September marks a significant milestone for my family, we are sending our first child off to kindergarten. This is definitely a time of mixed feelings at my house. Many of you are experiencing the same transition this fall, so I thought I would put together some tips to help all of us (children and the parents) adjust as successfully as possible. I can honestly say that I am using these same steps as much as possible to help my family prepare for the fall.
We all experience stress at times, including children. The dictionary definition of stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. As adults, we can struggle to recognize the stress that children experience and the effects that stress has on their well-being because it may look different than how we experience stress. We may minimize the stress that children experience because we don’t realize how aware they are of what is going on around them. On the other hand, we may consider their stressors not to be a “big deal.”
It’s been just over a year since I started writing the blog series addressing common stressors that children face. At this moment there are seven posts in the series, but I am always adding more posts to the series. I thought it would be helpful to have a complete list of all of the posts compiled in one place to make it easier to access and share them. Continue reading Stressors & Children: The Full Series
It is important for families to spend time together connecting in positive ways. This is always true, but especially when families are struggling. Some professionals say that healthy relationships need to have a ratio of at least 5 positive interactions to every 1 negative interaction.
There are lots of small positive ways we can connect with members of our family at home, but this post is going to focus on activities outside of the home. You may also be interested in reading my previous post, 8 Ways to Show Children You Love Them Throughout The Year, for some additional inspiration.
During the summer months it may feel like all the “fun” activities are stressful and overwhelming because they are expensive, require navigating crowds and/or require planning. This post is not about those types of activities. Continue reading 5 Low-Key, Fun and Free Ways to Connect With Your Family This Summer
Most often, in this blog series on Children & Stressors, I write about an identifiable situation or event that causes children some level of stress, but this post is a little different. Today, I am writing about anxiety in general and more specifically children who tend to be anxious about a variety of stressors. These children may become anxious on a more regular basis.
Parenting a child who experiences anxiety can feel overwhelming and challenging. We want to be supportive and validating of a child’s experience without inadvertently perpetuating the anxiety. We also want to help a child in learning how to cope with anxiety while also being careful not to be punitive. And we are trying to figure out how to do all of this with an anxious child in front of us! Hopefully this post will help you generate some new ideas about how to support your child and reduce any stress that his/her anxiety may be causing you. Continue reading Children & Stressors: The Anxious Child
Over my years as a therapist, I have had the opportunity to support many children, couples and families affected by divorce. Families have come to me at various stages of this process. Some individuals or couples seek out therapy when they are trying to evaluate whether divorce is an option. Others have reached out after they’ve decided to move forward with divorce or separation and want support around how to help their families with this transition. Some clients (adults and/or children) come to see me after the divorce has taken place and want to process how this change has affected them.
When children are involved, parents typically have a lot of questions about how their children will respond to learning that their parents are separating or divorcing and the best way to support their children. In general, I find that children tend to adjust the best to their parents separating or divorcing when they receive support, validation and age appropriate information about the divorce. The support and validation that children need is around processing and coping with the changes they are experiencing and the emotions that accompany these changes.
In today’s post, I attempt to answer some of the most common questions about that I hear from parents who are planning to divorce. My answers here are fairly general and cannot adequately address the uniqueness of each child and family situation, but I hope it gives you some basic information from which to start thinking about how to best support your child. Continue reading Stressors & Children: Divorce
Preparing for the birth of a new sibling can bring about mixed feelings for parents as they consider how to help their older children with this transition. Parents often feel excited to welcome a new child into the family, but also nervous about how older siblings will respond and adjust. The adjustment of my oldest child was definitely one of my concerns as my family prepared for the birth our second child. It’s normal to have some anxiety about this transition and I hope this post will help address some of your concerns and lessen your anxiety.
There are many factors that affect how a child adjusts to a new sibling, but after reading this post you will have some great ideas to ensure that this transition goes as smoothly as possible for your family. Continue reading Stressors & Children: Preparing for a New Sibling
Experiencing holidays with the children in our lives can be so much fun. Their excitement tends to be contagious. On the other hand, the changes in routine, eating habits and sleep combined with the pressure to fulfill holiday expectations can create added stress for parents and children.
In this final post in the Helpful Holiday Links from Therapists series, I’ve compiled links which address common topics that emerge for parents during the holidays. The tips contained in these posts are practical, helpful and come from therapist colleagues across the country. I hope one or more of the links that I have shared will speak to you. Continue reading Helpful Holiday Links from Therapists (Part 3): Children, Parenting & The Holidays
Holidays are often a time when we reflect on our families and relationships. Depending on your unique experiences and relationships, the opportunity or lack of opportunity to connect with family members during the holidays may trigger a variety of emotions including; joy, anxiety, frustration, disappointment, sadness, confusion and so much more.
Therapists across the country have been blogging about relationship dynamics that can play out during the holidays. I am sharing links that I think provide helpful information and represent a variety of relationship themes that can emerge during the holidays. Although I can’t share links to cover every situation, I am hopeful that you will find a post that speaks to you or a loved one this holiday season. Continue reading Helpful Holiday Links from Therapists (Part 2): Family, Relationships & The Holidays
Holidays can be very exciting for children, but also very overwhelming. Holidays are often accompanied by many things that are new or different for a child. New activities. New food. Spending time with less familiar people. New schedules. Travel or spending time in less familiar places. Unclear or different expectations. If you think of everything that may be new for a child, it makes sense why a child may become stressed or overwhelmed during a holiday. The good news is that by being aware of the potential stresses, we can help children manage and respond in a way that helps them enjoy the holiday as much as possible. So, how do we do that? Continue reading Stressors & Children: Holidays