Making Sense of Preschoolers (Or Anyone Who Acts Like One) By Dr. Deborah MacNamara
Monday's Recommended Read: Rest Play Grow By Dr. Deborah MacNamara
As the parent of a preschooler, this book has been a fantastic resource for me lately! Dr. Deborah MacNamara explores the questions that so many parents ask themselves: How do I make sense of my preschooler's behaviour? How can I maintain attachment and still be a leader in my child's life?
Dr. MacNamara applies current neuroscience, attachment, and developmental research to the topics that parents of this age group really want to understand: tantrums, tears, bedtime and sleep, adapting to change, and discipline, to name just a few. Most importantly, she focuses on the need for rest and play in a child's life.
Need a mindful moment today? Download Breathr, a free mindfulness app from the Health Literacy Team at BC Children's Hospital. This app is the perfect tool for children and parents to use to practice mindfulness strategies together!
"The app provides opportunities for users to try out a variety of mindfulness practices, while also teaching them interesting facts about the brain science behind those practices. For example, did you know that regularly practicing mindfulness can improve your relationships with others? Or that it has been shown to change parts of the brain that affect memory, empathy and stress?"
How Can Schools Treat Parents as Allies in Increasing Attendance?
Chronic absences are a significant problem in schools, especially in low-income areas. Low attendance rates often lead to gaps in students' learning and a lack of connection with school. Two recent studies show the importance of engaging with families and treating them as a positive influence in student attendance. When parents believe that attendance is important, kids come to school!
"These studies add to a body of work that 'empowers families to support student success.' Too often, schools instead view families as contributing to student failure — especially in low-income and urban settings, where students are absent at triple the average rate.
'Educators who take an asset-based view of families recognize that families are valuable partners in the quest to improve student success,” says Robinson. “This intervention builds on that framework, and invites parents to engage in their child's education in a way that is concrete and achievable: help get your kid to school more.'"
As a new parent, it takes courage and honesty to confront the stigma around postpartum depression and anxiety. Photos posted online put intense pressure on parents to display only their most perfect moments. This mom wanted to show the other side of her experience and, in doing so, opened up discussion around the all-too-common experience of postpartum mental health challenges.
“The truth is, both of these pictures represent my life depending on the day,” she writes. “I would only ever comfortably share one of these realities though and that’s the problem. The only thing more exhausting than having these conditions is pretending daily that I don’t.”
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.
How Can Parents Help? What If the Anxiety Doesn't Pass?
My toddler went through a few weeks of anxiety when he started at a new preschool, and it was tough on all of us. Separation anxiety is a common but very normal experience that many children go through when spending time with a new caregiver or beginning at a new daycare or school. So what can parents do to help? And what happens if this anxiety doesn't pass? Here are some practical tips for navigating separation:
"Your job is to provide plenty of comfort, love, and security for your child. At the same time, continue to introduce your them to new experiences and give them age appropriate opportunities to experience independence."
The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain By Daniel J Siegel, M.D.
Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain By Daniel J Siegel, M.D.
Perplexed by teenage behaviour? The teenage brain is in a constant state of change, posing many challenges for parents and those who work with teen populations. Unpredictable moods, experimentation, and relationship rollercoasters characterize this rocky stage of life, leaving us to ask: how can we provide supportive, brain-healthy environments? Fortunately, neuropsychiatrist Daniel Siegel has come out with a how-to manual for understanding the teenage brain and its rapid development, aimed at helping parents and educators foster connection and maintain healthy, compassionate relationships with teenagers.
Kids Help Phone recently introduced Bro Talk, an online resource and chat tool aimed at teen boys. The website includes sections on fitting in, depression, school, relationships and dating, and sex, plus real life stories from teen boys. The "Fitting In" section has some great content on the expectations placed on boys, such as being able to handle problems without help and fitting into gender norms. I hope this tool will be used by teens, parents, and professionals working with this population! #kidshelpphone http://www.brotalk.ca/
As a school counsellor, I often teach a classroom lesson on the differences between kidding, teasing, and bullying. The term "bullying" is used a lot right now, especially with high-profile cases in the media. Sometimes, though, "bullying" is used to describe behaviours that are rude or mean, but not necessarily targeted and persistent. It's important that parents and educators help children understand the distinction between these behaviours so that we can take the right approach to resolving problems. For some great resources on this topic, check out this post from A Mighty Girl:
Simple Ways to Connect and Appreciate at Mealtimes
I love these simple ideas for creating family connections at meal times! Many families don't sit down to eat together, even at dinner time. It's so important to have time together each day. What do you do in your family to stay connected?