We are giving away a track from the Magical Meditations CD Series – it’s called ‘My Angel’ and is great for helping your little ones get off to sleep.

It’s so easy to grab your copy – just pop your details into the box on the right and you will have instant access to the magic.

I don’t want anyone to miss out so please spread the magical word to anyone you know who has kids that may benefit from this.  It really is magical.  I’ve been getting lots of feedback already from people saying it’s beautiful, they love listening to it themselves and that it really works from the very first night.

As well as the free mp3 I’ll also be sending out tips and advice and, from time to time, other yummy freebies xxx

Grab your free copy from over there ==========================>>>>>>

Heather Bestel created Magical Meditations 4 Kids to help parents solve some of their biggest problems:  Building their child’s self esteem, helping them let go of worries and get a peaceful night’s sleep – in short: Be Happy & Confident.  If you’d like to receive invaluable tips and advice on how to do this for your child, then fill in your details in the box above and receive a free mp3 to help your child sleep peacefully – tonight!


Self esteem really means our self-perception, how we see ourselves and feel about ourselves and it’s how we ‘define’ who we are.  This in turn influences our behaviour and affects our attitude and emotions.

As a parent, we are in the best position to affect a child’s self esteem.  Here are 5 easy ways to build strong self esteem:

1.  Challenge negative self talk – whenever you hear your child ‘put themselves down’ bring it to their attention and help them think of something positive to say about themselves.  If they say “I’m so ugly!” challenge it with “You have beautiful hair and your eyes are stunning and I love your gorgeous smile!”

2.  Give accurate feedback – sometimes children can develop irrational beliefs about themselves or their ability.  You can act as a mirror and keep things in proportion.  If they say “I’m  the worst person  in the whole school at maths”  you can help them see that “You are good at maths – it’s just this page on fractions that you’re struggling with.  Let’s learn how to do it together!”

3.  Praise the effort, not just the achievement – If  your child doesn’t do well at something, they look to you to know that they are still loved.  It’s really helpful to voice your encouragement with something like “I know you’re disappointed that you didn’t come first in your race, but I’m so proud of you for trying so hard.”

4.  Notice your own language – be aware of your own self esteem and how you communicate it.  You are your child’s role model.  Change your own negative self talk when you catch yourself saying things like “That’s me all over, so clumsy” or “I can’t believe I’m so stupid” or “It doesn’t matter, it’s only me, it’s not important”

5.  Be affectionate – give them hugs and cuddles ‘just because’ be spontaneous and surprise them or praise them without there being a reason.  This goes such a long way to letting them know they are loved and accepted exactly as they are.  And this will have an amazing effect on building their self esteem.


I’m a big advocate of letting go!

At the end of the day it’s good to look back and say “I did the best I could with what I had and it was good enough”.

Each night, when she was little, I would go through a special routine with Zoe that settled her down to sleep and also gave her a way of putting the world to rights. It’s actually a psychotherapeutic intervention, but I didn’t tell her that. We call it the Four Questions, here they are:

1 What was the best bit of your day? This makes us rummage through the good and bad and find something positive to focus on. A good feeling to take from the day.

2 Blow away all the bad bits? Children are really good at this, they can take things out of their heads, put it in their hands and literally blow it away with a puff a breath.

Adults take far longer.

Over my 20 plus years as a psychotherapist I have offered this process to my clients and most of them need to analyse fully anything that they are prepared to ‘blow away’. “Just let go” isn’t as useful for the grown ups. But children are amazing – they get it! They know that this feeling isn’t doing them any good and they are OK about getting rid. We can all learn a thing or two from them. I digress…

3. What are you going to dream about? Again, children are great at letting their creativity loose. Adults often look at me wide eyed with the idea that they could possibly control what they dream about.

4. What are you looking forward to tomorrow? This is a great way to get our sub-conscious mind to find something positive to focus on.

You’ll be interested to hear that I was speaking at a medical conference some years back about GP’s and stress and I mentioned the Four Questions in passing. At the end of my lecture there had formed a long queue (I thought for my technically detailed handouts on the sub-conscious). But no, the doctors all wanted a list of the four questions as they wanted to use them personally and recommend them to their patients. Amazing that something so simple can have such an effect.

Have a go and let me know what you think …. I’d love to hear your feedback.


This is a very quick relaxation and only takes a few moments – so is ideal to do at work, in the office, in the classroom (teach it to your students), at home (you could lie on the floor), or while commuting via bus or train.

Think of a special place that makes you feel relaxed and tranquil. This could be an actual place you have visited, or you can create it now in your mind.

Really connect with this place with all of your senses:

* see everything,
* hear everything,
* smell, taste everything
* and feel a wonderful sense of calm and relaxation.

Think of a word to sum up this place. You can use this word later to trigger the image or memory and the mental relaxation attached, whenever you need to.

Step 1 Put one hand on your stomach so you can feel you are breathing deeply from your abdomen and not just from your upper chest.

Step 2 When you are ready, close your eyes.

Step 3 Take a deep breath in through your nose. In your mind say your trigger word and focus on your image or memory.

Step 4 Hold your breath for a few seconds, as you tense your shoulders.

Step 5 Open your mouth and breathe out slowly, as you allow your shoulders to relax and let go of all tension.

Step 6 When you are ready, open your eyes.

You can also do this exercise with your eyes open.

Practise this simple technique often and your mind will quickly learn the habit of relaxing at stressful moments.


In my last post, I wrote about why we like the seaside and I promised that I would explain how you can help your little ones to relax by using a visualisation of the sea.  It’s very soothing, simple and effective – especially at bedtime.

Using a relaxing visualisation is like reading a bedtime story.  The thing to remember is that the words you use help your child to imagine or visualise the scene.  Children are very good at imagining that they are actually in the story and this is great news.  By experiencing the relaxation they get even more benefit.

Just remember to be very relaxed yourself ….. take your time ….. leave lots of pauses (that’s what the dots are for) and help your little one to drift off into deep slumber, knowing that they’re going to enjoy wonderful dreams.  Have fun ….

Seaside relaxation

Lie down …… close your eyes … take a deep breath in …. and as you slowly and gently breathe out … I want you to imagine that you’re at the seaside ……. one of your most favourite places … in the whole world …… you love the feel of the warm sand between you toes ….. the little stripy beach huts … the seagulls and the sandcastles ….. you love to explore in the rock pools and paddle in the water….

Today though …… you just feel like being by yourself …… and you stand at the water’s edge …. and look out to sea …… you watch the waves as they gently lap on the shore …… and you begin to notice …… that the waves …… gently lap in time with your breathing …… your breathing is like the sea rolling in … and … out ……gently rolling in …… and …… out …… gently rolling…… in …… and …… out …………in ……and …… out ………… in and out ……….. and you stand and watch the sea ………… gently rolling in ….. and ….. out …… for a long time ……. just letting the warm water …… trickle over your toes ………… it’s very relaxing  ………… just standing there on the beach ….. with the sun warming your back …… and the gentle breeze … blowing through your hair…… and you fell happy and relaxed.

You are feeling so happy and relaxed …. that you gentle drift …. into a lovely ….. relaxing ….. sleep …… ready to dream about …. all your favourite things ….. things that make you feel …… happy and relaxed ………. happy and relaxed ………… happy and relaxed ………… happy………… and ………… relaxed ….


Research shows that simply being in nature is good for both the mind and body.  But more than that, we are somehow drawn to the sea.  There is something inherently therapeutic about the sea.

Just being near to it has a powerful effect:  the mind clears, the heart rate slows and, as we breathe in the clean, salty air, time stands still and all our worries seem to fade.

Studies have found that most people are drawn to water, and even just looking at pictures of it help to alleviate anxiety and calm stress.  When I ask a client ( child or adult ) to relax and think of somewhere soothing, they will often imagine lying on a beach.

Have you noticed how many relaxation CDs (mine included) have the sound of gently lapping waves in the background? It’s such a natural way to soothe the body and soul.

In a future post, I’ll explain how you can help your little ones to relax by using a visualisation of the sea.  It’s very soothing, simple and effective – especially at bedtime.


Our daughter is called Zoe.  It’s Greek and means ‘Life’.  We had a lot of struggle and heartbreak on our journey to become parents and so, when this wonderful and miraculous bundle of joy came our way, it’s easy to see why we choose this particular name.

Here’s a wonderful exercise to build self esteem in your children (I used it with my young adult students too).

Children hear their name a lot and can’t wait to learn how to spell it.  But do they know what it means?  Help them to find out by using a book of names or going online.

Did you know that Donald (a very popular name here in Scotland) comes from the Scottish word for ‘World Ruler’?

Or that Jennifer comes from the welsh word meaning ‘White Spirit’?

Explain how you choose their name and why it makes them unique.  They may like to shorten their name to make it more personal – what do they like to be called?

Do you know what your name means?


I had such great feedback from my recent post on my hearing impairment that I thought it would be a good idea to take this subject further.

The National Deaf Children’s Society have some wonderful tips for communicating with a deaf child – I think they give us all something to think about and are so useful for parents, teachers and anyone that may come into contact with a child who is deaf or hard of hearing.

How to communicate with a deaf child:


  • Speak clearly and naturally. Try to use an expressive face.
  • Get a deaf child’s attention before you start speaking. Try waving, knocking a table or tapping their shoulder lightly.
  • Face a deaf child when you’re talking. Try to get down to their level if possible and always leave enough room for the deaf child to see your face clearly.
  • Use visual cues, where possible. Point to what you’re talking about.
  • Make it clear what the topic of conversation is – and let the deaf child know if it’s changed.
  • Stand with your face to the light.
  • Use whole sentences to help a deaf child pick up clues to what’s being said
  • Group conversations can be difficult for deaf children.  Try to keep a deaf child involved, and avoid all speaking at once.
  • Ask a deaf child to repeat what you’ve said if you’re not sure if they’ve understood.


  • Speak too slowly or shout – this will distort your lip patterns.
  • Move your head or walk around while you’re talking. Speech movements can easily be missed.
  • Have lots of noise on in the background like a TV or washing machine. Hearing aids amplify all noises, not just your voice.
  • Take forever to get to the point. Avoid rambling.
  • Cover or put anything in your mouth while talking. Eating or smoking while talking is a definite no-no.
  • Stand with your back to a window – this can turn your face into a shadow and make it harder to lipread.
  • Make a deaf child lipread for too long without a break. Lipreading involves a lot of concentration and can leave deaf children feeling tired.
  • Give up. If stuck, try explaining in a different way or writing it down. Or if you have a mobile to hand, text it on your screen.

Remember – every deaf child and young person is different and deafness can range from mild to total.  Some deaf children may sign, some may lipread, some may listen and some may speak. Some may do all these things. Always ask how they prefer to communicate.


In my last post I quoted The World Peace Prayer Society and their statement about words…

Words carry vibrations strong enough to inspire, heal and transform the human heart

I know from experience and my work that words also can do the very opposite.

In our house, we have certain words that are not allowed, frowned upon or withdrawn and changed immediately.  These are words that have negative connotations, may sound aggressive or are used to belittle, abuse, humiliate or bully.

One of these is the word STUPID.  And there is a reason behind it.  When I was little I was called stupid at least once a day.

When I first started primary school I was seated at the very front of the class by myself.  I was right in front of the teacher and whenever she wanted me to understand something, she would shout at me and exaggerate her speech.  If I didn’t understand what she said (as she was shouting at me and exaggerating her speech) I would say “Pardon?” and she would shout  “Are you STUPID!?”

You can imagine what the other children did with this …..

I have a hearing impairment.  It’s due to damaged nerve endings in my left ear.  I’ve never let it disable me or stop me from doing anything.  I was taught to lip read at an early age. And when people meet me, unless they are told, I don’t think they would know.

This particularly powerful word was condoned at home too and I grew up believing it.  As an adult I spent a lot of my life running around collecting every piece of paper I could to prove that I wasn’t, in fact, stupid.

As a therapist and teacher I like to use very positive words and help people to change the labels that have been attached to them from the past.

Are there any powerful negative words that you never use?  Are there powerful words that you hear everyday?  Are there labels that you still carry that you’d like to be rid of?  What labels are we giving to our own children?


The World Peace Prayer Society say…

Words carry vibrations strong enough to inspire, heal and transform the human heart

In my work with children over the years I have noticed how powerful words are.   When I first meet a child in school, I always ask their teacher for a list of positive words or statements that describe them.  I then use these words throughout our work together.

I love to empower the children by getting them to think of and write down as many positive words as they can think of  to describe themselves.

I often prompt them with my own words and I back them up with examples that I have observed during our time together…..

“You were really caring and kind to me when I lost my favourite pencil and you wanted me to share yours”   ……

” I really like the way you are always happy to see me when I arrive, you make me feel very welcome”

“I know that you are an absolute whizz kid on the computer, because I’ve seen it with my own eyes!” …

“I believe you are a good friend because you told me what happened when your friend hurt her knee in the playground and you helped her to feel better”.

Let’s notice the power of words in our everyday lives …. they are much more powerful than we think x