Pre-primary Workshop: Preparing Your Child for the Primary Classroom

tncs-preprimary-workshopOn Wednesday, October 11th, The New Century School welcomed a very special guest to host a workshop on a topic she knows well, both professionally and personally: Johns Hopkins Child Clinical and Developmental Psychologist Carisa Perry-Parrish. Dr. Perry-Parrish may already be known to many among the TNCS community, as she has presented on other topics over the past few years (see Mindful Parenting: A TNCS Workshop that Could Change the World) and has also hosted workshops for TNCS staff professional development days (see TNCS Teachers Get Mindful!). She also just happens to be a TNCS parent. On this occasion, her focus was on milestones that the 2- to 3-year-old child should be approaching, a topic that has special significance at TNCS because, at age 3, children are eligible to enter the primary classroom.

For those of you who were unable to attend (and those of you who want a refresher), Dr. Perry-Parrish generously shared her presentation and slides with Immersed, which are reproduced here.

About Carisa Parry-Parrish

Originally from Georgia, Dr. Perry-Parrish has been in Baltimore for the last 10 years. She introduced herself to the large group of pre-primary parents in attendance by explaining a bit about her professional expertise. “I have a lot of training with normal children, but also kids that have anxiety,” she said. “I do a lot of work with parents, mostly on behavioral challenges, with medical conditions, medical stress, and traumatic stress. On the developmental side, I have a lot of training on normal development. I lead [JHU’s] post-doctoral training program for child psychologists, so I have a lot of experience and interest in teaching and training new psychologists. I work with primary care physicians and collaborate with Hopkins pediatricians. I like training, I like kids, I like working with people who work with kids.”

Specifically, her titles are Licensed Psychologist; Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences; Director of Behavior Medicine (Psychology) for the Pediatric Burn Program, Pediatric Dermatology, and the Center for Sweat Disorders; and Director of Training, Pediatric Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Her clinical service includes age ranges from birth through 20s, individual and parent therapy, behavioral medicine consultations, integration of behavioral health into primary care, and psychological testing.

She teaches psychology fellows and child psychiatry residents parent management training, mindfulness, and motivation enhancement.

Her current research areas include emotion regulation and psychosocial functioning across development, parental socialization of children’s emotional development, and parent and child adjustment to medical stress.

Milestones for the 2- to 3-Year Period

The changes that are happening in children at this stage are staggering in number and in scale. They are becoming people—becoming themselves—and a lot of work goes into that. This can be a difficult time for them and no less so for you, their parents. Therefore, you’ll be happy to hear that Dr. Perry-Parrish’s overriding message was that you have allies: your child’s teachers. Rather than viewing teachers as judges who determine if and when a child is ready to move up, or, worse, as the arbiter of a child’s entire scholastic career, she urges parents to embrace them as collaborators in a child’s development. They have the same goals as you do, that is, to guide children along their path, meeting milestones as they go. Although this makes perfect sense, until she said it, some of us had never thought of it in quite this way before. We’re in this together.

Dr. Perry-Parrish breaks milestones down into five categories; physical, cognitive, language, emotional, and social, as shown below, and they synergistically feed into each other. Her biggest priority, though, and the one she feels best serves children is emotional development:

There are a lot of things that are changing with kids. I feel as a parent, that once we’ve mastered one stage, they are on to another stage, so we’re always trying to keep up with them. Another interesting thing is that there are different aspects of development that influence the other ones. A big one for our kids at this age is language development. Language facilitates cognitive development, social development, and emotional development. They are all interwoven, so when you see new developments in one domain, they are anticipating development in another domain. One of the things I’m interested in my work is how parents socialize kids emotional development. I have a big interest in supporting kids’ social regulation and emotional regulation.

 

Physical Milestones

  • Climbs well
  • Runs easily
  • Pedals a tricycle (3-wheel bike)
  • Walks up and down stairs, one foot on each step 

Cognitive Milestones

  • Can work toys with buttons, levers, and moving parts
  • Plays make-believe with dolls, animals, and people
  • Does puzzles with three or four pieces
  • Understands what “two” means
  • Copies a circle with pencil or crayon
  • Turns book pages one at a time
  • Builds towers of more than six blocks
  • Screws and unscrews jar lids or turns door handle

Language Milestones

By 2 ½ years:

  • Understands a lot more than can articulate
  • Will attempt to use over 100 words but cannot produce all the sounds needed to pronounce words, so many of them will be unclear
  • Talks while plays
  • Relies more heavily on words, rather than gestures, to communicate

By 3 years:

  • Can follow multistep instructions
  • Can be understood by strangers most of the time when talking
  • Asks many questions in order to understand the world
  • Listens to stories and will have favorites that need reading regularly
  • Enjoys imaginative play and often has a running commentary during play

Emotional and Social Milestones

  • Expressive behavior
    • Limited differentiation…extensive specific affective states
  • Regulation/coping
    • Dyadic regulation….independent regulation
  • Relationship building
    • Primary attachment….multiple, varied, diverse relationships
  • Influence of socialization figures
  • Cognitive understanding

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Emotional Regulation

“Besides language immersion, another important aspect of coming to this school is facilitating your child’s emotional and social development,” said Dr. Perry-Parrish.

There is a shift from infancy to 2- to 3-years-old, moving from a dyadic regulation to more of an adult/independent regulation. Also, in the pre-primary level, the child is moving from the egocentric to now engaging in more of a social way. Their social world is expanding, which brings new opportunities for intimacy, friendship, and connections but also lots of opportunity for conflict, frustration, sadness, and jealousy.  So we’re trying to narrate that landscape for our kids to help it make sense. To me, this is one of the most important building blocks toward long-term development that we have. A popular book by Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence, talks about children’s emotional regulation. It’s something that research suggests is predictive of long-term academic and social success.

For those of you who have never seen the Stanford marshmallow experiment, you’re in for a treat watching these children try to stave off their quite natural and intense desire to eat the apparently very fragrant marshmallow in favor of a potentially double reward.

Spoiler Alert: In general, fewer than half the kids “pass” the test. Most kids are unable to delay gratification and give into the marshmallow-y temptation. (Except, a recent study found, kids from the Nso tribe in Cameroon.) But this test has profound implications—researchers have followed the original participants for decades and discovered that those who did manage to wait were more likely to have better SAT scores and better jobs as adults.

Emotion Coaching Strategies

“There is so much that can be done right now, the shaping that you guys are doing right now is so critical and powerful and is going to shape the trajectory of your child in so many ways, in a good way,” said Dr. Perry-Parrish. But, for many parents in the room, the idea that their whirling dervish—that is, toddler—could self-regulate to the extent that he or she could pass up a marshmallow (let alone not throw tantrums, hit siblings, bite schoolmates, or refuse to dress) was sheer fantasy.

It might take a while and hundreds of repetitions, but they will begin to get it. Their reactions are completely natural and appropriate given all the enormous transformations that are going on within their bodies and minds. “We are sowing so many seeds right now that are going to yield a harvest of self-regulation and social successes,” Dr. Perry-Parrish assured the audience. That’s not to say that consequences of disruptive behavior are not warranted. The key there is to be consistent with your choice of limit-setting, whether that’s a time out or separation from a favorite toy or activity.

“When kids’ challenging behavior is most bothersome to us is often when it has an emotional intensity,” said Dr. Perry-Parrish; nevertheless, our job is to stay calm and help guide them through what they are experiencing. She next shared some specific emotion-coaching strategies as well as recommended reading John Gottman’s Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child.

Rather than emotion dismissing, an all-too-common knee-jerk parental reaction (“there’s nothing to be afraid of”; “what are you crying for?”), it’s important to engage in emotion coaching.

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Different styles of emotion coaching/positive parenting exist, but the point is to validate what the child is feeling, by:

  1. Being aware of the child’s emotion
  2. Recognizing emotion as opportunity for intimacy and teaching
  3. Listening empathetically and validating the child’s feelings
  4. Helping the child verbally label emotions
  5. Setting limits while helping the child problem-solve
    1. Can include limit-setting around inappropriate behavior
    2. Setting limits on inappropriate behaviors associated with affect (hitting)

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Collaborating with Teachers to Support Development

Finally, Dr. Perry-Parrish brought the two threads of her discussion together by explaining how young children benefit from a collaborative, two-way parent–teacher partnership that includes robust information exchange. Again, teachers are your allies in the effort to turn out nice human beings, and your child is your shared priority.

  • Parents help teachers learn about their child (e.g., temperament, preferences, expectations)
  • Teachers help parents learn about their child in a new social setting
  • Teachers and parents can support each other in their interactions with children
    • Sharing important information about your child
    • Receiving information about school and social behavior
    • Exchange strategies that work well in each setting

What can you specifically do to support preprimary teachers?

  • Learn about the routines at school
  • Observe your child in class—volunteer!
  • Identify shared goals of school and home
  • Attend parent–teacher conferences
  • Share concerns with teachers to support your child
  • Invite teachers to share observations to inform your understanding of your child at school

TNCS Teachers Get Mindful!

Last week Immersed featured guest blogger Carisa Perry-Parrish writing about her presentation to The New Century School staff on how to bring mindfulness principles into the classroom in Stop and Smell the Roses. This week, we’ll hear from some of the TNCS attendees about what they took away from the presentation.

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Courtesy of Dr. Carisa Perry-Parrish

TNCS Head of School Alicia Danyali organized this staff development initiative after hearing from several staff members that Dr. Perry-Parrish’s mindfulness workshop for parents inspired them to want to learn more about the topic and how to use it to help them better relate to their students. This meshed very well with Mrs. Danyali’s own overall approach. “My mom always reminds me that when you are on an airplane and the oxygen masks drop, you are instructed to care for self before assisting others. What this translates to for me personally is, the more we take care of self, incorporate deliberate choices to model appropriate behaviors when it comes to support, the more others around us benefit,” she said. Thus, for Mrs. Danyali, practicing mindfulness is an important part of personal and social health.

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Courtesy of Carisa Perry-Parrish.

Although practicing mindfulness is arguably beneficial everywhere, all the time, for educators it has a particular resonance. A central tenet of mindfulness is regulation of emotion, the ability to make a considered response rather than reflexively react, as Dr. Perry-Parrish’s slide at right illustrates. This idea reverberates in many ways inside the classroom, where teachers continuously interact with children who are still in varying stages of development. Teachers must find ways to bridge the cognitive, emotional, and social gaps this interaction entails as well as model for their students the right way to handle various challenges.

Says Mrs. Danyali: “The role teachers play in a student’s life is defined in part by cultural expectations, social norms, and organizational rules that usually operate outside the classroom. Mindfulness is one more ‘tool’ in a teacher’s toolbox to help their students think things through for themselves, take accountability, and make choices that tune into their emotional needs. On the social aspects of teaching, mindful practices encourage students to feel important and cared about, as well as gain confidence in their own abilities. To acquire a personal sense of respect and responsibility for themselves and others is the focus.”
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Courtesy of Dr. Carisa Perry-Parrish

This seminar was a very natural fit for the primary teachers, who implement a classic Montessori curriculum in their classrooms. Maria Montessori was a proponent of what would evolve as what we know today as mindfulness practice. Let’s hear from a TNCS teachers who asked for, attended, and learned from this seminar.

TNCS primary teacher Maria Mosby: “It was great to get a more in-depth understanding of mindfulness and its many benefits for adults and children alike. Several teachers that I talked to were excited to read and learn more, and begin incorporating mindfulness into their lives and classrooms. I would definitely like to begin a practice of mindfulness meditation before each school day begins, to help prepare myself for being more present with the children and other teachers. It was interesting to learn how the practice has helped so many others in many different professions and walks of life. Though we occasionally do a group meditation in class (such as the flower and candle breathing exercise), I think it would be a great way to begin every day, as opposed to the typical circle time. When the children are sitting in the peace corner alone or as a group sitting on the rug, you can see them begin to try to quiet their bodies and minds and prepare for the day. It’s a practice we can all benefit from- tugging at the leash, and getting the easily distracted little puppy dog in our minds to focus on the path in front of us. Everyone needs time to breathe between tasks and have a moment to themselves.

The children who have a teacher who is present and is calm, not reacting based on his or her instinctive thoughts in a given situation, are likely to learn better coping and social skills themselves. They will also have more focus and joy in the classroom environment. Integrating mindfulness into any classroom can help everyone to become more focused on each individual task, and improve student-teacher and student-student relations, thus enhancing the experience for the entire class.”

Other non-Montessori TNCS teachers also benefited in multiple and sometimes surprising ways, as well. The elementary teachers, for example, face daily challenges that are different from what teachers of 3 to 5-year-olds might face, but these challenges are no less real and no less vital to handle in the best way for the child.

TNCS upper elementary STEM teacher Dan McGonigal: “My take-away from this presentation was really simple but something I need to remind myself of is that our students are not adults and they aren’t going to behave that way. After this presentation I have tried to take a step back and just teach in the moment and be present for that moment and not think about past or future difficulties. I try to remind myself of what was important to me when I was 7–11 years’ old. This has helped me better relate to some of the decisions students make on a daily basis. I try to better appreciate the student’s perspective of things, especially those that may have a learning disability or behavioral challenges. Teaching can be difficult because you are constantly looking for progress and, at times times, their progress may appear invisible. But students often need time, numerous examples, and development to start making progress.”
That’s a clear benefit of employing mindfulness as a teacher, and here is another perspective on the importance of teaching mindfulness.
TNCS upper elementary Language Arts and Global Studies teacher Kiley Stasch: “I thoroughly enjoyed the mindfulness presentation, not only from the perspective of a teacher but also for myself. As a teacher, it has helped me to take a step back and understand that teaching these skills explicitly is important and essential to do. We often assume these students have learned how to best manage their own emotions, but even older students have not necessarily had someone to help them through the steps they should be taking. Breaking it down for the students and helping them to understand where their emotions are stemming from helps them to reduce a poor reaction at that moment as well as in similar instances that will come up in the future.”
As for future staff mindfulness initiatives, Mrs. Danyali says, “The hopes are that this training was a nice reminder or a validation of current approaches, but also encouragement for implementing new strategies that will not only benefit one or two students, but the class as a whole.” Dr. Perry-Parrish also provided three models for continued development in this arena: CARE, SMART, and MWBE, detailed in the slides below.

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These final words from Ms. Mosby might best encapsulate the experience for TNCS teachers and perhaps all teachers, worldwide: “Mindfulness is an experience we all can and should offer our students each day. It’s easy to become so focused on the specific learning goals and daily tasks of teaching that one doesn’t always stop to slow down and truly listen, observe, and enjoy the children. There are so many wonderful moments that we miss out on this way.”

Anyone reading this post has already hit pause on the day to stop and be in a moment. We recognize that, and we thank you. The kids around you will thank you, too, both for knowing how to be truly present with them now and for showing them how to grow up to be adults who embody this critical awareness in their future lives.

Guest Blog: Stop and Smell the Roses!

This Immersed post comes to you from guest blogger Dr. Carisa Perry-Parrish, who recently presented a workshop on mindfulness practices to The New Century School staff and writes about this experience. Dr. Perry-Parrish is Director of Training, Child Clinical & Pediatric Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins as well as a TNCS parent. As part of Johns Hopkins Expert Team in Pediatric Medical Psychology, “[she] specializes in improving emotion regulation in children and adolescents. Her clinical interests emphasize practicing and promoting evidence-based care, including parent management training for childhood noncompliance and ADHD, cognitive-behavioral therapy for youth anxiety/depression, and acceptance and mindfulness-based interventions to improve self-regulation.”

Stop and Smell the Roses!

Last spring, I was asked to give a parent workshop on mindfulness in parenting. A great group of parents attended and it was a good experience. Several teachers were interested in the topic as well, and this year I was invited back to provide a teacher workshop on mindfulness. Our teachers and staff were another lovely group, very engaged in learning about meditation and mindfulness.

It was Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, so I shared one of my favorite pictures of Dr. King and Thich Nhat Hanh (mindfulness author and monk), engaged at a conference back in the 1960s. Gauging from how many recognized this favorite author of mine, it was clear that several in the group were already engaged in mindfulness in various forms. So what is mindfulness?

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and Thich Nhat Hanh.

Mindfulness has been described as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally” (Kabat-Zinn, 1994). As L.A. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson put it, “when [basketball] players practice what is known as mindfulness…not only do they play better and win more, they also become more attuned to each other.” In essence, mindfulness is the complete awareness in what is happening right now. Therefore, mindfulness instruction is intended to enhance an individual’s innate ability to be aware.

Formal mindfulness instruction entails a range of techniques that help foster an intentional focusing of attention on one’s present-moment experience while letting go of negative, self-critical judgments. As detailed explicitly in many mindfulness programs, this type of training aims to help individuals accept unpleasant and painful experiences without reactively attempting to change the experience. However, as most of us would prefer to reduce or eliminate pain and discomfort as much as possible, some mindfulness-based programs additionally adopt a dialectical position of balancing desire for change alongside intentional acceptance of the inevitability of suffering. As moment-to-moment awareness through the day is the ultimate goal of mindfulness programs, there is also instruction of informal techniques that can be used at any time.

The recent teacher workshop provided an introduction to mindfulness and some suggestions for how to weave contemplative practices to support our children’s development of focused attention. Given the range of daily hassles and life stress we all experience, activities that foster our children’s focused attention are theorized to help them regulate their emotional reactions.

For those of you who have observed in our children’s classrooms, you have probably seen several teachers engage in mindfulness activities—whether or not the teacher had identified the activity as such. You have likely witnessed your own child become absorbed in a favorite activity, whether it was engineering a LEGO construction, collecting wildflowers, or watching the clouds pass by. Awareness training is quite complementary to a central tenet of Montessori philosophy, which is to develop the innate ability to become absorbed in learning. As Maria Montessori stated, “The first essential for the child’s development is concentration” (The Absorbent Mind, p. 202).

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Mind full, or mindful?

Portions excerpted from Perry-Parrish, C., & Sibinga, E.M.S. (2014). Mindfulness meditation. Functional Symptoms in Pediatrics (ed. R. Anbar). Springer.

—Carisa Perry-Parrish

. . . And stay tuned, readers, for teacher reactions to the workshop as well as some of Dr. Perry-Parrish’s very helpful, evidence-based tips on how to (and why we should) mindfully interact with children, whether at home or in the classroom.

Anxiety-Free Kids at TNCS

Dr. Bonnie Zucker, Psy.D., speaks at TNCS about the importance of teaching our kids how to manage stress and anxiety.

Dr. Bonnie Zucker, Psy.D., speaks at TNCS about the importance of teaching our kids how to manage stress and anxiety.

Parents came out in droves on Wednesday to attend the inaugural presentation of The New Century School‘s new lecture series. Dr. Bonnie Zucker, Psy.D, a psychotherapist at The National Center for the Treatment of Phobias, Anxiety, and Depression (Washington, D.C.) and at Alvord, Baker, & Associates (Rockville, MD) spoke to the audience about using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to reduce or completely abolish anxiety disorders in children. You might think that handling kids’ anxiety and related emotions tends to be the provenance of mothers, but the number of dads present disproves that assumption. Anxiety disorders, evidently, do not discriminate along gender lines. Nor do they prefer adults so much any longer. Pyschopathology rates have been skyrocketing in children and adolescents for several decades, according to the American Pyschological Association; some even call this The Age of Anxiety. Kids can begin to manifest anxiety disorders as early as age 4 or 5 years.

Anxiety is a normal response to stressful situations, but chronic anxiety can cause a cascade of health problems, from depression and substance abuse to serious digestive disorders (e.g., inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers) and heart disease. Learning to manage our response to stressors can significantly reduce the health risks associated with anxiety as well as make daily living altogether more enjoyable. And that’s exactly what Dr. Zucker helps parents to do: “I speak about five times a year at schools,” she says, “targeting parents to be more aware of their kids’ anxiety and giving them strategies to help them manage it whether it’s a disorder or not.”

In her presentation, we learned first and foremost that the tools she would be demonstrating are useful for everybody—“there’s nobody who doesn’t get stressed,” she made clear. Several parents attended for just that reason: Sundai Valcich, mother of three kids ranging from age 1 year to age 6 years, said, “My children do not have severe anxiety at this point in their lives, but I thought it would be useful to learn some techniques for how to address anxiety should it occur. Dr. Zucker presented some great techniques for helping our children—and ourselves—deal with anxiety. I hope to introduce ‘calm breathing’ to my family to help all of us do better in stressful situations.” More on calm breathing in a bit.

A full house in Building North came out for the Anxiety-Free Kids presentation. And they kept coming!

A full house in Building North came out for the Anxiety-Free Kids presentation. And they kept coming!

Other parents wanted to know how to distinguish between natural anxiety responses and potentially problematic ones. Dr. Zucker emphasized that anxiety only becomes a true problem—a disorder—when it interferes with daily living. When a child cannot attend a birthday party because social situations stress her out, that’s an interference. When a child can’t go play baseball at the park because he might encounter a dog there, that’s an interference. The fact is, anxiety disorders are the most common form of psychopathology in children, adolescents, and adults. Moreover, a strong correlation exists between childhood and adult disorders; if you were an anxious child, you may well be an anxious adult. Nipping excess anxiety in the bud, even learning to recognize it, will set our kids on a healthier mental path. Another TNCS mom of three, Meredith McCormack, says she came because, “I was interested in learning about what type of behaviors might signal an underlying problem with stress and anxiety and I thought that practical tools for addressing anxious behaviors would be helpful. I thought that the talk was great and very interactive. The fact that Dr. Zucker got on the floor to demonstrate deep breathing techniques was a good example of the types of very practical examples that she used throughout the talk. I was very glad that I attended!”

Dr. Zucker demonstrates the calm breathing technique in her interactive, informative, and very entertaining presentation.

Dr. Zucker demonstrates the calm breathing technique in her interactive, informative, and very entertaining presentation.

So what did Dr. Zucker show us? As mentioned, her approach is CBT. Anxiety, she says, affects our bodies, our behaviors, and our thoughts. By repeatedly exposing a child to his or her anxiety trigger, in a safe, controlled environment, Dr. Zucker can teach heuristics to deal with these effects. So, when the little boy who can’t play in the park sees a dog, his muscles probably tense up, his heart rate accelerates, and his stomach might even hurt (indeed, Dr. Zucker explained that our digestive tracts are home to greater quantities of neurotransmitters than even our brains, giving credence to that old claim of a “nervous stomach”). These bodily effects can be lessened with calm breathing, yoga, meditation, and guided imagery, for example. (A huge advocate of yoga and meditation, Dr. Zucker, exhorted everyone present to take up these activities if they have not already done so and “call [her] in a year” to thank her for the resulting life improvements :)!) We can employ calm breathing in any situation but, first, refining this technique is necessary–it’s not a simple matter of taking deep, slow breaths. To practice calm breathing, lie down (Dr. Zucker recommends donning a yoga mat) and place an object on your chest. When you inhale, if the object moves, you are not breathing calmly! The breath should originate from the deep, low abdominal muscles; the chest remains static. It’s harder—and therefore far more rewarding—than it sounds!

Next, our little boy needs to address the avoidance behavior he resorts to out of fear. “Behavior change happens first;” says Dr. Zucker, “thought change comes second.” At the child’s pace, expose him step by step to dogs or to dog-related situations. “Face your fear!” she says. She makes “ladders” to help the child both chart and see his progress and to convey a sense of climbing/achieving. One rung at a time, the child conquers his fear. (Works for adults, too!) As for thoughts, the little boy is probably experiencing a lot of worry as well as “negative self-talk” (e.g., “I can’t”) and thinking “errors” (e.g., magnifying/distorting the intensity of the problem). To address the thought component, Dr. Zucker suggests replacing the errors and negativity with positive thinking, and, here, practice makes perfect. “Anxiety breeds self-doubt,” she says. “Fostering resilience can prevent self-esteem issues.” Thus, our body, behaviors, and our thoughts intersect and influence each other continuously. Harnessing this interaction is the key to CBT and using it to overcome anxiety.

We can thank Head of School Alicia Danyali for introducing us to Dr. Zucker. “I thought bringing someone into the school with expertise in the area of anxiety would speak to many families that have their own questions about their child’s behaviors, and to confirm or cancel out any ‘anxiety’ they may have regarding their observations. Also, in this overstimulating world, how does overstimulation affect those predisposed to anxiety or any signs of these behaviors mentioned in the talk?”

Dr. Zucker’s take-away message is clear—teaching our kids how to manage anxiety and anxiety-inducing situations is on us parents. We need to both educate ourselves in CBT techniques, and we also need to model our own correct responses to stress. “I look at managing anxiety as a life skill,” she says. She’s right on target. We cannot delude ourselves that our kids are never going to experience these unpleasant emotions or that we can always shield them from situations that might induce such feelings. What we can do is teach them how to rally and move on. Yes, you have to get a flu shot, and, yes, the needle is going to hurt. It’s okay to cry, but know that it will be over quickly, and you’ll be just fine. There’s that buzzword resilience again!

Want to learn more? Check out Dr. Zucker’s book, Anxiety-Free Kids: An Interactive Guide for Parents and Children!