Just be happy! A common phrase we hear frequently. We know we feel better when we are happy, but why is this so? The answer lies in brain chemistry. When we process positive emotions our brain releases the “feel good” neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals improve our ability to organize and recall information, and solve problems more creatively and efficiently. When we are happy our brains actually function better!
Luckily there are things we CAN DO to increase positive emotions. Meditation is a powerful practice that increases positive emotions and over time even increases immune function. There are many approaches to meditation. One is to focus the attention on the breath. While lying down or sitting, close your eyes, and just bring your attention to your breath. If your mind wanders just bring your attention back to your breath without judgement. You can observe how your chest, ribs and shoulders move. Perhaps set a timer for 2-3 minutes and increase the number of minutes over time or practice meditation for a couple of minutes a few times per day. There are no “right” or “wrong” ways, so just play around and see what works for you… Stay tune for more information and suggestions on increasing happiness!
Children often deal with emotional and social conflict, distractions and overstimulation in our world today.
Yoga is a tool that can help kids re-center themselves. Yoga uses breathing exercises which can energize kids or encourage relaxation. Different breathing techniques/games help kids connect to how their bodies feel as a result of deep breathing. Focus increases, stress is reduced and healthy hormones are released.
Here are some of the many benefits of teaching yoga to kids:
Yoga helps kids to:
- Develop body awareness
- Manage stress through breathing, awareness, meditation and healthy movement
- Develops focus and concentration
- Build strength and enhances flexibility
- Refines balance and coordination
- Boosts self-esteem and confidence
“Yoga is beneficial to children of all ages, but it has been found to be particularly so for kids with special needs. Studies have shown that yoga benefits children with autism and ADHD. NPR has reported that researchers surveyed teachers at a Bronx public school that had a daily yoga program and found that the program reduced kids’ aggressive behavior, social withdrawal, and hyperactivity, compared with a control group of kids with autism who did not practice yoga. Kristie Patten Koenig, Ph.D., an associate professor of occupational therapy at New York University who led the study, says that yoga was effective because it seemed to play to the strengths of kids with autism while also reducing stress. Autism Key, an autism support website, says that yoga helps address kids’ heightened anxiety, poor motor coordination, and weak self-regulation, something that otherwise is very difficult to do”. – an excerpt from “the benefits of yoga for kids” by Visi Tilak in Parents magazine found on https://www.parents.com/fun/sports/exercise/the-benefits-of-yoga-for-kids/
Kids Place Therapy Services offers yoga classes throughout the year. Enroll your child so that they may be able to experience the many benefits of yoga.
Halloween is filled with so much rich sensory input. It’s a holiday where we break social norms and teach our children to go up to scary houses and take candy from strangers while dressed in strange costumes. It’s no wonder some of our children are mystified by the holiday. Most importantly, though, the point of Halloween is for children and families to have fun together. Some children love EVERYTHING about Halloween. Some children may need a little more…or a lot more support to enjoy the holiday. We here at Kids Place Therapy Services are happy to share some thoughts on supporting your superhero, butterfly, witch… during this holiday.
Halloween may be experienced in many ways. If your child is able to go out and Trick-or-Treat, follow your child’s cues. Perhaps tonight you may stay out for 2 hours. It’s okay, though, if you head home after 20 minutes. It’s also okay if your child prefers to stay home and help hand out candy. Social skills practice and sensory exploration can be gained from home on Halloween too. However, for safety reasons, you might want to have an adult open the door to maintain the continuity of teaching your child not to open the door to strangers.
Consider that your child has many opportunities to practice the same skill over and over again today. While Trick-or-Treating, the first few houses can be used for “warming up”. If a child wants to hang back while others go up this can be a good opportunity for a child to see what to expect and what is expected. The same concept may apply for children handing out candy at home.
Some houses may appear brighter, louder, darker or just scarier than others. After warming up it might be that your child can go up to some houses more easily than others. This is okay, continue to follow your child’s cues. You may also help your child “warm up” while handing out candy at home. Some costumes may provide just too much sensory input. Following your child’s cues and allowing your child to take breaks as needed may help increase and even extend the fun!
Happy Halloween from our families to yours!!
Fall classes will be posted soon!
Play is more than just fun – it’s a powerful teaching tool that helps children learn essential skills for human development.
Here are a few Summer Time fun activities that promote fine motor, coordination and visual motor skills:
Fine motor skills: squirt gun, sidewalk chalk, jacks, marbles, using shovels to dig in dirt or sand, planting seeds, and popping bubbles.
Gross motor coordination skills: hippity hop, scooter board, duck-duck-goose, hula hoop, bike, hop scotch.
Visual motor skills: Velcro ball catch, frisbee, t-ball, croquet, badminton, tennis, scoop ball, ring toss, bug catcher and watering cans.
Please share your child’s favorite summer time activity.