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Why and How to Limit Screen Time

Why and How to Limit Screen Time

Screen time has been a hot topic of discussion among parents, educators, researchers, and therapists. Research has shown that too much screen time for children can cause increased risk for delays in cognitive and social development. These effects can be both direct, as a result of the task demands of mobile screen activities (e.g., videogames), and indirect, as children often refrain from more developmentally beneficial activities in favor of screen time. For example, mobile screen time typically involves frequent attention shifts and little demand on inhibitory control (ability to inhibit potent reactions for an often less desirable response, such as...

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When "paying attention" fails...try being present.

When "paying attention" fails...try being present.

How many times have you asked a child to "pay attention"? If you are like most adults who interact with children, you have probably uttered these words numerous times. Attention is vital for life skills, academic tasks and creative endeavors, and it is essential for meaningful social interaction. Paying attention is an expectation in a school environment, and it is perceived as a sign of respect. Yet even though we teach our kids many things, like how to ride a bike, how to brush teeth, how to add and subtract, and how to tie shoes, very few adults ever explicitly teach...

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Choose love, be kind. Be the change.

Choose love, be kind. Be the change.

The tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School occurred on a day created to celebrate love. There are no words to describe how devastating the after-effects of such a horrific crime are, not only directly to the victims and their loved ones, but also indirectly to the most vulnerable members of our culture at large. Across the country, people have come to realize that the rise in atrocious acts of school violence are horrifying symptoms of a much larger disease.  Human violence is an extreme product of our most primal urges to fight, defend ourselves and survive. These urges are...

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Strategies for transforming "I can't!" into "I did it!"

Strategies for transforming "I can't!" into "I did it!"

As a parent of four children and a pediatric occupational therapist, I have heard the statement, "I can't!" countless times. Typically these words are emotionally charged and often accompanied by some sort of dramatic actions as the child protests the task that has set the very weight of the world on his shoulders. As adults, this can be frustrating because we know the child actually can (or the child can with help). We have the insight to understand that "I can't!" usually means one of two things: 1."I think this task is too hard", "I don't think I have the...

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How to stay calm when other people lose control

How to stay calm when other people lose control

I learned very early on as a parent that it is virtually impossible to look cool when your child is melting down in an epic screaming snotty flailing angry mess on the dirty floor of a public place. Feelings of frustration, shame and loss of control are magnified even more when others are watching in pity and judgment.  I have also learned that when others are aiming intense emotions at me, like anger, sadness and fear, it can be difficult to avoid the impulse to react with my own strong emotions. Personal emotions can be painful, but there is something even more unsettling...

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