Dr. Weir

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “How do I prepare my child for a new sibling?”   Welcoming a new baby is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Where will we put the nursery? What will we do about childcare? And how on earth will we prepare our older kids for a new baby?! The thought of adjusting your child to a new sibling can be worrisome, as many kids struggle with the idea of their parents’ love and attention being shared with another person.    So how can parents prepare their kid for a new sibling?     1. Postpone major changes   Adjusting to a new sibling is a major change, so try not to make any other big changes around the time of the baby’s birth. If you need to move your kid to a different bedroom to make way for the nursery, do it well before the baby is born to give them time to adjust. If you planned on potty training soon, consider waiting until the baby is a few months old. Also, know that it’s common for older kids to regress when a new baby arrives by going back to   wetting the bed   or wanting a bottle. This is their way of expressing that they still need you.   2. Get them involved   Involve your child in preparing for the new baby’s arrival. This will make them feel included in your family’s change and help to build excitement for the new addition. Let them help you decorate the nursery and take them shopping for bottles and onesies. Ask them their opinions on baby names and bring them to appointments so they can hear the baby’s heartbeat. When your baby is born, give them jobs to do, such as feeding or singing lullabies. Just don’t overdo it – let them lead on how much responsibility they’d like to take.   3. Manage expectations   Read your child books about babies. Show them their newborn photos or baby book and tell them stories about their infant phase. Ask them about their dreams for things to do with their new sibling – teaching them how to play baseball, walking them in a stroller, reading to them, etc. Encourage their ideas but also let them know that the baby will not be an instant playmate. Share that in the beginning, babies mostly eat, sleep, and poop, but in due time they will be an eager playmate to share adventures with their big brother or sister.   4. Explain the delivery game plan   Explain to your child how they’ll be cared for while you are in the hospital. Let them know who will be picking them up, where they’ll be staying, and when they’ll be able visit you and the new baby. Get them excited about having a few sleepovers at their friend’s or grandparents’ house while mom and dad are away.   5. Amp up attention   It’s important to give your older child lots of attention as they adjust to the adorable new sheriff in town. Hang a photo of your older child by your hospital bed so they see that they’re always on your mind. Make sure to shower them with lots of praise and remind visitors to give them attention when they come to meet the new baby. Make time for one-on-one bonding with your older child, such as   playing with them  ,     going to a park, or watching a movie together.   6. Give a gift from the baby   One way to ensure the new baby is on your firstborn’s good side is to buy a gift for them that’s “from” the baby. Even if your kid is a little older and realizes a newborn can’t order toys on line, they’ll associate this new, awesome gift as a reminder that the baby is a not a threat to their needs.   7. Acknowledge their feelings   If your kid expresses fear, anger, sadness, or jealousy about gaining a sibling, listen and let them know you understand. Never criticize them for having negative feelings – instead, help them label their emotions and talk about   healthy ways to deal with them   .  Let them know it’s ok to feel upset, but it’s never ok to hurt the baby. Give them a few ideas for   how to vent their frustrations  , such as roaring like a lion or drawing an angry picture.   8. Reassure your love   Your child may be scared that you’re trying to replace them by having a new baby. Let them know that the reason you’re having a baby is to give them a sibling that they will be friends with forever. Remind them that you have enough love for both of them to have an endless supply. Schedule alone time that is just for you to give your older child undivided attention. A great time for this is when baby is sleeping and can’t interrupt. Use this time to cuddle, play, or make your child’s favorite food together.   9. Know when to get help   Some children have an especially difficult time adjusting to the arrival of a new sibling. If your child is distressed or   acting out  , we can help.      
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Laule, S. (2017). New Baby Sibling . University of Michigan. C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Michigan Medicine.  Retrieved from https://www.mottchildren.org/posts/your-child/new-baby-sibling  Gary, J. (n.d.) Preparing Your Child for a New Sibling.  Child Mind Institute . Retrieved from https://childmind.org/article/preparing-child-new-sibling/  Preparing Children for the Birth of a Sibling. (n.d.)  Melbourne Child Psychology & School Psychology Services, Port Melbourne.  Retrieved from https://www.melbournechildpsychology.com.au/blog/preparing-children-for-the-birth-of-a-sibling/  Shinn. M.M. (2018). 5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/5-tips-for-raising-emotionally-intelligent-children     Shinn. M.M. (2019). 8 Tips to Calm Your Kid While Keeping Your Cool.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/8-tips-to-calm-your-kid-while-keeping-your-cool   Shinn. M.M. (2019). My Kid is So Defiant – Is It My Fault?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-is-so-defiant-is-it-my-fault     Shinn. M.M. (2018). My Kid Still Wets the Bed – What Should I Do?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-still-wets-the-bed-what-should-i-do   Shinn. M.M. (2018). The Parents Guide to Play: 9 Tips to Ignite Your Child’s Learning.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/the-parents-guide-to-play-9-tips-to-ignite-your-childs-learning     Volling B. L. (2012). Family transitions following the birth of a sibling: an empirical review of changes in the firstborn's adjustment.  Psychological bulletin ,  138 (3), 497–528. doi:10.1037/a0026921   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). How Do I Prepare My Child for a New Sibling?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/how-do-i-prepare-my-child-for-a-new-sibling

“How do I prepare my child for a new sibling?”

Finding out you’re having a new baby is exciting – but it can also be scary if you have another kid who would rather watch the news than share their parents with another tiny human! Check out our blog on 8 ways to prepare your kid for a new sibling.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      10 Ways to Bond with Your Child as a Foster or Adoptive Dad   Being chosen as a foster or adoptive dad can be one of life’s most fulfilling experiences. But, it can also make a guy a little nervous. When the day comes for you to welcome your child to their new home, it’s normal to worry if you’ll be able to connect with them. The good news is, adoptive and foster fathers are able to form bonds just as strongly as bio-dads.    So what can a foster/adoptive dad do to strengthen the bond with his new child?     1. Prepare to be patient     There’s no need to feel rushed in becoming super close with your new kid, as bonding is a process that happens over time. Practice patience and remember you have a lifetime to establish your relationship and deepen your parent-child connection.      2. Expect some bumps in the road     Expect that your child may be fussy, have trouble sleeping, or not eat much the first few weeks while they transition to their new environment. They may also try to test your limits by acting out, so focus on praising good behaviors to reinforce them.    Check out our pro-tips for dads on increasing kids’ positive behaviors     3. Share responsibilities     Hopefully you’ll have support in tending to your child’s needs either from a significant other, helpful relative, friend, or babysitter. Just remember that a child is most open to bonding after their needs have been met, so make an effort to help with diaper-duty and feedings for younger kids and homework and school pick-ups for older ones. Bandage their owies, cuddle them often, and let them know you’re always there for them.      4. Bond through language     Regardless of your child’s age, talking to them will increase your connection. Read them stories and ask them about their interests, thoughts, and feelings. Kneel down to their level and make eye contact as you talk. Talking to them boosts their vocabulary and makes them feel worthy of your attention.     5. Show em’ the ropes     A great way to reinforce your role as their dad is to teach them life skills. Tell your kid what you’re doing while you’re making dinner, shaving, or washing your car. Give them play-by-plays even when you’re just hanging out or doing housework. This will give your child great memories of all of the things that daddy taught them.      6. Hang family photos     Displaying pictures of your new child is a great way to show them that they’re part of the family and help them feel connected to their home environment. Take pictures of memorable moments and hang them throughout the house for visitors to see. Remember to use phrases like “our home” rather than “my house” – this will help them feel less like an outsider.  If you have an older child, ask if there are any pictures of their biological family they’d like to hang up. Being open and acknowledging their emotions will encourage them to trust you.     7. Allow alone time     Being alone with your kid can be a little scary at first. You may ask yourself things like, “am I going to break the baby?!” or “how can I keep a 10-year-old entertained for 3 hours?!” But alone time is very important for bonding. Hang out with your child while your significant other runs errands. Go for walks, start a craft project together, or play at the park. Quality time with your kid will build your connection and boost your confidence as a new dad.     8. Start some traditions      Establish a few special traditions to give your child something meaningful to look forward to. Some ideas include:    A nightly lullaby and bedtime story     Playing catch at the park on Saturdays    Friday movie night    Sunday morning breakfast with “dad’s famous pancakes”    If your child was adopted from a different country or culture, pick an important holiday from their heritage and celebrate it each year     9. Nurture your relationship     Transitioning into parenthood can challenge any marriage or relationship, especially with the added stress of adjusting an adopted child to a new environment. If you’re in a committed relationship, remember that you’re a team and need to work together in making decisions and overcoming challenges. Lean on each other for support and be open about your feelings. When things have settled in, make time for a monthly date night.   Bumping heads with someone you live with?    Click here      10. Connect through play     Playing with dad makes a child feel connected, loved, and wanted. Choose unstructured, age-appropriate activities that allow your child to get creative and lead through play. Your child will look forward to this special time with you and love the positive attention.    Click here    for more tips on igniting your child’s learning through play     11. Get support     Welcoming a fostered or adopted child can be an amazingly positive experience, but it can also present some challenges. If your child seems to be distressed or angry, or if you’re concerned about how your new child is impacting your marriage or other children, our specialists can help.        
	 CLick here to find a specialists that's right for you 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.     
 
  
       References:   Eppley, S. (2017, September 9). 10 Activities To Bond   With Your Foster Children. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/adoption.com/10-activities-to-bond-with-your-foster-children/amp  Kemp, R. (2011, February 8). The importance of father-child bonding. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.thenational.ae/lifestyle/family/the-importance-of-father-child-bonding-1.467546  Steinberg, G., & Hall, B. (1998). Pact, an Adoption Alliance [Brochure]. Author. Retrieved from https://www.pactadopt.org/app/servlet/documentapp.DisplayDocument?   Bonding With Your Adopted Child. (2019).  What to Expect . Retrieved from https://www.whattoexpect.com/family/bonding-with-your-adopted-child.aspx  Shinn. M.M. (2019). 8 Tips for Managing Conflict with the People You Live With.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/8-tips-for-managing-conflicts-with-the-people-you-live-with   Shinn. M.M. (2018). The Parents Guide to Play: 9 Tips to Ignote Your Child’s Learning.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/the-parents-guide-to-play-9-tips-to-ignite-your-childs-learning   Shinn. M.M. (2018). The P.R.I.D.E. of Fatherhood: 5 Ways That Great Dads Shape Our Mental Health.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/the-pride-of-fatherhood-5-ways-that-great-dads-shape-our-mental-health     How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). 10 Ways to Bond with Your Child as a Foster or Adoptive Dad.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/10-ways-to-bond-with-your-child-as-a-foster-or-adoptive-dad

10 Ways to Bond with Your Child as a Foster or Adoptive Dad

Happy Father’s Day to all you great dad’s out there! This year we’re dedicating our Dad-Day blog to foster and adoptive dads! Check out our top 10 tips for foster and adoptive dads to strengthen the bond with their children.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      10 Tricks for Talking Back and Keeping Safe from Bullies     It used to be that kids would only have to face bullies on the playground or school bus. With today’s technology, kids can be bullied 24/7, day and night, leading to an increase in depression,   suicide   ,  and other mental health issues. Parents want to protect their kids, but shielding them from bullies has become an increasingly difficult task. Fortunately, there are tips you can teach your kids to help them protect themselves.    So how can kids stay safe while standing up for themselves? Here are 10 tricks to share with your children:    1. Understand why      If you have a clear understanding of why people bully, it will be easier not to take their actions to heart. Remind yourself that people often bully because they feel inadequate about themselves and pick on others to try to feel a sense of power. A bully’s words and actions have everything to do with how they feel about themselves, and nothing to do with the person they are bullying.    2. Recognize it    Being able to label what’s happening is the first step in accepting that it’s not your fault and making a plan to stop it. Know that bullying happens in several forms: name calling, intimidation, pushing or hitting, gossiping and spreading rumors, isolating you, trying to manipulate you, etc. If you suspect you’re being bullied, it’s important to act quickly. Bullies tend to “test the water” to see how much you’ll put up with, and their actions will only get worse if no one stands up to them.    3. Protect yourself online   Modern day bullies often hide behind screens but can cause serious damage to reputations and self-esteem. Protect yourself online by only sharing passwords with your parents and no one else. Think about who sees you posts - strangers? friends? friends of friends? Ensure your privacy settings only expose your posts to people you trust. Always think through what you post and consider whether it’s something that could be used to shame or humiliate you. If someone posts something mean about you, screenshot it to show a trusted adult, report it, and block them.   4. Cultivate confidence   Kids who are victims of bullying sometimes have   difficulty in social situations   or may be bullied as a result of rumors spread about them. Overcome these challenges by walking tall, focusing on your strengths, attempting to make new friends, and practicing positive affirmations.    Examples:     “The rumors they are spreading are not true and my real friends know that.”  “I am strong and I can stand up for myself.”    Does your kid have challenges with self-esteem or making friends? Our Specialists can help. Click below to schedule your free 15-minute consultation.       


   
     
      
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      5. Control your reactions   What the bully wants is a reaction – crying, yelling, etc. Avoid giving them what they want by keeping calm and ignoring them. Bullies tend to target people who come off as timid because they don’t think they’ll stand up for themselves. However, acting out in aggression can also be a problem, as it may lead to violence. The best option is to assertively tell them to stop. Believe it or not, bullies don’t think they deserve your respect, so they admire when you show self-assurance. Practice being assertive by keeping your head high and using a calm, clear voice to tell them to stop.    Examples:     “Don’t talk to me like that.”  “You don’t need to do this to be cool.”     6. Laugh it off   A bully feels power when they think they are getting to you. Laughing off their actions shows that they cannot control you with bad behaviors. If possible, try to laugh off what the bully says; this will lighten the tension and take away the reaction they aim to get out of you.    Examples:      Bully:  “You dress like my grandma!”   Kid: “ I actually borrowed this dress from her. I love her style!”   Bully:  *Posts on Instagram photo of teen*: “Ew, you look like a whale!”   Teen:  “Thank you, I love whales! What a compliment! #Whalelife”    7. Plan around them   While it’s important to stand up for yourself when needed, it’s also wise to avoid situations where you know you’ll be vulnerable and exposed to bullies. Block them on social media, eat lunch on the other side of the quad, or walk a different way home from school.   8. Lean on others   Bullying usually happens when adults aren’t around, so try to stay near adults when you know you’ll be in the presence of a bully. Let them know what’s going on - adults need to know when bullying happens so they can help you put a stop to it. Bullies are also less likely to confront you when you’re in a group, so ask friends to tag along when you when you know you’ll be in a bully’s path.    9. Join the movement   A group of anti-bullying warriors is a lot stronger than one mean bully! You can be a leader in preventing bullying in your school by joining a school safety committee or talking to your principal about starting one. A committee can identify where bullying is happening and create plans to stop it. They can also provide resources for kids to use if they or someone they know is being bullied.    10. Get a Specialist’s support    Being bullied can have severe effects and should not be taken lightly. It may be time to seek help from a specialist if you are experiencing any of the following:     Feeling afraid, stressed, depressed, or anxious    Having thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself    Having trouble with school work    Having problems with mood, energy level, sleep and appetite     If you don’t feel your school is doing enough to stop bullying or if you’re a parent who is concerned that   your child may be the one doing the bullying   ,    our specialists can help.      
	 CLick here to find a specialists that's right for you 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Barth, F.D. (2017). 6 Smarter Ways to Deal With a Bully.  Psychology Today . Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-couch/201702/6-smarter-ways-deal-bully  Bullying. (n.d.). Retrieved from   https://www.apa.org/topics/bullying/index  Featured Topic: Bullying Research|Youth Violence|Violence Prevention|Injury   Center|CDC. (2018, July 16). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/bullyingresearch/index.html  Gavin, M. L. (Ed.). (2019, February). Dealing With Bullying (for Teens). Retrieved from   https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/bullies.html  School Bullying is Nothing New, But Psychologists Identify New Ways to Prevent It.   (2004, October 29). Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/research/action/bullying  Shinn. M.M. (2019).Could My Teen Have Autism?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/could-my-teen-have-autism   Shinn. M.M. (2019). My Kid is So Defiant! Is It My Fault?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-is-so-defiant-is-it-my-fault   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Preventing Student Suicide With Just a Few Simple Questions.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/preventing-student-suicide-with-just-a-few-simple-questions   What Kids Can Do. (2017, September 28). Retrieved from   https://www.stopbullying.gov/kids/what-you-can-do/index.html    How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). 10 Tricks for Talking Back and Keeping Safe from Bullies.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/10-tricks-for-talking-back-and-keeping-safe-from-bullies

10 Tricks for Talking Back and Keeping Safe from Bullies

“Child in critical condition after fight at school,” “Teen dies by suicide as result of cyberbullying” – it seems that week after week, new tragedies occur as a result of bullying. Check out this week’s blog for 10 tricks to teach your kids on talking back and keeping safe from bullies.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Top 8 Ways for New Moms to Bond with Baby   Across the animal kingdom, there’s no bond quite like that between a mother and her baby. Whether it’s a mama cat saving her kitten from a burning house, a mother bird instinctively knowing how to feed her chicks, or a woman feeling her child’s pain as if it were her own, moms are connected to their kids in ways that exceed understanding. But bonding isn’t fixed or instant; bonding is a process that strengthens over time as moms and children learn more about each other and build loving, trusting relationships.    So what can mamas do to strengthen the bond with their new babies?    1. Bond over books     It doesn’t matter that your baby doesn’t understand the characters or plot twists in the you books you read. The sound of your voice will provide them with comfort and security while stimulating their growing minds. Immersing your child in a world of words will help them gain communication skills, boost their language development, and make them feel closer to you.      2. Sooth with songs     You don’t need to sing like Adele for your voice to work magic: research has shown that a mother’s singing can reduce her baby’s stress, increase healthy weight gain, and even shorten NICU stays for babies who require hospitalization. Make it a routine to sing to your baby as you rock them to sleep after bath. Over time, your daily ritual will be something your baby looks forward to and will build sweet memories for both of you.      3. Crank up your “cuddle chemical”     The more skin-to-skin contact you have with your baby, the more your body will produce a hormone called oxytocin, which is also known as the “love hormone” or “cuddle chemical.” Oxytocin increases feelings of calm, pleasure, and closeness toward your baby. Practice “kangaroo care” by frequently keeping your naked or partially dressed baby close to your skin throughout the day. The scent and touch of one another will fill you both with joy.     Concerned that the bond with your baby isn’t developing the way it should be? Click below for a free 15 minute consultation with one of our Specialists      


   
     
      
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      4. Feed with love     Mealtime is one of the best opportunities for bonding with your baby. Nourishing your baby builds your confidence as a mom and teaches your baby that they can rely on you for their needs. Whether your baby is fed by breast or bottle, caressing their face, making eye contact, and holding them close to the rhythm of your heartbeat will strengthen your connection.      5. Respond to cues      It’s important to respond to your baby’s cries in the first months of life; you’re not spoiling them by doing so – you’re making them feel safe and teaching them how to manage difficult feelings. It’s never too early to show your baby healthy ways to calm their body down     by practicing deep breathing, rhythmically rocking them, humming, and using calm words.    Is your baby’s emotional development on track?    Click here    to find out     6. Bond through movement     Moms of ancient civilizations didn’t get to enjoy many of our modern conveniences: drive-thru coffee shops, diaper genies, or mommy-and-me-yoga classes. While baby-centric exercise may seem like a luxury, research supports that it increases bonding and makes new parents more comfortable with holding their vulnerable babies. There are also plenty of free ways to bond through movement including:      Giving your baby a loving massage to relax their muscle and increase circulation    Moving their legs in a bicycle motion during diaper changes    Laying on your stomach to face them during their tummy time – this prompts them to lift their head to see you, strengthening their neck and core muscles    Praising your baby as they learn to bounce on supportive surfaces such as your lap     Doing “baby sit ups” as your baby becomes able to support their own neck and head. Hold your baby’s forearms and gently pull them up and down on a soft surface, giving them a smile or kiss each time they come up      Click here    to learn about the benefits of active play as your child grows       7. Don’t be hard on yourself     Bonding is an individual process that grows over time, so don’t feel guilty if it doesn’t happen instantaneously for you. It can be tough to feel connected to a baby when you’ve just met them and are adjusting to the many changes of motherhood. Be patient with yourself and trust that in time, the bond between you and your baby will be unbreakable.       8. Get support     There are a number of issues that can present challenges for mothers and babies to bond such as:      Unplanned pregnancy    Postpartum depression    Lack of support    Health issues    Attachment disorders    Autism spectrum disorder    Adoptive or step parenting    Whatever your family’s situation, our specialists can help you build a loving bond between you and your baby.         
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our     Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Blakemore, C.J. & Ramirez, B.W. (2006).  Baby Read Aloud Basics . New York, Harper Collins.   Blumenfeld, H., & Eisenfeld, L. (2006). Does a Mother Singing to her Premature Baby Affect Feeding in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit?  Clinical Pediatrics ,  45 (1), 65–70. https://doi.org/10.1177/000992280604500110  Bonding an Attachment: Newborns. (2019).  Raisingchildren.net.au . Retrieved from https://raisingchildren.net.au/newborns/connecting-communicating/bonding/bonding-newborns  Moburg, K.U., Prime, D.K. (2013). Oxytocin effects in mothers and infants during breastfeeding.  Infant  9,(6). Retrieved from http://www.infantjournal.co.uk/pdf/inf_054_ers.pdf  Parker, D.G. (2000).  Yoga Baby: Exercises to Help You Bond with Your Baby Physically, Emotionally, and Spiritually.  New York, Broadway Books.   Passell, L. (2019). 12 Ways to Bond with Your Baby.  Parenting Magazine.  Retrieved from https://www.parenting.com/article/12-ways-to-bond-with-your-baby  Reece, T. (2018). 4 Exercises to Help Baby Get Stronger.  Parents . Retrieved from https://www.parents.com/baby/development/physical/your-babys-hand-control/  Shinn. M.M. (2018). Am I an Emotionally Intelligent Parent? 6 Tips for Moms and Dads to Boost Their EQ.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/am-i-an-emotionally-intelligent-parent-6-tips-for-moms-dads-to-boost-their-eq   Shinn, M.M. (2019). Get Moving! 10 Reasons to Engage Your Kids in Active Play.  Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/get-moving-10-reasons-to-engage-your-kids-in-active-play   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Is My Baby’s Emotional Intelligence on Track?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/is-my-babys-emotional-intelligence-on-track   Vaglio S. (2009). Chemical communication and mother-infant recognition.  Communicative & integrative biology ,  2 (3), 279–281.  Wusthoff, C.J. (2019) Movement Milestones: Birth to 3 Months.  Healthychildren.org . Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Movement-Birth-to-Three-Months.aspx    How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). The Magical Bond of Mothers: 8 Ways to Connect with Your New Baby.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/top-8-ways-for-new-moms-to-bond-with-baby

Top 8 Ways for New Moms to Bond with Baby

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful moms out there! There’s no bond quite like that between a mother and her baby. Check out our Mother’s Day blog on 8 ways for moms to bond with their new babies.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “My Kid Might be Held Back a Grade – What Do I Do?!”     As Spring report cards make their way home, some parents are hit with the alarming news that their kid’s performance is not on track. This notice can cause parents to panic, wondering if their kid will be held back a grade, whether or not they should be, and what they can do about it.    If you’ve received notification that your child may be held back a grade, here’s what you can do:    1. Investigate why     If you receive a notice that your child may not be promoted to the next grade, investigate why. Is it for academic reasons, such as not being able to read at grade-level proficiency? Is it that your kid has social or emotional challenges that make it hard to fit in with their peers? Make sure you clearly understand why the school thinks that retention is warranted for your child. Check out your local    Parent Training Center    to learn if the school’s decision aligns with your district’s policies on grounds for retention.      2. Question their reasoning     The general consensus among experts is that retention is not  usually  the best choice for students and that it should only be considered after other alternatives have been explored. Question the school’s reasoning to ensure they’ve tried other approaches before suggesting retention:       If they say it’s because your child is struggling to learn at the rate of their classmates, ask what interventions they’ve tried to get your kid up to speed     If they say it’s because your kid didn’t perform well on standardized tests, raise the possibility that your kid may know the material but   struggle with time constraints or test formats      If they say your child seems to be struggling emotionally, ask what the school has been doing to help your child   overcome emotional challenges          3. Consider potential benefits     There are scenarios where retention may be the right choice for your child’s long-term success. If any of these situations apply to your kid, consider that retention might be a positive option:      When your child missed an excessive amount of school due to illness, moving, or death of a loved one    When a child is developmentally immature (being held back can reduce the stress of trying to keep up with same-aged peers)    When a child has behavioral issues that are clearly linked to academic stress     4. Determine a diagnosis     If your kid is at risk for being held back due to learning challenges, it’s important to   have your child evaluated for impairments or disabilities that could impact their education   .  If your child does have a diagnosis, simply holding them back a year might not be effective. For example, if your kid struggles with   attention issues  , they won’t benefit from just being taught the same way two years in a row. A better approach would be to promote your child to the next grade, while working with the school to create a 504 plan or IEP that would provide your child with effective classroom accommodations.   Interested in Diagnostic Testing for your child?       


   
     
      
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      5. Engage your SST & CST     There are two groups that can support your kid if they’re having difficulty succeeding within the regular classroom setting. The Student Study Team (SST) consists of the teacher, administrator, parent, student, and sometimes special education teacher. This group works together to come up with interventions to improve the student’s progress. The IEP Team or Child Study Team (CST) is a multidisciplinary group of professionals that can support your child with consultations, evaluations, and special education services. These teams can advocate for appropriate accommodations and recommend potential alternatives to grade retention.      6. Request an IEP or 504     Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 plans are not the same thing, but they both aim to help students succeed despite disabilities or learning differences. If classroom accommodations are enough for your child to succeed with the standard curriculum, then a 504 Plan may be sufficient in getting them up to grade level proficiency. If their diagnosis greatly impairs their learning abilities, they may need an IEP that provides a specially tailored curriculum with individualized goals. A Specialist in Educational Psychology can help you determine if your child has a diagnosis and what educational plan(s) will work best for them.     Click here to learn more about Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Specialist in Educational Psychology and special education consulting     7. Seek support      Getting notice that your child may have to repeat a grade is scary news to any parent. Walking into a school and questioning their decisions can also feel very intimidating. The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone. Our Specialists can assist you in supporting your child and ensuring that decisions are made in their best interests.       
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   CST - Child Study Team. (2009).  Specialeducationnews.com.  Retrieved from http://www.specialednews.com/special-education-dictionary/cst---child-study-team.htm  Find Your Parent Center (N.D.).  Center for Parent Information and Resources.  Retrieved from https://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/  IEP vs. 504: What’s the Difference? (2015).  Additudemag.com . Retrieved from https://www.additudemag.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/10241_For-Parents_IEP-vs-504_whats-the-difference.pdf  Morin, A. (N.D.). Repeating a Grade: Pros and Cons. Understood.org. Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/choosing-starting-school/moving-up/repeating-a-grade-pros-and-cons  Understanding the Student Study Team (SST) (2016).  Understandingspecialeducation.com  Retrieved from https://www.understandingspecialeducation.com/student-study-team.html  Shinn, M.M. (2018). 5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children.  Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/5-tips-for-raising-emotionally-intelligent-children   Shinn. M.M. (2018). ADHD or Just Kids Being Kids?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/adhd-or-just-kids-being-kids   Shinn. M.M. (2018). Accommodations for College Entrance Exams: What Parents Need to KNow  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/does-my-child-need-accommodations-for-the-sat-act   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Should I Get My Kid Tested?   Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/schools-out-should-i-get-my-kid-tested   Volpitta, D. The School Says My Child Needs to Repeat Third Grade. What Can I Do?  Understood.org.  Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/choosing-starting-school/moving-up/the-school-says-my-child-needs-to-repeat-third-grade-what-can-i-do   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). My Kid Might be Held Back a Grade – What Do I Do?!  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-might-be-held-back-a-grade-what-do-i-do

“My Kid Might be Held Back a Grade – What Do I Do?!”

While many parents post about their kids’ stellar report cards, others are feeling panicked that their kid may be held back a grade. If your kid is at risk for being retained, check out this week’s blog to find out what to do about it.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “Could My Teen Have Autism?”   As many as 1 in 59 American kids receive an autism diagnosis, and most of them are diagnosed by age 3. However, there are kids with autism who enter their teen years without being diagnosed. Since autism symptoms can range from mild to severe, symptoms of teens with high functioning autism may not seem to drastically impair them. Even so, there are major benefits to having your teen evaluated if they’re showing any signs of autism. A diagnosis can bring many emotional, relational, and academic benefits to teens as they navigate this important stage of life. Parents can also receive tremendous relief from having their child diagnosed, as once they’ve identified the cause of their teen’s symptoms, they can better focus on what to do about them.    So what are some signs that your teen may have autism?:    1. Communication quandaries   Sure, all teens can be a little socially awkward at times. Autism, however, presents some distinct communication challenges that make it hard for teens to connect with peers, such as:    Struggling to join in conversations appropriately    Having difficulty talking about a range of topics     Using speech in an unusual way such as talking in a monotone or accent    Having trouble understanding and discussing emotions     Responding to questions by repeating them rather than answering    A diagnosis can be a starting point to help your teen understand their challenges and gain tools to build lasting friendships.       


   
     
      
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     Reading body language seems to come naturally to many people, but unspoken communication often eludes individuals with autism. If your teen has autism, they may struggle to read the expressions of others, refrain from meaningful eye contact, and show little emotional expression. They have a much easier time understanding clear and literal explanations as opposed to metaphors, sarcasm, or vague inferences.    3. Social differences    Teens with autism tend to have few friends and prefer to spend time on their own. While they may have difficulty connecting with people in their age group, they might be more comfortable interacting with younger kids or older adults since they impose less social pressure.    4. Intense interests    Most teens are “totally obsessed” with their celebrity crush or smartphone, but teens who have autism often exhibit obsessive symptoms in the following ways:    Fixating on certain interests such as geology or basketball      Compulsive routines and rituals such as only drinking from a particular cup    Repetitive body movements such as rocking or hand tapping    Unusual attachments to certain objects    Repetitive noises such as grunting, throat-clearing, or squealing     5. Greatly gifted   The minds of neurotypical people tend to work several areas of the brain at once (social interactions, for example, require multiple regions of the brain to work together). The minds of those with autism are able to focus more of their brain’s resources into one area at a time, often causing them to develop remarkable talents. Whether they are gifted in chemistry, playing piano, learning languages, or memorizing baseball stats, teens with autism tend to have amazing memories and unique intellectual abilities.    6. Sensory sensitivities   While most teens start distancing themselves from mom and dad to assert their independence, teens with autism may also not want to be touched due to sensory sensitivities. Teens with autism may be bothered by the texture of their gym clothes, bright florescent classroom lighting, or noisy high school hallways.    7. Challenged by change   Teens with autism find calm and comfort in rigid routines and structure. Change is hard for them to cope with and they may become distressed or upset when their routines are altered. High school can be a hard time for anyone, but it’s particularly difficult for teens with autism due to its many changes. Increased complexity, changing classrooms, different teachers, and high-pressure social situations can make adolescence a particularly trying time for teens with autism.    Why a diagnosis is important    Teens with autism can excel in school, work, and relationships, but they’re more likely to do so if they receive support and understanding. Without a diagnosis, they may have a harder time accepting their differences and leveraging their unique strengths. If you suspect your teen may have autism, a diagnosis can open countless doors to   secure accommodations in academic    and    professional pursuits   ,  and our specialists can guide you through the best ways to support them.          
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   American Autism Association (2016). What is autism?  MyAutism.org  Retrieved online: https://www.myautism.org/all-about-  autism/what-is-autism/?gclid=CjwKCAjw9sreBRBAEiwARroYmwt4izLg3dJ_ZaXsClvHBhqaFiEgUwGrFpux1AMBJjpTeekibHMB3xoCZrcQAvD_BwE  The Australian Parenting Website (2018). Signs of autism spectrum disorder in older children and teenagers. Retrieved online: https://raisingchildren.net.au/autism/learning-about-asd/assessment-diagnosis/signs-of-asd-in-teens  Hurst, Michael. (2015). Teenagers with Autism: Symptoms, Treatment, and Help.  CRC Health . https://www.crchealth.com/troubled-teenagers/autism-in-teenagers/  Shinn. M.M. (2019). Accommodations for College Entrance Exams: What Parents Need to Know.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from:  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/does-my-child-need-accommodations-for-the-sat-act    Shinn. M.M. (2019). Could My Dad Have Undiagnosed Autism?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from:  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/could-my-dad-have-undiagnosed-autism    Szalavitz, M. (2012). What Genius and Autism Have in Common.  TIME Magazine . Retrieved from http://healthland.time.com/2012/07/10/what-child-prodigies-and-autistic-people-have-in-common/   Zerbo, O., Qian, Y., Yoshida, C., Grether, J. K., Van de Water, J., & Croen, L. A. (2015). Maternal Infection During Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Journal of autism and development tal disorders ,  45 (12), 4015-25.   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Could My Teen Have Autism?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/could-my-teen-have-autism

“Could My Teen Have Autism?”

Does your teen have trouble making friends? Do they struggle with sensory sensitivities? Do they have strict routines they stick to? If you’ve ever wondered if your teen might have undiagnosed autism, check out this week’s blog.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “Which School is Best for My Kid?” 12 Tips for Smart School Selection     Next to picking your kid’s name, choosing your child’s school is high up on the list of stressful parenting choices. Every parent wants the best for their kid, and a child’s schooling has life-long impacts on their intellectual, social, and emotional development. What makes a school great for one kid doesn’t work for the next, and with so many options, parents can feel lost in selecting the best school for their child’s needs.    So what factors  really  matter in picking the perfect school? Ask these 11 questions when determining which school is best for your kid:     1. Is it test-obsessed?      Children learn best when they have a strong sense of autonomy, meaning they feel ownership over what they’re learning. Having opportunities to explore, take initiative, and problem-solve are important for building autonomy. While all schools aim for students to do well on standardized tests, schools that focus on “teaching to tests” can have fewer outlets for creativity and hands-on learning. Ask the faculty how they balance covering the curriculum while providing student-led activities.     2. Will it meet my kid’s needs?      If your child is gifted or has learning differences such as   ADHD  , autism, or   dyslexia  , it’s important to learn what   accommodations   are available to support their success. Do they need a highly structured environment, more individual attention, or extra time for assignments? Talk to the school’s faculty about your child’s specific needs to ensure they’re experienced and equipped in meeting them.   Need help securing accommodations for your child?       


   
     
      
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      3. Is their curriculum first-class?     The quality of your child’s curriculum can have a tremendous impact on their academic achievement. A great curriculum has a proven track record in empowering students to master core subjects. Ask your school which curriculum they use for each subject and get to googling; a quick internet search can show you a curriculum’s ratings on text quality, knowledge building, usability, and alignment to academic standards.      4. Do their scores measure up?     School ratings never tell the whole story, so try not to make snap judgements based on one overall score. However, digging deeper into a school’s score card can give you some valuable info. Look for these 3 measures:        Are there signs of improvement?   Sometimes schools have a high proportion of disadvantaged students, bringing test scores down regardless of the school’s quality. Look for the  student progress rating  to get a better idea of how well kids are learning rather than test scores alone.     How does the school perform in various subjects?   While other schools might have a higher overall rating, you may find that a school with a lower overall score has higher ratings in the subject(s) you care most about.     How do kids like yours do?  School ratings break down performance scores by race, sex, special needs, and socioeconomic status. Dig into these details to determine how kids most similar to yours are doing at the school. It’s also helpful to ask other parents and neighbors what their experiences have been to get an inside scoop of the school’s strengths and weaknesses.      5. Does it empower my kid’s passion?     Does your child have strong inclinations toward math, science, music, art, or languages? Ask the school about their approach to your child’s favorite subject. You may also want to investigate if there are any magnet or private schools in your area that focus more heavily on the subject your child is drawn to.     For more tips on supporting your child’s passions, click here      6. Is it public or private?      Whether public or private is best is a long-heated debate without a clear-cut answer. There are several pros and cons to each school type that you should research, but here are a few of the major ones:       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      7. What resources are available?   When evaluating a potential school, pay attention to the resources the school has to stimulate your child’s learning. Desirable resources include:    An ample library    Up to date technology    Musical instruments    Art supplies    Play equipment    Accessibility for disabled students    A School Nurse on duty    A   School Psychologist   for mental health needs      8. Are there high safety standards?   You’ll feel better about sending your kids to school each day if you’re confident in the school’s safety measures. Ask the school to explain their protocols in the areas of:   Drug, alcohol, and tobacco prevention    Violence, bullying, harassment    Weapons on campus    Police presence and school lockdown procedures    Drills and emergency plans    Notification of parents in event of an emergency       9. Do they support EQ?   In addition to academic standards, keep your standards high in the type of emotional support you want your child to receive. Does the school offer workshops on character building and emotional health? Are there clubs or programs offered to help your child make friends? How do they handle discipline and reinforce good behavior? Consider whether you agree with their approach in supporting healthy emotional growth.    Not sure what an emotionally healthy classroom looks like? Click here       10. Is it a logistical nightmare?     Sometimes your dream school isn’t in your district or your budget, and it’s important to evaluate whether the pros of attending the school outweigh the sacrifices you’ll have to make. Remember that long commutes and hefty tuitions can mean sacrificing family time and other enriching activities. While there’s nothing wrong with going out of your way for a great education, make sure to choose a school that isn’t too disruptive to your family life.    11. What’s my gut telling me?   The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to where your kid should go. You may walk into a school that everyone else raves about, but just get an uneasy vibe that tells you it’s not a fit for your kid. You know your child’s personality, strengths, and challenges better than anyone, and that knowledge will guide your instincts in helping you make the best choice.    12. Should I get a second opinion?   Choosing your child’s school is tough and weighing the pros and cons of each option can feel overwhelming. Asking other parents their opinions can be helpful, but if you’d also like professional support in evaluating your child’s options, a specialist in Educational Psychology can guide you in coming to a confident decision.      
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   American Psychological Association (2019). Increasing Student Success Through Instruction in Self-Determination.  American Psychological Association . Retrieved from www.apa.org/research/action/success.aspx  American Psychological Association (2019). Transitions to School: What Helps Children Succeed?  American Psychological Association  Retrieved from   www.apa.org/advocacy/education/transition-to-school.aspx  Four Steps to Selecting a School for Your Child.  Reading Rockets , 7 Nov. 2013,   www.readingrockets.org/article/four-steps-selecting-school-your-child.  GreatSchools.org (2019). Facts (and fiction) about school test scores. Retrieved from https://www.greatschools.org/gk/videos/school-test-scores-video/  Kane, T.J., Owens, A.M., Marinell, W.H., Thal, D.R.C., Staiger, D.O. (2016). Teaching Higher: Educator’s Perspectives on Common Core Implementation.  Harvard University Center for Education Policy Research.  Retrieved from https://cepr.harvard.edu/files/cepr/files/teaching-higher-report.pdf  Mathews, Jay (2003). What to Look for in a Good School.  The Washington Post,  WP Company, Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/education/schoolguide/mathews.html  National Assessment of Educational Progress (2015). School Composition and the Black-White Achievement Gap.  U.S. Department of Education.  Retrieved from: https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/subject/studies/pdf/school_composition_and_the_bw_achievement_gap_2015.pdf  Private School vs. Public School Breakdown (2016).  Niche . Retrieved from https://www.niche.com/blog/private-school-vs-public-school-breakdown/   Siegel-Hawley, G. (2012). How Non-Minority Students Also Benefit From Racially Diverse Schools. Research Brief.  The National Coalition on School Diversity.  Retrieved from https://www.school-diversity.org/pdf/DiversityResearchBriefNo8.pdf  Shinn. M.M. (2018). ADHD or Just Kids Being Kids?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/adhd-or-just-kids-being-kids   Shinn. M.M. (2018). I Can’t Spell Dyslexia – Do I Have It?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/i-cant-spell-dyslexia-do-i-have-it    Shinn. M.M. (2018). School’s Out – Should I Get My Kid Tested?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/schools-out-should-i-get-my-kid-tested    Shinn. M.M. (2018). 7 Strategies for Fostering a Growth Mindset in Your Child.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/7-strategies-for-fostering-a-growth-mindset-in-your-child    Shinn. M.M. (2018). 8 Tips to Create a Mentally Healthy Classroom.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/8-tips-to-create-a-mentally-healthy-classroom      How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). Which School is Best for My Kid? 11 Tips for Smart School Selection.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/which-school-is-best-for-my-kid-12-tips-for-smart-school-selection

“Which School is Best for My Kid?” 12 Tips for Smart School Selection

Public schools, private schools, charters, oh my! With so many options, picking the best school for your kid can feel overwhelming. Check out this week’s blog for our top 10 tips on smart school selection.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “Is My Baby’s Emotional Intelligence On Track?”    Let’s face it, it’s tough trying to figure out how your baby is feeling. It’s not like your 2-month-old can calmly explain, “Mom, I really don’t appreciate when you wipe my tush with those freezing cold wipes. Please use the wipe warmer moving forward.” No, instead you’re met with flailing limbs and blood-curdling screams as you desperately try to figure out why your baby’s ticked off. Though you may feel like a deer in headlights deciphering your baby’s emotions, the way you support their emotional intelligence (EQ) during their first year sets the foundation for their lifelong emotional health.    So now that we’ve laid the pressure on thick, let’s dive into  how  you can support your baby’s EQ, even when you have no clue what they’re feeling.     1. Mark their emotional milestones   The first step in supporting your child’s emotional management is understanding how a baby’s EQ typically develops. The average milestone pattern is as follows:   0-3 Months  – They express whatever emotions they’re feeling in the moment without understanding them. All they know is they are either feeling pleasure or displeasure and when they are displeased, they make sure their parents know it!   Month 3  – Your baby will make eye contact, develop more facial expressions, and start to show pleasure by smiling. They may find ways to briefly soothe themselves such as closing their eyes or thumb sucking.    Month 4  – Their showing of emotions intensifies and they’ll begin to copy your facial expressions. They’ll also recognize when they’re having fun and may cry when playing stops.   Month 5  – They become increasingly assertive and begin to decipher between family members and strangers.    Month 6  – They tend to be a bit moodier; you may notice they are happy and clapping one minute and having a raging fit the next. Gotta keep you on your toes mom & dad!   Month 7  – At this point your baby realizes you aren’t attached to them - a revelation that gives birth to a new feeling: fear. This is often when separation anxiety kicks in. They also start to pick up on social referencing, or being able to understand how others feel by looking at their faces and gestures.    8-11 months  – Your baby is becoming more aware of others’ feelings and may feel guilt when they’ve done something wrong. Separation anxiety peaks during this time, but your baby will also begin to display independence as they learn to crawl and walk.    12 months – Toddlers feel an increased need to assert their independence which leads to, you guessed it, tantrums! Since their language development is increasing dramatically, this is a great time to teach your toddler to label their emotions.    2. Embrace their wiring    The development of your child’s EQ is based on 3 factors: their brain development, their life experiences, and their temperament. At around 6 months, your baby’s temperament will become increasingly apparent. If your child is more anxious, sensitive, or hot-tempered than you’d like them to be, it’s important that you learn to accept them for who they are and not try to force them to change. Instead, focus your efforts on teaching them ways to cope with strong emotions regardless of their temperament.    3. Have 1-sided convos   Just because your baby isn’t talking yet doesn’t mean they don’t gain a lot from listening to you. It’s never too early to start talking to your baby about feelings. Make it a habit to label your emotions during everyday life so that they become familiar with what each feeling is called.   Examples: (Baby cries when Grandma leaves). Mom: “I understand, you’re feeling sad that Grandma is leaving. I’m sad Grandma’s leaving too.”   4. Encourage Empathy   A key factor of emotional intelligence is not just understanding our own emotions, but being able to recognize the feelings of others. Model empathy by bringing up others’ feelings during daily interactions and play.   Example:  “Teddy bear is sitting all by himself. He must feel lonely. Let’s go play with him.”   Have older kids too?    Check out our blog on fostering EQ in children and teens     5. Troubleshoot tantrums   Pay attention to your child’s body language  before  they enter full meltdown mode – do they shake, turn red, or clench their fists? When you notice your child steering toward the tantrum-turnpike, intervene by giving a calming touch or offering a fun distraction. This will set the foundation for learning to calm themselves down before their feelings escalate and get out of hand.    6. Model good management   The best way to show your baby how to manage emotions is to demonstrate it yourself. Whether your feelings are positive or negative, make a point to show your child healthy ways to express them.   Examples:   “I am feeling frustrated right now so I am going to close my eyes and focus on my breathing for a minute.”   “I’m feeling so excited that Titi Marta is going to be here in five minutes! Let’s do a dance together until she gets here!”   Are you a high EQ parent?    Click here    to find out!    7. Identify EQ problems   While babies progress at different rates, it’s important to know when their behaviors may be pointing to developmental problems. If your baby exhibits any of the following symptoms, their emotional growth might not be on track for their age:      Frequent anxiety or anger    Sleep problems    Refusal to eat    Lethargy    Extreme fear of new situations     Lack of motivation to try new things       


   
     
      
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      8. See a specialist   Supporting a baby’s EQ is HARD! You can’t reason with them, they can’t tell you what’s wrong, and you’re often sleep-deprived and overwhelmed yourself. The good news is, you don’t need to do it alone. Our Specialists at Variations can support you in understanding your baby’s development, determining if they need additional support, and giving you tools to boost your child’s EQ through each stage of life.        
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Alegre, A. (2011). Parenting Styles and Children’s Emotional Intelligence: What do We Know?  The Family Journal ,  19 (1), 56–62. https://doi.org/10.1177/1066480710387486  Baby Sparks (2017). The Evolution of Emotions (Part 1): Your Baby’s First Year. https://babysparks.com/2017/10/12/the-evolution-of-emotions-part-1-your-babys-first-year/  Brouzos, A., Misailidi, P., & Hadjimattheou, A. (2014). Associations Between Emotional Intelligence, Socio-Emotional Adjustment, and Academic Achievement in Childhood: The Influence of Age.  Canadian Journal of School Psychology ,  29 (2), 83–99. https://doi.org/10.1177/0829573514521976  Harvard University (2011). Children’s Emotional Development is Built into the Architecture of Their Brains. Center on the Developing Child.  National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.  Retrieved online: http://46y5eh11fhgw3ve3ytpwxt9r.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2004/04/Childrens-Emotional-Development-Is-Built-into-the-Architecture-of-Their-Brains.pdf  Shinn. M.M. (2018). “Am I an Emotionally Intelligent Parent?” 6 Tips for Moms and Dads to Boost their EQ.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/am-i-an-emotionally-intelligent-parent-6-tips-for-moms-dads-to-boost-their-eq  Shinn. M.M. (2018). 5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/5-tips-for-raising-emotionally-intelligent-children    How to Cite this Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). “Is My Baby’s Emotional Intelligence On Track?”  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from :    https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/is-my-babys-emotional-intelligence-on-track    

“Is My Baby’s Emotional Intelligence On Track?”

It’s tough to know how to support your baby’s emotions when they can’t explain them to you. The good news is, there are ways to teach your baby healthy emotional management well before they’re walking or talking.

Check out this week’s blog to learn how!