Four Ways to Support Your Shy Child

Part of living a full life involves having new experiences. New experiences help us grow and develop as a person, gain confidence, and build self-esteem. Whether it’s starting a new job, taking up a new hobby, or meeting new people, most of us are familiar with a feeling of shyness or anxiety that can be stirred up within even the most extroverted personalities.  Sometimes shyness can affect us in all sorts of negative ways. It’s important to let our kids know that we all feel this emotion from time to time, and that there are lots of strategies to help us cope with new experiences without being overcome with anxiety.   Shyness is the main theme of Magination Press book Sophie’s Shell. Sophie is a happy snail who wants to learn more about the world around her. In fact, she is counting down the days before she can start school. When she gets to school though, that all seems to change. Sophie’s shy feeling is so strong that she has to keep popping back into her shell. POP! Parents may also identify with this. Many have had the experience of taking an excited child to a birthday party, but upon arrival, they could hardly look up, didn’t want to play, dance, or join in with the games, and just clung to their leg for the entire time. As a parent, you can feel surprised and frustrated and want to say, “Just go and enjoy yourself!”, “Don’t be shy!”, “Speak up!”, but these reactions won’t help your child or you. How You Can Help Don’t draw attention to it In Sophie’s Shell, Sophie has many episodes of feeling shy. This is often because people are paying lots of attention to her, even if it’s for positive things like admiring her beautiful art. Adults can help children when they are feeling shy by simply carrying on calmly and not drawing attention to it. Discreetly asking other adults to do the same can also help. Everyone feels shy sometimes, even grown ups Let your child know that everyone can feel shy in certain situations, and that it’s not something to feel ashamed of. Shyness can make us feel uncomfortable: sometimes Sophie has “a wobbly feeling in her tummy.” Share with your child times when you have felt shy, how you coped with it, and how the feeling went away. Little by little With all experiences, the more familiar you are with a new situation, the easier it becomes and the less shy you feel. This means being patient and believing that being in new situations will get easier.  Before a new experience, talk to your child about where they are going and how many people might be there.  Suggest a way to make a new friend, such as smiling and saying, “Hi.”   Arrive to a party early, so there are fewer people. This can help your child get used to the environment without them feeling they are arriving to lots of new faces.  Bring a conversation piece. Encourage your child to bring

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Four Ways to Support Your Shy Child 2019-12-03T14:18:36-05:00

Magination Press Quick Tip: Supporting Your Child with Depression by Fostering Positive Thinking

October is recognized as Depression Education and Awareness Month, but any parent with a child who suffers from depression knows that kids need support year round. Dr. James Foley, author of Magination Press’s book, Danny and the Blue Cloud: Coping with Childhood Depression, offers these insights and tips for parents supporting children who suffer from depression. Four ways to increase your child’s positive thinking Depression is often characterized by negative and/or distorted thinking. You may notice your child more frequently engaging in negative self-talk such as, “I’m a dummy" or "I can never do this.” Such statements may indicate a pattern of negative thinking. Here are a few tips to begin the process of positive change: Set the stage for positive thinking through movement. Engage in a physical activity that your child enjoys on a regular schedule, especially when your child appears “down." Exercise elevates mood. Help your child think about the good things and not just the bad things. For example, involve your child in creating an electronic or paper collage filled with their wonderful qualities. Help your child think about what he or she can do and not what he or she can’t do. Make a list of your child’s positive accomplishments. Point out your child’s achievements, even small ones:  “You were a big help emptying the dishwasher today.” Model positive self-talk for your child: “I am really happy and proud that I finished all my work today.” Fostering small positive changes in the way your child thinks and acts can help them change the negative thinking that often accompanies depression. These tips are from James Foley, DEd, author of Magination Press’s book, Danny and the Blue Cloud: Coping with Childhood Depression.

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Magination Press Quick Tip: Supporting Your Child with Depression by Fostering Positive Thinking 2019-11-24T21:38:05-05:00

Magination Press Quick Tip: Supporting Grieving Siblings

November is Worldwide Bereaved Siblings Month Parents of children with serious illnesses face many challenges supporting their child through treatment and navigating the eventual outcome of the illness. If the family has more than one child, the parents also find themselves supporting the siblings as they experience their brother or sister’s illness, and sometimes, their death. The authors of Magination Press’s The Gift of Gerbert’s Feathers, Dr. Meaghann Weaver and Dr. Lori Wiener offer these insights and tips for supporting siblings of seriously ill children: When a child is diagnosed with a serious illness, everyone in the family is impacted. It can be especially difficult for brothers and sisters whose pain and suffering can feel invisible compared to what is happening to their ill sibling. Some siblings feel that their own needs, wants, and desires are not being valued as highly as those of their ill brother or sister. They can struggle trying to balance their love for their family and tremendous worry for their sibling with feelings of jealousy, anger, or frustration. Sometimes siblings secretly worry that they caused the illness due to something they thought, said, or did. It is important that the sibling is reassured that the sickness is not their fault. Sometimes siblings feel guilty for being healthy when their brother or sister is sick. Others may feel guilty for being jealous of the attention their sick sibling is getting from parents, grandparents, neighbors, and others. These feelings are often magnified if their siblings die from disease. They should be reassured that these are normal emotions, and that it’s not their fault. To support a child who has lost a brother or sister, try these ideas: Allow children to speak openly and ask questions about their loss Provide children with age-appropriate information about understandable and healthy emotional reactions to grief Facilitate a consistent routine including school attendance and home routines like regular family meals and bedtime Encourage children to maintain a relationship with their sibling through the practice of continuing bonds such as  talking about memories, looking at pictures, creating a memory box, or visiting favorite shared places These tips are partially excerpted from the Guide for Parents & Caregivers in Magination Press Book, The Gift of Gerbert’s Feathers, by Meaghann Weaver, MD, MPH, FAAP, and Lori Wiener, PhD, DCSW, to be published in February 2020.

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Magination Press Quick Tip: Supporting Grieving Siblings 2019-11-13T13:18:51-05:00