Get Artsy This Holiday Season!

Photo Credit: bogdog Dan via Compfight cc

With the days becoming increasingly shorter and temperatures quickly dropping, it’s becoming ever so clear that the holiday season is almost here. With time off (and often away), we frequently enter the holidays with the best of intentions, planning to slow down and enjoy our family and friends, count our blessings and focus on what really matters. Unfortunately, holiday expectations can often get in the way. It’s all too easy to get swept up by the hustle and bustle, stressed by finding gifts, to-do lists, endless lines and expenses, holiday traffic, demanding in-laws…you get the idea!

Channeling some of this energy into the creative process can be a great way to release stress and anxiety and remember what really counts. Try some of these holiday-themed art activities to bring about family togetherness, kick off your holiday celebrations, and help everyone get grounded.

Photo Credit: ladytimeless via Compfight cc

1. Make a batch of Christmas scented cloud-dough for an afternoon of holiday inspired sensory play

  • Ingredients:
    • 7 cups of flour
    • 1/2 cup of green or red sidewalk chalk (crushed up)
    • 1 cup of vegetable oil
    • Peppermint extract
  • Instructions:
    • Combine the sidewalk chalk and flour.
    • Add a few drops of peppermint extract.
    • Pour in the oil and mix well.  Mixing will take a few minutes.  When done you will have an amazing substance known as cloud dough.

 

2. Make your own wrapping paper to really get in the spirit of giving

  • Materials:
    • Roll of white drawing paper or brown craft paper
    • Various paint colors
    • Variety of brushes
    • Tape
    • Newspaper
  • Instructions:
    • Lay out newspaper on the floor to protect your space.
    • Unroll the paper and secure down with tape
    • Experiment with different techniques to create your own DIY wrapping paper. So many options to try! Try splatter painting, polka-dots, handprints, etc.

 

3. Create a permanent imprint with salt-dough ornaments

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup of flour
    • 1/2 cup of table salt
    • 1/2 warm water
    • Rolling pin
    • Cookie cutters
    • Straw
    • Stamps, leaves, flowers, or any other objects to make imprints
    • String
  • Instructions:
    • Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mixing until you have a nice, smooth, and even consistency
    • Roll out onto a cookie sheet
    • Take your stamps and other objects and make your marks into the dough (can use ink with stamps if you want)
    • Once your done, using cookie cutters, cut the dough into different shapes. At the top of each shape take the end of the straw to cut-out a hole. This will be for your string once baked.
    • Bake in oven at 200 degrees for 4 hours
    • Once out of the oven, feel free to add additional color. Add your string and viola!
Photo Credit: Cellanova via Compfight cc

4. Create flower pots with your goals for the New Year

  • Materials:
    • Terra cotta clay pot(s)
    • White primer (any paint will do)
    • Selection of magazines/materials to cut our words and images
    • Mod Podge
    • Acrylic sealer
    • Whatever you need to plant- dirt, seeds/bulbs
  • Instructions:
    • Prime your clay pot(s) to keep the other materials from soaking through.
    • As a family, discuss your hopes for the upcoming year. What are your goals, resolutions, and inspirations? With those thoughts in mind, begin cutting out related words and pictures. These will be collaged on your clay pot.
    • Once you’ve finished selecting, use the mod podge to apply the words and images to the surface of the clay pot. You can use a paint brush, or even your fingers!
    • After the 1st coat dries, apply a 2nd coat.
    • Once completely dry, add a final coat of acrylic sealer to keep everything dry during watering.
    • Once everything’s dry, its time to get planting. Together, plant your seeds. As your hopes and dreams blossom in the upcoming year, so will a beautiful flower!

 

5. Make Gratitude Paper Chains

This is a great ongoing project. Leave the materials out in a corner and have each member of the family contribute one gratitude link a day. Decide as a family that you’ll hang the final chain up on Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, New Years, etc. It’s a lot of fun to watch it grow as everyone acknowledges all they have to be thankful for!

  • Materials:
    • Interesting types of paper (patterns, colors, etc.) cut into strips
    • Stapler
    • Thankful printables 
    • Glue stick or double sided tape
  • Instructions:
    • To get started….Print out attached thankful template and cut into strips (or make your own)
    • Complete the sentence. “I am thankful for______________________.” Then glue or tape the paper onto a colorful strip of your choice.
    • Staple into a circle, connecting around the prior link.

 

Happy Holidays!!

 Jennifer Kind-Rubin, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT
Licensed Creative Arts Therapist; Psychotherapist
JKindRubin@gmail.com
917-242-1468
80 East 11th Street, NYC
jkrArtTherapy.com

Deep Roots & Tall Branches: Farm Life for my Little Oak Tree

What happens when a dietitian mom leaves the city and starts a farm? Happy 2nd Anniversary Amanda and family. The world is truly a better place with the Mellowsprings!! Thanks for bringing the readers back to earth at this time of year. – Laura Cipullo

 

Deep Roots & Tall Branches: Farm life for my little Oak Tree
By Amanda Mellowspring, MS, RD, CEDRD, LD/N
Eat from the Earth Nutrition Counseling, LLC
Mellowspring Family Farms, LLC

This month marks the beginning of our 2nd year as farmers. I say it this way because this is just the beginning! This lesson feels similar to being a parent – the end of the first year, is really the beginning of the “two’s”. That is when our journey to becoming farmers actually started – when our little acorn had his first birthday.  Within two weeks of his birthday, we were packed and headed for our farm in the mountains.  Nevermind we had never actually visited the land we were leaving everything for, we just knew that this was what we wanted for our family, namely our little acorn.  Amazing how the world shifts to make room for the potential in the smallest little things, like acorns.

Our decision to start a family farm was multi-fold. We wanted to spend more time together as a family, with shared focus and energy. We wanted to give our little acorn something to grow into. And we very much wanted him to appreciate nature. One of the reasons that I love the basic concepts of food and eating, is because it is so tightly intertwined with nature. The way that we engage with all of our foods can connect us or disconnect us from the world around us.  We knew that we wanted our little acorn to take pride in his process of becoming a mighty oak and that would require living into nature in a deeper way.

Our first year of farming is full of practical lessons & adjustments in things like fencing, gardening our new land (with a toddler – ie. kamikaze gardening!), chicken coops (free range chickens poop everywhere!), fencing, livestock guard dogs (bark all night!), fencing, pigs are some of the sweetest animals (once you get used to the smell, seriously the smell!), free range turkeys (bark like purse dogs!), Jacob sheep (you can literally tell their baa’s apart!), oh and did I mention fencing…fencing! I think farming vastly involves fencing, re-fencing, and moving fencing.  All of this to say, there have been so many lessons. Again this is just the beginning of two city kids, raising a farm boy to the best of our farming ability.

The rewards of this first year have been countless in our connection with nature, our community, the animals, and one another. But, the greatest reward that we continue to experience on a daily basis are the moments that my husband and I look at one another and our eyes smile together because in their reflection our little acorn is living his normal life, his farm life, and doesn’t know anything different. The view from his carseat rivals any good farm truck, with a hatchback full of chickens, pullets, turkeys, lambs, pigs, and dogs at various times.  All the while, he plays with his little toes and sings songs because this is his norm.  He has napped with a LGD pup on his lap en route to the vet’s office and the world paused for a moment in our eyes.  He helps big kids see that our dogs are sweet even though they tower over him and weigh over 100# now by kissing their faces and crawling around on their furry backs. Our dogs guard our little acorn with vigilance and compassion by standing over him and demanding that others keep a distance.

 He runs after the sheep for fun, helping mama and papa corral them in to new pastures, yelling “lambies” and laughing hysterically. He grabs the ram by the horns through the fence to kiss his nose because that’s how papa catches him (and because he isn’t allowed to play with the rams inside the fence during breeding season).

 

He sticks his hands through the slats on the pig paddock to pet the “piggies, snort, snort” as mama goes running to catch up, yelling not to reach into the piggy area!  He talks to the piggies and laughs when they escape into the yard and play chase with the dogs.

 

He collects eggs from the chicken coop and even pretends to lay eggs himself; he even recognizes the special “eggs” sound that the hens make when laying. He also gobbles up eggs for breakfast (& sometimes dinner) and tells the hens, “thank you for your eggs” when he gathers.

 

He knows that chicken and chickens are the same thing. He knows that piggies make bacon (yes, we eat bacon), and he knows that turkey is kind of like chicken.

 

He eats like a farmer, plays like a farmer, and knows how they work together. He leads hikes with the chickens and turkeys into the woods and calls for the dogs to keep a watch. He tastes leaves off the trees and shares these new flavors with friends who may be visiting.  He picks berries and grapes off the land and has them eaten up before we get back to the house. (No need for canning this year!)

 

As we start our second year as farmers, I am so glad that I can look to him to learn what living on the land, in union with our plants and animals truly means. His life is a reflection of the purest loves. His decision to live into this life has helped him to put down deep roots. His life is not a response to the world’s concerns about food sources, food ingredients, or factory farming. His life is about connection, love, and appreciation. It reminds me of one of my favorite thoughts – Notice how a tree sends its roots deep into the earth.  May we also learn to nourish ourselves in ways that are not just leaves & branches meant for others to see.

Helping Your Kids Create a Healthy Relationship with Food

*This post was originally published on the Bitsy’s Brainfood Blog. To see the original please click here.

Nutrition Comes in All Forms AND the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Agrees!
By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD and Mom

Photo Credit: Arya Ziai via Compfight cc

Sugar has definitely received a bad rap this past year. Its poor reputation is very similar to the negative press that fat received in years past. Research is constant and correlations are often made—while causation is rarely determined. As mothers and fathers, how does this affect they way you feed your child? Do you go with the latest diet trend? Do you impose your food beliefs on your children? If so, how are you talking with your children about these beliefs? Remember, when all is said and done, these are just beliefs—not necessarily black and white facts.

With this is mind, remember all food provides nutrition—even Skittles and saturated fats (i.e. coconut oil). However, I am not implying you should feed your kids a diet of sugar and saturated fats. Rather, I am suggesting that as parents, we must watch our wording and behaviors associated with various foods. Our children are smart and pick up on our food issues. Yet most children—like many adults—are not (yet) capable of separating food and feelings or such strong statements into rational thoughts.

Photo Credit: Special via Compfight cc

Many RDs and parents want to scream, “Corn syrup is bad!” but telling your child this may be more harmful than helpful. I am trying to write this as delicately as possible, but think about it: Does a pack of candy or a bread made with corn syrup versus rice syrup really matter? No. Yet many moms label these as “bad.” As a mother of two boys, I do not completely negate these foods and constantly prefer that my boys eat more wholesome foods. As parents we must walk a very fine line in how we convey healthy habits to children. We may use different educational tools to discuss nutrient density, food processing, and overall diet quality, but it is also our job to prevent children from fearing their food, fearing weight gain, and fearing feeding themselves.

Instilling fear of food and feeding in a child can even be one of the contributors to the feeding disorder known as “Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder” (ARFID,) especially if a child is already prone to anxiety or is a picky eater.

You can be the mom that hands your children M&M’s some of the time. Know that sugar candy is converted to exactly that, sugar in the body. The brain only uses sugar; our muscles store sugar for easy access during long bouts of exercise (playing a long soccer game, playing outside all day long, or swimming in the pool for many hours as kids are wont to do).  While not an ideal food for growth, sugar still provides energy. Take into consideration that when we don’t make a big deal about these sugary foods, kids will be less likely to ask for them in the first place.

– See more at the Bitsy’s Brainfood Blog

 

References:

Stein, K. Severely restricted diets in the absence of medical necessity: the unintended consequences. J Am Diet Assoc. 2014;114(7):986-994.

 

Win a Session with Blue Balloon Songwriting for Small People!

BLUE BALLOON SONGWRITING FOR SMALL PEOPLE is a music school founded by songwriter, performer, artist and former Saint Ann’s teacher, Rachel Lipson.  Students at Blue Balloon learn to write, sing, play and record their own compositions, crafting songs more reminiscent of Lou Reed, The Shangri-Las, Vashti Bunyan and Woody Guthrie than the typical nursery rhyme.  The students create fantastically smart, beautiful songs while learning how to play an instrument.

Blue Balloon Songwriting for Small People is centered upon creativity, self-expression, self-confidence and having fun. The songwriting lessons are an activity the children truly look forward to.  They take pride in their songs and they take pride in themselves as songwriters.  They serenade their loved ones and collaborate with their friends.  They know the songs they will write are all their own so they write and sing them!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
//widget.rafflecopter.com/load.js

One 45 minute private song writing lesson in your home.  Ages 3+.  Value: $115.
Restrictions: we travel to most neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Manhattan.  For first-time users only. Expires after one year.

Including Your “Picky Eaters” in Social Activities around Food

Including Your “Picky Eaters” in Social Activities around Food

Let’s be honest, a lot of social activities – both for children AND adults – involve food.  Birthday parties?  Pizza and cake.  Sleepovers?  Dinner (and a pancake breakfast the next morning!).  Playdates after school?  Snack time.  For picky eaters, who experience anxiety around new or unfamiliar foods, these fun, innocuous events may be perceived as threatening and unappealing, and thus avoided.  This avoidance is a problem for any child who might miss out on important childhood moments, but is especially harmful for selective eaters who dually present with social language challenges.  As speech language pathologists, we frequently treat children with complex profiles including language, social, sensory, and feeding difficulties.  How can we ensure that we are fostering our children’s social-language development (i.e., building friendships, participating in play and conversation with peers, and problem-solving social conflicts) across a variety of typical social interactions, while also being sensitive and accommodating to their feeding challenges?

To support our clients using a “whole child” approach, we are thrilled to have launched our City PALS Pragmatic Language Support Groups, which target social language and peer interaction skills through a variety of office- and community-based activities.  Our field trips frequently include food sites (i.e., pizza parlor, restaurants, 16 Handles, and baking cookies), to best reflect the real-life scenarios our children face outside of therapy and school.  How do we foster social skills (e.g., improving turn-taking, increasing flexibility, negotiating and compromising with friends, and engaging in cooperative play) while simultaneously supporting exposure to new foods and eating situations?  Here are some suggestions below!

At 16 Handles, children took turns preparing frozen yogurt sundaes for each other by pretending to be the “waiter” for their partner.  They had to check in with their partners to ask them what flavor frozen yogurt and what types of toppings they wanted, then prepare and serve it to them.  Why did this work so well for our kids, even those with aversions to certain food groups or textures (e.g., wet, “messy” whipped cream or the entire fruit bar!)?  It gave them an opportunity to interact with more challenging foods (by labeling them, scooping them, pouring them, and watching a friend eat them) without the pressure of needing to eat them themselves.  It also served as a fun, engaging, interactive experience with a peer, strengthening our kids’ abilities to reference their peers, listen and recall information, and take turns cooperatively.  Add in some imaginary play props – their very own picture menus and a “waitress notepad” to circle the frozen yogurt flavors and toppings – and you’ve got some very happy and enthusiastic kids!

At the pizza parlor, we were lucky enough to not just order and eat pizza, but to make it ourselves!  A real treat for some of our kids, a real challenge for others.  Imagine all of the sensory information a child must receive and process to make pizza – the temperature and texture of the dough and sauce, the strong smells of different food items as the pizza cooks, and of course the flavors and textures of the food themselves while eating.  How did we make this a positive, safe, and socially-engaging experience for the group?  First, we made the focus of the activity on creating a pizza pie together, as a group.  Each child could contribute to the pizza in the way that he best could, whether that was simply retrieving the materials and passing them out to the group, touching one finger to the dough rather than rolling or flattening it, or opening and closing the oven door (with adult supervision of course!).  Everyone can be involved in the process, regardless of their tactile, taste, or overall sensory sensitivities.  With our kids’ personalized chef hats, complete with their names on the front, all of the children were able to participate in the group experience successfully, leaving the group with greater social confidence and less anxiety about the next cooking or food activity.

 

Remember that we can explore and gain exposure to food and eating experiences using all of our senses and faculties!  We can start with simply viewing or talking about a food, such as by listing the ingredients or discussing how we would make pizza step-by-step, and then slowly and safely move across a hierarchy to eating.  This can include: handling closed containers (e.g., passing a closed tomato sauce jar to a friend), smelling, serving with utensils (e.g., scooping strawberries onto the frozen yogurt with a spoon), touching with just a finger, touching with our lips, licking, and biting.  When food exposure is embedded in socially-rich activities that focus on team work and peer relationships, we are best able to build our clients’ confidence across all developmental domains, including social language, sensory integration, and feeding.  If we, as therapists or parents, are open to a range of ways to participate, there will never, ever be a reason that a picky eater should feel excluded from a social experience involving food!  If they are working with the group, having fun participating at their level, and developing and deepening friendships, then to us, it is a SUCCESS!

 

For more information about City PALS, our Pragmatic Language Support groups, please feel free to contact Robin and Lauren!

 

Robin Goldberg, MA, CCC-SLP, TSSLD                                                           Lauren Cohen, MS, CCC-SLP, TSSLD
Speech Language Pathologist                                                                                            Speech Language Pathologist

 

www.leapsandsoundsnyc.com

 

 

Fall Remedies For Overwhelmed Mommies

Fall Remedies For Overwhelmed Mommies
By Elyse Falk, MS, RD

Fall is almost here! With school starting and the laid back days of summer ending, schedules begin to get busy again.  Even though I am a dietitian, I am still a mom, and have to admit that even I get crazed with having to decide what to cook for dinner for my family and myself. I have to figure out when to prepare it, and if I have enough time to do so, along with coordinating when to have food ready with my boys coming home at different times. It is exhausting! My clients face these same challenges and oftentimes have no one to help prep, cook, or clean up. So what would I, with these same problems, tell them? First, remember that no one can be superman or superwoman every night. Not every dinner will be a home-cooked meal and that’s okay! Go through your schedule and be realistic; figure out the days where cooking will be the most feasible and then consider this advice:

Photo Credit: BobPetUK via Compfight cc
  • Pick a weekend day and use it for prep; cut vegetables for soups or salads, cook rice or beans to refrigerate until ready, and chops onions and garlic for easy flavor boosts
  • If you have time earlier in the day, prepare food and save it to heat and eat later
  • Buy one prepared item and use it in a multitude of ways! If you a buy a rotisserie chicken, for instance, you can add it to lots of things:  tortillas, yellow rice and beans, soups, pasta, quinoa, salad, or chop it up to make chicken salad
  • Tacos are fun and easy to prepare, so make it taco night! Chop your toppings beforehand, store, and pull them out while the meat or beans are cooking
  • Stock up on organic, low sodium, high nutrition frozen foods and prepare a vegetable and whole grain to accompany it.   My kids love Amy’s Organic Mexican Bowls, Amy’s Organic Pizza Spinach Munchies, Dr. Praeger’s Fish Sticks, and pre-frozen veggie burgers that you can top with cheese and avocado and put in a whole grain bun. Remember, kids can have carbs!!
  • Everyone loves breakfast for dinner!  Omelet’s and pancakes are quick and easy. Add the chopped veggies from Sunday and throw some fruit in the pancakes and enjoy!
  • Soup is another great “heat and eat” meal! Prepare on a weekend or less busy night and freeze until needed. Chicken noodle with veggies, hearty bean soups, barley soups, or thick chili on a cold night are wonderful. Pair with some crusty bread and top with cheese or avocado and you have an easy meal
  • And last but not least, experiment with a slow cooker. This is a great way to prep casseroles, pulled pork, or even pasta sauces with little effort except for setting it and forgetting it.

A Back-to-School Nutrition Guide

I tell all my young clients (and my own kids!) that I think it’s crucial for everyone from the age of 12–20 to sit down and chat with a nutritionist at some point. Now I know I may be just a tad bit biased, but I truly believe that having a down-to-earth convo about what’s real and realistic when it comes to food, eating, and being healthful can really help sort through the daily confusion that we hear on this topic.   Since this is also an age where even the most well-intended and brilliant parent is considered less than wise by their own children, having a neutral party discuss food can often save much frustration and reduce power struggles.  Here are some suggestions written directly to your kids; this may open up some questions and conversations after they read it, but know that even if it doesn’t, you’ve helped create just a little more info for them to become their own responsible self and a more connected eater.

Photo Credit: Sidereal via Compfight cc 

Next Stop:  School!
Nutrition Tips for Middle- and High-School Success
By Christie Caggiani, RDN, LDN, CEDRD

 

Voluminous —your vocab word of the day!  It also describes the amount of confusing and contradicting nutrition info that comes at you on a daily basis.  There’s just so much, how do you know what to believe?  Students are not only bombarded with social media messages about food and bodies, they are influenced by friends, parents, teachers, and coaches who each have their own individual belief and bias about nutrition and health.

Photo Credit: shinealight via Compfight cc

As you head back into the fast-paced routine of school, studying, and extra-curricular activities, it’s important to remember a few simple things to keep you, your body, and your brain in top-notch shape:

 

  • Avoid “diets” at all costs—not only does restricting make it harder for us to access and use our intelligence, it also leads us think more about food, taking away brainpower from other important things.
  • Include complex carbs/grains at all meals—your body is using up food at rapid pace, and it needs to eat about every 3–4 hours most days.  Grains give us immediate fuel and go straight to our brain to help us think.  In fact, carbs are the only macronutrient that feeds our brain.  Protein and fats help keep us satisfied and are also important at each meal, but they won’t give you the immediate mental or physical energy that carbs do.
  • Keep some food with you—pack some trail mix, fruit, and/or a whole grain granola bar for the times when your meal doesn’t come soon enough.  Ask your teachers if they allow food in their class, something particularly important if you’re going longer than 4-ish hours without fuel.
  • Breakfast—yes, it really does set the pace for your day!  Without it, you are more likely to feel and function unbalanced, and you may even eat more later in the day.  A pbj sandwich, yogurt parfait, or leftovers from dinner can all work for a fast, little-effort meal.   And yes, when you eat breakfast, you’ll feel a little more clearly hungry at lunch.  That is a GREAT thing, because it signals that your body is functioning just as it’s supposed to!
  • Try a new food—your taste buds are becoming more diverse at this age, and things you didn’t like earlier (green beans maybe?!) may not be so bad now.  Add your creativity to it—throw some salsa on veggies or melt a little cheese on a new-to-you protein.  And try the new food at the beginning of your meal.
  • Don’t skip meals—if you can’t stand school lunch, pack your own.  Make sure you take a few minutes to sit down for dinner.  Skipping meals will confuse your body and make you over-hungry later.  If you eat regularly, you can better know when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re just right.
  • Include some color—add some fruit and/or veggies at each meal.  Not only do they help you feel satisfied, but they also give you nutrients you can’t get from other foods.  Your whole body system is working at a crazy pace at this age and needs a greater mix of different energy, vitamins, and minerals just to keep up with you.

 

Get Creative with Art Therapy!

With school back in session—well, almost—you may notice behavioral changes and sometimes even diet changes amongst your children. Sometimes our little loved ones have a hard time verbalizing their internal worries or struggles. Creative arts is a wonderful way for our children to express themselves. The creative process can be easily incorporated at home to help your child communicate their feelings or, when dealing with more challenging issues, integrated on a therapeutic level through working with a trained professional. This is known as art therapy. I have asked my colleague, Jen Kind-Rubin, to share with parents ways that we may do creative arts at home to help our kids and when we need to seek the assistance of a creative arts therapist.

-Laura

 

Art Therapy with Children
By Jennifer Kind-Rubin, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT
Licensed Creative Arts Therapist; Psychotherapist
www.jkrArtTherapy.com

 

Photo Credit: AFN-Pacific Hawaii News Bureau via Compfight cc

I think we can all agree that growing up isn’t easy! Children are just beginning to learn about themselves and the world and are still developing a language to communicate their unique feelings and experiences. Without sufficient words, kids often feel overwhelmed, and consequently may act out or withdraw in an attempt to feel understood. Many experts agree that engaging kids in creative activities, such as art, dance, music, and play can help with focus, coping skills, and behavioral issues. These types of activities can easily be incorporated into your home. Put together a portable art box, filled with crayons, paper, watercolors, markers, etc. Leave it out on the kitchen table after school, and encourage your kids to create an image of their day. Put on different types of music, and paint along to the beat. Get a stamp pad and have your child create images around his or her fingerprint, something unique only to him or her. Save your paper grocery bags to use for masks, cutting out the eyes and mouth, and transplant your child to a far-away land! Creativity accesses the part of the brain that controls our emotions, an area that children are still in the process of developing. When looking for more support for your child, try bringing them to a Creative Arts Therapist who is trained to facilitate this creative process. See below for some of the concerns that may lead you to pursue this outlet…

Research shows that art therapy has been used to successfully help children improve communication, increase self-awareness, decrease stress, develop closer relationships, improve mood, and decrease disruptive behaviors and attitudes. In addition to supporting children in dealing with everyday stressors, art therapy can be used as an intervention to support children in dealing with a number of other issues, including:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Grief/loss
  • Behavioral issues
  • Bullying
  • Childhood trauma
  • Fears or Phobias
  • Challenges of a physical illness or disability
  • Mental illness
Photo Credit: AFN-Pacific Hawaii News Bureau via Compfight cc

“Art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art making to improve and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages” (American Art Therapy Association, 2012). While talk therapy provides a setting for verbal communication, Art Therapy offers an opportunity to combine both verbal and non-verbal exploration. Children are intrinsically creative, so it is often easier for them to communicate through these means, versus struggling to meet an adult at their verbal level. This approach often feels less threatening, enabling the child to safely work through tough issues in a creative way. Makes sense, right?

So at this point you may be wondering what an art therapy session actually look like. Every Art Therapist is different, but often offices are stocked with a range of art materials, including paint, clay, crayons, pencils, etc. Typically the Art Therapist will provide the child with age-appropriate materials, setting up him or her to create. Often times the therapist will give a prompt to help begin this process. After the image is completed, the therapist and child will discuss the artwork, helping to provide insight and meaning. Through the use of symbolic language, underlying issues, patterns, and themes are often discovered and given the support they need. In giving the child’s creative imagery a voice, the therapist is also giving the child a voice, helping him or her to feel empowered and heard.

Jennifer Kind-Rubin, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT
Licensed Creative Arts Therapist; Psychotherapist
JKindRubin@gmail.com
917-242-1468
80 East 11th Street, NYC

Back-To-School Pancakes

We love to make pancakes for breakfast on the weekends at our house. The kids each have their roles in the preparation and we all get to sit down and enjoy a leisurely breakfast together. One thing I love to do is make large batches at one time and save them for the week! All you need is a zip-top bag or a food container and you’ve got weekday breakfasts at the ready. Check out this video of my son and his friend helping me with a fun pancake recipe.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9bhLOgtvOY]

What is your favorite pancake recipe or topping? Let us know in the comments below!

10 Tips to Taming and Transitioning The Type A Child

10 Tips to Taming and Transitioning The Type A Child
By Laura Cipullo RD CDE CEDRD CDN and Mom

Photo Credit: John-Morgan via Compfight cc

All things indirectly affect each other especially our children’s disposition and nutrition intake. Knowing this, I am sharing with you the advice of my son’s teacher. I asked the teacher, “What are some words of wisdom moms like myself can share with their Type A child when he/she transitions to a new school or grade next year?” Here are her answers:

 

Remind Your Child:

  1. “It’s okay if you are not the first one done with your work.”
  2. “It’s okay to make mistakes.”
  3. “It’s okay to come back to the teachers and ask for help after you have tried on your own.”
  4. “Take your time with your work.”
  5. “You do not need to be right.”
Photo Credit: MyTudut via Compfight cc

Give Positive Reinforcement and Stress:

  1. “Are you proud of your work? Which part of the work are you proud of? This work is worthy of feeling pride in.”
  2. “Mistakes are just one way to learn. What did you learn? What would you do the same next time? What would you do differently?”
  3. “The fact that you took your time and tried is what is important.”
  4. “Sometimes slow and steady wins the race.”
  5. “Learning to acknowledge when you are not right makes you a more effective person.”