For a New Beginning

For a New Beginning” by John O’Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

3 Tips For Improving Your Child’s Sleep

Child sleepingMany children experience sleep related problems at least a few nights per week. Lack of sleep affects children physically, emotionally and academically.

Here are 3 essential tips to help your child get a better nights sleep.


1. Establish a routine – Regular sleep times are an important feature of creating desirable sleep behavior. A regular bedtime and wakeup time should be established and consistently followed.

  • Make the last 30 minutes before bedtime a regular routine. Include activities such as dressing for bed, washing, and>
  • Keep the order and timing consistent each night (e.g., brush teeth, wash up, change into pajamas, read for 15 to 20 minutes, hug and kiss, say, “ok, it’s time to sleep. Goodnight.”).
  • Don’t include activities that might result in conflict (i.e. picking out clothes for school). Work these into a routine before bedtime.

2. Nutrition and Exercise– how you eat and exercise impacts the way you sleep.

  • Nutrition is important to sleep. In general, a well-balanced diet is related to good sleep. Certain vitamins and supplements may have positive effects on sleep. Talk to your doctor about treating sleep problems via diet and supplements.
  • Exercise can also have a positive effect on sleep. Regular exercise during the day can help promote better sleep. Discourage vigorous activity right before bedtime.

3. The Setting – Turn the bedroom into a sleep inducing environment. Get your child involved in creating an environment that feels best for them.

  • The bed should be associated with relaxation. Try to minimize your child’s playing, jumping, wrestling, eating or homework on the bed.
  • Environmental factors such as light, temperature, comfort and noise should be optimized for sleep. (not too light or dark, hot or cold, or noisy, etc.) Black out curtains, comfy pillows, white noise, tranquil music and aromatherapy can help create a relaxing environment.
  • Some children feel more relaxed, grounded and safe with a heavier or weighted comforter due to the pressure of the touch.


Things to Avoid:

  • Avoid watching TV and using electronic devices close to bedtime because it can interfere with sleep.
  • Avoid vigorous activity and unpleasant situations right before bedtime.
  • Avoid extending the time for bedtime – don’t give in to requests for just one more story, or one more drink of water.
  • Avoid caffeine– caffeine is a stimulant that can stay in the body up to 6 hours. In general, drinks and foods containing caffeine, including soft drinks and chocolate, should be avoided in the hours before bedtime.

If your child continues to have sleep difficulties, you may want to consult your physician.

Refusal Skills

text: Just Say No!Kids are exposed to negative influences and peer pressure on a daily basis. Saying “no” to risky situations can be difficult for youth. Situations such as saying “no” to drugs or alcohol or saying “no” to texting while driving or cheating during an exam or doing something dangerous or breaking the law. There are so many choices kids have to make.

Encourage your child to develop and practice methods of saying “No”. Remind them to speak in a clear and firm manner and use confident body language to convey the message.

Here are several ways they can get out of undesirable situations and say “NO” in a more subtle way.

  • Switching topics (No, but hey did you see what happened in the game last night?)
  • Excuse (I can’t. I have to meet a friend in 10 minutes.)
  • Blame (I have a stomachache  or that stuff makes me feel horrible.)
  • State the facts (No thanks- I’ve read about what drugs do to your body.)
  • Give a friend a compliment that might make them think twice about their own risky decision (You’re so smart. Don’t risk hurting yourself.)
  • or, Just say “No”

Spring Clean Your Behaviors

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage”
– Anais Nin


Spring Cleaning Your BehaviotSpring is a time of new beginnings. It is a time to let go of behaviors that no longer make you happy and commit to making changes.

What are some behaviors that you would like to change? Have you picked up some bad habits? Is fear stopping you from doing something?

What would help you begin that change process? Take the first step.

Here are 4 Steps to Help You Start the Change Process

1. Identify what behavior you want to change and know why you must change it. Consider the reasons why the old behavior just doesn’t serve you anymore and the benefits of the new one. Commit to your new desired behavior.

2. Set yourself up for success by preparing yourself mentally and physically for action. Begin by writing down what you have committed to and posting it somewhere that you can see it often. Be sure to include the “why” you are doing it.  Identify any obstacles and triggers that may jeopardize you and write down the solutions for these obstacles. Set up the supplies or circumstances that will help you achieve your desired results, this includes a support system. Join a gym. Throw out the cigarettes and buy carrot sticks and tic-tac’s instead. Set timers. Go buy a week’s worth of greens. Whatever your goal is-take action!

3. Take action. Think. Get clarity. Identify what you want and then commit to taking an actionable step towards your goal daily. This is where the real magic happens.

4. Maintain your new behavior by reminding yourself of the reason it’s important. Satisfaction with your new behavior is dependent upon your expectations. Keep your expectations realistic. Significant change takes time. Change is a process not an event. Slowly but surely you will meet your goals.

Maintain your new behavior for at least 30 days so a new habit begins to take place. And if you relapse to your old ways, just return to the desired behavior. It is not a sign of failure but rather another opportunity to make you stronger.


Celebrate Self- Love

…Because self-love extends from how we treat ourselves to how we relate to everything and everyone around us.

It’s a small shift in perspective, prompted by a smile or a kind gesture or a “just because” moment that creates magical ripples.

Love requires action and it can be expressed easily through sharing and caring. It inspires kindness, connection and gratitude. It feels good for us. It feels good for others.

Self-love is contagious.

The moment we start celebrating love for ourselves, experiences shift.

Relationships blossom. Health improves. And life begins to feel ridiculously good.

So honor who you are. Stay true to your needs. Do what truly feels right for you. Do it with grace, do it with ease. Do it for others.

Loving yourself is not a one-time event and it certainly does not have conditions. It’s a natural, non-selfish way to attract love and spread love to those around us.

Self- love comes from within. By loving ourselves, we open the doors for others to do the same.

Celebrate… Expand… Share the love.

5 Ways To Practice Self–Love

1. Treat yourself to simple pleasures daily. Little things that truly satisfy you can brighten up your day and make you feel good. Things like taking a long, relaxing shower or hot bath, going for a morning run, clearing out your desk, making someone smile, or maybe just running around barefoot in the grass with your kids.

2. Talk yourself happy. What you say to yourself can have a powerful impact. Replacing pessimistic, negative language with positive affirmations and self-acceptance is a quick way to increase your well-being. With a positive mental attitude you can conquer most anything.

3. Practice forgiveness. Let go of the past. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Grudges and anger only poison you. To forgive does not mean that you condone the misdeeds of others but it is a way to let go of the pain you carry. Forgiveness is being at peace and not suffering any more. It is a gift for you.

4. Take care of your mind, body and spirit. Your body is your temple. Do it well. What you think and how you process dictates your reality. Create awareness of what you eat, what you drink, notice how you breathe, how well you rest. Make sure to nurture your spirit, for it is what will ground you and keep you connected. Trust yourself to optimize your mind, body and spirit for only you know what it truly needs.

5. Practice gratitude. What are you grateful for? Make it a habit to stop and notice on a daily basis. Counting your blessings is all about appreciation, because nobody owes you anything. It’s not a given. It is a way of acknowledging, connecting and expanding. And, as a side note, science says that practicing gratitude is a simple way to increase happiness.

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Buddha

Dispute the Negative Self-Talk

The hard part about self-talk is that it always feels true. Even though your thoughts might often be biased or incorrect, you tend to assume that they’re facts.

Self-talk is often skewed towards the negative, and sometimes it’s just plain wrong. If you are experiencing depression, it is particularly likely that you interpret things negatively. That’s why it’s useful to keep an eye on the things you tell yourself, and challenge some of the negative aspects of your thinking.

With practice, you can learn to notice your own negative self-talk as it happens, and consciously choose to think about the situation in a more realistic and helpful way.

Learning to dispute negative thoughts might take time and practice, but is worth the effort. Once you start looking at it, you’ll probably be surprised by how much of your thinking is inaccurate, exaggerated, or focused on the negatives of the situation.

Whenever you become aware you’re feeling depressed, angry, anxious or upset, use this as your signal to stop and reflect on your thoughts. Use your feelings as your cue to reflect on your thinking.

A good way to test the accuracy of your thoughts might be to ask yourself some challenging questions. These questions will help you to check out your self-talk to see whether your current view is reasonable.


Challenging Questions


There are four main types of challenging questions to ask yourself:

1. Reality testing

  • What is my evidence for and against my thinking?
  • Am I jumping to negative conclusions?
  • How can I find out if my thoughts are actually true?

2. Look for alternative explanations

  • Are there any other ways that I could look at this situation?
  • What else could this mean?
  • If I were being positive, how would I perceive this situation?

3. Putting it in perspective

  • What is the best thing that could happen?
  • Is there anything good about this situation?
  • Will this matter in five years’ time?

4. Using goal-directed thinking

  • Is this way of thinking helping me to achieve my goals?
  • What can I do that will help me solve the problem?
  • Is there something I can learn from this situation, to help me do it better next time?


Recognizing that your current way of thinking might be self-defeating (i.e. it doesn’t make you feel good or help you to get what you want) can sometimes motivate you to look at things from a different perspective.

Changing the way you think about things may not be easy at first, but with time and practice, you will get better.

Try it out – it’s worth the effort. Let me know how it goes.


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How to talk to your child about terrorism

In lieu of the Paris terrorist attacks, many parents may have questions on how to talk to their children about violence and terrorism. The challenge lies in helping your child feel secure while trying to explain complex and disturbing situations.

It is natural for parents to want to spare children the details about terrorism. Unfortunately, children are exposed to violence in today’s world at a very early age and must learn to cope with these tough issues.

As a parent, you have an opportunity to talk with your child and provide answers to any questions that they may have, as well as lifting the burden of facing their fears and uncertainty alone.

Your child’s age, maturity and personality will influence their questions and your responses.


Here are some tips on getting started:


1. Take time to talk to your child and listen to their thoughts and concerns.

Ask your child what they have heard and how they feel about it? Don’t force your child to talk about things until they are ready. Assure them that you will be available for them, once they are.


2. Provide accurate information to any questions that your child may have.

Keep the explanations simple and age appropriate. If you do not know the answer, it’s ok to say that you don’t know and that you will let them know as soon as you find out.


3. Help your child express their feelings and concerns.

Some children are comfortable talking while others are more comfortable expressing themselves through playing with toys or drawing pictures. Do not dismiss their feelings and always provide them with a safe place to express themselves.


4. Assure your child that they are safe.

Explain to them that the government, the police and people all over the world are doing things to prevent this from happening again. Reassure them that they are safe and that you will always protect them.


5. Limit television and news exposure as well as adult conversations around your child.

These images and conversations can be very disturbing and cause distress to children. Be mindful to avoid stereotyping and prejudice. Use this opportunity to teach tolerance and explain prejudice.


6. Remind them that terrorism events are rare and that the world is generally a safe place.

Point out all the good things that happen on a daily basis and explain to them that these are isolated and rare events.


7. Look out for symptoms related to stress or anxiety

These symptoms may included difficulty sleeping, persistent upsetting thoughts, intense fears, and difficulty separating from parents or going to school as well as physical complaints. Professional help may be needed if your child shows signs of distress.

The ADHD SOS Course Opens This Week!

I am thrilled to announce the launch of ADHD SOS, a digital parental skills training program designed to enable parents to help their children, who are struggling with ADHD, develop skills and strategies to tackle everyday instances at home, school or in social situations.

I developed this program so that you can have access to all the things I review in 1:1 sessions, on your time. The approach is strengths based as well as solutions oriented and focuses on promoting your child’s development in a manner that integrates seamlessly with your child and family’s lifestyle.

The program includes 8 modules that address key areas for turning everyday struggles into success. Each module is delivered on demand via audio, video or transcript format to facilitate a variety of learning styles.

The Curriculum:

  • Module 1: You, Me & ADHD
  • Module 2: Inside The ADHD Mind
  • Module 3: Emotions and Expectations
  • Module 4: Lifestyle Hacks
  • Module 5: Organization: Systems That Work
  • Module 6: Learning Styles
  • Module 7: The Art of Relating To Others
  • Module 8: Behaviors: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

If you have been looking for a place where it all comes together – information plus strategies- guided by an expert who totally understands ADHD, then you have found ADHD SOS.

This Thursday, November 5th at 10am and at 6pm Pacific, I’m hosting a free online workshop, “8 Ways to Manage Your Child’s ADHD Symptoms” to show you what the ADHD-SOS program is all about.

Secure your spot, and learn more about the workshop here.

Here’s what you’ll learn during the workshop:

  • The importance of shifting your mindset and your child’s mindset
  • How to help your child identify and use their strengths to overcome their challenges
  • Understanding ADHD and your treatment options
  • How to help your child regulate their emotions
  • Lifestyle strategies to enhance your family’s functioning and well-being
  • How to incorporate a system of organization that is easy for your child & family to use
  • Parenting based on your child’s learning style
  • Tips for improving relationship skills
  • Behavior management strategies
  • And much more!

Click here to learn more and get started!

5 Tips for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities

Having a learning difference means your child is struggling with skills such as reading, writing, listening, speaking, reasoning or solving math problems. A learning disability does not imply a deficit in intelligence. In fact, most children diagnosed with learning disabilities have average or above average intelligence, they just learn in a different manner.


Here are five tips for parents to keep in mind:


  1. Find out what your child’s challenges and strengths are. Have your child evaluated to gain a better understanding about the whole child. Make sure you have a clear understanding of your child’s areas of strengths and difficulties. Share this information with your child. Encourage them to use their strengths and assure them that together, you will create tools to overcome their challenges.


  1. Find support. Talk to your child’s teacher and school to find out what type of support, remediation and expectations they have. If you cannot find adequate support at school, then you may need to find it outside of school with other parents, groups and professionals who can share learning tips and strategies for kids with learning difficulties.


  1. Have reasonable expectations. Know your child’s capabilities and when to push and when to stop. Keep things in perspective. Academics are important but your child’s emotional health and ability to find solutions to daily struggles is even more important. Learning is a lifelong experience; it should be enjoyable.


  1. Discover your child’s preferred learning style. Is your child a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner? Presenting the information in your child’s preferred learning style will allow them to learn and process the way they learn best.


  1. Keep the lines of communication open with your child. Take time to listen to your child’s concerns and accomplishments. Remain positive and curious and above all become their biggest cheerleader. As a parent, your support and understanding really matters.