Psychological Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents

Archive for the Sleep Problems Category

Published on: April 16, 2014  

The Importance of Keeping Kids Active

These days, it seems that every time you turn around there’s something about obesity in the news. We’re hearing about how obesity is continually on the rise amongst adults across the country, and even more alarming, approximately one third of children in the United States are overweight or obese.

This puts our children at risk for a number of adverse physical and emotional health outcomes including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, social stigma, low self esteem and depression. To combat this issue, we’ve been given recommendations on how to clean up kids’ diets and increase their physical activity, and the integral role parents play in that process. But when parents hear that kids should be getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, it can seem like a rather daunting task. It can seem even more difficult considering the pull of technology keeping us glued to our seats. Check out these suggestions for incorporating physical activity a part of your daily routine.

Walk whenever possible. Walk with your kids to school at least once a week. If you live too far away to walk, you can park a couple of blocks away and walk from there. If you live closer, walk to school more often. Start having a regular family walk after dinner or take the family dog for a walk. Try to walk to regular activities, like sports, etc., whenever possible.

Limit sedentary behavior. Limit time watching T.V., playing video games and working on the computer for two hours or less per day. Take activity breaks when watching T.V. or working on the computer. Encourage your kids to get up and walk around or do some sit-ups or jumping jacks to re-energize. Get moving in and around the house: go outside to garden, clean up the yard, rake the leaves or wash the car. Keep your kids involved in active household chores.

Keep activities fun and creative. Allow your kids to choose an after-school sports activity they like or may be interested in. Encourage your kids to engage in physical activity with their friends they can play basketball, jump rope or go for bike rides. Be sure to check out local park & recreation locations (LaceyOlympia & Tumwater) and activities.

Above all, remember to be a good model for your children. They won’t take physical activity and their health seriously if you don’t either. Join an exercise group or find one that parents and kids can participate in together. Engaging in physical activity as a family not only keeps you and your kids healthy, but it can keep family relationships strong as well.  Check out similar articles on Child Obesity and Physical Activity in Kids & Teens in our Blog Archives as well as tips on Parenting Teens in the Resources section of our website.

Please give us a call should you need some additional help in developing strategies to keep your child or teen active, 360.236.0206.  We’re here to help!

Warmest Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services



Published on: January 22, 2014  

Parenting Tips For Managing Nighttime Fears

Nighttime fears are a common occurrence throughout childhood. These fears can vary from fear of the dark, to fear of monsters, fear that they or a family member might get hurt, to more generalized, nonspecific fears. As a parent, there are a number of ways you can help your child manage their nighttime fears.

Bedtime Routines: Start with having a structured bedtime routine that includes relaxing activities such as a warm bath and story time. It’s also important to maintain a regular bedtime schedule so that children and teens can anticipate the transition from family activites, homework and other events to bedtime.

Empathize: Do not be dismissive of your child’s fears, rather empathize. Reassure them know they are safe and that you are there to help. You can also let them know that their mind might be playing a trick on them into believing something bad might happen when there is no evidence to support such fears.

Safety/Transition Objects: Use nightlights or other comforting objects such as a special blanket or stuffed animal.

Teach Coping Skills: Encourage your child to talk about what they are afraid of and together develop plans on how to decrease these fears and increase a sense of calm, relaxation and safety. Encourage the use of positive thoughts that evoke feelings of well-being and simple relaxation techniques like taking deep breathes and tightening then relaxing their muscles.

Set Limits: Start by avoiding/limiting your child’s access to fear provoking things, such as T.V. shows, video games, apps or stories. Although you should be available to help your child manage their fears, do not become excessively reassuring. Reassure your child that they have control over what they think and can choose to feel calm and relaxed if they choose. Encourage them to use coping skills on their own and reward them with praise when they are able to overcome nighttime and other fears independently. It’s also important for your child to stay in their own bed throughout the night.

Be sure to read our recent articles on Sleep Hygiene and Bedtime Routines 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 experience nighttime fears, 360.236.0206. We’re here to help!

Warmest Regards,

Gyro Psychology Services


866.616.GYRO (4976)

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