Though parents can have the best intentions to soothe their anxious child, phrases such as “everything is going to be okay” can have little resolution for a child who is feeling physical ailments such as a racing heart, sweating palms, and an upset stomach. It is important to understand that the nervous system is hardwired to our stress response and anxiety mimics this response. So words of reassurance will not dissipate these physical and mental symptoms once the anxiety triggers them.
Try these strategies to help your child lower their anxiety in more efficient and validating ways:
Remember, anxious children also “get it”. They understand that their reactions, emotions, and fears may seem illogical but they are real. So support your children through empathy and sensitive understanding, so they can truly feel understood.
To learn more about this important topic, check out this infographic that contains phrases to avoid saying to an anxious child.
I LOVE it when companies stay current--and Mattel has done just that with the new "Developer Barbie!" This is so cool.
I get a lot of "street cred" from the kids I see in my office when they play with my Apps. I have my latest tech demo in the office, and it has my very own voice as the voice over. Their little faces light up when they hear me through the iPad.
"How did you do that?" they ask. I explain that I develop Apps--I do not do all the work myself, but I understand enough to be a valuable member of my coding team. I know what to suggest. I know what is possible. Sometimes, I imagine what it would have been like if I had learned coding at school--like Math or Science or Socials. Wow!
Now, a new generation of little girls will grow up understanding that they can dream and reach and aspire to create things in the digital world.
Thank you Mattel!
The first book in the "Just Enough Series" has been awarded a Canadian literary honour--it was added to the Spring 2016 Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids & Teens List!
I cannot wait for the publication of the next book, "What Makes Us Unique? Our First Talk About Diversity." It hits the stands September 27th--and it can be pre-ordered on Amazon. I am so very proud of this book!
With so much violence targeted towards people who are different in some way, it is essential that we ensure our children grow up with an inclusive spirit. Let's teach our children that it is ok to be different. Scratch that--let's teach our children to celebrate diversity!
Google's Chief Education Evangelist Jaime Casap and I have teamed up to write a children's book about fighting child poverty.
This special book will be about explaining poverty to children, with the focus on helping children see the potential in their lives no matter what circumstances they are born into.
Jaime was the inspiration for this book. A recent Huffington Post article shares his amazing story.
Since the launch of my first "Facts of Life App" in 2013, I have received incredible attention from the media! The ideas I am talking about clearly resonate with the public.
My main point is this: since the onset of the technology revolution, the way we parent and teach our children need to change. Information is coming to children at an incredibly fast pace. Children see and hear things online, from very early ages, that confuse them. Children talk to each other and play with each other in different ways. Children need to be taught new skills in order to adapt to our changing world. Children's education and mental health needs to be made a public priority. Parents and teachers need help to navigate these new complexities.
I am trying to help and provide guidance so that our families and educational systems are strengthened and our children are made more resilient.
Here is my mission statement:
"I began to envision a larger message, a message about how to help kids live in our changing world. I imagined a caring, integrity-enriched, adult problem-solver of the 21st Century--and I worked backwords. What would we need to teach our children & how would we need to teach them in order to set them on the path of becoming a problem solver who cares?" (Dr. Jillian Roberts)
If you would like to read more about what I care about, please visit my blog:
Children with positive self-esteem and a general optimistic outlook on life are able to recognize and value their own capabilities and strengths. Most importantly, they have a better chance of being able to manage their worries and frustrations that are natural to the learning and developmental process. Obviously, parents can be a contributor to a child’s feelings of self-worth, accomplishment, and overall ability to be the best they can be. Here are some ways to help encourage this self-esteem:
To learn more, check out this article on positive parenting.
_I was able to look over the proof of the third book in the "Just Enough Series" on Wednesday. To be honest, I am most proud of this book. It is entitled, "What Makes Us Unique? Our First Talk About Diversity." In this book, I encourage children to celebrate differences--any kind of difference--whether it be cultural, religious, racial, sexual orientation, gender or disability. Each and every person, no matter what, needs to be treated with respect. Let's teach that to our children from the very beginning!
Here is the description on Amazon (where you can pre-order the book):
"When it comes to explaining physical, cultural and religious differences to children, it can be difficult to know where to begin. What Makes Us Unique? provides an accessible introduction to the concept of diversity, teaching children how to respect and celebrate people's differences and that ultimately, we are all much more alike than we are different. Additional questions at the back of the book allow for further discussion.
Child psychologist Dr. Jillian Roberts designed the Just Enough series to empower parents/caregivers to start conversations with young ones about difficult or challenging subject matter. Other books in the series deal with birth, death, separation and divorce. For more information, visit www.justenoughseries.com."
During a time of rapid innovation, development and achievement in our world, there is also a rapidly growing rate of depression and anxiety among young people. This increased psychopathology can be associated with overwhelming stressors many children may have in their lives that children even 50 years ago couldn’t be able to imagine. The underlying factor may not be so much what is going on in the world that is causing stress and therefore mental instability, but how young people are viewing the world and themselves. Young people are more likely to be stuck in a web of intrinsic thinking that can ultimately be detrimental to their well-being. It is not to say that intrinsic, analytical thinking is not a great quality to have; however, it is when an individual is constantly ruminating about worries and negative thoughts, that it becomes unhealthy.
So in a time when technology is totally integrated into the daily lives of young people, this intrinsic thinking is intensified. There needs to be a shift to a more balanced way of living, where children are expressing both intrinsic and extrinsic ways of thinking and acting. This is reflected in the revitalization of free play, which enhances one’s extrinsic motivations by physically acting them out. When children have the chance to plan and play on their own and with others without adult supervision, it gives them the opportunity to let their imagination wander.
This should be a fundamental quality of learning in the educational system. Today’s schools with their increased emphasis on play and self-directed learning through exploration and investigation will increasingly reflect the desired balance between intrinsic and extrinsic intentions. However, it is still a broken front of progress because there are institutional differences depending on location and demographics. In some cases, there is an expected relationship between teacher and student, in which the student must modify and cater to the teacher’s expectations to be rewarded through assessment.
So perhaps, if children and young people were able to express themselves in personalized ways in home and school environments, then this pervasive self-doubt could be diminished; this therefore, should decrease depression and anxiety rates.
By self-directed discovery through learning and playing, there is so much children can offer to their world and ours.
To learn more about this important topic, check out this very insightful and interesting article by Dr. Peter Gray.