Category: School

Numerous Methods to Get pleasure from Coloring Pages

As of this writing, 5 of the top 30 titles on Amazon’s best-seller list are adult coloring mlp coloring pages books. Just why have adult coloring books end up being such a phenomenon?

If you read any of the numerous posts and posts on adult coloring books, you’ll rapidly discover a couple of constant remarks. Advocates utilize descriptors like “meditative,” “mindful,” and “spiritual” to discuss the benefits; others imply that shading in the various designs are a method to focus, develop a work of charm, or find individual complete satisfaction through interruption and diversion. And some even go as far as to propose that coloring books are a type of personal treatment, even “art treatment,” sustaining the concept that coloring is an inner experience with impacts just like meditation or yoga. People who gather for adult coloring book occasions are now described as “colorists;” these groups enthusiastically announce the psychological health advantages of shading within the lines while sharing numerous coloring ideas for health and well-being with their Crayola carrying peers.

There is some questionable (pun planned) proof that the repetitive nature of coloring may be a type of self-regulation and self-soothing. Simply read the numerous comments on social media and different blog sites on the subject and it is simple to see that coloring serves a function for those individuals who are in requirement of some tension decrease.

But as an art therapist and psychotherapist, I do sigh aloud each time I check out yet again another testimonial on exactly what seem to be unexpectedly the ever-increasing advantages and individual surprises resulting from a coloring book. Here’s why:

Coloring is Not Mindfulness. Initially, a relationship with an adult coloring book is not a kind of meditation nor is it a form of mindfulness. That the principles of meditation and mindfulness are being used to describe coloring pre-made designs is, in fact, insulting to these practices that have deep cultural, and spiritual foundations. Let’s appreciate these customs along with the growing understanding by means of research of how meditation my little pony coloring pages and mindfulness specify practices that supply far-flung positive health results as well as individual benefits. Till proven otherwise, your coloring book is not an auto-pilot to a mindfulness or meditative experience. In fact, for some it might really lean toward fascination, strengthening the need to complete all those designs in all those books you now acquired (aka “one more thing on your already stressful order of business”).

Coloring is Not Creative Art Expression. While completing a coloring page is undoubtedly a “feel-good” experience for numerous, it is undoubtedly a far different experience from genuine imaginative expression. The advantages of actual art making (using one’s hands to produce from creativity) are numerous pony coloring book pages and are well-documented, including not only relaxation by means of tension hormone reduction, but also increased cognitive capabilities and attention period, decreases in discomfort and fatigue perception, improved self-awareness and boosted sense of lifestyle.

While just about every self-help, art-based activity roaming Pinterest or WordPress is declared as a type of personal therapy these days, the actual psychological health and wellness benefits of art treatment are not discovered in the stock and trade of any coloring book. It is the right-hemisphere-to-right-hemisphere, attuned, sensory-based, embodied and reflexive convergence aspects of the art treatment relationship that support art’s reparative powers. While I have no doubt that many colorists “feel better” after a session with a coloring book and even a group coloring fest, it is not art therapy by any meaning.

Scheduling Your Child’s Time: A Balancing Act

If you’re like me, the beginning of the summer is spent planning how your child’s fall schedule will look. If we wait until the very last minute, the dance and gymnastics classes will fill up, the good Little League coach’s team will be complete; and the carpools will have already been organized—without us in them. So unless you have taken care of all these things in the spring (and if you have, I envy you!), at least part of the summer is spent planning for the fall. Which brings me to my next thought…how much organized activity is necessary and healthy for kids?


It is definitely important to encourage extra-curricular activities. Too much downtime is inevitably spent watching TV, playing on the computer and bickering with siblings. In addition, it is important for kids to learn how to balance mandatory activities like homework, chores, religious education and tooth brushing with elective, fun activities. It is also critical for kids to work on the skill of follow-through. Kids and teens should be exposed to new experiences in order to broaden their horizons. When they learn multiple sports, try different instruments, plays in a chess club, they learn that one can stretch both body and your brain and perhaps find a true passion.


While creating a fall schedule for your child that encourages extracurricular exploration, it is also important to keep in mind that for all children, there is a fine line between enough activity and too much! If you follow the five steps below you can be confident that you will strike exactly the right balance:


1. Your child should have only one regular after-school activity on a given day (this includes mandatory activities like religious education). On a weekend day, it’s okay to have one mandatory activity (like religious school) and one fun activity (like soccer practice), as long as your child is happy about it.


2. The majority of elementary school age children or younger should not be formally committed to an activity more than two weekdays and one weekend day per week. Even kids who want to participate in an organized activity more often should be discouraged. They don’t realize that they are likely to ‘burn out’ physically and emotionally. The rare child will become professional or go to the Olympics!


3. Most kids can use one weekday off from any formal activities—usually Friday is a good day for this–so they have time to play with friends.


4. Younger kids should have activities scheduled right after school, so they aren’t tired and already settled in at home.


5. Once signed up for an activity, a child should be strongly encouraged not to miss a practice or session. It is important for kids to learn that they have a commitment to a team, that follow-through is important and that activities cost money. Therefore, except for truly extenuating circumstances, complaints of  “I’m tired, can I skip this week” or “I don’t like this can I quit”, should be met with, “You need to stick it out until the end of the semester and then we can reconsider.”

Is Your Child Overscheduled?

You spent months ensuring  timetables coincided, courses got booked, and materials were just right. But despite ending up with the ideal schedule, something does not seem quite right. Your daughter is not as excited about soccer this year, and your son complains about having to go to school every morning. Unfortunately, this is the scenario facing many parents of children ranging from pre-school to high school.


Often it is the obligation parents feel to keep up with society that causes them to carry on with stressful schedules. Research has consistently found high rates of anxiety disorders in children and youth. (between 20 and 26 percent, depending on the ages).  Anxiety can lead to depression, and depression can lead to not wanting to do anything at all.


Warning signs your child is overscheduled


Your child feels lethargic or tired. His first reaction is not of excitement when you mention having to leave for school or for hockey practice. Getting up in the morning may also be difficult.


She seems unhappy, or just “okay.” She doesn’t laugh as much as she used to and has become less talkative.


He complains of stomachaches, shortness of breath, headaches or dizziness.


It is impossible to get the family together for dinner most nights. Everyone has conflicting schedules.


There is no time for relaxation, play, or even for the children to help at home with daily activities.


Tips for Slowing Down


Learn to prioritize


Grab your calendar and make time for what is essential first: spending time together as a family, relaxation and play. Once you have that time set apart, you can begin adding in other activities.


Involve your child


You may think hockey is the best choice for your child, but he may prefer swimming or soccer. Childhood is the time to discover. Make sure you ask your child every semester how he feels about the activities he is taking, before booking again.


Limit the amount of co-curricular activities


A healthy balance usually involves one physical activity per week and one arts-related activity. Keep in mind each activity involves practice time.


Sit with your child to do homework.


By connecting with your child over homework you’ll learn how your child is doing both academically and socially. You’ll also  have the opportunity to teach your child great values and skills, such as discipline and organization. Your child will feel supported, loved and understood.


Make sure there is time to read and get a good rest.


Reading is a very important habit. It stimulates the intellect and imagination and leads to recognition from teachers and society. This alone will make a dramatic impact in your child’s self-confidence, which in turn, will spread to other areas.


Re-evaluate often


Everyone changes, especially children. What your daughter likes today may not be what she likes tomorrow. Take the time to explore options together, and show your child that she is the one in control of those decisions.


Today’s world requires creative thinkers and leaders. Cutting back on scheduled activities and empowering your child to create, socialize or play will decrease stress and help them flourish into leaders.

Why Children Misbehave: 8 Reasons and 8 Solutions

One of the most common expressions parents can be heard saying is, “I don’t understand why he’s/she’s doing that”.  There are eight, very common reasons why children misbehave. It is extremely useful for parents to know these because if they can pinpoint the root cause of the misbehavior, they can be more successful at reducing it.


Listed here are the eight most common reasons why children misbehave and a solution to help reduce or eliminate the problem:


1) They want to test whether caregivers will enforce rules.


Children’s main job is to figure out how their complex world works.  In order to master the things they need to at each developmental level they will test their parents.  They are literally trying to see where the boundaries are, or, if they exist at all.  Although testing is frustrating for parents they should know that it is normal and that this is their chance to really make a difference in their child’s life. How?  By setting boundaries and limits and consistently following through on them.  This way, their children will adopt positive values and gain self-esteem


2) They experience different sets of expectations between school and home.


Consistency is hugely important in making a child feel safe and secure and able to have a comfortable understanding of the world and how it works.  If they are receiving mixed messages from home and school they will feel uneasy inside and express this through more testing than normal and will feel an inner sense of stress.


The best thing a parent can do is learn a simple method to discipline and then have a conversation with their child’s teacher.  During this conversation, the parents should explain their method and ask how the teacher handles situations.  The goal is to try and use some of the same language at both the school and at home.  With a consistent, clear message, children will rise to the expectation and be happier in the process.


3) They do not understand the rules, or are held to expectations that are beyond their developmental levels.


Sometimes, parent expectations go beyond their child’s abilities. Discipline and guidance strategies should always take into account the child’s developmental level. For example, it would be unreasonable to tell a 2 year old to clean up his room and expect that he will finish the job. At this age, children need a lot of support and guidance to do a job like this. Reading books about what children can do at each age is helpful with this problem so that parents can know what is developmentally appropriate for them to expect of their child.


4) They want to assert themselves and their independence.


Children begin to show their desire for more independence at around age two. They start to want control over certain areas of their life so that they can feel capable and independent.  It doesn’t take long for children to identify the areas they CAN control, much to the chagrin of parents. Situations like eating, sleeping, brushing teeth, and dressing are great examples of times when children recognize their power to get you upset and therefore make them feel in control.


What is the solution? Give them lots of choice in their daily life so that they feel in control of their life in other, more positive ways.  As well, it is key to learn a simple, loving method to discipline so that misbehaviors are taken care of easily, without any emotion required.  Without emotion, there is no reason for the child to want to rebel in order to gain control.


5) They feel ill, bored, hungry or sleepy.


When children’s basic needs aren’t met regularly each day they are always more likely to misbehave, cry, throw a tantrum, etc. The solution to this is simple: have a routine where the child eats, has individual play time, parent and child play or interaction time and sleeps.


6) They lack accurate information and prior experience.


When children do something such as go to cross a road for the first time, they do not know that they are supposed to look both ways, so we all know that we must explain to them to look left and look right, etc.  However, the same technique needs to be applied to discipline situations.  Children will repeat a behavior over and over until they have accurate information as to what they should be doing instead and prior experience of the consequence if they continue the behavior.


Using clear, concise language stating what they “need” to be doing rather than what they “shouldn’t” be doing is extremely important.  Better to say, “Carry this carefully”, rather than, “Don’t drop this”. In other words, give them something to use as prior knowledge for next time.


7) They have been previously “rewarded” for their misbehavior with adult attention.


No parent would ever think of purposefully rewarding bad behavior, but it subtly happens quite often.


Remember, negative attention is still attention so if they misbehave and their parent either yells or spanks, they have just been rewarded. If the child whines, cries or throws a tantrum and mom or dad eventually gives in to make them become quiet, they have just been rewarded. The solution?  Say what you expect without emotion and then follow through consistently if they continue the negative behavior.  The two keys here are: no emotion and little talking.


8) They copy the actions of their parents.


The best teacher of how to misbehave or act and speak inappropriately is by watching mom or dad misbehave or act and speak inappropriately.  Remember, what children see and experience in the home is what their normal is.  So, if they see mom and dad yelling, they will yell.  If they get spanked, they will likely use hitting to express their anger or frustration.  If they hear, “What?” instead of “Pardon?” that is what they will use. How can we expect any different?


Although not always simple, parents need to look at parenting as a life lesson in personal growth.  I always say that children can make open and willing parents into the best human beings in the world because they have the opportunity to practice being their best selves every single day of the year.  Looking at parenting this way makes it easier to catch oneself more often and start demonstrating good behavior by modeling it.

Transition Tips…From Summer Fun to School Excitement!

The dog days of summer are upon us, popsicles in hand, sprinklers spinning, and not a care in the world for most school-aged children; but in a few short weeks…move over summer, here comes the school year!


The beginning of the school year marks the time when parents and students alike get back in step with schedules, organizing their home and getting off on the right foot for the entire year. Most parents get excited, remembering their childhood memories and “butterflies” of getting ready for school, as they get everything pulled together from classroom lists to new lunch goodies for their children. Children are eager and ready to start school and adjust to the change in schedule and pace, as they check their “to-do” and supply lists with their parents.


To help ease the transition from summertime fun to school time excitement, here are a few tips and suggestions to keep in mind to promote a favorable experience for parents and children:


Make a list of healthy-living goals for the entire family for the school year and post them in a visible location. This creates accountability. Goals could include allotting at least 30 minutes to reading before bed or practicing spelling words while walking before or after dinner.


Start every day right with a healthy breakfast such as oatmeal, eggs or fruit. Breakfast is the meal that keeps you going all day.


Avoid the morning rush. Develop a smooth morning routine and follow it religiously to avoid tardiness and stress. Happy mornings equal happy students.


Adults and children should get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Make bedtime more enjoyable for everyone by establishing a routine of bath-time followed by reading-time and instill good sleeping and reading habits by following this routine as much as possible.


Stay organized, create structure and “places” for everything — and within reach — so your child knows where to find things and can rely on them being there.


Regularly have your child’s eyes examined. Twenty-five percent of children struggle with vision problems that could impact learning. Eighty percent of everything a child learns in his first 12 years comes the eyes. If corrective lenses are needed, select lighter, stronger and safer lenses such as Airwear.


Help your child be proactive with homework and studying. Work on your own projects alongside your child to model work behavior and to show support.


Pack smart, healthy and well-balanced lunches that include fiber-rich fruits, veggies with healthy dipping sauces and water in reusable water bottles. Coordinate a trip to your local vegetable farm or farmer’s market, giving your kids money and full control of lunch-box ingredients. On packaged foods, encourage kids to read labels to be mindful of what’s going into their bodies.


Take an active role in your child’s learning and development by volunteering at school, coaching after-school activities or organizing active, educational gatherings. Keep the spirit of the activity positive and applaud each child for his/her own contributions. When home, hang your child’s work proudly for the entire family to see.


When your child succeeds, enthusiastically share the newswith family members, letting her know your excitement for her achievements and hard work.


Feed the imagination by creating balance between scheduled and non-scheduled, spontaneous activities. Kids watch everything you do; so if you’re over-scheduled and over-worked, they’ll emulate that behavior. Learn to relax so your kids can, too.


Teach your children the value of uninterrupted, unpowered alone time. This includes reading, napping, playing outside, climbing trees — anything that exercises the mind, body and soul and doesn’t include vegging out in front of the TV or game station.

You’re a Good Mom!

By Gary M. Unruh, MSW LCSW


You’re a good mom. How do I know? I’ve worked with more than 2,500 families in my 40 years as a child and family therapist, and I’ve seen the uncertainty on so many mothers’ faces. They all wonder if they’re doing enough, being there enough, and loving enough. They’re not concerned about the crazy hours, the lack of pay, or the meager amount of appreciation. They just want to know they’re doing right by their kids. In my opinion, moms are truly amazing, and it’s high time we give them some high fives for what they’re doing right. Here are my “high fives to moms” list. (If you see yourself doing a lot of these things, count yourself in the Good Mom’s Club.)


1. Moms are on call 25/8. Moms always squeeze in an extra hour a day and an extra day a week, yet there’s always more to do. Shopper, health and mental care provider, nutritionist, educator, sports specialist, chauffeur, cook and bottle washer, spiritual counselor, bodyguard—and that’s just a part of the workload. And in between all of these things, a mom must be a calm, productive employee, mother, and wife.


2. Moms display courageous endurance. Iron Man athletes have nothing on moms. The last few months of pregnancy, giving birth to a baby, and the unbelievable endurance needed during the first month of a baby’s life require every bit of strength a woman possesses. I vote for a new Olympic sport: parenting—birth through the first month. Or better yet, the “Parental Order of the Red Heart” medal.


3. Moms are nurturers extraordinaire. Every time a kid gets hurt (physically or emotionally), Mom is there to offer a hug, a kind smile, and comforting words. And it doesn’t matter whether Mom’s super busy, tired, or feeling like a failure, she’s always willing to offer warm attention. Priceless!


4. Moms serve as educators and activities specialists. Moms have got to be ready after a hard day at work to be tutors (even if you don’t know “new” math), police officers (“Spelling—now”), and supervisors of missing homework. Then they kick in their time management expertise to fit in swim practice, piano lessons, play dates, field trips, and weekend soccer games. Oh! Can’t forget a mom’s cheerleading skills—no matter how her day went or how good (or not so good) her kid is at something.


5. Moms are kid protectors. “Don’t mess with my kid” is Mom’s specialty. She deals with the real, scary problem of predators as well as the everyday stuff—a coach who doesn’t see her kid reallycould be the next Carmelo Anthony, the teacher who’s way too strict, and the playground bully. Keep your dukes up, Mom; you never know what’s coming next.


Moms, you’re doing so many things right. Focus on the positive and set aside the negative. You’re a good mom!

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