Mental Health

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “My Kid Has a Chronic Illness – How Do I Prepare Them for School?”   Back-to-school can cause a variety of concerns for parents. Will my kid like their teacher? Will they have to deal with bullies? Will they reach their potential? But back-to-school can be particularly worrisome for parents of children with chronic illnesses. Whether your child has diabetes, asthma, seizures, heart problems, allergies, or any other condition, it can be scary to entrust your child’s health to school staff for 6+ hours a day.    So what can parents do to ensure their kid’s health is cared for at school?     1. Learn risk factors   Before considering your child’s needs, it’s important to understand the potential risk factors that chronic illness can present. Chronic illness can contribute to emotional, behavioral, and academic problems including:      Falling behind   from excessive absences      Increased   anxiety   from trying to “catch up”    Fatigue and irritability     Depression    Social isolation    Low-self esteem    Understanding these risks will help you determine the best course of action to guard against them.   2. List their needs   Start listing an inventory of needs that you believe would help your child overcome obstacles and succeed at school. Include your kid in the conversation and ask for their input. Some examples might include:    Being able to leave class without permission when symptoms arise      Accepting late work     Sitting near the door    Receiving support with making friends     Allowing rest breaks as needed    Having summer course options to reduce their school-year class load    Teacher trainings on emergency responses, such as using an EpiPen      Being allowed to complete some schoolwork at home     Regular check-ins with the school counselor     3. Request education support   Set a meeting with the school to discuss your child’s needs and to see if they qualify for   accommodations      through an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan. If classroom accommodations are enough for your child to succeed with the standard curriculum, then a 504 Plan may be the right tool for them. If their condition greatly impairs their learning abilities, they may need an IEP that provides a specially tailored curriculum. A Specialist in Educational Psychology can help you determine which educational resources will work best for your child.  Click below to schedule your free 15-minute consultation with  Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Specialist in Educational Psychology and Special Education Consulting       4. Communicate consistently   Frequent communication with the school will increase the staff’s ability to stay informed of your child’s progress and respond to their challenges. Establish regular check-in meetings to keep the faculty and your family on the same page. Build relationships with teachers, administrators, and the school nurse, so everyone is aware of your child’s unique needs.   5. Support self-management   Prior to your child starting school, you may have done the heavy lifting in tending to their medical needs. Running for the steroid cream each time a hive pops up, grabbing their inhaler when they start to get winded, or calling friends to cancel plans when they look a little pale. Encourage your kid to start taking   responsibility     for their own care before they start school. Teach them how to recognize their symptoms before they get out of hand, administer self-care, and express their needs to teachers.   6. Calculate come-backs   Depending on your child’s condition, they may have medical supplies, such as ostomy bags or glucose meters, that other kids might be curious about. Hopefully your kid won’t be faced with   bullying  ,     but it can be helpful to have them rehearse a few comebacks in case of peers being rude or annoying.    Examples:   “Ew, look at her pricking her finger – what are you, a vampire?”  “Yes actually, but don’t worry – you’re not my type. I’m only into B+.”   “It’s not fair - why do you get to leave class all the time?”  “Because I’m Batman. The world isn’t going to save itself.”    7. Inspire motivation   Chronic pain and symptoms can make it challenging for your kid to focus on schoolwork. Frequently remind your child to think about their goals to help them stay motivated. Ask them about their passions, have them create vision boards, and tell them stories of celebrities who achieved success despite chronic illness, such as Sarah Hyland who has kidney dysplasia, Nick Jonas who has diabetes, or Selena Gomez who has lupus.    Check out our blog on    fostering passion & persistence    in your kid       8. Help them connect   Help your child think through obstacles that hold them back from extracurriculars and time with friends. If their symptoms prevent them from playing football, could they   work   in the ticket booth or concession stand? If they’re too tired to go to afternoon band practice, are there clubs that meet during lunch? If they have to miss school often, can they Facetime their besties after school hours? Helping them maintain connections with peers will reduce their risks for depression and low self-esteem.   9. Consult a Specialist   Taking a chronic illness to school can be tough on both students and their families. Fortunately, your family doesn’t have to face this alone. Our specialists are experienced in helping students overcome obstacles, achieve their potential, and ensure a supportive school environment.        
	 Click here to find a specialist who 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:   Ball, M.F., Bayliss, D.M., Glauert, R., Harrison, A., Ohan, J.L. (2016). Chronic Illness and Developmental Vulnerability at School Entry.  Pediatrics , 137, 5. Retrieved from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/137/5/e20152475.full.pdf  Chronic Health Conditions (Students with): The Role of the School Nurse (n.d.).  National Association of School Nurses.  Retrieved from https://www.nasn.org/nasn/advocacy/professional-practice-documents/position-statements/ps-chronic-health  My Child Has a Chronic Illness. What Do I Need to Tell the School? (2014).  American Academy of Pediatrics.  Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chronic/Pages/Chronic-Conditions-and-School.aspx  Schulman-Green, D., Jaser, S., Martin, F., Alonzo, A., Grey, M., McCorkle, R., … Whittemore, R. (2012). Processes of self-management in chronic illness.  Journal of nursing scholarship : an official publication of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing ,  44 (2), 136–144. doi:10.1111/j.1547-5069.2012.01444.x  Shinn. M.M. (2018). 6 Tips to Prepare for Your Teen’s Independence.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/6-tips-to-prepare-for-your-teens-independence   Shinn. M.M. (2019). 10 Tricks for Talking Back and Keeping Safe with Bullies.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/10-tricks-for-talking-back-and-keeping-safe-from-bullies    Shinn. M.M. (2018). Does My Child Need Accommodations on the SAT/ACT?  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). Life Success – Is It About Persistence or Following Your Passion?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/life-success-is-it-about-persistence-or-following-your-passion   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    Shinn. M.M. (2018). Take the Stress Out of Tests! 11 Ways to Manage Test Anxiety.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/take-the-stress-out-of-tests-11-ways-to-manage-test-anxiety   Shinn. M.M. (2018). Should I Let My Teen Get a Job? 10 Things Parents Should Know.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/should-i-let-my-teen-get-a-job-10-things-parents-should-know    When a Kid Has Long-Term Illness: How to Deal with School (2010).  Education.com.  Retrieved from https://www.education.com/magazine/article/Chronic-illness-schools/   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Taking Chronic Illness to School: 9 Tips to Stay Safe & Healthy.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-has-a-chronic-illness-how-do-i-prepare-them-for-school

“My Kid Has a Chronic Illness – How Do I Prepare Them for School?”

From asthma to diabetes and epilepsy to cancer, 1 in 4 children go to school each year with a chronic illness. If your kid has a chronic illness, check out this week’s blog for 9 tips to ensure their health and success as they go back to school.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “Is My Teen Addicted to Video Games?” How to Know and What to Do About It   Since their debut in the early 1970’s, video games have been an iconic form of entertainment. While most people can enjoy gaming as an occasional diversion, a growing number of youth seem to be pushing aside family, friends, and activities to spend more time in front of computer screens. Nicknamed “digital heroin,” video game addiction is a growing concern and has been classified as a mental health disorder by The World Health Organization.   So how do parents know if their child’s fantasy world is starting to take over their real life?     Warning signs of gaming addiction     Gaming 4+ hours a day      Playing for increasing amounts of time    Thinking or talking about gaming during other activities    Quitting other hobbies    Lying to friends or family to conceal gaming    Alienating themselves from family, friends, or romantic interests    Becoming irritable or miserable when they can’t play video games    Neglecting daily responsibilities    Declining academic performance    Showing physical symptoms including dry eyes, carpel tunnel, weight loss or gain, headaches, or back and neck problems    Ignoring personal hygiene    Depression, anxiety, or social phobias     So what can a parent do about it?    If you are concerned your child or teen may have a gaming problem, try these tips:     1. Start a log   Before you talk to your child about your concerns, start documenting their behaviors in a log. Write down how many hours a day you notice them gaming. Also, write down negative consequences you are noticing, such as them skipping out on soccer practice or avoiding family meals. Also, record how they react when they have to stop gaming.   2. Communicate with love   When you talk to your child about your concerns, do so from a place of patience and love. In many cases, children use gaming as a form of relief from feelings of sadness or worry, so being stern or critical may only worsen their negative self-image. Talk to them about their good qualities and the things you love about them – share your log with them and express that you are concerned that their gaming is getting in the way of them living their best life.   3. Organize a detox   Like with any other type of addiction, complete abstinence is necessary for success. This can be a bit tricky since computers are so prevalent in our society, so your child will need to adjust to using computers without gaming. Set boundaries and rules regarding computer use, such as only allowing them to use it for school projects during certain times of day. Remove game consoles, block gaming websites, and keep the computer in a highly visible area in the house for easy monitoring.   4. Prepare to be patient   As your child is detoxing, they may be irritable, mopey, or just downright mean. When they are on your last nerve, walk away and focus on your breathing for a few minutes. Not only will this help you keep your cool, it will model healthy emotional regulation to your child, as opposed to burying emotions with gaming.   5. Make Reality More Exciting   You may think your kid is only interested in high speed pursuits or battling mythical creatures, but the truth is that real life experiences will be much more rewarding to them than any video game could ever be. Get the whole family involved in more physical activities – hikes, backyard baseball, or activities with other families. If they are old enough, encourage them to get a part-time job to boost their self-worth. Activities, hobbies, and responsibilities can both boost their mood and distract them from the lure of gaming.   6. Use a reward system   It can be hard for gamers to see why their addiction is a bad thing. A reward system can incentivize them to stick with their detox, even if they don’t fully agree with it. Try using a points system by giving them “10 points” for every day they go without gaming and have them lose 20 points each day that they cave in and play video games. Let them know that when they reach 1000 points, they get to go to an amusement park, have a sleepover party, or some other fun activity.   7. Seek support   Addictions of all types are complex and challenging to overcome, but there is hope. A qualified specialist can help your child address underlying mental health issues that may have led to their addiction. They can teach self-control techniques and tools to help your child find happiness and self-esteem away from the computer screen.       
	 Click here to find a specialist who 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).  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   Online Article: Video Game Addiction No fun - Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD    	Keith Bakker, certified interventionist; and director, Smith &   Jones Addiction Consultants. Kimberly Young, PsyD, clinical director, Center   for On-Line Addiction; professor of psychology, St. Bonaventure University;   and author,     Caught in the Net: How to Recognize the Signs of Internet   Addiction -- and a Winning Strategy for Recovery. WebMD Feature:     Internet to Sex: Defining Addiction. Howard, project manager, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.,   Center for On-Line Addiction: "Are You an Obsessive Online Gamer?" and   "Frequently Asked Questions About Internet Addiction."

“Is My Teen Addicted to Video Games?” How to Know and What to Do About It

Most people can enjoy video games as an occasional hobby, but what happens when the fantasy world starts to become more appealing than reality? Check out this week’s blog to learn how to identify and prevent video game addiction in children and teens.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “How Do I Keep My Kids Entertained All Summer?”   Ahhh summer… the freedom, the sunshine, the world of opportunity. The kids look forward to it all year.   Notice we said “the kids.”   Parents on the other hand, tend to be a little wary of the school-free season. While all parents love spending time with their children, summer means 3 whole months without the time consumption and mental stimulation that school provides. It means having to come up with activities for the kids yourself, which often translates to spending a lot more money. If both parents work, it can also mean having to find reliable child care and camps that aren’t exactly in the budget. So what’s a parent to do?   First of all – relax! That’s what summer is for   Many parents go into summer concerned that their child will be bored out of their minds. Research suggests, however, that constructive boredom is not only healthy, but essential for a child to develop their creativity, discover their personal identity, and explore ways to foster their own mental stimulation. If parents are always doing the heavy lifting in filling their child’s time, their child gets robbed of the opportunity to contemplate their own thoughts and interests and explore new ideas.   Here are 9 tips for giving your child a fun and stimulating summer, without scheduling every second:    1. Brainstorm beforehand   Foster your child’s creativity by having them make a list of things they would like to do over the summer. While they may choose a few unrealistic items such as riding a dragon or traveling to Hong Kong, their list will probably include many attainable goals such as going on hikes, having a picnic, or running through the sprinklers. When they complain of boredom over the summer, tell them to revisit their list for ideas to fill their time.   2. Structure Unstructure   By now most of us have heard of the damage that excessive screen time can pose to children. Too much TV or video game consumption can contribute to obesity, low self-esteem, social disorders, and decreased academic performance. When your kids are home all summer, it’s easy to let them binge watch cartoons when you need them out of your hair so you can clean the house or pay the bills. Remind yourself to limit screen time by establishing a few hours every day that will be used for “unstructured play.” Let the kids know that after lunch, they’re on their own until 3 PM – no gadgets allowed!   3. Let them make a mess   This tends to be a tough one for many moms, and it’s understandable. Keeping a halfway clean home takes daily diligence, and having kids can feel like there are tiny tornadoes spinning around behind you every time you tidy up. In the summer, try to stretch your patience toward the mess-making. You can set boundaries, like limiting messy projects to the tiled kitchen and away from your off-white rug, but let them do some experimental baking, indulge in some glue-heavy art projects, or create a mad scientist’s laboratory. Giving them the freedom to make messes will encourage innovative ideas.   4. Make summer about self-reliance   Since the 1960’s, American schools have shifted away from teaching basic life skills to focusing almost exclusively on academics. The additional time with your kids in the summer is a great opportunity to teach them what they aren’t getting in the classroom. Have them plan and prepare meals with you, teach them how to do laundry, have them create a savings plan for the new gadget they’ve been wanting, or teach them how to safely refuel a vehicle at the gas station. Summer is a perfect time to foster your child’s sense of self-reliance.   5. Commit to learning a new skill   A wonderful aspect of summer is that it gives kids time to pursue ideas and activities that they feel inspired to chase. As the school year comes to an end, ask your child to pick one new thing they want to learn over the summer. Even if they say something like, “Kung Fu,” you don’t need to invest in expensive lessons. Watch online tutorials a few times a week to empower them with some basic skills. Letting your child take the lead in what they pursue will excite them about learning and help their brain to “decompress” from the constant frontal lobe focus during the academic year. Don’t forget to choose something for you to learn over the summer as well! This will model creativity, persistence, and the importance of life-long learning.   6. Reduce the dreaded “brain-drain”   Many parents fear that summer will drain their child’s brain of everything they learned the prior school year and make it difficult for them to adjust in the fall. While a small regression is not the end of the world, it can be helpful to maintain some academic activity over the summer. Buy a grade level workbook for them or invest in some occasional tutoring in a subject they’ve struggled with. Just be conscious not to burden them with too many textbook obligations over the summer – they have the school year for that! Remember that there are academic benefits to recreational activities as well. Swimming, for example, is not only a fun total body workout but also a science in understanding the different ways our bodies are able to stay afloat.   7. No cost, no screens, no problem!   It can feel like there aren’t many options for summer fun that don’t break the bank. While there’s nothing wrong with splurging on an occasional trip to the zoo or amusement park, don’t feel guilty if most of your summer days are a bit simpler. Encourage your child to use their imagination by turning their favorite book into a play, making a “pretend” carnival in the backyard with a ticket booth and concession stand, or take on a family project like planting a garden or repainting a fence.   8. Find ways to help others   Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders, and summertime is a great opportunity to engage your children in looking outside of themselves and into the community. Look into different volunteer opportunities – drive meals to seniors as a family, bring care packages to terminally ill children in the hospital, or join a pen-pal program with orphans in third world countries. Volunteer activities will foster compassion in your child and add meaningful memories to summer that go beyond having fun.   9. Join the fun   During the school year, parents don’t get to participate in many of the fun and explorative activities their kids experience in school. Take advantage of this time by making sure to set time every day to act like a kid. Squeeze into that blanket fort, believe that the floor really is lava, and give an Oscar worthy performance as the villain in their puppet show. The memories you will share with your children will be worth far more than anything money can buy.   Variations can help   If you would like additional support in learning ways to stimulate your child’s mind and foster their creativity, Variations can help.       
	 Click here to find a specialist who 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).   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   Biddle SJH, Asare M Physical activity and mental health in children and adolescents: a review of reviews  British Journal of Sports Medicine  Published Online First: 01 August 2011. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2011-090185   Gasper, K. & Middlewood, B.L. (2013) Approaching novel thoughts: Understanding why elation and boredom promote associative thought more than distress and relaxation. Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, USA   The Benefits of Boredom. Melboune Child Psychology. Retrieved Online. https://www.melbournechildpsychology.com.au/blog/the-benefits-of-boredom/  Tremblay, M.S., LeBlanc, A.G., Kho, M.E., Saunders, T.J., Larouche, R., Colley, R.C., Goldfield, G., Gorber, S.C. Systematic review of sedentary behaviour and health indicators in school-aged children and youth (2011) International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 20118:98 https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-8-98   Wahi G, Parkin PC, Beyene J, Uleryk EM, Birken CS. Effectiveness of Interventions Aimed at Reducing Screen Time in ChildrenA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.  Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med.  2011;165(11):979–986. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.122

“How Do I Keep My Kids Entertained All Summer?”

“I just love entertaining my kids for every second of summer!” – Said no parent ever. If you’re a mom or dad trying to figure out how you’ll keep your kid engaged over the summer, check out this week’s blog on 9 Easy Tips for a Stimulating Summer.”

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “My Kid is a Picky Eater – What do I do?”     “Yuck! I’m not eating that - I want ice cream!” Sound familiar? Many parents know the struggle of having a picky eater. It’s frustrating to want to ensure your child’s health when they’re determined to live on a steady diet of fruit loops and oreos. The good news is, most kids grow out of picky eating without it having major effects on their health. However, the way that parents react to their kids’ picky tendencies has a major impact on whether their kid grows out of it and how their eating habits effect their long-term health.    So what should parents do if their kid is a picky eater?     1. Keep offering new foods     Young children often need be to introduced to a food several times before they’ll try it. Research suggests it takes kids a minimum of 12 exposures of any given food to put it in the category of foods they like. Picky eaters can require a lot more exposures than that. Remember, exposure doesn’t mean that they have to eat it either; simply having it served to them or seeing their parent eat it also counts. Keep exposing them to new foods alongside of their favorites, and eventually they’ll try a bite.     2. Give “food bridges” a try     Once a food is accepted, use what nutritionists call “food bridges” to introduce others with similar colors, flavors, or textures to expand the variety of your child’s diet. For example, if your child likes pumpkin pie, try mashed sweet potatoes and then cross the “bridge” to mashed carrots. If your child like’s the crispiness of potato chips, introduce similarly textured foods such as snap pea crisps or seasoned kale chips.      3. Pair like a pro     Pairing isn’t just for adults when deciding which wine will complement their dinner. Toddlers naturally prefer sweet and salty flavors and tend to dislike sour and bitter. Try pairing unfamiliar foods that kids tend to dislike with foods they naturally prefer. For example, pairing a bitter food like broccoli with the saltiness of cheddar cheese provides a great combination for toddler taste buds. Celery sticks and peanut butter are another award winning, kid-approved combo.      4. Avoid reinforcing pickiness     You may be doing a few things that actually encourage picky eating without meaning to. Avoid using the “ ABCDE ” behaviors listed below, as each of these may make your child associate mealtime with a power struggle, which can increase picky eating:        A - Artificial comments  – “Mmm this asparagus is SO delicious!” Yeahhh… your kid can see right through that. Don’t exaggerate or make fake comments to try to convince your child to try a food.        B - Bribery  – “You need to eat 4 more strawberries before you can have dessert.” Don’t bribe or force your kid to eat certain foods or clean their plate. This disrupts their ability to listen to their body’s natural cues of hunger and fullness.      C - Coaxing  – “Come on, just try one bite!” Coaxing often leads to a power struggle which motivates your kid to “win” by defying you. This can distract your kid from listening to their stomach telling them what they need. Instead, they’ll be focusing all of their efforts on winning the battle.       D - Defining preferences  – “You don’t like carrots.” Taste buds are always evolving, so avoid telling your kid what foods they do or don’t like. This suggests to them that their preferences are fixed and unchanging.      E – Emotional eating  – “Aww, my baby, you fell and bumped your knee. Here, don’t cry, have a cookie.” Avoid using food as a tool to deal with tough feelings. This can lead to your child developing habits to eat in response to sadness, pain,   fear    ,     anger  , or   boredom       rather than listening their body’s natural hunger cues.        Click here    to learn healthy ways for your kids to deal with tough emotions       5. Make it a family lifestyle     If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your kid is more likely to follow suit. Make healthy food choices a   part of your family’s lifestyle   and avoid becoming a short order cook by making separate, unhealthy meals for your kids. Your kid may act like they’ll go on a hunger strike if you don’t let them eat smores for dinner, but they’ll try a healthier option before letting themselves starve.     Click here    for our printable handout on quick tips for overcoming feeding problems in children     6. Have fun with food      Get your kid involved in food preparation. Have them pick produce at the market and help you rinse, peel, and stir in the kitchen. Even to adults, food is more appetizing when it is presented nicely. You can make healthy foods more enticing by cutting them into fun shapes with cookie cutters, serving fruits and veggies on skewers, using a grater to create different textures, or arranging foods into pictures like smiley faces. While they won’t always have you around to prepare their food in eye-appealing ways, your efforts will get them to give more foods a chance and add them to their “approved” list.      7. Ditch the distractions     Mealtime should be a time for bonding between family members, and not a battle over food choices. Keep conversations away from food and minimize distractions that take your kid’s focus away from their meal and family. Turn off the TV, let homework wait, and have mealtime be a sacred ritual of quality family time. Avoid quizzing your child during mealtimes as well – questions about their performance on the spelling test or behavior during recess can add stress and tension to mealtime.     8. Depend on the “division of responsibility”     When it comes to eating, both parents and children have responsibilities. The parent’s responsibility is to choose which foods are purchased and made available, as well as what times of day they are served. The child’s responsibility is to choose which of those foods they’ll take and how much of each food they’ll eat. Allow them to carry out their responsibility by letting them listen to their bodies and eat only as much or as little as they like. Serve food family style so that they can choose their portions. Carry out your responsibility by keeping meal and snack times routine and offering 3 or 4 healthy food groups per meal.    Does your family need help in developing healthy eating habits? Click below for a free 15-minute consultation to learn how our Specialists can help       


   
     
      
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      9. Redefine desserts      Using desserts as a reward or bribery tool reinforces the idea that sweets are the most exciting and desirable foods. Don’t serve sugary sweets each night; instead, redefine dessert as fruit, yogurt, or other healthier options. Kids should be allowed to have occasional sweets, but teach them about moderation and balanced nutrition. Keep high calorie sweets reserved for celebrations or special occasions such as birthday parties, Sunday night dinners with the family, or holidays.      10. Know when to get help     Though picky eating is often a phase that kids grow out of, there are situations where outside support is needed. Picky eating can develop after a child experiences trauma and can lead to serious eating disorders. Some children also develop avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (AFRID) which can lead to life-threatening health problems if a child doesn’t get proper treatment. If you are concerned your child’s picky eating is impacting their physical or mental health, or if you need support in developing healthier eating habits as a family, our specialists 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:   American Academy of Pediatrics. (2018, April 26). 10 Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/nutrition/Pages/Picky-Eaters.aspx  Campbell, L. (2018, May 31). ARFID: Eating Disorder   Mistaken for Picky Eating. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/parents-may-mistake-picky-eating-for-a-more-serious-eating-disorder#1  Children's nutrition: 10 tips for picky eaters. (2017, July   28). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/childrens-health/art-20044948  DiGiulio, S. (2018, February 10). What makes kids picky   eaters - and what may help them get over it. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nbcnews.com/better/amp/ncna846386  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). Get Moving! 10 Reasons to Engage Your Kid 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. (2018). How to Stop Anxiety in its Tracks.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/how-to-stop-anxiety-in-its-tracks   Shinn, M. M., & Weir, A. E. (2018). Family Mealtime Coaching Treatment Manual. Unpublished Manuscript  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).Yay it’s Summer! Mom I’m Bored. 9 Tips for a Stimulating Summer.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/9-easy-tips-for-a-stimulating-summer   Shinn. M.M., Timmer, S.G., & Sandoz, T.K., (2017). Coaching to Improve Mealtime Parenting in Treating Pediatric Obesity.  Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology . Vol. 5. No. 3, 232-247  Campbell, L. (2018, May 31). ARFID: Eating Disorder   Mistaken for Picky Eating. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/parents-may-mistake-picky-eating-for-a-more-serious-eating-disorder#1  Children's nutrition: 10 tips for picky eaters. (2017, July   28). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/childrens-health/art-20044948  DiGiulio, S. (2018, February 10). What makes kids picky   eaters - and what may help them get over it. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nbcnews.com/better/amp/ncna846386  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). Get Moving! 10 Reasons to Engage Your Kid 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. (2018). How to Stop Anxiety in its Tracks.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/how-to-stop-anxiety-in-its-tracks   Shinn, M. M., & Weir, A. E. (2018). Family Mealtime Coaching Treatment Manual. Unpublished Manuscript  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).Yay it’s Summer! Mom I’m Bored. 9 Tips for a Stimulating Summer.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/9-easy-tips-for-a-stimulating-summer   Shinn. M.M., Timmer, S.G., & Sandoz, T.K., (2017). Coaching to Improve Mealtime Parenting in Treating Pediatric Obesity.  Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology . Vol. 5. No. 3, 232-247    How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). My Kid is a Picky Eater – What do I do?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/test-blog/my-kid-is-a-picky-eater-what-do-i-do

“My Kid is a Picky Eater – What do I do?”

“You can’t just eat sweets all day son.” “Then I just won’t eat anything at all!”

Most parents know the struggle of having a picky eater. Check out this week’s blog for 10 tips on what to do about it.