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003: How to Raise a Humble High Achiever with Zac and Lan Mu

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Posted on by Dr. Kimberley O'Brien

Tips to Calm a Toddler in Distress : On-air Consultation/Travelling and Spending More Time with Kids - Seasoned Family Traveller

Welcome to episode 003 of the Impressive Podcast. In this episode, Kimberley talks with Lan Mu and her son, Zach Mu who has won awards for public speaking. How Lan Mu created such a humble and down to earth, yet high achieving young boy in Zach.

Lan will also be sharing the details about the Timor community and how she brought everybody together so that Zach has some great mentorship and family. Enjoy:

  • Time is a luxury many don’t value. Zac and Lu explain how time management is integrated into their lives.
  • Goals that attainable and interesting for a young person
  • Rules and how the reaction differs from a school-aged child to a teenager.

Enjoy the Episode

Recommended resources

Here are the recommended resources to support a 3-year-olds exhibiting Rigid thinking, Sensitivity to change, Issues with emotional regulation and Meltdowns

Keep updated with The Impressive Podcast

Join Dr Kimberley O’Brien on the Impressive Facebook Group to receive news, share your opinion and learn about resources for home and school. You can also Join the Mail List.

About Impressive

Impressive is a weekly podcast that sheds a new light on the world of parenting. Join host, Dr Kimberley O’Brien PhD, as she delves into real-life parenting issues with CEOs, global ex-pats, entrepreneurs, celebrities, travellers and other hand-picked parents.

In an approachable on-air consultation style, she listens to some of the smartest, kindest parents share their latest parenting challenge with their incredible kids. Together they brainstorm solutions and Kimberley offer handy tips and valuable resources to help bring out the best in toddlers, teens and in-betweens. Drawing mostly on two decades of experience as a child psychologist, Kimberley also shares her personal insights as a mother of two and entrepreneur with a passion for problem-solving.

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How Sarah Scully used Quirky Kid Resources with Clients in Canada.

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Quirky Kid Therapeutic Resources in Canada

At Quirky Kid, we are committed to developing engaging and creative therapeutic resources and evidence-based programs (see Basecamp, The Best of Friends and Power Up) for use in clinics and classrooms around the world.

One of our most popular resources is the Quirky Kid Pack, which contains 11 resources for a range of applications. Each tool has been carefully designed by our team to assist clinicians in building social, communication, and self-awareness skills with their clients.

Their use and application have grown significantly since they were first published and we love hearing from our customers around the world about how they implement the resources in their clinic.

Recently, we were contacted by Sarah Scully, a Mental Health Clinician/Behavioural Consultant with the Developmental Disabilities Mental Health Services in British Columbia, Canada. Sarah reached out to share her experience in using the Quirky Kid pack. Her reflection highlights how this resource can be used with a diverse range of clients and settings.

Sarah’s team is made up of psychiatric nurses, mental health clinicians, behavioural consultants, art therapists and occupational therapists. They provide mental health services to people with an IQ below 70 and who live with a psychiatric illness or challenging behaviour.

Read Sarah’s case study:

I am fairly new to the Developmental Disabilities Mental Health Services team in Canada and had to deliver a presentation to my senior staff members, with the goal to work on our youth team as a counsellor, I shared my secret weapon…Quirky Kids resources.

I own and love the Quirky Kid Pack and presented on how I use these resources with my client population; adults with intellectual disabilities (ID).

Quirky Kid Therapeutic Resources with Clients in Canada

I shared how I use ‘Face It Cards to help my clients expand on their emotional literacy.  Somewhat similar to young children, many of my ID clients have the basics; mad, sad, happy and not much else. These cards help expand their emotional vocabulary and provide a fun way to notice the nuances of different facial expressions.  In learning new feelings and emotions my clients are able to start relating to and naming their physiological experiences.  By getting to understand what my client is feeling, I can support them and the people around them to enhance their mental health.  When a facial expression comes up that a client can not name, we discuss the possibilities of what the person is thinking or feeling, making it a great way to develop empathy.

I also told my tea how I use ‘Face It Cards’ in a projective way, helping my clients deal with a history of trauma, abuse or loss. I use the cards to enable my clients to speak about the picture they see, rather than themselves. There is often hidden gems of truth in the stories created by my clients, which can be used therapeutically. I have successfully used the cards to encourage conversation about past experiences, which can open up a dialogue and courage clients to share their stories and feelings.

 

There is often hidden gems of truth in the stories created by my clients, which can be used therapeutically.  I had one client who expressed, for nearly every card, “someone said something bad to her”, or “someone must have said something nice to her”.  This encouraged a conversation about her past experiences of being bullied as a child, which related to her current feelings of being unheard by her support team today.  These patterns can open up a new dialogue and encourage clients to share their stories and feelings.

I love to use ‘Tell Me a Story Cards’ as Icebreakers.  When meeting a new client, it helps to build trust and rapport while sharing information that you wouldn’t normally share, like the farthest you ever swam!  Poor self-esteem and negative self-talk is something I commonly see in the people I serve. I use the ‘Tell Me a Story Cards’ with clients to reinforce their accomplishments and obstacles they have overcome.

Finally, I like to use the ‘Just Like When Cards as social stories. Often, adults with disabilities have little in the way of social connection and may not understand social norms and behaviour.  These cards are a good way to explore social scenarios while talking through their personal experiences or making up stories based on the images.  These cards also encourage empathy for others.

 

Summary

One of the best things about these amazing resources is that, although they are meant for children, they are not immature.  They translate extremely well to adults with intellectual disabilities. So often, this population is infantilized and treated as permanent children as they struggle to establish their own independence as adults with extra support needs.  The Quirky Kid cards are a great way to meet my clients in a developmentally appropriate but respectful way.

I am happy to say that the presentation was a success and I was offered the position.  I am looking forward to kids aged 12-19 and hoping to get more use out of my ‘Likes of Youth Cards’!

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002: From CEO to Seasoned Family Traveller with Michael Peachy

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Posted on by Dr. Kimberley O'Brien

Tips to Calm a Toddler in Distress : On-air Consultation/Travelling and Spending More Time with Kids - Seasoned Family Traveller

Welcome to the second episode of Impressive. This episode is all about travel and adventure. Kimberley talks with Michael Peachy, the CEO of Seasoned Family Traveller. Listen to how Michael Peachy moved out of the CEO lifestyle into travelling and spending more time with their kids. You can enjoy:

  • How to adjust to travel and family life
  • How to from corporate lifestyle  to following your dreams and make it all work
  • Creating new projects on the go.

Enjoy the Episode

Recommended Resources

Keep updated with The Impressive Podcast

Join Dr Kimberley O’Brien on the Impressive Facebook Group to receive news, share your opinion and learn about resources for home and school. You can also Join the Mail List.

About Impressive

Impressive is a weekly podcast that sheds a new light on the world of parenting. Join host, Dr Kimberley O’Brien PhD, as she delves into real-life parenting issues with CEOs, global ex-pats, entrepreneurs, celebrities, travellers and other hand-picked parents.

In an approachable on-air consultation style, she listens to some of the smartest, kindest parents share their latest parenting challenge with their incredible kids. Together they brainstorm solutions and Kimberley offer handy tips and valuable resources to help bring out the best in toddlers, teens and in-betweens. Drawing mostly on two decades of experience as a child psychologist, Kimberley also shares her personal insights as mother of two and entrepreneur with a passion for problem-solving.

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001: On-Air Consult Meltdown Mode – Tips to calm a toddler in distress

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Posted on by Dr. Kimberley O'Brien

Tips to Calm a Toddler in Distress : On-air Consultation/Travelling and Spending More Time with Kids - Seasoned Family Traveller

Here is the inaugural Impressive Podcast with Dr Kimberley O’Brien. In this on-air consultation, Kimberley discusses  Rigid thinking, Sensitivity to change, Issues with emotional regulation, Meltdowns and toddler development.  Enjoy:

Here are the recommended resources to support a 3-year-olds exhibiting including social stories and visual timetables to introduce more structure.

For parents:

  • https://www.booktopia.com.au/the-highly-sensitive-child-helping-our-children-thrive-when-the-world-overwhelms-them-elaine-n-aron/prod9780007163939.html

For toddlers:

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Building Social and Emotional Learning during the School Holidays

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

child inside a backpack. social and emotional skills for kids

The school holiday period can be a great time to reflect on the last term, prepare for upcoming changes and review skills that need to be improved.

Returning to school is typically experienced with mixed emotions. For some parents, it is a welcome relief after what feels like a very long holiday. For others, the return to school signals the end of a carefree, relaxing break and there can be feelings of sadness and/or anxiety associated with the return to routine and the academic and social demands associated with the school.

Children and young people equally experience a range of feelings about the return to school. For some, there is great excitement about starting a new school, seeing friends or perhaps finding out who their new teacher will be. For others, there may be sadness about the end of the holidays or anxiety about a raft of possible concerns such as making friends in their new class or coping with the work/homework requirements.

A tried and test way to prepare for changes and transitions is by focusing on your child’s social and emotional adjustment.

Tips to Help Your Child Settle Into Term 3

Whilst a lot of focus is placed on the academic tasks associated with school, paying particular attention to a child’s social and emotional adjustment over the coming weeks/months is also critical. Below are 3 tips to get you started:

  • Make time to check in with your child about how they are feeling and coping with the school year so far. It’s important to really listen to what your child is saying. To do this, begin by just repeating back or paraphrasing what your child is telling you. Where your child is experiencing uncertainty try to normalise this and remind your child that it can take a few weeks to really settle in. It is not uncommon for children (and parents) to express disappointment about a new teacher they may have been assigned or about the discovery that they don’t have as many close friends in their class. Rather than jumping to solve the problem for your child, build resilience by encouraging your child to come up with some ideas about ways to help themselves cope in such a situation.
  • It can often be a good idea to make time to check in with your child’s teacher as soon as terms resume. Whilst you will, of course, wish to discuss their educational strengths/weaknesses, also address how your child is feeling about their progress and to highlight anything (e.g. camp, homework) that may be worrying your child.  Make sure you also discuss your child’s social skills with the teacher. If they are struggling with friends, ask your child’s teacher how the school can help in facilitating friendships. If your child has had any ongoing incidents of bullying/teasing it is critical to mention this again and ask how they can help to ensure that such incidents don’t occur again during the next terms. Equally, if your child has a history of seeking attention from others in a class by misbehaving, check on how this is been handled at school. Teachers will undoubtedly find your insights into what works and what doesn’t work at home very useful.
  • Encourage friendships and further consolidate social skills in by organising playdates or outings with any new classmates made throughout the term. Whilst children often request existing friends, it can be worthwhile trying to extend friendship networks by inviting new children over. This is not only good for your child but can also help to expand social support networks for you as a parent. In secondary school, it is equally important to encourage friendships by providing opportunities for your son/daughter to have friends over or by offering to drive them to a movie etc. This not only helps foster friendships but also gives parents valuable insights into the type of friendships that your child is building.

Why social-emotional learning is so important

The importance of focusing on the social and emotional well being of children is becoming increasingly acknowledged. In the current climate of increasing rates of mental illness in young people and concern over youth suicide rates, the NSW government has reportedly decided to tackle the problem more aggressively by proposing to adopt a more preventative approach in addressing such issues. The Government’s decision to begin at the grassroots level and start better-educating school-aged children (from Kindergarten) about mental health issues is welcome news to everyone here at Quirky Kid.

The changes to the Personal Development, Health, Physical Education (PDHPE) syllabus which are apparently due for implementation from 2020 include a more comprehensive effort to address social-emotional learning and mental health issues from primary school onwards. Beginning in Kindergarten, it is proposed that children will begin with simple social-emotional concepts such as feelings and building relationships with others, but as they progress to higher grades the aim will be to address important issues such as coping with success and failure, overcoming adversity, grief and death, coping with controlling behaviour in others, domestic violence, and substance abuse.

Helping Children to Build Important Social-Emotional Skills

Equipping children to cope with the social and emotional demands of school fosters increased coping and resilience skills. The evidence suggests that well developed social and emotional skills are both protective and helpful. Strong social and emotional skills in children not only predict fewer behavioural problems in the classroom but they are also related to positive academic outcomes and improved school performance  (Myles-Pallister, Hassan, Rooney, & Kane, 2014; January, Casey & Paulson, 2011; Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor, & Schellinger, 2011)

The government and other mental health agencies hope that by tackling such topics in school and by better-educating children about mental health, steps will be made to not only demystify such issues but will crucially equip children with a more effective toolkit for managing difficult feelings. It is further hoped that lessons learned at school will have a lasting impact as children become adults.

How Can Quirky Kid help develop your child’s social-emotional learning skills?

At The  Quirky Kid Clinic, we are strong advocates for prevention and early intervention when it comes to children’s mental health issues. Prevention, is, of course, the preferred approach. In our experience, providing intervention to children and families before problems become too entrenched can often be the key to success. Where issues have been developing for some time, it can be much harder to address problems and for both the child and family such situations can feel insurmountable.

The Best of Friends® gives children the knowledge skills and confidence to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, develop and maintain friendships and make good decisions. Designed for children aged 7 to 11, the program teaches these critical skills to children in an age-appropriate and practical way.

So embrace this potentially challenging time with your son/daughter and remember children tend to take the lead from their parents. With this in mind, try to model calm, brave behaviour whilst at the same time keeping the doors of communication wide open. By adopting these strategies your child should feel a little braver about adapting to their new classroom, teacher and school expectations.

Term 3 Social and Emotional Learning Programs for Children

If you are looking for a more extensive approach to preparing your child for Term 3, book now for our The Best of Friends® holiday and Term 3 Programs.

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References:

Durlak, J.A., Weissberg, R.P., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D., & Schellinger, K.B. (2011).  The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions.  Child Development, 82(1), 405-432

January, A.M., Casey, R.J., & Paulson, D. (2011). A Meta-Analysis of Classroom-Wide Interventions to Build Social Skills: Do They Work?.  School Psychology Review, 40(2), 242-256

Myles-Pallister, J.D., Hassan, S., Rooney, R.M. & Kane, R.T. (2014).  The efficacy of the enhanced Aussie Optimum Positive Thinking Skills Program in improving social and emotional learning in middle childhood.  Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 909.

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