Tag Archives for " empowering kids "

What Are Empowerment Tools?

What are Empowerment Tools? What does empowerment mean when it comes to empowering our kids (and ourselves)? At Our Kids Empowered, our definition of empowerment is to give kids the confidence, courage, and power to meet their full potential. We want kids to feel comfortable in their own skin, to know and see their own worth, and to understand the power they have to make decisions. To do this, it is important that kids' bodies and minds are in sync with each other.  They need to be equipped with the tools they can use to help them manage emotions, calm down, and get their minds in order so they can feel good and make good decisions. 

Empowerment tools are any tools you can use to be empowered as defined above. The empowerment tools that we focus on at Our Kids Empowered fall into 2 categories: physical and mental. Empowerment tools for both of these categories go hand in hand. If you are doing something to strengthen one, the other will benefit in some way. You can't separate your body and mind, and you can't firmly separate techniques into these 2 categories. Here we will loosely separate them for better understanding.

Physical Empowerment Tools

Physical empowerment tools are anything you do to empower yourself using your body. Some examples of physical empowerment tools are:

  • Breathing exercises
    • Deep breathing is a simple and quick empowerment technique.
    • Deep breathing improves your cognitive function, improves your mood, and increases relaxation and/or helps you to relax and calm down. 
    • Our free resource library has a free printable on an awesome breathing technique called Four Square Breathing. Check it out!
  • Exercise
    • This includes any kind of exercise. As long as you are exercising wisely, exercise is an empowerment tool. Exercise improves your overall health, has cardiovascular benefits, can improve your mood, and can help your brain and memory. 
    • Yoga would be included in both breathing and exercise.
  • Sensory activities like swinging, jumping, pushing, compression, and tactile play
    • Using the senses in play is very powerful, and helpful for anyone.
    • Sensory play helps brain function, emotional regulation, problem solving skills, and much more. We will go into greater detail about sensory activities and senses in future blog posts. 
  • Kinesthetics
    • Kinesthetics is moving your body in different ways to stimulate different parts of your mind.
    • It is a way to connect your brain and your body to help you function better.
    • Kinesthetics has been shown to help manage stress, improve decision making, improve organization, improve focus and concentration, improve reading, writing and memory, and help you feel better overall. 

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Mental Empowerment Tools

Mental empowerment tools include anything you do to think positively, and anything that helps your brain work better. You will notice that all of the physical empowerment techniques listed above have mental benefits as well. All of the tools listed below include a physical element as well. 

  • Pull The Weeds
    • Pull The Weeds is an empowerment tool taught in the Our Thoughts are Like Seeds Program. It is an activity that involves being aware of your thoughts and switching the negative ones to positive thoughts. 
  • Journaling and writing
    • Writing has so many benefits.
    • Journaling can be used as a way to release negative emotions.
    • Writing with your hand (as opposed to typing) stimulates neurons in your brain.
    • New awareness of yourself and your thoughts can be achieved when you put pen to paper.
    • Writing can improve memory and overall brain function. 
  • Affirmations
    • Affirmations are positive things we say to ourselves. If you have an affirmation, it is very beneficial to say it over and over.
    •  When your subconscious brain hears your say these positive things, it eventually starts to believe them.
    • Affirmations can be powerful and life changing. 
    • Check out this post for 25 positive affirmations for kids.

Summary

Empowerment tools are simple things you can do to strengthen your mind and body, and in the end help you reach your full potential. As you use empowerment tools and teach them to your kids, you will find that they help you start to think more positively, regulate your emotions better, be more relaxed, be physically healthy, and the list goes on and on. 

Check out our free resource library to download a free printable on Four Square Breathing. Four Square Breathing is a simple and effective physical empowerment tool that has mental benefits as well.

Our Thoughts Are Like Seeds

Our thoughts are like seeds. The more I have pondered on this idea, the more I have realized how true it is in many ways. Positive thoughts are like good seeds that produce flowers and vegetables, and negative thoughts are like the seeds that form weeds. 'Our Thoughts are Like Seeds' is the topic of lesson 1 in our Our Thoughts are Like Seeds Program

It is estimated that we have between 60,000-80,000 thoughts each day. For the average person, around 80% of these thoughts are negative. That is an astounding and concerning statistic. It doesn't seem like our odds are really that great, does it? Our brains are programmed to look for the negative, so they naturally generate more negative thoughts. The good news here is that by using simple tools and strategies, we can train our brains to think more positively, making the percentage of negative thoughts go down and the percentage of positive thoughts go up. 

Our Thoughts are Like Seeds

Plant Positive Thoughts

When we think of a garden, the type of seed we plant determines the type of plant that grows. If we plant a flower seed, a flower will grow. When we plant a tomato seed, a tomato plant will grow. When we plant a weed, a weed will grow. We cannot plant a cucumber seed and expect a pumpkin to grow. It is just common sense. The same is true for thoughts. If we plant a positive thought we will get a positive result. If we plant a negative thought we will get a negative result.  

It is important for us to be intentional with our thoughts. We must intentionally plant good seeds in our garden. Plants don't spontaneously grow in a garden (only rarely does this happen). Only weeds do that. Weeds are nasty little things, and they can quickly take over an entire garden. They strangle the good plants growing.

Plants need to be cared for. They need to be watered and have the right amount of sunlight. Weeds can grow in any condition and anywhere without any care. 

The same is true for thoughts. We must intentionally plant positive thoughts. They do not usually just come up on their own. We don't have to work at all for the negative ones to pop up.  But we have to care for our positive thoughts. We need to nurture them and continue to help them grow. Negative thoughts require none of that, and if we don't nurture our positive thoughts, the negative ones will come and strangle the positive ones.

How can we have so thousands of negative thoughts and expect our results to be positive? We really can't. 

Thoughts Lead to Results

Positive thoughts lead to positive results

Our thoughts are very powerful. A thought is the first step to any action we take. When we have positive thoughts, our experiences are more positive. We feel better about ourselves and our capabilities, and it shows in the results we get in life.

There is a natural pattern from thought to result. A Thought leads to an emotion, which leads to an action, which leads to a result. Following are some examples of this. 

  • The thought “I am ugly” could lead to an emotion of shame, which could lead to not talking to friends, which could lead to the result of being alone when you want to be with friends. 
  • The thought “I am enough” could lead to an emotion of confidence, which could lead to introducing yourself to new people, which could lead to the result of having a lot of people who are your friends.  

Can you think of any examples from your own life? 

How Changing a Thought Can Change Our Experience

Positive thoughts lead to positive experiences

When we change our thoughts our results change too. Think about this for a minute. This means in the end we have some power of our results. There are, of course, things we don't have control of even if we control our thoughts well. I am not saying that if we have a negative experience it always means something is wrong with our thoughts. However, this is true in a lot of cases. 

Let's say I am going to speak in front of hundreds of people. This is something that would be very scary for most people. I go up to the stage with thoughts like, "This is scary", "I'm not going to do good enough", "I never do well when I speak in public", "I'm going to say something stupid", etc. I am only telling my brain how I am going to perform. Because of these negative thoughts I am going to have emotions of inadequacy, fear, and dread. I am going to go up to the stage and fumble with my words, say things the wrong way, and overall not do as great of a job as I want to do (action). The result will be that my speech doesn't produce the results I want it to. Maybe I wanted to inspire others, and it just doesn't happen because I was such a bumbling mess. 

Now let's flip the story. I go up to the stage with thoughts like, "I've got this", "I can do hard things", "I am enough", "I get better every time I do this". I might still be nervous, but I am going to have a lot less fear than in the example above. These positive thoughts are going to help me feel empowered and maybe even a little excited. My performance will be a lot better, I will be able to say the things I planned, and I will feel confident and excited about the speech. Hopefully I also inspired someone, which was my goal. 

Awareness Of Our Thoughts Is Important

It is important to be aware of our thoughts. Awareness is the first step to making any change in our positive/negative thoughts ratio. When we are aware of the thoughts we are having, we are more able to adjust and make changes. 

Try keeping track of the thoughts you have. Awareness is the first step to making any change. Try tracking your thoughts using the Thoughts Tracking printable provided in our free resource library. Have your kids do it too! Leave a comment telling me about your experience!

Want To Teach Your Kids This Concept?

The Our Thoughts Are Like Seeds  program is the perfect way to teach your kids how their thoughts are like seeds. It is full of activities, printable pages, games, and stories that help kids learn about their thoughts in a fun way. The activities help reinforce the concepts and apply them in daily life. The lessons are designed so you that it only takes 5-10 minutes each day to teach the concepts and apply them. 

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Summary: 

  • Our thoughts are like seeds. Positive thoughts produce positive results just as a flower seed produces a flower. Negative thoughts produce negative results just as planting a weed seed will produce a weed. 
  • A thought is the first step toward any result we get.
  • We can change our experiences by changing our thoughts.

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