Thursday, December 7, 2017

Need Gift Ideas For Your Loved Ones? I Can Help!


With three kids and numerous other loved ones to buy for, Christmas and birthdays are often a challenge for me.  Over the years, I’ve realized everyone is happier if we spend a bit of time planning and shopping around. 

First, let’s focus on your mindset.  Decide a budget and number of gifts and stick to it!  Try to release any guilty feelings – most of our kids have too much already, right? Also, DON'T expect every gift to be a hit – what pleases one kid will turn off another. 

Decide what you’d like to encourage with each gift. Examples are a love of reading, love of learning, creativity, getting outside and being active.  Spread the gifts around in different categories like books, bikes, board games, computer games, outdoor toys, etc. The variety is important for their development and they will appreciate the variety over time. Consider non-traditional and homemade items.  You might create a coupon book with passes for specific events they would like – “free coupon for ice cream with Dad”, “free coupon for playing cards with Mom”.

Here are some gift ideas by category:

             - Books – Giving kids books at Christmas and birthdays encourages a love of reading.  Look for lists of award winning books, such as Texas Bluebonnet awards, Newberry and Caldecott Medals. In addition to popular books, consider classic, age appropriate books like the Dr. Seuss books and “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” series.
             - Educational gifts – Giving kids educational items at Christmas and birthdays encourages a love of learning.
             - Science projects, art supplies, hands on projects, fun and messy things
Kids get a lot of benefits developmentally out of hands on, messy, creative projects – it encourages their curiosity and creativity; educators highly encourage this sort of play.
Consider a science book or simple kit with at-home experiments. For artists, create a kit with paints, brushes, an apron and an easel.
            -  Hobby items – Look for kits or other items from your local craft stores.
             - Fun, active gifts – Get out there and play with your kids with kites, frisbees, scooters, and soccer balls.
            -  Classic gifts – These are classics because of their lasting play-ability.  Slinky, dominoes, play doh and playing cards are great examples.
            -  Board games - Try to choose games that most of the family can and will play and schedule special game nights.
            - Electronics – If you are like most of us, you will choose to give your kids some electronics.  If so, make sure it is age-appropriate.  Ratings (P, PG, PG-13, etc) are there for a reason.  Otherwise, this can start to snowball on you.  Use ratings as a guide and then read up on product reviews and check with other parents to make a final decision.
            - Gift certificates As I mentioned above, create a coupon book for special times with mom, dad, and other loved ones.

Here are some of my favorite websites:

Toy and game reviews:
http://www.toyportfolio.com/                Oppenheim Toy Portfolio 
https://ttpm.com/                                 From Time to Play Magazine
GOOGLE "TIA Toys of the year 2017" to see toys that won awards for 2017 awarded by the Toy Industry Association

Educational Software Reviews:

Great websites with unique gifts:
http://www.spilsbury.com                    3D puzzles, unique games, crafts
http://www.youngexplorers.com          Great selection of educational and fun toys
http://www.hearthsong.com                Unique toys and crafts
www.scholastic.com                           Great books and other items
www.highlights.com                            Books and fun, educational toys and crafts
http://www.hobbytown.com                 Variety of items for older kids, great hobby sets and games
https://www.fatbraintoys.com              Educational and fun
AMAZON.COM is a great place to see what other parents think.
REMEMBER – If, like me, you want the focus to be more on celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, exercise a bit of restraint in how much you give your kids. We encouraged the attitude in our kids of "look at the great gifts you got from everyone" rather than "I don't like this" or "why didn't I get more gifts".  Otherwise, like Harry Potter's cousin Dudley, they'll count and compare and complain instead of appreciating what they get!

Please share this post with other parents who might find it helpful.  Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Monday, December 4, 2017

This Young Adult Overcame Big Challenges Through Coaching!


In their quest for greater independence, teens and young adults often reach a point where they can't or won't turn to their parents when they feel stuck or overwhelmed (sound familiar?)  

Today, I’ll share a success story of a young man whose loving and concerned parents hired me to help him. Here is the story, with names changed for privacy:

Dianne, a loving mom, career woman, wife and more, hired me to help her oldest son, Chris was a very smart young college student who also happened to be very shy and uncomfortable making new friendships and talking with adults in both college and social settings.

Dianne explained Chris was soon to interview for a highly competitive internship at a large company in San Antonio.  While certain Chris had a lot to offer the company, Dianne feared he couldn’t make it past the interviews and would have great difficulty communicating and functioning in the internship if hired.

I first had Chris work with a business coach for a few sessions to hone his interview skills.  He nailed his interviews and landed the internship.  Then Chris and I began coaching, working to help him become more confident and comfortable in casual conversations.  We worked on how to team with other interns to get tasks done.  We looked at how to take assignments and show initiative in doing them.  We also looked at how to ask for help – being willing to ask questions when appropriate – not too soon and not waiting too long.

Over our time working together, Chris grew confident that he could take on this internship in a foreign environment, around complete strangers – both of which would not have been possible prior to coaching.

At the end of the summer’s internship, Chris proudly shared that he excelled in all areas, and was thought of highly enough to be asked back next year. 

Chris later landed a full-time position with this - his ideal company, and has been happily working there since 2014!

That’s a powerful story, right?  Know that I don’t do “one size fits all” coaching.  Instead, I carefully listen to what my client(s) bring, and help them establish goals and move into coaching.  To support discovery and growth, I also offer additional tools and resources to the client.

NOW is a great time to gift a teen or young adult the possibilities that open through coaching!

Check out my DASH Coaching offer by clicking HERE!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Your Kids Got Gratitude? Get Ideas and Inspiration for it HERE!


"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." -- William Arthur Ward

As parents, we desire that our kids appreciate what they have and are willing to be of service.  Awhile back, I sat down with my dear friends and colleagues, Ricardo Flores-Clar and Angela Woodrow for an amazing “Wise Parents, Wise Kids” video chat on this. 

We talked about fostering an “attitude of gratitude” and internalizing it.  Then we moved on to look at wonderful yet simple ideas for putting our gratefulness into action.   Listen in to hear, among other things, stories about a “High Five Fest”, a family in El Salvador who gives back to the homeless, and a magical moment when Angie’s kids invited their friends into their family gatherings.

“Gratitude should not just be a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good…”  --Marelisa Fabrega

Good habits become great traditions, fostering awareness and a spirit of gratitude.  If you do these things often enough, they become ingrained in who you are, even spreading outside the family to help make our world a better place.

I’ve got to say this is one of my favorite “Wise Parents, Wise Kids” video chats ever!  Not only will you come away with ideas, you’ll enjoy and feel inspired.  So grab your favorite beverage, a pen and paper, and JOIN US by clicking here:    http://bit.ly/2B8YvXX