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

5 Ways to Build Emotional Skills for Social Media

5 Ways to Build Emotional Skills for Social Media

No one can predict exactly what the digital world will look like in 10 years. There is legitimate concern that a profit-driven metaverse will further erode what young people need to thrive. Conversely, some of our best minds (including young people) are working hard to define what age-relevant, safe, and playful digital platforms free of commercial exploitation might look and feel like. Young people themselves are often at the leading edge of adopting and hacking tools for their purposes. The reality is probably an ongoing push and pull between commercial demands, adolescent needs, and our collective imagination of what is possible online. Media is social as soon as it involves interacting with others. No matter what the future of social media holds, it’s clear that we can do a lot to prepare kids to interact in healthy and meaningful ways online. It is tempting to push off these conversations until... 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

Why manners matter: Top tips for raising kind kids

Why manners matter: Top tips for raising kind kids

The benefits of teaching kids to be considerate early on go well beyond good manners, with research suggesting that raising young children to be kind is crucial for their development. Having a child that knows when to say please and thank you is just one aspect of why parents should be raising kids to be considerate toward others from an early age. A study by academics in the psychology department at the Canadian University of British Columbia, published in 2012, examined the effect on toddlers when they demonstrated “prosocial” behavior, which refers to showing kindness and generosity toward others. It found that before the age of two, “toddlers exhibit greater happiness when giving treats to others than receiving treats themselves.” The study also showed that children were happier after engaging in “costly giving – forfeiting their own resources – than when giving the same treat at no cost.” Lara Aknin,... 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

“Simple Tasks Seem Overwhelming to My Child”

Take your pick — the misconstrued labels for children with inattentive ADHD (once called ADD) are as vast and varied as the symptoms they manifest. Often misunderstood — or worse, neglected — at school, children with ADHD face unique challenges complicated by outdated ADHD stereotypes. Here, ADDitude readers share the biggest challenges their children with inattentive ADHD face at school and home. What struggles does your child with predominantly inattentive ADHD encounter? Share your stories in the Comments section below. “Mind-wandering is a challenge for my daughter when she needs to complete schoolwork, especially reading. She has a hard time focusing and will fixate on sounds around her (ticking clock, hallway conversation, foot-tapping classmate, etc.) rather than the one sound she needs to hear: Her teacher’s voice. However, her inattentiveness and mind-wandering are a total asset when she’s drawing, writing, or creating because it allows her to be fluid, make... 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

The ADHD Guide to Naturally Flowing, ‘Normal’ Conversations

There’s a general assumption that people know the unspoken, unwritten, often mysterious rules of social engagement. These assumptions do not account for the experience of living with neurodiversity. Either way, it’s never too late to learn how to have a conversation. Communication can be tricky for people with ADHD, who may interrupt too much, speak too quickly, or space out unintentionally and miss key elements of a conversation. As a result, many individuals worry that they will say something stupid in conversation, or that they’ll try so hard to appear “normal” that they end up looking strange. The task becomes so daunting, people may question their ability to engage in naturally flowing, comfortable conversations. There’s a general assumption that people know the unspoken, unwritten, and often mysterious rules of social engagement. These assumptions do not account for the experience of living with neurodiversity — some people with ADHD, learning differences,... Read more

COVID-19 Impact: Spotlight on Older Children, Adolescents

As a society, we can certainly acknowledge the serious impacts that COVID-19, quarantine and social distancing has had on all of us. However, in my psychology practice, I have been particularly concerned with the rise of mental health issues in older children and adolescents. This age range thrives from being with peers, connecting through social outlets and feeling validated by their social interactions. With the long period of school closures and changes in schedules and social opportunities, adolescents in particular have faced significant challenges, including virtual learning, a significant duration of more limited face-to-face peer interactions, a significant rise in depression, suicidality, drug use and uncertainty about their future. In terms of development, adolescence is a pivotal period when relationships begin to reorganize. Older children and teenagers desire to have more independence and emotional distance from their parents. They shift their focus to peer interactions, and broadening and deepening their... Read more

How can you help your child blossom socially?

Following the arrival of the Omricon variant , there has been a rising concern surrounding the potential return to remote learning, yet educators have warned us about this shaky emotional and social situation for Israeli students. There is no doubt that now, facing a great deal of uncertainty, many parents are quite concerned about the social and emotional state of their children. It is important to remember that one’s socio-emotional state includes many individual, interpersonal and group skills with the help of which the child is able to manage emotions and cooperate with friends. This ability begins to develop as early as infancy and plays a significant role throughout life from early childhood through adulthood. Socio-emotional ability is manifested in making connections with friends; understanding, regulating and expressing emotions; developing academic skills and motivation for learning; developing relationships and dating; finding and retaining work and more. When there are problems... Read more

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