Resilience in the Digital Age: Building Stronger Kids - SE4EP6 -Aliesha Embleton

Today, we're thrilled to have Aliesha Embleton with us—a child development coach, best-selling author, keynote speaker, trainer, and mentor. Aliesha is a beacon of innovation and expertise in childhood training, education, and development, and she brings a holistic approach to fostering the growth of children and families.
Connect with Aliesha Embleton:

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AI Generated Transcription

Speaker 1 (00:08):
Welcome to the Parenting in the Digital Age podcast. Many parents are concerned that their child might be falling behind. Others are just looking for ways to help their children thrive, not just in the classroom, but socially and well into their future careers. Each episode we explore the challenges facing parents in the modern world, from behavior, education, and nutrition to device and gaming addiction. We interview a range of leaders in the area of childhood development to help you successfully navigate parenting in the digital age. Here is your host, Jamie Buttigieg.

Jamie (00:01.07)
Hello parents and welcome to Parenting in a Digital Age, the podcast where we delve into the unique opportunities and challenges of raising children in today's fast paced tech driven world. Each episode features conversations with experts and thought leaders who provide actionable insights and practical guidance for navigating life as modern parents. Today, I'm pleased to have with us Aliesha Emberton, a child development coach, bestselling author, keynote speaker, trainer and mentor.
Aliesha is a beacon of innovation and expertise in childhood training, education and development and brings a holistic approach to fostering growth of children and families.
Jamie (00:04.184)
Aliesha, welcome to the show. It's so wonderful to have you. For those unfamiliar, maybe let's start by defining what a childhood development coach does.
Aliesha Embleton (00:13.142)
Yeah, thank you, Jamie. It's great to be here this morning. So a child development coach, I work with parents and children to assist them to really develop around a few different particular areas of focus. So the areas that I specialize in are resilience, authenticity and entrepreneurial spirit. And as a child development coach, I'm working with both the child and the parents in...
Personally, I love to work with them one -on -one in that, you know, that opportunity where I can really tailor the work and the experience and that growth to be able to, you know, be unique for what that child needs. But yeah, I look to work with them in all sorts of various different settings in helping to develop these particular areas of focus for children.
Jamie (01:02.392)
Fantastic, and we'll dive deeper into that as the show goes on. But maybe if you wouldn't mind sharing a little bit about your journey, like how did you come into this childhood training mentorship, child development sort of role? Like what inspired you to focus on this area?
Aliesha Embleton (01:16.086)
Yeah, of course. So for me, I have been in that professional development space for far too long now. Way too long to admit. So I, yeah, I've been doing that for over a decade and I love the fact that I've been able to develop people and to be able to help these individuals grow and expand and really sort of develop who they are.
And I've been doing that for so long in that sort of workplace settings with adults. And what I've really noticed during that time is that there are some changes that are coming through with some of those newer people joining the workforce in what they need. And I really saw this as an opportunity to help people develop what they need earlier on in life and being able to then.
be better equipped. So I focus in and around primary school aged children particularly. And that's my area of focus there is that that way as they reach their teenage years, they're fully equipped, they're ready, they know how to be able to look after themselves, to be able to show up in the world in a way that is going to be supportive for their future. And so,
It's really helping people to get ahead even earlier in life than what we all may have had the opportunity to ourselves.
Jamie (02:48.152)
Fantastic. It's a tremendous impact now. Who typically seeks out a child development coach? Like are there any specific challenges or goals a parent or child is looking to address?
Aliesha Embleton (02:58.966)
Look, there are. Typically parents will be seeing their children, they might be struggling to bounce back when they don't get the score that they want on a particular assessment at school, or they don't get selected for that particular, that sporting team, or they don't get the role that they want in the school play. And...
they struggle to really bounce back. You know, that could be one insight that we're seeing. It might be that these parents are really wanting to develop how these children can expand from childhood where kids are just who they are. And then they start moving into this middle school and this middle childhood in primary school and their world starts to expand and
At this point in time, again, parents are starting to see some of these things show up around, you know, heightened anxiety might be coming through because they don't know how to handle all of these additional emotions, all these new societal expectations. You know, there are so many different things that might be coming up for them there. And it's just really that their entire world just starts to get bigger and bigger and bigger during that middle childhood and that primary school time.
And so it's just really looking for those parents who are wanting to help support their child through that journey, being able to give them the tools, the help that they need and being able to bring these fundamentals really instilled early in life so that these kids have all of the tools to be able to start facing more challenging adversities as they continue to get older and older.
You know, teenage years, they're going to be different adversities to primary school. And then as they start getting into university and into the adult world, the challenges and adversities that they face, they continue to get more complex and more difficult. And so being able to teach kids how to handle those early on and being able to practice through that primary school period, through that middle childhood.
Aliesha Embleton (05:23.094)
in being able to work through those, that's sort of really where the key comes in.
Jamie (05:29.002)
Interesting and you know when we talk about resilience, you know, many people will say, you know, kids are becoming less resilient. Is it that they are becoming less resilient or is it that we're getting better at identifying and maybe catering to those needs? Like I'm not really sure as a parent, like my gut feeling is that kids are less resilient. But from your point of view, what do you think?
Aliesha Embleton (05:50.838)
research proves and what all the research is showing is that kids are less resilient nowadays and I mean there are many reasons as to what that might be. I think one of the things that we need to be really aware of that is directly impacting their resilience is how much time they are constantly switched on.
versus having that time performing simple activities and allowing the brain to digest and to sort of work through some of those sorts of processing times really. So simple activities being, you know, playing sport, doing a puzzle, reading a book, whatever that might be for each individual person. But there's less time like that. There's now a lot of video games. There's now a lot of constant social media. There's now so much device time that...
Jamie (06:29.322)
Aliesha Embleton (06:47.51)
that there isn't this same balance. And the research is startlingly clear on this, that it is having a direct impact on kids. In the last 15 years alone, we've seen a doubling of the rates of anxiety and depression in children. That's terrifying.
Jamie (07:09.72)
heartbreaking as a parent. You know, I've got four kids and I see it show up here and there in my own children. We run learning centers and we definitely see it in our learning centers. And one of the things that we try and do in our learning centers is to help kids build a healthy relationship with technology. Right, because there is a problem, there is an epidemic that's out of control. Digital addiction is impacting our kids. Case in point.
Aliesha Embleton (07:11.542)
It is.
Aliesha Embleton (07:29.366)
Jamie (07:39.448)
and, you know, when, when you teach kids something like learning to code, it gets them on that leadership side, that innovation side, the problem solving side, instead of this passive, consumptive getting lost in technology and screens. And many parents are battling it with, you know, we've got hundreds of students and we hear from, from many, many parents about this. How do you, so of the children and parents you work with.
How do you advise them on balancing screen time when screens are so important to kids these days?
Aliesha Embleton (08:13.238)
And that's exactly true. They, a lot of kids are on their screens for schoolwork. They're on their screens to be able to try and maintain that social engagement. That's how a lot of social relationships are maintained in today's world. And so it is about finding ways to look for the areas of interest, look for the areas of passion that might not necessarily have to involve a screen.
and then look to try and find ways to bring those interests and passions into more of their daily routine. And that could be little things or it could be much bigger things. And so it's just looking to experiment, try in a range of different things. Looking at meditation, looking at yoga, looking at various different sporting activities, looking at puzzles, books, you know, just.
finding a range of things as to ways that kids can just express their interests and their passions and find that creative outlet that's going to work for them. For some kids that might be painting or drawing, for some kids it might be in a different creative fashion, like coding like you've said, you know, that might be a creative outlet for them.
Jamie (09:35.832)
Yeah, board games for us at home. We like to get out the board games and usually it's a Saturday and the whole family gets involved and we quite like that. You're right. And often with young kids, you've got to do it with them. You know, you can't kind of just throw the art set in front of them and walk off and get back into your own world or back on your own screens even worse. So, yeah, sorry.
Aliesha Embleton (09:47.094)
Aliesha Embleton (09:59.862)
you've made an important point there. Modelling. As parents, these kids are looking to us around what we do and then they are learning from those behaviours. So we can model what we're wanting to really develop in our children in being able to really support them through that process as well.
Jamie (10:23.896)
Fantastic. Aliesha, can you share, obviously with privacy involved, but can you share an example or a case study or a scenario where a child and their family has worked with you and they've seen significant improvement after working with the child development coach?
Aliesha Embleton (10:40.438)
As you say, it is very much the privacy thing. So I'll have to keep everything quite anonymous there. Look, I think there's one particular child that does come to mind who was really struggling with resilience. That was a very big challenge for them. And it was simply that they had gone through...
a period of in their life that where they were starting to feel, I guess, unstable in where they were. There had been a family dynamic change and it just sort of meant that there was a bit of feeling of instability. And the instability there was then creating an issue with their feeling of safety. And that then was...
impacting their ability to trust themselves, which was then impacting their authenticity and impacting their resilience. And because they weren't feeling safe and comfortable in where they were, it was then impacting how they were able to view when things did go wrong. They would then go into this shutdown mode instead of being able to...
work through what does that mean and how can I learn from the experience that I've just had. So working with them in looking at different and fun ways to develop some of those fundamental skills and that's sort of the the key in what I do with these kids is they're learning all of these abilities and these skills and they don't actually quite realize.
First hand, you know, we're not directly talking about resilience all the time. We're doing activities, we're doing, you know, various different things that actually develop this resilience and develop their ability to show up authentically in the world and to develop their entrepreneurial spirit without them necessarily being conscious to it. And then over time, bringing some of that consciousness and awareness, because that's going to be a real key for them in facing it.
Aliesha Embleton (12:58.806)
themselves later on. And so with this particular sort of child, it was helping them through some of those activities, helping them to bring the consciousness to what were the triggers in their world and what were some of the coping strategies that they could use to be able to work through moments that were there. And then being able to start feeling more.
and being able to trust themselves more in the moment so that they could actually feel comfortable to just sort of relax and just be more of themselves. And that then meant when things didn't necessarily go well, when they tried something new, they were then able to pause and actually see the learnings of what they were experiencing and look at it in a more positive mindset and bringing that growth mindset to.
how they were viewing a situation that was at play.
Jamie (13:58.424)
It's a remarkable gift. You've given that child and family no doubt. We see all too often, I was in one of the centers recently and there was a student, very similar. And it actually broke my heart. This student encountered a challenge with a program he was learning to write and his whole body language changed. He really just slumped and he sighed and he says, nothing ever goes right for me.
My life sucks. And this is a seven year old kid, right? And like, where does a seven year old kid get that language from, get that narrative from? You know, like it's just, you know, it is.
Aliesha Embleton (14:37.686)
It's heartbreaking and he's not alone. There's too many of them that are experiencing exactly the same. They don't understand and part of it is that there's a perception around what they're meant to be. There's a lot of expectations that are being placed on these kids earlier than what may have historically been. And...
that's really starting to affect how they are viewing the world and themselves in that world. For example, they're seeing all of this level of perfection on TV and on social media and, you know, all of these influences happening around them is all showing everything is always good, everything is perfect, everyone's always so put together. And these kids are going, well, that's what I'm meant to be and I'm not, so I must be failing.
and they're not realizing that that's actually not the case.
Jamie (15:39.352)
And do you encounter in your work parents that place that pressure on their kids as well? Like in terms of, like we see it show up academically, like many of the kids coming into our center from various cultural backgrounds have this enormous expectation placed on them as to what they must achieve, what they must do, the level of study, and these kids are in primary school. And I'm not suggesting it's right or wrong. It's...
just something we observe, are you seeing that pressure being placed on kids, which is also impacting their resilience and ability to cope and anxiety?
Aliesha Embleton (16:15.99)
Yes, one of, most definitely, one of the things that I see commonly, you know, I'll be down at the local sporting field watching my own step -sons doing their thing out on the field. And I sit there and I'll look at these parents next to me who are going, that was just bad luck. good try, try harder. And they're not necessarily instilling in the kids that,
The kids actually have control over how they're showing up in the field. They're instilling in the kids that it's outside of their control. It's just luck as to whether something worked out well or not. It's, and it's just little things like that as to, you know, how some of these parents are even supporting the children in what they, we've all heard, you know, that was just bad luck. Don't worry about it. You know, try and, you'll, you'll get it next time.
But we need to be conscious of our language because there are these messages that are actually going through to the kids for all of these things that we're saying. And there is so much pressure that parents are putting on their kids and simply that they want the best for their kids. They want their kids to have even better than what they have, which is fantastic. As parents, we all want that. That's what we all dream of for our kids.
But we need to be conscious that they're still developing. They're still working out who they are and we need to support them where they're at.
Jamie (17:43.832)
So, have it.
Jamie (17:50.552)
How do you balance that though? Sometimes I feel I have unrealistic expectations, but I have high expectations. And I say to my son, you have to have high standards for yourself. And I don't think that's unrealistic. And maybe there's no answer to this question, but the difference between putting too much pressure on one's child versus having reasonable, allowable.
high standards for your, for you know, who you show up as in the world and how you conduct yourself and your ethics. I don't know, is there a, is there a line there somewhere? Cause sometimes I feel guilty about that.
Aliesha Embleton (18:32.79)
Yeah, for sure. And as parents, we all feel guilty at various times. And what we need to be conscious of is, and it comes back to that third pillar that I talk about, which is the entrepreneurial spirit. And as part of entrepreneurial spirit, there are many different facets that I work with children and parents on. But one of those is this growth mindset.
And that very much links to what you're talking about here, where growth mindset isn't about only shooting for 80%. It's still about shooting for a hundred percent. And we want to excel and we want to, you know, really grow and do better and better and better. And we want the best for ourselves. But it's about the mindset along the journey of that development.
And so it's, it's saying, okay, I, I want to develop and I want to get a hundred percent on this particular test and they might only get 70%. And so then it's how do we approach that 70 % that is the real sort of nuts and bolts here as parents, we're still encouraging them to get that hundred percent and to be striving for it. But it's the, the talk and the communication around getting to.
from 70 % to that 100 % that is where we can really bring that change. And with this, it's helping them to reflect back on how they got to the 70%. Do they think they studied enough? Do they think they could have slept better the night before instead of staying up a little bit later than what they would have? Are there little things that you can help them bring that self -awareness?
on how they reach their journey to get to 70%. And was there something in the room that was distracting? What was it that helped them reach 70 %? And then learning from that so that next time they get to 80%. And then again, pause, let's learn. How can we get from 80 %? Because we're still striving for 100. We want 100%. And how do we get there?
Aliesha Embleton (20:52.214)
And so it's bringing that self -awareness and bringing that ability to understand that it's not failing to only get 70%. But what can we learn from that? Because we want to do more. We want, you know, we know that we have that ability to do more. And that comes back to that authenticity and that, you know, all of the three pillars really is that self -trust and that, that deep knowing that they can do more. And once we can instill that,
Jamie (21:18.616)
Aliesha Embleton (21:21.366)
They want to keep striving. And so it's then that journey and then they'll reach that hundred percent. It might take them a moment, but the ones that we can really develop that growth mindset to develop that, you know, locus of control that's really from the internal space for them, being able to develop all of these sorts of skills in our children. That is how we're then going to be able to get them to that hundred percent at the end of the day. But.
keep them striving along in that. And that's okay. That mindset that we look to develop.
Jamie (21:58.712)
You know, you talked about your three pillars that you work on and teach. What made you choose entrepreneurial spirit as one of those three? Like personally, as a father and entrepreneur, I think entrepreneurship should be taught in schools. You know, it should in fact replace some other subjects that people think are fundamental. And I've got my reasons for that. But why do you incorporate entrepreneurial spirit in your work?
Aliesha Embleton (22:24.342)
So entrepreneurial spirit to me, it means multiple different things and it will mean different things to different people. But for me, I see entrepreneurial spirit as that mindset of growth, that ability to think creatively, to view problems as just an initial hurdle, you know, and then looking at ways to be able to keep getting beyond those. So, and all of that.
All of the entrepreneurial spirit mindset that I work on is what is foundational to successful entrepreneurs. You yourself, you would have all of these things as just innate abilities in what you would be doing. And so it's about being able to develop these in our children because that is going to set them up for success no matter what they do in life, be it entrepreneurship, be it employment.
through someone else, be it whatever that might look like for them, those fundamental mindset and spirit traits are what is going to really be critical for how they can approach anything and everything in life. Even something as little as learning to ride a bike, we want them to not just give up the first time. We want them to keep trying. We want them to show up and learn from what they've just done.
And these are all those mindsets that we see in really successful entrepreneurs. And so I very much see that this is critical and it's just, it's a non -negotiable in my opinion for what we need to develop in our children.
Jamie (24:08.216)
Well said, well said. Tell us a little bit about your book. I can see the image behind you there from seed to sapling. Tell us a bit about the book and what inspired you to write that.
Aliesha Embleton (24:16.086)
Thanks. So my book, it really talks about how parents can transform the landscape of the lifestyle for their child. And it's a support tool for parents in being able to identify how they can instill these three pillars in their children. What are the importance of these pillars? So it's
obviously goes through a little bit about what resilience is, what authenticity is and what entrepreneurial spirit is. But then it also goes through some of the practical strategies and some of the key research findings that we that are that we're seeing out in the market. You know, some of these sorts of key pieces of information that parents need to know in order to be able to support their child. And all of that is
blueprint that is within my book.
Jamie (25:16.28)
That's fantastic. And often as parents, our only reference is how our parents raised us, you know, or maybe what we see in TV media and portrayal of parenting. And really it's up to us. It's our responsibility as parents to educate ourselves and to find some of the tools to enable and to help our kids have the best possible life they can have and the life they deserve. So that's well done for writing that book.
Give us an example. So what's one practical tool that maybe a parent can use in their daily routine that helps something like resilience or anxiety? What's something practical that I could take away from the show today?
Aliesha Embleton (25:57.942)
Yeah, of course. So I think one of the things that they will find in the book is that I actually really outline what are some of these coping strategies that and the varying different options that are there is not every coping strategy is going to work for every person in the same way that everybody has different learning styles. And again, talk about learning styles in here so that parents can understand the different learning styles.
but being able to understand that there will be different coping strategies that might work for me, that would work for you, and that our kids are going to have different coping strategies that will work for each of them. So there's a whole list of different ideas and different approaches that parents can take in being able to encourage children to experiment with each of these different coping strategies and find ones that work for them.
And then some of the practical tools on how they can have some of those conversations and then how they can look to support those kids in building that into their daily life.
Jamie (27:06.936)
And how do you work with parents and kids? Is it like in a face -to -face therapeutic kind of session or is it online and remote or is it in a course style? Like if I were a parent listening today thinking, yeah, I can do one of these coaches for our family. How would they work with someone like you?
Aliesha Embleton (27:26.358)
And it's a great question. The answer is all of the above. I'm based out of Canberra, but I do work in an online forum as well. So that that way there's not that geographical restriction. I want to be able to support parents that are within Australia, but also globally. I am sort of working in a global context there as well. That's what's fantastic about the digital world that we live in.
is that we have that ability to connect in that virtual way. So I do love working with these families one -on -one where I have sessions with both the child and the parents in being able to provide that coaching, that support, that guidance. And with the parents, it's around how they can then create a supportive framework at home, not just helping them as well, because obviously all of these tools and things that we're
and going through with the children, these are all things that as adults we can take on learnings for as well. You know, I very much am of the belief that learning and professional development and personal development never ends. That is a lifelong journey and there is always something more that we can be developing and learning and taking on. And so...
There is very much both the development that happens with the children in those sessions as well as with the parents and then that support in being able to bring that into the home environment. I do also have, so I love working with them in a 12 session, 12 week program. I do have a three day intensive program that I can run as well. And they're beautifully complemented to each other as well.
you know, starting with the three day program and then backing that up with the continuation of that in 12 weeks works wonderfully because it starts to incorporate and introduce some of those areas that we're going to develop over the 12 weeks in a big intensive three days. Let's let's really not through where things are at and how can we develop from here. So.
Aliesha Embleton (29:46.038)
It's a little bit of both. And yes, I do love working with people in person as well, where geographically that does allow for it.
Jamie (29:56.056)
Fantastic. And education is something we owe to ourselves as parents. We have a responsibility to ourselves as parents to educate ourselves and to improve and to model excellence and to model those behaviors and outcomes. And our kids deserve that. Our kids deserve us to show up and display what constant growth looks like and challenging ourselves and pushing through our own limitations and barriers. So it all starts with education. Aliesha, one thing we love to ask all of our guests on the show.
A bit of a fun question to round off the podcast is if we could magically make a time machine appear and Aliesha could go back to her 12 year old younger self, what's one piece of advice that you give to the young Aliesha?
Aliesha Embleton (30:41.718)
think the one piece of advice that I would give to myself and where I see the most challenge for the kids as well but just looking at it even myself is trust myself earlier. That authentic self -trust, being able to really sort of believe in who I am and how I show up in the world, being able to bring that forward even earlier in life and not being afraid.
A lot of kids that I see as well are scared of their own voice even. They won't speak up. So, you know, just don't be afraid. Trust yourself.
Jamie (31:20.152)
Great advice. And how can our listeners reach out to you or find you on the World Wide Web?
Aliesha Embleton (31:26.198)
Yes, so I do have my website, which is saplingminds .com .au. I would love to be able to connect with the listeners as well. So I do have a free discovery call that I would love to offer to your listeners. If they'd like to, they can just jump onto my website, book that phone call with me, and then we can have a bit of a discussion around how I might be able to support their little one. Also on my website, so saplingminds .com .au.
I do also sell copies of my book as well.
Jamie (31:57.848)
Fantastic, Aliesha, thanks for your time, generosity and information today. I know our listeners will take something away from today's call that will impact their life. Thanks again and bye for now.
Aliesha Embleton (32:09.014)
Thank you, Jamie. It's been great talking to you.
Jamie (32:11.)
Likewise. Cheers, Aliesha.
Aliesha Embleton (32:12.886)

If you enjoyed the show, please connect with Jamie on LinkedIn or Instagram. You'll find links in the podcast description. Parenting in the Digital Age is sponsored by Skill Samurai Coding and STEM Academy for Kids. Skill Samurai offers afterschool coding classes and holiday programs to help kids thrive academically and socially while preparing them for the careers of the future. Visit
This episode is sponsored by Skill Samurai - Coding & STEM Academy