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Tips to Help Decrease Anxiety Levels in Preschoolers

Preschool children experience anxiety for a variety of reasons including transitions, changes to their routines or disruptions in theanxiety in preschoolers home.  Some children simply have a higher ‘set’ anxiety level than others.  If your preschooler is experiencing anxiety, try these tips to get him feeling happy and calm.

Tips to Decrease Anxiety Levels in Preschoolers:

  • Model good social skills. When a child sees his parents having meaningful friendships, he will be more inclined to want to make friends of his own.
  • Act as an intermediary for the child in social situations. Help the child introduce himself to other kids.  Encourage the kids to play with toys, or suggest a game.  Setting up regular play dates can be helpful. Even if the children don’t play directly with each other, being around other kids can help a child become less shy. Read more

How to Set Boundaries for Your Baby Without Saying “No”

Parents often ask when they should start teaching babies the word “no.”  In answering this question, it is important tobaby proofing consider things from the baby’s point of view.  Babies from 6 months to 2 years like to chew on things, bang things, take things apart, touch things, and put things in their mouths.  Babies and toddlers use these methods to learn about their world.  While it is tempting to use the word “no” to discipline your baby, there are more effective ways to keep him, and your home, safe.

Tips for Keeping Your Baby Safe Without Using the Word “No”:

  • Baby-proof your home so that your child can be free to touch, crawl or walk around without getting into trouble.
  • Use safety gates.
  • Keep medicines, cleaning supplies, and other dangerous items out of reach of your child or stored in locked cupboards. Read more

Racial Differences in the Diagnosis of ADHD

A recent study published in the June issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics indicated that Caucasian children are more likely to receive a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)ADHD in comparison to minority children.  This study followed more than 17,000 children across the nation from kindergarten through eighth grade and asked their parents whether not their children were ever diagnosed with ADHD.

Findings-Racial Differences in the Diagnosis of ADHD:

The researchers found that Hispanic and Asian children were about half as likely to receive a diagnosis of ADHD as Caucasian children.  African American children were about two thirds less likely to be diagnosed with the condition.

Implications of this Study:

It is important to realize that the study cannot indicate whether or not ADHD is over diagnosed in Caucasian children or under diagnosed in minority children.  However, the numbers are pretty glaring and most definitely indicate a discrepancy in not only diagnosing the condition, but also in the interventions received. Read more

A Mother’s Role in Raising a Confident Daughter

As girls grow and develop, their overall sense of self-worth and confidence grows and changes.  Sadly, in confident daughteradolescence, a girl’s confidence and sense of self-worth often plummets.  This is due to the fact that beginning in the preteen years, body image becomes the barometer by which many girls measure their self-worth.  Confidence becomes one with how a young girl looks, and as a result, how she feel about herself.  The message our young girls receive is this: Women in our society are valued based on their physical attractiveness.  A mother is the main role model in her young daughter’s life.  Her daughter subconsciously takes in how her mother carries herself, regards herself, and thinks about herself. For this reason, mothers play a pivotal role in how a young girl navigates this challenging time. Read more

The Social-Emotional Side of Children with Learning Disorders

It is well known that kids with learning disabilities face academic challenges.  Academics are often the focus of interventions with these children, but it is important to also pay attention to the impact on their social-emotional development.  Read on for ways to make sure this critical aspect of your child’s development is not overlooked. Read more

Does Your Child Need Feeding Therapy?

There are a variety of reasons why a child may need feeding therapy. To many of us, it would seem like eating should be a basic instinct. However, eating is one of the most complex activities we do, especially for the developing, young child. Eating involves several processes in the body, including sensory, oral-motor, muscular, neurological, digestive, and behavioral systems. Feeding problems can arise involving any one of these systems, and often more than one of these is implicated.

The following are reasons why a child may have a feeding problem:

  • Sensory processing issuesFeeding Therapy
  • Food allergies or severe reflux
  • Autism
  • Developmental delays
  • Complex post-op recovery course
  • Transition from feeding tube to oral nutrition

Feeding therapy is usually done with one or more clinicians. Depending on the type of feeding problem, therapy may involve a speech language pathologist, an occupational therapist, a registered dietitian, a social worker or behavior therapist, and/or a physician. Read more

How To Avoid Anxiety As School Ends

The school year is in winding down and classes are becoming less structured on lessons and more focused on summer, end-of-the-year anxious childparties, and outdoor days. This time can be very exciting and fun, however it may also feel chaotic, unpredictable, and even sad for some children; children who are uncomfortable with change, children who have had a very successful school year and may anticipate a new school year with upsets, and children who may be switching schools for varying reasons.

The following are tips to help prepare your child for the inevitable end-of-the-school-year:

  1. Let your child know that it is OKAY that he/she feels this way, and that you understand. Normalizing and validating their feelings about the uncertain time ahead will hopefully take away any additional unpleasant emotions they are feeling, such as embarrassed or ashamed of themselves for Read more

The Importance of One-On-One Time with Your Child

One-on-one time you spend with your child is priceless. It says to your child, “You are special.” It symbolizes your unconditional love mother and son togetherfor your child. There is nothing that can replace your undivided attention. Special time works best when several guidelines are followed.

Guidelines for One-On-One Time with Your Child:

  • Call the reserved time a certain name that the child understands, such as “special time.”
  • Set aside this time every day regardless of your child’s behavior that day.
  • Never take this time away as a punishment.
  • Give one-on-one time separately. One day mom and son can have their time together. The next day dad and son can have their time. Make this time for each child in the family.
  • Use this opportunity to do a fun, interactive activity. Do not use the time for watching TV or other passive activities.
  • Don’t interrupt this time by taking phone calls or attending to other distractions that take your attention away from the special time.
  • Be consistent with one-on-one time. Stick to the scheduled time and end when the time is finished.

If your child refuses to engage in “special time”, continue to pursue. You are conveying to your child that you are sincerely interested in him/her and want to have this time together.

Howard, BJ. 2002. Guidelines for special time. In Jellinek M, Patel BP, Froehle MCV, eds., Bright Futures in Practice: Mental Health-Volume II. Tool Kit. Arlington, VA: National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health.

“I Don’t know!”: How to Communicate with your Teen

What do you do when you ask your child a question and they respond with “I don’t know”? This 3-word phrase can be used in a varietymother and teen daughter talking of situations to evade sharing information or avoid diving in deeper into a topic. So, the real question at hand is how to get your teen to open up the lines of communication in a non-threatening and informative way. School-aged children are familiar with plug-and-chug in terms of math equations and the same can be transformed into a mode for communication. “I Feel” statements are explicit, concrete and allow the teen to filter out what is going on, why it is going on, how it makes them feel and how they can work towards resolution.

The equation is as follows:

  • I feel:
  • When you:
  • Because:
  • In the future:

Instead of acting out or keeping their emotions inside due to confusion or perceived lack of support for their self-expression, the “I feel” statement helps them to understand the situation that is triggering their emotion, how they interpret the event and allows them to provide a solution so that they can avoid the same problem in the future.

For example, your teen explodes when you ask them to do their homework. Upon completion of an “I feel” statement, you might come to find out the following:

  • I feel: frustrated
  • When you: nag me to do my homework
  • Because: it makes me feel as though you don’t trust me to do it on my own
  • In the future: can you trust that I will do my homework when you ask me one time

Whether or not you are aware of the stimulating event, “I feel” statements can be used in times to activate emotions or as a tool to help your teen unload during non-threatening times.