LIFEBoost your child's self-confidence

Samantha Dobson tackles some of the most common problems children face and recommends activities to overcome them.

By Samantha Dobson, Aquarius magazine
November 1, 2011
Image Credit: Camera Press

My child has low self-esteem
"Since starting school Chloe's taken a real knock. She was always a quiet child but the classroom seems to really affect her self-esteem." -- Maria

TRY… Speech & Drama Courses

Singing songs, reading poetry, dancing and role-playing are all part of speech and drama. According to Emily Madghachian, founder and artistic director of Dubai's Kid's Theatre Works, drama classes provide the optimum environment to develop the life skills that are instrumental in boosting self-esteem. "Drama teaches so much about life," says Emily. "Children learn empathy and independence. They learn to relate to others, to accept themselves and to take risks. Drama develops creative thinking and brings out each child's unique potential. As part of absorbing all this, children naturally gain a deep sense of confidence and self-belief. I have seen it over and again."

NEED TO KNOW Kids Theatre Works run a variety of after school and weekend programmes at several locations around Dubai. For more information visit:

My child is so anxious

"Justin is only five and already he has trouble sleeping because he worries all the time. We are afraid his anxiety might affect him socially." -- Katie

TRY… Listening Therapy

Listening skills are inextricably linked to our well being, according to Belgian-born Melanie Paris, speech and Audio-Psycho-Phonology (APP) therapist. New to Dubai and the only of its kind in the region, the Pulse Listening and Learning Center uses the science of listening therapy to correct a variety of difficulties in children, including dyslexia, hyperactivity, anxiety and autism. "Listening therapy is natural and unique in that it works with music to stimulate areas in children that may be lacking, be it motor, cognitive or emotional," says Melanie. "Certain frequencies are selected according to the child's individual needs. For an oversensitive, anxious or hyperactive child, for example, low frequency vibrations would be applied through a headset while the child is free to paint or play. The music used, combined with our special setting, allows us to reduce agitation while at the same time energise the brain. Children enjoy the therapy; it's very gentle and nurturing. Most importantly, it really works and the results are permanent." APP is a growing therapy in Europe and has positively impacted many children with deficits in attention, memory, alertness, energy and emotional stability.

NEED TO KNOW For more information or to make an appointment at the Pulse Listening Center, visit

My child is so disorganised

"I feel my child is in a dream half the time. She's bright but homework is so arduous. She can't sit still, finds it hard to focus, forgets everything and seems so disorganised." ---Janine

TRY… Problem Solving

New to Dubai is the globally expanding franchise Mathnasium. "Lack of focus, disorganisation and low self-esteem are common problems for many children," says Claudia Rumie, managing partner of Mathnasium, UAE. "Take math - we use it everyday, often without even realising it. Children don't hate math, what they hate is feeling confused or intimidated by it. Every child is different and they all need to be taught in a way that makes sense to them." Through fun puzzles and games the Mathnasium concept develops a deep understanding of problem solving. "To have confidence in your own thinking skills encompasses many areas of life," says Claudia. "Mathnasium kids not only have a better understanding of math, they also report of improvements across all areas of the curriculum due to better focus and increased organisation skills."

NEED TO KNOW Located in Knowledge Village, Dubai, Mathnasium courses are for children from 3-20 years old. For more information visit:

My teenager is so angry

"Jon has just turned 15. He hardly ever speaks and when he does it's just to argue with us. He was once a happy, active boy but since hitting the teenage years he's become so angry."  - Alisha

TRY… New Age Healing

Mood swings, hormone surges, social dilemmas - there are many emotions a teenager has to come to terms with. Perhaps the most common response is feelings of confusion, resentment and anger - emotions that can often have an impact on the entire family. "A gap in understanding is often what causes discord in the relationship between parents and teens," says Medina Burkhanova of The Third Eye in Dubai. "The Theta Healing Rainbow Children workshop aims to close that gap, teaching today's younger generation how to stay connected to their innermost self through meditation. Health and happiness are our natural state, yet many people spend their lives searching for both. Theta Healing allows teens and their parents to re-programme their subconscious mind, release negative belief patterns and instill healthier, positive ones. It is a tool to enable a happy life." The four-day workshop teaches teens and parents the power of compassion, sensitivity and an awareness of others' feelings.

NEED TO KNOW For upcoming dates and prices of Rainbow Children Workshops, visit:

My child lacks coordination

"Matthew is so uncoordinated. Sometimes he has trouble even holding a pen, forget trying to kick a ball. His school work is starting to suffer and so is his confidence." - Karen

TRY… Brain Gym

Brain Gym gets kids to do what they do best - move - with extraordinary results, according to licensed Brain Gym consultant Anna Mitchell. "The Brain Gym movements are simple enough that, once they have been shown, children can do them every day, by themselves, at home and at school. Brain Gym is distinctive because it addresses the physical rather than mental components of learning. Reported benefits are often dramatic and include improvements in areas such as coordination, vision, listening, learning, memory and self-expression. Feedback from teachers is typically improvements in attitude, attention, discipline, behaviour, test and homework performance."

NEED TO KNOW For more Brain Gym visit Brain Gym consultations and workshops are held at the Early Years Educational Services in Knowledge Village, Dubai. For information on upcoming courses email: or telephone: 04 4465820.

My child can't express himself

"Matthew has trouble communicating. He's often frustrated because he doesn't know how to express himself." -- Sarah

TRY… Artistic Expression Workshops

Experts tell us that one of the best ways kids can express themselves is through artistic means. "Creativity is one of the most solid outlets for many of the strong emotions a child feels," says Hetal Shah, director of KidzArt, UAE. "To get kids to open up, the emphasis needs to be on a love of the creative process rather than the end result. A non-competitive environment is also important so a child feels free to take risks. Other mediums such as music and relaxation techniques can also be incorporated. Children learn through KidzArt that there are no mistakes in art and, while we provide guidance, artwork is never corrected. Creative freedom, without boundaries, is a critical component in childhood development because it opens the mind and frees the spirit."


KidzArt classes are for kids from age 2-16 years at Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (Ductac) at the Mall of the Emirates and various locations around Dubai. For more details visit Ductac offers a full KidzArt programme as well as many other painting and drawing classes for children. For more information visit:

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