Mindfulness Activities for Kids

Proponents say it is possible, albeit challenging, for kids to step away from screens and homework and take some time for mindfulness activities. By now, most of us have heard of “mindfulness,” the practice of focusing attention on the present moment without any judgment. Many adults practice it through meditation, yoga, walking or simply sitting still. But mindfulness is not just for adults. According to mental health experts, it can also be good for children. “Mindfulness helps kids cope with the daily stresses we all face,” says Michael Crowley, an associate professor at Yale Child Study Center and advisor for the Yale-Scholastic Collaborative for Child & Family Resilience. “Mindfulness skills offer a simple but profound way to be present, manage one’s thoughts and emotions, and get more out of life. These are healthy ways of thinking that are incredibly helpful in childhood and adulthood.” Experts say that mindfulness can help... Read more

How emotions affect your child’s education

How emotions affect your child’s education

Science is revealing how children's feelings help and harm learning. Here's how adults can support kids so they feel, and learn, better. “Honk,” says my 9th grade French teacher on the first day of school. “En français, your name is ‘Honk’.” “Excuse me,” I bleat in front of 35 classmates. “My name is Hank.” “Non, incorrect,” she replied. “En français, and in this class, your name se prononce ‘Honk’.” For two wretched years, I was called Honk by this cruel teacher and snickering students. Five times weekly, I entered the classroom twitching with fear, rage, and shame. The ordeal crippled my self-esteem and GPA. My grade lurked between C- and D because I refused to study for my persecutor. I hated the teacher (mutilating her face in my yearbook), and I subsequently hated the language. My negative emotions destroyed my learning ability. Research indicates my pitiful French performance was a... Read more

Adult ADHD: A 21st century epidemic?

Adult ADHD: A 21st century epidemic?

The United Kingdom is experiencing dramatic increases in requests for diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults. But what is ADHD, and why is it suddenly becoming something the general public and medical professionals need to be aware of? In this feature, Dr. James Brown and Dr. Alex Conner provide some context. National Teaching Fellow Dr. Conner is a reader in biomedical science communication at the College of Medical and Dental Sciences at the University of Birmingham, U.K. Dr. Brown is a reader in biomedical science at the College of Health and Life Sciences at Aston University, U.K. ADHD is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder in which the brain grows differently. This leads to deficient action from the chemicals involved in pleasure and reward. The name ADHD is a little unhelpful as those with the disorder do not have a deficit of attention, more a lack of ability to... Read more

7 ways to support and encourage emotional growth in children and teens

7 ways to support and encourage emotional growth in children and teens

With anxiety levels, low self-esteem and depression reaching an all-time high, how can we help foster more self-care, self-reflection, and growth in children and teens? Self-improvement and personal growth aren’t just areas reserved for adults looking to enrich their lives or enhance their career prospects. They’re important aspects of life that can help us to develop skills and better understand ourselves at any age. According to the latest figures released by Place2Be , 95% of staff at schools are seeing an increase in anxiety levels among students. 86% have noted an increase in low-self esteem, 76% in depression, and 68% in anger. For secondary school staff, 72% have noticed an increase in self-harm, 61% in suicidal thoughts, and 56% in eating difficulties. With less than a quarter (23%) feeling they could regularly access specialist support for students who need it, now more than ever we need to find ways to... Read more

Is your daughter emotionally ready for Instagram?

It was an innocent post of four girls who had gone to dinner, taken a picture and posted it on Instagram. Within minutes, one girl received a text from her mom asking her to take the picture down. The mom had received a text from another mom whose daughter was crying at home because she wasn’t invited to dinner, and she thought it’d be best if the picture was deleted. I understand the mom’s intention. I know what it’s like to have a daughter who is scrolling through Instagram and realizes she was left out. Nobody likes to see their friends having fun without them. And for a mother, there is nothing worse than seeing your child upset. But what I’ve realized about scenarios like this is how it doesn’t help the child when we hastily try to fix whatever makes them sad. If anything, we prevent them from developing... Read more

What Is Social-Emotional Learning And Why Is It Important

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is when children are taught how to process and manage their feelings. Social-emotional curriculums in schools have been making headlines lately because it's become very controversial. While some parents believe that social-emotional learning should only be taught at home, a lot of teachers and education are saying that simply isn't happening at home, so it should happen at school to the benefit of all. Our teachers and schools have our kids for seven or more hours a day. That's a really significant time and in this time our kids will feel a lot of emotions. Kids at school can get sad, scared, excited, etc. When kids have problems dealing with any emotion at school, it can become a distraction for them and other students. At school, kids even act out and get in fights with one another when they can't solve conflict properly. Then their teacher or... Read more

“How I Calm Down My ADHD Brain: 14 Quick De-Stressors”

“How I Calm Down My ADHD Brain: 14 Quick De-Stressors”

I use these stress-relieving strategies – from breathwork and EFT tapping to mindfulness exercises and laughter – to quickly reduce anxiety and improve my emotional regulation. ADHD emotions are not only unstable and mercurial; they overlap, butt heads, and fight for our attention. Those of us with ADHD can feel a dozen emotions in an afternoon. We can also feel immature, out of control, and ashamed at the same time. The fight to rein in our emotions is emotionally and physically exhausting; it also chips away at our self-worth and overall well-being. Over time, I have developed several tools to address this by reducing my restlessness, agitation, impatience, and explosive anger (to name a few emotional challenges). Along the way, my relationships, career, and friendships have benefited as well. The next time your blood boils or your tears flow, try one (or all) of the following micro-techniques – which take... Read more

What Is Attachment Trauma?

Attachment trauma comes from a rupture in the bonding process between a child and their primary caregiver. Its effects can last well into adulthood. If you struggle with relationships, there’s a dominant cultural narrative that assumes there is something wrong with you. But science offers us a more expansive view: Our relationship challenges may be rooted in what’s known as attachment trauma. Attachment trauma is “a consistent disruption of physical and emotional safety in the family system. It is not what happens to you, but what happens inside you,” says Heather Monroe, a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in Nashville, Tennessee, who specializes in treating relational trauma. A child’s early life experiences shape their adult life, and the relationship with their primary caregiver is among the most important for their development. If a child doesn’t have their early relational needs met, this can show up later in life in their... Read more

Children’s mental health: Huge rise in severe cases, BBC analysis reveals

Five tips to boost your child's wellbeing There has been a 77% rise in the number of children needing specialist treatment for severe mental health crisis, analysis for the BBC shows. Some 409,347 under-18s were referred to the NHS in England for specialist care for issues such as suicidal thoughts and self harm between April and October 2021. Head teachers also report a huge rise in less severe mental health issues. The government plans 400 mental health teams to support schools by 2023. The NHS Digital referrals data analysed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists for the BBC, includes the most serious and urgent cases where the child faces an immediate risk from an eating disorder, self-harm or suicidal thoughts. In the same six month period in 2019, there were 230,591 referrals for under-18s. There were 349,449 under-18s in touch with NHS child and adolescent psychiatric teams at the end... Read more

Mental health in the workplace: The coming revolution

Lenny Mendonca, the former chief economic and business advisor to California governor Gavin Newsom, went public with why he had suddenly resigned from that position on April 10. Mendonca, a former McKinsey senior partner, revealed his struggles with debilitating depression in a deeply personal column that also probed the pervasiveness of mental health issues among the general population and the public-policy implications of untreated mental illness. Three weeks prior to his resignation, suffering severe depression, Mendonca had checked into a hospital for an overnight stay. But, acting in his position of great responsibility, in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, Mendonca had “told myself and my team that we all have to operate at 120 percent. . . . This meant 80-hour work weeks and barely sleeping.” Reflecting on his diagnosis and months-long process of recovery, Mendonca wrote: “What does it say about me that I have a mental health... Read more

“Have I Overreacted? Big Time? 5 Ways I Rectify Emotional Outbursts”

“Keep your rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) in check. Remember not to take what people say in the moment personally. They have the right to react, too. Even if people tell you to ‘get out,’ it doesn’t mean that they don’t love you.” It’s crisis time. I know because my heart rate is up. A lump in my throat forms. My muscles feel tense and alive. I hear words but it’s a part of the blur around me as I am hit with a thousand stimuli at once. My mind races as I consider potential escapes and threats. Everything is slow and fast at the same time. Something’s happened, and it’s on me to figure out what it is and safely deal with it. It could be anything — a car crash, a death, a breakup, an arrest — it doesn’t matter. The point is I’m losing control and I must... Read more

Neuroscience of New Fatherhood: Empathy, Bonding, Childcare

A father's ability to empathize and mentalize during pregnancy correlates with later bonding and parenting during infancy. Specific brain areas in expectant fathers affect social information processing, self-awareness, emotion regulation, and cognitive control. While the role of mothers in child-rearing has historically drawn attention, more recently researchers are examining the impact of fathers on child development. Even before the baby is born, the idea of who they could be takes shape in the mind of expectant parents, to varying degrees shaping the ultimate attachment parents will have once the baby is born, for all parents. In this piece, we will look at recent research on how fathers' empathic attunement and associated brain connectivity during mid to late pregnancy with the first child correlates with bonding and parenting behavior at 6 months following birth. For instance, recent research has identified four key aspects of becoming a father (2021): the “trigger moment”... Read more

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