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      8 Tips to Calm Your Kid while Keeping Your Cool   Every parent has been there. Your kid is out of control, inconsolable, and you have no clue how to calm them. Whether your kid is 2 and mad that you cut their sandwich wrong, 12 and devastated they can’t go to a sleepover, or 17 and livid that you took their cell phone away, you feel helpless in getting them to see your perspective and  just calm down . Before you know it, you’re as upset as they are, and you find yourself in a screaming match of hurtful words and painful emotions.    So what can parents do to calm their kids and themselves? Try these 8 tips to teach everyone in your household how to calmly handle tough emotions:      1. Avoid getting physical     Resist the urge to put your hands on your kid in anger as they work through their outburst. Adding physical pain to emotional turmoil only fuels the fire. If you get too heated or if your kid hits you, walk away until you’re both able to talk without getting physical.     Feel like your kid is always defiant? Click here     2. Let “teaching moments” wait     When your kid is feeling emotionally overwhelmed, they’re not in a place to listen to your words of wisdom. Wait until after they’ve calmed down to discuss appropriate behaviors,   values  , rules, and consequences. Remind them that you love them and are here for them as they learn how new ways to deal with tough feelings.     Click here for more tips on being a high EQ parent     3. Take a visual vacay     Visualization is another great tool for releasing the mind from negative thoughts. One visualization tool that can work for all ages is called “Imagine a Rainbow.  Picture yourself walking down a beautiful path. As a storm clears. Envision a rainbow appearing and imagine yourself standing beneath it, letting. Its warm, bright light fill you with calmness. Reflect on the feelings that each color makes you think of.      Try this relaxing activity with your child. Download our free Rainbow Mandala Coloring Sheet       4. Tame your tension     When we get upset, our muscles tend to clench up. This tension does not need to be your enemy; in fact, tense-and-release exercises are a great way to calm your body down. Tell young kids to make their body rigid like a robot, then to relax their body like a floppy ragdoll. Clench your jaw, your hands, stomach, and curl your toes. Then, slowly release each muscle one at a time. Repeating these tense-and-release exercises will gradually calm your body and mind.     5. Ground yourself     We don’t mean to exile yourself to life without TV for a week; we mean to ground your focus down to your 5 senses in the present moment:        LOOK   - “I see a picture on the wall”      FEEL   – “I feel my hand resting on the chair”      LISTEN   – “I hear the A/C blowing”      SMELL   – “I smell the vanilla air freshener”       TASTE   – “I taste my orange from lunch”    Focusing on the present moment helps to relieve anxiety about the future or sorrow about the past.      6. Breathe through it     Gaining control of your breathing helps to harness negative emotions. A great way to get young kids to calm their breathing is to have them do the “flower, birthday cake” exercise. Tell them to pretend they’re smelling a beautiful flower, and then, pretend to blow out candles on a birthday cake. Older kids (and you!) can benefit from sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed, placing your hands on your belly as you inhale and exhale, and focusing on the cool air entering in and warm air releasing out.       Take a break with your child and focus your attention on belly breathing using our free Mandala Coloring Sheet       7. Calm creatively      Channeling emotions into creative projects can help to put the mind and body at ease. Kids and adults alike can use coloring, painting, or sculpting to divert distract from their minds away from overwhelming emotions and toward the colors, lines, shapes, and textures of what they’re creating. Keep creative art supplies on hand for a quick diversion when tensions start to rise.      8. Get a calming coach     There are many factors that contribute to kids having major emotional outbursts, and knowing how to respond can be tough as a parent. This can be especially hard if your child struggles with   learning differences or other disorders   that impact their emotional health. Our specialists can get to know your family’s unique challenges and give you tools to learn healthy ways to overcome them.       
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               More about Variations Psychology   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.  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:     Cognitive and Social Skills to Expect From 18 to 36 Months. (2019) ACT Raising Safe Kids Program. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/act/resources/fact-sheets/development-36-months  Shinn, M.M. (2018). Am I an Emotionally Intelligent Parent? 6 Tips for Moms & 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). From Spoiled to Grateful – 9 Tips for Raising Thankful Kids.   Psychologically Speaking .  [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/from-spoiled-to-grateful-9-tips-for-raising-thankful-kids   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Operation Anger Man-agement! A Guy’s Guide to Understanding His Inner Hulk.  Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/operation-anger-man-agement   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   Tantrum in the Grocery Store. (2019) ACT Raising Safe Kids Program. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/act/resources/fact-sheets/challenging-36-months  Timmer, S., Hawk, B., Lundquist, K., Forte, L., Aviv, R., Boys, D., & Urquiza, A. Coping & Relaxation Skills 1. (2016) PC-CARE: Course of Treatment Manual. Unpublished Manuscript. Retrieved from https://pcit.ucdavis.edu/wpcontent/uploads/2018/11/47_Coping_LittleKids-Aubrey-edits-8.6.18.pdf  Timmer, S., Hawk, B., Lundquist, K., Forte, L., Aviv, R., Boys, D., & Urquiza, A. Coping & Relaxation Skills 2 (2016) PC-CARE: Course of Treatment Manual. Unpublished Manuscript. Retrieved from https://pcit.ucdavis.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/48_Coping_BigKids_6-9yrs-Aubreyedits.pdf  Timmer, S., Hawk, B., Lundquist, K., Forte, L., Aviv, R., Boys, D., & Urquiza, A. Coping & Relaxation Skills 3 (2016) PC-CARE: Course of Treatment Manual. Unpublished Manuscript. Retrieved from https://pcit.ucdavis.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Coping_Older-Kids_9-13yrs.pdf  Timmer, S., Hawk, B., Lundquist, K., Forte, L., Aviv, R., Boys, D., & Urquiza, A. Co- Regulation Techniques (2016) PC-CARE: Course of Treatment Manual. Unpublished Manuscript. Retrieved from https://pcit.ucdavis.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/47.1_Session2-CoRegulation-Techniques.pdf  What Makes Children Angry. (2019) ACT Raising Safe Kids Program. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/act/resources/fact-sheets/children-angry    How to Cite This Blog Article:    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

8 Tips to Calm Your Kid while Keeping Your Cool

Every parent knows what it’s like to try to calm your kid down from a fit, only to end up enraged and screaming yourself. So how can parents calm their kids and keep their cool in the process? Check out this week’s blog to find out.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      The Parents Guide to Play: 9 Tips to Ignite Your Child’s Learning    Most parents dread this familiar scenario: you buy your kid a new toy, they’re thrilled for ten minutes, but then the toy sits on a shelf collecting dust for six months. While you can’t stop your child from shifting interests, you can engage them through play to support their learning, develop their social skills, and boost their creativity. But with hectic lives and daily distractions, it can be hard for parents to know how to channel their inner-child and connect with their kids through play.    So what can parents do to help their kids get the most out of playtime?    1. Accept the challenge   Play has always been a natural part of childhood across cultures, but today’s society doesn’t lend itself to children getting much unstructured play. Kids aren’t going outside as often, they’re involved in more structured activities, and many schools have reduced recess periods. Research has shown a correlation between society’s decrease in play and increases in depression and anxiety. For these reasons, it’s important that parents accept the challenge of consciously making play a priority.      2. Learn the benefits   Understanding the perks of playtime will help you make educated decisions about what types of toys and activities will benefit your child most. Play can help your child:      Learn about their world    Manage their feelings    Build relationships and social skills    Learn from playmates    Enhance their physical health     Discover how to self-entertain    Ignite their creativity     It’s also important to realize the damage that inactivity can cause – not getting adequate playtime can prevent your child’s brain from developing normally, increase attention issues, and negatively impact their academic performance.     3. Put quality before quantity   When it comes to playing with your kids, it’s important that you genuinely connect with them, even if only for 5 or 10 minutes at a time. If you’re sleep-deprived or stressed out like parents often are, take a break and catch up on bonding time later. Your child will benefit most from playing with you when you are rested, calm, and ready to have some fun.      4. Rotate playmates   It’s important for your child to play and interact with you as their parent, but also make sure they get ample playtime with peers their own age as well as some alone time to play by themselves. Playing with peers will help them develop social skills, and playing alone will help them learn to entertain themselves creatively.      5. Tailor toys by age   As your child’s brain develops, they will require different types of toys to stimulate their interests and learn new skills. Toys generally list which age groups they are geared toward, but you can also check out this    year-by-year toy guide      for details on which toys are best for your child in each stage of development.      6. Balance nurture with boundaries   Play provides a space for kids to lead and parents to learn what their kids are thinking and feeling. While play should be child-led, it also provides opportunities for parents to set limits and teach their children to respect boundaries. Empower your child by letting them choose and lead activities, but don’t allow them to behave in disrespectful or inappropriate ways. Playtime is a great opportunity to teach your child to consider the feelings of others – a lesson that will benefit them when playing with other kids at school.      7. Don’t Dominate   It’s great for you to become engaged in play, but make sure you don’t dominate activities yourself. Parents are especially prone to doing this with crafts or projects that are supposed to turn out a certain way, and can end up pushing their child aside as they create the finished product. So next time you’re creating a Lego masterpiece or building a robotic unicorn, make sure your kid is equally engaged in the assembly.      8. Practice PRIDE skills    Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) identifies 5 skills that parents can use to shape their children’s emotional and behavioral well-being. Incorporate these skills to get the most out of playtime with your child:        PRAISE   – Compliment your child for their positive behaviors. This will reinforce desirable actions, making them more likely to repeat them. Example: “I love how you’re stacking your blocks carefully and keeping them on the table.”      REFLECTION   – Repeat back or reflect what your child talks about during play. This shows that you are listening and value their thoughts. Example: Child says, “The dragon is flying to a far-off land.” Parent reflects, “The dragon is flying to a far-off land.”       IMITATION   – Boost your child’s confidence by copying their creations or ideas. Imitation shows your child you enjoy playing with them and think their ideas are cool. Example: “I’m going to draw a swamp monster just like you.”      DESCRIPTION   – Support your child’s language development and communication skills by describing what you see them doing during play. Example: “I see you’re taking your doll’s sneakers off and putting her roller-skates on.”      ENJOYMENT  – Don’t forget to show enthusiasm and enjoyment as you play. The more fun you are having, the more engaged your child will be. Example: “I am having so much fun playing soccer with you!”    Dr. Marta M. Shinn, a specialist at Variations Psychology, is a    PCIT      and    PC-CARE    Trainer for the University of California, Davis and has taught many moms, dads, and caregivers how to incorporate PRIDE skills in their parenting.     Click here to find a PCIT Provider       


   
     
      
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       Are you a dad? Click here to check out our PRIDE skills for dads     9. Get support   It can be difficult for parents to know how to connect to their inner-kid and engage their children through play. But remember – behind every great player is a supportive coach! Our specialists at Variations can help you bridge the gap between yours and your child’s interests to make play enriching and rewarding for both of you.       
	 CLick here to find a specialists that's right for you 
       Subscribe to our blog for a weekly article on topics that affect your 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:   O’Connor, Siobhan (2017). The Secret Power of Play.  Time Magazine . Retrieved online: http://time.com/4928925/secret-power-play/  Raising Children – The Australian Parenting Website. (2018). Why Play is Important. https://raisingchildren.net.au/newborns/play-learning/play-ideas/why-play-is-important  Bongiorno, L. (2018). 10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Play.  National Association for the Education of Young Children.  https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/10-things-every-parent-play  National Association for the Education of Young Children. (2018). Good Toys for Young Children by Age and Stage. Retrieved online: https://www.naeyc.org/resources/topics/play/toys   How to Cite This Blog Article:   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

The Parents Guide to Play: 9 Tips to Ignite Your Child’s Learning

Every parent knows what it feels like to buy your kids new toys, have them play with them for a day, and then have them collect dust for 6 months! While you can’t stop your child from shifting interests, you can make play more engaging to inspire your child to learn and maybe keep that toy off the shelf a little longer. Check out this week’s blog for 9 tips on igniting your child’s learning through play.