Currently browsing anxiety in children posts

AMC Has Beauty and the Beast Sensory Friendly Tomorrow

New sensory friendly logoAMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other special needs “Sensory Friendly Films” every month – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fun new films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

Families affected by autism or other special needs can view a sensory friendly screening of Beauty and the Beast on Saturday, March 25th at 10am (local time). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming soon:  Power Rangers (Tues, 3/28), The Boss Baby (Sat, 4/8) and Gifted (Tues, 4/11)

****************************************************************************************************************************

Editor’s note: Although Beauty and the Beast has been chosen by the AMC and the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly Film, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for some action violence, peril and frightening images. As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your child.

Kong: Skull Island is Sensory Friendly at AMC Tomorrow

New sensory friendly logoAMC Entertainment (AMC) has expanded their Sensory Friendly Films program in partnership with the Autism Society. This Tuesday evening, families affected by autism or other special needs have the opportunity to view a sensory friendly screening of Kong: Skull Island, a film that may appeal to older audiences on the autism spectrum. 

As always, the movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

AMC and the Autism Society will be showing Kong: Skull Island tomorrow, Tuesday, March 14th at 7pm (local time). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming Later in March: Beauty and the Beast (Sat, 3/25), and Power Rangers (Tues, 3/28)

****************************************************************************************************************************

Editor’s note: Although Kong: Skull Island has been chosen by AMC and the Autism Society for a Tuesday Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for brief strong language. As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

How to Recognize and Treat Headaches in Kids and Teens

Prof Anne MacGregor gives tips for parents on how to recognise and treat headaches in children.

headaches in kidsMost children and teenagers get at least one headache a year. They’re often different from the headaches that adults get, so parents and healthcare professionals can fail to notice the problem.

Headaches, including migraines, tend to be much shorter in children, according to Prof MacGregor of the Centre for Neuroscience and Trauma at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

In children, headaches start suddenly, with the child quickly becoming pale and listless, and often feeling sick and vomiting.

Children also generally recover very quickly. “The headache can be over half an hour later, with the child feeling well and playing outside as if nothing’s happened,” Prof MacGregor says.

Children’s headaches can also affect their stomach, so tummy ache is a common complaint, she says.

Skipping Lunch Causes Headaches in Children

“In my experience, children very rarely fake headaches,” says Prof MacGregor. “Children with headaches often get them if, for example, they skip their packed lunch or they haven’t had anything to drink all day.

“The best way for parents to prevent their children getting these headaches is to make sure they have regular meals and drinks, and that they get enough sleep,” says Prof MacGregor. “Give children a good breakfast so that, even if they miss lunch, they’ve been set up for the day. It’s also helpful to put children to bed at a fixed time each evening.”

Read more about healthy eating, including five healthy breakfasts.

Find out how many hours sleep a night your child needs.

Read advice on how much children need to drink.

Sport is a Headache Trigger for Children

Sport can trigger children’s headaches, probably because of dehydration and the effect on blood sugar. “Drinking lots of water and sucking glucose tablets (available from pharmacies and supermarkets) before and during sport can help. So can a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack, as well as meals,” says Prof MacGregor.

Headaches and Childhood Emotional Problems

Sometimes, headaches can be the result of emotional problems. “They can come on during times of stress, like being bullied at school or because of anxiety over parents splitting up,” says Prof MacGregor. “Parents often think their child is fine, that they’re adjusting to the divorce and that they like their parent’s new partner. Sometimes, however, the child is not fine and their unhappiness is expressing itself as headaches.”

Find out if your child is depressed.

Keep a Headache Diary

It can be helpful to keep a diary of your child’s headaches. If your child is old enough, they can keep their own diary. This is a good way of working out specific headache triggers.

Keep a record of when the headaches happen. Also record any event that’s different from the normal routine or that might be relevant. This could be a missed meal, sports activity or a late night, or an emotionally upsetting incident, such as a stressful exam or an argument with friends or parents.

After a few months, look through the diaries together with your child to see if there’s a pattern of triggers that could be causing the headaches.

Download a headache diary from The Migraine Trust

Once you’ve identified possible causes, get your child to avoid them one at a time over the next few months to see if this prevents the headaches.

Headache Self Help Tips for Kids

Often, simple steps will be enough to help your child through a headache or migraine attack:

  • Lie them down in a quiet, dark room.
  • Put a cool, moist cloth across their forehead or eyes.
  • Get them to breathe easily and deeply.
  • Encourage them to sleep, as this speeds recovery.
  • Encourage them to eat or drink something (but not drinks containing caffeine).

If you think your child needs painkillers, start the medicine as soon as possible after the headache has begun. Paracetamol (*acetaminophen/Tylenol) and ibuprofen are both safe and work well for children with headaches. The syrups are easier for children to take than tablets. Alternatively, try Migraleve, a pharmacy remedy that treats migraine and is suitable for children aged over 12 (*may not be available in all countries – not available in the USA).

When to See a Doctor for Your Child’s Headaches

As with adults, most headaches in children aren’t a serious health problem. They can be treated at home with pharmacy remedies and avoided by making sure children get enough food, drink and sleep.

But don’t delay consulting a doctor or pharmacist if you’re worried about your child’s headaches, says Prof MacGregor. “I’d advise parents to seek help if their child hasn’t been helped by painkillers or if the headaches are interfering with schoolwork. It’s important for these children to get the all-clear from a doctor.”

Here is information from The Brain Tumour Charity’s HeadSmart campaign on how to recognise the symptoms of brain tumours in children.

Read more about how to treat common conditions using your local pharmacy.

Editor’s Note: *clarification provided for our US readers.

 

 





Tomorrow, AMC is Screening Fist Fight Sensory Friendly

New sensory friendly logoAMC Entertainment (AMC) has expanded their Sensory Friendly Films program in partnership with the Autism Society. This Tuesday evening, families affected by autism or other special needs have the opportunity to view a sensory friendly screening of Fist Fight, a film that may appeal to older audiences on the autism spectrum. 

As always, the movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

AMC and the Autism Society will be showing Fist Fight tomorrow, Tuesday, February 28th at 7pm (local time). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

****************************************************************************************************************************

Editor’s note: Although Fist Fight has been chosen by AMC and the Autism Society for a Tuesday Sensory Friendly screening, we do want parents to know that it is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug material. As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

You Can See Rock Dog Sensory Friendly Tomorrow at AMC

New sensory friendly logoAMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other special needs “Sensory Friendly Films” every month – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fun new films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

rock-dog-posterDoes it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

Families affected by autism or other special needs can view a sensory friendly screening of Rock Dog on Saturday, February 25th at 10am (local time). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming later in FebruaryFist Fight (Tues, 2/28)

****************************************************************************************************************************

Editor’s note: Although Rock Dog has been chosen by the AMC and the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly Film, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for action and language. As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your child.

How to Reframe Your Child’s Negative, Anxious Self-Talk

Anxious-child-with-negative-thoughtsDo you have a child who is often emotional or moody – or prone to anxiety or depression? If so, you might be familiar with the negative self-talk that often contributes to these conditions. And, actually, any child – or adult – is subject to these thoughts on occasion.

Negative or anxious self-talk – sometimes also called “automatic negative thoughts” – is unhelpful, often skewed thinking that tends to drive negative emotions and behaviors. For example, your daughter might react to a friend who gets angry while playing and goes home, by thinking “I’m no fun to play with….nobody likes me” – and might avoid inviting any other kids to come over and play.

I learned about the concept of negative self-talk years ago through cognitive behavioral therapy while dealing with issues from my childhood. But I was surprised when I first began noticing examples of this thought pattern in my young son. When Elliott was in his first couple of years of elementary school, he would often come home at the end of the day and report that his day was “terrible”.

After digging a little I would often find out that one “bad” thing had happened each of these days – which then tainted the whole rest of the day. This overgeneralization / all-or-nothing thinking is an example of negative self-talk – and caused Elliott to have negative emotions about school and resist going in the mornings.

There are several different types of negative or anxious self-talk. A good reference book on anxiety for teens and kids – My Anxious Mind: A Teen’s Guide to Managing Anxiety and Panic (by Michael A. Tompkins, PhD and Katherine Martinez PhD) – gives an interesting classification for these unhelpful thoughts (a summary is listed at the end of this post). This book was recommended to me by a child and family psychologist and is well worth a read.

As the book title suggests, there are ways to deal with and manage such unhelpful thinking – and it’s useful to start early with kids who are prone to negative thoughts. At a minimum, it helps to start by identifying and unpacking the negative thought.

For example, with my son Elliott and his “terrible” days at school, I started asking him if anything good happened during the day. This got him to go over all the events of his time at school and put the “bad” experience into context – and I suggested that one or two bad experiences might not make a whole day terrible. Pretty soon, when I asked him how his day was, Elliott would outline how different parts of the day went (great, so-so, neutral, awful, etc) – and this pattern has persisted for more than five years! Even better, he has generally been much more positive about his school days ever since.

Additional exercises for recognizing and dealing with negative self-talk are provided in My Anxious Mind. Another practical book, with useful exercise to help teens cope with negative thoughts and other drivers of anxiety, is The Anxiety Workbook for Teens, by Lisa M. Schab, LCSW.

Types of Anxious Self-Talk  (from My Anxious Mind: A Teen’s Guide to Managing Anxiety and Panic)

Book Ends

This is anxious thinking that assumes there are only two possible outcomes of a situation – both at opposite extremes, with no possibilities in the middle. So, the child in the earlier example might be focused on how the play date with her friend needed to be perfect, and if that didn’t happen it would be a disaster.

Binocular Vision

In this unhelpful thought process, your child will “magnify” the effect of something bad – like failing a test – and assume that he won’t be able to go to college as a result. Or he might “shrink” the importance of something good, like all his excellent grades in other classes.

Fortune Telling

This type of self-talk involves your child thinking he or she can predict the future – usually thinking something bad will happen. For example, your child is engaging in fortune telling if she decides to audition for a part in the school play but spends the weeks leading up to the audition thinking “I’m not going to get the part”. Maybe she will, maybe she won’t – but she doesn’t know, and anxious self-talk won’t help the outcome either way.

Mind Reading

In the earlier example, the girl whose friend got angry and went home assumed that she could read her friend’s mind; that the friend thought she wasn’t fun and didn’t like her anymore. This is the mind reading track – and it’s important for the girl to know she isn’t a psychic and her friend will probably be back to play the next day.

Overgeneralization

With overgeneralization, similar to binocular vision, your child will focus on something small (usually bad) to make broad conclusions or sweeping statements – like, if one friend gets angry at me then no one likes me. Or if your son has one bad soccer game, assuming he’s no good and will get cut from the team.

End of the World

With this anxious track, your child is always expecting something terrible to happen. This could be at school or in relationships with friends, but it could also be thinking that every noise around the house is a burglar.

Should-y/Must-y Thinking

Too many thoughts with “shoulds” and “musts” can set the bar for performance and life experience way too high – and make your child anxious and less confident.

Mind Jumps

In this type of unhelpful thinking your child will jump to conclusions (usually negative) without all the facts – like when hearing that he isn’t invited to a party at a friend’s house, your son assumes his friend doesn’t like him. Getting the facts might tell him otherwise, especially if he finds out it’s a family-only affair (for example).

 

Next Page »