Tag Archive for parenting

Online Now! The Children’s & Teen Health Summit

Come join Pam and Emily along with 27 experts and learn about research, parenting, health and wellness, as well as parenting your child and teen at The Children’s & Teen Health Summit. It’s online and free this week only.  » Read more..

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End of School Stress: How to Help Your Student

As the end of school approaches, stress and strong emotions emerge for many children and teens. In fact, burnout, brain fog, and frustration are common. But how can parents help their child finish strong and start the summer with ease? Testing your child’s neurotransmitter levels is one of the most effective ways to help them feel confident and in control.  » Read more..

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Toddlers and Technology: How Screen Time is Impairing Brain Development

Toddlers and Technology

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

It can be tempting to hand your toddler or 10 year old a tablet to keep them occupied while out to eat.  Or turn on the TV to help distract your infant while you, take a phone call. Even let your child read on a Kindle before bed.  But what is this technology doing do your child’s brain? According to research, impairing their development. » Read more..

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Brain Chemistry and Bad Behavior in Children

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By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

When children act out, misbehave, or engage in an activity that puts them in danger, parents often respond with an impulsive punishment.  They may yell, tell them to go to their room, or even spank their child in the hopes to get them to hear, and feel, that the actions that he or she did were “bad.”  Interestingly enough, most of these consequences don’t work, and the brain is partially to blame.

Recent research from Southern Methodist University discovered that spanking was far more common than parents admit, and that children who were hit, misbehaved within 10 minutes of being punished. Indicating that even with intense pain, their brains rewire back to impulsive decision making.

Why is it that kids misbehave so quickly afterwards? The spanking, the yelling, the removal of rewards and privileges, doesn’t encourage them to behave differently.   In fact, in many cases it scares them.  The brain goes into survival mode, triggering them to act aggressively or impulsively, because their neurological underpinnings are driving the behavior.  Ever heard your child say “I didn’t mean it, I don’t know why I did it.” Many times they are right.  The brain turned on before they even realized their bad action was occurring.

Parents and parenting are not to blame completely either, not at all. The problematic behaviors that get the child punished in the first place are due to their environment and their brain chemistry. Next time your child does something that you have told them 20 times to not do, before acting on impulse yourself, and raising your voice or threatening to take away X, Y, or Z, think about what else could be at play.  Certainly a new approach to communicating and also a look into their noggin.

3 Ways to Change Bad Behaviors in Your Child

brain chemistry1) Balance Brain Chemistry - In many cases where a youngster acts impulsively, lashes out, or doesn’t listen, it isn’t due to just anger or frustration, their brain chemistry is also to blame.  Extensive research and thousands of neurotransmitter tests have revealed, that frequently an imbalance in neurotransmitter levels (brain chemistry), is a key contributing factor to the child’s bad behavior. Often times their excitatory neurotransmitters are running the show, leading to them having difficulty controlling themselves.  Correcting brain chemistry can be a huge piece in healing the bad behavior puzzle. Neurotransmitter testing is easy, can be done in the comfort of your home, and provides an all natural solution to balancing brain chemistry.

brain chemistry2) Change Communication - You are the parent and role model, so get cracking on a more effective approach to communicating concerns and consequences to your child. In the bestselling book If I Have to Tell You One More Time…: The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Reminding, or Yelling parenting expert and Today Show contributor Amy McCready shows you how to. McCready is a “recovering yeller” and the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions. She is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids. Her Toolbox strategies have empowered tens of thousands of parents.

brain chemistry3) Gain and Teach Skills - It is important for parents to learn how to control their own emotions and be able to teach these skills and techniques to their children. Parenting a Child Who Has Intense Emotions: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Help Your Child Regulate Emotional Outbursts and Aggressive Behaviors by Pat Harvey, is a great book that can help with this. As a world renowned expert in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Harvey uses DBT Skills Training in working with parents whose children (of any age) have intense emotions/emotional dysregulation or mental illness. The nonjudgmental and accepting aspects of DBT have been well received by parents who are often blamed for the problems of their children. Feeling accepted enables parents and others to learn new, more effective skills.

Adjusting your child’s brain chemistry, and possibly your own, will be the glue that holds any parenting method together.  Skills and therapy can be effective, and with a brain that’s onboard with these new approaches, you have benefits that will last a lifetime.

 

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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.

 

 

 

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Parent to Prevent Eating Disorders

Parents are the most influential role models in a child’s life, they must be careful with their words and actions, especially around food and body image. This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, bringing awareness to the public about the over 24 million eating disorders in the US alone. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any identified mental illness, education is imperative. » Read more..

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5 Simple Tips for a Successful School Year

The beginning of the year is filled with excitement and the expectation that things will “be different” from the last. New notebooks, teachers, and schedules make the beginning of the year seem like a bright beginning, and it can be.  However, without reinforcement of new behaviors, schedules, and some simple suggestions, the backslide to old and often ineffective tendencies may creep up.  Help your kiddo keep his or her school goals a reality with these tips and resources for a successful school year.

1. Make Downtime a Priority

After a full day of school, kids’ brains need a break. They are overstimulated, constantly “on” and frequently distracted. Jumping into homework or a stimulating activity conditions their brain to stay wired. We need to build in time to help them transition and settle down. Many families use the time before bed to chill out, but often this can backfire.  If we leave too many emotions and feelings to the end of the day, it can be too much for many kids to handle, leading to worries and anxious thoughts.

Downtime implemented throughout the day can help increase communication and awareness of feelings. Asking questions as soon as they step off the bus or open the door often leads to frustration and aggression, children feel pressured and pretty frazzled. A rule of thumb is to let them have a snack, chill out and wait 20-30 minutes.

This is “re-set time” and can include:
• Drawing or art
• Reading a book of their choice
• Imaginary play
• Shower or bath
• A TV show or game that is not stimulating (avoid fast screen cuts or violence, consider something that is interactive)
• Create a calming caddy or tool kit for distress tolerance

2. Communicate Goals & Reinforce Positive Behaviors

Successful School Year: Behavior Sticker Chart

The way you talk about academic success and school year goals is more important than you think. Validation and child-friendly language can increase effectiveness and confidence in your student. Refer to this post to learn how to talk so that they will listen and participate in the conversation. Reinforce positive behaviors and focus on your child’s intention instead of the outcome.  If your kiddo tried clean up their room and got part of it completed, give them credit, and ask how you can help them problem solve to finish up. “What can I help you with?” instead of “You still have so much to do.”

 

3. Organize Effectively

Help your child prepare for tomorrow today, not tonight. Before dinner or between homework and hitting the sheets, go over their upcoming and weekly assignments, activities, and events. Having a visual cue for younger and older kids, such as a calender on the wall will help them to gain confidence on what is to come, as well as help to create organizational skills for life. Dr. Lynne Kenney, The Family Coach and one of our favorite parenting experts, has created  clear and creative free downloads to help you and your children with organization.

4. Snack Smart

Snacks can help to save your kids mood and attention span during the long days back in school. Having healthy snacks available is imperative for managing mood and improving focus. Include a protein, carbohydrate, and healthy fat into each bite. It’s much easier than the drive-through, and healthier too. Click here to read more about snacks that boost brain power.

5. Sleep Tight

For a seamless transition back to school students of all ages need a consistent sleep schedule (adults do too). Studies show that back to school success correlates with a proper sleep cycle. Enough sleep means higher test scores, better behavior and more focus. How do you get your little learner back to bright and early mornings? This Back-to-Bedtime Post has you covered.

We wish all of you the best back-to-school year yet!  Please share your tips and suggestions below.

 

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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.

 

 

 

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Back to Bedtime: Tips for Adjusting Your Childs Sleep Cycle for Back to School

back to school sleepy boyBy Emily Roberts MA, LPC

We know summertime schedules make it hard to adjust to back to school demands. The leisurely schedule and later evenings mean more of a push back from kiddos when classes resume. As much as your child may fight or fuss about pillow-time, it is a tool for academic and behavioral success. Kids who don’t get enough sleep, regularly, have been shown to have lower testing scores, more behavioral outburst, and more ADHD-like behaviors. Snoozing on the weekends and struggling to get enough sleep during the week is a typical cycle for some, but can be damaging to long term health. Children and adults need a bedtime routine, and consistent hours for their brain to recharge and rest. This cannot be done two nights a week, we need to help them adjust to do this most days.

Start Now

Even if your child has started school or is doing so in the next week or so, start with a plan of action that you can implement as early as this evening. Changing their entire routine all at once can be too much for some kids to handle, so adding in each piece over the course of a week may help.Experts estimate that preschoolers (3 to 5 years-old) need 11-13 hours of sleep, while school-aged children up to age 12 need approximately 10-11 hours of sleep. Teens need at least 9 hours. back to school kids sleep

Dr. Juan Martinez MD, director of Pediatric Sleep lab at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital suggests:

• The best strategy is to allow the later bedtime initially, but enforce the gradually earlier morning arousal time to a goal of the normal awakening time for school. The late bedtime will eventually adjust to a normal bedtime. All parents and caregivers must be on board and consistent.— We love this, as our bodies will naturally respond to this adjustment after a few days. Starting to enforce an earlier bedtime after a week or so, and rewarding them for getting ready on-time will help.

• Absolutely avoid any caffeinated products after dinner. That includes coffee, cola drinks and chocolate.— We would even go further to say after lunch, as caffeine can stay in kids systems for hours. Sugar before bed can also heighten arousal, so that ice cream after dinner may need to be a mid afternoon treat.

• Have children turn off all electronics, including phones, computers, video games and television early in the night. Have them instead read, listen to soothing music or do other quiet activities.— We agree, and studies have shown that up to two hours before bed our brain’s will be effected by screen time. If your child “needs” their Kindle or begs for their iPhone, come up with rules for the family. It may be painful at first to convince your tween to turn in their phone, but if their goals are to make good grades and get the privilege of having a phone, then they needs to follow the rules. Many kids I work with sleep with their phones and are woken up throughout the night to friends’ texts or to search the web. DON’T ALLOW THIS.

• Have children take a warm bath an hour or two before bedtime to help their body temperature naturally cool down before sleep.— We would also add in doing mindfulness or self-soothing activities. Coloring, journaling, “light” reading (avoid scary or suspenseful literature), back rubs, ect.

• At bedtime there should be no background noises, television or music.— We have some kids who are able to relax by listening to classical music, guided meditations, or sound machines, as it distracts from their anxious thoughts. Try to find something that reduces stimulation.

More tips:

When talking to kids about this adjustment make sure not to say “because I said so” or “that’s our rule.” Rather, explain to them that sleep is important if they want to feel good and focused. Sleep is like food, we need it or our bodies can’t function.back to school sleep tight

Supplements. Make sure your child is taking their supplements as prescribed or suggested. Particular vitamins and minerals can be stimulating. Making sure that they are taking their recommended doses at the right time is imperative.

Make bedtime cozy. When we look at our beds we want to feel comfortable and look forward to shutting our eyes. Kids are the same. Make sure that they help you pick out textures of linens that they like, this is not your bed, it’s theirs. Give them lots of pillows or blankets if they like, as many kids (and adults) feel calmer and safer with soft textures surrounding them. For little ones, have them pick out a stuffed animal or blanket that “lives in the bed.” So they will have something to look forward to when bedtime comes.

Also, this is a great time to ask them about their goals for the school year, what do you want to accomplish or improve on this year? Let them tell you (it can be hard to keep your thoughts to yourself but try) what they want to achieve. “More goals in soccer” or “get an A in Algebra. Then ask them what they need to do to get there. Break down the goals with them and add in steps including healthy living (sleep, diet, supplements, ect).

What if they resist? As a parent you are in charge, and your children will thank you in the long run. Expect a few days or even weeks of push back, maybe even tears, but stay consistent and strong. Validate that sometimes it stinks to head to bed this early, and we all are trying our best to be healthy.

Even if they aren’t tired, which is a common complaint, get them in their rooms, and make their room a bedtime zone. If there is a tv, a computer, bright lights or warm temperatures, fix these things soon. Make the bedroom for sleeping and relaxing not stressful activities. The more we praise them getting into their rooms and in bed the more likely we will help condition their brains to “like”, at least a little bit, the idea of heading to bed. Giving in to later bedtimes may be a “reward” but try rewarding with activities that they would want to do during the day. Sleep is sleep, just like breakfast is a meal. You wouldn’t let them go to school hungry, so why would you let them go with a foggy brain?

 

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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.

 

 

 

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Why Family Dinner Really Counts! By Dr. Lynne Kenney

Dr. Lynne Kenney shares with us why having dinner together as a family is so important, as well as some great tips and tools to make planning these meals much easier!

Here is her original post on her site.

Just back in the US today after 14 days abroad and first thing this am, I listened to a wonderful show on family dinner with Aviva Goldfarb and Chris Efessiou. Family dinner is a strong preventive factor for children and teens. Aviva asks us to take the Dinner Pledge and eat three family meals with your children each week. Aviva makes meal planning, shopping and eating as a family simple. Check out her site for easy meal planning. CLICK LINK TO LISTEN http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/71848/the-cure-for-childhood-obesity-is-sitting-in-your-kitchen

Aviva Goldfarb

We encourage your family to share in a similar meal, but if you have children with special dietary needs, here is a simple printable for helpful meal planning. CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE AND PRINT.

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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.

 

 

 

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What NOT to Say to Your Kids: Builiding Self-Esteem

We often make mistakes when talking to our kids, its only natural.  Even as a therapist I can say something with the intention of helping and it can be perceived as anything but! In working with kids and helping families for many years now, I have learned what to say and what NOT to say when trying to help build self-esteem and teach confidence.  My HealthyPlace.com vlog this week is on just that.  Learn what TO say and what to AVOID when talking to kids, consoling them, or helping them navigate life’s struggles.

 

Say it Right

For the original and more tips on building self-esteem click here to be directed to HealthyPlace.com

 

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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.

 

 

 

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Help Your Child Earn and Learn This Summer

Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Summer can be a great time to teach kids about the value of a dollar. Math and money skills, creativity, and even marketing can be taught with these kid-friendly summer jobs. Self-esteem and confidence comes from feeling independent and learning the importance of earning and saving can never be taught too early. Each week we will share our #StressLessSummer tips and share other top experts including Dr.Lynne Kenny and Wendy Young, authors of Bloom to make this the happiest and healthiest summer yet!lemonade-stand

Neighborhood Needs

Even at a young age (with some adult supervision) helping out a neighbor who has their hands full or is going on vacation can be a money maker for kids. From watering their plants, mowing lawns, dog walking, pet sitting, or even babysitting, kids can cash in. Help them make posters, depending on their interests and ideas, after they create it, you can help through email or phone calls. Have them do the initial “marketing” and ideas so that they are invested.

Rethink Lemonade

The idea of a simple lemonade stand can be a math and marketing lesson. Kids can research; what’s the best time of day for getting the most customers? Where is best location? What will be refreshing? How much will we need to spend on supplies? Get creative, how can they make their stand unique, instead of classic Kool-Aid, maybe slices of watermelon or Popsicle. The summer options are endless.

Household Help

Not all chores are part of a child’s allowance or family duties. Sometimes the extra work can pay off, literally. Running an errand on their bike, washing the car, ironing shirts, or taking care sibling, can teach responsibility and build self-esteem.

Clear the Closets for Cash

If the idea of a garage sale is maddening, you are not alone, which is why there are so many resale and consignment stores and e-stores for kids these days. Help them go through their old toys and clothes, picking out things they don’t play with or fit into. Kids (and adults) can earn money on the spot.

National Resale Chains for Babies and Kids:

Once upon a Child

Kid to Kid

Children’s Orchard

Pumpkin Patch

For Tweens and Teens:

Plato’s Closet

Buffalo Exchange

Here are some valuable ideas from experts around the world to help you bring the summer fun to your home.

stressless summer contrib.200x430-1

Sue Atkins @sueatkins

Nurture yourself this summer and always LINK

Wendy Young @kidlutions

Smile more stress less LINK

Naomi Richards @thekidscoach

It’s not to late to plan fun activities, rain or shine.  LINK

Vivian Sabel @viviensabel

Fun = Simplicity LINK

Happy Family Superfoods @HAPPYsuperfoods

Summer Fun Printable ~ 50 activities LINK

Lynne Kenney

Your daily health organizer Free Printable LINK

E A Stewart @thespicyrd

Nutritious recipes for family health LINK

Emily Roberts and Neurogistics @EmilyRobertsLPC @neurogistics

Hydrate for Happiness LINK

Eight simple ways to feel stressfree this summer LINK

 

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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.

 

 

 

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