Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Keeping Children Safe from THC

Increase in Cannabis Smoke Around Children
 Good news: health agencies have made great strides in teaching adults not to smoke around children. Bad news: according to a Columbia University study an increase in parents smoking cannabis around their children could undo decades of effort to protect our kids against second hand smoke, according to “Pediatrics” magazine May 2018.What will be the long term effects on our children?
Concern About Second-Hand Smoke and Chemicals
  Scientists and physicians are concerned about many kinds of second hand smoke and their chemicals around children. Dr. Claire McCarthy of Harvard Medical school points to study after study reporting that “ if you are near someone who is smoking marijuana THC, the smoke gets into your system, too.” How much of it gets in depends on how close the person is, how many people are smoking and how much, how long you spend near them, and how much ventilation there is in the space. But research is clear that cannabinoids, the chemicals that cause the “high,” get into the bodies of people nearby — including children.”
    Nicotine cigarette smoking around children has decreased more than 7%. Marijuana smoking around children has increased nearly 5%.
Brain Function
  Dr. McCarthy and others continue, “Besides the fact that we don’t want children getting high, or exposed to the dangers of inhaled secondhand marijuana smoke, there is the additional concern about long-term effects on the brain.  There is evidence to suggest that when youth and young adults (whose brains are still developing) are exposed to marijuana THC, it may have permanent effects on executive function, memory, and even IQ, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the American Psychiatric Association.
   Executive functions of brain include: evaluating ideas, remembering detail, paying attention and switching focus, keeping track of multiple tasks at once, finishing work on time, linking past experience to the present,  and doing things based on experience.
What can families do about all kinds of smoking according to Dr. McCarthy? 
Check All Smoking in Vicinity of Children
The best think for you and your child is to not smoke at all. Talk to your doctor abut ways to quit. If you do smoke, don’t smoke around your child, ever. Even if your children aren’t around, don’t smoke somewhere they will be, like your home or your car. Smoke lingers. After you smoke, change your clothes and wash up. Again: smoke lingers.  If it smells like any kind of smoke in the area, your baby is smoking. 

Check that all care givers do not smoke around children nor smell like smoke. Check their home if your children are in their home, car, and anywhere else they care for your children---and then there are edibles. For more see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com; wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons live and pod casts; Facebook, and Pinterest.
Photos: Fran Darling, darling fotos 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Helping Angry or Sad Kids Relax

Techniques to Calm Children...

When children are angry or out of sorts we need many techniques to calm them down before we can talk together. No matter what it is, the situation begs for calmness.  Child psychologist, Angela Pruess’ parentswithconfidence.com is a wonderful site to help. It may depend on whether there is great anger or sadness which techniques you choose before you talk calmly together.  

Here are more samples of her suggestions for different ages:

Massage the hands. With a little baby oil use your thumb to 
massage each finger gently from the base to the tip. 
Massage the web between the thumb and pointer with your 
thumb from tip to palms up and the top of the hand upward. 
Rubbing children’s feet is also relaxing while you talk 
soothingly. Start by gently holding a foot. Then lightly press 
and circle your thumbs just above the center of the foot 
bottom where it bends ( the solar plexus reflex). Gently 
stroke from under the big toe. Then move on to the other 
toes. More can be found on You Tube when you search for 
reflexology or baby massage.Give a gentle circular back rub 
while a child is on your lap and sing a favorite soft song 
together, pray, or read a favorite book. Encourage 
preschoolers and older children to press their palms together 
and then release and relax several times. Squeeze a balled 
up wet wash cloth, squishy toy, or favorite stuffed animal. 
Release and relax. Do wall pushups together or lean against 
a counter at an angle and gently 
push away and back down. 

Young children can learn to give themselves a hug, close 
their eyes and picture nature or their favorite spot. They can 
go to their favorite spot and hug a stuffed animal, you, the 
dog, and pillow until they are ready to talk.

Read, color, or look at book while lying on the stomach.
Create something with clay. Children may need to slam it 
down down the table and pound or knead it for a while.

Go for a walk.  Throw some snowballs, snow chunks at tree 
trunks. Throw stone in the water. For young children 
you can make a pillow path and they can crawl on it. Walk or 
run around the inside or outside of the house. Go for a bike 
ride. Throw a ball over the garage 
roof. Someone catch it on the other side and throw it back. 
Throw a ball against a wall and catch it.

Older children can recite the alphabet backwards, count 
backwards from 100, or count backwards by 2or 3.  Make it a 
bit challenging, but not too challenging that they will give up. 

For more information see grandparentsteach@gmail.com; wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons; on You Tube, or Pinterest  Photos, Fran Darling: fdarling fotos

Monday, February 10, 2020

Helping Children to Settle Down

Ways to Help Children Develop Emotional Health
“Emotional Health is a lifelong Superpower.”-Angela Pruess, child psychologist


How do we help our children develop emotional health? 
 Angela Pruess has some every good scientific and practical ways to help families. Her many helpful suggestions are at parentswith confidence.com and some are shared with her permission.
 Kinds of Breathing
  • Bear breathing: Together Inhale through the nose, to a count of four, pause for a count of two; breathe out for a count of four, pause for count of two and repeat. This will help  ground kids and adults before naps, tests, or a difficult task.
  • Hissing Breath: Breathe in through the nose with a long deep inhale and out the mouth with a hissing breath slow and long. This will slow everyone down mentally and physically.
    Many Breathing Techniques are Helpful
  • Flower Breath: Imagine smelling a rose or daffodil.  Breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. People become conscious of breathing.
  • Bunny Breathing: Take in 3 quick sniffs through the nose and one long exhale out the nose pretending to be bunnies sniffing for carrots to eat. This is good when children are so tense and upset that they can’t find their breath.  It will help them connect with their exhale so they breath instead of spin out.
More Settling
  • Cuddle with a warm cloth or therapeutic wrap on the back of the neck, back, shoulders, legs wrist or the back of the feet. Therapeutic wraps are filled with natural grain and dried French lavender and may be warmed in the microwave or cooled in the refrigerator. You can also cuddle with a stuffed animal or a real one.
  • Draw, paint, doodle, scribble, or do Zen tangle.
  • Wrap up like a burrito together and talk, tell a story, or sing softly. 
  • Do some animal- walks like a bear, crab, jumping frog. Hang upside down and while leaning against the back or cushions of a couch. Do a wall push up or hand stand.
  • Try some kids’ yoga: warrior pose, tree pose, chair pose downward dog stretch, hero pose or plank. Watch a dog lie on its back with feet up for a gentle scratch and emulate it. 
  • Cuddle, Crawl, Stretch, Doodle, Challenge, Climb
    Make a fort and climb in together to read a book by flashlight, have a nutritious snack, turn off the lights, or take a nap.
  • Do a 5-4-3-2-1 Challenge.  Name five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can touch, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.  This is a grounding effect. It helps pull us into our body’s senses and out of our overly active emotion center of the brain. 
For more see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com;wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Senses live and podcasts; Pinterest, and Facebook. Check out parentswithconfidence.com.
Photos: Fran Darling, fdarling fotos  

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Art and a Child’s Brain

Making Art: There's a Lot Happening!
“Creativity in and of itself is important for remaining healthy, remaining connected to yourself and connected to the world,” according to Dr. Christine Strang neuroscientist at University of Alabama Birmingham. It turns out there’s a lot happening in our minds and bodies when we make art—any kind of art. Art enhances brain function and well-being whether a person suffers from PTSD or a young child is developing a healthy brain, fine motor skills, creativity, emotional balance, a sense of accomplishment, or relieving stress. What does that mean for families? Provide some art basic art supplies in the home and sit down and do art with the kids in happy times, sad, or angry times.
Free Form
  Art supplies don’t have to be extensive or expensive.
 Young children can have a box or cabinet of computer paper, colored construction crayons, markers, paints, Playdough, child scissors tape, glue, and a place to display their art. Some children like postcard size paper rather that big sheets. Some like a piece of paper the size of a table to keep adding to the scene and the story.
Art Supplies Are Everywhere!
A few family members can sit down and join the little ones with soft music on, someone reading a book out loud, or the pleasure of silence and room for conversation from time to time.
 In free form art the artists are totally in charge, making what they want. If anyone is stuck, someone can suggest a topic to get the brain going: creating something happy or a recent family drama. It can be a walk in the woods, beach, hills, along the lake, in the snow.  What is your favorite, most beautiful, most quiet, safest place to be? Do you want to paint sunshine, a forest, some animals, spaghetti, a cherry pie, peanut butter sandwich, sledding, dolphins jumping out of water, or grandpa? 
  Some children enjoy premade designs. Mandalas are beautiful art circles that are contained within a square and are found in most cultures. In their most basic form, mandalas are circles arranged into sections that are all organized around a single, central point. Mandala coloring books are found in most stores in the book section and are part of soothing art therapy for all ages. 
Transform Ordinary Minds into Enlightened Ones!
The purpose is to help transform ordinary minds into enlightened ones and to assist with healing. Families find them relaxing and lots of fun. Check “How to Draw a Mandala” at art-is-fun.com.
   There are many rewards of art in the family.  It activates the hypothalamus and orbitofrontal cortex which are parts of brain associated with appetite regulation, calculating risk, impulse control, and detection of social rules.  For more see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com: wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons live and pod casts; Facebook, Pinterest, and You Tube since 2009.
Photos: Fran Darling, fdarling fotos