Learning To Be Still (Again)

IMG_1065 I’m not sure I’ve ever been great at being still. As a kid, I joined one activity after another. Not because my parents told me I should. I just liked it. Staying busy. But, I could concentrate. Quiet the mind. I’d sit and read for hours or close my eyes and listen to a cassette tape from beginning to end.  Even through busy high school and college years, a good hike would help me center. But, I had to work at it. Continue reading

The Magic of Imagination and Its Importance for Kids

calvin-hobbes-dinosaur-005There is a lion roaring outside our patio. A squirrel is under the bed. And, the trains and dinosaurs at our house are having some very cool conversations and adventures. Our son’s imagination has fully arrived. An amazing development- the emergence of imaginary play is certainly magical to witness as a parent, but it also serves important functions for kids. Continue reading

Time For Games: Why Playing Games Is Great For Kids

photoI grew up in a game-playing family. A love for playing cards and board games seems to be embedded in our DNA. Lazy summer afternoons were spent laughing over a game of Scattergories or Balderdash with cousins. I learned the ins and outs of Hearts, Canasta, and the “Dice Game” from grandparents, aunts, and uncles. In my immediate family we have a years-long Euchre rivalry (kids currently besting parents, if memory serves).  So, it is with quite a bit of joy and a nod to my game loving relatives that I’ve realized that my newly minted 3 year old really likes games.

As it turns out, games are good for him as well. Continue reading

What To Tell Kids When Bad Things Happen

This has been a very tough week. Scary and sad, for so many reasons. Terrible events are very upsetting for everyone. But these events, and subsequent media coverage, are particularly difficult for kids to process. Here are some of the best articles I’ve found regarding how to talk with children about tragedies. We’ve had all too frequent need of them lately. Continue reading

A Few Thoughts on “Modern Parenthood”

The Pew Research Center‘s report entitled, “Modern Parenthood” recently came through my twitter feed. Amidst so much recent talk about women and our professional lives and “balance”, I loved reading this treasure trove of data about how moms and dads are spending our time, how that has changed over the last few decades, and how we feel about it. First, let me say that if you’re not following Pew’s work (including that of the fabulous Susannah Fox) you really must check it out. Here are a few things that stood out for me. Continue reading

When Your Child Is Afraid

Going to the doctor is a scary thing for a lot of kids. Whether it’s due to being in an unfamiliar place, having someone poke and prod you, or the intuition that shots are coming, I see kids deal with fear and anxiety every day. Parents respond in many different ways, almost always with the goal of diffusing the situation, but with varying degrees of success. Here are a few tips for helping your child when they are feeling afraid, whether at the doctor’s office or in other life situations. Continue reading

3 Words for 2013: Decide. Attend. Play.

I’m not usually one for New Year’s resolutions. It seems they often fade away by mid-year. But, this year I’m taking a page from two of my favorite physician writers, Dr. Vartabedian and Dr. Swanson and aiming for a more conceptual resolution that I hope will stick. A series of three words that I will keep in mind this year, in both personal and professional realms. Words that I hope will help guide 2013, a year that is likely to be filled with some change for me. Continue reading

Happy Holidays from My Two Hats

I want to take a moment to wish all of my readers Happy Holidays! I truly appreciate your readership and thoughtful comments this year. I’ll be back soon with new posts on taking action to prevent gun violence, a two part series on kids and music, tips for eczema, and other various and sundry topics on child health.

My best wishes for safe travels and relaxing time with family and friends over the next week. Here are a few posts that may be useful during this time. Continue reading

When Will We Choose Our Children?

An open letter to policymakers in the wake of another devastating shooting.

Today close to thirty people died in a horrific school shooting. In an elementary school. Twenty of the dead were young children. Countless other children were witness to this horrific crime.

Like so many times before the news comes to us as people talk about what happened. About the shooter. About the families.

Some people say that Americans are becoming numb to these shootings. That we have come to expect them. This is simply not true. Continue reading

Letting Kids Set the Pace

IMG_0335One great joy of life with a toddler is that they still enjoy holding your hand while walking together. On a recent day off I was walking with my son in the park near our house. Suddenly I realized that I was sort of pulling him along behind me. Years of training and busy clinic days have turned me into a fast walker and have taught me to live life at a somewhat frenetic pace. But, on this day we really had no place to be. I made a conscious effort to allow him to lead. It felt slow as molasses at first, but gradually I adapted. My fast, purposeful walk turned into his slow, meandering pace. Continue reading