8 Mental Health Activities to Best Support Kids and Teens

Available for Interviews: Dr. Pete Loper

Dr. Pete Loper, MD, MSEd, FAAP, is a triple board-certified physician in pediatrics, psychiatry, and child psychiatry. He is also a professor and executive coach and is dedicated to mental health and wellness advocacy.

What Dr. Loper could say on
Mental Health Support of Our Children:

    • It is important to teach our children about mental health early in life because mental health is health. Human behavior is a manifestation of feelings and thoughts that then elicit specific actions and activities. The epidemic of chronic physical diseases that ail us as a society can be prevented, cured, or managed by lifestyle modification, or by simply changing our behaviors. Therefore, good mental health is a necessity for the consistent and sustained behaviors required for lifelong physical health and overall well-being.
    • It’s often challenging to identify a child’s specific mental health needs. Unlike physical health needs, mental health needs are difficult to target because they are often invisible, and hidden inside the individual until disclosed through direct communication or maladaptive behaviors.

Continue reading “8 Mental Health Activities to Best Support Kids and Teens”

Cultivating Emotional Intelligence for a Healthy Mind and Body

Available for Interviews:  Nadine Levitt

Nadine Levitt is an education advocate, speaker, and the CEO & Founder of WURRLYedu, an educational technology platform. Nadine specializes in the social-emotional curriculum (SEL), and she is also the author of the children’s book, My Mama Says Inside Me Lives a Village. 

What Nadine Levitt can say in an interview on
Emotional Intelligence:

    • Emotional intelligence is an understanding of how emotions work, and how they can be processed for a healthy mind and body. But what is unique about the My Mama Says approach is that we don’t teach it in a singular way (meaning one emotion at a time)—the reason for that is that we never feel one emotion—they ALWAYS come in groups. And since they influence each other, emotions can look very different depending on what other emotions they present themselves with. The way we look, act, and feel is the result of the entire group of emotions, NOT just a single emotion.

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Summer Learning Reimagined

Available for Interviews:  Nadine Levitt

Nadine Levitt is an education advocate, speaker, and the CEO & Founder of WURRLYedu, an educational technology platform. Nadine specializes in the social-emotional curriculum (SEL), and she is also the author of the children’s book, My Mama Says Inside Me Lives a Village. 

What Nadine Levitt can say in an interview about
Summer Learning
:

    • During the last couple of years we have seen a lot of kids fall behind in terms of academic progress, so should you rush to online learning to try and close the gap before it becomes a grand canyon?

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Why We Need Emotional Intelligence for Academic Achievement

Available for Interviews:  Nadine Levitt

Nadine Levitt is an education advocate, speaker, and the CEO & Founder of WURRLYedu, an educational technology platform. Nadine specializes in the social-emotional curriculum (SEL), and she is also the author of the children’s book, My Mama Says Inside Me Lives a Village. 

What Nadine Levitt can say
Emotions and Academic Achievement:

There has been a tremendous focus on the declining academic achievement of students since the start of the pandemic, as well as a rise in issues relating to mental health and wellbeing. But the link between the two is not often talked about.

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Talking to Our Children About School Violence

Available for Interviews: Dr. Pete Loper

Dr. Pete Loper, MD, MSEd, FAAP, is a triple board-certified physician in pediatrics, psychiatry, and child psychiatry. He is also a professor and executive coach and is dedicated to mental health and wellness advocacy.

What Dr. Loper could say on
How to Best Support Our Children’s Mental Health
When Tragic Current Events Unfold
:

The horrific school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas has brought trauma and anxiety at once to a community that is now mourning the loss of 19 children and two teachers—and has brought collective trauma to our country as the conundrum concerning violence at our educational institutions rages on year after year.

Some ways that we can best support our children’s mental health and to help them process and cope with the often unpredictable and upsetting news events can fall into three categories:

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How to Talk to Your Kids About Emotions During Unsettling Times

Available for Interviews:  Nadine Levitt

Nadine Levitt is an education advocate, speaker, and the CEO & Founder of WURRLYedu, an educational technology platform. Nadine specializes in the social-emotional curriculum (SEL), and she is also the author of the children’s book, My Mama Says Inside Me Lives a Village. 

What Nadine Levitt can say about Kids & Emotions:

  • Talk through emotions. It is crucial that we talk through emotions with our children. Depending on what kids know and are feeling about the pandemic, Ukraine, other current events, personal events at home, etc., these days more kids could be experiencing big feelings like anxiety, stress, depression, feelings of isolation, and they are often not well equipped to process those emotions!

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5 Things Parents Can Do To Help Their Children Thrive and Excel In School

Available for Interviews:  Nadine Levitt

Nadine Levitt is an education advocate, speaker, and the CEO & Founder of WURRLYedu, an educational technology platform. Nadine specializes in the social-emotional curriculum (SEL), and she is also the author of the children’s book, My Mama Says Inside Me Lives a Village. New for 2022, Levitt has launched a new professional development resource for teachers called PD Reimagined.

What Nadine Levitt can say in an interview on
What Parents Can Do To Help Their Children Have
Greater Success in School
:

Because emotional intelligence is a learned skillset (and a foundational skill to succeed academically and beyond), here are 5 things that parents can do to help their kids thrive and excel at school and beyond:

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Unpacking Overwhelm: 4 Tips That Can Help Kids Process the News

Available for Interviews:  Nadine Levitt

Nadine Levitt is an education advocate, speaker, and the CEO & Founder of WURRLYedu, an educational technology platform. Nadine specializes in the social-emotional curriculum (SEL), and she is also the author of the children’s book, My Mama Says Inside Me Lives a Village. 

What Nadine Levitt can say
Helping Kids to Process the News / Manage Emotions:

    • There has been a lot of overwhelming news lately—whether it be the war in Ukraine, social justice issues, examples of cruelty or dehumanization, increased crime, etc.

Continue reading “Unpacking Overwhelm: 4 Tips That Can Help Kids Process the News”

3 Techniques to Apply Mindful Parenting

Available for Interviews: Dr. Pete Loper

Dr. Pete Loper, MD, MSEd, FAAP, is a triple board-certified physician in pediatrics, psychiatry, and child psychiatry. He is also a professor and executive coach and is dedicated to mental health and wellness advocacy.

What Dr. Loper could say on
Mindful Parenting:

  • Put simply, mindfulness is being fully present where your feet are on the ground. Instead of perseverating on the past, or worrying about the future, mindfulness is an active practice of being fully present with one’s thoughts and feelings at the moment. 
  • Mindful parenting is the practice of supporting and responding to your child instead of dictating and reacting to emotions.  It’s about acceptance of the “here and now,” without judgment and as it comes, instead of trying to alter or escape from it.  

Continue reading “3 Techniques to Apply Mindful Parenting”

Supporting Our Children’s Emotional Intelligence & Empathy

Available for Interviews: Dr. Colleen Cira

Dr. Colleen Cira, PsyD, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist as well as the Founder and Executive Director of the Cira Center for Behavioral Health. She is an anxiety and trauma expert as well as a consultant, supervisor, speaker, writer, and advocate.

What Dr. Colleen Cira can say in an interview about
Supporting Your Child’s EQ & Empathy:

Dr. Cira has worked with hundreds of people struggling to parent the way they’d ideally like to. There are several ways that you can increase your child’s emotional intelligence and empathy.

        1. You must have empathy yourself. The most effective way that kids learn is by watching the way their parents behave. If YOU, the parent, have and demonstrate empathy, your children will grow up to be empathic. Give money to homeless folks, check in on friends, family, and neighbors who are ill and/or struggling, take your child to a peaceful, family-friendly protest, volunteer at a food bank together. SHOW UP the way you’d like your child to show up someday.
        2. You must accept your child’s emotions. This sounds easy but is not. It’s hard to see our children hurting—we’re actually biologically programmed to struggle to tolerate it. We want to make it better for them if they are sad. We want to make it go away if they are angry. But in order for our kids to learn how to accept other people’s feelings as they are, we have to teach them how to accept THEIR OWN feelings and the only way to do that is when WE accept their feelings. Let your kids experience big feelings without fixing or punishing.
        3. When your kid has an absolute meltdown about something, once they’re calm, talk it through with them. When your child is freaking out about something big or small, that is NOT the time to try to reason with them. Validate their feelings at the moment (that does NOT mean give them whatever they want), help and/or let them calm down, and then ask them to talk through everything that happened, just like they’re telling a story. Have them tell you the beginning, middle, and end and what they learned from it. See our children’s brains are not fully developed and won’t be for a long time (think mid-20’s – GASP!) which includes the connectivity between the two hemispheres. When you help tie a child’s emotional response to a rational (and verbal) response, you help them develop their brain in a way that honors their emotions but also increases their rationality.
        4. Talk about feelings. Your kid doesn’t show up in the world knowing when they are sad, scared, angry, or worried. YOU have to teach them that. The only way to have empathy—an understanding and acceptance of another’s feelings—is by having an understanding and acceptance of your own feelings. This means you need to know what the heck you’re feeling! There are subtle differences between sadness and grief. Anger and frustration. Anxiety and fear. Help your child start to learn those things and tease them apart by labeling and talking about feelings. Share your own feelings. Take a guess at what they’re feeling and believe them when they say it’s not that. When you read books or watch movies together, encourage them to speculate on how the characters are feeling or what they are thinking. All of these things encourage 1) feeling identification and 2) perspective taking both of which are required for empathy.

 

Interviews: Dr. Colleen Cira

Dr. Colleen Cira, PsyD, received both her Masters and Doctorate from The Illinois School of Professional Psychology and is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the State of Illinois.  She’s the Founder and Executive Director of Cira Center for Behavioral Health, PC, a boutique group practice specializing in Women and Trauma with locations in Chicago and Oak Park.

She was named one of the “Top 100 Women in Chicago Making a Difference,” by Today’s Chicago Woman. Dr. Cira is a trauma and anxiety expert, clinical supervisor, writer, speaker, consultant, activist, wife, and Mommy to two little ones.

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