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Archive for the For Kids Category

Published on: May 31, 2015  

How to Help Kids & Teens Ask for Help

For many, asking for help is second nature. For others, it’s quite a challenge. The belief in your ability, worthiness of receiving help, desire (motivation) to want things to change, and the skills needed to actually ask for help often get in the way of you taking that risk approach someone and ask for the help you need.

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Here are some common beliefs we have about ourselves that often get in the way of us asking for support and some strategies on how to expand your comfort zone and connect with others garner support.

Belief That Needing Help Is a Sign of Weakness. I hear this one a lot. Kids and teens believe that others will perceive them as not being as smart as their peers or that they “should” know how to do something when they really don’t.

Actually, asking for help is a sign of intelligence and confidence.  You are smart enough to know that I don’t know. Smart enough to know who to ask when you need help and the skills to ask the right questions at the right time. You know what you need and are aware of the strategies on how to get that need met.

GYRO TIP: Be choosy about who you ask for help. The trick is to identify people who you know will be able to support you. I like to tell kids and teens that it’s best to ask help from master proboem solvers. They come in all shapes and sizes and easy to spot if you have a kean eye… Here are a couple qualities that master problem solvers typically have:

  • They are visible, available, and are often place themselves in professional or personal roles where they can help others.
  • They have a good track record of solving problems and providing meaningful and accurate information.
  • We have seen them help others solve (or resolve) problems in the past.
  • They have good active listening skills, are engaged, and communicate that they truly want to help and see you and others succeed.
  • We know friends or family members who they have helped with positive results.
  • They are open-minded and non-judgmental and access resources easily when they need help.
  • They have good control of their emotions and know how to stay calm.
  • And finally, master problem solvers and good helpers like to stick together as they are typically positive thinkers, optimistic, and like to stay engaged in healthy relationships and activities.

Belief that You’re Not Deserving of Help and Support. The truth is that everyone, young and old, needs help. We simply can’t know everything. We need a team of helpers to help guide in the right direction and support us along the way. Take it from me…developing a close-knit team of people you trust and who you can rely on to help is a necessary condition for your success.

I have never met anyone who has achieved great things completely independently. Reach out, ask the questions that help clarify what you need or want, and then move forward with that information toward achieving your immediate and long-term goals and dreams.

Staying Silent Even Though You Are Confused or Uncertain. It takes time to master a new task or skill and be able to complete it independently in a variety of different situations. Asking for help effectively is no different.

The first step is knowing and accepting that you don’t know. After that, you need to identify people who can help you get the information and resources you need and then assert yourself and ask for what you need. Completing this process is necessary but not without its pitfalls, especially accepting that we don’t know something.

Taking personal responsibility for your own learning and development becomes part of the equation. The motivation to want to be a better student, or have more friends, or know more about something is trasformative as it is the engery that drives you to seek the information or support that you want.

“I’ll Just Wait For People to Come to Me…They’re Likely Know That I Need Help”. Most people I know are not so great at mind reading. I’m a professional, and I usually guess wrong. Others may not know that you’re having difficulty or that you confused and need help.

People do a lot of things to disguise the fact that are struggling in one area or another as to not draw attention to themselves. That’s why it’s important to reach out and ask for help. Raising your hand in the middle of your most challenging class or approaching your parents with a tough topic might be too much. Perhaps, you start by writing them a letter telling them what’s on your mind or letting them know that you would like to talk with them privately about something.

Master problem solvers are experts are reading these messages and will often go way out of their way to make sure you feel comfortable and safe.

Believe in Yourself and Keep Trying. “I’m not old enough to play football or baseball. I’m not eight yet. My Mom told me when you start baseball you aren’t going to be able to run fast because you had an operation. I told my Mom that I didn’t need to run fast. When I play baseball, I’ll just hit them out of the park. Then I’ll be able to walk.” ~Edward McGrath

“Magic happens when you believe in yourself.” ~Barbie (from the movie, Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale)

Asking for help is a learned skill that takes practice to perfect. When we ask, our tone of voice, body posture and how we ask are all factors that contribute to having a favorable response from others. If you don’t get the response you hoped for the first time, take a step back, think through your delivery, ask an adult or a friend or two and give it another try. You’ll be glad you did. “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.” ~Dory from the movie Nemo.

Asking an adult, “what’t the best way to ask for help” is not out of bounds. If anything, they will appreciate you considering them in your problem solving process.

Why Asking for Help Is Important. When you don’t know how to do something, feel confused about what you supposed or expected to do or when we are hurt and need help, talking with trusted adults is a good choice. Adults can provide some new ideas on challenging situations or provide options on how to get through a difficult situation.

If we don’t ask for help or tell them about it, we run the risk of making decisions on our own experiences and and information which may or may not represent everything that is happening. Acting without know all the facts or responding emotionally often leads to more complex challenges or conflicts.

Besides, your parents and other trusted adults want to help and be involved. Sharing a conflict, the different strategies to solve that conflict, and what you did to make that happen, is the type of communication that will strengthen your relationships with trusted adults in your life and will lead you to feeling safe, secure, and confident.

Please feel free to contact us if your child or teen had difficulty asking for help, struggles with social relationships or often gets down on themselves, 236-236-0206. We’re here to help!

With Warmest Regards,

Dr. Dave Callies
Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychologist
Gyro Psychology Services
www.GyroPsychology.com
360-236-0206

Published on: March 21, 2015  

BULLYING: Advice for Parents and their Kids

Parents can help kids and teens learn how to deal with bullying if it happens. For some parents, it may be tempting to tell a kid to fight back. After all, you’re angry that your child is suffering and maybe you were told to “stand up for yourself” when you were young. Or you may worry that your child will continue to suffer at the hands of the bully, and think that fighting back is the only way to put a bully in his or her place.

Crying

However, it’s important to advise kids not to respond to bullying by fighting or bullying back. It can quickly escalate into violence, trouble, and someone getting injured. Instead, it’s best to walk away from the situation, hang out with others, and tell an adult.

Here are some other strategies to discuss with kids that can help to improve the situation and help them feel better.

 

ADVICE FOR KIDS AND TEENS:

  • Avoid the bully and use the buddy system. Use a different bathroom if a bully is nearby and don’t go to your locker when there is nobody around. Make sure you have someone with you so that you’re not alone with the bully. Buddy up with a friend on the bus, in the hallways, or at recess — wherever the bully is. Offer to do the same for a friend.
  • Hold the anger. It’s natural to get upset by the bully, but that’s what bullies thrive on. It makes them feel more powerful. Practice not crying or looking red or upset. It takes a lot of practice, but it’s a useful skill for keeping off of a bully’s radar. Sometimes kids find it useful to practice “cool down” strategies such as counting to 10, writing down their angry words, taking deep breaths, or walking away. Sometimes the best thing to do is to teach kids to wear a “poker face” until they are clear of any danger (smiling or laughing may provoke the bully).
  • Act brave, walk away, and ignore the bully. Firmly and clearly tell the bully to stop, then walk away. Practice ways to ignore the hurtful remarks, like acting uninterested or texting someone on your cell phone. By ignoring the bully, you’re showing that you don’t care. Eventually, the bully will probably get bored with trying to bother you.
  • Tell an adult. Teachers, principals, parents, and even lunchroom personnel at school can and should help stop bullying by staying watchful and intervening when necessary.
  • Talk about it. Talk to someone you trust, such as a guidance counselor, teacher, sibling, or friend. They may offer some helpful suggestions, and even if they can’t fix the situation, it may help you feel a little less alone.

 

RESTORING CONFIDENCE:

Dealing with bullying can erode a child’s confidence. To help restore it, encourage your kids to spend time with friends who have a positive influence. Participation in clubs, sports, or other enjoyable activities builds strength and friendships. If school activities are out of the question because of bullies, consider community clubs and teams.

Provide a listening ear about difficult situations, but encourage your kids to also tell you about the good parts of their day, and listen equally attentively. Make sure they know you believe in them and that you’ll do what you can to address any bullying that occurs.

 

ADVICE FOR PARENTS:

  • Talk with and Listen to Your Children Everyday. Ask questions about their school day, including experiences on the way to and from school, lunch, and recess. Ask about their peers. Children who feel comfortable talking to their parents about these matters before they are involved in bullying are more likely to get them involved after.
  • Spend time at School and Recess. Schools can lack the resources to provide all students individualized attention during “free” time like recess. Volunteer to coordinate games and activities that encourage children to interact with peers aside from their best friends.
  • Be a Good Example. When you get angry at other drivers, servers, or other people in the community, model effective communication techniques. As Education.com puts it, “Any time you speak to another person in a mean or abusive way, you’re teaching your child that bullying is okay.”
  • Create Healthy Anti-Bullying Habits. Starting as young as possible, coach your children on both what NOT to do (push, tease, and be mean to others) as well as what TO do (be kind, empathize, and take turns). Also coach your child on what to do if someone is mean to him or to another (get an adult, tell the bully to stop, walk away, and ignore the bully).
  • Make Sure Your Child Understands Bullying. Clearly explain what bullying is, and that it is not normal or tolerable for them to bully other kids, to be bullied, or to stand by and watch other kids get bullied.

 

NEED ADDITIONAL SUPPORT?

If you think your child would benefit from some additional support, consider calling us to set up an appointment with one of our psychologists at Gyro Psychology Services (360.236.0206). We serve children and adolescents ages 2-20 with a variety of emotional, mental, and behavioral health needs. 

We are located at 5191 Corporate Center Ct SE, Lacey, Washington, 98503. Or, check out the Resources page on our website for more information on bullying prevention and interventions, and a variety of other behavior health issues.  Our weekly Blog provides information and tips on tough issues that kids, teens, and their parents face.  Be sure to “like” us on Facebook to receive “Gyro’s Daily Welless Tips” on a variety of subject areas related to parenting and the health and wellness of your child and/or teen.

With Warmest Regards,

 

Dr. David Callies

Child & Adolescent Psychologist

Gyro Psychology Services

360-236-0206

 

Published on: March 15, 2015  

Helping Your Child or Teen Become an Effective Problem-Solver

Encouraging your child/teen to develop an effective process to solve personal and interpersonal problems is an important life skill that can be applied at home, in school, in social situations, and in community events, clubs and activities.  Successfully identifying a problem, developing emotional control, considering solutions and consequences and then taking thoughtful steps towards solving problems helps to build self-confidence and resilience. Moreover, developing an effective problem solving process fosters independent learning and critical thinking skills.

Teen and Father

Parents can help teach their child/teen how to effectively solve problems independently by utilizing some of these simple strategies:

Help your child/teen to manage strong feelings (emotional regulation) – Feelings of frustration, sadness, anxiety, and even excitement make identifying problems and generating solutions more challenging as their capacity to think clearly is diminished. Remaining calm is a central quality of all good problem solvers!

Our bodies respond to emotions in different ways. When angry, for example, some children become quiet and withdraw, while others raise their voices, move quickly and abruptly, and even become aggressive. Helping your child/teen identify how their body feels when they first start to feel emotions is a critical first step in helping them develop emotional regulation. Once recognized, they can take steps to calm down like thinking about something else, doing another activity (coloring, playing with Legos, word searches and even math problems). Engaging in other activities helps them focus their mind away from the frustrating circumstance and allows them to regain control and reset. Once calm, you can talk with your child/teen about what happened that led to their reaction and begin thinking through possible solutions and healthy action plans.

Identifying the problem – When you observe your child/teen having difficulty encourage them to recognize and describe the external (e.g., not understanding how to proceed with a project, friend is not available to meet) and internal factors (e.g., thinking about a loss, a friend rejecting them, not being chosen for an important role on an athletic team or theatrical event) that led to their reaction.

If talking about what happened is challenging, allow them to draw out the events and then describe them to you. This will allow your child/teen to understand the problem and what factors contributed to their reaction (e.g., not understanding what to do or where to start, feeling tired or hungry, or something not happening they way they expected).

Children and teens may not perceive the problem the same way adults do.  Allowing them to describe their experience and the perceived problem in their own words will lead them to trust their observations, communication and analytical sills.  Not only is this process part of the foundation of emotional development but rests at the heart of rational thinking.

Early in their development, children my not be able to verbalize the problem.  They just know that things are not working out the way they expected and are unable to be flexible in their thinking and adjust to changing circumstances. In such cases, simply state the problem for the child. If you say things like, “So the problem is…” children will eventually understand that clearly identifying problems leads to generating solutions and increased feelings of confidence and independence.

Give your child/teen the opportunity to generate solutions on their own – While a parent’s solutions might be more effective or efficient, simply giving the child a solution to the problem would deprive them of the opportunity to learn and develop confidence in their ability to generate creative solutions.

Once your child/teen has generated some solutions on their own, ask them how what they do might impact them and others around them (consequences). Allow them to try to solve the problem on their own and encourage them to come back to you and let you know how things turned out. I often talk with the children and teens I work with about being “scientists” and observing what happens when they make these important changes. Clipboards and rating scales are often a part of this process.

Identify what is and what isn’t working – To help children and teens move from a trial and error approach to a more systematic approach to problem-solving, encourage them to think about the results of their solutions. Parents can ask open-ended questions (e,g., Did it turn out the way you expected?; I wonder what would happen if…) and make comments (e.g., You seem happier now that you had a chance to talk with them) to help them consider alternatives.

Talking with your child or teen about what they did to solve the problem helps them to establish and cause-and- effect connection in their mind.  This will lead to them successfully solving problems on their own which will, in turn, build their self-confidence.

Once this mental association is in place and they’ve experienced being an effective problem solver, they stand a better chance of using this same approach when faced with conflicts and problems in the future. Be sure to praise them when they are able to use this process independently. You acknowledging them will go along way towards solidifying these skills and remind them of your kind presence and support.

I hope you found these tips helpful. Please visit the Resources section of our website for more information on Depression, Anxiety and Disruptive Behaviors as well tips on Parenting Teens and our article on Coping With Anger Outbursts.

Please contact one of our specialty-trained Psychologists should your child or teen need help with emotional control or developing effective and healthy strategies to solve problems, 360.236.0206.  We’re here to help!

Warmest Regards,

 

Dr. Dave Callies

Child & Adolescent Psychologist

Gyro Psychology Services

360.236.0206

Published on: October 5, 2014  

Grief: Adjusting to the Loss of a Loved One

Grief is the emotional reaction we have to death or a loss. The experience if grief can affect us in many different ways. We may experience changes in our eating habits and routines, our attitudes to others (they don’t understand), our sleeping habits, our ability to function at work or school, increased feelings of worry, hopelessness and despair, and the questioning of our religious or spiritual beliefs.

Portrait Of Teenage Girl

Regardless of our personal reaction, grief is a natural response to loss and provides us an opportunity to come to terms with what happened and find healthy ways to remember loved ones who have passed and how to make healthy adjustments in our lives without them present.

Grief, like many emotions, often comes is waves. Some people feel deep sadness and anger right away, while others are in disbelief about what happened, especially if the death was sudden and unexpected.

Facing this realization while surrounded by friends and family can provide support and comfort to those experiencing loss and grief. Memorial services and funerals help people get through the difficult times after a person’s death as they provide an opportunity to talk with others who have shared memories and experiences of the loved one and who share the sense of loss. Being around familiar people, especially right after the loss, can be both comforting and remind us that some things will remain the same.

It’s natural to have questions and feelings long after someone has died. It’s also natural and okay to start feeling better. Feeling better sometimes happens right away and other times it might last for some time. It all depends upon how the loss has affected your life and the lives of those around you.

How people experience grief can depend upon whether the loss was sudden or expected and how emotionally attached you were to the person who died. Feeling better typically happens gradually over time and the feelings of loss and sadness might be more intense at some times (e.g., holidays, birthday) than others.

When feeling sad, it’s best to connect with loved ones, communicate your feelings of loss, sadness, anger or confusion and ask for support. By staying connected with loved ones, talking about your feelings, taking care of yourself, and engaging in activities you enjoy, you CAN help yourself feel better. At some point, perhaps, you’ll find a sense of meaning in the experience.

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Here are some suggestions on how to express your feelings and find some meaning for yourself in the midst of a loss:

Take some time during your day to write down how you’ve been reacting and feeling. Writing down how you’re feeling and reacting can often times be the first step in expressing your feelings.

Think of someone you can share your feelings with. It’s important that you take time to talk to someone you trust about what you’re going through and how the loss is affecting you. It can sometimes help just to be with others who also loved the person who died, even if you don’t feel like talking.

Think about what you’ve discovered about yourself, about others, or about life as a result of going through this loss.

  • What did the person mean to you?
  • What did you learn from him or her?
  • What good has come from this difficult experience?
  • What have you learned about yourself, other people, or life?
  • Are there things you appreciate more?
  • Who are the people who have been there for you? Were they the people you expected? What have you learned about them?
  • In what ways have you grown or matured based on this experience?

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Be Sure To Take Good Care of Yourself

The loss of someone close to you can be a stressful experience. Be sure to take good care of yourself. Here are a few ways that you can take care of yourself though this difficult time:

Get Enough Sleep. Sleep is healing for both body and mind. Focus on building healthy sleep habits like going to bed at the same time each night or establishing bedtime routines like doing gentle yoga or breathing exercises.

Get Plenty of Exercise. Exercise helps to improve your mood and decrease feelings of anxiety and sadness. It may be hard to get motivated when you’re grieving, so modify your usual routine if you need to. Even a gentle walk outdoors can help to reset your perspective on things.

Eat Healthy Foods. You may feel like skipping meals or you may not feel hungry. Avoid overeating, loading up on junk foods, or drinking alcohol in excess to feel better.

Please realize that grief is a normal emotional reaction to loss and that the intensity and frequency of your emotions will lesson over time. Please feel free to contact us should you or someone you know is having difficulty adjusting to a loss, 360.236.0206. We’re here to help!

With Warm Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services

5191 Corporate Center Court SE

Lacey, Washington 98503

P: 360.236.0206

F: 360.236.9909

T: 866.616.4976 (GYRO)

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Published on: May 25, 2014  

Summer Reading for Kids & Teens

Well, we can hardly believe that there are just three short weeks until school ends and summer begins. Having your child or teen continue to develop their reading, writing and math skills along with fun summer activities is important.

Here are a few tips on developing a reading schedule for your child or teen:

Teen Reading

 

Read Together: Starting at a very young age, reading with your kids not only teaches them the importance of reading, but it also provides an additional opportunity for you to share some quality time with your them.

Set Aside Reading Time: It is a good idea to have time set aside for reading each day. Start out with 5-10 minutes and gradually work your way up to 30 minutes per day. Be sure to create a good atmosphere for your child to read in, one that is quiet, comfortable, and well lit.

Keep it Interesting: Be active while reading, point to words, pictures, colors, and other details as you read. Encourage your child to discuss the story, point out new words, and ask questions as you go. In addition, encourage your child to pick out books related to topics they are interested in. If you’re brave and want to integrate writing into your child or teens schedule have them write a paragraph about what they read and another paragraph about what they think will happen next.

Visit the Library: Although it’s nice to have a reading collection available to your child at home, you don’t have to break the bank to keep your child reading. Visit your local library where you have free access to a wide range of books, as well as reading related activities.

Be a Good Role Model: Actively read books, newspapers, and magazines so that your child can see that you are enthusiastic about reading as well. The trip to the library can be for you too!

Good Luck & Happy Reading!

Warm Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services

360.236.0206

866.616.4976

Published on: April 27, 2014  

Get a Great Start To Your Morning!

Do you find that school starts way too early? Your alarm goes off or your parents wake you up, and all you want to do is grumble, roll over, and go back to sleep?

After all, it feels like you just shut your eyes!

Children eating breakfast

If you’re finding that you’re arguing with your parents about getting out of bed and getting to school on time, or racking up tardies or other school consequences, you may need a morning routine – a schedule you set for yourself and follow to take your mornings back, avoid those morning yelling matches, and get a great start to your day.

Morning routines start by knowing what time you need to be at school.

7:45? 8:15? Whatever time it is, use it to figure out how much time you need to get ready. Make a list of all your steps, and estimate how much time each takes. 3 minutes to brush your teeth? 15 minutes to get to school? Add it to your list! Add up all the steps to figure out what time you actually need to wake up. If your routine takes an hour and 35 minutes, from waking to arriving in your seat for your first period class, you need to wake up an hour and 35 minutes before that first period bell rings.

You may want to include 5 minutes of snooze time to ease into your day. Be sure to give yourself enough time to do everything you like to do in the morning to be school-ready – brush your hair and teeth, find clothes to wear, eat something – whatever you do to feel ready to face the day.

After you’ve made your list, look for things that you could move to the night before. Put your homework in your bag? Pick out something to wear? Find where your dog dragged your shoes? If you can do it the night before, save yourself some shut-eye and plan ahead.

Using a morning routine that you control, you’ll argue less with your parents, and you’ll get a great start to your day.

Therapy can be a great place to set and accomplish personal goals. If you want to learn more about setting up bedtime, morning, and other routines that work for you, talk with your parent(s) or give us a call at 360.236.0206. We’re here to help!

Warmest Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services

360.236.0206

866.616.4976

Published on: April 26, 2014  

Making Summer Plans Early

Worried about being bored this summer? As the school year nears a close, many of us begin to think ahead to summer vacation. While summer vacation offers an often much-needed and welcome break from the school year grind, it can also be a time of frustration, increased parent-teen conflict, and boredom for many teens. What we longingly look forward to as a time of respite can sometimes exacerbate already strained family relationships and end up feeling like a blurry waste of time once Fall rolls around.

Summer Plans

Think back to last summer. Was it a three-month fun blast or do you recall arguments with siblings and parents, sleeping in late, and watching a lot of YouTube? Having reasonable expectations can help you enjoy the time away from school and make the most of your break. Rather than setting yourself up to feel disappointed that you’re not experiencing a non-stop, action-packed, epic summer, you may find that you enjoy your summer more if you make some plans and set personal goals.

“What are you doing this summer?” Most teens have a hard time answering this question because they’re busy with the daily routine of going to school, completing projects, preparing for end-of-year exams, and saying goodbye to friends right up until the bell rings that last day of school. A little bit of planning ahead goes a long way. As you think ahead to summer, we recommend that you make a list of things you’d like to do and goals you’d like to accomplish to set yourself up for a productive, fun summer. For example, setting a goal to get out of bed by 9:00am, as opposed to noon, will give you an extra 84 hours of summertime every month. That’s 252 hours over the course of the whole summer! That’s a lot of time you could be spending doing a combination of things you enjoy, completing chores/jobs around the house to keep things humming along with your family, and getting outside to soak up Vitamin D.

We recommend you set aside time to talk with your parent(s) about summer plans. Check in with parents about some of your plans to see what they think. Parents tend to respond better to plans when there is time to think things through, rather than last-minute requests. So, if you’re hoping to go hiking or camping with friends, want to visit out-of-town relatives or friends, or get a summer job, begin talking with your parents early. They may be able to help you plan to do the things you want to do, and also clarify expectations they may have for you, like chores or other family summer projects. You may not be able to do all the things you hope to do this summer, but by planning ahead and involving your parents in the process, you’re more likely to enjoy the time you do have.

Therapy can be a great place to set and accomplish personal goals. If you’re feeling anxious about enjoying a safe, healthy, and fun summer, talk with your parent(s) or give us a call at 360.236.0206. We’re here to help!

Warmest Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services

360.236.0206

866.616.4976

Published on: March 30, 2014  

Preparing For Exams

For most schools in the area the semester is coming to a close. This means that most kids, especially high school students, are preparing for exams. Many students find this time to be stressful and feel overwhelmed when attempting to study. Here are some study tips for students we have found to be helpful.

Set Aside Study Time: Don’t wait until the night before to prepare for an exam. Start studying in the days prior to the test. Set aside 1-2 hours each night for studying and review. Try to study at the same time each night. Use this time to read, review, write papers, or finish up projects. Effectively managing your time is the key!

Organize Your Study Time: Once you’ve decided how long you are going to study each night, determine how much time you need to study for each class/subject. (e.g., 30 min. for math, 45 min. for history, etc.) It may be a good idea to start with the most challenging first. Also be sure to include time for study breaks. Breaks should be no more than 10-15 minutes.

Eliminate Distractions: Study time is for studying only. Do not take calls, send or receive text messages, watch T.V., or work on something unrelated on the computer. Depending on your preference and levels of distractibility, some music may be fine.

Studying: Some basic studying strategies include skimming chapters to be covered on the exam (assuming you’ve already read them). Rereading notes taken – repetition is key here so, even rewriting notes may be helpful. Practice test questions using questions provided by your teacher or those included in previous assignments and tests. Make use of lecture outlines and/or review sheets provided by the teacher. Also, don’t forget to stay organized. Sometimes having study buddy is also helpful, but only as long as you don’t distract each other.

Learn how you study best: Everyone learns differently.  Just because your friend makes color-coded outlines, it doesn’t mean that’s the best way for you to study too. For example, change the lyrics of a song you know to help you memorize the countries of Asia, write a funny story about the characters in a book you’re being tested on, or acronyms for words that need to be memorized. Any studying is good studying, so do it the way that works best for you.

Try Not to Do Too Much: Spreading your studying out across several days is the key. Don’t spend all night every night studying. If you try to do too much at one time, you’ll tire out and add to your stress levels.

Get a good night’s sleep: Eight hours is ideal for the night before an exam. It may be tempting to stay up late studying, but remember: you’re going to need energy and focus while you’re taking your exam. Here are some resources and tips for managing sleep problems.

Relax: You’ve survived final exams before, and you’ll survive them this time too.  If you’re feeling nervous when you sit down to take the test, take three slow, steady breaths. Remind yourself that you’ve been getting ready for these tests all year long.  Here are some tips for teens on managing stress and anxiety.

I hope you find some of these tips to be helpful. Please contact us if your child or teen has difficulty establishing an effective test taking strategies, 360.236.0206. We’re here to help!

Good Luck!

Gyro Psychology Services

360.236.0206

866.616.4976

Published on: January 15, 2014  

Bedtime Routines

The importance of getting enough good quality sleep cannot be underestimated for individuals of all ages. Sleep helps us think clearly, sustain attention, and make better decisions. In fact, research shows that children and adolescents who get poor sleep or not enough sleep, have poorer school performance. In addition, poor quality sleep results in irritability, poor behavior, and increased conflict with others.

Getting enough good quality sleep also keeps us healthy. It protects against certain diseases and helps us fight infections. Sleep also fuels growth in children. Thus, it’s important to be sure your kids are getting enough sleep each night. One way to ensure that this happens is to implement a bedtime routine.

Here are some things you can do to maintain bedtime routines:

  • Set a Sleep Schedule: Your child (and you) should go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. The bedtime routine should start at the same time each night as well. Start by stopping stimulating activities, such as T.V. or video games, at least 30 minutes before bedtime. It’s important not to start too early, as you want your child to be getting tired and ready for sleep. You don’t want the routine to drag out either, so be sure to set clear limits.
  • Making the Transition to Bedtime: The bedtime routine should include enjoyable activities that are soothing. For small children this might include bedtime stories, whereas school-aged children might want one-on-one time with mom and dad to talk about their day. Other calming activities such as a warm bath or relaxation can also be helpful. All activities closest to “lights out” should take place in your child’s bedroom. The bedroom itself should be a comfortable and quiet environment. Security objects such as a special stuffed animal or blanket can be used to help your child feel safe and secure.
  • Keep it Going Once it is Established: It is important to maintain bedtime routines throughout the teen years. Keep in mind that your teen’s sleep needs may change, especially once they reach puberty. Teens should maintain a regular sleep schedule, and take short afternoon naps if needed (about 30 minutes). They should avoid oversleeping on the weekends and caffeine. Also, make sure they turn off all electronics including the T.V., computers, and cell phones.

Remember that there is no one perfect bedtime routine – each child and family is different. Do what works best for your family, just remember to be consistent with whatever routine you implement.

Be sure to read our article on Sleep Hygiene for some more helpful tips on how to prepare your child and their environment for a restful night’s sleep. You can also access the “Helpful Resources” section of our website to learn more about Sleep Problems in children and adolescents.

Be sure to contact us if your child consistently experiences sleep difficulties, 360.236.0206. We’re here to help!

Warmest Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services

360.236.0206

866.616.GYRO

Health Disclaimer

Published on: October 24, 2013  

Sleep Hygiene

What do you think of when you hear the word “hygiene?” Do you think of sparkling clean teeth? Perhaps you think of a well-groomed person with combed hair and a clean scent. Well, hygiene is defined as “the establishment and maintenance of good health.” Sleep hygiene is one of the most important but often most overlooked aspects of our overall physical health and mental health.

Experts say that kids should aim for at least 9 hours of sleep. Without adequate sleep, kids are more likely to have problems with learning and sustaining attention during the day. best movie sites downloadThey are also more likely to show irritability and moody behavior. Here are some things to consider that will help you and your child sleep better at night, so they can live a healthier and happier life during the day.

Getting the bedtime routine down:

  • Maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Regularize bedtime and wake up at the same time every day. Do not allow for oversleeping on weekends.
  • Turn off electronics. Power down anything with a screen at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime.
  • Take a warm bath or shower every night. The steam and warm water helps to relax the muscles in the body, and the time in the bath serves as a nice buffer between the chaos of the day and the calm of night.
  • Read a book. Reading for 15-20 minutes per night is a good way to induce sleepiness for most people.
  • Keep the bedroom dark. Most children have an easier time falling asleep with a very minimal amount of light. One or two night lights is fine, or try leaving the bedroom door cracked open with a hall light on.
  • Use a fan to produce white noise. Many children get distracted by sounds or voices in the house that keep them from falling asleep. Try setting up a fan, humidifier, or other white nose machine to reduce the impact of sounds around the house.

Consider the effect of what you’re eating and drinking before bed:

  • Reduce liquid intake after dinner. Eliminating or reducing liquids will lessen the likelihood that you will have to use the toilet in the middle of the night.
  • If you must drink a beverage at night, reach for milk. Milk naturally contains tryptophan, which is an amino acid that is known to induce sleepiness for most people.
  • Avoid caffeine after lunch. Caffeine is in tea and coffee, but it’s also found in soda drinks and chocolate.
  • Talk to your child’s pediatrician before using dietary supplements or medications. If you are interested in the use of sleeping pills or herbal/hormonal supplements, be sure to discuss it with your doctor first to ensure that you are following proper safety and dosage recommendations.

For the parents of youngsters who just won’t go to bed when you ask:

  • Your child may not be tired when you declare that it’s bedtime. If your child is falling asleep late and then waking up later in the day than intended, and/or if he takes naps, your child is probably not tired enough to go to bed. Wake them up at the same time every day, even if they are going to bed later, and gradually fade back the bedtime to a more appropriate time.
  • Offer rewards for making it through a night with no fuss. Most children respond well to incentives given the next day, contingent on compliance with your instructions the night before.
  • Minimize attention to those late-night “curtain calls.” Your child may be one who keeps getting out of bed to use the bathroom, ask for a drink of water, ask for a hug, or otherwise seek attention from you. Instead of engaging in an argument or trying to reason with them, simply walk them back to bed with minimal conversation. Quietly bring them back each time, and your child will soon realize that it’s not worth it to get out of bed anymore– especially if they are rewarded the next day for staying in bed.

If you would like to know more strategies for helping your child fall and stay asleep, give us a call. We’re here to help you and your family in any way we can.

Warmest Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services

Lacey, Washington

360.236.0206