6 Easy Techniques for Parents to Calm Children’s Anxiety

Is anxiety effecting your child’s life?

Many children suffer from anxiety- 3 out of 4 children will experience it during development. Wow! And if left untreated, anxiety can become fear and then phobias.

So what does anxiety in a child look like?

A few things to look would be sleepless nights, upset stomachs, irritable bowel syndrome, bed wetting, nail biting or even trichotillomania.

Is your child finding it challenging to go to school and function, having difficulty in social situations or not interested in afterschool activities and interacting with classmates?

Keep in mind that anxiety affects children as young as 5 and can be linked with ADD/ADHD or depression.

If you see a child experiencing anxiety, what can you do to help?

For some children, as it is with adults, they are unable to control their mind and thus it becomes difficult to breathe and heart rate increases.

Slow down…

In my work with children as young as 4, I’ve seen the anxiety and there are ways to balance anxiety in everyday life.

These are suggestions but if you see your child not being able to manage life then I always suggest working with a professional.

  • Teaching children to understand their thoughts is essential.
  • Finding something that brings comfort and a sense of calm.
  • Help them create their space for processing, breathing, drawing or writing. Wherever it is, be aware of it so you can suggest it when things feel overwhelming for them. As a child, my space was on a swing, where I’d be able to be by myself and manage overwhelming feelings.
  • Make time to talk it out for them when they are ready to bring their issues and concerns to you. This is usually after they have gotten themselves in a calm space.
  • Talk about what makes them unique: loving, kind, thoughtful. Depending on the age of the child, these traits will change based on the value they apply to them.
  • Help them to let go of the negative feelings and replace them with daily positive reinforcement by writing positive words on their mirror or on a note each day.

If they learn to look at anxiety forming experiences individually and break them down, a child can see it does not have power.

Imagine anxiety as a box that has no bottom. The feelings keep going into the box and to a child, it never seems to stop. It never fills up. They just want to put the top on and run away but most cannot.

Embracing the box contents is scary but each time they choose not to put the anxiety in the box, it will give them the power inside for future.

All of us will experience some level of anxiety at some point in our lives. Finding what resets that feeling to calmness is unique to each of us.

Find what works for your child and don’t hesitate to reach out for support.

Celebrate Mentors Now and All Year Long

mentor is a wise and trusted guide and adviser.  But in some situations we get them confused with heroes.

A hero is a person distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength.

When I think of mentors in my life and in the ChatterGirls program, they often seem to be a hero as well, so I decided to dig a bit deeper.

In ChatterGirls we utilize mentors in each of the five themed sessions. These are young ladies who volunteer their time, who are over 16 years old, who have decided to share their experience, wisdom, challenges and confidence with the girls of ChatterGirls. They receive the trust from the young girls by sharing their personal stories and help the young girls share theirs. They guide the girls to seek within themselves and advise them of what could be different if they trusted themselves.

I’d consider these young ladies (ChatterGirls mentors) heroes because it takes great courage and strength to share your struggles. They do become idols to the ChatterGirls participants.

ChatterGirls gives every young girl an opportunity to have a mentor and hero! And to become one too!

Each mentor is my hero too because they give what no other can, themselves, and that helps the girls.

These mentors have gone on to study so that they may continue the work as mentors in so many other ways. Some mentors have gone on to study teaching, counseling and physical therapy.

Do you know a young women who could change a ChatterGirls life?

Please think about the mentors or heroes in your life. These are life changing relationships that can truly alter your state of mind and create new opportunities in every aspect of your life.

Are you a mentor? Are you someone’s hero? I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on how you can serve others in a positive role.

January is National Mentoring Month. Let’s honor our mentors and the role they’ve played in our world.

The New Year Must Have of 2018: ChatterGirls!

Happy 2018 – The year of ChatterGirls!

It’s a new year and here at ChatterGirls, we will celebrate 5 years of successful experiences with of over 100 girls graduating from the program.

Before moving forward this year, let’s see who is a ChatterGirl? The simple answer is, EVERY girl is a ChatterGirl! We’ve enjoyed working with girls with the ability to dig deep and find the strength within to be the strong women of the future. Cheerleaders, scouts, a challenged student, a shy girl, an avid reader and others, have passed through our door and left as true ChatterGirls.

ChatterGirl graduates are girls seeking to better their world and the one around them for others and these young ladies serve as ambassadors for self-esteem.

Where can you find a ChatterGirl? Anywhere! And in 2018, we are working to have graduates across the country. This year promises to be an exciting one, with growth and change. As we expand into new regions, new schools, camps and other organizations, we look forward to meeting new program facilitators and appreciate our current ChatterGirls family of support.

Please contact us if you’d like to bring our life-changing program to your area!

Looking Forward to an Awesome New Year!

It’s almost the end of 2017 and I’m so excited for 2018 with so many new things in place.

In 2017 we had the opportunity to meet and empower more girls in the ChatterGirls way and we’ve now reached over 100 graduates!

We teamed up with a local youth center to train mentors for the program and we are so impressed with the work they did with the ChatterGirls program- I could not of done it without them! We are proud to work with such fantastic young ladies.

With the guidance and support of my Advisory Board and team, we are expanding ChatterGirls in 2018.

I traveled to Texas to talk about ChatterGirls at the National Afterschool Association’s annual conference and begin increasing the program’s exposure to the world.

Expanding the program brings exciting new things like Facebook works, weekly blogs, and Facebook Lives and preparing our site for a Webinar focus in early 2018.

With the opportunity to be hosted by Baxter Credit Union and the McHenry Mental Board office, for our summer and fall sessions, we felt our community behind us.

For me personally I know I am blessed with a team, Advisory Board, community and family who believe in the mission of ChatterGirls.

Speaking with experts in their regarded fields and them sharing the expertise with me has allowed us to trademark and sell the program!

I am proud to be the creator of ChatterGirls and have the opportunity to teach young girls to feel empowered in their future. Each day I face new challenges and often times it takes a village and I have that support!

We are excited for our next steps! Please join us: read our blogs, join our email update list, follow us on social media and let us know you’re out there. This is for parents, girls and all those who want to empower the next generation.

Join us in 2018 as we continue Changing the Chatter!

A Guide for Your Brightest Future

Do you sometimes believe that if you can just make it through today that shortly, you’ll be able to think about your future and then one day you wake up and realize it is the future and you have not really planned it out?

It’s coming to the end of another year and this is typically when we make resolutions and plans. If you accomplished one resolution or plan from last year than congratulations! If some or all are being reissued for 2018, then let’s talk.

Most often resolutions are based on better health and living a more fulfilling life and those are excellent goals to have but having the power and esteem to reach them can be a challenge.

If you’ve become frustrated, stressed or even sick because you’re still doing what you did last year or even farther back, let’s reassess those goals.

Listen to those dreams, reassess that dream board from 5 years ago and let’s put the steps in place to initiate the framework for the Brightest You! Let’s put YOU at the top of the priority list for 2018 and make some movement towards going back to school, starting a new job, building greater self-esteem and more.

I’ve coached many women, men and children who are now living their brightest futures right now!

A future of brightness and change is just around the corner. I’m here when you’re ready.

A new year and new opportunities await.

How to Find Joy in Old and New Family Traditions

Family traditions add to enjoyment of the holiday season.

As we prepare ourselves for the holidays, what is the tradition that you hold close to your heart?  Is it one that you have been doing since you were a kid and maybe when your parents were children? Why do you like it? Is it because it has memories of the past or something that makes the holiday special when your own children are experiencing it?

My family really didn’t compare to others in terms of Christmas traditions. In fact it wasn’t until I had kids of my own that we began to develop traditions that belong to us. I love the holidays and I love the preparation and celebration. My two favorite traditions are shoes out for coins and fruits for St. Nicholas Day and using the Advent calendar in preparation for Christmas and the stories that accompany it.

What tradition will you share with your children from the past this year?

Listen and decide on a new one that will create new memories and they may incorporate in their future families.

I believe the most important tradition for our family is time serving others and I carry that into what we do in ChatterGirls every day. We learn to serve and we learn more of who we are.

Remind your children to be grateful and giving all year, not just the holidays and begin making memories that will last a lifetime.

I am so thankful to all who support and give of themselves to ChatterGirls over the last 4 years!

Happy Holidays

Shining Brightly in Holiday Photos

ChatterGirls is proud to have a guest blog from one of our Advisory Board members, Amanda Batchers.

Amanda shares her insights on creating a better holiday photo and more!
As her website, amandabatchers.com, and her photo training lessons via Empowered Pictures states she is all about “Celebrating inner and outer beauty because one ignites the other”. Thank you-Amanda.

When I began my modeling career, I started to see photos of myself where I was captured at my best. I felt beautiful. My perceived flaws that used to feel like a heavy burden, I carried more lightly. I also learned how to make the camera capture the best and most authentic version of me. This information has empowered me in my life. Now I love sharing these techniques with others in hopes that it could do the same for them.

The holidays are often a time for taking many pictures. Between the parties, family gatherings, and beautiful decorations everywhere, there are photo-ops galore. Sometimes people shy away from capturing these memories because they don’t feel confident in front of the camera. I’d like to help you capture these memories in pictures that you love, by sharing one of my favorite tips to looking great in a photo.

Perhaps the most important element to looking your best in a photo is finding great light. The easiest  rule to remember about finding good light is to have LIGHT SHINING TOWARDS YOUR FACE INSTEAD OF OVER IT. The technique I’ll share today is about creating light that shines towards you when there is none to be found!

Have you ever tried to take a picture in a dark room? Without a flash it is too dark. With a flash it is too bright and you end up looking kind of squinty and pained. Or have you ever tried to take a photo and the lighting was just simply not lovely? This trick will help with both.

This is what I like to call THE TWO CELL PHONE TRICK. You will use one cell phone as your light source and another to take the photo.

Use the flashlight feature on your first phone and shine it towards your face. Remember that light shining towards you is usually the loveliest. Sometimes the flashlight is a bit too bright. If that is the case you can use a paper napkin, tissue, piece of paper, etc, and put it over the flashlight. This will filter and soften the light just a bit. You can unfold the paper for a mild filter and fold it up for a heavier filter. Play around with how close or far you hold the light from your face and filtering it with a paper product.

Then you will use your other phone as your camera.

The most valuable gifts I have to give to the world are my inner beauty traits. I have come to learn that if I feel good about how I look on the outside, those inner traits are empowered. When those inner traits are empowered, my own unique outer beauty shines more brightly.

I hope your holiday season is full of love and light, and you shine brightly inside and out.

For more tips on taking a great photo check out @EmpoweredPictures on Instagram or www.AmandaBatcher.com

5 Ways to Make Sure Your Holiday Isn’t Gift Focused!

It time for that Big Book to arrive in the mail!

When your child begins to make their holiday wish list, how much of is it based on wants or just because?

There is a learning opportunity to look beyond themselves and help others.

Here are some ideas for making a more thoughtful holiday season for your little one:

  1. Sharing with others less fortunate is a great part of the holidays. Going through toy bins and closets and select items that are no longer played with and donate them to a local organization is wonderfully thoughtful. It also helps to clear space for new toys!

Do you have a giving tree at your place of worship or through a local non-profit? Ask your child to select the toy for the person you’ve selected.

  1. It’s important to talk about anxiousness during the holidays as the stress or anticipation of events might be overwhelming. Be sure not to over schedule your child otherwise you might see melt downs.
  2. Have your children participate in holiday traditions. Talk about the traditions of your family and assign different jobs/duties as they grow (putting bows on gifts at age 3, helping with cookie making at 5 and helping put up lights at 10). Consider starting a new tradition like looking at lights or Chris Kringle market or a day of wrapping presents.
  3. Sit with your child and talk about realistic presents and values.
  4. The holidays means different things in different families, and it’s good to talk with your child about that so they can be respectful of their friends.

Wishing you a wonderful time of peace and giving.

Don’t Panic! Your Family Holiday Guide Has Arrived!

Happiness, Joy, Anxiety, Stress, Sadness and other emotions are prompted once we begin the holiday rituals.

I’d like to share a few survival tips with your family this holiday!

  1. Begin by understanding what your families expectations are for this holiday season. Then listen to family, friends, co-workers- How do their expectations reflect upon your family participation?
  2. Think about other family experiences and ask “What brings us joy?’ “What has brought  feelings of stress or anxiety?” Set some rules or expectations supporting everyone in your family by suggesting they remove themselves from the event or situation that causes negative feelings and choose something that brings you joy.
  3. Write down a list of what brings your family joy and a list of expectations (which do not bring you joy).
  4. Plan appropriately by having time to doing something each day that brings you joy during the holiday season, like baking, driving around seeing the lights or calling a friends who you have not talked to during the year.
  5. Remember something special about each group (friends, family, work) before you attend a gathering. Focus on that and remain positive.
  6. Focus on the reason for the season. Regardless of your beliefs, it is not always about the gift, but rather, your presence.
  7. Breathe through your busiest moments! Long lines…breathe! Overbooked…breathe!
  8. Reach out to those who have suffered a loss this year or to those battling depression. Joy is not always easy during this time of year for everyone.
  9. Remind each member to take care of themselves and find something new to celebrate next year together.
  10. Listen to the sounds of peace within your mind. A breath, a moment of silence, a smile, will endure always through the holidays and beyond.

Effective Tactics to Welcome College Kids Home for Holiday

It’s that time for college students to return home for holiday break!

What your expectations of your child’s visit will be and their expectation may be two very different things.

For months now, college students have enjoyed being accountable only to themselves and with the end of a semester for some, there could be anxiety being experienced. Combine this with missing school friends and trying to see “home” friends and expectations can be vary greatly between you and your child.

So… after a few months of not following your rules, here are some suggestions on how to manage this time with your child (whether over Thanksgiving or Christmas or both):

  1. Remember- You are still the parent but they are now considered adults.
  2. Share your expectations and decrease misunderstandings.
  3. Find a balance – Let them have that time with their friends and schedule time as a family.
  4. Remind your student that connecting with younger siblings is important and that the at-home sibling may need time to adjust to not being the only child in the home again. So be prepared for a little stress for the other child. Make adjustments like having that college student take them to events instead of you and giving them time to talk and connect again.
  5. Avoid interrogation -the 50 questions drill will not work and will cause anxiety for you both.

Instead, communicate with positive remarks about what they are experiencing and is school what they expected. These questions can open up discussions.

Remember that accountability looks different in your relationship now but open communication and setting proper expectations on both sides can lead to a much more enjoyable time together.