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Topic Archives: Depression & Anxiety

First Test Jitters: Beat Test Anxiety

September 19, 2017

This week your students are more than likely taking their first quizzes and tests of the new school year. Given the desire to make a good first impression, you’re probably noticing a bit more stress than usual. Here’s what you need to know about test anxiety to help students do their best. Optimal Stress A little stress is a good thing. It motivates kids to study. The nervous energy during the test helps your mind actively recall what you know and work at the pace you need to finish. So as the graph below shows, the goal isn’t no stress. The goal is optimal stress. Where’s the Stress Coming From? Students can experience too much stress for innumerable reasons. Among the most… Read More

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A Teachable Moment

January 18, 2017

  Whether or not we want it, life has given us a teachable moment. Yes, the inauguration. Unlike years past, the political climate, coupled with 24 hour news, means that even some of our youngest children are navigating issues around leadership, ethics and fairness. Which means that if you are not having these difficult discussions with them, they are very likely having them with their peers, on the playground, and yes, (gasp!) on social media. Children are hearing (and in some cases experiencing) very adult topics through the lens of a child’s eyes and ears. That filter could leave them blissfully unaware. Or it could take them down paths less desirable by believing exaggerated claims of peers, overhearing comments out of context, or experiencing their own… Read More

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What’s the Goal? “Top 100” Grad or “Top 100” Career?

April 20, 2016

by Nancy Weinstein For the hundreds of thousands of students that applied to selective colleges this year, the short-term goal was clear: Getting In. And while many of those students are actively rejoicing, many more are lamenting the thin envelope that came in the mail. Now what?! According to personal accounts from concerned parents across the nation, unless your child is a recruited athlete, getting into a top college is a virtual crap-shoot. The perception is that too many qualified, legacy applicants means “safety school” is as anachronistic as the rotary telephone. And while the debate rages as to whether perception is reality in college admissions, the reality that stress levels have risen significantly among teens is indisputable. As many of our nation’s best and brightest… Read More

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Freedom to Live

February 11, 2016

This week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force came out with a first time recommendation that all adolescents, ages 12-18, should be screened for depression. As one expert interviewed by CNN put it, “They might look fine but without screening they fall thru the cracks.” The statistics on teen suicide are disturbing, but the personal stories are heart-wrenching. The following story is upsetting, but sometimes it is our obligation to confront some of our strongest emotions and fears so that we can comfort those who are suffering and hopefully help others avoid difficult times. We asked Dr. Wendy Matthews, an adolescent psychologist in private practice to introduce this post: Suicide is ‘a permanent solution to a temporary problem’. But young people sometimes view… Read More

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7 Reasons for Test Anxiety and What To Do About It

January 11, 2016

  There are a variety of reasons for test anxiety. The best news is that a little bit of test anxiety is good thing. It provides an adrenaline rush to work efficiently. But too much stress produces a full rush of hormones that interferes with the ability to think clearly and rememberwhat you know. If test anxiety is a problem, read on for the seven most common reasons for test anxiety and what to do about it. The very first step is to recognize that the reasons for test anxiety are different for every student. The trick is to figure out which one is the reason for your child’s test anxiety. Subject-Specific Anxiety Sometimes kids develop test anxiety around one subject but not another, similar to how they might have anxiety around… Read More

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Childhood Expert Eileen Kennedy-Moore Answers our Questions

September 21, 2015

We are supremely fortunate to share with you this week insight from a leading child psychologist who has great advice on on how we can better handle some sensitive parenting moments. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, is an author, psychologist, and mother of four. She has a private practice in Princeton, NJ, where she works with adults, children, and families. In addition co-authoring Smart Parenting for Smart Kids and The Unwritten Rules of Friendship, she has a new video series for parents, produced by The Great Courses: Raising Emotionally and Socially Healthy Kids. Some of the topics she covers in her Great Courses lecture really interested me, including how to guide children through issues related to anxiety, perfectionism and popularity. I’m happy to share her answers with… Read More

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5 Common Misconceptions about Teens and Sleep

September 12, 2015

We hear it all the time. Teens need more sleep. They burn the candle at both ends, with early start times for school followed by hours of after school activities and homework. When I taught high school, I saw my students in first period at 7:45 a.m. and dismissed the last class 2:45 p.m. And guess what? These teens were exhausted at both ends of the day. They wanted coffee. Did you drink coffee in 10th grade?! As adults, many of us empathize with the adolescent’s desire for more sleep. We’re tired, too. But do we really understand the unique problem teens face when it comes to their sleep deficits? Because in reality, the teen brain is very different from the… Read More

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Kids and Nature: How to Raise a Wild Child with Dr. Scott

March 18, 2015

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff Today, we have a Q&A with a man some of you may know best as Dr. Scott from the PBS show, Dinosaur Train. His full name is Scott D. Sampson and he has a new book out this month: How to Raise a Wild Child, the Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature.  As a father, he gives practical advice on how to get back to nature with your kids. And as a scientist, he explains why it’s essential.  What inspired you to write How to Raise a Wild Child? Why this book at this moment? Inspiration came from a pair of compelling insights. First, the present disconnect between kids and nature threatens the health of… Read More

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Be Above the Fray: Have you had this conversation yet?

February 27, 2015

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff What is the warning most parents give their children when they hand them a cellphone? According to Thomas Dodson, founder of the nonprofit, Above the Fray, it goes something like this: Don’t do anything stupid and don’t go over the data plan. Dodson, a father of two girls, ages 8 and 10, first became aware of the disconnect between the expectations for “good behavior” and the actual oversight and communication parents provide, when a friend came to him about sixteen months ago. His friend was doing tutoring work and said, “I got to tell you things are just crazy with kids online. Body images, bullying. It’s just insane.” Dodson knew a lot about the power… Read More

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Take a Hot Chocolate Break

February 20, 2015

By Sarah Vander Schaaff It’s cold out. And all of us who are not posting photos of a late February escape to the some warm environs, and Mars is looking pretty good right now, will agree. That’s why today we’re going to talk about the benefits of a nice warm mug of hot chocolate. I’m not throwing in the towel on education and science. No, in fact, I’m embracing it and adding a dash of whipped cream on top. Chocolate, as a 2004 Finnish study suggested, has benefits that start even before your children are old enough to beg for a box of Swiss Miss Marshmallow Madness. It starts in the womb. Researchers at the University of Helsinki asked pregnant… Read More

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