Did you know screen time is contributing to sleep deprivation in kids? In this Fast Company article, they discuss the links between mental health, sleep, and screen time.
Plum Tree Child & Adolescent Psychology and Beyond Words Speech Therapy have teamed up to offer a social language group to children ages 5-8.
This group will focus on helping children achieve the following skills: Managing peer conflict, Self-assertion, Sharing, Friendship skills, Reading social cues
Social Language Group
For More Information: 630.549.6245 or email@example.com
The “organic movement” has roots (pardon the pun) in studies about harmful effects of pesticides. Pesticides Linked to ADHD Symptoms. A new study (conducted by Canadian researchers used data collected from nearly 1,140 children participating in the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) suggests more bad news about pesticides. There seems to be a link between level of exposure to pesticides and the development of ADHD symptoms. This MSN Childhood Health article (by Leah Zerbe Rodale) states that “this study is the first to look at everyday exposure levels in children from around the country. And as it turns out, U.S. kids are exposed to harmful levels of pesticides in their food, day in and day out.” The take-home message is: avoid using pesticides around your own lawn, and–if possible–try to buy organic foods.
A CNN article reviews the role of electronic media in children’s lives—the good, the bad, and the narcissistic. The research was conducted by Larry D. Rosen, Ph.D., professor of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and technology researcher. Below is a summary of the major trends observed by Dr. Rosen. Social Media Effects on Children.
– Social media is a great tool for engaging and captivating children
– Online networking can teach socialization
– Online users show more “virtual empathy”
– Social Media can help children establish a sense of self
– Students using social media during study breaks received lower grades
– Children who use social media tend to be more narcissistic
– Research suggests social media can increase anxiety and depression in children
Dr. Weller suggests that parents stay up-to-date on social media trends. Become familiar with what sites your child uses. (St. Charles school district has recently offered teen-led classes to parents for help with this). Like anything done in mindful moderation, social media can play a role in a well-balanced life.
The American Psychological Association (APA) posted an article about helping children develop better eating and exercise habits. Below are the benefits of good nutrition and daily exercise, according to the APA.
Good nutrition is essential to healthy brain development in children which is, of course, critical to learning.
Mental and behavioral benefits
– perform better academically
– feel better about themselves, their bodies, and their abilities
– cope with stress and regulate their emotions better
– avoid feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.
Establishing healthy eating and exercise habits early in life can lead to long term healthy behavior in adulthood.
Children need a wide variety of nutrients (e.g., protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, minerals, vitamins) to assist in their daily growth and development and to protect them from childhood illnesses.
Daily exercise also helps children to build stronger muscles and bones and limit excess body fat.
Healthy eating also cuts down on risk for cavities, eating disorders and unhealthy weight control behaviors (i.e., fasting, skipping meals, eating very little food, vomiting, using diet pills, laxatives, or diuretics), malnutrition, and iron deficiency.
Healthy eating and consistent physical activity help to prevent chronic illnesses that appear in adulthood associated with obesity, e.g., heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and several forms of cancer.
The relationship between a healthy diet and a healthy mind is perhaps intuitive. But scientists are discovering more every day about how what-children-eat is related to their behaviors. Particularly ADHD research shows how food allergies and sensitivities can mimic ADHD sypmptoms. Before starting any medication, Dr. Weller recommends ruling-out food-related issues. A visit to a Registered Dietician is a good first step.
Today’s parents are usually good at monitoring the content of TV and video games, ensuring that children are not exposed to violence, sexuality, and other adult themes. However, in many households, children may spend hours each day watching TV and playing video games. There is solid evidence that too much TV and video games increase the likelihood of a child developing problems with attention. A good rule of thumb for TV/video game usage is less than 2 hours daily, the less the better.
Limiting time spent with TV and video games is especially important for very young children. According to Dimitri Christakis, MD, MPH, Director of the Child Health Institute and author of The Elephant in the Living Room: Make Television Work For Your Kids, children as young as a few months old are watching too much TV, and may be developing permanent attention problems. In an article on education.com, author Rose Garrett writes, “For every hour of television toddlers watch a day, they are ten percent more likely to develop attention problems at school,” according to Dr. Christakis.
What’s more, according to a recent study about children who watched who watched more than 2 hours of TV per week 40% more likely to have symptoms of ADHD in adolescence than children who watched less TV. The problem is the speed of the frames. Fast-paced electronic media seem to train children’s brains to attend only to faced-paced stimulation (e.g., the opposite of a teacher at a whiteboard). Click for video game and TV time recommendations.
I like this MSN Health article by Rich Maloof: It nicely summarizes medical research and recommendations about TV & ADHD.
Even beyond childhood traits (such as impulsivity, emotional reactivity, hyperactivity, etc), kids’ brains and bodies seem to experience and certainly to express mental discomfort differently than adults. For example, when adults are tired they tend to be lethargic and sleepy. Tired children often become agitated and irritable.
Children with mental illness behave differently than adults with mental illness. When adults are depressed, they tend to be characterized by sadness, slowing down, and gloominess. Depressed children tend to be grumpy—not sad—and they may have extra energy and agitation. While adults with ADHD are usually just restless, most children with ADHD cannot sit still for more than a few moments. Adults with PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) usually use words to relive trauma, while younger children with PTSD show their trauma in play and behavior. Adults with Bipolar Disorder tend to have discrete “cycles” of moods that last for long periods of times. But children with Bipolar Disorder tend to have many mood changes each day.
Helping children with mental illness hinges on the understanding that most children do not have the vocabulary or concepts to accurately describe their internal experiences. They almost never know “why” they behave as they do. They are often unaware of how events link together—for example, how an argument with mom in the morning led to poor test performance in their first period class. Children tend to be more resilient than others would suppose, and each child has strengths and resources available to them on their road to a happier, more fulfilling life.
For more information about childhood and adolescent mental illness, visit the website for National Institute of Mental Health.
Are kids today less creative? Are their over-booked schedules to blame? An article written by Rachael Rettner suggests kids these days are narrow-minded and just not as creative as they used to be. Good, old-fashioned play may be the cure.
Kyung Hee Kim, a creativity researcher at the College of William and Mary, conducted a study in 2010 of creativity tests dating back to the 1970’s. Kim mentions, “children are becoming less humorous, less imaginative and less able to elaborate on ideas”.
– Standardized Testing
– TV Watching
– Excessive Social Media
– Overbooked Schedules
Children are very resilient and good old-fashion play may be the cure. Sandra Russ, a psychologist at Case Western University, says that kids nurture their creativity abilities when they pretend. “Elements of insight, fantasy and emotional expression all go into this type of story-making.”