The Anxiety category compiles any blog related to anxiety on the North Shore Pediatric Therapy website into one place. The blogs in this category are meant to help educate, inform and encourage parents of children with anxiety. Readers will learn about separation anxiety, other forms of anxiety, school, red flags, what parents can do to help, what teachers can do to help and more! If you are looking for any information related to anxiety, this category will help you get started. IF you need additional assistance, please give us a call at (877) 486-4140.

Why Doesn’t My Child Like Bath Time?

Typically bath time is either an extremely preferred activity or a least preferred activity for parents and children alike, as there are many sensory components involved with bath time. Bath time is supposed to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience, which can ideally calm a child down before bedtime or help to wake a child up in the morning before starting the day. boy not liking bathWhen bath time becomes a least preferred activity it can become a dreaded weekly event and can cause extra stress for the entire family. Here are some reasons why your child may not like bath time.

5 Reasons Your Child May Not Like The Bath:

  1. Tactile system: your child feels the temperature of the water against his skin (e.g. hot, cold); he uses a variety of bubbles and shampoos which can be slippery and foamy; he uses a washcloth and towel which can be rough and scratchy
  2. Vestibular system: your child tips his head back for hair washing, causing his head to be out of the midline position and a change in the position of his ear canals
  3. Auditory system: your child hears the water running and splashing, which may be amplified if the bathroom has an echo or if he takes a bath with siblings which can increase the noise level
  4. Olfactory system: your child smells the different products (e.g. shampoo, body wash, bubble bath) and different environmental smells (e.g. the blow-dryer sometimes has a burning smell)
  5. Oral motor system: your child feels the water on his lips as he blows bubbles through his mouth or holds his breath during hair washing as to not get soap or water in his mouth

Similarly, your child may also have fear of the water, just as he would at swimming lessons (e.g. putting his face into the water, getting water in his eyes, or having a “bad” experience prior and he is now scared to do the same activity again- such as slipping underwater unexpectedly or falling on a slippery surface as the bathtub or pool deck can be very slippery). If this is the case for your child, it is important to help him to work through his fear and regain confidence and control over the situation. This can be done by talking through each step of bath time with your child and gearing him up for the activity before it even begins. Stay tuned for my next blog which will address strategies to work through these bath time difficulties. Note: If any of the above qualities apply to your child, talk with an occupational therapist to work through these sensory hypersensitivities.

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Hey, PE Teachers! Start Picking Team Leaders Who Will Pick The Right Kids For The Right Reasons!

Do you remember when your gym teacher picked two team captains and they got to pick their teams? Were you the captain? Great! Were you the last one picked? Not great. If the team captains are always the most popular or the most athletic of the bunch, make sure to rotate in those that are quiet or withdrawn. coach and childThey may not be the one scoring all the points but they could turn out to be a great coach one day! PE teachers can be intimidating to the quiet group, but your strength and assertiveness is a valuable lesson for them to model after! First meet them on their level as best you can (at their voice level, eye level, etc.), and slowly help build them up to your level. They will respect you for this and leave gym class feeling more confident!

The Importance Of Leadership Skills in Children:

Leadership skills are important for the development of self-esteem and social relationships. When learning the basics, children need to understand how and when to be a leader, as well as when it’s time to follow. This also leads to the development of another important skill: how to work well with others and be a part of a team. The children with less athletic abilities shouldn’t have to dread gym class, when they could be learning how to find their own role, develop leadership, and communicate as a team. They could be the ones who are great at planning, organizing, and strategizing. They could be empathic and able to support their teammates as they deal with frustrations of losing. So, don’t forget that they need to be chosen too. They might surprise you!

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8 Tips for Talking to Young Children about Natural Disasters

Natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and tornadoes can be frightening and concerning for adults, so imagine how confusing and scary they can be for young children! When talking to children about natural disasters, there is a fine line between honesty and explaining in an age-appropriate way and going into too much detail that can worry a child.

Here are 8 ways you can approach talking to your young child about natural disasters in a calm way: Natural Disasters Blog

 1. Assess what your child already knows (or doesn’t know).

• When a natural disaster occurs, children are likely to hear about it on television, at school, from friends, or through conversations taking place around them. Before talking to your child, ask questions to help you understand what she already knows. This will help you understand her concerns, questions, feelings and even her misconceptions.

2. Listen to you child’s questions.

  • Children will likely have many questions when a natural disaster occurs. “How does a thunderstorm happen? What happened to the people living in ________? Will it happen to us?” Normalize this curiosity and concern by saying things like “I can understand why you would want to know that. That’s a good question.”
  • After answering, check in with your child to make sure she understood. If your child still does not understand try different, but still concrete, easy-to-understand language, until your child grasps the concept

3. Be proactive.

  • Children will likely have many questions when a natural disaster occurs. “How does a thunderstorm happen? What happened to the people living in ________? Will it happen to us?” Normalize this curiosity and concern by saying things like “I can understand why you would want to know that. That’s a good question.”
  • After answering, check in with your child to make sure she understood. If your child still does not understand try different, but still concrete, easy-to-understand language, until your child grasps the concept

4. Use simple, clear, consistent language.

  • Children will likely have many questions when a natural disaster occurs. “How does a thunderstorm happen? What happened to the people living in ________? Will it happen to us?” Normalize this curiosity and concern by saying things like “I can understand why you would want to know that. That’s a good question.”
  • After answering, check in with your child to make sure she understood. If your child still does not understand try different, but still concrete, easy-to-understand language, until your child grasps the concept

5. Demonstrate calm.

  • Children often pick up on their parents’ feelings. If you seem panicked or anxious, your child is likely to react in similar ways. Model a calm, matter-of-fact demeanor to show your child that your family is safe.
  • If you need support yourself, don’t be afraid to reach out to family and friends. It can be helpful to have this kind of separate space to discuss your own emotions.

6. Reassure your child to help her feel safe.

  • When young children hear about a natural disaster and see images of destroyed homes, they may worry and wonder, “Will this happen here?” Assure your child that natural disasters are uncommon and that the chance of one occurring where you live is low.
  • Emphasize that natural disasters are no one’s fault, as your child may have anxieties about what could cause a natural disaster.
  • Inform your child of your family’s safety plan in case of a natural disaster. For example: Mommy and Daddy have a plan to keep us safe if there is ever a big tornado. We will all go to _______ in the basement and cover ourselves with a mattress to protect ourselves. Having earthquake/tornado/fire drills once per year can also reassure your child that if a natural disaster were to occur, she would be safe.

7. Be honest.

  • Honesty is key when answering questions. Some parents may want to keep some information from their children to protect them. They might say, for example: “No one died from the tornado” or “A storm like that would never happen here. This risks your child hearing about these details elsewhere. This could confuse your children and lead them to conclude that they cannot trust what you say.
  • If you do not know the answer to a question, do not hesitate to tell your child. You can even look for answers together, which can also help your child feel safe and comforted.

8. Explore your child’s feelings and provide validation and comfort.

  • Children may feel a variety of emotions after a natural disaster, such as fear, confusion, anxiety, guilt, and sadness. Some children may not openly talk about their feelings during this time, but that does not necessarily mean they are not thinking about it. When your child does share her feelings with you, provide empathy, acknowledgment, and validation.
  • In an effort to comfort their child, some parents may inadvertently minimize their child’s feelings by saying things like “You have nothing to be scared of.” A better alternative is to empathize with her feelings first and then offer reassurance. One example is: “I can understand why you would be scared that we might have a big earthquake. I want you to know that there is only a very small chance that an earthquake would happen here. And if something happens, we have a plan to keep us safe.”

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Deerfield, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Mequon! If you have any questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140!

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