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

Good Medicine For Healthy Child Development: Nurturing Relationships

Yet, in recent years it has become clear that families need and deserve support to care for more than just the physical health of their children. What if pediatric care could be transformed to actively partner with parents to better support children’s healthy social and emotional development, too? That is the question that drives the Pediatrics Supporting Parents (PSP) national funder collaborative. To date, six national funders (the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Einhorn Collaborative, Overdeck Family Foundation, Perigee Fund, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation) have committed a total of $13.25 million over five years to invest in aligning clinical practice with a mounting body of evidence that demonstrates the benefits of leveraging pediatric well-care to support improved social and emotional outcomes in young children and to strengthen parent–child relationships by partnering with providers and parents. Significance Of Healthy Social And Emotional Development The first... 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

What can parents do about their ‘difficult’ adult children?

“You can’t go home again,” according to the old saying. Tell that to the adult children who are returning to live with their parents, or never leaving, in record numbers. For the first time in recent history, more young adults are living with their parents than cohabitating in romantic or married situations. No doubt about it: how we think about parenting and retirement have changed. While the economic downturn associated with COVID-19 explains some of the recent rise in adult children moving back home, this trend has been increasing since the 1960s. The employment market has changed drastically, for one thing. Gone are the factory jobs and other opportunities for people who have not graduated college. Delayed marriage and increasing divorce rates have also contributed to the rise in intergenerational households, as has the skyrocketing price of housing. There are, however, two different groups of adult children who return home... 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

Managing High Sensitivity, Then and Now

There was no end to “cures” for hysteria in the nineteenth century. From leeches to rosewater to vaginal suppositories, the number and type of cures rival the myriad purported causes. But despite the doctor’s different recommendations in their treatments, one thing remains consistent: all emphasized curing hysteria, rather than just managing it. When it comes to treating today’s HSP, there are methods for coping with emotional regulation; however, the literature for the most part emphasizes the positives as well, suggesting that one would not want to eradicate but rather support one’s sensitivity for individual and social betterment. Seventy-one percent of the population claims to be either highly sensitive or moderately sensitive. [1] The shift away from cure for those on the high and medium scales of the HSP continuum signals a different regard for people’s everyday sensorial-emotional experiences. Treating Hysteria in Victorian Times Whereas some Victorian physicians sought to treat... Read more

Let Perfect Go and Build a Relationship With Your Child

Over decades of working with hundreds of families, as well as reading the child development research and conducting some of my own, I discovered the rather surprising and very exciting fact that everything develops—intelligence, physical abilities, emotional strengths, and habits that lead to well-being. Somewhat contrary to widespread beliefs, I came to see that there are no skills or attributes that can’t be developed, as long as there’s a big enough investment of time, patience, motivation, social support, and learning opportunities. And that includes parenting skills: You can learn to be the best possible parent for your child. It’s All About Your Connection With Your Child The foundational skill of good parenting is building a strong relationship with your child. That isn’t always easy. Your child might be constantly in trouble because of their anger, impatience, aggression, impulsivity, laziness, or problems with schoolwork. You might be worried about their social... Read more

Is having a favourite child really a bad thing?

Joanna knew she had a favourite child from the moment her second son was born. The Kent, UK-based mum says she loves both of her children, but her youngest child just “gets” her in a way that her first-born doesn’t. When Joanna’s first baby was delivered, he was rushed away from her due to a health concern, and she couldn’t see him for 24 hours. Missing this valuable bonding period was, she believes, the start of a long-lasting preference for her second son, whom she was able to spend time with immediately after he was born. “To sum our relationships up: I have to make an appointment to speak to my eldest,” says Joanna, whose full name is being withheld to protect her children. “With my youngest, I could call him at 0230 and he’d drive miles to meet me. My youngest is the nicest guy on the planet. He’s... Read more

How to be Your Child’s Therapist: Part 1

One of the most dramatic and immediate social effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the reintroduction of small children to the weekday household, a result of the widespread school closures which began in early 2020 and have persisted as occasional, less-frequent cancellations and delays in our ongoing public health crisis. Just as our children have appeared suddenly in our remote workdays, in the middle of our zoom meetings and conference calls, with their many questions and needs, so too have they naturally taken up a greater space in our inner lives–and therefore the psychoanalytic session. As a psychoanalyst, I have observed a remarkable shift in the content of many sessions with parents of small children. Where once there was preoccupation with their own childhoods, there might now be an acute awareness of the childhood of their own children; where once romantic and professional anxieties led the session, now there... 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

We are not OK: Pandemic survey finds moms are burnt out, overwhelmed

Moms across the country are sending out an SOS! A survey conducted by TODAY Parents found that 83% of moms are feeling burnt out by pandemic parenting. "My mental health was really suffering for a while," New York mom Michelle Hudson shared. "Being a parent isn’t easy to begin with, but then add on being contained in a home, limiting social interactions, working full time and taking care of the household." More than two-thirds of moms (69%) reported feeling overwhelmed, according to our online, unscientific survey of more than 1,200 moms, and 64% shared that the past year has been extremely hard. Elizabeth Jenkins Madaris, a mom of two in Colorado, became a stay-at-home mom because of the pandemic. "I had a baby in February 2020, moved cross country in March 2020, attempted to start working full time in August, but had to end up quitting because the kids' daycare... Read more

All About Trauma: What It Is, Short- and Long-Term Effects, How to Cope With It, and When to Get Help

Although she didn’t witness the event herself, Heidi Horsley, PsyD, found herself replaying the last moments of her brother’s life again and again in her mind. He died in a car accident after hydroplaning during a rainstorm. “That narrative kept going over and over, and I couldn’t get the loop out of my head,” she says. With each replay, she recalls, she ruminated on whether her brother suffered before his death — and she became increasingly worried someone else was going to die. “The safe predictable world you once knew is gone. When my brother died, I didn’t feel like my parents could protect us. I felt my brother died, so I could die.” Dr. Horsley’s younger brother died when she was 20 years old. Her experience as a young adult eventually prompted Horsley to become a therapist who specializes in grief and trauma. Now an adjunct professor at Columbia... Read more

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