Monday, September 23, 2019

Supporting Your Child in the School System

Being a parent or a caregiver is one of the most difficult roles that we have as an adult. We can become overwhelmed at times with the responsibility of raising and providing for our children. As parents we are challenged with each stage of growth and development that our child presents. When children enter the school system, they will spend more time at school with their teacher and friends than they will at home. Children will have problems that occur at school because for the next twelve years it is their reflective world. Helping your children communicate assertively and be proactive to resolve issues will help them to build their self-esteem.

Be Proactive

If your child is having difficulty at school, it will be important to use the school resources. Many school districts use programs that you can download to keep parents updated on homework assignments, daily behavior and grades. Your child’s classroom could have over twenty students for the teacher to instruct. Parents should visit their child’s classroom to observe the learning process and then volunteer your time to support your child and the teacher.

Build Social Skills

Some children will do very well academically but display developmental delays with social skills. If you notice that your child plays alone and complains that no one likes him or her this will create anxiety. Children will question where they belong outside of the family system. Parents can enroll their children in a sport of their choice or an organization like Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. These activities will give children the opportunity to practice their social skills, build athletic skills and their confidence. There are several options at the YMCA, recreation centers and private lessons. It is important to not to over commit with too many extra-curricular activities. This can create anger and frustration with your child if they have no time to relax at home.

If you continue to have concerns about your child’s behaviors at home and school, you may want to contact a licensed counselor or your primary care physician to do an assessment. Asking for help can be difficult for families to do. Parents can view this as an opportunity to model for their child that life is a journey of learning as we search for answers to issues in our life. This process can help you to learn more about each other and grow closer emotionally as you determine which option is best for your child.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Children Need a Bedtime Routine

Teachers and students are preparing to return to school. The stores are advertising back to school specials and the aisles are stocked with school supplies. Parents are busy preparing their children for the transition of school but have difficulty getting them to bed at a reasonable time. JAMA Pediatrics did a cross-sectional study and found that 6% of children or 1 in 17 are given Melatonin for sleep issues.

Maintain a regular sleep schedule

When a child has the appropriate amount of sleep, they are more energetic and less irritable in the morning. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule can keep a child physically and mentally fresh. Children aged 1 to 3 should receive 10 to 13 hours of sleep at night. School age children need 10 to 12 hours each night, but this requirement may drop to 9 hours at 13 years of age.

Creating a routine for bedtime signals the brain to prepare to rest. Not every child will fall asleep right away but will need time to relax after a long day of school and play. A warm bath or scheduled quiet time reading can help a child to transition into sleep mode. Parents should set a firm bedtime hour for their child and be consistent with this expectation.


A bedtime routine is the key to making sure a child gets enough rest. Parents should restrict the use of television, internet or social media before bedtime. These activities can stimulate the brain and make it more difficult for the child to fall asleep. The bedroom should be quiet and comfortable. A child may have a special blanket, pillow or stuffed animal that should be available if it helps them to relax. All caffeinated and sugar beverages should not be allowed as it would keep them from nodding off.

 Children with ADHD, anxiety and autism will need Melatonin at times to help with sleep. Parents should discuss Melatonin with their doctor so they would know if this supplement is appropriate for their child and the correct dosage to administer.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Take Time to Unplug

Science is reporting that there are many dangers for children when they have too much screen time. Excessive phone use can cause sore thumbs, neck pain, stress, anxiety, and strained relationships with family or friends. Among the most concerning risk is sleep deprivation. The blue light emitted from the screen is interpreted by the body as a signal to wake up. So if children have interaction with a screen two hours before bedtime, they are more likely to be wide awake long after the screen has been shut off.

Establish boundaries

Adults and children should get the proper amount of sleep at night to help stay focused, improve concentration and academic or work performance. Sleep deprivation affects your mood, energy level and ability to concentrate. Using screens before bedtime will damage your body clock and disrupt your sleep.

Options to create boundaries in your home would be to create a tech-free zone. You could unplug at dinner or one night a week establish a family game night. Parents should prioritize unstructured playtime and install an app that controls the length of time your child can be on their phone or tablet.

Replace bad habits with good

It takes almost thirty days to replace a bad habit with better self-care. Start today and stop "phubbing" or snubbing friends and family by paying more attention to your phone than them. Turn off your non-essential notifications so the phone tones don't dictate your time. Instead create time to enjoy each other and nature. You will get more things accomplished during the day with less stress and anxiety.

Thank You For Your Support

Monday, March 04, 2019

Incorporate Hygge into Your Life

Hygge (Hoo-gah) is a Scandinavian way of life that focuses on pleasure, presence and participation. It is a concept that involves finding the joy in the simple things of everyday life. The hygge lifestyle originated in Denmark and has contributed to their nation’s consistently high happiness ratings. Their culture focuses on a mood of coziness, feelings of wellness and contentment.

Creating hygge

In today’s busy world more American’s are seeking hygge as they attempt to find happiness within. Most individuals would see hygge as a form of self-care especially during the winter when weather related depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder runs high. Hygge involves surrounding yourself with items that soothe your senses. A hygge home has soft lights, warm drinks, baked goods and hosting an evening of deep conversation with caring friends and family. Some individuals prefer to take a long hot bath with their favorite bath oil. Other people prefer to read a book in their favorite sweats covered by their special blanket in front of the fireplace. However, you implement hygge into your life it should create and celebrate health and happiness. Start treating yourself today to hygge.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Open Communication in the New Year

Whenever we hear of another relationship that breaks up we speculate on the reason why. Unfortunately there are many reasons that can contribute to the failure with infidelity, finances, midlife crisis or just growing apart from each other. There is no simple answer to this painful experience and everyone will have their own unique story to tell.

Warning signs

Couples can get stuck in abusive communication patterns that hurt and distance them from each other. Research shows that women will bring up issues of conflict 80% of the time that their partner will want to ignore. If it is important to one, it’s important to the marriage. Avoidance of the concern will only cause resentment and the pressure will build until the argument loses perspective or why it even began.

Psychologist John Gottman did a study with 1,000 couples and found that criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling was found in 94% of failed relationships. Most males would identify this communication pattern as “nagging”. Everyone will use these defensive tools occasionally  but repeated patterns will cause your partner to feel anger, fear, hurt, sadness and alienation.

Healthy argument

Discussing small differences is important to do before they become a major issue in the relationship. A recent survey found that 44% of married couples believe that arguing once a week help to keep communication open. William Dougherty a professor of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota states, “What the studies have shown is that it’s not so much whether couples get angry but how they handle it. There’s a difference between good fighting and bad fighting. Constructive conflict can put a spark in a relationship. Love needs a spark every now and then.”

Arguments can be an opportunity to discover what issues are important to the individual. It’s a way to reach the person and let them know you value them and want to be supportive. Healthy arguments can also be a way to model conflict resolution for your children. If you are yelling and cussing at each other you are displaying contempt and disrespect. Issues that are discussed and resolved appropriately can display how to compromise and move forward with the agreement.

Rebuild the Relationship

It is important when discussing different viewpoints to utilize “I statements”. This will keep you from engaging in blame when expressing your perspective. With every negative concern that is addressed make an effort to state five positive compliments about your relationship together. Then schedule your alone time together each week and give each other an intimate kiss and hug every day to remain emotionally connected. Finally separate the problem from the person. It’s the problem you’re upset about. If you feel stuck in a negative pattern seek counseling to learn healthy ways to communicate your concerns.  

Monday, December 03, 2018

Blending Holiday Traditions

The United States is referred to as the “melting pot” nation where all immigrants and their traditions have blended over the centuries.  Traditions that your family looks forward to each holiday are originally from different cultures around the world.  The Christmas carols we sing are from England.  The tradition of decorating the tree is from Germany and St. Nicholas originated in Scandinavia.  The Netherlands expanded on the myth to have St. Nicolas or Santa Claus fill the stockings hanging over the fireplace.  The United States extended the story adding the sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.
Be open to change
Determining how to celebrate the holidays for divorced or blended families can become difficult with schedule conflicts and trying to combine the traditions that were important to their nuclear family.  There are many solutions to the problem if everyone is willing to compromise and experience new traditions.  Communicate with non-custodial parents to make sure the children are present for the festivities that are important to them.  Try to be flexible and alternate the schedules when possible.  Discuss how change can be a positive event when blending your favorite traditions. 
Blending family traditions can be a challenging but rewarding experience.  When all the changes become overwhelming, try to focus on the reason for the Christmas season.  You are not competing with each other but explaining the importance of how your family customs are celebrated.  Traditions are about building special memories so that one day your family rituals will be passed on to future generations.  Acceptance and acknowledging what is really important to the special people in your life will create the holiday you will all want to remember.