Why exposures like domestic violence & trauma are important to ask about

As a behavioral pediatrician, I see children with behavior problems.  Kids with aggression, kids who have been kicked out of multiple daycares or schools, and kids who are not doing well at home or school. One of the things I always look for are clues as to WHY. Behaviors, while stressful, are not a diagnosis. They are symptoms of something else. For example: Just because a kiddo is not completing homework or cannot pay attention…it does not automatically mean the child has

The Angst around Medications for ADHD

Parents often worry about the need to start medications if their child is diagnosed with ADHD. It can be a stressful time, weighing the pros and cons. Caregivers can experience a host of emotions and thoughts. When is the right time to start medications?  Is there a “right time”? Does this mean my child will be on medications forever? Was there something I could have done to prevent this? What did I do wrong? RELATED: Parental Angst Making and Revisiting Decisions about

Kindness Challenge Week 3: Radiate Kindness

This week’s challenge was to radiate kindness…in other words to practice kindness in a mindful way. In Week 3 of the Kindness Challenge, Niki (from Richness of a Simple Life) provides some wonderful ideas on how to slowly incorporate acts of kindness. A simple strategy is to pick 1 behavior and just trying it out.  Trying to make something a habit takes practice and picking one thing to consciously work on so it becomes a part of your daily rhythm so that you do

Sunday Spotlight on Children’s Books: Jonathan James & the What If Monster

i see a lot of kiddos with worries. Sometimes the worries are developmentally appropriate and other times they are a first sign of anxiety. Either way, kids need to know HOW to handle these strong negative feelings. Parents and teachers can help coach kids to recognize and start to cope. This book is authored by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt and published by Kane Miller books. You can get a copy here.  The story is about a boy who experiences those nagging thoughts

Kindness Challenge: Week 2-Finding Kindness

I have been thinking about this challenge since Niki first posted the challenge back in May. I love the idea and the message it promotes. This second week was to look for and observe acts of kindness happening around us. Part of being able to emulate a new skill is to observe what is happening in the world around us. I have been noticing kindness in the little things that happen in my interactions with my kids and among my friends and

Navigating the iWorld with your kids…one app at a time

I am preparing to give a talk at an upcoming pediatrics conference in October about social media and children. There is definitely a growing body of general guidance to pediatricians that suggests we talk to families about: Limiting TV to less than 2 hours a day for children and no TV for kids under 2 years of age Have discussions about social media and set limits Monitor kids’ usage and keep computers in public spaces Keep kids’ smart phones/cell phones out of bedrooms

Spotlight on Children’s Books: Art Detective by Doris Kutschbach

This week I wanted to take a moment to highlight a great and fun book called Art Detection: Spot the Differences! by Doris Kutschbach that encourages young readers to take in and soak up art while spotting differences between real artwork and a forgery.  Follow along with the dog Carl (known as Charlie the Sleuth by his friends) who solves art crimes. He asks the reader to help him figure out his latest mystery and in doing so children will learn to appreciate some

Helping parents find their voice: The Let’s Chat ADHD Project

I had the pleasure of working with a WONDERFUL group of parent and child volunteers for the past two years that has finally resulted in this awesome project. I cannot wait to share…but first, let me back up. THE PROBLEM Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is a common neurobehavioral condition that starts in childhood. About 11% of 4 to 17 year old children have been diagnosed with ADHD (Click here: For statistics and data, check out the Centers of Disease Control

Kindness Challenge–Week 1: Better Late than Never

Thank you for Niki for hosting the Kindness Challenge this summer! I had signed up to participate when you first announced well before the challenge started…and well, here it goes. I am not going to let my inner voice of critique stop me just because time got away from me.  Instead I am jumping in and making up for lost time by starting this journey 6 weeks late and being ok with it. That is the first step to self-kindness, which

Sunday Spotlight on Children’s Books: Agatha by Anna Pignataro

Ever wanted to bring about a discussion about how everyone is unique and special in their own right? Meet Agatha…a character who was born with her daddy’s bear nose and her mommy’ pig ears! Agatha is getting ready to start Kindergarten and quickly realizes she does not quite look like anyone else. This warming children’s book story is a nice way to share Agatha’s tale–and how she and her classmates learn how to celebrate each other’s strengths and understand how