What I Wish My Child's Teacher Knew About Behavior

It is back to school season, and with that comes the usual challenge with getting back into a routine, classroom rules, and the dreaded behavior charts. In my perfect world all teachers would understand a few things about behavior so that the classroom was not such a place of struggle, and instead was a place to thrive.

 I wish my child’s teacher knew:

1. That the brain affects behavior. 

There is a strong connection between the brain and body and behavior. The brain receives information from the body via the sensory and motor systems. This means that if my child is overloaded with too much sensory information, you may see “bad” behaviors. Think of it as a traffic jam on the highway. Imagine being stuck in a traffic jam. You can see your exit, but you can’t get there as you are stuck. Now pretend you need to use the bathroom or are getting hungry. How might you react during this traffic jam? Would you get frustrated, angry, distracted?

This is what...

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What to do When the Bad Behavior Isn't Your Fault

   

  “So how’s it going?” That was the single question that led to the sobbing. I was sitting in a pediatrician’s office for my son’s five-year physical when I couldn’t hold it in any longer. The tears began streaming down my face and our pediatrician froze as I struggled to speak. How did I get here? Why was I so emotional to a simple question? As I accepted the scratchy, cheap tissues from the physician’s hand I began to tell my story.

     I remember very clearly the excitement of being pregnant. I will never forget those first days in the hospital and at home staring at my newborn son. I was so thrilled with anticipation for the future and with the hope of what was to come. I had read the parenting books, I was a Registered Nurse-I was confident that I was prepared.

     Then, as my baby boy grew into a toddler. I began to notice some things like he would cry when we would laugh at...

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3 Game Changing Ways to Fix Aggression in Children

So maybe you got the call from the preschool about biting or hitting. Or maybe you would just like to take your child to the park without another parent giving you “the look” because your child keeps shoving others to the ground.  The good news is that you are in the right place.

 Before we show you some ways to reduce aggression, we need to understand why it happens.  For those answers, we need to learn about the brain. In aggressive kids, they often spend more time in survival (or fight/flight) mode. This means that their brains are often on edge, and they react to any little thing in the environment. 

 Imagine walking through the woods in the middle of the night. You are alone. You don’t know where you are going, you don’t have a cell phone or any supplies. Think about what you would be thinking and feeling. Then you hear a stick crack in the distance. Would you jump? Would you scream?

 This is often what it feels like...

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5 Clever Diet Changes to Improve Behavior

Uncategorized Aug 05, 2019

Are you struggling with your child’s behavior and feel like you have tried everything? Maybe you have heard about how diet can affect behavior, but you are not sure where to begin? Before we share 5 clever diet changes to improve behavior, we need to understand how diet and behavior are connected.

 

The Gut-Brain Axis

 The connection between the gut and the brain is called the gut-brain axis. There are approximately 100million neurons in an average brain and approximately 500million in the average gut. The Vagus nerve is a key pathway between the gut and the brain. It is responsible for carrying neurotransmitters between the brain and the gut. Neurotransmitters are what help the brain and body communicate.

 Serotonin is an important brain neurotransmitter. It is believed to be responsible for affecting appetite, emotions, mood, sleep, cognitive, and motor functions. Approximately 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut along with many other...

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What To Do When Your Kid is THAT Kid

Uncategorized Aug 05, 2019
As I sit at the edge of the playground watching “other” children, I have an acute one-of-these-things-does-not-belong sensation. That’s my kid. He is THAT kid. You know what I mean.  “That kid..” The one at the playground who runs around screaming, shoves and bumps into other children, and melts down when he doesn’t get the swing he wants. I could go on. As a parent, it’s extremely difficult and usually quite embarrassing to deal with this behavior. The playground and birthday parties were sources of extreme stress for me. Eventually, I started trying to figure out what I could do to help my child in these situations. We got some great advice from our occupational therapist.
 
Say “No!”
We now decline events when we believe the environment to be too much for our child. This is okay and for us generally causes less stress than accepting an invitation which places us in an environment which assures stress. Be...
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When Your Holiday Doesn't Look Like Everyone Else's

Uncategorized Aug 05, 2019
Dear Mama,
I see you crying in the dark. I feel your hurt, embarrassment, guilt, and frustration. I know you tried SO hard. I saw you carefully planning the day, cautiously optimistic that this would be the day you could share those picture-perfect memories like others on social media. At the end of the day, it just didn’t happen. I know exactly how heartbreaking that can be. But know this-you are enough, you did enough, and the circumstances aren’t your fault.
 

Give yourself some grace. You can only control yourself. You cannot control other people. You worked hard, prepared well, and did your best. This is only one day, and it does not define who you are as a woman or a mother. We can all see the love in your actions and we know how this day will pull at the strings of your heart. It is okay to cry, it is okay to be disappointed in how events unfold, let yourself feel it.
 
 
However, there was so much beauty today. The love you...
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How to Build Your Baby's Brain

infant sensory processing Aug 05, 2019
In your maternal journey, you’ve made it through pregnancy, birth, the first diaper change, first feeding, first night at home, and now you’re settling into a routine. You’re a new mother, recovering from the birth experience, your days with filled with bonding, feeding, and soon enough, playing. Then comes the question, “How do I play with my baby?”
 
First, some background on baby’s brain…
At birth, baby’s 100 billion neurons form 50 trillion synapses (neural connections). Genes predetermined the brain's basic wiring. Connections in the brain stem make the heart beat and lungs respire. But that's all. Roughly half of a human's 80,000 different genes are needed to form and run the central nervous system. But the brain’s needs eclipse all others, the number of synapses increasing twentyfold to more than 1,000 trillion.  (Begley, 1997).
Play is a critical element of brain development. The impact of the...
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A Billion Breaths-Make Them Count

A person who exercises regularly and lives to be 80 will take a billion breaths in her lifetime.

Stop for a moment; sit down; place your palms on your thighs; take a deep breath in through your nose; hold it; ponder a billion breaths; now exhale slowly through your mouth.

 

How did that feel? Good, right?  Repeat 10 times and feel the tension oozing out of your pores.

 

Breathing is automatic – we’re generally unaware of the roughly 24,000 life-sustaining breaths we take per day. Anxiety disrupts this state, causing breathing to become shallow and breaths more rapid. Breathing with intention, deeper and slower, is one way to quickly reduce anxiety.

 

There are two basic breathing patterns. Chest breathing is the most common and the typical pattern when breaths become fast and shallow due to anxiety. While chest breathing, one takes in less oxygen causing breath rate to increase. In the extreme, shallow chest breathing can cause dizziness and...

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