Check out this article in The New Enterprise, written by Becca Owsley with contributions from C.J. Quick, LPCC-S, LMFT, RPT-S.
The team here at Brighter Futures Counseling, PLLC wants to wish you and yours a very Happy Holiday. We also wanted you to be aware of our office closings during this holiday season. Starting December 23rd, our office will be closed until after the New Year, with our first day back in the office being January 3nd 2018. Normal business hours will resume after this time. If you should have an emergency during this time please call 911 or contact your nearest emergency room, as all staff will be out of the office. Thank you, and again warm wishes during this Holiday.
Check out this article we found on Mindful.org which gives great tips on telling your child about the brain. This article also details how this information relates to emotional intelligence and fosters emotional regulation in children.
Brighter Futures Counseling is excited to announce that starting Fall, 2015–we will be offering Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy–otherwise known as DBT is an evidenced based therapy program specifically designed to help individuals dealing with anxiety and/or mood related concerns. It also helps individuals manage personality disorders and self harming as well as suicidal thoughts. The New York Times spot-lighted the developer of the program–who shares her own journey with mental health issues. You can follow the link below to learn more:
Please call the office at 270-982-9292 to find out more about our DBT groups–available for Teens and Adults.
Brighter Futures Counseling, PLLC is now offering Anger Management Services.
Individuals may choose to participate in either group Anger Management or Individual Anger Management. Anger Management Assessments are also available.
Qualified providers utilize an Evidenced Based Curriculum to ensure we are equipped to help clients gain the tools to better manager their anger. Groups meet weekly or clients can choose to meet with the provider one on one at their own pace.
Please follow this link to learn more:
One of the biggest misconceptions about Child Development is that Children don’t start learning until the moment of birth. FALSE!! The brain starts developing in utero, so babies start learning while they are still tucked away in the womb. Research confirms that babies start learning during those 9 vital months of pregnancy.
This means that caregivers should be talking to their baby during pregnancy…better yet, read to your baby! Start reading to them during utero and NEVER stop.
Brighter Futures Counseling, PLLC is honored and excited to get to participate in the Born Learning Academies coming to the local school systems. These fantastic opportunities for caregivers will provide a chance for Families to learn great ways to help their Birth to 5 year old gain Early Learning skills. During the academies, families will learn tips for reading to their children from Birth on…
In the meantime, we found a great resource to share now… “Growing Book by Book” is a great website that lists multiple tips for caregivers on how to read to you babies, toddlers, and children…including book ideas! The information provided on the site is below, but please follow this link to visit the original page and learn more: Growing Book by Book
From “Growing Book by Book:” Tips for Reading with Young Children
Newborn to 6 Months
- You can start reading with your child the day you bring them home from the hospital (Remember–you can read TO them before this!). Though your child doesn’t understand the words, the sound of your voice is music to their ears.
- Bold and simply illustrated books held about 10 inches away from your child work best. Some examples include Black on White and White on Black by Tana Hoban, Spot books by Eric Hill and Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin.
6 Months to 12 Months
- Babies love to put everything in your mouth. Board books, cloth books and vinyl books work best for this age. Here is a list of my son’s first year favorites board books at this age.
- Make reading part of your daily routine. You might share a favorite book before nap or bedtime.
1 Year to 2 Years
- Start asking questions like, “Can you find the cat?” Questioning encourages your child to interact with the text.
- You will also start to notice that your child has a strong preference for certain books. Even though you are tired of reading the same book 100 times, your child is delighting in the comfort and familiarity that books bring.
- Children at this age really enjoy repetitive text and predictable books. You might check out: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle, The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle or Time for Bed by Mem Fox.
2 Years to 3 Years
- Your toddler is probably pretty active and will enjoy acting out stories. We’re Going On a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, Bark, George by Jules Feiffer and The Wheels on the Bus by Paul O. Zelinksy fit the bill.
- They also love to hear stories about themselves. So, don’t hesitate to substitute their name in place of character names in a story. You can even make up stories about your family.
- Your child’s vocabulary is rapidly developing. Each book you read broadens that vocabulary.
- Also, encourage your child to notice the fine details in illustrations. I’m always amazed at what my son finds in the pictures that I miss!
3 Years to 4 Years
- Include books from a variety of cultures on your reading shelf.
- Your child’s taste and attention span are expanding. If your child doesn’t have their own library card, now is a good time to get them one. They will love the ownership of having their own card to check books out from your local library.
- While at the library, check into preschool story time. Most libraries host several events each month.
4 Years to 5 Years
- Picture books can help with major events in your child’s life such as starting school, a new sibling in the house or the death of a pet.
- Kids at this age generally have a strong interest in nature. Look for books on topics that interest your child. You can check out recommendations on my book list page.
- Your child may not be taking a nap anymore, but having a quiet book time in the afternoon may help to refresh everyone.
- Children may take an interest in reading the words themselves. Don’t push your child though if they aren’t ready. You want to keep reading time fun.
Good Sleep is incredibly important for Children. When I say “Good Sleep,” I mean quality sleep that lasts the right amount of un-interrupted time. Often when children are having behavioral or emotional issues—lack of sleep is the culprit. If you’re not sleep enough or not sleeping well, it’s incredibly hard to function in a happy and healthy way. Think about how difficult a day can be or how moody you, as an adult are, when you do not get quality sleep. Now imagine a child who is not sleeping well—they are developmentally less equipped to manage emotions and behaviors and to “get over it and keep moving”—it’s just not what kids do, they cannot do it!
Sleep is one of the first things we address and help parents with in counseling. Often, if we can sleep lined out…further therapy isn’t even needed.
Below are some helpful tips to help YOU help your child get the necessary sleep he or she needs…
- Have your child go to bed and get up at the same time EVERY day—yes this even means weekends. Your child needs to get their body and mind on a schedule. Your body and mind love habits…they will get in the habit of sleeping at this time. It then takes less work to “wind your body down.” Studies show that people who go to bed at the same time every night…fall asleep faster and wake up more refreshed.
- Ensure that your child’s bedtime and wake up time enable them to get at least 10 hours of sleep. Follow this link to see specific recommended hours for each age: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/sleep-children
- Create an evening routine. Children need routine, it lets them know what to expect and gives them a little control on a world that is run by adults. Further, setting up a routine helps their bodies and minds wind down. A suggested routine might be:
- 6:00—Play Time
- 7:00—Bath time (A bath really helps to calm the body—you can even use kid friendly bubble bath or lotion after the bath that have lavender and/or chamomile…both of these fragrances have a calming effect)
- 7:30—Evening Snack (Toast and peanut butter, crackers & cheese, fruit and yogurt, and other snacks that are low in sugar are best… It may be best to avoid too much liquid if nighttime wetting is a problem)
- **Bathroom Break right before Laying Down**
- 8:00—Story time in bed
- Tuck in Routine and Lights Out
- Keep the television and other electronics off 2 hours prior to bed time (This includes NOT watching parents or other siblings playing electronics). Electronics often act as a stimulant and the brain struggles to slow down after playing or watching TV, games, computers, etc… They also prevent us from processing the day and dealing with any lingering ideas that might keep us up…
- Try turning on a Fan or having another light noise that doesn’t distract children from sleep but blocks out other noises (i.e. dog barking, cars passing, siblings, etc…)
- No caffeine after 2:00 PM and limit sugar greatly—no sugar at all after dinner is best (the more you can decrease caffeine and sugar intake during the day in general, the better…)
- No vigorous exercise or playing for an hour or two before bed… Just like electronics can stimulate your brain and block it from processing ideas…vigorous exercise can prevent the body from being able to slow down and rest.
- Keep the room cool…perhaps just chilly enough that you have to have a blanket. Studies show that we sleep better in a room that is slightly colder than normal.
We want to take moment to discuss Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Many children and adolescents need help dealing with school stress–such as homework, test anxiety, bullying, or peer pressure. Others need help to discuss overwhelming feelings or feelings about family issues. Additionally, significant life events can cause stress that might lead to problems with behavior, mood, sleep, appetite, and academic or social functioning.
In some cases, it’s not always clear what caused a child to suddenly seem withdrawn, worried, stresses, sulky, or tearful…but if you feel your child might have emotional or behavioral issues or needs help coping with a difficult life event, trust your instincts… Dealing with these issues early can help prevent long term social, emotional, and/or physical concerns.
Signs that a child or adolescent may benefit from therapy include:
- developmental delay in speech, language, or toilet training
- learning or attention problems (such as ADHD)
- behavioral problems (such as excessive anger, acting out, bedwetting or eating disorders)
- a significant drop in grades, particularly if your child normally maintains high grades
- episodes of sadness, tearfulness, or depression
- social withdrawal or isolation
- being the victim of bullying or bullying other children
- decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities
- overly aggressive behavior (such as biting, kicking, or hitting)
- sudden changes in appetite (particularly in adolescents)
- insomnia or increased sleepiness
- excessive school absenteeism or tardiness
- mood swings (e.g., happy one minute, upset the next)
- development of or an increase in physical complaints (such as headache, stomachache, or not feeling well) despite a normal physical exam by your doctor
- management of a serious, acute, or chronic illness
- signs of alcohol, drug, or other substance use (such as solvents or prescription drug abuse)
- problems in transitions (following separation, divorce, or relocation)
- grief issues
- therapy following sexual, physical, or emotional abuse or other traumatic events
- Significantly poor boundaries
If you have concerns about your child’s social, emotional, or behavioral concerns–call a therapist in your area. Most therapists are happy to take a few minutes over the phone to discuss your concerns and if they think your child can benefit from therapy. To learn more about Child and Adolescent Mental Health needs and services, visit: Brighter Futures Counseling’s Website or The American Psychological Association’s Website. You can also check out this short video that talks to parents about identifying a mental health need with your child: Mental Health Awareness Video.
We wanted to take a minute to talk about Children’s Mental Health—what is it, why is it important, and what can you do to promote positive mental health?
Children’s Mental health is a complex relationship between how a child thinks, feels, and acts that effects their daily living—their ability to function at school, with peers, with family, and so forth.
By focusing on keeping children mentally healthy, we increase their chances for health, happy lives—successful relationships, good self-esteem, and the ability to reach their goals.
There are a lot of ways parents and other adults can help promote a child’s social and emotional health and thus their mental health—
1. Use Feeling words… The average 5 year old has a feeling vocabulary of 2.5 words (Happy, Mad, and Scared). If a child can’t label how they’re feeling then they can’t manage it. Building their vocabulary helps increase their “power” over their emotions.
2. Use daily routines… Have morning routines, after school routines, and evening routines. Routines help children know what to expect…knowing what to expect allows them to anticipate their day without worrying about what “may” happen. If a child knows what to expect then they can control their reactions and responses.
3. Spend unhurried time in play with your child… Dedicate 15 minutes a day to “Special Play Time.” Put the phone away, turn the TV and all other electronic devices off, and just play. Avoid competitive games during this time…and let your child “direct” the play.
4. Get plenty of sleep! Children need 8-10 hours of sleep a night. This gives their brains and bodies time to rest and process the learning from the day. If they aren’t sleeping enough then their brains aren’t able to manage their emotions or behaviors. Often when children are acting out or having other behavior issues—lack of sleep is the culprit.
5. Socialize with other kids and adults… Your child needs time with kids their age and adults—this is the best way to learn appropriate social behaviors. Schedule play dates, go to the park, enjoy family gatherings—all of these are great opportunities for kids to learn social skills.
6. Let your child know they are AWESOME! Let them know they are unique and that you love them. Feeling loved and accepted builds confidence and self-esteem. If they feel good about themselves, they can tackle any issue.
Everyone stumbles from time to time with their mental health…this is where therapy can be beneficial. Therapy for children is a chance for them to engage with their therapist and tackle emotional or behavioral issues that are interfering with their life. Therapy is usually fun and a chance for the child to have dedicated time for them—it helps them feel important. Therapy focuses on a child’s strengths and abilities to build skills to manage their emotions and feelings. It also helps family members learn ways to promote their child’s mental health and success.
You can go to the Brighter Futures Counseling, PLLC’s Website to read more about Children’s Mental Health and red flag behaviors that can indicate a need for therapy. Brighter Futures Counseling Webpage