Helping Kids Manage Their Unhelpful Thoughts

Helping Kids Manage Their Unhelpful Thoughts

What language do you use when talking to yourself?

When you make a mistake, do you tell yourself, "Well, I can try again next time. I can address X, Y, or Z and that may help"? Or do you say, "I'm an idiot. This is useless. There's no point in trying"?

Not so surprisingly, one of those thoughts is more helpful than the other. And it's not just adults who engage in these negative, unhelpful cognitions. Children are particularly prone to negative self-talk, especially if positive self-talk or thought flipping is not modeled for them. 

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Teens, School, and Stress Management

Teens, School, and Stress Management

One of the most important components of stress management and a busy schedule is prioritizing.

A lot of the anxious, perfectionist teens I work with feel overwhelmed by the amount of things to get done during the busy school year.

Rather than letting all of those tasks feel insurmountable, you can break down what needs to be done and when.

Step by step.

Figure out the steps needed to reach your goal, and keep those steps really specific and time-sensitive (such as, "I need to research 10 articles for this upcoming history paper by Tuesday," vs. just "I need to start work on my history paper.")

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October Scaries: Food Phobias (aka "You want me to eat WHAT?!")

October Scaries: Food Phobias (aka "You want me to eat WHAT?!")

“I’m not eating that! Gross!”

When you go to a restaurant, you bring an extra meal for your kid. You and your partner make dinner, and your little one has a whole separate menu for themselves. You'd rather have them eat something than nothing, but you're almost worried that if they eat another chicken nugget, they're going to turn into one. 

Why are kids such picky eaters?

There are a lot of different reasons that kids can be picky eaters - but part of the underlying issue can be anxiety - and not just fear of new foods. 

They'll only eat mayonnaise on white bread. Or they'll eat applesauce on Tuesdays and Tuesdays alone. That picky eating can be part of their exerting control on a little corner of their world. The feel overwhelmed and anxious about everything else, so at least they have a say on what they eat and when.

Anxious kids can also have sensory processing issues with food as well.

And in times like these, it may be helpful to have them meet with an occupational therapist who can help with their eating issues.

5 steps to help parents of picky eaters (read more…)

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October Scaries: The School Struggle

October Scaries: The School Struggle

As an anxious kid, teen, or college student, it makes total sense that you would want to avoid school.

Anxious minds tell us about all the bad things that could potentially happen, and schools are rife with possibilities when it comes to catastrophe. Just off the top of my head, you could worry about:

  • Missing your mom and dad

  • Getting a bad grade

  • People talking bad about you

  • People not wanting to play with you

  • Getting in trouble

  • Having a teacher yell at you

  • Making a silly mistake

  • Hearing a super loud fire drill

  • Getting kidnapped on your walk home

  • Forgetting all of your homework

  • Taking a test

And on and on and on…

Those fears are legion - and as soon as you feel like you vanquish one school fear foe, another one can come up and take its place.

With all that in mind, of course it feels easier to stay at home.

Unfortunately, the longer you wait to get to school, the more and more challenging it will be to actually cross that threshold and deal with anxiety at school.

But we have to take that first step. And we can!

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October Scaries: Sleep Avoidance, Sleep Phobia, and Nightmares for Kids

October Scaries: Sleep Avoidance, Sleep Phobia, and Nightmares for Kids

Sleeping is crucial to our wellbeing.

When we get a full night’s rest, we’re better able to handle the challenges of our day. Our bodies are rested, our brains are active, and we’re more able to utilize our pre-frontal cortex to think through the pros and cons of how we’re interacting to the world around us.

A lack of sleep impacts everything.

We’re grumpy, we’re less focused, and we’re more stressed out. Our brains produce more stress hormones on less sleep. And a lack of sleep builds and builds - one day vs. seven days has a huge difference.

In fact, kids who don’t get enough consistent sleep can be misdiagnosed with ADHD.

They’re more prone to hyperactivity, impulsivity, and poor reasoning.

So when your child can’t sleep, or won’t sleep, you know it’s a big deal. How can you help?

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