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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.    Dr. Christopher J. Sample, Psy.D.  specializes in supporting men and teenage boys through life’s transitions. If you are a dad who struggles with   anger  , or if your teen son is prone to outbursts, Dr. Sample can help. Dr. Sample is now accepting Aetna Insurance.         
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Sample 
       Dr. Elsa Torres, Psy.D.,  is a specialist in  Diagnostic Testing and Counseling.  Dr. Torres is experienced at helping people of all ages discover the root causes of their challenges and find healthy and empowering ways to overcome them.     
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with  Dr. Torres 
       Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in Child and Educational psychology. If you are concerned about your child’s emotional health, Dr. Shinn can provide diagnostic testing and recommend techniques to support their emotional development..       
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
       Subscribe to our blog for a weekly article on topics that affect your life         
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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.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Co-parenting over Summer: 10 Tips for a Drama Free Vacay   Summer is a challenging time for all parents, but especially for those who are no longer together. During the school year, the kids are on a pretty set schedule and co-parents generally know what their responsibilities are from month to month. Then summer rolls around and throws a wrench into visitation, childcare, and transportation arrangements. Add the drama of your ex-relationship to the mix, and your family’s summer fun is at serious risk.   So what can co-parents do to plan a summer that works for everyone?     1. Create a co-parenting plan   Depending on your situation, communication between you and your co-parent might not be optimal. If you can stand being in the same room together (or tolerate phone calls), let your ex know you want to discuss summer plans that are in the best interest of your child. Plan ahead and tell them about trips, camps, or other activities you have in mind. Determine who will make arrangements for childcare and activities and discuss how payments will be split up. Putting summer plans in writing will help you both stay on the same page and avoid misunderstandings.   2. Share your priorities   Ask your ex what’s most important to them this summer. Is it bringing your child to cousin Frank’s wedding on a weekend that isn’t normally theirs? Is it taking your child to see a concert of their favorite band? Even if you secretly couldn’t care less about what your ex wants, being flexible and acknowledging what’s important to them will make it a lot more likely that they will do the same for you.   3. Meet halfway   Co-parents often bump heads about what summer activities their child should be enrolled in. One parent might think they are old enough to be home alone and that camps are a waste of money. The other might dread the thought of their little pookie-pie unsupervised without constant stimulation and structured snack-time. Whichever side you’re on, be open to compromise. Don’t feel like forking out half the cost for that exclusive STEM camp? Compile research to share with your ex on some smaller camps that might provide a more reasonable option.   4. Avoid competition   If you find yourself trying to one-up your ex with cooler plans for the ultimate vacay, remind yourself that competing with your co-parent will only make your child feel guilty. Splitting the summer between two households can be tough for a child or teen, so the most important thing is that they get quality one-on-one time with each parent. It doesn’t matter if it’s be on a beach in Maui or at a backyard barbecue; bonding with each parent is most important.   5. Get your child’s input   As you work out summer arrangements with your co-parent, make sure you don’t overlook what your child actually wants. Parents feel a lot of pressure to make summer amazing for their kids, but maybe all your child really wants to do is work on their guitar skills and hang out with friends. Focusing plans around your child’s priorities will make them feel important and will also reduce the power struggle between co-parents.   6. Don’t smother from afar   If your child is going away with your ex for an extended time, it’s perfectly reasonable for you to want to check in with them periodically – just don’t overdo it. Discuss set times with your ex that you will call and check in with your child, but limit it to 2 or 3 times a week. That way, your child is less likely to resent your contact and you won’t appear to be encroaching on the other parent’s quality time.   7. Make the most of your “me-time”   While you will miss your child and may even worry about them when they are with the other parent, remember that there is a silver lining in having a split summer: you get lots more free time! Make the most of your me-time by planning several kid-free activities to occupy your time and look forward to.   8. Support the other relationship    Co-parents come with a wide variety of background stories. Some just grew apart but still care and respect for each other. Others may have been lied to or cheated on and can’t stand the thought of that no-good two timer. Whatever your story is, remind yourself that it’s in your child’s best interest to have a positive relationship with both parents. Show support for them making memories with their other parent and ask them all about their time with them.   9. Don’t hex your ex   No matter how reasonable or considerate you are, sometimes the other parent just won’t want to compromise. As frustrating as this may be, don’t badmouth your ex to your child, even if they talk badly about you. Comments like, “You couldn’t go to Disneyworld because your dad refused to pay his half,” will alienate the other parent and put the weight of your drama on your child’s shoulders. When you’re feeling angry or upset, call a friend or other trusted adult to vent to.   10. Visit a specialist   Every family situation is different and sometimes parents need a little extra help in managing the challenges that co-parenting can bring. If co-parenting or visitation challenges are becoming overwhelming, Variations can help.   Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D ., is an expert in child and educational psychology. Dr. Shinn works with parents and children to help them discover ways to improve communication, overcome obstacles, and make decisions that benefit the best interest of the family.       
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn. 
       Dr. Daniella A. Davis, Psy.D ., is an expert in dealing with the unique challenges that women face throughout each stage of life including life after divorce and managing the stress and challenges of co-parenting.     
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Davis. 
       Cynthia Johnson, LMFT,  is a specialist in Parenting and Child Therapy at Variations Psychology. She has years of experience in supporting families and strengthening relationships between co-parents, married couples, teens, and children.   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).  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:   https://www.thelincolnlawfirm.com/blog/2018/04/tips-for-successfully-co-parenting-this-summer.shtml  Loving Your Children More Than You Hate Each Other  Powerful Tools for Navigating a High-Conflict Divorce   Lauren J. Behrman PhD, Jeffrey Zimmerman PhD, ABPP  http://coparently.com/co-parenting-through-summer   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Co-parenting over Summer: 10 Tips for a Drama Free Vacay.     Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/co-parenting-over-summer-10-tips-for-a-drama-free-vacay

Co-parenting over Summer: 10 Tips for a Drama Free Vacay

Summer is a challenging time for all parents, but especially for those who are no longer together. During the school year, the kids are on a pretty set schedule and co-parents generally know what their responsibilities are from month to month. Then summer rolls around and throws a wrench into visitation, childcare, and transportation arrangements. Add the drama of your ex-relationship to the mix, and your family’s summer fun is at serious risk.

So what can co-parents do to plan a summer that works for everyone?