How to Talk to Your Kids About the Breach at the U.S. Capitol
Written by Dina El Nabli – Published in NJ Family, 1/7/2021
No matter where you stand politically, we can all agree that yesterday’s breach at the U.S. Capitol was a very sad day for our country. We’re all still processing our shock after watching an ugly chapter in a U.S. history book come to life.
This afternoon, I was heartened to know that my son’s social studies teacher spent the class period talking to students about what happened. She told them that no matter who you voted for or what your political views are, violently disrupting the Democratic process is unacceptable and wrong. Chances are children of all ages are hearing about what happened. Here are some tips to help you talk with your kids about yesterday’s unsettling events:
Be proactive about having an age-appropriate conversation with your kids.
photo by istockphoto.com/inhauscreative
We live in an ever-changing world with so much going on that sometimes it’s really hard to know how to talk to our kids about it all. Check out what Stacy Goody, an elementary School Counselor, put together to help us share news with kids in an appropriate way!
A leading cause of death
Featured on D’amore Mental Health
47,173 Americans died of suicide in 2017, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the USA. It’s the 3rd largest cause of teenage deaths, only falling short of accidents and homicide.
Suicide doesn’t discriminate. Anyone of any gender, age, race or socioeconomic status might feel suicidal at any point in their lives – even if they “have it all” or appear to be happy from the outside.
However, teenagers are specifically at risk for suicide.
Teenage years are a stressful time and there are many major physical and emotional changes to contend with. Puberty transforms the body in new and strange ways and hormones wreck havoc with moods and emotions. Teenagers go through strong feelings of confusion, fear, stress and doubt – perhaps more intense and traumatic than anything they have faced so far in their lives.
Psycho-Educational Evaluations are Now Available
Now that we have been providing home instruction to our children for over 3 months, we have become familiar with their strengths and weaknesses. Many parents may be noticing that their child is struggling with a particular subject, skill, or is restless, hyperactive, impulsive, and struggles to focus. Many of you may be realizing the impact that anxiety has on your child’s ability to learn. At Psychological & Educational Consulting, we are now available to conduct Psycho-Educational Evaluations that will answer your questions about your child’s learning profile. Your evaluations consist of an IQ test, achievement testing and executive functioning testing. Your completed report will include a diagnosis, if warranted, as well as recommendations for support programs in school such as a 504 Accommodation Plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP), as well as accommodations for home and school.
Please call (973.400.8371) or email (DrLiz@psychedconsult.com) so we can review your child’s individual profile. I look forward to working with you and your child!
Dr. Liz Matheis
Psychological & Educational Consulting LLC
513 West Mount Pleasant Ave, Ste 212 Livingston, NJ 07039
“My Daily Schedule is in Tatters!” How to Build Routine and Boundaries Now
Written by Dr. Liz Matheis
Without commutes and errands and sports practices, many parents and adults with ADHD feel they should have more time. But instead they just have more work, more distress, and more disorientation — a feeling of being ungrounded and unfocused due to all that unstructured time. Perhaps more than ever before, it’s critical to carve out a schedule that balances work and home life. Here’s how:
Our boundaries are obliterated. We are employees, parents, teachers, house cleaners, personal assistants, and playmates to our children — all at the same time. Each day feels like ‘some’ day; the labels ‘Tuesday’ and ‘Friday’ are just quaint reminders of the schedules we used to keep.
Without commutes and errands and sports practices, many parents and adults with ADHD feel they should have more time. But instead they just have more work, more distress, and more disorientation — a feeling of being ungrounded and unfocused due to all that unstructured time. Perhaps more than ever before, it’s critical for adults with ADHD and parents of children with ADHD to carve out a schedule that balances work and home life. Right now, routine is the secret to giving you back a sense of the time of day as well as the day of the week, not to mention your goals and priorities.
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Avoiding the Screen Time Over Dose During COVID-19
Written by Daniel Cherry, MA
COVID-19 has presented so many different challenges to adults and children. Our normal routines have been taken away and we are forced to stay within the confining walls of our home. The consistency of rain has certainly contributed to greater feelings of being closed in.
Although we are thankful for technology as it has allowed many of us to continue running our businesses, remain employed and for our children to continue learning, it has also created a bit of an over-dose usage of our computers, phones, IPads and tablets. Our children are using their screens to complete their school work, communicate with their teachers, and to stay connected with family members and friends. Teens and young adults are passing time by binge watching shows, series and movies in place of extracurricular activities and socializing.
Set a Limit
Even though we are isolated from our friends and family, it is important to continue to maintain a limit on screen time for the times when we don’t need them for work or social contact.
Set a time limit on the number of hours of screen time for leisure use and monitor your child’s use. Set a timer or set a timer on the device to shut it off when that time is up. Make sure to especially turn the screen off as it gets closer to bedtime.
With fewer places to go and things to do, we all need to get outside, even on rainy days. Take a walk, a bike ride or a scooter ride. Getting outside and changing our scenery is also important for our overall well being.
Work on a Project
With your child, work on a project or craft together. Not only may your child learn a new skill, but you are also connecting during a time when we feel quite disconnected. Play a game, learn a new game, or create a new game together.
Although this is an extremely difficult time, it is also unique in the opportunity it affords our families for spending quality time. Get creative in the ways you engage with your family. Connectedness builds our resilience and the ability to navigate these trying times. Some of these positive habits may even carry over after this time has passed. Good luck and stay well!
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The Importance of Hygiene Habits during COVID 19
Written By Nicole Filiberti
There are many ways our lives have been significantly changed in the past few weeks. Educating our children, very frequent hand washing and donning face masks when going grocery shopping are just a few of the many differences in the way we are currently living versus the way we went about our daily lives before this pandemic. The importance of hygiene has increased given the current happenings in the world. Here are a few helpful tips and tricks to keep you and your loved ones safe during this challenging time.
- Disinfecting is your friend!
Now more than ever are we appreciating the help of disinfectant sprays and wipes. Remember that every time you leave your house, you are at risk of exposure. Removing your shoes before you re-enter your home, or quickly spraying them with disinfectant before you bring them in are steps that can significantly reduce your chances of bringing any unwanted germs into your home. Think about all of the frequently touched surfaces in your home and make it a routine to clean them. This includes electronic devices like iPads, computer keyboards and door handles. It would be remiss to not mention the fact that obtaining these items has become very difficult, so read on for a DIY disinfectant recipe that you can utilize.
- Barriers, barriers, barriers
The more you can do to separate yourself from the germs, the better. This includes wearing gloves and masks when going out and not touching your face. Create an invisible protection barrier by avoiding any touching your face when outside. Wash your hands before making any contact with any part of your face.
- Keep the immune system strong
It is not secret that food and habits have a significant impact on our health and well being. Now more than ever is it important to fuel your body with plenty of vegetables and fruits. Try not to fall into the habits of stress eating processed and sugary snacks and instead incorporate fresh, whole foods as much as possible. This is also a great time to step up your sleep game and make an effort to get quality sleep every night. These habits set you up with a strong immune system which is your first line of defense if you are to come in contact with any unwanted germs or viruses.
DIY Disinfectant Recipe
Pour hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Spray onto surfaces to be disinfected. Be sure to let it sit for a minimum of 1 minute. There is no need to wipe after.
A Balanced, Nutritious Diet
If our kids are junk food addicts, it’s on us. As parents, our job is to provide healthy, balanced options at mealtimes as well as throughout the day. And instilling healthy eating habits that foster growth and development early on will go a long way in promoting a healthy relationship with food. Not sure where to start? A great rule of thumb is to represent each food group at meals (dairy, protein, fruits/vegetables, and whole grains), giving your child the option to eat what they choose. For snacks, combine 2 food groups, such as a cheese stick with an apple, or peanut butter on toast. If your kids are picky, bring them grocery shopping with you to choose healthy foods they’d like to try, and involve them in meal preparation. Most of all, encourage rather than force your kids to try new foods, and keep trying. It often takes repetitive exposure to a new food before a child will embrace it.
Our bodies were made to move. As difficult as it can be to get our kids to put down the electronics of their own initiative, their bodies are literally craving movement. Kids who are active for at least 60 minutes a day will not only be stronger, they’ll have a more positive outlook on life. Fulfilling your child’s daily exercise needs can be as simple as going to the playground, participating in a game of tag, or an after-school soccer or swim class. By making movement fun it becomes something our children want to do, and we can set them up for a lifetime of good health, avoiding serious health issues like diabetes and obesity to boot.
Plenty of Sleep
Sleep, an important component of the “health trifecta,” affects our children’s learning, memory, behavior, mental & physical health. In fact, every single bodily function is optimized by sleep. With sufficient sleep, our kids cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic, reproductive, and immune systems are all given a chance to repair, develop, and thrive. On the contrary, getting less sleep needed not only makes our kiddos cranky, it significantly increases their risk of illness and disease. To set your kids up for a solid night of sleep, turn off the electronics 30 minutes to an hour before bed to read together and discuss what you’re grateful for each day.
Sleep Recommendations by age from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
-Infants to 4 months: 12-16 hours (including naps)
-Children 1-2 years: 11-14 hours (including naps)
-Children 3-5 years: 10-13 hours (including naps)
-Children 6-12 years: 9-12 hours Teenagers 13 to 18 years: 8-10 hours
If you or someone in your home has allergies, you are probably all too familiar with the physical symptoms. Coughing, sneezing, watery eyes and wheezing or shortness of breath are extremely common and can make you feel absolutely miserable. But did you know that allergies, especially seasonal allergies, can also have an impact on your psychological health?
A variety of recent studies show a direct correlation between allergies and anxiety. There are many suspected reasons for this, from the body’s natural response to inflammation to the psychological stress of feeling sick, but the latest research leaves little doubt that those who suffer from allergies are at higher risk for anxiety (though the reverse does not seem to be true).
Fortunately, treating the allergies appears to bring down the anxiety as well. Seeing a doctor for your allergies is always important, but minimizing your exposure to allergens can also help. Properly maintaining your HVAC system is one of the biggest ways that you can lessen allergens in your home, reducing allergy flare-ups and the anxiety that goes with them. In addition, regular HVAC maintenance boosts the lifespan of your system, reduces the risk of expensive breakdowns, and keeps costs down by maximizing efficiency. If your HVAC has reached the end of its useful life, consider replacing it with one of the best furnaces or best air conditioners of 2020.
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