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Is Your Child Ready for the School year ahead?

Uncategorized Sep 12, 2021

The past year and a half of school has been such a tumultuous ride. From school closures to virtual classes to partial reopening, it seems as if our children have experienced every out-of-the-norm scenario we could come up with. And although the goal was to keep them safe, children’s development took a significant hit. We’ve seen more significant emotional distress, poorer health choices, regression in cognitive momentum, and decreased social skills. So, as the new school year is getting under way, it is more important than ever to ensure that they are prepared for the school year ahead in ways that cover all developmental areas.

 

The idea of “school readiness” has always been mostly referenced when related to cognitive skills needed for school. However, many studies have found that teachers aren’t as concerned with these things and feel that it’s more important that students function in the classroom by being confident, independent, and...

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Playful Connection - Filling Your Child’s Emotional Cup

Uncategorized Aug 25, 2021

Over the years, healthy connection levels between parents and children have decreased, leading to more challenging behaviors from children. Today's modern lifestyle has interfered with the opportunity for the parent-child bond to grow. This vital aspect of a child's life is essential for their emotional cup to be full, giving them healthy self-worth and self-esteem. To fill their cup, children need quality connection time with their parents every day. When they receive this, children will develop healthy self-worth and self-esteem and, therefore, approach the world with more kindness and compassion.

 

The "emotional cup" metaphor created by Upbility, publishers of therapy resources, asks that you imagine children have a cup that needs to be filled with attention, affection, and security. When this cup doesn't get filled, misbehaviors, arguments, and aggressive behaviors may be exhibited. The cup can also be emptied by stress, loneliness, and punishments. Children need positive...

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Should I Worry? Tuning into Teens’ Emotional Shifts

Uncategorized Aug 01, 2021

As we approach the one- and- half year mark of an ever-strong pandemic that has rocked our world, we are searching for ways to keep ourselves mentally and emotionally in check. For teens, this has been an even more difficult feat. Adolescence is already fraught with stress and moodiness but adding in the social isolation and fear have led to an even greater rise in anxiety and depression among teens. And while parents are doing their best to manage their own stress and provide for their families, alarming signs of depression in teens are being overlooked. Therefore, it is vital that parents are attuned to their teens “normal” moods and know when they are exhibiting more harmful ones.

 

As teens grow and develop, it’s no surprise that the raging hormones along with academic, social, and even athletic stressors set the stage for teenage angst. And while it’s not always easy to discriminate between typical teenage moodiness and depression, observing...

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Is Your Child Real World Ready?

Uncategorized Jun 03, 2021

In recent years, parenting has undergone a shift and has become hyper-focused on the child. And while care, attention, and love are necessary for forming healthy attachments and helping children reach developmental milestones, an over-protective or coddling type approach can also hinder them. Rest assured, this parenting tactic comes from a place of love but to allow children to achieve autonomy, we must allow them the freedom to make choices and learn daily life skills. This will set them up for the most success in the future.

 

It’s no doubt our world has changed, and our lifestyles are more hectic and fast-paced than ever before. Coupled with the failures, peer problems, disappointments, etc., that children run into along the way, it makes it hard for parents to sit on the sidelines and just let things happen. And often, parents feel a sense of guilt for not having more time with their children, so doing more gives them a sense of relief and creates what they think is...

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Rapid Resets: Quick Ways to Calm an Emotional Flood

Uncategorized May 05, 2021

As we know, children can lose control of their emotions for various reasons, and the behaviors we witness are generally unplanned. And since anxiety can look like defiance, adults often respond in counterproductive ways. When children are stressed, the amygdala, in the downstairs brain, is triggered, and the “fight or flight” response takes over. This hijacking of the brain makes it hard for children to be reached through conversation resulting in a disruption in the current environment. Implementing rapid resets can calm children and get their brains back “online.”

 

When children are out of the zone, and their “lid is flipped,” the sympathetic nervous system has been fully activated, and they don’t recognize what is happening. The reactions we see are based on each child’s current developmental stage, communication skills, and emotional competency. Also, some children have an anxious type temperament and are more likely to react...

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The Power of Predictability

Uncategorized Mar 25, 2021

As hectic as life is most days, parents are often more concerned with getting everything done instead of strategically planning out their day so that it is predictable for their children. Knowing what activities to expect each day and knowing how parents will respond at the moment is critical in helping children feel safe. The consistency in this will ease children's moods and minimize the chances of a meltdown. Therefore, parents should establish predictability in their daily routines to ensure children have the best chances of a successful day.

 

When children are unsure of what to expect daily, they often become more anxious and, therefore, demanding their parents' time. Stress goes up, self-regulation goes down, and meltdowns ensue. This leads to more reactive parenting, which feeds into an already difficult situation in which no one comes out happy. When this is a typical daily pattern, children develop more insecurities as the unknown of what the day will bring or how...

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Teens Need Structure Too

Uncategorized Mar 04, 2021

Most often, when we think of implementing structure into our children’s lives, it is because we have a newborn that needs a feeding schedule, a toddler that needs a nap schedule, or a child that needs an activity schedule. When children become teens, they are often left to implement their own schedules. And yes, they are on the verge of asserting their independence so that it can be a challenge. However, not implementing structure for them can be counterintuitive and leave them “real world unready.” Therefore, parents must establish boundaries, rules, and structure for their teens to create life-long success habits.

 

Adolescence is a period of massive changes in all areas of development. During this time, puberty triggers the neural systems, and the hypothalamus sends signals to the body to produce certain hormones. This, along with an underdeveloped pre-frontal cortex, makes way for intense emotions and impulsive behaviors. Not to mention how wacky sleep...

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Holiday Parenting Keeping the Joy Alive

holidays parenting tips Dec 06, 2020

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season, this year, maybe a little less intense but, no doubt, still exciting. While holiday parties may be missing from our typical December schedules, the pandemic can't stop the spirit of the season! Decorating the house, wrapping gifts, and baking goodies will keep the joy alive. Ultimately, just as in any other year, however, the excitement can become overwhelming and put children into full sensory overload. This, coupled with the world's unsettledness, can increase cortisol, causing more stress than joy. Implementing positive strategies into our routines can help counteract these tensions and reconnect us to the season's true meaning.

 

During the holidays, children's emotions are at the forefront, and a season of excitement, happiness, and hope quickly turns into apprehension, stress, and irritability. The constant stimuli and lack of downtime lead the way to exhaustion and crankiness, and, therefore, children become more reactive, and...

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Whole-Brain Parenting: Engaging the Brain for Optimal Development

On any given day, we may experience moments of high emotion in reaction to an event, or we find ourselves trying to control everyone and everything around us. Either way, our mental well-being is in danger, especially if we find ourselves stuck in either scenario for long. It can be difficult for children to get unstuck without some help from a parent or other adult. To give children the support they need when faced with this, parents must have a basic understanding of their child’s brain development. By incorporating this knowledge into interactions, parents can support children in learning and growing through a whole-brain approach.

 

To help us get a clear understanding of how these two extreme reactions can present in children, Dr. Daniel Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson created the concept of the “river of well-being” in the book “The Whole-Brain Child.” Along the river of well-being, there are two banks: the “bank of chaos”...

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The Developing Mind - Understanding Your Child’s Behavior

Uncategorized Nov 07, 2020

One of the biggest struggles in parenting is understanding why perfectly sweet and smart children can, in an instant, turn into the most difficult beings ever faced. It’s often as if a switch was flipped and chaos has ensued. This typically results in parents becoming frustrated at their child and disciplining them in the heat of the moment. And while this may seem like the best option, it can be counterproductive in many ways. When parents become knowledgeable about the basics of brain development and how this affects behavior, they can help integrate all areas of the brain and have better parenting success.

 

The key to whole-brain integration is having a basic understanding of children’s brains. To simplify this, Dr. Daniel Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, created the concept of the “upstairs brain” and the “downstairs brain” in the book “The Whole-Brain Child.” When children are born, their primitive, “downstairs...

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