Three great concentration boosting games for kids


Lay out a pack of shuffled cards on the table in a square with neat rows.

Each player then takes it in turn to turn over two cards. If they are the same e.g. two sevens, they keep them and have another turn until the two cards are not the same. Then it is the other person’s go. You can play with as many people as you want.

The idea is to remember what the cards are and where they are so you can make the pairs by memory of their position rather than by chance.

This helps the kinaesthetic child to build their memory and concentration. They can do it on their own as well and time themselves as to how long it takes to get the pack off the table and into matching pairs.

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Kim’s Game

Put out 10 objects on a tray and show your child the tray for one minute. Then cover it up and ask them to write down every object they remember seeing on the tray. You can make this more difficult by asking them to also write down the colour, size and order left to right of the objects.

Being aware of order and position will help them with 11+ skills and it will also build concentration and speed of processing information.


My Aunty Flo

One person starts by saying ‘my Aunty Flo went to market and she bought a….’ The next person continues by repeating what the first person said and adding an item. Then each person repeats the list so far and adds an item. The winner is the last person who remembered the list correctly.

There are loads of games on the Internet and ITunes, both numeracy and literacy games and they have levels so that children get a sense of achievement as they move to more advanced levels.

Once you know whether your child is visual, auditory or kinaesthetic you will know how to motivate them and which areas of the 11+ paper they need most help with.


You can find other ideas for helping your child with learning in my NLP for the 11+ book. Buy it here for £6.99




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Helping your child cope with divorce

There are some changes that we don’t make by choice; they are imposed on us and we have to make adjustments fast and from a sad place. What can make this even harder is the fact that we are responsible for our children who look to us for reassurance at a time when we have none to give. Platitudes come naturally as we seek to set their minds at rest about the changing situation but it can be hard to explain how things will be when maybe we don’t even know ourselves.


All these changes are very hard to take on board for children because the family is the centre of their world so any major change like this will be very unsettling. Unable to express how upset and often angry they are about it they can respond with non verbal behaviour such as bedwetting and eating problems, withdrawal and other manifestations of hurt and overwhelm. This makes a difficult situation for us, even worse as we have them to worry about as well.

Focus on a ‘desirable outcome’ by using a time line with them.


Imagine a line representing time laid out on the floor out in front of you. You are standing at a point representing today. Discuss how you feel and listen to how your child feels. If they are visual ask them what they see, auditory ask them what they hear and kinaesthetic how they feel and what they want to do.

Recognising how terrible you feel now and acknowledging that it does feel bad today rather than pretending all’s well is about living fully in the moment. There could be tears and anger and this is OK.

When you both feel ready, decide on a point on the imaginary line when you will feel better than you feel today. This may be a different point for each of you and that is fine. Each go and stand on the point when you think you will feel happier.

From that point (and notice how it is different for you and your child) talk about how you feel now, what has changed and what difference you are feeling in your emotions and experience. This may be a good opportunity for you both to share your thoughts about what needs to happen. Really associate into this moment in time and show your child how to anchor the moment so that at times when they feel bad they can use the anchor to remind them that things will get better for them.

Now take a step back towards today’s point, just as far as you feel comfortable, not necessarily all the way back. There may be a point along the way where you feel it marks a change. Talk about what that change could be and what you both want to happen.

Then go back to today’s point on the line and talk about what you can do today to start to make the change.

Hopefully you will have found it helpful to experience the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ and recognise that things will get better for you and have discussed how that could come about.

Some changes just are so terrible that it can be difficult to ever imagine that there will be some resolution or that you or they will be OK. You can use modelling to help here.

Is there someone you know who has been through something similar to what you’re experiencing now? Ask them about it and explore how they managed to support their family and heal themselves. Those who have been through painful times will understand how you are feeling and will remember the poignant first steps along the road to recovery. No-one else’s situation will be exactly the same as yours but by sharing the pain with others who know what you’re going through, some models of excellence may be picked up that you can apply to you and your family.


Here are several NLP tips that might also help;


  • use ‘towards’ rather than ‘away from’ language with your children. Rather than talk about what you no longer have, focus instead on what you do have and joint goals you have discussed and agreed.
  • Grief sometimes distorts images of the past and of the future. Notice when you use words like ‘never’ and ‘always’, ‘everyone’, ‘better’ and so on. These generalisations and distortions can be taken quite literally by children and aren’t usually a fair reflection of the situation.
  • Use their preferred language, visual, auditory or kinaesthetic to discuss their feelings.
  • Step into their shoes to understand their territory. How they see their new world will be quite different from how you see it.
  • As they steadily make progress towards coping with the changes, use anchors with them to remind themselves at less good times, that there have been some improvements.


However bad things may seem now, if you have a desirable outcome that you agree with your children and tie it down to specifics you all have something to aim for. When you talk through with them what they think would be something to aim for, write down all suggestions and agree which ones will work. Then post it up somewhere so that everyone can see it and work towards it. Younger children may like to draw a picture of their desirable outcome so post that up as well.

We all want our children to have a happy childhood but that frequently is not possible through death, divorce, illness and separation. There are many books available on these themes and it helps for children to read them and know that they are not the only ones suffering. They also provide child models for them so they can learn from those who have been through a similar  experience.

This is taken from ‘Be a happier parent with NLP’ published by Hodder Education and available to buy on Amazon or get your signed copy from my website.

Be a happier parent cover



Filed under NLP Books, NLP techniques, Parenting

When books aren’t selling ….

I’m part of a writing team based in different parts of the United States and we were formed nearly two years ago amazingly. I saw the post on Linked In requesting writers to form a team to write a series of children’s books based on building self-esteem and naturally I was hooked. I have been writing NLP books, Parenting books and children’s books for some years having taken a break from my Children’s Market Research and this seemed an obvious fit for where I wanted to go in my writing and coaching life.

We meet every Thursday afternoon on Skype where we can see each other. It’s afternoon for me so I’m winding down as Kathy sits in her dressing gown nursing a big mug of tea and Jim, with his baseball cap sits in his writing cave and Dona, always bright as a button sits in our National headquarters in downtown Annapolis. We start by talking about the theme: kindness, truth, giving, harmony etc and what it means to us personally. Then we consider what we think it would mean to our two main characters; Jane and Jake who are 9 years old. How will they learn this? What could happen in their everyday life that would lead to them needing to learn about this quality? We start considering different possible plots and it becomes a very dynamic meeting with us all interrupting each other and googling images that inspire us, web content to prompt further discussion and generating ideas for the sea creatures that Jane and Jake might encounter in the undersea world of Awesome as they learn their lessons about the theme before returning home to implement them at the end of the book.

Dona is the Founder and illustrator and the books format, size, colour scheme and number of illustrations is largely down to her although we give out opinions as we do about the price points and we all discuss how to promote it in our weekly Marketing meetings that take place on a Monday. The stories are fantastic in my opinion and I love the ingenuity of the characters, the names and the devises used, especially the humour. However, for one reason or another the books aren’t selling. We don’t know why this is and have generated a number of hypotheses.

  • people don’t know about them yet
  • the website could be a bit jumbled and confusing in our efforts to show all that the JNP project does
  • the books could be overpriced
  • people could be unsure what age group they are for
  • they might not like the covers
  • does it look like a workbook rather than a storybook
  • does it seem like a self-help book

Here’s the Prequel book cover and if you click the cover you are taken to the website where you can download a free copy of the Prequel.




With my Market Research background, I have devised a questionnaire and I would be thrilled if you could get involved, checkout the website, look at the books and read this one and tell me what you think. What do you think is the problem? Perhaps we are just a bit impatient. The questionnaire link will be up in a day or so. Perhaps you’ve even been in a similar situation and would share your experiences. We don’t have any reviews up on Amazon yet so it’s hard to know what’s going on.

Link to the questionnaire.




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What kind of a driver are you?

There are three internal preferences – visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. These apply to you and your driving. They signify whether you are aware of what you see, what you hear or what you feel. We use all three at various times but there will be one that you prefer. Which is it? What kind of a driver are you?

Here’s a quiz to help you find out. Tick the answer a, b or c that most often applies to you.

Q1. When you are driving do you mostly notice?

  1. What you see on the road ahead
  2. How the engine sounds
  3. How the car handles


Q2. When you look at your car do you notice?

  1. It’s appearance
  2. What people say about it
  3. How you feel about it


Q3. What is most important to you about  driving?

  1. Being seen in a great looking car
  2. The roar of the engine
  3. The feeling of freedom


Q4. Thinking about the interior of the car what is most important to you?

  1. What it looks like
  2. The sound system
  3. The feel of the upholstery


Q5. If you get lost do you

  1. Look at a map
  2. Ask someone for directions
  3. Go by gut instinct


If you’ve mostly answered ‘a’ then you are visual and you think in pictures and images, using expressions like ‘do you see what I mean’ or ‘look at it from my point of view’.

The appearance of your car and you as a driver will be important to you. You will want to keep it clean and looking good. Maybe you have bought extras that enhance its appearance.

Jessica is visual, she bought a car that she liked the look of and enjoyed choosing the spec for the interior. No-one is allowed to eat in her car! She was devastated when she scratched the alloy wheels within a few weeks of buying it.



If you’ve mostly answered ‘b’ then you are auditory. You are auditory if you enjoy music, notice the sounds around you and prefer your friends to call rather than text or email. You tend to remember what people say to you or what you’ve heard better than what you’ve read.

You might use expressions like ‘did you hear what I said?’ or ‘please be quiet’.

Choosing your sound system will be very important and you’ll probably enjoy just sitting in the car listening to it even when you aren’t driving.

You’ll notice the engine and exhaust noises and choose a car you like the sound of. Maybe you will have extras like a sub woofer and back box.


If you’ve mostly answered ‘c’ then you are kinaesthetic and quite an active person and enjoy being on the go. Exercise and fitness is important to you and you like to have physical contact with your friends and your family.

You notice the temperature and feel uncomfortable if it’s not right.

You may use expressions like ‘let’s get going’ or ‘that doesn’t feel right’ because you are very sensitive to atmosphere.


You will have chosen a car that feels right to you and you like the way it handles and feels when you’re driving it. The way the gears engage and the actual driving mechanism, the clutch and breaking system will also be important to you.

These are different ways of processing the information you receive and how you approach driving and other activities you do.

This is an extract from ‘Advanced driving skills for Young Drivers’ by Judy Bartkowiak. You can buy your copy here. 

Driver book cover


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Take a writing sabbatical


When you start to feel like that you need to take a break!

About five years ago that’s how I felt. I had been in Market Research since leaving University, first training with Taylor Nelson, then client-side with ICI Paints and then Qualitative training with the wonderful Bill Schlackman and Wendy Gordon at Q-Search. I went on then to run my own company and with the arrival of children came more of a focus on everything related to kids. Kids Brands was born and I started to become an expert in Brand Licensing which was a growing industry. It was and is a fun industry, it was just what I needed to keep my enthusiasm and interest in Market Research. I worked on some great TV brands like Noddy, Postman Pat, Pokoyo, Fireman Sam and many more. My kids loved it and I was constantly stretched and enjoying my job.

I didn’t really notice how clients seemed to be getting younger and seemed more disconnected with the consumers they were serving but I had a series of projects where I was researching new product ideas that, had they ever talked to mums with children about their product category, they would never have dreamed up. They were badly thought through, ill-conceived, too expensive and assumed that parents had money to fritter away on products that had nothing very different or stimulating about them save that they looked like the character on TV. When I couldn’t share the client’s enthusiasm and was no longer curious and excited to show the kids their ideas, I decided that I should turn my attention to something I really did feel passionate about. Writing.

I took Creative Writing courses with the Open University and also did my NLP Trainers Training so I could fund my writing as I didn’t really expect it to pay off and I wasn’t even dreaming of writing a book. That all changed when I met a Publisher at one of the talks I went to and asked if they’d be interested in NLP for Parents. They were! ‘Be a happier parent with NLP’ was my first published book. I was so proud. There have been quite a few more since and I’ve become a bit complacent.

My next challenge (yes I do need a challenge fix every so often!) was to write for children and as JudyBee I have written the Queens of Africa Books, co-written the Jane and Jake Adventures and have two other children’s writing assignments ongoing. Let me make it perfectly clear, writing does not pay and unless you are brilliant (which I am not) you don’t sell enough books to earn a crust. You get 10% royalties which amounts to .69p per book sold. On Queens of Africa I share my royalties with the project owner and the illustrator so I just get .17p per book.

So I’ve decided that I’m ready to return to the world of Market Research. What have I learned? What tips can I share with you?

1. Great ideas come with dog walks and gym classes. Sitting beavering away at a screen working towards a deadline doesn’t result in insight.

2. You can’t beat chatting to mums in a supermarket. That’s where they are making their purchase decision not in a viewing studio in London.

3. Mums have enormous pressures on their time and purse. It’s easier for them to assuage their guilt by giving children what they want. So ask the kids not the mums.

4. I have value, it is not determined by how much I am paid (thank goodness!) nor how much clients praise my work. I have value because of who I am.

5. Whatever you do is good enough so long as you give it your 100% attention. Multi tasking is not an effective way to work.

So here I am available for your Freelance Market Research projects, either working alongside your own team as the Kids specialist on a project or handling stand alone kids research. You can contact me using the form below or just give me a call 01628 660618 I’d love to hear from you. If you’d like to see what I’ve written go to the Judy’s Books page.

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Filed under Brand Licensing, Children's Books, JNP Esteem Movement, Market Research, Writing

Press Release – Queens of Africa

Queens of Africa is outselling Barbie in Africa heralding the start of a new era of ethnic pride and confidence for girls of African descent.



According to Refinery29 this week, Mattel’s Barbie has finally been unseated by a ‘brown-skinned’ doll in Africa.  The ‘Queens of Africa’ dolls were developed by Nigerian entrepreneur Taofick Okoya, “to show African children that ‘black is beautiful’ by enabling them to play with dolls that reflect their culture and heritage”.

The dolls are available in toy stores all over Nigeria and will soon be available worldwide. Each doll represents a different tribe of Africa. There is Nneka (Igbo), Azeehah (Hausa) and Wuraola (Yoruba) and they are sold in various outfits.  The most popular are the dolls dressed in traditional attire.  Okoya comments that “The Queens of Africa dolls were created to inspire and influence the coming generation, especially the ‘Girl Child’, so in designing the dolls and their outfits, the team bore this in mind.” Critical to the promotion of the dolls has been the series of books that compliments the dolls that have been released worldwide including Amazon USA.

Okoya felt it was critical to have dolls that represent African heritage so the Queens of Africa program was born. Okoya has the support of an impressive ‘Who’s Who’ list of Nigerian artists and celebrities. According to Okoya, the role of the books is one way to “take the Queens of Africa project global”.

Okoya was inspired by his work with local child support agencies where the predominant toys available to local children were white dolls. He comments “To the vast majority of people, toys are mere play items or pacifiers for children. Little thought goes into which toys best serve the purpose as a tool for a child’s development. Children mentally absorb positive and negative influences which can later be detected in their character, especially in their teenage years. We need to see toys for what they really are…..A fun developmental tool.”

Okoya’s team worked with a British children’s writer and NLP (Neuro Linguistic programming) specialist, Judy Bartkowiak (JudyBee), Yetis (LittlePinkPebble), a Children’s Illustrator from Singapore and for the second Dan Doodies (Dan Durant) . The dolls are represented as schoolgirls and together with them, the child reader learns about the lives of ancient African Queens. “It was important for us to take the key messages of the lives of the ancient Queens of Africa and thread them through the stories in a way that children of today could identify with and be inspired by.” says Bartkowiak. “Using stories and imagery steeped in African heritage, with a modern twist we bring important messages forward for the young girls”. The first series comprises six stories featuring different Queens of Africa and the second series focuses on teaching the reader, through Nneka, Wuraola and Azeezah, various life skills and introduces key NLP techniques. The first is entitled ‘Learn Confidence’ and it was the first life skill that Okoya and Bartkowiak identified as being required amongst young Nigerian girls as a result of  work with local child support agencies.

Okoya works closely with many support agencies in Lagos – the main one being The Bethesda Child Support Agency. The agency supports over 2,000 orphans and vulnerable children in the Lagos area. In addition to opening a nursery and primary school in 2004 that has grown from around 30 to over 150 children, the charity runs scholarship, sponsorship and mentorship programs. Okoya is passionate about giving young black children a strong start in life including making sure that the toys, music and books given to them convey positive messages about their heritage.

The books are being published by the UK independent NLP publishing house, MX Publishing. MX are best known for publishing international bestsellers in the NLP field including Bartkowiak’s Engaging NLP series of workbooks for parents, teachers, children and teenagers.

Supporting the Queens of Africa program was a natural step says Managing Director Steve Emecz “We like to take on books that the team can get passionate about. The Queens of Africa program has a brilliant and simple message. Growth through a proud heritage. The dolls, music, comics, and books all promote positive messages and we are delighted to be involved.”

More Information:

Nigeria is the world’s most populated Black nation with over 150 million people. Located in the West of the African continent Nigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960. There are over 200 ethnic groups with three major tribes and languages – Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba.

Contacts Queens of Africa Books

Press Enquiries – Judy Bartkowiak – Email:  Tel: 0044-(0)7917-451245

Publishing Enquiries – Steve Emecz – Email:

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Why do Market Research?

Whatever the size or nature of your business, you will at some point need answers to questions. To ensure you get answers that will be actionable, rather than just interesting; careful planning of the research process is crucial.

The questions you have may be about who buys your product or service – your target market. We call these people ‘consumers’ if we are selling products and ‘customers’ when we are selling a service. You may also want to know about the potential target market – those people who could have a need for your product or service but currently do not know about it. This is not how we do it!


You may have questions about the market. These may relate to a geographical market or country in which you are doing business or an industry sector such as the retail market. ‘Market’ can also be used to describe a sector of consumers such as ‘the education sector’ or the ‘youth market’.

Understanding your consumer and your market are essential to reducing the risk associated with making business decisions and this is why we conduct Market Research. Every day in business we make decisions and these will vary in terms of risk. Some decisions are high risk such as launching a new product, changing the packaging of an existing product, making a price change, changing the creative direction or strategy of the advertising or selling into new markets. Decisions are not taken in a vacuum; there are competitive products and services in your marketplace so consumers have a choice; whether or not to buy your product. How will your consumers react to your decision and how will your competitors respond?

In today’s highly competitive and fast moving global business environment it is ever more important to be able to anticipate consumer needs and satisfy them because if you don’t, someone else surely will. Routes to market are changing and direct communication with consumers via the Internet, social media and customer loyalty programmes means that products and services can meet quite specific and niche markets more easily and cheaply than previously. Therefore accurately identifying these needs is vital.

This book takes you through the Market Research process from initial problem identification through research design, consideration of alternative methodologies, briefing the agency, questionnaire design and approval, managing the project, analysis and presentation of results.

Whether you use an outside Research Agency or your own Market Research or Consumer Insight department, spending a week to totally understand the process will give you unique skills which will ensure that you get the research results you need that will address the marketing questions you have.

Market Research is a fascinating Marketing Tool and it is not unusual to find that once you have decided to conduct Research, everyone in the organisation wants to add their own marketing issues. ‘Can we just ask…?’, ‘It’s only one more question…’ is what you’ll hear. Unless you take control, you can end up with research results that answer none of them, including your own. Designing one project to fulfil very different needs can be more expensive than several smaller scale projects each with a different design to meet their objectives. This book will help you design different types of surveys.


If you’d like to have a chat about your project call Judy Bartkowiak on 01628 660618. I work with agencies as the children’s research expert or direct with clients.

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