Anything that helps get our anxiety down and help us get over our first reaction.
Self-talk or cognitive therapy. We have thousands of thoughts through out the day. We tend to believe them but many are irrational and can make us feel crummy. Our thoughts actually cause chemicals in our body that can cause depression. So retraining our thoughts is imperitive. I think we need to teach these techniques to our children. This is what therapist do so why not get a headstart and teach this technique at an early age. That is why I wrote A.N.T. Annoying Nonsense Thoughts. I wanted an easy book to learn this technique to kids and adults in a simple way.
Some people can get into their rational part of their brain quickly. Others (like me) have to take time to find their way there. The more we are 'self-aware'- the better off we are. For the mother who found their son looking at the pages it may be better off to say, "We will talk about this after I have some time to cool down." Then walk away.
But seriously do give yourself time to ponder and become rational. Do things to relax you so you can handle the situation in a way you can be pleased about. Work your way out of the primitive brain into your logical/ rational one.
If you search around my website, or follow my blog you may know I teach acting at the community rec. center. I absolutely love doing this. I have come across a lot of super great actors over the ten years I have been teaching there. Some former students actually work professionally and many now get leads consistently in community theater. Is it because I am a fantastic instructor? Highly unlikely. My class is meant to be an introduction to theater. I don't teach a ton of techniques--in fact I would never try and teach adults or even high school age kids. But something I am good at is helping kids gain confidence in themselves.
I'm a little different than most acting instructors. I believe kids often learn best from doing rather than just hearing about it, so we always get ready and put on a show for parents. And every child always gets a pretty big part. If I have a main part and many kids I often divide the main part into 3 so more kids have a chance to perform. My own kids have participated in plenty of plays where someone had a huge part whereas my child may have one line but they still have to go to all the practices. This is the reality of being in a play. But since my acting class is meant to be a class...almost every child's part is almost as long as their fellow student.
Anyway what I love about this is there are many kids who haven't performed before who aren't always the 'shinging light' in the extracurricular thing they do-or anything really. But more often than not when we perform our skit they are awesome.. much to their own surprise.
A few weeks ago during practice the kids I worked with were told they couldn't use their scripts anymore. I would feed them their words if they needed it..and they could improvise the words--make it up-but no more scripts. Everyone did a good job with that. But one boy would say a word and then say "I can't do it. I don't know it." Then he would be encouraged to try but he said "I can't". I tried to encourage him, pursueded him, be strict with him etc. Nothing worked.
He continued to say "I can't" so finally I left him alone. We then took a break and played fun, silly acting games. We played many of the same games you can find on my website under the 'activity' tab, I actually use many in my acting classes but know they actually help kids overcome shyness, and other social problems as well. So we played some games and soon the 4 boys and one girl were laughing, being silly and having a great time.
After ten minutes of playing acting games we went back to practicing. It was a shock. That same child went back and not only did his lines but said them almost perfectly. What was it that changed so drastically with this boy? It was the games. He relaxed and got his mind off of the skit . After relaxing and having fun, his stress level was gone.
How many times when we feel we can't do something, is it tied into our own anxiety? I have had a child who came home with homework and spent 3 hours stressing about it and 20 minutes actually doing it once he settled down and did it. Anxiety kills confidence. Somehow if we can learn to deal with it, we can actually learn.
So many kids today have a hard time sitting in class and working. There are as many reasons for this as there are students. Here is a fun story you may want to tell your kids to help them realize they can make choices and change.
4 Possibilities to Consider When we have a Problem to Solve:
1. You can wait for a visit from your fairy Godmother
2. You can wait for the problem to go away by itself.
3. You can continue to act the way you are now.
4. You can change.
Tell the following Mexican Fable and ask your child which solution Pepe used to ultimately solve his problem.
Once there lived a boy named Pepe who spent all his time resting in the shade of a big tree. After breakfast one morning, he settled down in his favorite spot, pulled his sombrero over his face and prepared to sleep away the day. By and by his mother called to him, "Pepe, please bring a bucket of water from the well."
"Not right now," yawned Pepe. "I will do it later," and he went back to sleep.
By this time his father was out of patience. "Lazy boy!" he cried. You will not bring water from the well. You do not work in the fields and now you will not even help in the house. This minute I say to you either do your share of the work or find another place to live.
Pepe decided to leave home.
Down the dusty road he walked until he came to a little grove of fig trees. This is a good place to rest, he decided, but no sooner had he settled down under the shadiest tree of all than--plop! A fat yellow fig tree fell into his hand.
"What a piece of luck!" said Pepe. He promptly ate the yellow fig. At once his nose began to itch. Pepe put his hand up to rub it and hen he discovered that for some reason it had grown to twice its normal size. Moreover, it kept right on growing until at last it was so long it almost touched the ground.
Poor Pepe hadn't the faintest idea what to do about such a nose. He was in despair when --plop! A blue fig fell into his hand. With nothing better to do, he ate that one also, and to his surprise his long, long nose began to shrink. And it kept on shrinking till it was back to normal again.
Then and there Pepe thought of a way to use the two kinds of magic figs to make himself money. Quickly, he gathered a hatful of yellow figs and stuffed all his pockets with blue ones.. Then he hurried down the road to the village.
"Have a fig, amigo, a golden ripe fig," he said to everybody he met. And soon he had given away all his yellow figs but one. Of course when they had eaten the figs the villagers noses began to grow and kept on growing till every one of the noses reached the ground.
Then the people came running after Pepe, crying out in anger, "Look what has happened to our noses. We are ruined."
"Not so," Pepe answered calmly. "Just watch the thing I will show you." Then he ate the last yellow fig he saved and soon his own nose was touching the ground. Then he took a blue fig from his pocket and was about to eat that one also when an old woman standing near by snatched it from his hand. No sooner had she eaten it than everyone saw her nose return to its normal size. Then all the people began to clamor at once for the blue figs.
"I will sell them to you for a thousand dollar each," Pepe told them, smiling hard.
The people did not smile back. Angrily they muttered among themselves. They knew they had been tricked. So they fell upon him and took every blue fig from his pockets and ate them. They did not leave even one for Pepe.
Quickly, he hurried back to the grove but sad to say, every last fig had disappeared. Poor Pepe sat down and began to cry.
Now look back at the 4 choices he could possible make when deciding to solve his problem. Which choice would help him the most?
Just then along the road came his father, going toward the village. When he saw Pepe's long, long nose he was amazed.
"What has happened?" he wanted to know, and soon he had heard the whole unhappy story.
"Please let me go back home with you," Pepe begged. "I am sorry that I was lazy and brought all this trouble upon myself. From now on I promise to work harder than anyone has ever worked before."
So Pepe's father took him home, and Pepe kept his word. Then a very unusual thing happened. The harder he worked, the shorter grew his nose until before long it was back to normal. Happily, by the time Pepe had made such a good habit of working that he enjoyed it. He never was a lazy boy again.
I wanted to let people be aware of a book called Super Giomar X: Autism with a Giggle. This is available on Amazon. Ideally as a parent we are our children's advocate. This is especially true for a child with special needs. No one knows the child as well as a parent and no one can love them as a parent can. This is a book about a mother's discovery and awareness of her child's special needs...how she advocates for him but most importantly, how she learns to appreciate him for who he is. She has learned to enjoy his unique personality and strives to understand and appreciate his world. In this book she shares the fun conversations and the every day discoveries that Giomar shares.
I teach and write about friendship skills (friendshipcraze.com) and at times have had the privilege of working with autistic children. It was a fun challenge but I was amazed by their mothers. Again they were the advocates and were so incredibly patient with their kids. These mom's were fun too! I was so impressed. I have had mother's of autistic kids tell me how frustrated they sometimes are that relatives or teachers, society etc. can't appreciate their children for who they are and just enjoy them. This is a story of a mother who loves her son fiercely and appreciates the way his unique brain works, and looks for the giggles. The author shares her journey and shares with us the joy of raising Super Giomar!
So I have to apologize. I have been promoting my book with this title. It is exactly the same book as "There's a Big Ant on Me. Get it Off!" The only difference is the title and the cover. I just ordered my newest book and received it and the margins were horrible. There was no margin on top and on the bottom of it was almost 2 inches. I am so embarrassed that some people have bought these. I am now trying to get this fixed with Create Space ( the publisher). I am sorry if anyone has bought the book. The hilarious thing is now that I froze my book someone is trying to sell it for 2,312.21. See the link? http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1494233428/ref=tmm_pap_new_olp_0?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1391734527&sr=8-1.
I will get this fixed and let everyone know when it is really available (and not for over 2.000. haha) In the meantime you can still purchase the same book..just with a different title. http://www.amazon.com/Theres-Big-Friendship-Craze-Volume/dp/061580859X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391735693&sr=8-1&keywords=there%27s+a+big+ant+on+me.++Get+it+Off%21
Thanks for your understanding!
I was a shy child. Very shy. I had low self esteem and if someone said anything negative to me, especially my peers I believed it. I didn't even think of their motives or issues...I just believed it. This resulted in a mostly painful childhood during elementary school. The other part of my life was mostly great. I had wonderful neighborhood and church friends. I lived in beautiful Saratoga California. I was well fed and had a nice home. My parents supported me. I had it good in many ways. But I was a shy child.
In 6th grade my friend found out about a child's theater. They were putting on "Snow White" during the summer and try outs were coming up. I (the shy child) tried out. And I got Snow White! To be honest this changed my life. I bonded with the kids in the cast. I did a good job and discovered a talent. So why do I share this?
I've been teaching 'Acting Craze' for 8 or 9 years. I love it. But honestly to me it is not about the acting. It's about the kids. I have had shy kids in my classes. I have had many children with Asperger's in my classes as well as kids with ADD, spina bifida etc. My main goal in Acting Craze..my passion for it is for the child to gain confidence and discover themselves. I haven't always succeeded. Sometimes I have lost my temper or have been too wrapped up in the details. But I have seen kids change before my eyes also. And I love it.
It seems like a shy child would be the last person that would enjoy theater. But the reason I could do it is I became a different person. It was Snow White there not Sara. It was like pretending. It wasn't me that had to continue a conversation. I had lines all ready.
If you have a shy child you may be surprised that they can act. On the other spectrum many Asperger kids who have a hard time relating to other kids are awesome actors. Again you don't have to read persons signals...well not as intensely as real life. You just have to know your lines and act like the person you are portraying. As a friendship coach I would highly recommend finding something your child loves to do and let them develop that talent. It may not be acting but there is something they will love.
In my Friendship Craze classes we actually do some of the similar games that we do in Acting Craze. We work on eye contact, speaking up and lots and lots of role playing. Maybe if kids learn how to role play than it can become second nature to them. I also like to teach kids that they don't have to believe what other kids say. They need to rethink their thoughts and have a defense to the bullying- a plan. Something to help them not only with the bully but with their own thoughts! They don't have to believe what the bully's tell them.
So really acting, role playing etc. can really help kids! If your child is struggling with negative thoughts teach them the skills for positive thinking in a fun way with http://www.amazon.com/A-N-T-Annoying-Nonsense-Thoughts-Friendship/dp/1494233428/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390326386&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=ANTS+a+guide+topositive+thinking.
Also role playing can really help social skills. For ideas on improving social skills and role playing and fun activities you can do with your child look at my activity page. And check out acting for your kids. See if they may be interested. You may be really surprised. And it may, just may change your child's life. It did mine,
One of the things I do in friendship craze (my classes to help kids make and keep friends) in the summer is take a popular children's book and correlate it to the games and themes I have in friendship craze. This idea was the seed to my first book.. A.N.T.S. Annoying Nonsense Thoughts. A Guide to Positive Thinking.
Anyway there are a lot of fun ideas, I've used from Harry Potter. Tell the child you are going to learn a transfiguration spell. You are going to change a ANT into a HAWK. Explain a thought that is an ANT (annoying nonsense thought) such as, "I'm bored. There is never anything to do." can be changed into a HAWK (happy, awesome wonderful knowledge). Have the child take the ANT (make a paper ant) and smash it and then say a HAWK and throw a paper hawk into the air. You may make a copy of any ant or hawk.For example they may say to change the ANT into a HAWK, (There are a lot of things to do I just need to figure out some ideas.) Then say the magic spell, "Positive Verto" and throw a paper Hawk into the air. Super fun activity for the kids especially if they are into Harry Potter.
Have them keep practicing until changing their negative thoughts become easier for them.
Oh my gosh! I love this idea!!! http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_24640038/buddy-bench-at-roundtown-elementary-help-foster-friendships.
I changed my books name to "ANTS: Annoying Nonsense Thoughts. A Guide to Positive Thinking." Same book. You can still get the old title- There's a Big Ant on Me, Get it Off". I changed the name because I felt it let people know right off what it was about and why it is important. But I didn't want to delete the old title since some people have all ready bought the book. (Plus I got some great reviews-haha)
A lot of people actually buy it for adults to help them use the technique of changing their negative thoughts, but the younger we teach our kids to think positively the easier it will be in their lives. Here are the links to order the books, with either the old title or new title. http://www.amazon.com/A-N-T-Annoying-Nonsense-Thoughts-Friendship/dp/1494233428/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1386001531&sr=8-2-fkmr0
http://www.amazon.com/Theres-Big-Friendship-Craze-Volume/dp/061580859X/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1386002859&sr=8-2 (This one has reviews on it.)
Or if you live in the Fayeteville/Peachtree City area you can pay 9 dollars and pick it up at my house. (Only old titles)
Kids love the book and parents love it because it helps teach their kids positive thinking in a fun way. FUN CHRISTMAS GIFT!!!!!
I love this. Paper fortune teller is a great tool for conversation starters. Templates
available on the site: http://autismteachingstrategies.com/uncategorized/paper-fortune-tellers-social-skills-games-for-children-with-asds-and-other-children-too/.
What a great tool for kids to learn how to continue conversations. Kids love these little paper
I am a mother of 3. I have a passion for helping kids feel comfortable in their 'own skin'.