Recently, I was approached to do an hour radio long radio interview about my work with children . If you know me, you’ll be very aware that I’m a bit of a chatterbox. Well OK then, a lot of a chatter box. However, put me in front of an audience and I turn into a cardboard cut out.
“I’m a Life Coach!” I told myself. “What would you say to a client in this situation?” Sometimes you have to walk the talk. I decided to feel my fear and do it anyway. I was very lucky that Viv Oyolu, the very warm and welcoming presenter for Dream Corner radio, was encouraging, interested and supportive of my work. The hour flew by and once my wobbles subsided, I got in the zone and enjoyed it.
Viv said ‘I was more convinced that all schools need someone like Lisa to help those struggling.’
Comfortable in some surroundings more than others?
Does this happen to you or your child? At home they are relaxed, fun and content. Take them out of their comfort zone; maybe that’s meeting new people or doing something for the first time and they become angry, frustrated, quiet, nervous or afraid. I was the same at school. Slightly anxious about any task that I thought I may do badly or fail at. I would feel it deep in my tummy. My palms would be sweaty and the feelings inside me so strong, I thought I would burst out of my skin. When I look back, I realise I lived on my nerves at school. I carried around this belief with me that said ‘They will laugh at me and tell me I’m not good enough.’
Be aware – what thought triggers the feeling?
What I dreaded the most was reading in front of the class. I share that with the kids that I coach now. The ones who are big enough and honest enough to say, ‘I don’t like doing that and I don’t like the way it makes me feel.’ Having empathy for what they are going through helps them to see that we are all human and struggle with something.
When you have an awareness of something and you know your triggers, you are in a winning position to do something about it. It’s the same for your kids. When they find themselves in situations that are daunting or overwhelming, there are some quick and easy things you can do to ease them. Take for example a child who doesn’t like going to school:-
- Ask your child what they are feeling when they think about school, where they feel it in their bodies.
- Get them to draw the feeling. Give them a set of crayons and say to them ‘When I tell you it’s time to go to school, draw what happens with this feeling.’ It may just be a big scribble or they may even make holes in the paper if they are angry about having to do something they don’t like.
- Now get them to think about how they feel when they are at home with you. Repeat points 1. and 2.
- Make a comparison between feeling the tension that thinking about school brings and being relaxed and safe at home with you. Talk about the differences with your child and see what comes up.
- Highlight to your child that all feelings are just energy passing through their bodies. Nothing stays the same forever and this too will pass.
- Ask your child what they need to make the feeling go away. Brainstorm ideas that will teach them to self soothe. Obviously, they cannot not go to school. However, there maybe something at school that’s troubling them or they may need extra support with something they find difficult or help practising to read out loud so they become more at ease with it.
- Agree with your child a plan of how you are going to tackle this together – you are a team and are on their side. You are not making them go to school to be a horrible Mummy or Daddy. You want them to learn, make friends and be happy at school. Or reinforce whatever it is you want for your child.
- Encourage them in the mornings before school and remember to praise them when they do it. Tell them how proud you are of them. Tell them again at night before they go to sleep.
Overcoming fears increases confidence – I can do it!
As part of my creative coaching workshops, I run a session called ‘The Secret Ingredients of Self Confidence’. This is a four hour workshops with tips and techniques to help kids (age 7-10 years old) feel comfortable in their own skin, wherever they are and whomever they are with. My Smiley Thought Cards are also great for helping kids learn to think more positively and feel more confident.
I also work with children (age 9 through to teens) on a 1-2-1 basis to help find coping strategies for life’s little hiccups. I want to make growing up a bit easier, so if I can help your child overcome anxiety, fears or stress related to their ever day lives, please get in touch.