Children need more time to play. That means parents need to schedule them less.

Play is a natural way that children learn critical thinking, resilience, and social skills. Play also enhances creativity, problem solving and cooperation. The play can be with other children or with you the parent. But it must be ‘free’ play, meaning it is play where children have the chance to make things up as they go, and adults are not telling them what to do. There are so many different kinds of play: including rough and tumble physical play, outdoor running around play, playing with toys, such as blocks or pretend play. Any type will provide benefits, as long as the children are free to choose on their own what they want to do.According to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “play is not frivolous.” Play teaches children the kinds of life skills we want them to have as adults: collaboration, negotiation, conflict resolution, self-advocacy, decision-making, and leadership. Play even reduces stress and can help protect kids from growing up with toxic levels of stress due to poverty and other sources of childhood adversity. (more…)

Teen Brain Growth Surges Can Help Explain Adolescent Behavior

Wondering why your teen is so emotional and risk-taking?
Your teenager is neither crazy nor stupid. No matter how emotional they are; No matter how much they seem to be making poor choices, there is a very good reason why teens are the way they are. It is not their fault or yours. It’s biology. Adolescence brings about a surge in brain growth. But the dilemma is that different brain areas grow at different rates. The novelty and fear region (Amygdala) and the reward region (Nucleus Accumbens), in the adolescent brain, mature earlier than the region involved in calming and self-control (Prefrontal cortex). Eventually, the Prefrontal Cortex does come on board, but it is a slowly occurring process that continues on into your child’s 20’s.

Teens can get really anxious as a result of their overactive amygdala
It is perfectly normal when in a new situation to have a bit of a fear response. That’s because the Amygdala gives a spurt of adrenaline when we are in unfamiliar circumstances; such as meeting a group of new people or going to a new place. (more…)

Family Meals Promote Healthy Child Development

Parents and kids are super busy these days, making it particularly hard to have the time to eat meals together. However, evidence now shows that it is really worth putting in the effort to have more family meals. According to researchers at the University of Montreal, children who routinely eat their meals together with their family are more likely to experience long-term benefits, physically, emotionally and socially. The family meal serves as a relationship-based learning environment for children. This research supports Reflective Parenting’s emphasis on the importance of the parent-child relationship.

I am very enthusiastic about family meals. However, I want to reassure you. Family meals are good. But family meals are not a should.  Reflective Parenting always emphasizes that there is never just one right way.  So, if family meals are simply not possible for you and your children, don’t panic. (more…)



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