3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Child’s Mental Health

Every parent wants his/her child to feel happy.  Happiness is driven by a series of choices.  How we choose to feed our children, discipline our children, care for our children all impacts their mental health.  It isn’t one factor that leads to depression, anger, irritability or anxiety.  Sit back and take stock of the daily decisions you make as a parent.  Where you see there is need for improvement – seek out positive change.  It all begins with you.  And I have a funny feeling you are up for the task.  Don’t sell yourself short…dig in and get to work.

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What Your Child’s Anger Really Means

Anger in a child can be baffling for a parent.  Where did it come from?  And why?  It can trigger your own anger as you see your child begin to spin out of control; lashing out at those closest without provocation or regret.  As a parent, I struggle to keep my angry feelings in check when I see the flares begin to fire from across the room.  I want to rescue one child and reprimand another.

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ADHD: What It Means And How To Help

ADHD is an interesting diagnosis.  Interesting in the sense that so many of the symptoms reflect your average child.  We have to be careful before we wade into the waters of diagnosis.

Please use caution before jumping to any conclusions about the mental health of your child, patient or student.  Inadvertently telling parents their child is ADHD, without a proper clinical diagnosis, is dangerous.   

Children could be exhibiting symptoms of anxiety or depression and NOT ADHD.  Or a child could be exhibiting symptoms of all three diagnoses.  ADHD, Anxiety, and Depression can express themselves similarly in children.

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What To Expect In Your Child’s Therapy Session

The idea of sending your child, whole family or yourself to therapy can be an intimidating thought but it doesn’t have to be.  For many, scary stereotypes of therapy sessions gone horribly wrong swirl around their brain.  Troubling ideas of what therapy means keep them from crossing their emotional boundaries and they convince themselves they can solve their own problems.  Even you may think to yourself, “I don’t need a professional’s help!”

I can promise you all of these ideas and stereotypes are wrong. Therapists are real people with lives that are just as “imperfect” as the clients they help.  They do not have all the answers to life and should not pretend they do.  Are there therapists who have gone rogue?  Sure.  But all professions contain a few of those.  Don’t let them speak for the greater population.  Most therapists I know are warm, inviting, engaging, open-minded and, generally, have a true desire to help people better their lives.  They should be well-educated and culturally-sensitive.  Many times, they possess humor and a deep love of people.

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17 Ways To Improve Your Emotional Health In 2017

  1. Acknowledge your child’s feelings and then empathize.
  2. Create healthy sleep routines.  Settle and rise the same everyday.
  3. Help your child reduce their cortisol levels.  (laugh, hug, cry, exercise)
  4. Establish daily vigorous exercise routines for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  5. Reduce technology use in your home especially in the evening hours.
  6. Reduce or eliminate sugar and simple carbohydrates in your diet.
  7. Try 10 minutes of meditation a day.
  8. Start journaling to sort out troublesome feelings and thoughts.
  9. Make family meals a priority.
  10. Find a fun family activity every member loves and do it together!
  11. Teach your child social skills by role modeling appropriate social behavior.  (Ex: put your phone down and make eye contact while your child or partner is speaking to you.  Everyone likes to feel heard when they are communicating.)
  12. Seek therapy if you, your child or your family is struggling.
  13. Get outside for fresh air and sunlight everyday.
  14. Give your children lots of free time to play.
  15. Reduce or eliminate processed foods from your family’s diet.
  16. Eat whole foods, omega-3 foods, and fermented foods.
  17. Change what isn’t working in your family.

Write Away Worry


Write away your child’s worry!  If your child is dealing with a great deal of anxiety; grab your paper and a pencil and let them start writing.  They can write about anything.  It is the act of writing that pulls the brain out of worry mode.  Keep writing until the anxiety subsides.  Each time the anxiety re-emerges; get out your notebook.  You are helping your child’s brain switch gears.  You will be happy to know it works just the same for adults. Happy journaling!

A Fun Feeling Exercise for Kids


Some families are more comfortable discussing their feelings than others.  First of all, be okay with that.  All families are different, each with its own style of operation.  No one is asking that you sit around holding hands all night singing Kum Ba Yah with each other.  Unless that is your thing, then go for it.  I always think it is best to start out simple.  Get the conversation going in a non-threatening way.

I did this exercise time and time again in therapy sessions with children and teens.  I love it because it works, plain and simple.  So give it a whirl at home tonight.

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