Is your child/teenager addicted to their phone? Does their phone rule or do they take control of their phone?

    I recently ran a workshop on Self-Development with a group of 6th year students in Co. Laois. I would like to share some of my findings which are very relevant to any parent with kids of any age. This was a mixed group – males and females aged 17/18 years of age.

    Question asked;
    Do you think your phone/gamine effects your study?
    -Yes because once you start using it you never get off it and waste hours
    -Yes sometimes I loose track of time and I am then too tired or its too late to study
    -Yes it is distracting when your friends message you, you feel you have to reply straight away
    -Yes playing too much ultimate geam
    -Yes because you are constantly checking it which effects my concentration

    Up to 95% said their phones effected their study. We spoke at length about how they could change this and what would happen if they did/did not make some changes now. (4 months before Leaving Cert Examination)

    They really were very open to taking on change. They admitted they never really thought about the effects their phone was having on their lives – study, family, past-times, but they will now.

    Question asked;
    Do you think this workshop might encourage you to make any positive changes in your life?
    -yes, to turn off my phone when I am studying
    -yes, to take my phone out of my bedroom at night
    -yes, to find a balance between my real life and my virtual life
    -yes, I feel motivated to study
    -yes, not to rely on my phone so much
    -yes, to set goals for myself and follow them through
    -yes, to try harder at training and switch off my phone

    My point is, in all the workshops I run, the students are so open to change. I really believe they do not think about the negative effects of their phones, as they have grown up believing this is the only way to live (phone constantly in their hands). We spoke about the effect of phones on family life, past-times, fitness, friendships, sleep, values and strengths – our kids need life skills, they need to learn how to control their phones, take control of their lives. We, their parents, can help them to do this from a very early age. We have to set boundaries for them and stick to them. Will there be arguments? yes. Will there be tantrums? yes. But this is part of our parenting job now. We have to support and help our kids to have a balance in their lives, to understand the world offline and to try to take part in it as much as possible.
    I would love to see Self-development modules become part of our curriculum from a very early age as our kids are growing up in a very fast paced, changing technological run world and they do need help and support to live in it in a more positive, healthy way.

    Please contact me should you have any questions relating to the above. Eileen

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    Teach your kids to be brave and courageous.

    Kids and teens will usually step up to expectations or step down to them. If we expect them to try hard, they usually will – if we expect them to give up, they usually will. Be careful how you speak to your kids and teens as they do ‘listen to your words and learn from your actions’ much more than you may realise.

    Explain to them that failure is often a result of trying something brave. Every experience they have, both good and bad, teaches them something new. Failure is essential for learning. Being imperfect is normal, give them space for imperfection – it is a life lesson.  In the world of social media perfection is a very real expectation for kids today but a very unrealistic one.

    There may be a time when they really want to try something new but may be nervous, they may need to build themselves up for a while before taking that first step, and that is ok. The bravery hits in when they take that first step. Be patient with them and help them to prepare for whatever it is they want to try. Show belief in them any time you can. ‘I know you can do this, I have every faith in you that you can do this’, with a bit of effort you can do this, if you don’t try you will never know if you can do this.’

    Everything you do is important to your kids and they do take everything in. Take the time to explain how you dealt with nervousness when you were younger, how you dealt with failure, how you dealt with disappointment, how you felt with rejection and sadness (not all at once of course). Normalising these feelings helps them to express their own feelings. I work with so many kids who hold these emotions internally and this can lead to anxiety, nervousness, lack of confidence and so much more.

    Notice when your child has been brave, has shown courage in any area of their lives. Whether they have picked up a spider to bring it to safety, started a new activity, stood up for someone – anything you notice. Positive reinforcement is a wonderful tool. Kids flourish on deserved praise.

    I once read ‘Too many times creative, change-making, beautifully open minds have been shut down in the name of compliance. There is nothing wrong with questioning – it opens hearts, minds, and mouths. One of the reasons the world is capable of great things, is because young minds who are brave enough to challenge the way things are and to want something better, grow into adults minds who make it happen.” Let your kids question and grow at every opportunity.

    Nurture you child’s bravery, their uniqueness, their inquisitiveness it will be the making of them. Help them to stretch outside their comfort zone at every opportunity. Believe in them at all costs.

    “It takes courage to grow up an become who you really are.”

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    How Much Sugar Is In Your Food and Your Childs Food?

    Our cells need sugar (glucose) to survive, however, consuming too much of it can cause numerous different health problems. Added sugar contains no beneficial nutrients and in excess only contributes to tooth decay, diabetes and obesity.

    How much sugar should be take in per day?

    Age 0-5                    3 teaspoons sugar per day

    Generally this age group is taking in approximately 12 teaspoons per day

    Age 5-8                    5 teaspoons sugar per day

    Generally this age group is taking in approximately 21 teaspoons per day

    9-adults                   6 teaspoons per day

    generally this age group is taking in approximately 24 teaspoons per day


    4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon of sugar


    If you want to make changes to your diet and your kids diet, start with little steps.   Little swops at a time will help all of the family become healthier without too much pain!


    List of sugar in food to help you to make that swop


    Cereal  Coco pops         9 spoons sugar                                            

    Frosted flakes                8.9 spoons sugar

    Honey nut                        8.3 spoons sugar

    Honey smacks                14 spoons sugar

    Raisin bran                      7.8 spoons sugar

    Muesli                                3 spoons sugar

    Corn flakes                       1 spoon sugar

    Rice crispies                     2.5 spoons sugar

    Cheerios                             1 spoon sugar


    Fruit juice                          7 teaspoons sugar  

    Can coke/

    7-up/Fanta                        9 teaspoons sugar

    flavored milk                    5.5 teaspoons sugar

    sports drink(500ml)       5 spoons sugar

    fruit smoothie (1glass)   3.5 spoons sugar

    Hot chocolate (1mug)    4.5 spoons sugar

    Orange squash                 2.3 teaspoons sugar

    (per glass)

    Milk (per glass)                0 spoons sugar

    Lucozade sport               .8 spoons sugar

    Tonic water(100g)          1.2 spoons sugar

    Blackcurrant (100g)       2.3 spoons sugar

    Cranberry juice(100g)    2.8 spoons sugar

    Water                                  free of sugar



    Cookies/cakes, desserts

    Chocolate cake                 6 spoons sugar

    (4oz piece)

    scones                                 5.3 spoons sugar

    Madeira cake                      7.3 spoons sugar

    (100g serving)

    sponge cake                        8.6 spoons sugar

    (100g serving)

    Ice cream sauce                 15.9 spoons sugar

    (per 100g serving)

    bread (1slice)                     0 spoon sugar

    Muffin (1 med size)          0 spoon sugar

    Banana cake (4oz )           2 spoons sugar

    Brownie no icing (1oz)   4 spoons sugar

    Danish pastry 1 slice      4 spoons sugar

    Gingersnap biscuit          4 spoons sugar

    Savory biscuit (1)            1.3 spoons sugar

    Oatmeal cookie                2 spoons sugar

    Chocolate digestive         2.5 spoons sugar

    Jaffa biscuit                       3.25 spoons sugar



    Starburst packet              5.5 spoons sugar

    M & M packet                   5.8 spoons sugar

    Snickers bar                      7 spoons sugar

    Mars bar                             8.5 spoons sugar

    Hard boiled sweets

    (3 sweets)                          2 spoons sugar

    twix bar                              9.5 spoons sugar

    snickers bar                      7 spoons sugar                          


    Teaspoons of sugar in common fruits, sauces, jams


    Strawberries (147g)               1.7 spoons sugar

    Fruit canned (half cup)

    In light syrup                            2 spoons sugar

    Peanut butter 100g                 1.4 spoons sugar

    Baked beans (100g)               1.2 spoons sugar

    Peas         (100g)                       .4 spoon sugar

    Sweetcorn-kernels 100g      .9 spoon sugar

    Sugar, jam, jelly -1spoon         1 spoon sugar

    Pineapple (112g)                     2.1 spoons sugar

    Banana    (1 large)                 4 spoons sugar

    Apple (1 large)                        5 spoons sugar

    Tomato Ketchup 100g         5.6 spoons sugar

    Honey 1 tbls                            3 spoons sugar

    Marmalade 100g                   15.7 spoons sugar

    Start today and make that swop – sugar is the fastest growing addiction in the Western world – help yourself and your family to lead a healthier life. 



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    Does Your Child Have Yo-Yo Self-Esteem? Part 2


    In the last article we asked the question, does your child have yo-yo self-esteem? Recall that Yo-yo self-esteem occurs when children’s self esteem rises and falls with the ups and downs of their lives (i.e. how they did in school, played in their soccer game, etc.).
    We talked about how important it is for children to base their self-esteem on who they are and not on what is happening outside of them so that their self-esteem remains intact no matter what is going on in their lives.

    Today we’ll learn three additional tips for supporting your kids in developing solid self-esteem that doesn’t rise and fall with the ups and downs of life:

    The fourth tip is to encourage your kids to identify and honour their own uniqueness. We are all unique in our own special way. Have your kids really think about what they love about themselves – from their values, to their character, to their gifts and talents. Have them make an “I love me!” poster which illustrates what they love about themselves. When kids focus on what they love about themselves, their self-esteem will soar.

    Fifth, talk with them about the power of positive self-talk. What they say to themselves is more important than what anyone else says to them. When kids learn to talk to themselves with love, compassion, and support, their self-esteem will soar.

    Finally, teach your children how to handle the “downs” in life. Teach them how to manage mistakes and failure so that they don’t define themselves by these events. Teach them how to manage fear so that fear doesn’t keep them from their dreams. Teach them how to manage change so they feel powerful in their lives and see themselves as capable and worthy.

    Learning to handle the “downs” in life as events, not only enhances self-esteem, but also leads to strong self-confidence as kids learn that they can handle anything that comes their way.

    Kids Coaching covers all of the areas listed above through stories and activities . If anyone has any questions regarding Kids Confidence Coaching please call me on 0868112110 or comment here. thanks
    As we mentioned in the last article no matter how much we love our kids or how much time we spend with them, we can’t give them self-esteem, but what we can do is help them develop it in themselves. Start this week by sharing the six tips from these two articles.

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    Kids Are Struggling – We Must Reach Them Early

    When Michael was 10 years old, he had the opportunity that every young rugby player dreams of!
    It was the last 2 minutes of the game and he had an easy kick to put his team in the lead. He had a chance to win the game for his team!
    He took a few steps back, looked at the bars and kicked the ball – but it went wide. There was a loud moan from the crowd. The match was over and Michael’s team lost the match.
    Michael left the pitch mumbling to himself “I’m such a loser. I quit.” Michael was humiliated and he no longer wanted to play rugby.
    You have probably seen something like this happen before. It may not have been a rugby game––but some event in life where you, your child, or someone you cared about faced a big disappointment and just wilted before your eyes.
    When faced with challenges or disappointments, most kids don’t have the tools to handle them.
    ‘Emotional First Aid’, what is it? Kids know when they cut their finger, they but a plaster on it – when they burn their hands, they run it under a cold tap but do they know what to do when they feel disappointed, humiliated, ashamed, hurt, excluded, upset, lonely?

    As a result, they often feel down or give up on themselves—developing belief systems that can hold them back for the rest of their lives. This crushes self- esteem and it crushes self-confidence.
    Life events can “wound” children and most of the time their parents don’t even realise it. They might see a shift in their child’s confidence or self-esteem, but they don’t know what happened or what to do about it.
    And most of the time kids won’t tell because they are too embarrassed. They don’t want their parents, the people they love the most, to think less of them. Instead they cry themselves to sleep, often suffering in silence.
    And a lot of kids are struggling.
    Did you know that:
    ●  30% of tweens (children between the ages 10-12) experience headaches and difficulty sleeping as a result of stress.1
    ●  25% of children between ages 13 and 18 experience anxiety disorders.2
    ●  10% of children are actually diagnosed with depression before the age of 18.3

    The World Health Organisation reported that depression is “the predominant cause of illness and disability” for children and teens age 10 to 19-years-old, worldwide. The statistics are even more staggering when you consider the report found suicide to be the third leading cause of adolescent deaths (behind traffic accidents, and HIV/AIDS).4
    Something is clearly not working when one child in every ten (10%) is clinically depressed by the time they reach adulthood.
    And when suicide is the third leading cause of death, worldwide, for children between the ages of 10-19.
    Regardless of country, ethnic background, culture, or religion, millions of kids are struggling with how they feel about themselves day-to-day.
    We must reach kids at an earlier age to help them develop resilience, self-confidence, and self-leadership skills, so they can handle the ups and downs of growing up.
    And life coaches for kids can help! As a certified life coach for kids with Adventures in Wisdom Inc., I am working with many 8-12 year olds on a one to one basis teaching them the skills to deal with life’s ups and downs. These sessions are proving very successful. They are based on story format with each story holding an important life lesson. I hope to start small group sessions later this year.
    For any information on the above, please email me on eileenkeanehaly@gmail.com or message me on Facebook or call 0868112110.

    . 1 Psychology Today, “Is Your Child Stressed Out? Why You May Not Know.” 
2 National Institute of Mental Health: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/statistics/1ANYANX_child.shtml
3 Time Magazine Article, “The Happiness or Pursuit”, July 2013 http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2146449,00.html 
4 “WHO calls for stronger focus on adolescent health,” May 2014


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    How Do We Teach Our Kids How To Stand Up To Peer Pressure?

    Knowing what we stand for, choosing what we want for ourselves, and learning how to say “no” to peers and “yes” to ourselves is critical for following our inner voice when peers/friends pressure us to do something we don’t want to do.
    One of the biggest concerns that parents have about raising kids today is negative peer pressure. In a 2003 survey of over 20,000 parents taken by Dr. Phil, parent’s top two goals were:
    1. Raising children with self-confidence
2. Creating enough internal strength to resist temptations/peer pressure.
    Parents of teens reported that their no.1 issue was “peer pressure” – what do they [their children] do when they are not with them.”
    I’m sure you’ve seen the statistics showing that alcohol use, drug use, and sexual activity is occurring at a younger age than just a decade ago. Children are experimenting with and engaging in risky behaviour, sometimes as early as 13 years of age.
    I see over 1200 kids (9yrs – 18 yrs) a year both on a one to one basis and within the school system and the number 1 issue ‘always’ is self-esteem, self-belief and self-confidence.
    In this every changing, fast paced world run by social media and camera phones, the mistakes our kids make could follow them for the rest of their lives. This needs to be explained to them from a very early age. There is no such thing as delete on social media – teach them when they put something up on social media sites they have to be happy with ‘everyone’ seeing it. There is nothing private. Getting older siblings, cousins, older friends or a mentor tell stories about what happened them or their friends can make it more real. You may say the exact same thing but they are not you and in my experience this helps them to really take it seriously.

    Peer pressure can also cause tremendous stress on our kids. Kids just want to fit in, be accepted, and to be liked by the other kids at school. Fear of being rejected, teased, laughed at, or losing friendships can cause a lot of anxiety and even depression. Academia is important but the feeling of ‘fitting in’ and ‘belonging’ should not be underestimated. This is essential for them to feel happy and confident.
    So what can we do?
    We can talk about peer pressure with our kids and prepare them for how to handle negative peer pressure.
    There are three areas that must be covered.
    To resist peer pressure, kids must
    • know their values and what they want for themselves
    • understand what peer pressure is and how to spot it
    • learn how to say “no” when they are being pressured to do something they don’t want to do.
    1. Know their values and decide what they want for themselves 
First, we can talk with our children about what their values are. What do they want for their lives and why is that important? What, as a family, is important to us and why? How different families may have different values. How do they feel about lying, cheating, stealing, dares, experimenting with drugs or alcohol, and engaging in sexual activity? Do they understand the consequences of these activities? Communication is key.

    2. Understand what negative peer pressure is and how to spot it.
    Second, talk with them about what peer pressure looks like, sounds like, and feels like so they recognise it when they see it. Sometimes situations “sneak up” on our kids and they are in a tough situation before they even realise it. Try to share your own experiences with them.
    3. Learn how to say “no”
    Third, teach them how to say “no” and practice it over and over and over again so it becomes a reflex for them.
    “Thanks, but I don’t want to do that”
    “No thanks, thats just not for me”
    “I don’t like that but you go ahead if you want to”
    “Just because I don’t want to …….., doesn’t mean we can’t be friends”
    Let them know they can come to you if they feel under pressure or don’t know how to deal with a situation. Again, share some of your own experiences with them when you were their age – it helps to normalise things for them.
    Look for teachable moments.
    If you see examples of peer pressure on television, discuss the scenario with your children after the programme and talk to them about different ways to handle the situation. There are so many movies now that really help – ’13 going on 30’, is one I particularly like.”
    Look for changes in their behaviour. This could indicate that they are facing a peer pressure situation.
    Watch how they act around their friends. If you see anything that concerns you, discuss it with them afterwards. Sometimes just asking, “Are you happy with the choices you made today? might be enough to get them thinking.
    Finally, help your kids start feeling more “grown up” in other ways. Kids often experiment with adult behaviour because they want to feel more grown up. Discuss with them what they think would make them feel more grown up and come up with a plan to make that happen (as long as they are being responsible and trustworthy).
    Explain to them –
    “When you say “no” to others, you say “yes” to yourself. What you want for you gets to be more important than what your friends want for you.”

    “It takes courage to grow up and become who YOU really are.”
    “Peer pressure is the pressure you put on yourself to fit in!”.

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    Help Your Child Have A Positive Transition From Primary School to Secondary School

    • Go through the daily plan with them. Preparation is key.
    • Advise them to have their uniform, schoolbag and lunch ready the night before – this will help to keep things calm and give them time to get themselves ready.
    • Starting the day upset and stressed does not help anyone in the house, especially at a time when everything is so new.
    • It is very important that they are happy with their own appearance (uniform, shoes, hair etc.), as feeling socially confident is very important to them around their peers.
    • Help them to organise their books in a way that makes is easier for them to access from school lockers. They could have a folder for each subject, marked with that subject name; this makes it very easy for them to pick up the relevant books before their class.
    • If they come home upset, angry, lashing out at you (parent/carer), try not to take it personally. This can be a time when they are finding it hard to settle in and sometimes they do not know if they look right, sound right etc., the only person they can take this out on, is usually you! This can be very hard to take but try to understand they really don’t mean it, they are just adjusting and hopefully this will balance out. I would suggest you take a few deep breaths, walk around the house but try not to rise to the bait. I have gone through this a number of times myself and this was advice I received from a friend and one I did have to use on many occasions.
    • Try to keep things calm around the house for the first few weeks. The most important thing at this stage is that they feel confident that they fit in, they feel they belong and, most importantly, that they are happy.
    • I suggest you let your adolescent/teen know that if and when they would like to invite someone over to your home, they are very welcome, but try to refrain from asking them if they want to ask someone over, on a weekly basis. You may get a reply like. “They are not that kind of friend, we don’t do that”. This is very normal. It can take until 2nd or 3rd year for many students to be comfortable asking someone home. Sometimes you can put pressure on them, without meaning to, by asking these questions over and over. It can make them feel inadequate, feel upset because they are not doing what you think they should be doing. Although they might act like you are the devils advocate, they will always be aware of your opinion and they generally care a lot more than you think.
    • Adolescents/young teens are at a stage, psychologically, when they feel they have to move away from the parent/carer, become more independent, but they also know they need you. This can be very confusing for them and for you. Just remember this is a normal phase and many of the actions of adolescents/teens can also be hormonal. Communication is everything. If talking fails, text or write to them, it does not matter what form communication works for you once you are communicating in some way. Try to remember how you felt when you started Secondary school; what worried you, what made you feel secure?
    “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”
    • You will know if your child is having trouble settling in – trust your own intuition – look for some of these signs;
    o   Not wanting to take part in after school activities
    o   Not joining others on social outings
    o   Spending a lot of time in their room alone
    o   Being quieter than normal
    o   Becoming very angry when you talk about friends, socialising.
    • If for any reason you feel your child is having a hard time, I would suggest you contact the relevant year head. All of the schools I have worked with have a wonderful 1st year team and are very aware of the hardships that may occur at this time.
    • Jumpstart also runs “Transition to Secondary School” workshops, on a one to one basis or in small groups, in Cork city.
    If you have any queries relating to any of the above or wish to book a workshop with Jumpstart, please call Eileen @ 0868112110 or email to eileenkeanehaly@gmail.com

    Eileen Keane,
    35a Mary St.
    +353 (0)86 811 2110

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    Self-Esteem – tips for parents and children on how to build their own self-esteem!






    What is self-esteem?

    Self-esteem is how you think about yourself. When you look in the mirror what do you see? Do you see the positives or do you (like most people) see only the negatives. Self-esteem is not something we are born with but thankfully it is something we can learn to build ourselves at any stage of life.
    In order to build your self-esteem, you must establish yourself as the master of your own life. Every single minute of your life is a moment you can change for the better.
    1. Start Small
    Set a realistic goal for yourself to be completed within 1 week, whether it is to do with school work, fitness, nutrition, family relationships does not matter, what matters is that you set the goal, you put the work in and you achieve the goal. Every time you achieve a goal (no matter how small) it strengthens your self-esteem.
    2. Do something you are good at.
    We all have our own talents. Take time and really think about what you are good at and what you really enjoy doing. Now make sure you are spending enough time doing this. Doing things you are good at reinforces your self-belief in your abilities.
    3. Do something outside of your comfort zone.
    Our comfort zone is the place we feel comfortable. We need to continually stretch our comfort zone to enhance our lives and build our self-esteem. If you are afraid of heights, maybe plan to climb a realistic mountain – if you are nervous about joining new clubs – sign up to something new that interests you. If you are nervous about going anywhere on your own – plan a trip you know you can make on your own to start with……start small and build from there.
    Every time you stretch your comfort zone, you rid yourself of one of your fears which in turn builds your self-esteem.
    4. Posture & Eye Contact
    Practice your posture and smile. Someone who walks with confidence and a smile on their face will portray strong self-esteem. This can be something you practice. Even when you are nervous or shy, if you walk with confidence and appear confident, others will presume you are confident. Eye contact is very important in appearing confident. If you find this hard you should practice it until it becomes the norm.

    5. Helping Others
    This may sound too easy but every time you help someone, you feel better. Being in a position to help someone else or make someone feel good about themselves will always help your own self-esteem too.
    6. For kids – try to get kids to ask someone (older sister, parent, grandparent) what do they think they are good at. Tip off the adult the question may be coming so they can be prepared. It is so beneficial for kids to hear others compliment them. Let them see how others see them. Outside compliments mean so much to them and certainly builds their self-esteem.
    7. Teach your kids and yourself how important it is NOT to compare yourself to others. Try not to compare your child to their sibling, cousin, neighbour – this has such a damaging impact on their self-esteem. Measure your expectations of them carefully, understand what what they are capable of, be realistic, listen to them – see them for who they are. Don’t make them try to be someone they are not to please you. This can happen so easily.
    “Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.” – Unknown



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