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Showing posts from November, 2018

How to teach a child to breathe and why we should all do it!

The world can easily be overwhelming for a child. Teaching them to breathe thoughtfully is one of the most helpful things we can do to help them manage powerful emotional experiences. I think a lot of us know this- or at least have heard it mentioned. However, the way breathing has historically been taught or used in crises tends to not work. Here is why we should teach our kids to breathe and how to do it in a way that does work! When is the last time you can remember being told to breathe in the midst of an intense moment and feeling as though the advice was well received and helpful? For most of us the answer is never. The problem here isn’t the breathing- it is the timing and the way that we are using the skill. The more distressed we get, the less likely we are to be able to use strategies that are novel, or new, to us. Think about it. On days where you feel run down and exhausted what are the things you turn to? Likely the same blanket, TV show and brand of chips you

Smartphones don’t calm kids down!: Why digital media use may not be doing what you think it does for your kids

I regularly hear from parents that smartphones or other digital media devices can help their children calm. Using these devices can do a lot of things for a child- but calming is not one of them! Digital media is designed with the specific intent of holding attention and creating reward. They are exciting. This is a big part of why kids enjoy them so much and why they seem to be so addictive. Use of digital media like smartphone apps or console video games will influence a child’s behaviour and in some ways make behaviour more difficult to manage once following use. Emotion and arousal are two key factors influencing children's behaviours- especially the challenging ones. Emotion refers to a series of responses in our bodies and brains that help us move towards things that are good or away from things that are bad for us or our species. The late Jaak Panksepp, who was a brilliant neuroscientist, identified the primary emotional states expressed by humans as rage, fea