Why is it so important to help increase the self-esteem of our children?

Why is it so important to help increase the self-esteem of our children?
A few months ago, I listened to a talk by this amazing woman who is a brilliant and seemingly confident business women who is an advocate for girls education. She said that when she was in school, she had lost all confidence in herself and didn't believe she could do anything right. I mean, everyone has probably struggled with not feeling good enough at some point in their lives right? I know I have! 

It wasn't until later in life until this women realized how much this lack of self-esteem had held her back from achieving her goals as well as how it continues to hold many young girls back today. As parents, we know how important it is to make sure our children feel good enough about themselves; but why? What's so important about helping your child or teen feel confident and happy with who they are? Read on to find out!

Self-esteem is confidence in one's own worth and abilities and it is vital that we create a culture that helps our kids and teens feel good enough because it will give them a strong foundation for when they grow up and face the big wide world! We know that children who have high self-esteem are more likely to be successful academically, socially and emotionally. Low self-esteem affects our moods and relationships with others and the consequences of low self-esteem can include anxiety and depression.

We can help our children and teens develop a high sense of self by listening to them, giving them the opportunity to learn new things and encouraging their interests or talents.

It is also useful to teach children techniques on how to cope with the feelings of not being good enough or low self-esteem, such as strategies to help the reframing of their negative thoughts as well as deep breathing exercises to help in times of anxiety that low self-esteem may bring.

It’s up to us as parents, educators and caregivers to help our children build their self-esteem. By providing support, encouragement and praise you can encourage your child's sense of worthiness which will lead them on the path towards success in all aspects of life! If you're still struggling with how to increase your child's self esteem or want some extra resources I invite you find out more information about my interactive workshop "Reframing negative thoughts: strategies to increase the self-esteem of your teen" by clicking here.

3 steps to calm big emotions

3 steps to calm big emotions
Are you tired of the constant battle of trying to deal with your child's big emotions?

Are you wanting to bring more calm into your home?

We've all been there!

I've spent time trialling different strategies with my children and have found 3 steps that work! (Now don't get me wrong...I am definitely not the perfect parent and I definitely still lose my patience and some days these steps totally go out the window but hey...we are all human!)

My son particularly struggled with expressing his emotions and after he got diagnosed with epilepsy the emotions in our household were at an all time high and I felt pretty helpless! 

So I decided to make it my mission to effectively support not only him but other children and parents too.

From this struggle A Box Full of Joy was born - a box of practical strategies to bring more joy and calm into the family home and I'm so excited to share that it is launch on 16th August!! (Click here to join our exclusive pre-launch group or follow us on Instagram to find out more)

Now you may be wondering, Nicole, what are these 3 steps you talk about in the title!? 

Well here are the steps I've found really helpful:

Step 1: Acknowledge their feelings (instead of dismissing them...e.g. I understand you are feeling frustrated...)

Step 2: Take time to breathe (both you and your child!!)

Step 3: Connect through a fun activity together (e.g. some colouring or dancing are things we like to do as a family!)

I want to explain them fully to you so I've created a FREE PDF guide for you which will show you how that you can grab here along with two printable worksheets. 

I would love to hear how you get on with the steps so drop a comment below when you've read it!

The 'New Normal'

The 'New Normal'
So after the first seizure two weeks later S had a two seizures in quick succession so he got taken in to hospital. The faint hope we were given that the first one could have just been a random occurrence had vanished and we were sat watching and waiting for answers.

Over his time in hospital he had an MRI and an EEG and they were able to diagnose him with focal epilepsy after seeing constant abnormal brain activity in the left temporal region of his brain. This made sense with the right side of his body being affected in all of his seizures with some stiffness and in the initial one some shaking. We were fortunate that we got the diagnosis so quickly and a follow up appointment was booked to discuss the route forward as well as a 48 hour EEG too.

We left the hospital a few days later faced with our 'new normal' and with a million questions spinning round in our head!

Our 'new normal' was overwhelming, it was scary, it was all the things I didn't want to have to face as a parent. 

I didn't want my son to be in constant danger, 
I didn't want my son to have to deal with his 'abnormal bran activity' in his every day life. 

I spent hours and hours trawling the internet, looking for answers, researching and trying to find someone who understood what we were going through!

All I could do was pray and wait for the next appointment. 

As a parent you want to do everything you can to protect your child from harm or hurt but at that moment, after that diagnosis, I felt helpless...

The Unexpected

The Unexpected
Let's go back to July 2020, our boy, S, had turned 4 the month before and after the craziness of lockdown times restrictions were easing and we had been enjoying some time with family and friends. 

A normal day, a normal activity...interrupted. S was having a bath with our 1 year old daughter C and the unexpected happened. S has never really liked the bath but he was actually enjoying being in there with his sister, then suddenly he was quiet, his colour drained from his face and he was staring and unresponsive. My husband quickly removed him from the bath and we put him in the recovery position. I was panicking, we were trying to get him to respond but he wasn't. 

The only other time I had seen the blueness that I saw in his face was when I saw my Grandad shortly after he had died. 

I got C out of the bath and called 999. Seconds felt like minutes, minutes like hours, he was still unresponsive and rigid for about 3 minutes, 3 minutes may not sound like long but for me it felt like a lifetime. Seeing your son like that and not being able to do anything about it is scary, you feel totally and utterly helpless. 

He came round confused and said he wanted to sleep. We carried him to bed and he was out like a light, that never normally happens, he's a 3 books and lots of songs kind of routine boy before bed! I just stayed with him, staring, making sure he was breathing. 

Needless to say that moment, that unexpected seizure, was the start of many months of watching his every move and being on constant high alert, a state of fight or flight every moment of every day. When I'm with him I'm watching him, when I'm not I'm waiting for the phone to ring. 

I'm writing this to help me process how our lives have changed since July, to raise awareness of the wide reaching impact of epilepsy and to hopefully help others to know they are not alone.