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Beat the Heat: 3 tips to keep your kids hydrated

Kids Hydration

Gosh, it is hot out there. I know I chose to live in Tucson, AZ and it comes with the territory but the heat of the summer always leaves me a bit sweaty, tired, and cranky. For our kids however, it is not always so obvious that the heat is getting to them. This is the time of year that not hydrating properly and maintaining a certain electrolyte balance can be dangerous.  We need to let our kids get outside in nature and playing every day. We also need to keep our kids hydrated. 

Signs of Dehydration:

There are two clinical stages of dehydration. Here are the things to watch for…

Stage 1 is when your child complains about being thirsty, begins to act restless or lethargic, and probably acts irritated if you try to touch them. Their eyes will be slightly sunken, mouth will be “sticky”, urine will be darker colored and they will have decreased tears.  

Stage 2  is more serious and requires hospitalization. This is the point when your child will act drowsy, limp, cold and sweaty and possibly even comatose. Their eyes will be very sunken and their mouth will be dry. They stop producing urine and tears. If they get to this point, please proceed directly to the emergency room.  

If you can catch your child in stage 1, there are some easy things that you can do.

3 Tips to Get Your Kids Hydrated:

  1. Popsicles: Sometimes with dehydration, your child can feel nauseated and will even vomit, especially if they drink water too quickly. This is why popsicles are such a win on hot days. They are cooling and hydrating at the same time and help with nausea by not overwhelming their bellies. Ideally, you could make electrolyte popsicles (see the recipe below) to have on hand but in reality, any sort of popsicle will do the trick. And, it will likely take them out of the cranky mood – a double win!Beat Dehydration
  2. Electrolyte Water:  At minimum, add a pinch of sea salt to any cup of water before giving it to your hot kiddo and have them drink slowly. The amount of salt shouldn’t be enough that they taste it too much. Electrolyte drinks, like Pedialyte or Gatorade, have weird colors and sugars in them. They are not my first choice, but they are definitely better than going to the hospital and will do the trick if you have them on hand. Coconut water is better but only for children over the age of 2-years as the sodium-potassium balance isn’t quite right for the littles. My family likes the Nuun tablets (no affiliation). They add flavor and electrolytes to water, taste good and work well.  Just be sure not to purchase the kind with caffeine in them too.
  3. Epsom Salt Bath: This one may sound weird, but it will definitely make your child feel better. In this case, use 1 cup of epsom salt in a warm bath (just warm enough to dissolve the salt) and let your child soak for 10-15 minutes.  It will calm them down, relax any tight muscles, and take away any headaches. Have them slowly sip on water or eat a popsicle while they are in the bath and they will soon be good to go in no time at all.

Watch For More Information on Getting Your Kids Hydrated:

Dr. Kate Sage is a naturopathic family physician at Intuition Wellness Center in Tucson, AZ. To schedule an appointment, please fill out an online request or visit give us a call at 520-333-3320. 

At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults, and their families. If you think you would like some extra support, we’re here for you.

By Kate Sage, NMD; Naturopathic Family Physician at Intuition Wellness Center

 

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Every Parent Needs This Right Now: Meditation Roundup

Hi. How are you? Like… really? Are you struggling as much as most parents right now? Look. I know you’re worried about your kid(s). I’ll give you some ideas for them, too. I’m pretty concerned about you right now though. The expectations on you are confusing and more than they should be. You know, your kids can’t be fully well if you aren’t. You need support, Mamas and Papas. And kindness and joy and quiet and presence. 

I don’t have anything very profound to say. Just know that we’re thinking about you and we’re here for you. And while I have your attention, maybe a meditation or two for you and the kids would be nice… 

8 Little Meditations for Parents and their Kids

  1. Get started with 10 Easy Steps for Mindfulness Meditation 
  2. Have just a few minutes? 8 Simple Breathing Strategies 
  3. Release Anger. Meditation with Your Feet 
  4. Sleepy time with deep breathing and visual imagery. Sleep Meditation for Kids & Parents
  5. Easy Relaxation for Kids using visual imagery and progressive muscle relaxation 
  6. Loving Kindness Meditation using compassion for self and others
  7. When you just need to Breathe, Mama
  8. And finally, register now for a FREE 15-min Virtual Meditation Break for Busy Moms on July 21

Busy Moms Meditation Break

At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults, and their families. If you think you would like some extra support, we’re here for you. Call 520-333-3320 or request an appointment.

 

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Dads Don’t Just Wanna Have Fun (and Other Obvious Truths)

When I asked my children what makes a good dad, the first word that came to their minds was “playful.” At first, I wasn’t sure if I found their word choice delightful or annoying. I mean I’m a huge believer in the importance of play. It can be so healing and supportive of development. Yet, the old stereotype of dads as fun and moms as nurturing is getting tired in my opinion. Dads have been typecast even by the kids. But in fact, dads don’t just wanna have fun.

I switched tactics in case my kids hadn’t really understood. Re-worded my question. I asked them what things they think dads should be responsible for doing. Granted, my survey sample was pretty small, but my kids’ response is what cemented for me that yes, I was going to choose annoyance over delight. Their list included things like building legos and playing tag. What?! That’s a “responsibility?!”

yes… yes, it is.

I let that marinate and stew for a bit and decided it was best for my own wellbeing that I not ask them for the same list for moms right now. Even in my own household where gender roles aren’t always traditional, my very own children have bought into the stereotype. What I know to be real though, is that we have lots of dads showing up in our office to support their kids in really vulnerable ways. Sometimes it does, but many times it doesn’t include playing tag and building legos. Dads are much more than just playmates. So let’s set the record straight.

Here’s what dads are actually doing and saying:

In a 2015 survey, 57% of fathers (and 58% of mothers) said that parenting is extremely important to their identity. Also commensurate with moms, 54% said that parenting is rewarding all of the time (versus 52% of mothers). Lastly, 46% of fathers (and 41% of mothers) stated that parenting is enjoyable all the time. (Pew Research Center)

Pew Research Fathering Stats

As of 2016, fathers were reportedly spending an average of 8 hours a week on child care–about triple the amount they were spending in 1965. Sure, this still isn’t as much as moms who spend 14 hours a week. The gender gap continues to be an issue worth addressing. Yet, consider that fathers also don’t feel nearly as positive about their own parenting as mothers. Just 39% of fathers said in 2015 that they were doing a very good job raising their children as compared to 51% of mothers. And, in case their was any doubt, for both mothers and fathers, what others think of their parenting also matters to them.

Good Parents

How do we change the dad stereotype?

Let’s start out by acknowledging that the solution is mired by a lot of complicating systemic issues. Here are some big disclaimers: There are some deeply ingrained gender disparities impacting this dynamic. I fully recognize this and continue to try to wrap my brain around the nuances factoring into this stereotype. At Intuition Wellness Center, we also respect that each family has to decide what their perfect balance is and its not up to us to decide. There are things that dads can do directly and also that the system itself must do to allow for change.

  1. Dads must be willing to do it all. If they really want to change the stereotype that is. I am not suggesting that dads don’t play, by the way. Please do! I get that this is the obvious answer, but it’s not as easy to enact as the rest of us might think. Trust me. I’ve talked to a lot of dads and they are struggling with balance and feelings of inadequacy just as moms are. Don’t give up, Dads.
  2. Moms must be willing to not do it all. I’m tiptoeing here, but societal mom-shaming is a real thing that is contributing to this whole dynamic. Some moms get in an awfully sticky place of feeling that to be worthy as a mom they must take it all on. Not true, Mamas. We subscribe to a village mentality of parenting around here. This means that the community has to step up so that moms have the support they need in order to not do it all.
  3. The system, including education and healthcare, has to step it up. What do I mean by this? Well, this means having concentrated trainings for healthcare workers and educators on how to engage the whole family unit. Even at Intuition Wellness Center we have to remind ourselves, regularly, not just to engage the parent who is easiest to access or quickest to respond. This feeds into an exclusionary dynamic. Despite wanting to be involved, one parent (and yes, this is often the dads) is left out. And guess what happens after repeatedly being left out? Well… you start to believe that you deserve it. And this creates learned helplessness. While this responsibility should be firmly on the shoulders of the educator or provider, I encourage parents to remind them of their preferences.
  4. Expose children to examples that break the mold. Yup, the way to change stereotypes is to find exceptions. Choose books and movies that support dads and caregivers of all kinds and doing many different things. Though the heading is focused on children’s exposure, really we could all benefit from this.

What shows or books do you recommend for breaking dad stereotypes?

At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults, and their families. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

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The Pandemic of COVID-19: A lesson to our kids that we are all connected

I didn’t understand– most of us didn’t– exactly how it would feel to prepare for a pandemic to sweep through. On Friday afternoon our team naturopathic physician, Dr. Sage, attended a special seminar hosted by the Arizona Department of Health Services about COVID-19 (aka. Novel Coronavirus). On Monday, Dr. Sage and I began putting together a statement for our team and our clients as well as a protocol for increasing cleaning measures in our office. By Tuesday, we became aware that a confirmed case of the virus is now in our county. And for the last couple of days we’ve been working out the details of a plan in case our team members or clients are quarantined. It’s been a whirlwind, but now we’re just waiting and thinking a lot about what’s to come. The spread of COVID-19 is a reminder and a lesson on how interconnected we all are at both global and local levels… for better or worse.

As a pediatric practice, most of our clients are children and young adults who seem to be the least impacted by the virus. This is a relief certainly. Yet, we believe in a community-based model of healing and wellbeing, which means that each of us– old, young, healthy and sick– has a responsibility to others. It’s up to all of us to make efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to respond with compassion to those who are suffering because of it.

Most of the kiddos we see are spending their days at school in what is often akin to a petri dish no matter how well school personnel clean. Many kids have or will get COVID-19 and they will very likely be fine. However, in order to be a part of protecting others in their community, they do need to understand that there is a virus coming through. They need to understand also that each of us could unwittingly spread it to others.

Looking for support in talking to your kids about COVID-19?

I encourage you to talk to your children about COVID-19 in a measured, compassionate and rational way. There’s some excellent content out there about how to do so that I’m linking below. My biggest tip is to monitor your own anxiety about it and be certain that your anxiety feels manageable in the moment(s) you have this conversation with your children. Filter their news intake and your own for that matter, as well. And don’t forget to talk to them about what they can do to help protect their community.

We can help support you in talking to your child about COVID-19 and if your child already has a provider, don’t hesitate to let them know that you would like this support.

If you notice that your child seems to be experiencing particularly big worry about COVID-19, it’s not generally helpful to tell them simply not to worry. Katie Hurley, a licensed clinical social worker who works with children, recently summed this up on her social media.

“During the past few days of therapy sessions, a number of kids have said something like this: Grownups are telling me not to worry because it only gets old people, but what about my grandparents? Will they be okay? …It’s up to us to help kids work through their anxious thoughts. Kids never ever stop worrying simply because adults say, ‘don’t worry.’ That’s not how worrying works.” — Katie Hurley, LCSW

What steps is Intuition Wellness Center taking to protect our community?

  1. Limiting exposures. We are asking that if you have symptoms, please do not come in for your appointments. In fact, stay home altogether. Call or email us and let us know if you have a fever or cough. Our team members are working hard to stay healthy and will be staying home if they have symptoms. Medical facilities are reserving tests for only those with severe symptoms, so, unfortunately, there will be no way for many of us to truly confirm if it’s COVID-19 rather than just a cold. Telehealth may be an option for your OT or therapy sessions if it’s clinically appropriate and it will definitely be an option for naturopathic medical sessions.
  2. Keeping a clean space. We’ve given each team member additional cleaning options and we’ve asked them to up their cleaning protocol. We’re also pulling out some of the non-essential play items and fabric items in our center so that we can concentrate our cleaning efforts. Lastly, we’ve also asked our nighttime cleaning crew to increase their efforts.
  3. Handwashing. You’ve heard it a million times now, but this may be one of the most important tips. Wash your hands… wash your hands… wash your hands. Simple soap and water is very effective at killing COVID-19. We’ve added a hand washing station and reminders and tips to make it more enjoyable for children. Please wash your hands when you arrive in our center to protect yourself and others.

Read our full statement about attendance at sessions and our precautions here.

The very short video here is of Dr. Sage and me with a quick acknowledgment of the symptoms to watch for and a general overview of how we’re approaching all of this. The resources that I mention at the end of this video are conveniently listed and/or linked at the end of this post.

https://youtu.be/dV4CWsEj6nE

Finally, a silver lining.

Here’s the great news. People really do pull together when there’s a crisis or devastating event. Research suggests that most of us become incredibly altruistic in these situations. We are even more likely to do things like wash our hands when we know it is for the good of someone else. Your children can understand this and are capable of great compassion. The recent spread of COVID-19 is also an opportunity to think through, perhaps with your children, the things that you can do to reach out to those who are directly impacted. Know an elderly neighbor without local family? Check in on them regularly to prevent isolation. Even if they’re quarantined, a phone call can go a long way. What about a family who may be especially financially impacted if schools close down and mom can’t go to work? Offer them childcare or groceries. As part of that practice of compassion and kindness, remember this in a time when many people are fearful:

“If you believe that somebody is overreacting, just try to remember that another word for ‘overreaction’ is ‘fear.’ Try to be compassionate, not contemptuous. We don’t all share the same fears, but we all know what fear feels like, and it’s a terrible sensation. I wouldn’t wish fear on anybody, and I know that a lot of people are genuinely afraid right now.” –Elizabeth Gilbert

Another silver lining in all of this is that, for some of us, this may be an opportunity to slow down life with our children and reconnect with them. Yes, that can also create stress, too.

What am I going to do with my children during this?

Here are some screen-free ideas for things to do with your kids if school shuts down or if they’re in a 14-day quarantine:

At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults, and their families. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

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Get Your Wakeful Child to Sleep… Finally!

healthy sleep

If your children (and you) sleep through the night, you are the envy of parents everywhere! So many things can get in the way of getting a consistently good night’s rest– overstimulation, anxiety, depression, difficulty with making transitions, etc. Maybe your sweetie pie repeatedly begs for one more drink of water, worries about the next school day, or can’t seem to turn off their motor at the end of the day. As a parent it can be so hard to keep your wits about you when you’re tired, they’re tired, and no one is getting their much needed rest. If you’re ready to be proactive in support of healthy sleep patterns for your wakeful child, keep reading.

How Much Sleep Should Kiddo Get?

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you and your littles strive to get the following amount of hours of sleep per night:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours
  • School Age (6-13 years): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17 years): 8-10 hours
  • Adults (18-64 years): 7-9 hours
  • Older Adults (65+ years): 7-8 hours

Now, there is a reason that a range of hours is listed for each age group and that is that people are all different. If you have questions about whether or not your unique child is getting enough sleep, consult with your child’s physician.

3 Tips for Getting Your Child to Sleep
  • Be Consistent. You’ve most likely heard this tip before. Getting your child or yourself into a rhythm and routine each day is crucial for getting restful sleep. They should have a set bedtime and wake time regardless of whether it’s a weekday, weekend, or holiday. Additionally, get a routine in place for bedtime that includes relaxing activities such as bath time and reading, or meditation and journaling. These consistent rhythms and routines will keep your kiddo’s sleep cycles (circadian rhythm) in check and their natural melatonin production operating optimally.  For more information on balancing natural melatonin levels, check out the tips below from Dr. Sage, Naturopathic Family Physician at Intuition Wellness.

Video not working?  Try this: Get Your Child to Sleep: Rebalance Melatonin Production

  • Create a Sanctuary. Your child’s sleeping area should be simple and their bed should be a sleep-only zone. This means that they shouldn’t be doing their homework or even reading in their bed. Creating the right mental association for them will essentially train their brain to relax once they lay down in their bed. It’s ok for your child to have some sort of transitional object, such as a stuffed animal, in bed with them. Yet, keep the space uncluttered overall to maintain your sleep-only zone. In addition, create a home culture that doesn’t allow electronics in bed. The blue light emitted from screens can be especially problematic for sleep-wake cycles. Plus,  keeping screen distractions away from bed will also create healthy bedtime boundaries. It’s also best if your child can be awakened by natural light. However, most school days start so early that this often isn’t an option. If getting up before sunrise is truly necessary, consider purchasing a light box, which will also support natural melatonin production.
  •  Exercise and Movement. Children who stay active during the day often sleep more restfully in the evening. If your child has a tendency to be a couch potato, there are many strategies you can try to get them moving. Finding activities that they enjoy is especially important. They should refrain from heavy exercise close to bedtime. Activities such as slow yoga or stretching are ok in the evenings and you can even combine them with meditation or other relaxation techniques.

Looking for more? Check out a more detailed version of our sleep tips ready for print or to be bookmarked.

8 Tips for Healthy Sleep Hygiene
Printable Tips for Getting Your Child to Sleep!

At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults, and their families. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

 

 

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Sick of Being Sick: 6 Family-Friendly Natural Remedies

Natural remedies for children and families

When I was a kid, flat soda and Vick’s seemed to be my family’s go-to treatments for nearly all forms of illness. Now that I’m a grown up and making a lot of the medical decisions for my family I’ve learned to appreciate a few other tricks. Yet, this flu season has been a force to be reckoned with and, in my opinion, it’s demanded a diverse toolkit of remedies. Since meeting Dr. Kate Sage, our team’s Naturopathic Family Physician, I’ve learned a few recipes that seem likely to become new favorites for flu and other illness. These are definitely worth sharing! Here’s 6 great natural remedies when you’re sick of your family being sick.

6 Family-Friendly Natural Remedies

Elderberry Syrup

Research suggests that elderberries can shorten the duration of cold and flu symptoms. They are high in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Elderberries can be found (or made) in many preparations such as gummies, lozenges, capsules, and liquids. One of Dr. Sage’s favorite forms is elderberry syrup, which can also be purchased in many big-box stores, specialty health stores or directly from Intuition Wellness Center. You can also make your own!Elderberry Syrup RecipeOnion Earmuffs

Onions can be surprisingly helpful! Onions have antibacterial oils that can fight infection. Using Dr. Sage’s steps for onion earmuffs can help soothe ear pain and also promote drainage when you or your child are battling an ear infection. Just follow these easy steps!
  1. Cut an onion in half and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until you can smell the onion cooking.
  2. Cover the hot onion with a thin cloth and place the cut side next to the affected ear(s), not against.
  3. Move the onion closer to the ear as the onion cools and, once on the ear, leave for at least 10 minutes.

Cold-Busting Soup

Feel a cold coming on? There’s a soup for that! Dr. Sage’s cold-busting soup is high in vitamin C and beta carotene, is warming, and is generally nutritive to help anyone get over colds or flu. Plus, it’s tasty! Dr. Sage warns “if you’re a breastfeeding mama, be sure to take it easy on the garlic and onions as the sulfur components can pass through breastmilk and can occasionally cause tummy troubles for itsy-bitsies.”Cold-Busting Soup

Lemon Cough Syrup

This cough syrup has great components many of us may already have at home. Honey helps soothe the throat, lemon cuts through congestion and the onion fights infection, soothes the throat, and makes the coughs do a disappearing act.Lemon Cough Syrup

Apple & Clove Tea

Cloves are sometimes referred to as a natural antibiotic. With anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, cloves may be effective as a supportive treatment for many forms of illness. Pair whole cloves with apple juice and you’ve got a yummy natural remedy that even your picky eater will enjoy! Simply simmer 10 whole cloves and 4 cups of fresh organic apple juice in a pot for 15 minutes. Serve your child half a cup 3 times daily.

 

Tea for sore throat
Magic Warming Socks

Magic warming socks work shockingly well for congestion. Though called “warming,” you actually cool the feet to experience a warming effect. Cooling the feet will cause the vessels to constrict and all the good nutrients there will be shunted away toward your vital organs to help stimulate healing. As the feet heat back up, the blood vessels dilate again causing a pumping system that carries infection-fighting white blood cells for an active immune system and improved circulation. Also good for: ear infections, sinusitis, headaches, migraines, sore throats, and congestion or other inflammation around the head and neck.

cool the feet to fight illness

Until February 29, 2020 Intuition Wellness Center is offering a 33% discount on all new patient naturopathic medicine appointments with Dr. Kate Sage! Schedule your child’s appointment before this limited-time offer comes to an end!

 

At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults, and their families. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

 

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Create Meaningful (and Achievable) Family Goals for the New Year

New Year Resolutions

It’s a new year and a new decade. For many people, that means it’s resolution time. It’s finding-yourself time. It’s creating-new-habits-and-setting-goals time. Maybe you’re one of the few who make your dreams come true at the start of each new year, but most of us live a different reality. Depending on the source, surveys suggest that up to 80 percent of new year’s resolutions may fail. But that doesn’t mean that using the new year as a time to clean the slate and set intentions is completely useless. It can be a perfectly natural time for your family to reset. Here’s a few tips to help your family create meaningful and achievable goals for the new year. 

Creating Meaningful (and Achievable) Family Goals

  1. Find Purpose. Allowing your kids to set their own goals and supporting them to find something that really speaks to them will set them up for success. When your child or family is working toward something that matters to them, their  investment will undoubtedly increase. Try creating vision boards and look to see what themes emerge for each family member. Read more about supporting your child to find their purpose.
  2. Think Habits. Reaching a new goal is generally more successful if you instead think of it as a new habit or series of habits. When creating a family goal create a habit around it and pair it with habits that your family already engages in. If your goal is to get into nature more often as a family, for example, you could look to your usual dinner routine as a place to pair a new habit of an after dinner walk. Read more about creating habits.
  3. Plan for Obstacles. Brainstorm with your family about the things that could get in the way of reaching the goal. Ask them, “If you feel like giving up, what will you do instead?” Teaching your child to stick to it is part of teaching resilience and planning for the hiccups will support you and your family in overcoming challenges.

Find tips for creating vision boards with your family (and other good stuff to support your wellness) in Intuition Wellness Center’s wellness handouts.

At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults and families. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation. 

 

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Best Toys for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

It’s the winter holiday season. Perhaps you prefer to keep this time of year simple. Or maybe you have a go-big-or-go-home mentality. If you’re like many American families though, you’re probably on the look out for at least a few gifts for the young children on your list. We here at Intuition Wellness Center believe that the best gifts you can give a child are free. Yet, if you feel consumerism tugging at you, we certainly aren’t judging. Our pediatric occupational therapist, Anne Berkery, OTR/L has done the hard work for you and scoured the current toy offerings. Read on for the best toys for babies, toddlers and preschoolers as determined by a pediatric occupational therapist. 

Best Toys for Babies

If you’re looking for toys that will support the littlest of littles in reaching their milestones, look no further. Intuition Wellness Center’s pediatric occupational therapist, has wrangled and organized a few toys that will help your baby’s visual skills, hand-eye coordination, and healthy sensory processing

Visual Skills

Hand-Eye Coordination

  • Wimmer-Ferguson Learning Cube. High contrast black and white supports baby’s visual skills while ribbons, crinkle paper, flaps, rattles and other fun gizmos encourage baby to reach and grasp. 
  • Joyshare 4 Piece Hanging Rattle Set. Clips onto baby’s stroller or car seat and encourages baby to grasp and shake to make soft sounds. 
  • Toy Chest Nyc Penguin Ring Stacker. This solid wood rainbow stacker with it’s cutie pie penguin topper encourages babies 6 months and older to reach, grasp and stack while older babies and toddlers may enjoy a more creative and interactive take on this classic toy. 
  • Sassy Whimsical Wheels. The movement of this toy, high contrast, and mirror support baby’s visual skills while encouraging baby to reach and tug at wheels filled with multi-colored beads for improved hand-eye coordination. 

Development of Touch

  • Sassy Sensory Activity Panels. Clever fabric panels with high contrast images and touchy-feely panels that can be assembled into a fabric book or taken apart. It’s a delight for little one’s developing senses. 

  • Dophyranix Super Durable Sensory Balls. Soft and textured balls help develop baby’s tactile senses while promoting grip. Remains fun for baby as they age into a more mobile kicking and throwing toddler.

  • Taggies Little Leaf Elephant Lovey Soft Toy. Soft and soothing, this lovey has satin tags for baby to pull on and is the perfect size for little hands to snuggle. 

Best Toys for Toddlers

If you’re looking for toys for the young movers and shakers in your life, Intuition Wellness Center’s pediatric occupational therapist, has a few recommendations that will support hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills. 

Hand-Eye Coordination

  • Djeco Nesting and Stacking Blocks. This sweet and whimsical set includes 6 boxes to stack and 6 little animals to fit inside. The options allow for little ones to put the set together in a variety of combinations, all while practicing their hand-eye coordination.
  • Gleeporte Stacking Peg Board Set Toy. A Montessori-style toy that will encourage kiddo to stack and sort and is especially good for visual and fine motor skills. 
  • Fat Brain Toys Roll Again Sorter. Toddlers love sorting toys. This toy comes with 4 different balls that, with the child’s help, propel down a track to their color-matched basin. 
  • Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Piggy Bank. Comes with 10 “coins” that allow kiddo to make deposits into the bank that promote finger dexterity as well as visual skills. 

Gross Motor Skills

  • Fisher-Price Bright Beginnings Activity Walker. This is a versatile toy that has been around for awhile. While it allows for kiddos to flip open doors, turn gears, and slide beads for fine motor support, it will also transition to supporting gross motor skills when baby is ready to get-up-and-go.
  • Hape Wonder Walker Push and Pull. Touted as a busy-box on wheels, this walker provides a sturdy foundation for newly mobile little ones to pull up on or push around. Movable knobs, gears and colorful balls allow for fine motor work as well.

Best Toys for Preschoolers

If you’re looking for fun and useful toys that will support your preschooler’s development, Intuition Wellness Center’s pediatric occupational therapist, has already done the research and has compiled a list of toys that will support your preschooler’s visual skills, hand-eye coordination, gross motor skills and balance. 

Visual Skills

  • I Spy Everything Book. Though this book is marketed as helping children learn their letter sounds, we like it because it requires the child to visually sort through images. 

Hand-Eye Coordination

  • Unicorn Handwriting Workbook. This book is especially helpful for kids, 3-5 years old. It offers pages of letters to trace as well as fun images of unicorns to color. 
  • Scissors Skills Workbook. A budget-friendly choice that includes 64 pages with increasingly complex cutting tasks. This workbook is particularly geared toward children who haven’t quite got the hang of using scissors yet and is great for supporting those developing fine motor and visual skills. 
  • Kidcraft Wooden Backyard Sandbox. Sandboxes are great for so much more than hand-eye coordination. Sifting through the sand and burying and building are great activities for sensory processing, fine motor work and imagination!

Gross Motor Skills

  • Strider Balance Bike. Bikes with training wheels teach children how to ride while unbalanced whereas a balance bike, which has just two wheels and no pedals, keeps the child in control and allows them to lean and maneuver more easily. 
  • Hanging Pod Hammock Seat. For children who seek out movement, this swing can be a great cozy place to calm their senses. 
  • Saucer Tree Swing Seat. Another favorite swing that you’ll find in our pediatric occupational therapy room. This disc-shaped swing helps with balance, calms, and supports children who seek out movement. 
  • JumJoe Kids Trampoline. This 36-inch trampoline will help with coordination, balance, muscle strength and meet the movement and pressure needs of your kiddo. 

 

Would you like a pediatric occupational therapist to support you around your child’s special needs? Request an appointment or call us for more information at 520-333-3320.  

 

At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults and families. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation. 

Contributions by: Anne Berkery, OTR/L (formerly Swiderek), Pediatric Occupational Therapist.

A Word about Affiliates

The recommended toys above contain affiliate links to products. If you click through and purchase, Intuition Wellness Center will receive a small commission on the sale. Rest assured, we only recommend products or services that our team members personally use or believe will be helpful to our readers or clients.

 

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Your Child Needs a Purpose

There are things I spend a fair amount of time worrying about in my professional work. As a psychologist and director of a child and family wellness center, I worry about whether families feel supported; about overscheduled lives limiting opportunities for connection; about the stress hormones resulting from the hurry-hurry-do-everything attitude of our society causing harm to young bodies. I worry about what children are eating and if they’re moving regularly throughout their day; about technology disrupting sleep and relational skills; about whether school expectations for children are developmentally appropriate; and about a trending tendency to avoid doing things that are effortful. Yet, my biggest worry is whether life is feeling less and less meaningful and purposeful to children. It’s not distinct from the other worries, but actually an amalgam of the other worries smooshied together. 

I have a great imagination. I can conjure up images of children playing video games, isolated in their bedrooms, shades drawn, from the time they wake up into the wee hours of the night every day of their summer vacation. Likewise, I can also imagine the rigidly scheduled teen turning down invitations from friends in order to get ahead of the upcoming school year with summer classes, private lessons, as well as part-time jobs, sports camps, and volunteer work to ensure that they’re well-rounded and marketable to colleges. Both of these children’s circumstances concern me. They each have goals– some centered around present-moment achievements on a screen and some oriented to futures that make the present seem like nothing more than a hoop to jump through. Yet, I worry… do either of these children feel passionate about something? Have they found something yet that feels meaningful and bigger than themselves?

Parenting a Child with Purpose

Defined Values. Purpose is wrapped up in what is meaningful and what is meaningful is centered around one’s values. As a family, you can start early by talking about what values you share and why. Be careful also to support your child’s developing identity and allowing for them to explore interests that differ from those of your family. Leaving room for exploration is part of their developing identity and values. You might also discuss with your child what they wish they could change about the world and what sort of adult they want to be. How do your and and your child’s values manifest through action? Talking about this is a good lead into your child developing goals.

Goal-Setting. Whether you’re a free range, helicopter, tiger parent or none of the above, your children need goals, though goals are not the same thing as purpose. Goals are about achieving something, purpose typically includes having goals but they are part of a bigger meaningful commitment and vision. How do you support your child in setting goals that really matter to them? Once your child know’s what’s important to them and why then you can help them take action. Developing smaller goals and reasonable timelines will support them in making concrete progress. At times, you might help them determine steps they can take that would be congruent with their values.  Consider creating vision boards together and ask them if there’s anything you can do to support them in reaching their goals.

Transformative Experiences. Some of the ways that young people find their purpose is through an important event or circumstance, service to others or other transformative experience. Patrick Cook-Deegan tells us that some of the most common transformative experiences are traveling abroad, spending time in the natural world, joining a social change project, or establishing a contemplative practice. As a parent, you can support these experiences for your child. Not all organized trips are expensive and many organizations offer scholarships.

Sometimes it can feel like a confusing line between supporting your child and putting undue pressure on them. Remember that purpose is about your child finding meaning, not about you finding it for them.

 

Join guest speaker, Dr. Kate Sage, for “Avoiding the Helicopter Parenting Trap

 

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

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Mother Nature’s Parenting Tips

I have always been an observer. This tendency doesn’t stop with people-watching. As a child, I was fortunate enough to live near a nationally-ranked well-funded zoo. For a period of time, I was certain zoology was the field for me. I remember standing gape-mouthed at my local zoo as young gorillas pulled off impressive gymnastic-quality feats and played pranks on their family members. I remember the awe and joy I felt as a mama bear and her little one did bonafide underwater handstands, purple padded feet in the air, just for the fun of it. The animals, it seemed, took genuine delight in their play. Nature is on to something. Our physical world is full of lessons. 

Three Parenting Tips from Mother Nature

1. Get them moving.

Just ahead of May’s mental health awareness month, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a statement aptly titled, “To Grow Up Healthy, Children Need to Sit Less and Play More.” The title says it all really. Children are meant to move just like the vast majority of nature’s fauna. With so many sedentary activities that are full of tempting lights and binging noises, both kids and adults are struggling with inactivity, particularly the screen time takeover. It’s not good for us. And, while I certainly don’t want to discourage organized sports or scheduled workouts, natural movement is also important– movement that occurs throughout the day, not just 3 times a week for an hour.

If you see your child struggling with coordination or avoiding certain kinds of movement-based play, consider talking to an expert. They could benefit from pediatric occupational therapy. If it’s a matter of your child simply preferring the couch to the swing in the backyard, try some new strategies and make movement a family affair.

2. Throw caution to the wind.

I think back to the animals I watched in the zoo. Those gorillas and polar bears were jumping in the water, rolling in the dirt, and making a mess of things while exploring their environment. Adults swooped in to help only when it was really needed. Certainly these little ones didn’t experience their caregivers as stepping in regularly with messages of caution. No. In fact, baby animals know when their parents are serious about being careful, because they only caution when it’s really needed. Children are supposed to be messy climbing machines. That’s why your two-year-old wants to get on top of the table and doesn’t hold back in the muddle puddles.

There’s literally stuff in dirt that helps our mental and physical health. I’m not making that up. And the kind of movement that children engage in in nature– climbing  trees, digging in the creek bed, splashing through the rain– those kinds of things support coordination and a sense of confidence that comes with mastery. We’ve got to get out of the way. I’m not saying there should be no rules. Surely it can be ok to let them get dirty and to let them try new physical feats from time to time though. Intervene when it’s needed, just like mama gorilla, and catch yourself the next time you say “Be careful” to your child. Was it really necessary?

3. Be one with nature.

Well, of course, Mother Nature encourages this one. Nature in and of itself is both predictable and changing, mundane and awe-inspiring. Being a quiet observer can certainly teach a child a lot about mindfulness and about how the bigger world works. Watching those gorillas all those years ago, I learned about family hierarchies and what unfiltered joy looks like. Watching the polar bears, I saw authentic mother’s love. In the trail of ants in my backyard, my children see perseverance and structure. In the quail families hiding in the weeds, they see loyalty and protectiveness. It turns out that nature is good for our mental health. Forest bathing, that is surrounding ourselves with trees leads us to be happier and healthier. Even just looking at pictures of trees (with or without leaves) leads to improved outcomes. Get your children outside!   Perhaps you’ll notice an immediate improvement in their mood.

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

 

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3 Ways Your Attachment with Your Child Is Impacting Their Behavior

About 70 years ago, the psychiatrist Dr. John Bowlby made a surprising revelation about mental health. He stated that it is dependent on each of us experiencing a “warm, intimate and continuous relationship” in which both child and caregiver “find satisfaction and enjoyment.” Dr. Bowlby’s findings led him to develop the science of attachment– which offers an explanation of relationships patterns and, coincidentally, our children’s behavior. 

What is Attachment Theory? 

Bowlby believed that children are born seeking and attempting to remain close to attachment figures. From a purely evolutionary perspective, this makes complete sense. Stick close to someone who is more clever and bigger than you and you’re more likely to be fed and protected. 

An adult who serves as a playmate, disciplinarian, or teacher isn’t necessarily a primary attachment figure, though they could be. So what does it take to be an attachment figure? The adult’s presence in the first few years of the child’s life certainly helps a lot, since relationship patterns start to take hold right away in life. An attachment that is secure and healthy ultimately results from a caregiver responding with sensitivity and consistency. For me, the epitome of a secure attachment is a young toddler playing independently while his mother looks on. Every few minutes he wanders back to his mother to show her something or engage her in the play. This serves as an “emotional refueling” before he goes back to his independent play. When he is distressed from an accidental fall he, again, returns to his mother and finds comfort in her warm reassurance. 

Understanding Attachment Can Change Behavior

  1. Interactions will seem smoother. Children naturally want to help, adopt your values, and follow your instructions. Yet, injuries in the attachment may impact these natural tendencies. Instead, you may get what appears to be disobedience, disrespect, and emotional explosiveness. The quality of the relationship will play out over and over in every interaction. If your child struggles to follow directions or appears disrespectful, an investment of time into the relationship, and not just the behavior, may work wonders. 
  1. Separations and connection to others will be easier. Many children go through separation anxiety as part of healthy and normal development. Yet, a secure attachment to you means she will learn to trust that you will return. She will also believe that adults, in general, are trustworthy. 
  1. Strong attachments serve as a balm for emotional wounds. Children tend to believe they get the care they deserve. A child who is consistently met with warmth from an attachment figure will believe she is worthy of it. When hurt occurs in her interactions with peers or other adults, she will be more resilient and protected as a result of her caregiving. She’ll understand that this hurt is not indicative of her worth in the world. 

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

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8 Steps to Reaching a Goal

It’s the New Year! A clean slate. Many of us approach the New Year with BIG DREAMS. We might even set goals. But if you are anything like me, you may have had the experience of running out of steam, losing motivation, getting discouraged and even giving up. I decided to do some research with the hopes of creating better outcomes for 2019. I learned that creating habits is the best way to support reaching a goal. The trick is how do we create habits that support the goals we want to achieve?

Here’s 8 Steps To Developing A New Habit: 

Get Clear. Identify want you want to achieve, make sure the goal is realistic for you. If you’re not a morning person, it’s probably not a good idea to set a goal to work out 30 minutes at the gym every morning. 

Start Small.  Achieving just one small goal multiplies your potential to succeed by increasing your motivation. You are more likely to achieve a small goal. When you meet your goal you will start to feel better. As the quality of you life improves, this will motivate you to do it more. 

Identify the Why. By clearly outlining the ways the new habit will improve the quality of your life or contribute to the well being of your family or  community, you will generate passion and motivation. Identify
reasons that inspire you. 

Pair the New Habit with a Daily Habit You Already Have. Daily habits that you might pair your new habit with might include brushing your teeth, getting the kids up, or making your coffee. Pairing up your new habit with something that is already established in your routine makes it more likely to stick. 

Decide on A Reward. The reward doesn’t have to necessarily be big, maybe just throwing your hands up in the air and saying “YES” could be enough. Make the reward fun. Positive reinforcement does work. 

Pick a Tracking Mechanism. Print out a monthly calendar or download an app. Keep your tracking choice simple and doable. Make it visible where you will see it regularly. 

Create A Cue. Cues help us remember to perform our new habit. A sticky note reminder or laying out clothes or other supplies needed to complete the activity are examples of cues that will prevent avoidance and support motivation. 

Identify an Accountability Partner. Finding someone to join in or to connect with around your new habit can be very helpful. 

For those of you who might be interested in a deeper level of support, please join us for the next Nurtured Mothering Series starting January 21 where we will support one another to create and meet our intentions in 2019.

For more information on Goal Setting and Creating Habits check out:

Habits 101 Workbook by Brian Johnson

Willpower by Roy F. Baumeister

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in inspiring children, young adults and families to live in health and joy and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes, occupational therapy, and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support in turning your goals into reality, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written By: Navneet Lahti, Wellness Director and Child & Family Therapist, at Intuition Wellness Center

 

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‘Tis the Season for Sensory Overload

It’s a time of year that can certainly overwhelm the senses for many of us– flashing lights littering many lawns and homes, Christmas music blasting from department store speakers, crowds… crowds…. CROWDS. For some people though, sensory overload can be an everyday experience that leads to many moments of discomfort.

What is Sensory Overload?

Some children may become overwhelmed when they experience too many sensations coming into the body at one time. This is called sensory overload. Some examples of sensory overload may include too much noise or a sound that is too loud. A child may become visually overwhelmed in crowded places. More movement than the body can process can also be challenging, such as a ride at an amusement park.   

Children generally respond to sensory overload in two ways. First, they may try remove themselves from the overstimulating environment such as going off in a corner to trying to limit the amount of stimulation. Some children may also respond to sensory overload by acting out behaviorally. Your child may become irritable or defiant, scream, cry, or lash out at others. Your child’s ability to respond appropriately is based on the foundation of their basic senses: touch, vision, hearing, movement, and an internal awareness of where they are in space. A child who has difficulty integrating their senses may be diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder. A pediatric occupational therapist can support a child with this disorder.

What is Pediatric Occupational Therapy?

Pediatric occupational therapists help children develop their occupation to its fullest potential. A child’s occupation is, of course, different from an adult’s. Your child’s main occupation is to play and to learn. As such, occupational therapy goals might include: improving fine motor skills, coordination, muscle strength, cognitive and visual perceptual skills, attention, and following directions. Pediatric occupational therapists working with sensory processing disorder will work to support a child in organizing and maturing their nervous system.

What Can You Do About Sensory Overload?

There are ways to minimize sensory overload this holiday season! Keep your child’s regular routine with adequate sleep and regular nutritious meals and snacks. Ensure they exercise regularly. Plan a schedule that spreads out holiday activities and include down time to help your child’s nervous system to relax.

Get your printable version of tips to prevent sensory overload!

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in inspiring children, young adults and families to live in health and joy and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes, occupational therapy, and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written By: Anne Berkery (formerly Swiderek), Pediatric Occupational Therapist, & Navneet Lahti, Wellness Director, at Intuition Wellness Center

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An Attitude of Gratitude for the Whole Family

Halloween is over and November has arrived. With it comes cooler days, longer nights and the winter holiday season rapidly approaching. This time of year, many of us struggle with feeling there is too much to do and too little time! We may have the desire to have a joyful, relaxed approach to the holidays, yet find ourselves feeling stressed, overwhelmed and even Grinch-like-irritable. If you’re looking for ways to embrace the holiday season with a deeper feeling of joy and connection consider a gratitude practice. 

Research on gratitude shows that people who practice gratitude are happier. How does it work? Basically it’s a way of re-focusing our attention.

Gratitude supports us to focus on what we have, rather than getting stuck on comparisons to others or on what we think might make us happy at some point in the future. 

There are many ways to cultivate an attitude of gratitude for both children and adults, including writing a thank you note to someone who has contributed positively to your life or keeping a gratitude journal. This year I would like to recommend a family activity. 

A Family Attitude of Gratitude… In a Jar!

Step One: Get your supplies together. As a family, decide on some sort of container to which you’ll all be adding slips of paper for the next few weeks. Gather some small pieces of paper or post-it notes.

Step Two: Find a spot. The home for your gratitude jar should be very visible and accessible to all so that each family member can join in.

Step Three: Choose your time frame. Pick a date to start (maybe Thanksgiving) and a date to end (perhaps the last day of Hanukkah or Christmas day).

Step Four: Let the attitude of gratitude commence. Encourage all family members to write down daily something they are grateful for and why. Consider and encourage writing things you are grateful for that happen within your family. For example, I was grateful when Jimmy offered to load the dishwasher without being asked BECAUSE it gave me a few moments to take a deep breath and relax. On the agreed upon last day, take time to read the gratitude notes out loud as a family. 

Step Five Enjoy. Take a deep breath and notice how you feel!

 

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated behavioral health services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written By: Navneet Lahti, Wellness Director at Intuition Wellness Center

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Do This and Find Your Parenting Mojo Again

Dear Experienced Caregivers,

I am of the belief that we have a crisis on our hands. And this is important. Parenting is not living up to the expectations many of us had for it. In fact, it has been full of disappointments and unexpected challenges. I, for one, thought I would have a whole lot more fun and be a whole lot better at this parenting thing than I actually am. Don’t get me wrong, I understood it would be hard, but I must not have read the fine print, because I didn’t know that it would be this hard.

I think I’ve lost my parenting mojo.

                             Signed,

                                     Every Parent

 

Raise your hand if any of these things are familiar to you:

  1. Staying late at work to avoid the hassles at home.
  2. Preferring to play a game on your phone than play with your kids.
  3. Immersing yourself in errands and projects so as to avoid unstructured time with your children.
  4. Escaping to your home bathroom, at times, because you need a “moment” that has nothing to do with a movement.
  5. Agreeing to allow video game play or other screen time at otherwise restricted times because it will give you breathing room.

Did you raise your hand to at least one? Then you may have lost your parenting mojo, too. If you’re feeling uninspired and lacking joy in your relationship with your child, then let me share a secret that helps me find my parenting mojo again each and every time.

Give them your full attention. That’s the secret ingredient. The exact thing that you may have been avoiding or finding difficult, is the thing that will bring you back to a connected place with them.

If you are the parent or caregiver of multiple children, schedule a special time with each. Let your child choose a developmentally-appropriate screen-free activity for 20 minutes. And then? Play with them. Really notice them– their mannerisms, the way that their hair curls behind one ear, their enjoyment (or lack thereof) in the activity. Don’t judge any of it, just notice. No running off to the bathroom. No important calls or texts. No avoiding.

When’s the last time that you were fully present with your child? When’s the last time that you allowed yourself to play?

Join special guest, Kimberly Lewis, MEd, Early Childhood Educator, for Joyful Parenting, the next topic of Intuition Wellness Center’s monthly Parents’ Heart-to-Heart.

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated behavioral health services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written By: Dr. Brandy Baker, Co-Founder and Clinical & Training Director at Intuition Wellness Center

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Creating Calm by Creating Routines

School is ending and summer’s here! Children are excited and may be looking forward to no homework, sleeping in, and more freedom! As parents you might be worried about what to do to keep your child busy and out of trouble while keeping your own frustration level low. This is a great time to begin to establish a summer routine for your household. Establishing a routine now will also help with transitioning back to school.

5 Reasons Routines Can be Helpful to Both You & Your Kids:

  1. Kids feel less anxious. Routines create predictability. Kids feel less anxious when they can anticipate what’s next. Expectations that are clear and consistent help children to feel safe and secure.
  2. Kids transition more easily. Routines insure that important tasks are completed without the last minute pressure of the clock.
  3. Kids learn responsibility. As kids learn routines they will be able to complete tasks without your help. As they feel successful, confidence grows.
  4. Kids’ nervous system relax. Routines support a calm environment. This saves both you and your child from countless reminders and potential upsets.
  5. Kids receive positive attention. Routines provide opportunities to spend nurturing time together. Routines can provide a touchstone for positive connection.

Tips for Creating Successful Routines

  1. Take time to sit down and decide what routines are most important. It’s best when all caregivers are on the same page.
  2. Make sure that your child is developmentally able to complete the tasks related to the routine.
  3. Let kids know ahead of time that you are planning on putting a new routine in place.
  4. Start with one routine, master it, do it long enough to make it a habit.
  5. Write it down and post it so expectations are clear.
  6. Practice it with your children until they have mastered the routine.
  7. Offer TONS of praise each time your child successfully completes the task.
  8. Stay consistent. Your nerves will be less frayed and your home much more calm. The effort it takes is worth it!

Involving children in age-appropriate chores can also become part of your family’s daily routine. Think your kiddo is too young for chores? Think again! Even a 2-year-old can put dirty clothes in a hamper! A child who makes contributions to the household also gets to experience themselves as a helpful member of the family.

Interested in other ideas to calm your child’s nervous system? Join me on June 19 for a Parents’ Heart-to-Heart:

Parents’ Heart-to-Heart: Help Your Child Calm Their Nervous System

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated behavioral health services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written By: Navneet Lahti, LCSW; Wellness Director,  Child & Family Clinician

 

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Stop Power Struggles, Make Peace with Your Child

Power Struggles

It’s 7:21 am, you have exactly four minutes until you HAVE to leave the house. Your child finally walks to the front door, “ready” to go… with NO shoes. You love them so much, but instantly you can feel your face turn red. You’ve already been nagging them all morning. “Wake up!” “Hurry up!” “Chew with your mouth closed!” And now, they’ve walked out of their room, ready to go, with no shoes! You look at them and say, “Go put your shoes on! We are going to be late again!” Your child cries, “I’m not gonna wear shoes and you can’t make me!” And away we go. Another battle begins.

How many of us can relate to a situation like this? As a result, it may feel like we are always focused on the negative, constantly wasting time and energy, nagging and caught up in power struggles. Maybe it feels like your child is entitled or lacks follow through. Okay, one last question, does it ever feel like you have to walk your child through the most basic daily routines and expectations? The struggle is real!

These issues are extremely common, and a major point of contention among families I support. One set of tools I have always been fascinated by and have witnessed the power of, time and time again, are the techniques and practices presented by Love and Logic. Love and Logic is an approach to parenting built on respect, trust and understanding. I have witnessed minor tweaks in language move mountains even in the most challenging of situations. These techniques are easy to implement, though require intentionality, allowing you to take back your healthy control by neutralizing arguments and using enforceable statements and positive reinforcement. Whether it’s a power struggle with your child about putting on their shoes or addressing the “tornado” your teen left in the bathroom, Love and Logic is an impactful approach worth exploring.

Love & Logic Applied:

A teenager refused to clean their room and is requesting that Mom take them to the mall. This mom’s approach demonstrates enforceable and neutralizing statements.

Teen: “Mom, can you take me to the mall to meet up with my friends?”

Mom: “Sure. As soon as your bedroom is clean, I’d be happy to drive you to the mall.” *this is an example of an enforceable statement*

Teen: “Ugh, Mom, that is not fair. I don’t have time! I need to go now.”

Mom: “Aw, bummer. I hope you can figure this out.”


Teen: “So, can you take me?”

Mom: “I would be happy to, as soon as your room is clean.” *again, using an enforceable statement*

Teen: “I don’t care what you said! This isn’t fair! You never let me do anything!”

Mom: “Sweetie, I love you too much to argue with you.” (walks away) *here we see the use of a neutralizing statement*

There are many ways to learn more about Love and Logic!  If you would like to schedule parent coaching rooted in Love and Logic principals, give us a call or check out a sampling on May 15 at our next Parents’ Heart-to-Heart.

Learn about Intuition Wellness Center’s next Parents’ Heart-to-Heart Series… Love & Logic: Behavioral strategies that support your relationship with your child.

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated behavioral health services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting pediatric professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

 

Written By: Emily Fenton, LCSW; Child & Family Clinician at Intuition Wellness Center

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ASD Girls: It is only a special part of who you are

ASD, Autism Awareness,

As a sister to a person with autism, I feel very fortunate to be able to write this post during the month of April—Autism Awareness Month! Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is classified as a neurodevelopmental disability, meaning symptoms appear during early developmental periods (18 months- 6 years). The most common characteristics of autism include social communication difficulties. The prevalence has nearly doubled since 2004, shifting rates from 1 in 125 children in the United States to 1 in 68, and 1 in 54 among boys. While there is no known single cause of ASD, research suggests early supports and services improve long-term outcomes.

National Autism Awareness Month, first developed by the Autism Society, was created to spread awareness of the condition. Since then it has expanded to promote acceptance, appreciation, and inclusion. Autism Awareness Month has been celebrated in many ways, including #LIUB (i.e., light it up blue), by wearing blue, or using blue outdoor lightbulbs.

At the Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in November, 2017, participants focused on particular challenges for women and girls with disabilities. This year, the United Nations made a commitment to empowerment. Namely, the UN is discussing forms of discrimination and other unique barriers among women and girls with ASD with key stakeholders and policy makers. Some examples of these barriers include access to education, lower rates of employment, greater likelihood of physical and psychological violence, and inadequate sexual and reproductive health services.

Emily, 23, describes her own perspective on discrimination:

“Due to my autism diagnosis, I felt discriminated against myself in employment, and that made me feel like an outsider. I felt like I was a freak because of my autism. Eventually, I learned that everyone should be protected from discrimination in the work force. We are all created equally, regardless of our weaknesses, disabilities, race, religion, sexual preferences, etc. Had I not realized that, I probably never would have gotten where I am today – working two part-time jobs.”

When asked about practical ways people without ASD can empower girls on the spectrum, Emily identified the struggles of communication with “neurotypicals,” and offered some advice:

“Though acquiring social graces always seems to have their obstacles, no one should give up so easily. People often believe that if you’re different from them, they wouldn’t accept you as a friend. Discrimination, especially against a person with a mental disorder, is one of the greatest challenges that we face. As hurtful and cruel as it may be, it happens. Don’t let doubts, fear, and uncertainty get in the way. Autism doesn’t define you as a person; it is only a special part of who you are.”

Spread Autism Awareness:

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated behavioral health services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting pediatric professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written by: Megan Beardmore, MA; PhD Candidate in School Psychology

 

 

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3 Ways to Create Energy from Within

It’s impossible to nurture and bring joy to our children when we, ourselves, are depleted. Yet feeling strong, vibrant and alive, even in the face of the energy and time demands of parenting, is possible! Rather than attempting to find energy outside of yourself in the form of sugary foods, caffeine, or over working, seek Prana!

Prana

A Sanskrit word often used in yoga, prana translates to life force or vital principle. We maintain and build prana through the quality of our days and through the food that we eat. From a yogic perspective, prana is key to both creating a healthy body and to nurturing our minds and spirits.

3 Ways to Prana

Breathe Consciously. First, in yoga we do pranayama or breathing exercises. These exercises expand or build prana through conscious breath in conjunction with rhythmic movement. We direct our breath in specific ways in conjunction with a specific count or rhythm. It is also through our breath that we can change or manage our energy and emotions.

TRY THIS: Begin by letting your breath relax to its normal pace and depth.  Once you feel ready, place one hand on your lower abdomen and one on your upper chest. Begin to inhale through the nose conscious filling the abdomen, then expanding the chest and finally lifting the upper clavicle.  When you are ready to exhale, the upper chest area/clavicle area deflates, then the chest area and finally the lower abdomen is drawn in as it too deflates. The breath moves through each segment of the body with a smooth motion.  Take your time as you complete both your inhale and your exhale. Practice a few rounds and begin to notice how you feel.

Slow Down. In addition to taking time to breathe, we can also build prana by taking time to simply slow down, experience a moment of gratitude and notice the magic of our everyday experience.  Spending quiet time in nature also builds and maintains prana.  Even just a little bit of time each day breathing fresh air, feeling the support of the earth and connecting to our sensory experiences can help build and restore our energy.

TRY THIS: When riding in the car and stopping at stop lights, make a little time to pause. Teach your child that what we do at stop lights is take deep breaths and show them how to breathe from the abdomen during these pauses.

Do What You Love. Taking time to do what you love also builds prone. Each of us has had the experience of timelessness when doing what we love. This might be spending time in nature, making art, or spending time with friends. Time stands still, your energy is sustained, and you feel deeply nurtured.

TRY THIS: Take time this month to do what brings you joy. Find a class or activity that supports prana, such as Intuition Wellness Center’s Nurtured Mothering.

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated behavioral health services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written By: Navneet Lahti, LCSW; Wellness Director,  Child & Family Clinician

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Yoga Journey: A personal testimony

When high school senior, Manasa Swaminathan, joined the Intuition Wellness Center team as an intern, she didn’t anticipate the positive changes she would experience in her personal life. However, in her journey to learn more about mental health and wellness, Manasa began a daily practice of yogathat has had a lasting impact. Here’s what Manasa has to say about this…

Yoga. What Does it Mean?

I have often heard the word “yoga” throughout my life– at home, on the tv, at school, and in stores. What does it actually mean? “Yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning “to unify.” However, from a philosophical standpoint, yoga’s meaning suggests self-integration of the personality and the awakening of a “higher self.” Yoga, as a science, is a culmination of techniques that allows us to connect with our mind and body.

 

Benefits and My Own Experience.

A regular yoga practice holds numerous benefits. Although I found yoga captivating when I was starting to learn more about it last year, I didn’t understand the meaning and benefits until recently. I have been doing a project at my school on the effects of yoga, art and martial arts on mental health. I have been reading research papers and books and helping Intuition Wellness Center with certain projects pertaining to this topic; however, I never completely understood the essence of yoga until I began practicing it as a part of my own daily routine. Navneet Lahti, LCSW, the Wellness Director at Intuition Wellness, taught me a practice of Kundalini Yoga that is designed to lessen anxiety and stress. I implemented this and a daily art activity in my everyday life and I have witnessed many positive changes.

Within a few weeks after I began practicing yoga regularly I started experiencing better sleep. I’ve struggled with sleep since I started high school.  My sleep schedule has always been shaped by the number of assignments that I had to complete each night. I hypothesize that the reason I’m getting better sleep is because this yoga practice allows me to de-stress and de-clutter my thoughts. I’ve also noticed that I’m better able to concentrate. Due in part to technology, I have a tendency to get distracted which, historically,  has led to procrastination and additional stress. Since I began practicing yoga, I have found that my mind doesn’t drift as much as it used to, which has allowed me to grasp and learn about things at a quicker rate.

The research supports my personal experience. In fact, studies have shown that regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and even IQ scores. Yoga offers other benefits, too, such as better posture and prevention of digestive problems. I’m not going to lie. Getting into the daily routine of practicing art and yoga was difficult. However, once I began a consistent practice, I have witnessed so many positive changes in my life that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Written By: Manasa Swaminathan Senior at BASIS– Oro Valley, Student Intern at Intuition Wellness Center.

 

 

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated behavioral health services and wellness programs, such as yoga, for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

 

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