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Monitoring your child’s screen time: Let’s talk about it

Monitoring your child’s screen time: Let’s talk about it

Last month, a story in the media about a social media challenge directed at children and young adults, called the “Momo Challenge,” created unease in parents throughout the country. The challenge turned out to be a social media hoax and no reports of children participating in the challenge actually surfaced – but they were still aware of it and were discussing it among friends.

Several questions and concerns in parents arose from this internet scare. Do I have a firm understanding of what my child is actually viewing online? How do I successfully and healthily monitor my child’s social media and internet usage? Below, we offer a few tips on how parents can become more in touch with and supervise their child’s digital footprint.

Establish open lines of communication

It’s important to sit down with children to explain what’s out there and the harmful impact some online content can have on them. Don’t be afraid to have these hard conversations. Children experience fewer damaging effects when they’ve been taught basic media literacy skills.

Make technology use a privilege

Make it known that your children have to earn their screen time. This may be difficult for them to understand, but stay firm in this discipline – lessons learned from delaying gratification and controlling the impulse to use technology are essential for healthy development.

Set clear guidelines

Establish rules that will help your children develop healthy habits when it comes to internet usage. Where can your child use technology? When can they use technology? Which sites are going to be blocked? Set up a meeting to discuss these concerns as a family – and let your children give input! You’ll probably need to have a few of these meetings throughout the years as your child grows older and more mature.

Raising a child can be hard, especially in this digital era. If you would like assistance with talking through these kinds of tough issues, you might be interested in learning more about our Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative Services. South Bay strives to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.

Sleep and your child’s mental health

Sleep and your child’s mental health

It’s no secret – sleep is an essential factor when it comes to your child’s overall health and development. While a few bad nights can be normal, children with persistent sleeping problems could lead to temperament, learning and social behavior issues. Below, we outline steps you can take to improve your child’s sleeping habits, ensuring they get the critical sleep they need to develop and function properly.

Bedtime bravery

For a lot of children, the looming thought of going to sleep can be anxiety-inducing. That’s why it’s important to help them face it with bravery. Try drowning out odd noises with a sound machine; illuminating the room with a night light; or re-labeling an air freshener bottle as “monster spray.” Stay consistent in helping them face their fear. If they wake up in the middle of the night, bring them back to their own bed – instead of resorting to letting them sleep in yours. In turn, celebrate your child’s good nights by using a rewards system such as a sticker chart.

Sleep environment control

Allow your child to take control of his or her bedtime routine by choosing which stuffed friend or blanket to bring to bed. Find an activity your child enjoys doing to help calm him or her before bed, such as selecting a book to read or giving him or her an after-bath back rub.

Unplug

Technology use can directly correlate with a child’s sleeping difficulties. Avoid this obstacle by asking your children to unplug at least one hour before bed. Use the hour as time for them to relax while doing quiet activities. Eliminating screens from the bedroom entirely or scheduling their screen time throughout the day can also help with your child’s difficulties winding down.

If you feel your child is struggling with sleep anxiety, you might be interested in learning more about our Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative Services. South Bay provides the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance. A healthy night’s sleep benefits the entire family unit. As most moms can attest, when children sleep better, parents sleep better! Let our clinicians help your family establish healthy sleeping habits that will ensure you all get the critical sleep needed for mental, physical and emotional health.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.

 

Have you told yourself how awesome you are today?

Have you told yourself how awesome you are today?

The impending stress of the holiday season can bring about a mix of emotions, especially to those dealing with mental health challenges. We all could benefit from reminders about how valuable we are. Sometimes, we have to be the one to give that reminder. Always remember that you have the right to feel good about who you are, and there are steps you can take to feel better about yourself. Below, we offer tips on how to boost your own self-esteem this holiday season.

Think positive thoughts

One of the first steps in changing the way we feel is changing the way we think. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones and say them out loud or in your head with full confidence. Give yourself a reminder that you are enough, and make it a daily task to mentally accept both your strengths and your flaws. You might not feel immediate results, and that’s OK. Slowly and gradually, positive self-talk will begin improving your quality of life.

Do unto others

Once you start telling yourself you matter, let others know they matter! Showing kindness and compassion to others is rewarding. Make time to volunteer, spend time helping your family or simply tell a stranger good morning. Take note of how you feel when you set aside time to focus on cultivating positive relationships with others.

Find things that make you happy

You deserve to take time to treat yourself. Find something healthy that you like doing, and do more of it. Make an effort to take time out of each day to do something you enjoy – no matter how big or small the activity.

Staying committed to boosting your own self-esteem can be difficult but definitely not impossible, and regularly talking with someone about it can help. If you’re looking for someone to talk to, our Mental Health and Substance Abuse clinicians might be who you need this winter. South Bay strives to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.

 

 

Beat the college stressors: Back to school for college students

Beat the college stressors: Back to school for college students

Whether you’re a college freshman who’s independent for the first time or a college senior who’s tasked with landing a job upon graduation, students of all ages deal with a lot of change, which can often be stressful and scary.

It’s true that your college years can be some of the best years of your life. But, we won’t sugar coat it – life in college can definitely be hectic, demanding and intimidating for some. The good news is you’re not the only one feeling this way. Experiencing anxiety over major life changes is normal. Some levels of stress can actually be a good thing, as the right kind of stress can lead us toward positive change and growth. However, stress and anxiety become a problem and a health risk for students when they exist for an extended period of time and seem impossible to control.

Whether it’s social or academic pressures, it’s important to seek resolutions from healthy outlets instead of harmful ones – such as drugs and alcohol. There are several resources available on campus to help you cope with and manage student stress. If you feel you need further guidance and support, these resources can connect you with a therapist – such as a South Bay clinician.

Whether you’re entering college or leaving college, know that it’s not a weakness to feel anxious about these life changes, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. Below, we outline a few of the most common stressors students experience, plus advice on how to take steps toward coping with them.

Living away from home

For many students, college is the first step toward complete independence. Experiencing this in an unfamiliar environment can be intimidating – especially since your support environment has changed. If you’re struggling with a lack of in-person support, connect with a South Bay clinician. A one-on-one session between you and a clinician will allow for a deep examination of your life, emotions and relationships. Treatment pace is based on your vision – it’s a balance of minimizing risk and achieving your goals. Our clinicians’ primary goal is to build a deep trust and understanding with you while guiding you through anxiety-management techniques.

Academic demands

Academic demands in college may be very different and more intense than they were in high school. Test anxiety symptoms can come in both physical and mental forms. If this anxiety hinders you from performing your best on an exam, seek assistance from academic advisors who can provide you with guidance. The on-campus academic services office should be able to arrange a tutor or other academic help.

Financial problems

Experiencing financial responsibility for the first time can be scary. Whether it’s textbooks, food, gas or social life, college can be expensive, and figuring out ways to budget your expenses is necessary. The financial aid office will have information and advice about money management, on-campus job openings and scholarship opportunities.

South Bay’s outreach program is unparalleled to any other behavioral health service in the area, which gives our clinicians the opportunity to physically reach those who need us most no matter their circumstances or where they are, including colleges.

Are you a parent feeling anxious about sending your child off to college? We understand how stressful the process can be. Counseling sessions with a South Bay clinician could benefit you, as well.

If you think you could benefit from our counseling sessions, we encourage you to contact South Bay Community Services. We strive to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance. Let us help you have the best possible beginning this school year!

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.

 

Trauma: Understanding and recovering from it

Trauma: Understanding and recovering from it

Trauma can come from various life instances, and the recovery process can look different for different people. For some, it takes a period of time to heal from trauma. For others, seeking professional treatment is necessary for recovery.

Everyday situations might trigger flashbacks, which may lead to feelings of anger, fear, anxiety, guilt or numbness. Coping skills and grounding techniques are used to work through past traumatic experiences, especially when a painful flashback from the event resurfaces.

Below, we offer tips on how you can begin taking steps towards recovering from a traumatic event.

Meditation

Meditation and mindfulness techniques can help you overcome the side effects from trauma. When first learning how to meditate, try using a guided meditation app. One such app is Insight Timer. Insight Timer offers free, guided meditations, meditation music and group discussion options.

Deep breathing

Increased respiration is one of your body’s fight-or-flight responses. During a moment of panic, focus on breathing in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth. Pay close attention to how your body reacts when talking or thinking about the traumatic event and identify coping skills that make your mind and body feel calm. Commonly used coping skills are muscle relaxation exercises, meditation, yoga or spending time outside.

Talk to someone

After experiencing a traumatic event, it is important to talk to someone you trust, such as a therapist, a family member or a friend. Find someone who will listen without interrupting and won’t be judgemental. Lean on these individuals while learning how to cope with your trauma.

If you or someone you know is looking for further guidance on how to recover from a past trauma, consider speaking to a South Bay clinician. Our trauma-focused therapy treats each individual with a specific program tailored to your needs and provides you with the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance. During a session, you can expect the clinician to provide you with examples of different types of trauma and help you determine symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.