between children who are overly worried about their appearance with a lack of kids’ self-esteem. There is a new approach to boosting child confidence. The Charge Up Your Confidence Tool Kit for Kids, developed by experts, teaches 20 powerful tools to keep children’s self-esteem steady and strong. The confidence activities are easy to learn, uses language kids understand, and are presented in a sleek, appealing design. Tools such as Finding Your Hidden Treasures, helps kids discover what makes them special. The Trying Trophy tool, reminds children that effort is what really counts. Children learn to focus on the positive, instead of absorbing the negative, and find effective ways to deal with both internal and external criticism. The self-esteem activities children learn helps kids when self-confidence dips with concerns about attaining physical perfection. The Tool Kit comes in two editions, one for elementary school children ages 5 to 11, and a more sophisticated version for high school and middle school kids, ages 11-18.

It’s hard growing up today. The Charge Up Your Confidence Tool Kit, gives kids in grades K-12 strategies to deal with mistakes, criticism, imperfection, and embarrassment – all tools necessary to work on inner beauty.

March 21st, 2010

March is Not Just About Basketball: It’s Time for Youth Sports

For many sports enthusiasts, March Madness is an exciting time to watch countless hours of college basketball. For many children, teens, and their parents, March is also an exciting time when Spring youth sports begin. In fact, every year 50 million children and teens in the US are involved in some form of organized sports.

There are many valuable life lessons to be learned from participating in team sports. Kids can improve their athletic skills, become physically fit, be part of a cooperative team effort, learn about competition in a healthy way, and develop new friendships.

For some children and teens, however, Spring sports can be a time of disappointments and doubts. Some children may not make the team they want, spend most of the time on the bench, make mistakes, get teased, or feel embarrassed and worried about their athletic performance. This can be especially disheartening for young people, who view disappointments in sports as a major crush to their self-esteem.

It’s not uncommon for children to burst into tears after a game, get angry, consider quitting, blame others, or believe they are the worst player. Many parents worry that these reactions can lead to a loss of confidence and damage children’s self-esteem.

There is a new innovative skill-building approach to preserve child confidence, even in the face of athletic disappointments. The Charge Up Your Confidence Tool Kit for Kids teaches children skills to keep kid’s self-esteem steady and strong. The Tool Kit includes confidence activities for children and teens to deal with criticism from others, handle self-criticism, learn from mistakes, value effort, and recognize one’s own unique strengths. These skills empower children and help them handle the emotional and social challenges of athletic competition with strength and confidence.

March 9th, 2010

When A Grandparent is Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease

Grandchildren suffer too when their grandparent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The bond between a grandchild and a grandparent often is a loving and stabilizing force in a young person’s development. When this relationship changes drastically, as is the case in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, it can be especially threatening to a child or adolescent.

There are now 5.3 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. Many diagnosed with the disease are grandparents. Families are faced with an emotional trauma when they are dealing with a loved one with the disease, because of the deteriorating changes in memory, thinking, and behavior. Recently, there has been attention to supporting caregivers, such as spouses or grown children. This is clearly a step forward in the treatment of the disease, which does not just affect the patient, but entire families as well.

Grandchildren need attention too. After all, these youngsters may be losing someone they could always count on to play games, discuss sports, celebrate birthdays, bake cookies, or listen attentively about school achievements. For many children, this may be their first experience with loss, and it is being played out slowly over time. What is also upsetting for young people is that the family is dealing with stress and the child’s parent might not be as readily available. During this time, kids often worry about their own parents as well as other family members. Some youngsters may experience this as a childhood trauma and have trouble adjusting to their day-to-day routines.

You may want to find resources to get your child help with feelings of sadness, worry, and fear, all understandable reactions when a grandparent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. There is a new approach to teaching children skills to deal with these tough situations. The Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit for Kids™ strengthen kids in difficult times by teaching 20 powerful resilience skills. Children and teens in grades K-12 learn thinking and behavior strategies to cope with change and loss, deal with worries about grown-ups, and stay connected with others. These are only a few of the resilience tools in the Tool Kit, which come in two editions, one for children 5 to 11, and the other for young people ages 11 to 18. Losing a grandparent to Alzheimer’s is difficult. Resilience tools can help grandchildren with this profound loss.

March 1st, 2010

Violence in the Schools: Helping Kids with its Emotional Impact

It’s been nearly 11 years since Columbine. Many young people in high school and middle school today do not know about the massacre at Columbine on April 20, 1999. They may be vaguely familiar with the shootings at Virginia Tech, and in their minds may dismiss this horrific incident since it was in a college setting. Young people will inevitably learn about Columbine, a suburban high school setting with a low likelihood of violence, and may ask, Could this happen in my school?

Even though extreme violence is rare, violence in all schools is still cause for alarm and not just limited to inner-city schools. Every year in the United States, there are 3 million crimes on school grounds, 9,000 fires, and hundreds of thousands of students who are injured. Recent annual reports indicate that 1.5 million students ages 12 to 18 have been victims of non-fatal crimes, such as theft and fighting. In high school, 10% of all boys and 5% of all girls have been threatened with a weapon. Bullying and threats of violence happen at the following rates – 21% of all elementary school children, 43% of middle school youngsters, and 22% of high school students.

Despite the many efforts to prevent school violence and keep kids safe at school, these events still occur and leave many young people dealing with stress and emotional trauma. Direct victims of attack often feel depressed, angry, terrified, and sometimes ashamed. Young people who witness violence or hear about it at their school, often called secondary victims, also suffer. These youngsters report feelings of anxiety, worry, and insecurity.

There is a new and effective approach to helping teenagers and children cope with the childhood trauma of violence. Learning resilience skills is an essential way to empower children after a traumatic event, such as violence. The Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit for Kids™ teaches skills to young people in grades K-12 who have been dealing with conflict and violence. Direct victims of violence as well as secondary victims of attacks can have flashbacks, bad dreams, and hopelessness about their future. The Build Up Your Resilience™ Tool Kit provides activities for children and teens to help them deal with these concerns in an accurate and hopeful manner. Also included are powerful strategies to manage intense feelings of sadness, anger, fear, and guilt, all understandable reactions to violent events.

The Build up Your Resilience Tool Kit for Kids™ comes in two editions. The High School/Middle School Edition is specifically designed to teach high school and middle skills, using language and concepts that young people can easily learn, understand, and remember. The Elementary School version teaches elementary school skills in a way that make sense to younger children, ages 5 to 11.

February 22nd, 2010

Resilience Skills Help Children Cope With Divorce

Parents worry about the impact of divorce on their children. The divorce process can be an emotional trauma for children, involving physical separation from one parent, legal proceedings, visitation and custody negotiations, monetary concerns, and sometimes moving and re-locating. Even after the divorce is completed, children coping with divorce are faced with new challenges, such as introduction of parent’s love interest, and perhaps a new marriage, blended family arrangements, or birth of a new sibling. Any or all of these can be tinged with pain, sadness, anger, or behavior problems for the children involved.

Every year, over one million more children in the United States will be dealing with stress as a result of divorce. At least 40% of all children will be part of a divorcing family before turning 18. Many parents are concerned about the short-term and long-term effects of divorce on their children. Overall, research shows many emotional, social, and academic problems in the early stages of divorce. There are mixed results about long-term effects regarding children and divorce. Research consistently indicates that high-stress divorces, dealing with conflict and frequent legal maneuverings result in a poor outcome for children.

A key factor in determining children’s favorable adjustment during and after divorce is resilience. Resilience helps young people bounce back from the worst of times. Resilient children accommodate to change and handle overwhelming feelings of grief, guilt, and anger. Fortunately, resilience skills can be learned.

There is a new and effective method for teaching resilience skills to children and teenagers. The Build Up Your Resilience Tool Kit for Kids™ helps young people in grades K-12 develop thinking and behaving skills to cope with the many changes and childhood trauma associated with divorce. Kids learn tools to manage feelings of over-responsibility, sadness, and anger – all very common reactions in divorce. There are also tools to help kids coping with divorce feel hopeful and confident about their future. Children who learn these resilience skills are able to manage the emotional difficulties of divorce and have fewer behavior problems than children who are not resilient.

The Build Up Your Resilience™ tool kit comes in two editions, one for elementary school children ages 5 to 11, and the other for high school and middle school teens, ages 11 to 18. Give your children skills, which will strengthen their resilience and help them adjust before, during, and after divorce.

Tool Kits for Kids LLC
www.toolkitsforkids.com

February 10th, 2010

Child Confidence and the Initiative Against Child Obesity

Tool Kits for Kids™ applauds our First Lady, Michelle Obama and her program on reducing childhood obesity. The creation of a federal task force to address this problem is a giant step in helping the 32% of children and adolescents who are overweight.

Mrs. Obama’s program involves four major “pillars”
• Educating parents about nutrition and exercise
• Improving the quality of food in schools
• Making healthy foods more affordable
• Focus on Physical Education

Tool Kits for Kits would like to add another dimension to this wonderful initiative on childhood obesity – Confidence. Many kids find it hard to say no to a second helping or to appealing junk foods It’s also hard to make exercise a part of everyday life when you don’t feel like doing it and when “screens” are so appealing. Confidence can help!

Building confidence and boosting self esteem in young people is an effective way to help them develop a positive identity and a healthy body image. Confident children feel good about themselves and are willing to try new things. Confident children and adolescents are able to say no to unhealthy food temptations and to hours spent sitting down watching TV or playing video games. When children feel good about themselves, they are better able to work towards the goals of healthy eating and healthy exercise.

The Build Up Your Confidence Tool Kit for Kids® helps young people develop the confidence they need to be successful at healthy eating and healthy exercise. Adding child confidence to the fight against childhood obesity will insure even greater levels of success.

February 3rd, 2010

Math Drives Me Crazy

Math anxiety plagues many elementary, middle, and high school students. Math fears can extend past high school to the college years and beyond. Some adults still have vivid math dreams of being ill-prepared, embarrassed, and terrified.

It’s not uncommon to hear today’s kids say, I hate math. Yet, mathematical skills are viewed as central to the success of our next generation. It is well-known that the U.S. lags behind other nations in math, but did you know it ranks 32nd internationally in math scores?

Tough math exams, repetitive test preparation, complex math homework, and word problems can lead children and teens to exclaim, Math drives me crazy. If kids believe they stink at math, they may stop challenging themselves. Parents can help with these math concerns in three important ways. First, families can make rudimentary concepts of math fun and part of a child’s daily environment. Teach card games, especially those loaded with tracking numbers. Depending upon the child’s skill level, play complex board games, and have the child be the banker. Cook together and use recipes that call for measurements. If your child loves sports, encourage tracking sports stats.

Second, consult with your child’s teacher to determine which math skills need work. Perhaps the child needs extra help after class or requires individual tutoring. Math is a cumulative skill that requires lots of practice in order to make the fundamentals automatic. Tentative math students require encouragement, so praise your child’s efforts.

Third, your child or teen may also benefit from learning confidence skills to help them face math class. Lots of kids secretly believe that if they are lousy at math, they aren’t really smart. The Charge Up Your Confidence® Tool Kit for Kids™ is a new approach to teaching children skills to boost confidence and self-esteem. The confidence Tool Kit helps kids deal with mistakes, feelings of failure, criticism from others as well as self-criticism. They also learn to recognize their strengths and feel proud of their accomplishments. All of these skills are central when a youngster’s self-esteem has been hurt by poor math performance. The Charge Up Your Confidence® Tool Kit is designed for grades K-12, and comes in two editions, one for kids in elementary school and the other for young people in high school and middle school. Children may not become crazy about math overnight, but they may no longer say, Math drives me crazy. That’s a step in the right direction.

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.