Allowing Kids to Feel Lonely an op-ed in last week’s Sunday New York Times, Frank Bruni talks about the shock that many – or perhaps most – college freshman face when they get to college.  Having been sold on how much fun college will be, on how they will have “the time of their lives” by nostalgic parents and teachers, they are stunned to feel…lonely.  And not just at first. In a survey of 28,000 college students on 51 campuses by The American College Health Association, more than 60% said they had felt “very lonely” in the previous 12 months.  Nearly 30% said that they had felt that way in the past 2 weeks.

What gives? Continue reading

First Day of Daycare or Pre-school

daycareSending your infant or young child off to daycare or pre-school for the first time can be heart wrenching – for BOTH to you.

Suddenly, the baby you cared for so carefully will be in the hands of others.  This can cause parents to feel more anxious than they anticipated feeling!  Often parents feel a loss of control over their child’s care and wellbeing.  Fear, guilt, and regret may follow.

What can you do?

The infant who is 6-months-old or younger: Continue reading

Back to School Anxiety

For parents, the end of summer and the start of the new school year can be either a relief or a source of anxiety – or both!

Many parents are more than ready for their children to go back to school in the fall.  It can feel like everyone is tired of each other after a summer of being at home together or traveling together.  Without the routine of the school year, it can be hard for parents to come up with new and interesting activities to keep everyone happy.

On the other hand, when children and parents have to leave the more leisurely pace of summer behind return to daycare, school, or work, a great deal of anxiety can be felt.  Starting a new grade or going to daycare or school for the first time can be hard.

It’s important for parents to avoid getting lost in their own anxiety over school supplies, new clothes, and medical forms and, instead, remember that new things can be very difficult for children.   Continue reading

The Importance of Failure

Last week in The Sunday New York Times there was an article describing how college students need to to be TAUGHT that it’s okay to fail occasionally. Smith, a prestigious women’s college, offers a presentation called “Failing Well” during student orientation, which gives out a certificate saying, “You are hereby authorized to screw up, bomb or fail at one or more relationships, hookups, friendships, texts, exams or extracurriculars or any other choice associated with college…and still be a totally worthy, utterly excellent human.”

Evidently many 18 year olds are getting to college having suffered very few disappointments or failures of any kind. Or they get to college rarely having had to handle disappointment on their own. They are simply unprepared for this experience. Residence life offices are inundated with students who come in sobbing that they did not get their first choice of roommate, that they got less than an A- on an exam, or that they got rejected from a club.

How did we, as a society, or we as parents and educators and mental health professionals allow this to happen? We simply have to ask ourselves this question. Continue reading

Summer Treat

It’s finally summer and time to break out the hot weather treats! Want something healthier than ice-cream or sugar filled popsicles?

Try this for your kids. From toddlers to teens, they will love it:

Take any aging bananas, peel and put in plastic bags in your freezer for future use.

When a cool treat is necessary, put 1 frozen banana, a half cup milk (cow’s milk, soy milk, almond milk) and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in your blender (this amount per serving) and blend until smooth. Voila! It tastes and feels like a milkshake made with ice-cream– but it isn’t!

For interesting color and flavor variations, add blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peeled peach slices or really ANY summer fruit.