Author: chattergirls

Choosing the right camp for your daughter

There are many summer camp offerings ever year. How to choose which one is best for your child? Is one better than the other or are they all just the same?

Here are some ideas to consider when choosing a camp. Parents need to decide what is best for your child. They also want to get the best value.

First of all, your child should have some say in the camp they are going to. Talk directly to your child about going to summer camp. And really listen to her. Is this her first time, or are she a seasoned veteran? What were her experiences at other camps?

Talk with other moms. Listen to what they have to say. Learn from their experiences. Talk with your child to see if she wants to attend a certain camp with a close friend.

Your child’s participation in selecting what camps they want is important. Have them check websites or social media and let them talk with other girls to hear what they have to say about camps they’ve gone to.

What are her current interests? What about her interests throughout the school year; have they changed or have they been consistent?

Look at the actives she participated in during the school year. Does she want to improve? Are there other things she might want to learn more about? It might be sports, music or something else.

She might be very good at playing the violin, or she is great at soccer. Those are the things she probably feels most confident about. What about other areas of her life? Wouldn’t be great to see your daughter more confident, more self-assured, and more able to handle tough social situations?

Maybe, just maybe, her focus is on how she sees herself. Does she like herself, or not so much? Is she lacking confidence or social skills? Maybe she does feel good about herself, but maybe not. I find most girls benefit from a little help with their self-esteem. Wouldn’t you like her to look into the mirror and like who is looking back?

There are differences in camps offered. We want to tell you some of what makes us different.

Here at Chatter Girls, we believe how you daughter feels about herself can affect every area of her life. A specific interest, no matter how passionate she may be about it, often does not bridge the confidence gap into other areas of her life.

The feedback we get from girls who complete Chatter Girls is outstanding. We interview every girl and their parents. Girls consistently say they feel better about them-selves and are more confident to handle life in general.

You have many opportunities for Summer Camp. Making it fit your children needs, and yours, will make for a great summer.

 

Kristen Bennet Advisory Board Member Mom of a ChatterGirl

Kristen Bennet a member of ChatterGirls advisory Board. 

Her daughter was a participant in the Chatter Girls program last year.

Kristen is originally from the south suburbs of Chicago and went to college at NIU. She taught Spanish in Barrington for 14 years until my youngest was born in 2013. She is the mother of a son who is 11 and daughters who are 8 and 5. In her free time she enjoys hiking, biking, and going to the beach. Her extended family included two dogs and love hanging out at home with her family.

Please Check  out her interview on our Facebook page. 4/30/2018

Rise above the Chatter

We all have Chatter in our minds; thoughts that come in to our head without us consciously choosing them. Some of the thoughts are from the past and some from the present.

Young woman in the sky standing on a rock with divorced hands

I’m talking about the judgments we have about ourselves or what others have said. Some of those thoughts are negative and others are positive.
Take a minute and think of a negative thought you still hold on to from childhood. Can you still see it in your mind? Does it sometimes creep into your thoughts at times without you wanting it to?
Now, counter the negative thought. Let a thought of a wonderful experience you had as a child enter your mind; one that you still reflect on positively. The feelings associated with the positive thought are completely different.
Negative Chatter does not have to travel through our minds for our entire lifetime. We can change it, we have the power to change the negative chatter.
Working with girls in my Chatter Girls Program I hear many of the girls talk about negative thoughts controlling their lives; from being bullied, to other negative experiences at home and school.
Negative thoughts (Chatter) can be controlled, changed and transformed.
Below are 3 ways to help your child Change the Chatter.
1. Start the day with a positive affirmation, have her write one on her bathroom mirror, or a prominent place in her room or she can use an affirmation app on her smart phone. In my book I provide 30 affirmations to start the process to empower your daughter.
2. Talk with her about a positive outcome for something she might be dealing with today; such as a test or a performance at school, or her interactions with friends at a sleepover. Be aware of your child’s expectations. She might be expecting too much from herself. Help her focus on the positive of situations. Don’t completely ignore the negative, but highlight the positive. All situations can have something positive about it.
3. Checking in with your daughter after an event immediately afterwards is important. Provide support and encouragement. Also check in with her about it a week or so after an event. Make sure they aren’t holding on to negative thoughts in their mind. Provide support and encouragement. Help her focus on the positive. This focus on your daughter’s strengths will empower her and help her change the chatter.

The Masks Children Wear

 

When we think of a child wearing a mask, most of the time we think fun; make believe, Halloween, or Mardi Gras. Pretending and using their imagination.

Wearing a mask can also be something that protects us.  It can be a way of coping with fears, anxieties and insecurities. It can help us from being bullied or worse.

 A mask can protect us from secrets or it can foster secrets. It can protect us from being mistreated. But wearing a mask can sometime be a burden, be uncomfortable and block our true selves.

As a child an artificial mask might be a fake smile, or it can be exhibited as anxiety, quietness, or even lying.

I remember as a child my masks began with a smile. It wasn’t a real smile, but I hid behind it. No one knew how I really felt inside. I would be Hoping it would help me make it through the day.

Maybe you are feeling your child is showing signs of hiding behind a mask; not showing their true selves.

 

Things to look for;

  1. Do they have friends? How do they interact with classmates?
  2. When you hear conservations with friends or observing how they act with their friends. Do you see their true self or do their words and actions seem put on, do they put on a mask or do they seem to show what you believe to be their genuine self.
  3. Pay attention to if they are gossiping or if you think they are being bullied.
  4. Pay attention when you have discussions with teachers for more than just how they are doing academically Ask for your child’s teacher evaluation on how your child participates with other children.

 

Ways to help them remove the mask and celebrate their uniqueness.

  1. Encourage playdates that will help them communicate with their peers. Keep the focus on smaller groups so they don’t get overwhelmed or too anxious. Smaller groups can nurture success.
  2. Provide opportunities to shine in an activities or clubs. Encourage them to take risks and praise them when they are successful.

The more successful they are being their genuine self the faster the protective mask will come off.

Sometimes our children are hiding because they actually do not want to shine in front of others. Some children are embarrassed and they keep quiet about it.

By encouraging accomplishments, it reinforces their strengths and improves the possibility of removing their mask. Let them know it is ok to be unique and to shine.

 

As a child, wearing a mask should be something done out of a sense of fun not due to a need for protection.

 

“Removing my mask shows courage. It takes time.

I work at daily and as I do, I grow stronger.”

 

A Mirror is more than a reflection

What does a mirror signify to your daughter? For me as a young girl, it signified the negative appearance and thoughts I carried with me each day. The mirror was something I avoided.

For today’s young girls the mirror is not the only reflection she has of herself. She also has to struggle with smartphones and social media. The difference for today’s young girls is the vulnerability can be instant and often cannot be removed.

Today’s technology can deliver bullying that is relentless and powerful. It is hard enough moving through puberty, but the abuse from others can sometimes be debilating.

It is as if we have looked in the mirror and let someone else tell us what we look like and who we are.

Instead, what if there is an opportunity to look beyond that mirror and see who we can be, moving beyond the judgements?

I work with the girls in my ChatterGirls program and provide them with potent tools that go beyond the mirror, the smartphone or the social media. I empower them to find their own strengths that make a difference in their life’s journey.

 

“As I think about the image that I see in the mirror, I will remember that does not reflect the person within. I have power to change, as well as to accept and embrace myself for who I am.”

Alicia Birong

9 Secrets to an Excellent Spring Break with the Family

Family dynamics are tricky, but it’s important to appreciate your family’s quirks and treat your time together as a wonderful opportunity to relax and renew, rather as a source of stress.

Whether you’re taking a trip or remaining home for a staycation, we’ve put together a few tips on how to prepare and cope. These may just make you the star of Spring Break!

Staycation

  1. Unplug- decide that you won’t be tied to your device! If work calls, answer, but otherwise, just use your camera to capture moments and that is a great present for Christmas a book of Spring break weather home or on a trip
  2. Be present- set time aside for one on one time with your partner and children
  3. Establish a no TV rule and have maybe a board game time or create something
  4. Find time to spend with each child individually for a special experience of movie time, pedicure or even a walk.
  5. Learn something new or refresh an old skill– take a cooking class or go bowling or roller skating and of course a making new batch of slime is always good fun!

Trip

  1. Unplug!
  2. Agenda- create an agenda to manage expectations
  3. Don’t over plan- leave time open for family talks, walks and down time
  4. Each parent should try to do an activity with each child and their own time away from siblings. That individual attention is key to what each child takes away from the trip. Not everyone will want to hike or shop, so when possible, try to make a special trip with an individual child to address their interest.

Congratulations! You’re on your way to an AWESOME Spring Break.

If you find in your post-Spring Break recovery that you and your family are in need of some professional assistance to build a stronger family unit, please call us today to learn more about how our staff can help.

A Great Partner! Congratulations on 106 years!

This week is National Girl Scout Week and the focus is leading like a G.I.R.L, with a 5 day plan to maximize that initiative. We are proud to say that we’ve worked with Girl Scout troops and are a preferred partner of their organization.

We support the initiative across the country to provide leadership and empowerment training to our young women and pay it forward.

ChatterGirls know that they are at the core of change and are given the tools to positively contribute to their family, community and beyond. We focus in on activities and messages that support the CHATTER in ChatterGirls:

Celebrating

Happy

Aspiring

Truthful

Thoughtful

Empowered

Responsible

We love to partner with other groups whose mission is to empower our children with tools to be better today and every day of their lives.

Happy birthday Girl Scouts and congratulations on 106 years!

6 Simple Questions to Prevent Cyberbullying

It’s Teen Tech Week and with so many different forms of technology at teen’s fingers, it’s more important than ever to be informed of how they use them. More teens are using technology to express negative feelings, predominantly anger, and the backlash from this is long lasting and harmful to themselves and others.

Cyberbullying and all forms of teen to teen harassment is happening at a staggering rate:

*68% of teens agree that cyberbullying is a problem

*25-50% of teens report being cyberbullied or harassed by other teens

*41% of teens bullied are girls being bullied by other girls

*33% of those bullied report that the messages had escalated to threats

As we work towards balancing the benefits that technology can offer the youth of today in terms of education and communication, we need to be asking ourselves the following questions to ensure that we, as their protectors and advocates, are doing all we can for them.

  1. Do you know who your child is texting/messaging?
  2. Do you have the password/code and agreement to look at your child’s phone or tablet?
  3. Have you established restrictions on the duration of time and time of day they text?
  4. How much time is spent texting vs. one on one interaction?
  5. Do you know if your child has been cyberbullied? Do you know how to start that discussion?
  6. Does your child’s school have resources for preventing and addressing cyberbullying?

Being a parent in today’s technological environment is challenging! Make sure you’re available and interested in what your child does with the phone you give them.  You are also responsible for how it’s used and instilling appropriate boundaries for usage.

Be aware, be prepared and stay current on how technology and different sites/apps work.

A Day in the Life of an Empowerment Expert

I have the best job in the world but I never feel it is a job because it’s my passion!

ChatterGirls is the embodiment of my education and volunteering with, counseling and coaching children and adults and helping them claim their uniqueness.

January is always a wonderful reminder of all things new- new year, new resolutions and new goals! As a plan 2018 and look forward to making ChatterGirls available nationally, I reflect on how I developed the program and the work and hustle I have ahead to ensure that girls across the country experience this amazing program!

My days, as I’m sure are yours, are packed with ever-changing duties and priorities, but I always start my day with a few affirmations- some are my own which serve as a reminder of how I’ve shaped some of life’s negatives into positives and others from Oprah and Maya Angelou, that I’ve compiled over the years that speak to me.

I so appreciate my supporters and make sure that I stay on top of replying to inquiries about the program or my book. I’m a firm believer that you have to keep open lines to share in the learning process. I’ve received valuable feedback from those who’ve experienced ChatterGirls and it only helps to develop a stronger program.

My journey to empower others has run parallel with my own continued journey. Writing blogs, like this one, and talking with followers on Facebook, help me to share what I’m finding and often times, it can be a forum for bigger discussion.

I maintain a coaching practice for one on one assistance. Any time I’m able to work face to face with a client (or Skype), my day is significantly better! It’s an amazing feeling to educate and interact with girls and women who are finding their voice and making decisions that will impact their lives.

Tomorrow I’ll work on the business end of things, networking and reviewing a few marketing initiatives.

To teach others to be empowered means every day I must evaluate how I am empowering my self. Every day of my life I look at my grandchildren and am proud I can help them lead better, more empowered lives and be a part of life long change.

Cheers to another day of Changing the Chatter!

Empowering the Child in Your Life

We want every child to be the best they can be.

Empowering a child is a daily job. No matter what the age.

There are empowerment opportunities at every stage of development. This starts when your child begins to walk and you encourage that power with each step. As they begin school, the opportunities to learn and make friends present themselves and this is often times when a child experiences their first feeling of rejection. This is when we need to up our parenting game and go beyond what we’ve done thus far.

How do you encourage them to try again after failure or rejection?

We first have to continue to celebrate the wins and find better ways to deal with failures; both are growing steps no matter the age. Next, we have to know when to let go and have them step out on their own- this is hard for both parent and child but necessary. The days of choosing their friends and scheduling their every moment do come to an end.

It’s similar to when a child learns to ride their bike and you hold on less and less before they finally ride on their own. The most important thing that a child needs to know is that you will give your hand for assistance at any point it’s needed and no matter how old your child is. 

Encourage their uniqueness, support their successes and teach them ways to grow from the failures.