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New Years Ritual

Happy New Year, everyone!  Here’s a ritual to renew your body, mind and spirit. It’s simple and

fun. Your child will understand the deeper meaning of this ritual because it is tangible and children love to use their imaginations! This New Year Ritual is best done during the first days and month of each new year.

Step 1. Go around your home open all the windows. (Just briefly if you live in a cold climate.)

Step 2. Open the front door.

Step 3. Stand with your child at the threshold and say: “As I open all the windows and doors to my home, I open the windows and doors to my soul—in comes the new fresh air, in comes the new sunlight and in comes the new energy of love!”

Step 4. Breathe! Take three deep energizing breaths.

Step 5. As you close the front door and windows throughout your home, notice the feeling of freshness in the air. Notice how you are feeling. Did this make you smile? Good!

Join Together

“We are like stones joined in an arch, bound to collapse… unless we support one another.” Leo Tolstoi

Now that many children received gifts from Santa, some expected some not; I notice the main
concern of parents calling me for advise refer to their child’s bitterness and ungratefulness.
In other cases, it is the sibling rivalry that has emotions at an all time high when you had hoped for holiday contentment.

Let’s demonstrate how we can support each other, starting at home. The remedy I recommend for a child’s self-centeredness is to interrupt their misbehavior by asking your child
questions that activate and cultivate an educated heart. I use in my work the term the “educated heart” as message to foster compassionate action in young people because it is not enough to have intelligent minds, we must also have a pure heart. A pure heart lacks aggressiveness.

In our daily lives we have opportunities to model cooperation and peacemaking rather than
competition and jealousy. Here’s how. Next time you catch wind of your children fighting—
instead of ignoring it to let them work it out, you need to step in and step up into your parental power. A child is not necessary going to learn peacemaking without our input and guidance.
But even the well-meaning parents tell me they do not feel equipped to handle conflict resolution because they were not given strategies in their upbringing.

I realize this more true than ever. If our children are going to have emotional intelligence, we
adults are to be responsible for modeling these skills. So when I suggest we interrupt the misbehavior, instead of letting it go; what I mean is, you have to keep your calm and not get caught in the cross-fire or show favor. Here’s a powerful question to ask your children: “What are you not bringing to this situation? Is it patience, a moment to consider another point of view?”

When I ask: “What are you not bringing to this relationship to make it work?” Most kids know the answer. Taking time to pause and reflect offers your child a chance to act mindfully, rather than act out.

Here’s another strategy: ask your child to see the goodness in others and see the goodness in themselves. Try it and see what happens.

Instead of a toy, find his joy!

This year for the holiday gift, consider introducing your child to an activity that can keep him going as he grows. Perhaps, he’s mentioned he wants to learn how to play an instrument or draw?

Remember, when a child is engaged in an activity that brings him joy, he will self-start and
develop creativity. It is the feeling of joy that motivates from within. Just the act of doing something he enjoys, cultivates the art of happiness and contentment–without anyone bribing or coaxing.

All I Want For Christmas

why todays kids are more defiant and disinterested in real life

Can you have a happy child over the holidays and also develop family values through social activities, daily rituals, reverence for elders, practice interpersonal skills and have outdoor exercise and immersion in nature? Thats the question!

A tall order, unless YOU step up and take charge of your parental potency and power.

It seems, by the time your child is in first grade, he or she either wants, owns or has access to an iPhone or iPad. Your child already knows about gaming and insists this is all he/she wants for Christmas! If this is you, read on

Heres what experts in neuroscience are reporting and warning. Many youngsters are not only preoccupied with video games, but also, get high from blowing up buildings and people; shooting and destroying moving targets on land, sea or sky; and breaking through walls to get to the next level! All this time, your childs brain is releasing a cascade of neurochemicals, one in particular, dopamine, which is the brains natural pleasure chemical,” making us feel good 🙂

When overstimulated, your child will need higher and higher fixes” to feel good or he/she will feel bored! Sound familiar? Theres no interest in normal” family activities because the virtual world has your childs brain so charged, its as if the gaming makes them feel more alive while real life makes them feel uninterested, zoned out and numb!

Remember in my last blog about the power of the mind and the use of guided imagery to cause your body to react as if the thing you are imagining is real? Well, here it is, except, what your child is imaging is addictive (biochemically speaking) negative and unhealthy.

Id love for you and your child to use the powers of your mind in a positive, health-giving way. The movies in your mind are not real, but you can use your imagination to enhance your life.

If your child is playing video games before school, the pleasure centers are at a high level and the only thing he/she can do is get in trouble which produces an adrenalin rush like the gaming.

If our kids keep getting used to getting pleasure outside of themselves as they grow, they will look for something else that is stronger to give them pleasure.

If we as parents dont take charge to limit, and more importantly interrupt this addictive behavior, the next step your child will find will be in fixes that produce even more stimulation like drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, excess shopping, over-eating all because the brains satisfaction center can never be fulfilled. Yikes!

I dont care if theyre saying: all I want for Christmas”…

The best thing you can do for your child is model how to find pleasure by doing things that satisfy you from the inside. Taking time for yourself and your child. Make it your priority.

We all have chronic distractibility, we cant be present! Unplug yourself and pay attention! Give your child undivided loving time. Sit close, hold hands, give a hug; the brain will also emit those pleasure chemicals when you stoke your childs back, brush her hair, rub hands or feet while listening to calming music.

Ask questions that motivate: what will you do today to make someones day better?

Your children are the world leaders of tomorrow. Ask them to tell you what they like about themselves. What do they know they are good at? Lets make a plan to enjoy doing them!


As many of you know, I have been inspired by my work with hospitalized children to design mind/body healing resources […]

Carving your values in stone

To see a world without anger, hatred and violence, we must cultivate loving kindness at home within your family by […]

The Hole in My Kindergarten Crown:Discovery of Resilience & My Sacred Self

As a little kid, I loved riding, like crazy, my new bike or endlessly exploring my backyard for the tiniest things and building imaginary worlds; I played for hours on my own or with others. But, I want you to know that when I was in kindergarten, I became stressed! Yup!

On the first day of school, all the students received personalized crowns to wear- clever way for teachers to learn our names! Anyway, as the week progressed, our crowns were quickly filled with stars and stickers for good work and behavior!

But this one day, I turned around in my seat to answer a question of the girl behind me and the teacher said, “Roxanne, you come up to my desk right now! You were talking and you know you are not supposed to talk during quiet time. Give me your crown!” She took my crown and punched a hole right next to my name!

I was shocked and shamed! I don’t remember if I cried right then but I know I balled my eyes out when I got home and told my mother all about it. She was outraged and marched right to the principal.

…The next day, my crown was in my cubby, where it always sat each morning as we started the day. A big colorful sticker covering the hole. But I never forgot that underneath-there was a hole in my crown!

Has your child had an incident like this? Children are emotionally impacted by teachers, parents and caregivers. And the key ingredient for resilience is the strong attachment bond with you.

Typically, I hear parents use mobile devices to calm their child. But, no distraction away from the issue will build effective strategies for your child to handle challenging situation constructively.

I can teach you easy to apply mind/body techniques to start strengthening the connection with you and your child in a way that builds these sills in social emotional learning that are necessary for academic success and positive relationships with oneself. (You can download the technique PDF at the bottom of this page.)

My second example of the impact of learning on a child’s self-concept happened in elementary school. I experienced anxiety, particularly learning to read and taking tests. I did not understand why I got so nervous. All I knew was that my brain was blocked and I could not retrieve the answers I needed.

Years later at Harvard Graduate School of Education, my studies about learning and the brain, revealed the reasons. I struggled because the neurochemical pathways were tangled and had to be untangled. The emerging field of psychoneuroimmunology provided evidence based research about the interrelationship between our brains, emotions, nervous system and health.

In short, our emotions effect our thinking and behaving. It’s as if the doorway to learning is closed. And the way to open that door is by eliciting the relaxation response.

The Relaxation Response (RR), is a term coined by Harvard cardiologist, Herbert Benson, MD who noted that not only will the RR completely reverse the stress response by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and your overall metabolic rate. But it improves concentration and focus, increases recall and the ability to problem solve more creatively.

If you remember in my last email, I reported that one of the keys to managing our emotions is flexible thinking. Practicing relaxation techniques will allow you to open the doorway to your untapped brain potential.

Further more, when a young child or student feels good about him/herself, the doorway to learning stays open. HOW?

Just the simple act of a teacher positively greeting your child by his/her own name each morning as school begins, readies him/her emotionally for learning that day.

This is why it is not how much a teacher can teach your child but how the teacher makes him feel about himself that makes the difference.

What saved me that day I got the hole in my crown was parents who knew how to remind me of my true identity and significance. They offered empathy, stood up for me and most importantly conveyed the sacred self to me everyday.

“You are a beautiful child of God- you are good. You are love and you are loved.”

You cultivate resilience in your child by introducing them to their sacred self.

I tell you my story because this is the reason I am passionate about designing programs and teaching children:

1. to know how calm down and focus

2. to know their true self, the sacred self.

The true self which is Love, Joy and Peace.

SIGN UP for your FREE Download of Mind/Body Relaxation Activities for You & Your Child or VISIT comment or ask me about your challenge.

“I help stressed, anxious children calm down reduce their anxiety with natural methods so they can improve their focus and concentration, do better in school and just be happier overall.”

4 STEPS TO CALM & CREATIVITY For You and Your Child

By Dr. Roxanne Daleo

  • STEP 1 – Set the conditions for calm and creativity
  • STEP 2 – Focus your breathing long and deep, slowly and evenly
  • STEP 3 – Take out your seeing mind, put away your thinking mind
  • STEP 4 – Draw, paint or dance your inner visions through your imagination

STEP 1 – Set the conditions for calm and creativity

You need a quiet space. Preferably, play soothing music using a guided imagery relaxation journey audio program and pick one!)

Using mind/body techniques combined with the expressive arts fosters calm and creativity.

STEP 2 – Focus your breathing long and deep, slowly and evenly

Across cultures and for thousands of years, the breath has been central to calming the nervous system through practices such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong, yoga, Mindfulness and guided imagery relaxation. In order to learn to control your arousal system, you must learn to control your breathing. There is a clearing space in the breath. The more flexible your breath, the more well-regulated your metabolic and heart rate. Repetitive, rhythmic breathing turns the volume down on the hyper-arousal of the autonomic nervous system and allows the body to shift into deep rest. This shift is essential for becoming calm, feeling safe and enhancing creativity.

Creativity is stifled by fear. Children love to use their imagination. Learning about their inner self, the inner landscape is empowering.

STEP 3 – Take out your seeing mind, put away your thinking mind

Vision is a gift. My grandmother had vision; she saw herself as a world traveler and did indeed travel the world. When I was four years old, there I was in New York harbor, waving bon voyage to grandma as the Captain of the Q.E II (Queen Elizabeth II) ocean liner smashed a bottle of champagne over the bow of the most massive, stunning ship I had ever seen! This was my first glimpse of creative manifestation. Little did I realize then, the following year when I was five, my grandmother would take me on her next destination to Venezuela, South America! My older sister got to accompany my grandmother to the Orient! Quite amazing when I think back on it now. I never knew it took such vision, courage and creativity to plan to be a world traveler!

This is the thing about the creative process, you start with some paints or clay and you begin to train your brain to envision and create, create, create! Let’s look at that word: envision = in vision, inner vision. Without it our spirit dies. We must take out “our seeing mind” and put away “our thinking mind”. Our seeing mind is our insight, the sight in our heart. Our thinking mind is often taking our attention to our daily uncontrolled thoughts. Vision, on the other hand, is intentional. You are deliberately focusing on seeing a vision of something you want to create.

STEP 4 – Draw, paint or dance your inner visions through your imagination

Today, I realize just how much vision my grandma had to become a world traveler because she was not a wealthy person. She came from humble beginnings but she was a hard worker as a seamstress. Her work ethic allowed her dreams to become reality. If we want our children to develop their creative genius which is innate, we must set the conditions for exploring inner visions and dreams. I started in early childhood while watching my grandma cutting patterns for coats and dresses, sewing on a machine then taking the left over material scrapes and crafting a hat or belt. She’d hand me the pieces of varied fabrics and say- “You make something!”

This is how you begin. You connect side-by-side in a peaceful place in your home. It could be a sewing or art corner. And by you sharing something you love to do, your child picks up your vibes!

Give your enthusiasm to create something from nothing to your child. And watch what happens!

Don’t buy a toy, do what brings joy

Cultivating Happiness in Your Child and Yourself

The 3-Step Process

by Dr. Roxanne Daleo

On any Saturday afternoon, the Boston Children’s Museum and gift store is bustling and busy! That’s how it was the day I visited. I saw moms and dads with their children and grandparents on a special outing with the family.

A little girl who looked to be three and a half was in front of me, I could hear a voice from a short distance say, “Honey, would you like this cute, stuffed bunny or the mermaid doll?”

No response came quickly from the preschooler; she just kept looking around at the many choices of colorful objects everywhere. “Come on now, Sweetheart, what do you want?
Again, the little one with glazed eyes and speechless continued to scan and touch every row of
hanging items on the racks in front of her. Her mother in earnest says, “ OK, well
maybe you’d like this set of crayons? Or this book?” The mother opens to the first page and starts reading to her daughter amidst the chaos. The young girl, staying with her mission, systematically moves unhurried along the wall of books. Her mother, now with a sense of urgency in her voice says, “I really want you to be happy!” No response from her daughter.

Now it was a good thirty minutes or more that passed, no kidding! The mom continues,
“Does this tiny bear make you happy? Finally, the child nods, yes. “Are you sure? Because I want to make you happy! The child didn’t appear particularly thrilled with the little bear but took her mother’s hand and walked to the register. As they walked out the door past me to the coffee shop Au Bon Pain I heard the mother’s voice fading in the distance, “Sweetie, would you like a nice bread?

I wish I could say this was unusual, but the truth is, it happens all the time. I was amazed at this mother’s strong effort to do what she thought would make her child happy. Is that wrong? No, but it puts much emphasis on external things as the key to happiness, doesn’t it?

We all want to be happy. In fact, many parents and kids I counsel come to me to reduce anxiety and depression. Motivated by their desire for happiness in themselves and their kids, a parent will confess that their “go to” method for motivating their child is bribery: “if you finish your chores, you’ll get allowance at the end of each week”

Bribes do not work because they are extrinsic in nature rather than intrinsic. Often changing your child’s behavior but not necessarily for the better. This revelation can be a real eye-opener, especially when you can see how your child becomes more demanding, inflexible and intolerable after bribing is employed.

For lasting results and life long happiness to be achieved, there must be a SHIFT from outer incentives to inner self-motivation. Here are 3 ways to cultivate happiness in your child and yourself

1. Giving a Toy vs. Enjoying Activity
Know the distinction between immediate gratification of giving your child a toy (mobile device, etc.) and doing an activity that brings pure joy. It is the feeling of joy that motivates from within your child. The act of doing something your child enjoys alerts him about how to “feel happy” without anyone bribing him.

2. Complimenting vs. Inspiring Belief in Self
Know the distinction between giving your child a compliment and having him feel pride in a job done well or in a skill mastered through practice such as piano, skiing, etc. When your child finds strength deep down inside of himself, he learns he is more powerful than he initially realized.

3. Comparing vs. Feeling Good About Who He Is
Know the distinction between letting your child compare himself as “not good enough, smart enough,” etc. versus recognizing his inherent gifts and goodness. Tell your child you are born with certain talents or gifts. Ask him to tell you what they are. Your child feeling good about who he is comes from knowing he matters. When a child knows his identity as a significant member of the family, his feeling good about himself grows. Further, how he is as a friend, such as being helpful, kind, caring also fosters inner contentment.
Cultivating happiness comes from understanding the inner child life process and promoting that.

Every Day is a Gift . . . Untie the Ribbons

In my work and play I enjoy hand crafts and expressive artistry. One of my favorite places to go for inspiration is Michael’s Craft Stores. I can always find a wide array of color, forms, glitter, ribbons, paper and most importantly, my very own imagination, right there in the store with me. I like to check out the scrapbook section for new items, because I’ve known the value of journaling for myself and in working with children. I learned from my mother – a master teacher of creating beauty, something from nothing, inventions and gifts.

Perhaps over the years of having daily opportunity to “tend to,” to “minister to,” to be “in sympathy (symphony, harmony) with” these charges of children and families, I naturally evolved
my own awareness of the preciousness of one’s life and not to waste it.

As a Creative Arts Therapist, I am drawn to the stickers, lettering and quotes you can purchase and paste into a scrapbook or on posters and wall banners. One summer on my birthday I had just
come through major eye surgery, and I was looking to celebrate my birthday in a special way with loved ones. There on the shelf I saw a stick-on decal which read: “Every Day Is a Gift, Untie the
Ribbons.” Wasn’t that perfect? Thus was my synchronicity, or “God wink,” as my family would 1 refer to it. I thought to myself, “What a beautiful way to inspire the preciousness of one’s own life.” This got me reflecting, feeling, and behaving with renewed appreciation for “what is,” and for all my blessings. That might sound trite, but it’s deep if you truly get the meaning of the words.

Months later, while counseling a family who lives in town, I was asked. by the parents of Cynthia, a nine year-old, how to handle their daughter’s regular bursts of rude behavior and know-
it-all attitude. They reported that Cynthia upset her grandmother, an accomplished artist, who came to sit with the girls for a couple of days. She harshly told her grandmother she knew nothing about color and the art project for school, and to “bug off.” Another incident occurred the night before Cynthia’s piano concert when her mother, having been a Iulliard music student, offered a few practice techniques. Cynthia’s retorts were quick and hurtful.

“She is not even open to a suggestion,” her mom would lament.

I understood. I felt June’s anguish and shame at having a daughter who came from privilege to be so disrespectful. “How does this happen? I’ve tried in many ways to reach Cynthia, but with no success,” said her mom.

One of the reasons I am able to “reach” kids is because I am one – forever young! A‘solution might pop into my head that is literal, light-hearted, in tune with a kid’s way of thinking, and smack~ing of attitude. In short, a “one picture is worth a thousand words” lesson. The following technique came to me as so many do, while having a normal day. As I was passing through the dining room where we had left birthday decorations up on the walls, my eyes looked upward. Remember the banner “Every day is a gift, untie the ribbons?” I suddenly got an idea for June.

I called her and said, “June, the next time Cynthia is rude or disrespectful to you, I’d like you to try something new in response to her. Are you interested? “Yes, definitely,” she said. I instructed II her get an empty jewelry box and place a heart inside the box. I explained that it could be cut out of pink paper or made of clear glass or a pink stone. Luckily, lune had a rose quartz crystal heart. I told her to place the heart on a piece of cotton inside the box, then wrap the box and tie a ribbon around it, just as she would with any gift for Cynthia.

l I said to June, “The next time you offer Cynthia a suggestion that she reacts to harshly, don’t l SAY anything. Motion to her to sit shoulder-to-shoulder with you at the kitchen table, where you
have placed the little box in front of you. Be sure she is watching as you whack it enough to shoot across the table. Then retrieve it and put it in front of Cynthia and say, ‘Cynthia, when you refuse to stay Open to suggestions, which I offer with good intentions, it’s like you bat away this gift that is being offered to you, rather than seeing it for what it is, a gift which you can open and see what’s inside. Now, Cynthia, I’d like you to sit with it, hold it, open it and see what’s inside.

As instructed June did this with Cynthia. Cynthia recognized her mother’s gesture as a gift. June could see Cynthia’s physical stance softening as she opened it, and received her mom’s heart. She was able to see her mother’s intention. Cynthia smiled at June, then took off to show her younger sister what had happened.

Just as opening the jewelry box unleashed a new way of thinking for Cynthia, so too can stress – when handled positively – unleash healthy ways of coping with problems.

Stop-Action, Reflect and Reframe

In the example “Every Day is a Gift, Untie the Ribbons” we inspire our children to realize the impact of their behaviors. We also raise their awareness of the preciousness of life- their own
as well as another’s. We are cultivating empathy.

Whether the problem issue is inflexible thinking (a kind of know-it-all attitude) as was the case of june’s daughter, Cynthia (not their real names) who had regular outbursts of rude behavior
or the problem is mean, hurtful physical pushing away, both are unskillful ways of handling intense emotions.

However, if a parent is alert to the situation, these situations can become powerful teaching opportunities, rather than impulsive incidents when we ridicule our child for unacceptable behavior.

Intense feelings like anger, jealousy, meanness, and unkindness sometimes surface in our children. How we handle these episodes can lead to new skills or cause more resentment and even hate.

This is why I urge parents to be alert to the teaching opportunity here.Then you can, literally, “stop-action, reflect and reframe”.

The reframe for Cynthia’s pushing away the well-intended advise was illustrated, concretely, to her using a tiny gift box wrapped in a ribbon with a glass heart inside. The impact of her
behavior was felt as the rejection and hurt she so carelessly dished out.

“One picture is worth a thousand words.!” Further, showing the feeling in action, can be more powerful than telling about the feeling in words.

The key here is that emotional intelligence is developed when awareness is raised. The impact of a negative behavior is felt by the one who gave it out, previously, without consideration or
deep empathy. This is how we model right action, I call, behaviorship and thoughtmanship.