self-care: 4 Articles

When Your Child Has a Chronic Medical Illness: Interview with the Authors, Part One

Parenting a child with a chronic medical illness poses unique and enduring challenges. Two mental health professionals marshaled their clinical and personal experience and insights to create a book for parents with a chronically ill child. Frank Sileo, PhD, and Carol Potter, MFT, answer questions about writing When Your Child Has a Chronic Medical Illness: A Guide for the Parenting Journey. This is part one of their interview. Magination Press: What inspired you to write When Your Child Has a Chronic Medical Illness: A Guide for the Parenting Journey? Frank Sileo: I was diagnosed with a chronic gastrointestinal disease called Crohn's disease back in 1989. It’s a chronic, autoimmune disease that’s a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Following receiving the diagnosis, I wrote my first children's book, Toilet Paper Flowers: A Story for Children about Crohn's Disease. After I wrote this book, I was invited to speak about how chronic illness impacts children and families. I also started receiving referrals to my clinical practice of kids and families struggling with chronic medical issues. I have always wanted to write a parenting book that would include the advice, research, and psychological coping skills I lecture about and share with my patients in my practice. I wanted to create a tool that parents can have on hand to refer to on their parenting journey. Having this book published is a huge dream come true moment for me! MP: Do you have experience with parenting a child with chronic illness? Carol Potter: My son Christopher did not have a chronic medical issue but did have some learning issues beginning in elementary school, so I am familiar with some aspects of this situation. There were searches for the appropriate professionals to help, testing with a psychologist, working with the schools and teachers trying to get them to understand what he needed, and additions to his schedule that he just didn’t want to do. Fortunately, I never had to worry about his health, or about the kinds of emergencies these parents have to deal with, but being a mom I can begin to imagine how scary it must be when your child’s health threatens their ability to make friends, attend school, or even their very life. All parents worry about their children; the worries of parents whose children have chronic medical illness, though, include concerns about survival, which I know must add immeasurably to the stress they already feel. MP: How did you end up collaborating on this project? FS: I know Jason Priestley, who played Brandon Walsh on the show Beverly Hills, 90210. Jason has reviewed some of my children's books. When I wrote my children's book A World of Pausabilities: An Exercise in Mindfulness for Magination Press in 2017, he told me that his 90210-television mom, Cindy Walsh, played by Carol, is a marriage and family therapist. I looked her up on the web and saw she practices mindfulness with her patients and has a personal practice. I reached out to her

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When Your Child Has a Chronic Medical Illness: Interview with the Authors, Part One 2021-02-22T17:10:35-05:00

COVID-19: Strategies to Support Your Young Child and Yourself

We're months into the COVID-19 pandemic now, and it looks like the concerns, complications, and uncertainty it has created will be with us for a while. As we head into the fall, children, parents, and caregivers alike are suffering from a kind of pandemic fatigue. Caring for our children and ourselves has taken on a new dimension, and we all could use some strategies to handle these ongoing stressors. In May, Magination Press published two free resources to support kids during the pandemic: A Kid's Guide to Coronavirus, by Rebecca Growe, MSW, LCSW, and  Julia Martin Burch, PhD, created for kids ages 3-8, (now also available in Spanish) and Unstuck! 10 Things to Do to Stay Safe and Sane During the Pandemic, by Bonnie Zucker, for kids ages 13-18. Both have a note at the end, providing specific strategies for coping with the anxiety, uncertainty, disappointment, and emotional roller coaster created by the pandemic. This excerpt from A Kid's Guide to Coronavirus Note to Parents and Caregivers provides six tips for parents to help themselves and their young children through this challenging time. The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for children and adults alike. Yet within great challenges lie opportunities for growth, bravery, and resilience. Provide Just Enough Information Strike a balance between oversharing information, which may lead kids to worry about aspects of the crisis they need not be worried about like the economy, and under-sharing. Too little information can send active imaginations into overdrive. Provide your child with limited, age-appropriate facts about the virus. Focus on what they can do to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe, like wearing a mask and washing hands. Validate and Name Emotions It's normal for children to have a range of emotions in response to the pandemic: anxiety, fear, or anger, for example. No matter the emotion, it is important to validate it—to communicate to your child that their emotion makes sense and is okay for them to feel. For example, "I can understand why you're feeling worried. There are a lot of changes happening right now." It is also helpful to label the emotion your child is feeling; research demonstrates that naming an emotion decreases its intensity. In a difficult moment, taking the time to say, "I see that you are really sad" can be incredibly soothing to your child. Focus on the Present Moment Worried brains tend to focus on the future, predicting all of the scary things that might happen. Teach your child how to gently bring their mind back to the present moment by practicing mindfulness. Being mindful simply means that you are purposefully paying attention to the present moment without judging it as good or bad. Try playing a mindful "I Spy" in which you count all of the objects of a certain color in the space around you. You can mindfully eat, dance, walk, listen to music—the sky is the limit! Create a New Routine Flexibly following a consistent plan day-to-day provides

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COVID-19: Strategies to Support Your Young Child and Yourself 2020-08-14T16:04:11-04:00

Kids Feeling Stressed? Help Them Learn Self-Care Skills!

We’re all feeling some big emotions right now, as the whole world battles the COVID-19 virus. Adults and children alike are feeling uncertain, anxious, lonely and scared. This is the time to practice self-care skills. Here are some tips to help your child develop self-care skills to recognize and manage their emotions: As parents and caregivers, we can help kids develop strong self-care skills to help them weather adversity and cheer themselves on. Magination Press’s Fantastic You by Danielle Dufayet shows young readers how to develop a positive and nurturing relationship with themselves. In the note to parents and caregivers, Dr. Julia Martin Burch offers strategies to help children build self-care skills that mirror what the kids in Fantastic You do. Identifying Emotions Learning to notice, identify, and soothe their own emotions begins in childhood, but your child will continue to develop these skills throughout their lives. Emotions can be overwhelming to all of us. Young children in particular can struggle to understand surges in emotion and physical sensations that go with them, like butterflies in their tummies or feeling shaky. They rely on you to help them figure out what the feelings mean and to name them. Get curious with your child about what they are feeling. You can ask them what is happening inside their body and if they can name the emotion they are feeling. You can also support them by describing what you see and guessing what the emotion might be that they are feeling. “I see that your face is red and your hands are in fists. When I do those actions, I’m often feeling angry. Do you think that’s how you are feeling?” Self-validation Along with learning to recognize and identify emotions, it’s important for children to learn that emotions aren’t right or wrong, they just are. No matter how big or painful an emotion is, it is a safe and acceptable experience. You can help children by noticing and validating their emotions. For example, you could say, “It's hard that we all have to stay home to beat the virus. That means you can't see your friends. I can see why you are feeling sad.” When children learn to validate their own feelings, it allows them to reduce the intensity of an emotion they are feeling in the moment and builds confidence in their ability to manage their emotions. Self-soothing Help your child discover which activities or experiences help them calm down or feel better. What helps a child feel better will depend on the situation and on the child’s preferences, so explore a lot of different activities. Some kids will find that soothing their senses with music, a hot bath, looking at clouds, or snuggling with a favorite lovey might help. Others might find a project like building a fort or putting on a puppet show is a good distraction. Finding out what helps you self-soothe is an important skill that’s fun to develop. Help your child collect some of their

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Kids Feeling Stressed? Help Them Learn Self-Care Skills! 2020-05-13T18:14:29-04:00