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The Do’s and Don’ts of Toddler Discipline

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017

So you’ve got yourself a little toddler there – good times. Dana Carvey once quipped “They’re not so bad, just keep M&M’s in your pocket and feed ’em here and there.” If only it were so easy. What makes them so terrible sometimes? That answer is not as mysterious as it sometimes seems (e.g., in the eye of a tantrum at Target checkout). Think about it – right now while you’re calm and not tantrumming back at them. What are they grappling with that we have learned and hence take for granted? Two things: they don’t know how to communicate yet and they don’t know how to manage the overwhelming emotions they’re experiencing for the first time. Wouldn’t that make you want to freak out?

Well, the next time your toddler does, take solace in the fact that you have choices on how to react. What’s more, if you make the “right” choices, they’re gonna’ freak out less and less. I’m going to elaborate but first, allow me to establish some irrefutable truths of human nature – truths that will light your way in your quest to curb your toddler’s seemingly unruly behavior and hence bring you more peace and quiet.

  1. Human beings wish to be treated with respect. It’s innate and it’s evident as early as one year. If you want your child to heed your guidance, you will want to treat him with respect.
  2. Children don’t naturally want to “misbehave.” Sure they’re wired to test a bit, but if they do it repeatedly it’s because they have been conditioned to or have not been taught how else to behave.
  3. The word “discipline” has a Latin meaning of “instruction, knowledge.” “Disciple” means “learner.” (please note the absence of the terms “training” or “punishment.”)
  4. Young children learn best by modeling behavior.
  5. “Anger is the enemy of instruction.” OK, it’s a quote from eleven-time NBA championship coach Phil Jackson, but I’m putting it here in the irrefutable truths section. Think about it. Frustration and anger just distract humans from attaining messages.

Now, watch how these do’s and don’ts flow seamlessly from these truths. The next time your toddler is faced with a challenge – be it physical, social, emotional, cognitive or all of the above – and proceeds to lose her marbles, keep these do’s and don’ts in mind:

  • Do Accept – You want to meet the situation with an understanding that your child has not learned how to communicate or react yet and is behaving perfectly natural (albeit annoying). If you meet your child with a sense of understanding and acceptance, it will color your reaction and make your child more willing to adhere to your advice and support.
  • Don’t Get Defeated – Your confidence is key and should be bolstered by the fact that you know these situations are inevitable. Helping your child in these moments is very much part of your role now (albeit annoying). You’ll be much more effective if you can manage to accept this as well as your child’s behavior.
  • Do Empathize – This ties into the acceptance piece and the #1 truth above. If you can somehow convey to your child that you genuinely feel for him in these (albeit annoying) moments, it will go a long way towards gaining his cooperation. Remember these are your little one’s first encounters with these over-powering emotions. Try to articulate your empathy clearly.
  • Don’t Exude Frustration – You’re a leader and a teacher. Think about the ones you look up to. They are calm and confident. If you get all flustered, you won’t be able to communicate effectively and your child will not only be distracted from your messages – you will ironically be reinforcing the very behavior you wish to curb. (This flows from the truth I didn’t list: It’s fun to watch mom or dad sweat.)
  • Do Interpret – Try to decipher what your child is telling you through her behavior. What’s the message here and how did your own behavior or tone influence the scenario? (that part’s not easy) Teach her the language she’s missing.
  • Don’t Ignore – There’s a time and place when the best thing to do is simply to ignore a child’s behavior. But it will be both disrespectful and ineffective if you skip all the other steps.
  • Do Teach – Once you’ve interpreted, it’s time to impart. You can do this through both your calm words and your actions. What understanding or language is she missing that will help now and next time?
  • Don’t Train – Best to stay away from bribes unless you think Dana Carvey was onto something (hint: he’s a comedian). As these little guys get older, you can start to explain the benefits associated with making the right choices. Calmly remind them what’s in it for them – much more effective long term than bribes and threats.
  • Do Redirect – For these young ones, especially when they’re all fired-up, you don’t want to get caught lecturing – keep it brief and then move the attention to the next activity. I’m not saying distract your child. I’m saying state the limit, the reason briefly, genuinely empathize and then move his attention toward something he can do. If you can somehow tie that activity towards what she wanted in the first place, but in a more acceptable manner, all the better. You’ll be showing your child that you respect her (that makes humans more willing to listen). It will help if you sell it a bit – as you know, people follow enthusiastic leaders.
  • Don’t Punish – If you in fact accept all five truths above – especially #2 (I like making you read them again)– then it follows that punishing young children is futile. Just ask yourself: Do I want to teach my child that when he gets frustrated and tests limits he will be punished, or teach him that there are alternatives to his behavior, he can make better choices, it will benefit him in the end, and I am here to help him learn all that?
  • Do Allow Emotions – There will no doubt be times when you have done all you can and your child is just not having any of your pearls of wisdom. This is key: allow your child to experience her emotions. Help her label and understand them in time (lots of time)(and then some). If you meet her emotions with understanding, support, and acceptance (accept too that you can’t always “fix” it), the tantrums will lose power and eventually cease. Sometimes they just need a good cry.
  • Don’t Engage in Conflict – Getting worked up? They already know our buttons. Just respectfully and calmly tell your child YOU need to calm down and walk away from the battle. Stick to whatever lesson you were teaching and tell him you’re ready to help him more when you both calm down; balance empathy with calm, confident consistency. Lead the way to communication and solutions.

The hardest part in all of this is keeping your own emotions under control when your child is pushing your buttons (see – didn’t you like me better when I understood you?). But if you can manage to do more of these “do’s” and less of these “don’ts,” you’ll find your child will internalize the lessons sooner. That’ll give you more time to read parenting articles – joy!

Tom Limbert is a published parenting author and Parent Educator at Parents Place. He can be found online at www.parentcoachtom.com. Tom has been working with young children and their families since 1992, including 10 years at Stanford's Bing Nursery School. He has a Master's degree in Education with an emphasis in early childhood development, is the co-creator of Studio Grow, and the Director of Woodside Preschool. Tom's first book, Dad's Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Time, has over one hundred inspiring quotes and includes a Foreword from Hall of Fame QB Steve Young. He's working on another gift book for dads with Chronicle but his most helpful book is What They Won't Tell You About Parenting.

Tags:  discipline  dos and donts  tom limbert 

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From the PAMP Vault: Overcoming Procrastination

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Procrastination, the habit of putting tasks off to the last possible minute, can be a major problem in both your career and your personal life. Side effects include missed opportunities, frenzied work hours, stress, overwhelm, resentment and guilt. This article will explore the root causes of procrastination and give you several practical tools to overcome it.

The behavior pattern of procrastination can be triggered in many different ways, so you won't always procrastinate for the same reason. Sometimes you'll procrastinate because you're overwhelmed with too much on your plate, and procrastination gives you an escape. Other times you'll feel tired and lazy, and you just can't get going.

Let's now address these various causes of procrastination and consider intelligent ways to respond.

1. Stress
When you feel stressed, worried or anxious, it's hard to work productively. In certain situations, procrastination works as a coping mechanism to keep your stress levels under control. A wise solution is to reduce the amount of stress in your life when possible, such that you can spend more time working because you want to, not because you have to. One of the simplest ways to reduce stress is to take more time for play.

In his book The Now Habit, Dr. Neil Fiore suggests that making time for guaranteed fun can be an effective way to overcome procrastination. Decide in advance what blocks of time you'll allocate each week to family time, entertainment, exercise, social activities and personal hobbies. Then schedule your work hours using whatever time is left. This can reduce the urge to procrastinate because your work will not encroach on your leisure time, so you don't have to procrastinate on work in order to relax and enjoy life. I caution against overusing this strategy, however, as your work should normally be enjoyable enough that you're motivated to do it. If you aren't inspired by your daily work, admit that you made a mistake in choosing the wrong path; then seek out a new direction that does inspire you.

Benjamin Franklin advised that the optimal strategy for high productivity is to split your days into one third work, one third play and one third rest. Once again the suggestion is to guarantee your leisure time. Hold your work time and your play time as equally important, so one doesn't encroach upon the other.

I'm most productive when I take abundant time for play. This helps me burn off excess stress and enjoy life more, and my work life is better when I'm happier. I also create a relaxed office environment that reduces stress levels. My office includes healthy plants, a fountain and several scented candles. I often listen to relaxing music while I work. Despite all the tech equipment, my office has a very relaxed feel to it. Because I enjoy being there, I can work a full day without feeling overly stressed or anxious, even when I have a lot to do.

2. Overwhelm
Sometimes you may have more items on your to-do list than you can reasonably complete. This can quickly lead to overwhelm, and ironically you may be more likely to procrastinate when you can least afford it. Think of it as your brain refusing to cooperate with a schedule that you know is unreasonable. In this case the message is that you need to stop, reassess your true priorities and simplify.

Options for reducing schedule overwhelm include elimination, delegation and negotiation. First, review your to-dos and cut as much as you can. Cut everything that isn't truly important. This should be a no-brainer, but it's amazing how poorly people actually implement it. People cut things like exercise while leaving plenty of time for TV, even though exercise invigorates them and TV drains them. When you cut items, be honest about removing the most worthless ones first, and retain those that provide real value. Secondly, delegate tasks to others as much as possible. Ask for extra help if necessary. And thirdly, negotiate with others to free up more time for what's really important. If you happen to have a job that overloads you with more work than you feel is reasonable, it's up to you to decide if it's worthwhile to continue in that situation. Personally I wouldn't tolerate a job that pushed me to overwork myself to the point of feeling overwhelmed; that's counterproductive for both the employer and the employee.

Be aware that the peak performers in any field tend to take more vacation time and work shorter hours than the workaholics. Peak performers get more done in less time by keeping themselves fresh, relaxed and creative. By treating your working time as a scarce resource rather than an uncontrollable monster that can gobble up every other area of your life, you'll be more balanced, focused and effective.

It's been shown that the optimal work week for most people is 40-45 hours. Working longer hours than this actually has such an adverse effect on productivity and motivation that less real work gets done. This is especially true for creative, information age work.

3. Laziness
Often we procrastinate because we feel too physically and/or emotionally drained to work. Once we fall into this pattern, it's easy to get stuck due to inertia because an object at rest tends to remain at rest. When you feel lazy, even simple tasks seem like too much work because your energy is too low compared to the energy required by the task. If you blame the task for being too difficult or tedious, you'll procrastinate to conserve energy. But the longer you do this, the more your resolve will weaken, and your procrastination habit may begin spiraling toward depression. Feeling weak and unmotivated shouldn't be your norm, so it's important to disrupt this pattern as soon as you become aware of it.

The solution is straightforward: get off your butt and physically move your body. Exercise helps to raise your energy levels. When your energy is high, tasks will seem to get easier and you'll be less resistant to taking action. A fit person can handle more activity than an unfit person, even though the difficulty of the tasks remains the same.

Through trial and error, I discovered that diet and exercise are critical in keeping my energy consistently high. I went vegetarian in 1993 and vegan in 1997, and these dietary improvements gave me a significant ongoing energy boost. When I exercise regularly, my metabolism stays high throughout the day. I rarely procrastinate due to laziness because I have the energy and mental clarity to tackle whatever comes my way. Tasks seem easier to complete than they did when my diet and exercise habits were poor. The tasks are the same, but I've grown stronger. A wonderful side benefit of the diet/exercise habit is that I was able to get by with less sleep. I used to need at least 8-9 hours of sleep per night to feel rested, but now I function well on about 6.5 hours.

4. Lack of Motivation
We all experience temporary laziness at times, but if you suffer from chronically low motivation and just can't seem to get anything going, then it's time for you to let go of immature thought patterns, to embrace life as a mature adult and to discover your true purpose in life. Until you identify an inspiring purpose, you'll never come close to achieving your potential and your motivation will always remain weak.

For more than a decade I ran a computer game publishing company. That was a dream of mine in my early 20s, and it was wonderful to be able to fulfill that dream. However, as I entered my 30s, I began feeling much less passionate about it. I was competent at what I did, the business was doing well financially and I enjoyed plenty of free time. But I just didn't care that much about entertainment software anymore. As my passion faded, I started asking, "What's the point of continuing with this line of work?" Consequently, I procrastinated on some projects that could have moved the business forward. I tried to boost my motivation using a variety of techniques but to no avail. Finally I recognized what I really needed was a total career change. I needed to find a more inspiring career path.

After much soul searching, I retired from the gaming industry. What an amazing change that was! I found renewed passion in helping people grow, so I didn't have to use motivation-boosting techniques to get going. I was naturally inspired to work. I still feel totally inspired. Best of all I procrastinated less on non-work tasks too -- my passion spread across all areas of my life.

Center your work around an inspiring purpose, and you'll greatly reduce your tendency to procrastinate. Finding your purpose is a powerful way to defeat procrastination problems because you won't procrastinate on what you love to do. Chronic procrastination is actually a big warning sign that tells us, "You're going the wrong way. Take a different path!"

5. Lack of Discipline
Even when motivation is high, you may still encounter tasks you don't want to do. In these situations, self-discipline works like a motivational backup system. When you feel motivated, you don't need much discipline, but it sure comes in handy when you need to get something done but really don't want to do the work. If your self-discipline is weak, however, procrastinating will be too tempting to resist.

If you really want to overcome procrastination, you must release any attachment to the fantasy of a quick fix, and commit to making real progress. Hopefully you have the maturity to recognize that reading a single article won't cure your procrastination problems overnight, just as a single visit to the gym won't make you an athlete.

6. Poor Time Management Habits
Do you ever find yourself falling behind because you overslept, because you were too disorganized or because certain tasks just fell through the cracks? Bad habits like these often lead to procrastination, often unintentionally.

The solution in this case is to diagnose the bad habit that's hurting you and devise a new habit to replace it. For example, if you have a problem oversleeping, take up the challenge of becoming an early riser.

For tasks you've been putting off for a while, I recommend using the timeboxing method to get started. Here's how it works: first, select a small piece of the task you can work on for just 30 minutes. Then choose a reward you will give yourself immediately afterwards. The reward is guaranteed if you simply put in the time; it doesn't depend on any meaningful accomplishment. Examples include watching your favorite TV show, seeing a movie, enjoying a meal or snack, going out with friends, going for a walk or doing anything you find pleasurable. Because the amount of time you'll be working on the task is so short, your focus will shift to the impending pleasure of the reward instead of the difficulty of the task. No matter how unpleasant the task, there's virtually nothing you can't endure for just 30 minutes if you have a big enough reward waiting for you.

When you timebox your tasks, you may discover that something very interesting happens. You will probably find that you continue working much longer than 30 minutes. You will often get so involved in a task, even a difficult one, that you actually want to keep working on it. Before you know it, you've put in an hour or even several hours. The certainty of your reward is still there, so you know you can enjoy it whenever you're ready to stop. Once you begin taking action, your focus shifts away from worrying about the difficulty of the task and toward finishing the current piece of the task which now has your full attention.

When you do decide to stop working, claim and enjoy your reward. Then schedule another 30-minute period to work on the task with another reward. This will help you associate more and more pleasure to the task, knowing that you will always be immediately rewarded for your efforts. Working toward distant and uncertain long-term rewards is not nearly as motivating as immediate short-term rewards. By rewarding yourself for simply putting in the time, instead of for any specific achievements, you'll be eager to return to work on your task again and again, and you'll ultimately finish it.

7. Lack of Skill
If you lack sufficient skill to complete a task at a reasonable level of quality, you may procrastinate to avoid a failure experience. You then have three viable options to overcome this type of pattern: educate, delegate or eliminate.

First, you can acquire the skill level you need by training up. Just because you can't do something today doesn't mean you'll never be able to do it. Someday you may even master that skill. For example, when I wanted to create my first website, I didn't know how to do it because I'd never done it before. But I knew I could learn to do it. I took the time to learn HTML, and I experimented. It didn't take long before I launched a functional web site. In the years since then, I continued to apply and upgrade that skill. If you can't do something, don't whine about it. Educate yourself to gain skill until you become proficient.

A second option is to delegate tasks you lack the skill to do. There are far too many interesting skills for you to master, so you must rely on others for help. You may not realize it, but you're already a master at delegation. Do you grow all your own food? Did you sew your own clothes? Did you build your own house? Chances are that you depend on others for your very survival. If you want a certain result but don't want to acquire the skills to get that result, you can recruit others to help you. For example, I don't want to spend my days trying to understand the details of the U.S. tax code, so I delegate that task to my accountant. This frees me to spend more time working from my strengths.

Thirdly, you may conclude that a result isn't needed badly enough to justify the effort of either education or delegation. In that case the smart choice is to eliminate the task. Sometimes procrastination is a sign that a task needn't be done at all.

8. Perfectionism
A common form of erroneous thinking that leads to procrastination is perfectionism. Believing that you must do something perfectly is a recipe for stress, and you'll associate that stress with the task and thus condition yourself to avoid it. So you put the task off to the last possible minute until you finally have a way out of this trap. Now there isn't enough time to do the job perfectly, so you're off the hook because you can tell yourself that you could have been perfect if you only had more time. But if you have no specific deadline for a task, perfectionism can cause you to delay indefinitely.

The solution to perfectionism is to give yourself permission to be human. Have you ever used a piece of software that you consider to be perfect in every way? I doubt it. Realize that an imperfect job completed today is always superior to the perfect job delayed indefinitely.

Perfectionism also arises when you think of a project as one gigantic whole. Replace that one big "must be perfect" project in your mind with one small imperfect first step. Your first draft can be very, very rough. You're always free to revise it later. For example, if you want to write a 5000-word article, allow your first draft be only 100 words if it helps you get started.

Some of these cures are challenging to implement, but they're effective. If you really want to tame the procrastination beast, you'll need something stronger than quick-fix motivational rah-rah. This problem isn't going away on its own. You must take the initiative. The upside is that tackling this problem yields tremendous personal growth. You'll become stronger, braver, more disciplined, more driven and more focused. These benefits will become hugely significant over your lifetime, so recognize that the challenge of overcoming procrastination is truly a blessing in disguise. The whole point is to grow stronger.

Reprinted with permission from StevePavlina.com (uncopyright/public domain).

Steve Pavlina is a father, self-help author and motivational speaker. 

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Register Now for Movie Night on March 3

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Going to the movies with toddlers can be challenging. Between keeping your fingers crossed that they remain calm throughout a film to the frequent bathroom breaks that come from having tiny bladders, actually getting two hours to relax and enjoy a feature is nearly impossible. Watching movies at home is always an option, but even with the latest and greatest in surround sound and the highest definition television, you still miss out on the moving-going experience. This is exactly why PAMP holds Family Movie Nights two to three times a year.

PAMP movie nights are a great way to get the family out of the house, mingle with other PAMP parents, have dinner and enjoy a feature film. Bring a towel or mat and your own drinks – even alcohol – and PAMP will provide the pizza and snacks for the low price of $5 for adults and $2.50 for children over 1, making movie night an easy option for budget-friendly, family fun.  

On March 3 at 6:20 p.m. (doors open at 6) PAMP will screen Finding Dory at the Mitchell Park Community Center, where everyone’s favorite blue fish searches for her long-long parents and learns about friendship and the real meaning of family along the way. Animated by the Disney-Pixar team in 2016, Finding Dory is rated PG and runs just over an hour and a half.

Make sure you register by 10 p.m. on THURSDAY, March 2 so we can make sure we order enough pizza to feed everyone, and we’ll see you at the movies!

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The Emotional and Psychological Benefits Of Kids With Pets

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2017

One of the biggest reasons parents opt to get a pet for their child is to teach youngsters important lessons about responsibility and this also include them in the circle of life. But there’s many other ways that animals can impact kids both psychologically and emotionally. From larger labradors to tiny terriers, fluffy felines and cuddly kittens, this important bond does more than help kids understand caring for another living creature and dealing with the concept of life and death.

For a prime example, in an earlier post we discussed many relevant questions parents should be asking their healthcare provider about an ADHD diagnosis for their child. But did you know that interactions with animals can also have an important impact on kids with mental and emotional disorders like ADHD?

According to results of a study published by our neighbors to the south, The Orange County Register, they reported using positive reinforcement with kids similar to training techniques used with animals that provide positive and unique results that are important to their development.

One of the leading educational psychologists participating in this study, Dr. Sabrina Schuck of the UC Irvine Child Development Center, viewed the struggles of children who are often given authoritative messages from home and school. They may be subject to aggressive statements like, “sit-up straight, pay attention, stop talking,” and other advice from educators, care providers or parents who become inadvertently impatient from some of these symptomatic behaviors. Even children without mental health or educational difficulties can suffer from the deliverance of these statements.

During their research, these professionals shied away from delivering these types of commands to children. Instead, they offered alternatives to thwarting these types of destructive or antisocial behavior that kids can often exhibit. As a part of their experiment, they used time with animals as a reward. Similar to positive training techniques used with pets, they delivered the same methodology with kids with similar results.

Results and Rewards
"For kids with ADHD and kids in general it's hard keep them motivated," offers Dr. Schuck. "The theory is, if kids are reading to the dog (for example) it makes it a little more engaging than if just had to read in front of their peers." So it only stands to reason that interacting with animals offers benefits for children regardless of their mental or emotional state of mind.

Even without a diagnosis of a learning disability or a debilitating mental condition, having a pet at home can help provide children a way to navigate a myriad of different difficulties into a more relaxed and controlled environment. Think of it this way, if you’re attempting to discipline a child, all they usually see is a command with no sense of reward or achievement, especially for a toddler who doesn’t understand language skills as of yet. 

Instruction and Interaction
When a pet is included in a family environment, children will see that bad behaviors result in negative consequences, but not without using positive reinforcement techniques. Children learn from what they see and grow from these experiences. As parents and pet owners, we’ve stopped swatting dogs on their noses with a rolled-up newspaper and have refrained from spanking our kids. We’ve replaced these tactics with better forms of discipline that don’t include violence.

From toddlers to teens, the younger we start introducing our kids to interaction with animals, the better off we’ll all be in the long run. Giving kids a relationship with a pet provides them with a form of interaction that comes without judgement, devoid of sarcasm, a lack of bullying and other situations we can’t control when they’re away from our supervision. This will help to build their self esteem and feed their soul with unconditional love which gives them a place where they understand relationships from a simpler standpoint. 

Hilary Smith is a freelance journalist based out of Chicago. Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary attended St. Stephen's Episcopal School and Northwestern University's school of journalism. Upon graduation, she turned her love of technology into a freelance writing career. After becoming a mother, she began focusing on writing about family and parenting in the digital age.

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Study: Children with IBS Vitamin D Deficient

Posted By Communications Manager, Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 14, 2017

If your child suffers from irritable bowel syndrome there may be help in sight. A recent study out of the University of Massachusetts suggests that 90 percent of preteens and teenagers diagnosed with IBS are vitamin D deficient.

The study, published in PLOS ONE, state that Dr. Benjamin U. Nwosu, an associate professor of pediatrics, suggest children diagnosed with vitamin D should receive supplementation. It’s estimated that 6 percent of middle schoolers are affected with the disorder, but symptoms can arise much earlier.

“I was surprised that IBS had the highest prevalence of vitamin D deficiency of all the gastrointestinal disorders we studied in the past five years,” said Nwosu. “The primary finding from this study is that one out of every two pediatric patients with IBS has vitamin D deficiency compared to one out of every four healthy children and adolescents without IBS. The importance of this study was to initiate the first steps in the critical assessment of the role of vitamin D as an adjunctive therapy in children and adolescents with IBS.”

The study was completed by analyzing the medical records of 55 children with IBS and 116 children without the disorder. The deficiency was found at a much higher rate than children with celiac disease and lactose intolerance. It also investigated the relationship between vitamin D and symptoms that accompany IBS – anxiety, depression and migraine headaches.

Further research is expected, but if your child is experiencing IBS or IBS-symptoms, parents are encouraged to discuss it with their pediatrician to determine if their child may be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. 

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Meet PAMP's New Membership Manager

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 14, 2017

She has only been on the job a couple of months, but PAMP Membership Manager Divya Visweswaran is excited about conquering the challenges that come along with her new role.

Divya says her job entails ensuring that members are satisfied with their membership, their questions and concerns are addressed and they’re able to make use of PAMP resources. This involves answering daily emails, recruiting volunteers for upcoming events, and managing the back-end membership database.

“I love the multi-faceted nature of the work,” she says. “I enjoy interacting with members online, learning about the membership back end/database, meetings with colleagues.” 

Having been a PAMP member for the year prior to taking the membership manager position, Divya says she’s truly interested in seeing membership steadily grow and have PAMP remain the valuable resource to new parents, just like it was to her when she joined six months after having her son, Kiran.

Although she currently resides with her husband and Kiran in Palo Alto, Divya grew up in Bangalore, India. Her husband, too, is from outside of the United States – a native of Toronto, Ontario, Canada to be exact. The pair married and moved to Palo Alto 10 years ago.

At home, the Visweswarans enjoy listening to Morrissey and music of the sitar and tabla, and when not chasing after Kiran, Divya loves reading classic novels, hiking the Stanford Dish on weekends and planning upcoming travel. Prior to obtaining the membership manager position, Divya volunteered as a home play date host.

Tags:  membership manager  PAMP staff 

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A Funtastic Super Sunday

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 14, 2017

PAMP families and friends came together for a Super Sunday morning of activities, music, fun and movement at the first ever Funtastic Winter Arts & Crafts Day on February 5.

The morning opened with breakfast, followed by a music class with Music Together. Alkalign Studios had a “Spin to Win” and a yoga-inspired movement activity, La Petite Baleen provided coloring pages for kids to decorate with stickers, glitter and crayons and the always fun Messy Play Kits was there with its sensory stimulating signature goo children love. We even had bagels, cream cheese, mini muffins and a hot chocolate bar from Whole Foods.

"I really appreciated the casual environment where my three kids explored a few local activities while I got to know parents and prod teachers with my many questions,” said non-PAMP member Michelle Hurtado. “This event was extra special for the environment it created - unlike a fair of booths, it was a place to play and learn for kids and parents alike!"

For PAMP-member Erika Bailey, it was the Messy Play Kits activity that stole the show with her toddler. 

“I attended the winter craft morning with my just turned 3 year old Olivia, 5 month old Jackson and my mom Pat,” said Bailey. “We signed up with friends and their almost 3 year old Laura, so the girls could have a play date. Olivia loved the fizzing, melting snowman sensory play and the Music Together class with teacher Shay, who had been our teacher. The hot chocolate and bagels were a nice surprise and I appreciated the almond milk option.”

Held at Menlo Park’s Arrillaga Center, the two-hour morning was open to both PAMP members and non-members, and although the morning was geared toward children 0-5, Bailey believes the older toddler age group – children between three and four – got the most out of the activities provided and hopes that future events will contain more crafts that allow for expanded creativity. Overall, she said she was pleased with the price she paid.

Wish you could have experienced the fun? PAMP is hosting another great event, a movie night, on Friday, March 3 at 6 p.m. We will be screening Finding Dory at the Mitchell Park Community Center. Register now for $5 for adults and $2.50 for children over the age of one – pizza provided.

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Bullied Kids Suffer Academically

Posted By Communications Manager, Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Last week, a study in the Journal of Educational Psychology stated that children bullied throughout their educational career have declined test scores, a distaste for school and lack of confidence in their abilities.

Researchers monitored hundreds of children from kindergarten through high school and found nearly 25 percent had experienced chronic bullying.

Gary W. Ladd, the study’s lead and a professor of psychology at Arizona State University, began research in 1992 when he and his colleagues chose 383 (190 boys and 193 girls) kindergarteners to participate. Each year, the children were assessed and asked to describe their experiences with bullying, violence and verbal abuse on a scale of  one “almost never” to five “almost always.”

Of the 24 percent of children who reported chronic bullying, the study revealed they had lower academic achievement, a greater dislike for school and less academic confidence. The 18 percent of students who experienced moderate bullying early and increased bullying later on suffered similar consequences than the chronically bullied children.

The study also found that boys were more likely to stuff from chronic bullying, and when the study began cyber-bullying was not an issue. However, by the study’s end, 23 percent of participants had dropped out.

One-quarter of the children came from families with annual income of under $20,000, 39 percent from families making above $50,000 and the remainder were from families with an annual income between $20,000 and $50,000. Seventy-seven of the participants were white, 18 percent African-American and the remainder were Hispanic, biracial or came from other ethnic backgrounds. Most of the children were from Illinois, but by the fifth year many had migrated to other states.

Additional information can be found on CNN.com

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ADHD: Helpful Questions to Ask Your Provider

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Updated: Monday, February 6, 2017

Does my child have ADHD?  As an assessment psychologist working in a pediatric clinic I hear that question quite often. I understand the reasons behind it, but find it’s not exactly the most useful question to ask when trying to understand and help a child who might be having difficulties.

While we have various measures and methods of assessing for ADHD, getting a Yes or No answer to that question doesn’t necessarily provide much insight into effective interventions for home or school. ADHD, which stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a clinical diagnosis that can be provided by qualified providers. The diagnosis provides an overarching label to multiple behaviors or symptoms that can potentially open the door for various services such as formal accommodations at school via a 504 Plan or an IEP. But that is probably where the usefulness of the label ends.

ADHD is a diagnosis that covers a wide range of behaviors and issues including, but not limited to short attention span, increased distractibility, increased activity levels and hyperactivity, impulsivity, and poor executive function skills such as planning, organizing, and self-regulating. ADHD is comprised of three types: 1) Primarily inattentive, 2) Primarily hyperactive/impulsive, or 3) Both. Children who have the same primary diagnosis may not necessarily “look” the same or need the same intervention plan. There are different degrees of severity and accompanying issues to consider. Other individual factors such as self-awareness and insight, anxiety, sensitivity, self-esteem and many more are relevant. In addition, a child’s environment both at home and at school is critical to fully understand the impact of an attention/self-regulation based disorder.

Therefore, when looking for help with your child’s possible attention deficits, limited regulation, or impulsive behaviors, it is far more helpful to consider the specific behaviors, symptoms, issues, and struggles that you and your child are experiencing and ask the following:

  1. What might be causing, contributing, or helping maintain such difficulties?
  2. How do such difficulties impact my child’s functioning? (This may be at school and home including learning, interactions with others, sense of self, etc.)
  3. What are some recommended interventions to address these difficulties and to reduce any negative impact they might have?

An ADHD diagnosis may be a part of the answer to the first question but won’t be very helpful for the other two, which are as important if not more so. Every child is a unique individual regardless of an ADHD (or other) diagnosis. Thus, while there will be some overlap in interventions recommended, the plan for each child will differ. There are certainly some well-recognized interventions for children with ADHD that can indeed be helpful. However, it’s necessary to consider the multitude of individual and diverse factors relevant to each child in order to recommend or provide truly helpful interventions. 

Hadas Pade is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Sutcliffe Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. Dr. Pade, originally from Israel, is fluent in Hebrew and English. She has worked in a variety of settings providing assessments, therapy, training, and consultations to children, adolescents and families, as well as training and consultations with teachers and schools. Dr. Pade is a strength-based provider who specializes in conducting psycho-educational and psychodiagnostic assessments for children and adolescents.

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Study: Kids are Consuming Too Many Sugary Beverages

Posted By Communications Manager, Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Updated: Sunday, January 29, 2017

In new information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the organization reports that almost two-thirds of children aged 2-19 consume at least one sugar-sweetened beverage each day, and 30 percent of children drink two or more sugary drinks per day.

Within that data, male toddlers (ages 2-5) are drinking 65 calories and female toddlers are consuming 59 calories each day, making up 4.1 and 4.0 percent of their daily calories, respectively. As children age, the amount of sugar-sweetened beverages consumed per date increases, with boys aged 12-19 drinking an average of 232 calories per day and girls 12-19 drinking 162 calories. Boys aged 6-11, on average, drink 133 calories per day and girls aged 6-11 consume 104 calories.

When breaking the information down by race, boys and girls identifying as Non-Hispanic Asian consume half as many calories from sugar-sweetened beverages as all other races. Hispanic females, followed by Non-Hispanic white females consume the next lowest calories. Non-Hispanic black females and Hispanic males consume equal amount of sugar with Non-Hispanic white and Non-Hispanic black males topping the list.

Current dietary guidelines recommend that less than 10 percent of a person’s daily calories come from added sugars and the American Heart Association recommends children cons

ume under 100 calories of added sugar and limiting the intake of sugary drinks to no more than eight ounces per week. According to the CDC, consuming an excess of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with Type 2 diabetes, weight gain, cavities and high cholesterol in children.

The information for this study was compiled from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for years 2011-2012 and 2013-2014. Information was collected through an in-person 24-hour dietary recall interviews covering beverage intake for a 24-hour period.

Sweetened beverages within the study were defined as regular soda, fruit drinks – including sweetened bottled waters and fruit juices with added sugar) – sports and energy drinks, sweetened coffees and teas and other sweetened beverages, including horchata and those sweetened with sugarcane. Diet drinks, 100 percent fruit juice and self-sweetened drinks (coffees and teas) were not included in the data. 

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