From the category archives:

Motivate Your Child

goodnightstoryForget the latest toys and gadgets, a recent study by leading child psychologist Dr Richard Woolfson has revealed: “Reading is so popular with kids that it was voted their favourite pastime with a parent (51%), ahead of other forms of entertainment such as watching television (17%) and playing video games (7%).”

Almost two thirds of children have revealed they want their parents to read to them more often.

When it comes to telling a good story, children have recommended to parents that the best way to maintain their interest is to talk in funny voices for different characters (71%), followed by unusual sound effects (17%).

Dr Richard Woolfson said: “The results of our research confirm the traditional activity of storytelling continues to be a powerful learning and emotional resource in children’s lives. There is no doubt whatsoever that children value the experience of having a story read to them and view this the best wind-down activity at the end of the day.”

You may know that I love storytelling so I couldn’t wait to share this research with you. Do you remember the poem….?

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be
I had a mother who read to me.
Strickland Gillilan (1869-1954)

Just add father, grandparent, aunt, uncle or any loving adult and it sums it up from me.

Photo credit: Gracie & Viv at Flickr


Motivating Boys A powerful way for children to feel good about themselves is to tap into their subconscious mind. What do I mean by that? We all have that ‘little voice in our head’ that gives us messages right? This influences how we feel about ourselves and what we achieve.

What we sometimes forget is that this voice is ‘talking to us’ is ‘playing along’ in the background even when we are not consciously aware of it.  It will ‘play’ emotional messages; and doesn’t discriminate between good or bad messages that have sunk in there. So if we have had negative input then what will be playing in our heads; influencing how we feel and what we do will be negative. We’ll be filled with, “I can’t…” etc. Or worse… anger when we don’t know why. [click to continue…]


listenI often talk about the importance of  really listening to your child.  To me, really listening means actively and reflectively listening to what your child is saying.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But, all too often as we listen, we quickly spin off into our own thoughts and interpret what we hear. Then we start to frame an answer, to solve our child’s problem for them, even before they’ve even finished telling us!

Do you find yourself doing that? I know I do.

Why do we go into our own thoughts instead of staying present with what our child is saying?

Often it’s because we want to save them! We want to soften their load and save them from hurt, but what we can actually end up doing is diminish their opportunity for self growth, hinder their problem-solving skills and lessen their independence.

How do you listen effectively to your child? [click to continue…]


My Learning Style One of the easiest things you can to build your child’s self belief as a learner is to show them, “how they are smart”.

To me, each child is unique.  Each have their own personality and interests and their own unique learning style.

You can see  my “smarts” in the diagram. Answering a few simple questions online can give your child a visual sense of how they are smart. This can lead to your child opening up about what they love to do and also give you both a clue as to the best way for them to learn.

An example of this, if I see one of my students scores highly on “Body Smart” and they have yet to develop automatic recall of number facts (like …three, twos are six) then I’ll go outside with them and play handball and we’ll say the number facts, in rhythm, as we play. It’s fun and takes advantage of their learning style.

If you’d like to use this simple tool with your child to find out more about their unique learning style, go here. There’s an audio as well as a written version, and it’s also available in some community languages. Let me know how you go.


A few minutes ago I listened to a post-match interview with Roger Federer at the Australian Open.   Federer had just defeated Andy Roddick and progressed to the final. One of Federer’s  first comments was how he played well because he had confidence. Self-confidence is the result of positive self-talk.

How do we help our children  to develop self-confidence?

Here’s a 4 step plan.   Awareness  → Understanding → Skills → Practice

To develop positive self-talk your child needs to:

Step 1: become aware of what they are saying to themselves, in their thoughts.

Step 2: understand that those thoughts influence their behaviour, for better or worse

Step 3: develop their own set of  positive self-talk phrases, for example;

  • I can do it.
  • I’m good enough.

  • If I want to, I can.

  • It doesn’t matter if I make a mistake.

  • I can make it happen.

  • If I try hard, I’ll get there.

Step 4: practice, catching themselves being positive with their self-talk

I have found some great action plans and although they have been written for classroom use, you can easily adapt to use at home with your children. They are suitable for children of school age,  5-18 years. You can   Download Your Positive Self-Talk Action Plans here.

The lesson plans are copyright of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

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