{GIVEAWAY} WHEN KIDS WORRY

when kids worry

I am the kind of parent that is thrilled to see my children trying new things and taking chances to satisfy a curiosity or embark on an adventure that gives them a sense of accomplishment. It amazes me to see them doing things I was never brave enough to try.

But I don't expect it to be easy for them.

And because of their temperaments—it's often very hard.

This school year is a big game changer for my kids. Two of them have switched schools and my youngest is beginning kindergarten. That leaves my third in the same school, but facing the uncertainties of being on her own when she normally has her siblings close by.

For many children, including mine, change can mean anxiety. And sometimes it can be everyday events or situations that cause a child to worry or feel anxious.

I worried a lot as a child, too. And I'm able to share that with my children. They take a lot of comfort from knowing I went through something similar and also had worried feelings. And their dad is great with being honest and open about things that scared him, too.

But we also want our kids to learn how to face their anxieties and worries head on and to believe in their ability to get through those feelings by using their own coping skills.

So we talk things out. A lot.

We find people other than us (teachers, family, friends) that we think are able to relate, and we encourage them to talk it out.

I think we do a great job of helping our children feel that we understand. But we are offering an adult perspective of how things will get better and sometimes they need to know that other children feel the same way right now. 

There are many resources available for families to use as tools to support their kids in dealing with worry and anxiety. I was recently introduced to a new book by certified school psychologist, Stacy Fiorile, called Scaredies Away!  and welcomed the opportunity to have my children read it and ask questions.

when kids worry

My eight and 10 year old were able to imagine themselves in the story and were nodding their heads at some of the feelings described in the book—which is written for a target audience of six to 12 years old.

The story offers scenarios and concrete strategies that kids can use to face the worry and get through it. The Magic Finger Countdown teaches kids to put their scaredies into their fist and then let them go by counting backwards from five until their hand is open and they can blow their worries away. 

when kids worry

I'm so glad to be able to give one of my readers a copy of this book. If your child struggles with worrying and anxiety, you will appreciate being able to share this book with them. 

For further tips and strategies for helping your child, here are some great resources from Kids Health and Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada. If you have concerns about your child and anxiety, please speak to your health care provider. 

This giveaway is open to Canadian and U.S. Residents only. Thank you and good luck!

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The book Scaredies Away! is also available for purchase on Amazon.

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{GIVEAWAY}: SEND MABEL TO SUMMER CAMP, TOO

We're about to head into year two of sleep away camp for our firstborn.

She's been working on her packing lists and planning for new adventures since the day after last year's camp came to an end. 

Camplabels

The closest JB and I ever came to this kind of experience was being shipped off to Grandma's house during the summer. We were glad (and proud) that our daughter wanted to jetté outside her comfort zone (and ours) by attending a ballet program in the city.

Last summer, she grew leaps and bounds and came home with a new confidence (and all of her belongings).

We can't wait to see what she takes away from it this year.

If you're in the process of helping your kids pack for their first (it will be okay, really) or second/third/fourth summer camp (day camps count, too!), make sure you send them with everything they'll need for a great experience.

To help you with that process (and to show you that I'm cheering you on), I'm giving away a fabulous Mabel's Labels Limited Edition CAMP COMBO to one lucky reader.

The combo pack includes:

  • 10 Sticky Labels
  • 24 Skinny-Minis™
  • 8 Shoe Labels
  • 50 Tag-Mates™
  • 2 Bag Tags

The combos are available until June 30th (to allow time for production and delivery before your kiddo's departure date). 

Be sure to check out Mabel Label's co-founder Julie Cole's Guide to Camp for great tips and advice, and click here for a fantastic printable packing list.

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I'll choose my winner on Friday, June 27th to allow you time to sneak in an order. Just leave me a comment below, telling me about the adventures your camper has planned this summer. 

Good luck!

 

 

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Not Afraid To Be The Same

Beachfamilynologo

I was the same as anyone who dreams of a family.

I imagined them.

I wrote their names in cursive in my diary.

I wanted them to be different than me, to be more than me, to be less of me.

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When my daughter's eyes started to change, from the dark blue she was born with to the brown she now sees the world with, I was crushed. I had been dazzled by those blue eyes and the way they made her look more like her father than me. I didn't realize, until they began to look so much like mine, how much I had wanted her to take after him. 

And my son—who struggles so much with finding his voice—I wanted him to be the leader, the one who gets noticed, the kid who never has to hope he'll get picked. I wanted him not to have to face the same struggles I did. I tried so hard to help him change, until I realized I shouldn't.

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The last 12 years have hardened and softened me to the dreams I wrote down for my imagined family. Years of watching children grow, will change what you see too.

I can stare down the flaws I've always looked for in my reflection. Standing in front of the mirror given to me by motherhood, I can finally see beauty.

Because my children are so much like me.

The love that lands on your heart the very instant the weight of your newborn is placed there—it heals you, if you let it.

Because that love leaves you no choice.

When those flaws dance in front of you on the wings of your child, you will see they are nothing less than exquisite.

It is the acceptance of those flaws in yourself that will give you the grace to love unconditionally. 

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You will finally understand that your eyes make her beautiful, because she thinks they're beautiful on you. You will remind her that those eyes come from the incredible women of generations before her, and she will be proud of them. She will know that it's so much more than what her eyes look like, and really about what she holds behind them. 

You will be able to tell your son with truth, The day will come when you are always picked first, because you listen and you see everybody, and he will take comfort in knowing you understand. He will believe you, because he watches others seek comfort in your listening heart, and he will know how much this world needs him. 

And you will catch your messy and flawed reflection in the mirror from time-to-time, and smile at what you see. You will finally understand the story you wrote for your perfect family is coming to life, and it's more beautiful than you could have imagined. 

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This essay is part of the Messy, Beautiful warrior Project — to learn more, CLICK HERE.

Messybeautiful

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How I Was Surprised by The Fault In Our Stars

Bookworm

My twelve-year-old has always been a bookworm, like me.

I never end a day without spending some time in the pages of a book, and she is the same.

She happily sat on our laps while we read book after book to her as a baby—her chubby, dimpled hands unable to turn the pages quickly enough.

In grade three, she plowed through the entire Harry Potter series (she has since read it again 27 times). She is the kind of reader who gets so excited about a good book that she absolutely has to find a friend to pass it on to—so she can enjoy it all over again.

This Christmas, she received The Fault In Our Stars from a family member. I had seen it in the teen section of the bookstore and heard some favourable reviews, but I didn't know much about the details of the story. I knew she could manage the reading level, but otherwise forgot about it with the busyness of the holiday season. 

I didn't know she had started reading it without asking me. I found out when she left it on my bedside table, because she thought I should read it, too.

I remember seeing it there and feeling a bit lost. Our roles had been reversed. I wasn't the one leaving books like Little House on the Prairie or Anne of Green Gables beside her bed.

It felt too grown up and too soon.

This week, the book finally made it to the top of my reading pile. A few late nights brought me to its end last night. 

My thoughts felt so jumbled, while reading this book, that I felt desperate to air them. And I realized the only person I could do that with was her.

I actually wanted to barge into her room somewhere between chapters one and two, but held off until the end.

This morning I found her eyes and held them while the preparation for a school day bustled around us. 

I finished the book last night. 

She waited.

We have a lot to talk about.

She nodded.

But, Mommy, wasn't the writing beautiful?

I held my tears.

When she read Harry Potter, there was a twinge of concern it was too mature for her at eight years old. But she assured us that she understood the fantasy aspect of the storytelling and was not scared by its content. 

The Fault In Our Stars is fiction, but it is not fantasy. There are children and families that face the realities of this story every day.

She would have known that when she read it, and she would have felt the weight of that understanding.

Her heart has always been in tune with the sorrows of others. It was hard to imagine how battered she must have felt reading those words or how much courage she had to summon to keep reading.

There are big emotions in this story. There are complex dynamics between the characters and concepts like love and sexuality, which we haven't talked about yet.

There is death, and grief, and loss.

There is a lot of pain.

As I reached the final pages of the book, I felt all of that wash over me and I thought of her doing the same. If I had read this book first, like I had planned to, I think I would have held onto it for awhile. 

And I would have missed this beautiful moment.

This book must have changed her.  

And I felt a hitch in my heart knowing it happened without me. 

Faultinthestars

{paperlovespen on etsy

I'm waiting for her to get home from school, and I don't know what I'll say or where our conversation will go—we have a lot of topics to touch on. I know she shared this with me, because she wants to talk about it.

And I can hardly gather my thoughts around the swell in my chest, knowing she chose me instead of a friend.

In 313 pages, she stepped outside of the place I've tried to keep her: where I turn down the radio, change the television channel, hide the section of the newspaper with the bad news.

And though she didn't need my help to stand there, she does need it to stay there. 

She has shown me once again that some of the most exquisite moments in parenthood reveal themselves after I've stumbled and while I'm searching for my footing. 

This book tells a story that makes people cry.

I cried, too.

But my tears didn't fall for the characters found on its pages.

I cried for the girl who lay awake in the room next to mine and turned them. 

 

 

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