Monday, April 5, 2021

The Emotional Roller Coaster of Parenting


Understanding Ourselves to Understand Them

Even on the best day, parenting can be challenging. You are juggling so many things and it can feel like your child’s mood and temperament is the one thing you just cannot figure out.

Monday, November 16, 2020

How Change and Transitions Affect Kids


Change... Does this word make you cringe? Transition... and what does this word make you feel?

We are creatures of habit. Routines help us keep organized, stay focused, and remain structured.

But how do change and transition affect children?

Thursday, June 25, 2020

In-Person OR Teletherapy Sessions Available!

Child Therapy Chicago & Naperville is OPEN, once again, for in-person psychotherapy sessions AND we are also still able to continue offering teletherapy sessions.

Many families have come to appreciate the value and unique aspects of video sessions and it’s working for them. Plus, several insurance companies have extended telehealth coverage reimbursement - some through the end of 2020 and others through July, as of now, making ongoing video sessions possible for at least a while longer. Talk of more permanent, long-term telehealth insurance coverage options at the State and National level are ongoing.

However, we recognize that, for some kiddos and families, their particular circumstances and issues may be better served by working together in-person (e.g., very young children, kids with anxiety around video sessions, easily distractible kids, kids with limited privacy in the home, etc.).

For a return to in-person sessions, several health and safety protocols have been implemented and families, as well as the therapists, must agree to and be able to adhere to these protocols. These protocols are similar to what you might have experienced if your child has been to the dentist, pediatrician, speech or occupational therapist in recent weeks (e.g., wearing masks, temperature checks, in-office air purifiers, enhanced disinfecting procedures between sessions, etc. See our Forms Page to view our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan).

We know there are many things to consider when thinking about in-person sessions, teletherapy or some combination of both. This is a very personal choice. We are happy to talk with you about your circumstances, goals and concerns and work with your child and family in the way that makes the most sense for everyone’s health, safety and emotional well being.

Give us a call to discuss your options in more detail.

Stay safe and healthy.

Dr. Denise

Friday, March 20, 2020

Video Play Therapy with Kids

Kids are dealing with a lot of routine changes and uncertainty right now. This can have an effect on their behavior and mood as anxious, fearful and confusing feelings arise.

Video play therapy can help. It IS possible to do play therapy with kids online via video.

With "tweens" and teens, video sessions are pretty easy because much of their lives exist in the digital world already.

So, how does this work with younger kids? Actually, much of the process is similar to an in-person office session. To address feelings and behaviors, therapists engage kids through play and other creative activities, which is their language and how they learn emotional regulation and behavior management. 

During video play therapy sessions, kids and therapists:
• Set boundaries and rules together
• Direct each other’s actions and movements
• Narrate what they’re doing
• Make observations
• Talk, ask questions, share feelings and make connections to behaviors
• Work on healthy coping skills

Video sessions can be great for kids because:
• Kids like having access to their personal things (e.g., toys, stuffed animals, books, artwork, etc.)
• Kids enjoy allowing the therapist into their “space”
• Kids more openly share things about themselves via video
• Kids feel a sense of pride and "specialness"
• Kids experience a sense of comfort, safety and control
• These types of sessions offer a lot of flexibility for the whole family

All of this allows for in-depth therapeutic work to take place and for meaningful emotional and behavioral change.

Don't hesitate to give it a try! Child Therapy Chicago & Naperville is offering teletherapy video sessions for kids of all ages. Call us today to discuss and get started!

Be well.
Dr. Denise

Monday, February 3, 2020

The Importance of Play - Revisited

You ask your child when they get home from pre-school what they did all day and they answer that they “played” all day. You worry that they are not learning what they need to be prepared to start kindergarten. In fact, they are doing EXACTLY what they need to be doing at their age – learning through play. It is the means through which kids learn to interact and engage in the world, develop new skills and enhance their confidences.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Interview by PureWow: Is Only Child Syndrome Real?

PureWow from New York City contacted Child Therapy Chicago to discuss if "Only Child Syndrome" is actually real. 

How to Help Your Teen Deal With Trauma

Adolescents may handle scary events better if you remember these tips.

NextAvenue contacted Child Therapy Chicago to get our expert opinion on tips to help your adolescent handle scary events.

Computers, the Internet, Your Child and You

Having the world at our finger tips is making life so much easier for us and for our children. The positives most definitely outweigh the negatives. We get to learn just about anything we want at any time. However, the Internet has added a new dimension to parenting.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Understanding School Lingo

Understanding School Lingo When Your Child Is Struggling and Needs Support: Response to Intervention (RTI), Case Study Evaluation, and Special Education

Our children spend many hours away from us as they get older. Much of this time is spent at school. These days, school curriculum has become more challenging. Even by the end of kindergarten, children are expected to read books with two or more lines of print with predictable or repetitive text. As kindergarten is ending, they should be able to write two sentences with phonetic spelling when a prompt is given, count to 100, and understand math concepts including adding and subtracting within 10.

The curriculum challenges may add stress for both your child and you, and especially so, if your child is struggling academically. So what happens then?

When your child has difficulty with reading or math, there should be support offered at your child’s school. These can include Response-to-Intervention (RTI) services. RTI can be given in small groups led by your child’s teacher or by a reading or math specialist, if needed. This should be considered a short-term service. “Short-term” may be as long as a full school quarter. If progress is seen, RTI is no longer necessary. If very limited to no progress is seen, there may be a disability interfering with academic progress. Throughout this process, your child’s teacher should keep you informed.

For children making limited to no progress with RTI services, a Case Study Evaluation may be necessary to determine if there is a need for special education services.

Special Education is for children who have an identified disability that interferes with academic progress and the case study evaluation is the process school systems use to identify disabilities. Not every child who is evaluated is found to have a disability.

It can be difficult to see your child struggle with school work and sometimes it is hard to ask for help or to ask for an explanation about the struggles, however most teachers are very willing to give their perspective about your child’s learning.

If your child continues to have difficulties after support is given, please feel free to contact us for guidance.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Handling Child Tantrums

Temper Tantrums are normal and common in children from about 1 to 4 years old, and sometimes beyond. At this age, children are still learning to manage their feelings. They often do not have the skills necessary to verbally communicate their very strong emotions and they do not yet fully understand them. So, tantrums should be viewed as a child’s way of communicating frustrations, anger, and lack of control, worry or fear.

You might see crying, screaming, kicking, hitting, or breaking things. Sometimes these behaviors seem to come out of nowhere or are triggered by something you, as a parent, think is insignificant. However, if we can identify the cause of the tantrum, it may help in reducing or avoiding them.

Some common causes of tantrums:
  • Being overly tired or hungry
  • Being told no, “No you can’t have a cookie.”
  • Being asked to do something, “It’s time to get ready for bed.”
  • Becoming frustrated because something is not going as planned
  • Feeling anxious, uncertain or afraid of a situation
  • Feeling hurt, insecure or abandoned by separation
  • Feeling misunderstood and powerless
  • Feeling overwhelmed by emotion

Ways to prevent or reduce tantrums:
  • Be aware of hungry and overly tired children. Try to plan outings after naps and meals.
  • Take snacks with you. If the child is too tired, you may need to alter your plans. Better to delay the shopping trip than struggle with an overly tired child.
  • Give choices when you have to say no. “You can’t have a cookie right now, but you can have an apple or some carrots. “
  • Give warnings in advance so the child knows what is going to happen and can prepare for the transition. “In 15 minutes, it will be time to start putting away the toys and get ready for bed.”
  • If your child is easily frustrated, try working together to solve the problem or the issue. Wonder with the child how you might do something and offer support. Show them how to accomplish the task with which they are struggling, if they will let you. Acknowledge the frustration. If something is too frustrating, consider putting it away for now and engaging in something else.
  • Think about the meaning behind the child’s behavior – what is going on for this child that may be taxing them emotionally, making them feel helpless or scared.

What to do during a tantrum:
  • Make sure everyone is safe. Stay close to your child so they know you are there, can hold the emotions for them and keep them safe. Wait it out.
  • Stay calm and talk calmly to the child. Getting angry will only make the situation worse.
  • Acknowledge what is happening and the feelings they are having.
  • Stay quiet — a child cannot fully take in what you are trying to say in the midst of emotional overload. Sometimes it is necessary to just be a quiet, calm presence until the child releases those big feelings.
  • When they calm down, help them explore what happened, how they were feeling, and help them identify ways to manage these feelings in the future. 

Identifying what the child is trying to accomplish or express during the tantrum can be helpful in reducing the intensity and frequency of tantrums. Remember your child’s tantrums are an expression of their very strong feelings. The goal is to help them learn how to manage these feelings and learn coping skills.