Normalize All Emotions 

One of the best things we can do to support children’s mental and emotional health is to ‘normalize’ emotions by talking about them. Our children absolutely deserve our support when dealing with big emotions. As adults we know that it’s not always appropriate to have our big feelings in public places, so reinforce your child’s emotions and set expectations for how to deal with those big feelings.  

Here are some positive ways to express and release emotions: 

  1. Reading – read books with your child and discuss how the characters handle emotion, diversity, and conflict. 
  1. Art – have your child draw, paint, collage, or sketch how he or she is feeling. 
  1. Writing – have your child start a journal and write down how he or she felt throughout the day. 
  1. Music – have your child pick a song that describes how he or she feels and turn the volume up. 
  1. Talk – create a safe space at home where your child can tell you exactly how he or she is feeling, ask questions, and help him or her feel in control by coming up with a plan. 
  1. Take a break – sometimes it’s best just to take a break and let your child’s mind calm down so you can have a thoughtful discussion when the time is right. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

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How To Nurture Kindness

Children learn more from what they see us do than what they hear us say. Are we modelling positive and kind behavior? Cultivating children’s kindness will help develop their personality and set them up to be responsible adults in the future. 

Children need help managing their emotions and self-regulating to promote kindness toward themselves and towards others. Here are some of the most effective ways to begin to help kids understand kindness: 
 
1. Consciously model kindness. Your child learns a great deal about morality simply by your behavior. If you want your child to be kind whenever you are together, consciously demonstrate kind behavior. We tend to do kind behaviors so naturally that our children may miss them, so deliberately tune them in. 
 
2. Expect and then demand kindness. Spell out loudly and clearly your expectation that others must be treated kindly. It sets a standard for your child’s expected conduct and lets her know in no uncertain terms what you value. 
 
3. Teach the meaning of kindness. Take time to define the virtue. One of the most important steps in teaching kindness is making sure kids know what kindness means, and it’s a step too often overlooked. 
 
4. Show what kindness looks like. You can do this activity with your child any time you are together in a place filled with people: a store, the airport, a mall, or the school grounds. Tell her that the object is to look for people who show kindness towards others. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

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SIGNS OF DEPRESSION IN CHILDREN

Depression is a serious issue that exists among all ages and should be taken seriously no matter the context. Depression in children is easily brushed off as a phase of development or seen as superficial. However, if left to fester, this may lead to severe consequences in the development and wellbeing not only of the child, but also the immediate family. Observe for these signs of depression that may manifest: 

Persistent sadness  

Feelings are often short, and if the child seems to exhibit sadness that persists through long periods of time without warning, it may be a symptom of depression. 
 

More irritable than usual 

This is characterized by irritability towards people who try to interact with them, as they have a negative outlook towards people due to the nature of their illness. 

 
Loss of interest in usually fun activities 

People suffering from depression often lose motivation in living. This is like taking the light away from life, making everything dark and gloomy. This is perhaps one reason why they see no point in taking part in these activities, they see no motivation in it. 

 
Constantly feeling tired or disinterested 

When they are not motivated by anything, it will always feel like there is no point in everything they do, and thus the feeling of tiredness or fatigue. 

 
Trouble sleeping through the night 

Sleeping problems are common for people with depression.  Overthinking and negative feelings may be contributors to this symptom. 

 
Loss or change in appetite 

Depression makes a person lose interest in daily activities, or life in general. This also includes the need for sustaining oneself. 

If your child is manifesting several of these signs, it is time to seek professional help for their evaluation. You must be there for your children in times that they need you the most. They should not feel outcast from their own family, for the people who are the most difficult to love are those that need it the most. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

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6 Ways to Show Faith in Your Child

Teaching Kids About Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation skills help children with ADHD tame meltdowns, outbursts, and other negative behaviors. Being able to identify and understand feelings are the first steps to regulating emotions, an ability that children will continue to develop throughout their lives.  

Emotional regulation helps kids develop independence, self-discipline, interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. It also helps children understand the meaning of their relationships with others, build mental resilience and form their identities. 

Use these strategies to teach your child self-regulation techniques to maintain their mental and physical health: 

🔵 Accurately Label Feelings 

Effective emotional regulation hinges on emotional intelligence — the ability to be aware of, express, and manage our emotions on our own and in relationships. A healthy familiarity with emotion starts with a family open to all emotions. Emotional maturity develops over time; it’s normal for younger children to have a hard time with it. Read books, talk about emotion, and describe your own emotions to your child. 

🔵 Behavior Interventions 

Child-directed therapy, where kids learn to identify emotions first and build coping skills to meet what they experience, can be vital for anyone with ADHD. Parental involvement helps, as adults reinforce what their children may otherwise forget to work on. Child-focused therapy should offer direct guidance in forming practical new habits, as children learn to handle their own disruptive emotions. 

🔵 ADHD Medication 

ADHD is a medical disorder. This doesn’t mean that medication is the only tool to cope with it, but it does validate considering medication. ADHD medications are safe and effective when used appropriately. Despite common misperceptions, the correct medication should have benefits with no significant side effects. ADHD medications do not primarily address emotional reactivity, but they often help. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

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Develop Children’s Empathy Skills

It’s important for us to foster empathy skills in our children so that they can learn to care about other people’s viewpoints. The best way to teach your children empathy is for you to model empathy towards them. Be open to the range of emotions they express, and don’t try to shut them down. Some feelings may be more comfortable than others—for us and our children. But, if we can normalize our children’s emotions and teach them how to recognize and value their own emotions, they can learn to be more sensitive to others’ feelings. 

We can show our kids how important it is to ask questions and to listen carefully to someone’s answers in order to understand their situation better. Being empathic is recognizing that and trying to respond in a way that will be helpful or meaningful to another—something that kids, even from a young age, can do. 

Here are a few suggestions to encourage empathy in you and your child: 

🌷 Discuss a time someone knew how either of you were feeling without being told. How do you think they knew? Can you describe what they did or said? How did that make you feel? What are clues you can look for to understand how another person is feeling? 

🌷 When you’re watching a movie or TV show with your child, talk about how one of the characters might be feeling and how you would feel in that situation. 

🌷 If you’re taking time to talk with a friend about a challenging situation, explain to your child what you’re doing and why. You don’t have to share the details but do let your child know that you’re listening to your friend and trying to help. Or, if your child talks about a conversation with a friend, highlight ways in which they were showing empathy. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

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Foster Your Child Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is important for children and younger learners because it sets the stage for success. If kids have a better understanding of their emotions, actions, and abilities, they can make better choices to help them be successful. 

Here are some easy and effective ways on developing self-awareness in children: 

1. Be the Role Model: 

Use your everyday behavior to show your child how to manage daily situations in a calm and positive way. When faced with an unpleasant or frustrating incident, teach your child how to react in a positive way and deal with the situation.  

2. Accept and Recognize Your Child’s Emotions: 

Understand your child’s emotions and never make fun of them, in front of him or others. When your child learns to deal with his emotions, he will learn to accept his behavior and understand how to function better. 

3. Empathize with Your Child: 

When you empathize with your child, it will make him feel secure and confident about himself. Empathizing with your child will teach him that his emotions are important and are nothing to be ashamed of or hide. 

4. Let Your Child Communicate Freely: 

The key to your child’s self-awareness and overall growth is a good communication that is honest and open. Let him express his thoughts clearly and without worrying about what you will think. Appreciate the fact that he talks to you about what he feels and tell him that you are happy he discusses things with you. Even if you do not agree fully with what he says, do not ridicule his opinion. Instead, guide him gently in a positive way. 

5. Pay Attention, Be A Listener and Teach Effective Problem Solving: 

When you shower your attention on your child, it will make him feel loved and wanted, and his sense of worth will also reach a high. Help your child understand how to respond to and not react in certain situations. 

Your child will pick up most of his behavioral and social skill sets from you. Be your child’s role model and help him understand his potential best. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

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The Benefits of Play

Play improves the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and young people. Through play, children learn about the world and themselves. They also learn skills they need for study, work and relationships such as: 

⭐ Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength.  

⭐ Play is important to healthy brain development.  

⭐ It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact with the world around them. 

⭐ Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction with other children or adult caregivers.  

⭐ As they master their world, play helps children develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges.  

⭐ Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to learn self-advocacy skills.  

⭐ When play is allowed to be child driven, children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue. 

When parents observe their children at play or join with them in child-driven play, they are given a unique opportunity to see the world from their child’s vantage point as the child navigates a world perfectly created just to fit his or her needs. The interactions that occur through play tell children that parents are fully paying attention to them and help to build enduring relationships. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

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The 5 Love Languages for Kids

The 5 Love Languages for kids, enumerates the different manifestations of love, namely: Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Quality Time, Gifts, and Acts of Service. Applying each type of language for children means to: 

WORDS OF AFFIRMATION 

  • Tell them I love you 
  • Tell them how proud you are of them 
  • Find reasons to congratulate and praise them 
  • Formulate your words as to not hurt them 
     

TOUCH 

  • Hugs are a free commodity 
  • Hold their hand when walking to places 
  • Cuddling is mutually beneficial 

QUALITY TIME 

  • Try to bring them to events or sports games 
  • Go on walks 
  • Play sports together 
  • Bike riding 
  • Watch a movie together 

GIFTS 

  • Small, simple gifts 
  • Surprise gifts and parties  
  • Reward their achievements  
  • Leave little surprises such as trinkets and candy 
  • New clothes for special occasions  

ACTS OF SERVICE 

  • Help them with homework 
  • Clean their room from time to time 
  • Teach them new skills  
  • Volunteer for a good cause together 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

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How to Support Healthy Risk-Taking

A better approach is to let kids figure out their capabilities by taking some risks. Instead of always freaking out, just watch. If you see determination on his face even if it’s mixed with fear – let him, be. Remain close by, if it makes you more comfortable, but resist the urge to reach out. 

Rather than immediately stop your child’s “crazy plans,” watch and observe. Ask what he’s doing. If you see something potentially unsafe, speak up. Express your concern, but then let your child solve the problem. Some kids will immediately adjust their plans. Others will resist. It’s OK to step in and stop things if needed. 

Let kids try some risky things under the supervision of an adult who models and discusses safety protocols. Allow your child to gradually assume more responsibility. In doing so they will feel that powerful emotion of pride through accomplishment. 

Above all, encourage and praise your child’s ambition and determination. His desire to tackle challenges and take risks will serve him well in the years to come. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

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Activities to Help Your Child Develop Confidence

Self-confidence is something that we all build upon as we go through life. With the support and encouragement of their parents, family and circle of friends, every child can begin to build their confidence and empower themselves. 

These activities are simple, but effective for building confidence, which is vital to happiness and health: 

Make a list. Sit down with your child and together, brainstorm their strengths. Focusing on the positive can go a long way towards empowerment.  

Use positive affirmations. These words of encouragement can become rituals in your family that lead to positive self-talk over time. Simple phrases such as “you are loved” or “you are safe” can become second nature.  

Make time for play. Playtime is one of the best investments you can make in your child. The hours you spend playing with your children shows them that they are valuable and worth your time.  

Goal plan. Set some attainable personal goals with your child and then help them set out to achieve them. Celebrate their progress. 

Do an act of kindness. Acts of kindness such as helping a friend at school, or volunteering at a food bank, are incredibly important for kids. We feel good about ourselves when doing good for others. 

Provide them with small jobs. Children need opportunities to display their skills and feel that their contribution is valued. At home, this means asking them to help with household chores. 

Collaborate on some artwork for the home. Displaying a child’s artwork on the wall or refrigerator is a major confidence-booster for kids. Grab a canvas from the craft store and work on a piece of art for the home together! 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

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PARENTING TIPS FOR CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health is an aspect of our wellbeing that is just as important as our physical health, and on a personal scale, we should always strive for its preservation. However, there is a stigma that exists against the youth who experience mental illnesses, especially those who live relatively comfortable lives (who, if I may observe, are more prone to mental illness).  

Parents have the duty to ensure that their children are healthy in every sense of the word, and so they must also account for their mental and emotional wellbeing. Here are some tips for helping your child through difficult times: 

  • Pay attention to your child’s feelings 
  • Praise their accomplishments 
  • Don’t punish them for their shortcomings constantly 
  • Be their companion in tough times 
  • Empathize with them, put yourself in their shoes 
  • Be flexible with your expectations in times of stress 
  • Try to maintain a calm demeanor, as your child will experience stress too if they sense from you that all is not well 

Parents can’t always be a Superman/Wonder Woman that can shoulder the burden of the world, which is why the most essential tip is to be human. At the end of the day, perhaps all we need is someone to be our friend in difficult times, someone we can relate with, laugh with, and most importantly, find strength in each other. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

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Tips for Preventing a Victim Mentality

When children take on a victim mentality, it becomes a form of defiance, used to avoid taking appropriate responsibility and being held accountable. If left unchanged, the victim mentality can eventually impact your child’s ability to have healthy relationships and to adequately function as an adult. 

It is vital that your child learns new skills in order to manage responsibility in the real world. Here are seven steps you can take to empower your child: 

🟡 Create Gratitude Rituals 

Spend time talking about what you’re grateful for every day. Even when you encounter difficult circumstances, role model a grateful attitude. 

🟡 Silence Negative Thinking 

Help your child silence their negative thinking by looking for exceptions to the rule. If they say, “No one ever likes me,” point out people who do. 

🟡 Face Uncomfortable Emotions 

Let them know that emotions are OK but that it’s important to handle those emotions in a socially appropriate manner. Teach them healthy ways to express their feelings and prevent them from hosting their own pity party every time they get upset. 

🟡 Teach Problem-Solving Skills 

Teach your child how to problem-solve. A child who takes action when they face hardship is much less likely to see themself as a helpless victim. Kids with good problem-solving skills can prevent small stumbling blocks from turning into major obstacles. 

🟡 Help Other People 

Helping other people can show your child that no matter how young they are, or no matter what problems they’ve experienced, they have the ability to help someone else. 

🟡 Teach Assertiveness Skills 

Kids with assertiveness skills can speak up and say, “Don’t do that,” or “I don’t like it when you do that.” Empower your child to use their words and you’ll reduce the likelihood that they’ll become a victim. 

🟡 Role Play Tough Situations 

Help your child learn to avoid a victim mentality by showing them how to proactively deal with tough situations. When they realize their choices in responding to tough situations, they’ll be more likely to take positive action.  

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog