Check out the 101 Family Day Trips from San Francisco! Enjoy your summer in the Bay!
Free activities and splurges that are worth it! The coolest stuff for a staycation are in town and road trips for less than a tank of gas from San Francisco. Kids Out And About has tons of ideas for family travel, with places to explore, learn, and have fun!
Check out the 101 Family Day Trips from San Francisco! Enjoy your summer in the Bay!
We are 11 months into the pandemic, and your child is feeling the effects. Social distancing, virtual school, the loss of sports, choir, band, and connections to friends are overwhelming your child or teen. His energy level is down. She hardly sees friends. All of their "free" time is on screens. They likely need of a few ways to find joy. Here are some tips to cultivate more joy with your child right now.
Do you remember what school was like when you were a kid? Were you more concerned with grades, friends, parties, dances, sports, or popularity? Yes, your teen might be acting as if COVID-19 was introduced only to ruin their life, but don't overreact. Take a moment to put yourself in her proverbial shoes. It really is a tough time, and she doesn't have the life experience you have. Whatever means you use, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, walks or runs, eating Oreos , try to get your emotions back into check. This balance will enable you to manage your own emotions and be empathetic to your child.
If you are okay, they'll be okay.
As parents, we are our children's social and emotional coping models. You, too, are tired of COVID-19, and you miss your friends. Don't try to pretend that all is well in the world. Holiday festivities were just cancelled or virtual. It is hard! Show your children you are human too. Share your frustrations. Commiserate. Hold a mini pity party with your child. Eat popcorn, dance, laugh, and try to embrace this time together.
Promote a respectful tone and banter.
We all have times when our tone does not reflect our intentions. Chances are you have used that sharp tone of voice with your children. Model using a tone that communicates respect, when humanly possible. Start by asking the whole family, including you, to pay attention to words and tone. This way the child who struggles the most is not singled out. The whole family can try to be more considerate. Be sure to share with your children what respectful looks like, and admit to them when you struggle with showing them respect. Consider a code word or reminder that family members can use when that sharp tone is used. Eventually, you will catch it before you will need to be told.
Continue to emphasize your child's interests and strengths.
Part of your teen's grief process is that the activities, social connections, and past infrastructure that she adored are not available right now. Now is the time to put on your creative hat. What did your son enjoy about hockey? Why was there a spark when your daughter steps on stage? How can you tap into those sources of happiness? Identifying and harnessing strengths is invaluable and produces positive energy while reducing the feelings of being trapped.
Collaborate and pick a daily activity to cope with frustrations and emotions.
Each day that is unproductive or spent in solitary can potentially be a day that brings disappointment. Teens are notorious for rejecting advice, but if shrouded in fun, they may be amenable. When your teen is in an environment and in a mood to chat, jot down some ideas together. What activities can they do each day of the week or the month? Perhaps an athletic kid can do more outdoor activities. A trip to the craft store can foster some much-deserved creativity. The point here is to build on strengths, develop new interests, and strengthen relationships.
Parenting in a pandemic is not easy. Breaking the mold of same-old, same-old may be just the ticket to getting over the hump and creating the family ties that nurture each family member.
Here are some articles to empower parents who are raising children with autism.
With news of rising death tolls and crashing stock markets, and declarations from top officials that the US is unprepared to handle the pending global pandemic, it's unsurprising that Americans are worried, if not downright panicked, about the Coronavirus.
According to psychologists, Coronavirus-related anxiety is an understandable response to the unknown, but some people are especially vulnerable. To cope, they recommend limiting media exposure to the topic by sticking to one or two trusted sources.
Read more about Coronavirus anxiety and ways of effectively coping with it.
Limit your media exposure and wash your hands, often and thoroughly.
Being and practicing mindfulness for children, teenagers, and adults has been shown to improve attention, reduce stress and anxiety, increase your ability to regulate your emotions and feel more compassion for yourself and others. There is remarkable evidence that shows that when you do things like mindfulness and relaxation training and yoga, that you are setting your body up to not express certain genes that could cause a lot of illness and disease in people.
While there are several apps to help children and teenagers to improve their mindfulness, there are also some great books and resources that children and teenagers might also benefit from reading.
1. Sitting Still Like a Frog by Eline Snel
2. The ABC's of Yoga for Kids by Teresa Power
3. The Yoga Game: By the Sea by Kathy Beliveau
4. The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate by Susan Greenland
5. Little Flower Yoga for Kids: A Yoga and Mindfulness Program to Help Your Child Improve Attention and Emotional Balance by Jennifer Harper
6. Yoga Pretzels by Tara Guber and Leah Kalish
The benefits of mindfulness are not just anecdotal: A growing body of scientific research shows its positive effects on mental health and well-being. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to improve attention and reduce stress as well as increase one's ability to regulate emotions and feel compassion and empathy. Mindfulness is also widely considered an effective psychotherapy treatment for adults, children, and adolescents with aggression, ADHD, or other mental health issues such as anxiety. To learn more about the benefits of mindfulness, please check out this thorough article about mindfulness with children across the all the developmental phases.
There is remarkable evidence that shows that when you do things like mindfulness and relaxation training and yoga, that you are setting your body up to not express certain genes that could cause a lot of illness and disease in people. And the idea of kids learning this is quite beneficial, especially when we add in the different environment that kids these days are growing up in with technology. While we love our phones and some of us love them more than others, we really are creating an entirely different experience for kids these days. And the idea of having this mindfulness to rely on, to clear your mind, to enter into a thoughtless state and to really align your mind and body in a very positive way is very good preventive medicine.
I find in my work with families that parents are just as happy to be doing it as the kids are. And I essentially think all kids need to learn how to do calm breathing and one nostril breathing, which is where you close one nostril and you close your mouth and breathe in very slowly in and out through the other nostril. Usually you breathe in for seven and out for nine. And you do it for several minutes until you get really relaxed.
But, there are all of these apps now where parents can help their children learn how to relax. For example, C-A-L-M, is an app, which has an amazing bedtime stories as part of the app. Part of the app is free and part of it you have to pay for and the bedtime stories unfortunately is something you have to pay for. But, I’ve had children who’ve had a lot of trouble relaxing before bed and they listen to these stories. There’s one where the man’s voice is very soothing and you almost want to fall asleep the second he starts talking. And of course, that’s one way to use it. Another way is not at bedtime, but for them to really learn how to relax and how to decompress. And what I suggest is looking at the different apps to see if any resonate for you, your child or teen, and your family. InsightTimer is a good one. Buddhify is another one. Headspace is another good app. The most important part is to start somewhere and make it a habit.
When one child in a family has difficulties that consume a lot of the family's attention, restrict family activities, or generate great concern, other children in the family may not get the attention that they deserve. Siblings in families with special needs may feel a myriad of emotions such as sadness, disappointment, anger, or stress. Some siblings take care of themselves so that they are less of a burden to their family.
Here are some articles on ways to help support a sibling in a special needs family.
1. 5 Ways to Support Siblings in Special Needs Families
2. 12 Ways to Support Siblings of Children with Disabilities
3. 10 Great Books if You Have Sibling with Special Needs
4. Supporting the Siblings of Special Needs Kids
So many of us ponder how we can be closer with those very important people in our lives; our VIP's. This might be a sibling, parent, boss, friend, spouse, or our own children.
Here are some great TED talks on different ways to build meaningful connections with your VIP's. The TED talks are about 15-20 minutes each so feel free to enjoy them all at once or sneak them in over a day or two. Either way, they will help you to bridge some of those gaps in your VIP relationships and feel more connected.
We all know that getting a good night's sleep is very important. Sleep helps to us to repair muscles, improve concentration, maintain health, maximize athletic performance, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, improve immunity, and consolidate learning, to name a few.
Here are some articles that highlight behavioral strategies for getting a good night's sleep throughout the life span.
How To Create The Perfect Sleep Environment
for Your Child
The Best Discipline Strategies for Bedtime Behavioral Problems
Sleep Hygiene For Teens
14 Strategies for Sleeping Better
Sleep Tips for Older Adults
Here are three articles to help broach the topic of helping your child or young adult to transition to adulthood. Enjoy!
1. Managing Your Child's Transition to Adulthood
2. Transition to Adulthood: Home Modifications for Adults with Special Needs
3. Special Needs Checklist: How Disability-Friendly is Your City?
Miranda J. Gabriel, Psy.D.
A licensed clinical psychologist providing psychotherapy to children, teens, and adults in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Information and opinions found on this website
are not substitutes for
medical or psychological advice. Dr. Gabriel can't answer questions about someone's specific situation or give
personal advice. Please see the Disclaimer section under the Contact Page for more information.