Category Archives: Stressors

Calming strategies for families

Calming Strategies for Families

This morning, I taught my Emotions & Me Workshop focused on Anxiety.  I loved it.   One of my favorite things is working with children and parents together because I recognize the power of that parent-child relationship in creating change.    One of the topics discussed focused on calming strategies that families can use to help children (and adults) manage anxiety.

During the workshop, I utilized a handout that described calming strategies and calming statements that children and families can use to manage anxiety.   I believe that children cannot learn how to do these interventions alone, they need support and guidance from a trusted adult as they learn to use these strategies and build their confidence.   I decided to modify the handout that I used and share some of the information with all of you, too! Continue reading Calming Strategies for Families

Back to School

Back to School: Helpful Links from Therapists Across the Country

We are just over three weeks from the start of the new school year for children who reside in the school district where my office is located.    What is your family experiencing as you prepare to send your children back to school?  Are you anticipating any struggles this year?

You may have read some of my most recent posts (links below) addressing tips for helping children head back to school with less stress, but I also wanted to share tips from my colleagues.   I reached out to therapists across the country inviting them to contribute a post to be included in my list of links and was happy with the response I received.  I hope you will find this list to be as helpful as I think it is.   There is a little something for everyone contained in this list. Continue reading Back to School: Helpful Links from Therapists Across the Country

Children & Emotions

Children & Emotions

We all experience emotions.   If you reflect back on your interactions with your child today, you can likely identify many feelings that you and your child experienced .  Talking to our children about emotions from a young age is so important.   Being able to identify, share and cope with their feelings are essential skills for our children to be successful in their relationships, at school and eventually in the workplace.

The earlier we can help our children feel comfortable with their emotions the better!  I always say it is never too early to start talking about feelings with a child, but it is also never too late.     Children tend to feel their emotions very intensely and our reactions to them can really impact their perceptions of emotions and how they cope as they move into adulthood.

When I am invited to speak to groups of parents, this is by far the most requested topic because like me, many of you recognize the value of teaching our children about their feelings at an early age.

However, many of you may not live near the Eagan, Minnesota area, so the opportunity to connect with me in person about this topic may not be an option.   I have compiled many of my thoughts about children and emotions into a variety of posts on this blog.   Below you will find a list of everything I have written so far on this subject.


Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions about these posts or  there are additional topics that you’d like to see me address in upcoming posts related to the topic of children and feelings.



Deep breathing for children

Deep Breathing & Children

Deep breathing is a skill that we can all (children and adults) benefit from having when we cope with intense emotion.   I specifically work with children in my therapy office on understanding what a deep breath is and how it can be used to help calm their bodies.    This post will help you think of ways that you can support your child in  practicing their breathing outside of the therapy setting.   The tips contained in this post have the added benefit of being helpful for adults, too Continue reading Deep Breathing & Children

Beginning of the school year

Children & Stressors: Beginning of the School Year

The beginning of the school year can bring a variety of emotions for both children and parents. In my therapy office, I have the opportunity to hear about a lot of different thoughts and emotions that families experience at this time of year. Some of the ones that immediately come to mind are excitement, relief, anxiety, dread, uncertainty, sadness and more. Even for the child (and parent) who is excited about the return to school, this transition can cause stress. As a general rule, any change is accompanied by some level of stress. This is true even when it is a change that is desired.

In this post, I will walk through some tips to help you and your child successfully process and manage any stress that may emerge during the transition back to school. Continue reading Children & Stressors: Beginning of the School Year

Preparing to Send Your Child to Kindergarten

Preparing to Send Your Child to Kindergarten

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.

Continue reading Preparing to Send Your Child to Kindergarten

Children & Stressors

Stressors & Children: The Full Series

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

Posts for new parents

Links for New Parents

The adjustment to becoming a parent can be challenging and the experience of a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder can make things even more complicated.  Over the last few months, I have been focused on writing blog posts specifically focused on addressing the concerns that new parents have shared with me along with posts sharing information about perinatal mental health.

This post is a recap of everything that I have written for new parents and those who are supporting new parents.  I hope you find it helpful to have all of the information in one easily, accessible place. Continue reading Links for New Parents


Children & Stressors: The Anxious Child

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


Stressors & Children: Divorce

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