Marin Mommies guest article by Marin marriage and family therapist Kate Brennan.
Summer is just around the corner. Vacations from school can be pleasant times for the entire family, not just the children. The daily pressures of homework or early morning rushing will cease to exist for a few months during the long days of summer. The daily routines will change during vacations but it is reasonable to expect children to follow routines regarding meals, chores, and recreation. If boredom is expressed, a little bit of encouragement from you can motivate her to find interesting things to do on her own. Below are some ideas for both staying at home and for trips.
Staying at Home
Plant a vegetable garden. Make a summer salad from vegetables grown in the garden.
The daily watering and cultivating of the garden will help your children with responsibility while teaching them about the wonders of nature.
Summertime is a wonderful time for pleasure reading. Explore the library's non-fiction section together to find books about hobbies or a summer project that interests your child.
It goes without saying that there's been a lot of upsetting and downright saddening news lately from around the globe, especially in Japan and the Middle East. How does exposure to this bad news affect your children? Marin marriage and family therapist Kate Brennan offers some insight on how to help children during events like these.
In the last few weeks we have seen the Middle East begin to make dramatic shifts and tragedy has stricken our neighbors across the Pacific in Japan and New Zealand. Events are unfolding across the globe it seems in rapid succession lately. There is hardly time to process an event before another seems to unfold. This can stir inside us a sense of our own vulnerability and powerlessness. It is useless to ignore the impact that this has on our lives and losing all hope doesn’t seem like a good option either. What do we tell our children (if anything) about these events? How do we stay connected to our children during times of stress?
Marin Mommies presents another guest article by Marin marriage and family therapist Kate Brennan.
We are all born with certain temperament traits. Some of us are active while others less so. Some of us are extraverts while others prefer to stay behind the scenes. This begs the question: Is it nature or nurture? Well, it turns out it is both. How does a child with an active temperament fare in a household of quiet sensitive types? Fine, if the parents realize this and make space for the active child to express him or her self. If given the opportunity, the active child will be able to channel the extra energy into sports perhaps, while the sensitive child may discover latent artistic talents. Temperament is the force that gives shape to certain aspects of personality. For example, a sensitive child may develop aptitudes that lead to a more quiet and reflective life as an adult.
Having a working knowledge of your child’s temperament can help you in being able to choose the best approach when working with them. It can help the preschool teacher to know in advance if they have a slow-to-warm-up child who may need extra time to enter a group, and It can help the doctor to anticipate how much compliance they are going to have if they know the level of tolerance the child has in their examining room.
Marin Mommies is happy to present the first in a series of guest articles by Marin marriage and family therapist Kate Brennan.
Staying connected to children when they express strong emotions can be a challenge. Our very first impulse may be to get a tantrum to stop. This is a natural impulse. Tantrums are often loud, inconvenient and stressful for parents. What if we were to turn our usual response on its head? Rather than distractions, time outs, threats or bribes, we did something radical. We moved in a little closer.
Children are most vulnerable to tantrums when they are tired, hungry, over stimulated, frightened etc. These are the triggers that may set off a tantrum. But if we dig a little deeper we see that these triggers are not the real issue. The child is feeling disconnected and off track. The child is releasing accumulated tensions that have built up. This release is a natural and healthy part of development.
Lets use an adult as an example. (We’re not much different.) It’s been a long week. You didn’t get the promotion you had hoped for. You get a flat tire. You are late for a meeting, and now you’ve just spilled coffee on yourself. At that moment you begin to cry. All the pent up emotion wells up in you and you release the tension by crying. (It should be noted that some people yell or pick a fight at this time. This is not unlike what some children do. What underlies this however, are feelings of disappointment, frustration, isolation, disconnection and hopelessness.)