How we can help our children reach their full potential

When I began to write Sleepy Magic, I knew it was going to be so much more than just a book.

Since starting this journey, it’s been my purpose to empower kids (and grown ups) to have greater self-worth and feel confident in life no matter their socio-economic status. Because when you have that, I believe you can do anything.

A number of friends and family who have tried the Sleepy Magic ritual have told me how they have been noticing an increase in confidence and less angst and worry with a profound sense of self-esteem amongst their children.

I find this incredible and got me thinking imagine if I and the Sleepy Magic community could make an even bigger difference for a lot more children and families!

If you have been reading my blogs, you would know how much I believe reading and literacy is important for building self- esteem. It’s not about being the most intelligent. Reading has a more profound impact than that. It can affect us in all areas of our life helping us reach our full potential.

It’s the story telling, the words, learning how to relate our emotions to experiences, the ability to capture the imagination and learn about new cultures, people and the world around us that help children (and adults) develop who they are and build life long skills that help them reach their full potential that is the most important.

Unfortunately not all children have access to this opportunity. When I learnt about the statistics that if every child received an education, 171 million people would be lifted out of poverty I felt a deep desire to do something about it.

This is why I chose to team up with ‘Room To Read’, a charity dedicated to helping children across the world pursue a quality education, reach their full potential and contribute to the community and the world. Through their education initiatives so far more than 10 million kids have benefited from their work.

And ‘Room To Read’ are helping us reach our dream of building a school in the developing world too. How amazing is that!

As an official partner of this charity, 10% of all proceeds from the book purchases go straight towards achieving this goal.

But there are other ways you can help us help more children achieve their full potential, foster higher levels of higher self-esteem and cultivate strong self- worth.

This is a great opportunity to get your kids involved too! So if you and your children want to get involved in this project, check out the resources here for a full list of great ideas.

And get in touch with me to let me know how you go and so we can feature your story in our blog.  I would love to hear from you.

Preparing our Boys to become more Confident Men

Self-doubt and lack of confidence hold more kids back than any other factor.

Confidence affects the way you live your life, affects the relationships you cultivate, the primary one being with yourself. It plays a huge part in what you put out in the world and what you get back. It is not arrogance but the realization of who you are and what you can do if you commit to yourself.

As a mother of two young boys, it is important to me my boys feel confident now so they can grow up to be the best versions of themselves in later years. This is one of the years why I wrote Sleepy Magic and I still get goose bumps knowing how much of an impact it has had on not only my children but others too.

Genuine confidence, the true kind that comes from within is founded in a sense of security and self-assuredness, usually developed throughout childhood.

In her book, We Shall Not Fail – The Inspiring Leadership of Winston Churchill, Celia Sandy (Churchill’s granddaughter) describes what she calls contagious confidence.

Sandy writes, “Inspirational leaders are beacons of hope. They project an aura of confidence and resolve that is quite literally contagious. Churchill had this gift. So did Roosevelt, Truman, Patton, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and more than a few of today’s leaders. They inspire followers and get things done.”

Confident men are assertive whilst remaining loving and nurturing. They stand up for themselves, others and what’s important to them. They are assertive in what they want and aren’t afraid to pursue their goals and dreams. They feel assured in themselves and their values with the ability to form healthy, loving relationships.

Real confidence building is the most important skill you can develop as a parent. Children with healthy self-esteem and self-confidence learn more, achieve more, have more friends and are generally happier than those with low levels of confidence.

I want to help my boys develop real self confidence now while they are young so they can grow up to be confident men with the necessary life skills to lead the life they deserve, cultivating healthy relationships, with the ability to study subjects their passionate about and pursue fulfilling careers that will make them happy and reach their full potential in life.

I believe it is important to help prepare our boys now to become more confident men later. I wrote an article earlier about how to help build more confidence in your child here.

“Once you feel nice about yourself, you have planted the first seed to develop self-confidence.” – Stephen RichardsDevelop Jedi Self-Confidence: Unleash the Force within You

 

The 7 benefits of bedtime story telling for kids

There is substantial research out there on the benefits of bedtime story telling for kids. And if you have been following my previous posts, you will have some understanding of why.

According to a recent research conducted by author Jim Trelease, regular reading of books “creates empathy toward other people, because literature values humanity and celebrates human spirit and potential, offering insight into different lifestyles while recognizing universality”.

Even if you don’t have the time to read, the practice of simply being there with your child, developing that sense of closeness and connection or even showing pictures from the book for 15 minutes can have a direct impact on your child’s well being and development.

In this post I am going to break it down with 7 benefits of bedtime story telling for kids

  1. Stories help children learn the value of books.

Reading books regularly stimulates children’s imagination, accelerates their emotional development and fosters natural curiosity. This is accelerated with the assistance of their parents. Reading can also become a favourite hobby, a child will learn to enjoy later in life

  1. Stories help children cope with feelings

When you read or tell a story that deals with feelings, it helps your child relate and know they are not alone. By sharing the story of how the character manages their feelings, the child can learn how they can also deal with their feelings too by relating to the character in the story.

  1. Stories help with children’s brain development

There is plenty of research and other articles discussing how story telling can help with children’s brain development. In addition to helping your child become more familiar with sounds, words and language, story telling also helps the child read more successfully later in life and improve their creativity.

  1. Stories help children learn about the world around them

By showing pictures, different colours, shapes, people, objects, numbers, places and things children quickly learn about the world around them because they are more likely to be able to identify what is what. It also helps when the story is told repetitively as this assists with their understanding and learning of these things.

  1. Stories help children adapt to change and new events

Through story telling, children identify with the characters as they move through their journey, faced with new challenges or events. By listening t how the characters deal with certain situations, children are able to learn how they may be able to deal with their own changes and events.

  1. Stories help lay the groundwork for the development of social, communication and interpersonal skills

Story telling can help children think about moral issues, develop their values, learn social cues and skills, understand assertiveness, communication skills, listening skills, manners, self awareness and how to deal with conflict or other situations that may come up in social interactions.

  1. Develops confidence and self-esteem

Story telling helps your child develop a sense of who they are in the world and by developing a story telling routine with your child, they will feel loved and supported as they develop a closeness with you. You can read more about this topic in the blog post here.

If you would like to have a chat or want more information on how to get a copy of my new book Sleep Magic over here or email me at danielle@daniellewright.com.au

 

 

 

 

Building confidence in children

If you’ve got self-worth, you’ve got everything you need. You can change your life. Change your life. Change your family. And even change your world..

 This is why I created and wrote Sleepy Magic

Because I am so determined to empower families and their children to cultivate deeper connections, a strong sense of self-worth and confidence.

Because of my own personal journey, this topic is one I feel so passionate about and with a deep sense of purpose it is my mission to inspire and help young children develop higher levels of self-confidence and self-esteem.

It is during childhood where we are able to form relationships that have the potential to influence and shape our lives. It’s where we develop belief systems about ourselves and the world around us and where we learn the skills that set us up for a healthy, vibrant and happy life.

I remember as a child struggling so much with feeling different, stupid and unworthy because I had dyslexia. Teachers didn’t pick it up, my parents didn’t pick it up. I simply slipped through the cracks, however, I was smart and creative enough to muddle my way through school.  Unfortunately, this belief about myself led me on a destructive path for me in my teenage years which only fueled my low self-esteem. Even though my “flaw” led to one of my biggest career achievements in life, the sticky unworthy residue of fear remained. I wrote about this part of my journey here .

So you could imagine, when a mother whose 8 year old child is experiencing bullying as a result of her dyslexia personally messaged me via Facebook, made me feel inspired and determined to write this blog to show others it’s okay to be different. This amazing young girl is empowering herself by writing a book about being Dyslexic with the help of her teacher. This should be embraced and celebrated! Being different or unique should make us feel special. It means you have gifts and talents that if looked after can change your life for the best.  I told that beautiful girl that I want to be the first one to buy her book!

Dyslexia (www.dyslexiatas.org/) is a learning difference that affects a person’s ability to develop language skills, particularly reading and spelling.

Often misunderstood for a lack of intelligence, dyslexia is actually not related to intelligence. It occurs simply when children’s brains process information differently and for this reason, children with dyslexia learn differently.

When learning differences are seen as a weakness or when children are made to feel different for their uniqueness it can really knock their confidence and self-esteem often resulting in all sorts of self-destructive behaviours later in life.

When growing up, its so easy to feel we need to “fit in” or be like the others or feel a need to fit the mold when really, thinking differently needs to be embraced and nurtured.

Conquering fears and outside pressures from others does not need to be a lifetime battle..

With simple strategies and by being a positive role model, we can successfully teach and show our children by example how to love themselves for exactly who they are, feel comfortable with their differences and embrace their imperfections and flaws.

“Tis’ better to live your own life imperfectly than to imitate someone else’s perfectly” – Elizabeth Gilbert

This month is ‘Light it Red for Dyslexia’ which is a fantastic national initiative, driven by volunteer groups around Australia as a pre-launch to Dyslexia Empowerment Week 2015.  Significant monuments and landmarks across Australia with be lit up in red to raise awareness. For more information please go to the Square Pegs Tasmania Dyslexia Support & Advocacy Facebook page.

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I write a lot on these topics on my blog here . Learn ways you can teach your children how to deal with self esteem and embrace their flaws here.

Please share if you dig this and I love hearing from my readers so please feel free to share your comments below or write to me danielle@daniellewright.com.au

Have a week of wonder!

Help your kids self-esteem through reading

In previous posts I shared some tips on how to help your children sleep better and proven strategies based on my own experience of the benefits of storytelling.

In this blog post I want to go further to discuss how the ritual of bedtime reading can help your children sleep better, improve their development and self-esteem.

This is such an important topic as you and I know the development of a child’s growth and self worth is extremely significant. Self-esteem is feeling good about yourself. Good self-esteem helps children try new things, take healthy risks and solve problems. It gives them a solid foundation for their learning and development.

There are many ways children can develop self-esteem; knowing they are loved and come from a family who value them, feeling a sense of belongingness, occasionally being praised and encouraged to follow their dreams and what makes them happy, and feeling secure and confident about the future.

Believe it or not, bedtime reading can help with all of the above…

According to Women’s and Children’s Health Network, reading aloud to babies and children is really important in their early years and has an impact on their overall development and future learning. Stories help children to cope with many feelings and problems. Story time can be a special caring time with you that your children will remember all their lives.

Part of building self-esteem and confidence is knowing where you fit in, in the world. Stories help your child develop this sense of belonging. This is even more important if you have come from another place, your child feels different or your family has been split up. Special story time at bedtime can help your child look forward to going to bed, to enjoy being close to you and to relax, ready for sleep.

Books can help your child to escape for a while from the stresses and pressures of their world as the story takes their imagination to other wonderful places. Most importantly your child will thrive on spending time with you. Reading and telling stories to your child can become a very special bonding and sharing time. It helps your children to learn to love books and to develop a sense of being.

Remember story telling plays a huge role in your child’s development as many children remember their story times for the rest of their lives.

Sleepy Magic has helped my children’s development and improved their self-esteem significantly. By incorporating bedtime reading into your evening routine, you will help your kids calm down, building a greater connection with them and you are also giving them a way to build their confidence and self-worth.

If you are digging this post please share it with your friends and family.  You can contact me on danielle@daniellewright.com.au

 

The benefits of storytelling to kids

Storytelling time can become an important part of a child’s bedtime routine.
Routine and familiarity has many benefits.

  • Structure and repetition becomes very comforting for a child and eventually your child will always look forward to their story telling time.
  • What’s better is that they will learn that it is a cue for bed time, so will naturally become more calm and quiet ready for bed.

In my book Sleepy Magic I share with you ways you can develop a ritual that calms and prepares your child for sleep, connects and strengthens your relationship as well as teaching them to have a strong sense of well being, confidence and inner harmony.
Sleepy Magic changed our household, and when my boys asked me to teach dad I knew this was bigger than just my family. Why does Sleepy Magic work so well? One of the secret ingredients is the repetitiveness of it. There are five steps, and we do the five steps every night.

Here are some of the strategies I tried and tested to help get your kids ready for bedtime more effectively

  1. Develop a routine that makes your children look forward to story telling
  2. Create a sense of security and safety around bedtime and sleep
  3. Help your kids develop a breathing technique so they feel calm and comfortable which helps them prepare to fall asleep. When I do this with my children they know not to talk or fidget.
  4. Create a nurturing and calm environment that helps them relax and feel peaceful for a good nights sleep. This will help them to associate these times as special times.

Please feel free to share!  And if you would like more info on what’s inside Sleepy Magic go here.

Help your children sleep better with 3 simple tips

Tell me if this sounds familiar? The mention of “bedtime” causes your children to go berserk all of a sudden?

How is that possible when almost 30 seconds earlier they were so calm like angels?

I can totally relate. Mine would start to wrestle, become loud, run around, and stop listening.

Don’t worry! I have developed a secret secret weapon that ensures no matter how hyped up they are, in 15 minutes they will be calm and if not asleep very, very close to it.

Gone are the nights feeling exhausted at the thought of the negotiations, the bribes, the threats and the tension all associated with trying to get your children to bed.

My sons and I have created our own special ritual that has changed the dreaded bedtime into a time, place and space that is much calmer and loving.

After seeing the amazing difference it made, I wrote a book called Sleepy Magic to share with like-minded parents. It is a ritual that calms and prepares kids for sleep, connects and strengthens your relationship as well as teaching them to have a strong sense of well being, confidence, and inner harmony.

Combining meditation, affirmations, imagination, and an essential breathing technique, Sleepy Magic changed our household, and when my boys asked me to teach dad I knew this was bigger than just my family. Here are some of my tips on how to improve bedtime.

Tip one: It’s not just about the kids.

It’s about what you are bringing to bedtime as well. Are you frazzled, annoyed, frustrated and just plain over it when it comes to getting your kids in bed and asleep?

I find that the more uptight I became, the more they behave badly. I find if I am calm, centered and I refrain getting frustrated and start yelling at them they are much calmer themselves.

The moment I lose my cool it takes a much longer time to get them to settle. I also speak in a neutral, slow and soothing voice when I remind them to “brush your teeth, don’t pee with your seat down, get off each other, and stop running

Around, get your PJ’s off your head”. You know the drill. Works like a treat for them and my sanity.

Tip two: It’s all in the repetitive routine.

Why does Sleepy Magic work so well? One of the secret ingredients is the repetitiveness of it. There are five steps, and we do the five steps every night.

My boys know what we are going to do each night, and I believe this bring a lot of security and safety around bedtime and sleep.

By the time we do the third step that is breathing technique; they know no more talking, no more fidgeting.

After the breathing technique, they are calm and comfortable and prepared to fall asleep. I believe they feel very secure and safe when you create something special.

Tip three: It’s all in your imagination.

I am all for reading to your child. However, I have found making up a story from your imagination works wonders when connecting with your child. As a child, I am sure my parents read to me but the only one I remember is the one my Dad made up and told over and over again. It was special and our story!

In Sleepy Magic, I make this very easy for you because all the stories or meditations are repetitive (there is that word again). All you have to do is remember the basic structure then change the character or place to whatever you want. You will find your child will request certain scenarios he or she loves. I have made up almost 700 stories this way, and my boys ask for Sleepy Magic every single night. Now they think I am one clever mum!

If you would like to get in touch, feel free to write to me at danielle@daniellewright.com.au

7 ways to teach kids about self-worth through your flaws

I am not a journalist, I am not a blogger, I am not sure I feel comfortable saying I am a writer… but I will.

The BIG REVEAL – writing does not come easy to me. In fact, I am dyslexic. Yep and I wrote a book and now I am writing this. It will take me ages, I will have to write, re-read, write and re-read for what will seem like a million times. The challenge I have is that I do not jumble letters like a typical dyslexic, I jumble my thoughts. Rush them on the page, sometimes out of my mouth. Sometimes those thoughts can be unclear and incomprehensible which drives my husband a little nutty. For me they make perfect sense, however, when someone else reads the sentence it’s a red hot “what the hell does that mean” mess.

As a teen, I was clever enough to hide my “not so smart” flaw but the fear of letting others in on my secret left a sticky unworthy residue on my heart. I didn’t realise how much damage it was doing and would progressively do for years to come.

“She slipped through the cracks” one of my teachers explained to my parents in my senior year! Well it felt more like I slipped into a frickin’ crevasse that Bear Grylls would have avoided at all costs. I worked really hard, frustratingly hard at basic subjects and I rebelled with bad and self-destructive behavior at home. Self-worth slump! My poor parents.

It wasn’t until I took a photography course that I had an ‘AH HA’ moment. I was visually creative! And eventually this passion led to me having a successful career in Advertising for over 20 years.

Even though my flaw led me to one of my biggest career achievements, the sticky, unworthy residue of fear remained and because of it I became a perfectionist, people pleaser and panicker. Oh my!

Upon reflection and some serious self-care over the past few years I have mellowed out; even turned around my 3 pesky p’s (perfectionist, people pleaser and panicker).

That’s another story for another time!

Let me get back on the dyslexic track.

I finally acknowledged the profoundness of this fear when it took 3 months to show my husband the first draft of Sleepy Magic – all 12 pages of it. But once I did it, my flaw didn’t seem to matter as much. Something clicked. I thought I can do this! I faced a fear, worked my tail off and slowly put our beautiful ritual into my own words to share with the world.

This is what I have learned and am still learning about my flaws and failing, and how I can teach my own boys that what they may think are flaws can be their greatest asset and gift. It all comes down to how they feel about themselves. It comes down to their self-worth.

  1. Shift your thinking around a “flaw”. To you it’s the biggest, most obvious thing. But to others it’s nothing not even a blip on their radar unless you let it be. It’s your choice how you handle your perceived “flaw”. Work with it and embrace it. Work it out and change it. Or worry about it and see how that ends up working for you. It’s your attitude around the flaw that either makes it bigger than Ben Hur or not a flaw at all.
  2. You actually can’t fail at anything so don’t fear it. Each step along the way in life is just a step and it always leads forward even if it sometimes seems to go back. Each moment is a lesson and it sucks when you are going through the crappy ones. The trick is to learn from each one. If you don’t get the lesson the first time the universe will keep throwing you curve balls until you do so pay attention.
  3. Ask yourself ‘what are you proud of’ everyday. It’s amazing how tapping into this thought proess adds a new perspective on how you want to leave your mark on the world. You certainly start to realise how much or how little you are truly proud of and what is important in your life. You focus on your intentions for the greatest good and less on you.
  4. It’s guaranteed zillions of others have made the same mistakes so your not alone. Trust that people are so focused on their own issues that the mistakes you make become yesterdays news as fast as you can say ‘yesterdays news’. Don’t beat yourself up, forgive yourself and move forward.
  5. You are the only one who has the power to clean the unworthy residue that may stick to your heart. No person, place or thing can fix this for you, it is an inside job. Ultimately, it’s your choice to shrink or shine but this doesn’t mean doing it alone. Always seek out others to help you when you need it. There are lots of wonderful people in the world to support you.
  6. You are unique. Celebrate this and stop comparing yourself to your best mate, a stranger, or worse celebrities! You are the celebrity in your own life. Being talented or smart comes in many forms and what matters is finding what makes your heart sing. It’s your journey. Same same is boring. Different is grand.
  7. What you focus on grows. If you focus on the flaw it will grow and if you focus on what brings you joy, makes your heart go boom the more those feelings will grow. Give anything and everything a try because you have no idea which one will take your fancy. And when it happens follow it, grow it and trust it. This can lead to being your gift to the world.

So here I am writing, sharing and cracking myself open in the scariest way. This is not natural for me, but with anything I believe in I will work through it and have the faith it will get easier. If you have a passion nothing will get in your way. I have accepted my short comings, embraced my fear of being exposed and realise this is about embracing me, accepting me. This is part of my journey.

Lastly, I can say I did it with my heart and soul, I gave it a ‘red hot go’ and mama I’m proud I did it and so are my boys.