Neurocognitive Interventions April 8, 2014

US-MGUC-3OM Health PlannerThank you for joining us for the LIVE presentation such a joy! We so enjoyed bringing neurocognitive interventions to you.

Here is the script for “Be The Tree” one of the over 70 activities that will be in my next book Play Activities For Better Thinking, Self-Regulation and Motor Skills in Children ages 3-12.

SOMETIMES YOU WILL MEET CHILDREN ADOLESCENTS AND ADULTS WHO HAVE NOT HAD THE EXPERIENCE OF CENTERED CALMNESS. THEY ARE FRENETIC ALWAYS MOVING. WE CANNOT SIMPLY SAY TO THESE PEOPLE SIT STILL, BE STILL, STOP MOVING WE NEED TO BEGIN WITH THE MOVEMENT AND EMPOWER THEM TO ALTER THE SPEED, RATE AND VOLUME OF THEIR MOVEMENT.

WE CAN HELP PEOPLE  EXPERIENCE CALM IN THE FOLLOWING WAY. LET’S STAND UP FEET FORWARD, BELLY BUTTON IN, KNEES OVER OUR FEET, HIPS OVER KNEES SHOULDERS ROUND UP BACK AND DOWN. NOW YOU ARE ALIGNED THIS HELPS YOUR BODY MOVE MORE NATURALLY.

LET’S PLANT ROOTS FOR OUR TREE. NOW YOU CAN MOVE IN THE SECURITY OF KNOWING YOUR ARE FIRMLY PLANTED IN THE GROUND.

FEEL YOUR TREE MOVING FROM THE ROOTS ROCKING BACK AND FORTH, YOU CAN FLEX YOUR KNEES OR MOVE YOUR HIPS. EVERYONE IS A DIFFERENT KIND OF TREE, SIMPLY BE THE TREE THAT YOU ARE. NOW THE WIND IS GOING TO BLOW LIGHTLY AT FIRST JUST CREATING A RIPPLE IN OUR LEAVES.

WE LIFT OUR RIPPLING LEAVES UP ON OUR BRANCHES AND WE SYA. THE WIND FEELS WONDERFUL AS IT MOVES SOFTLY THROUGH OUR LEAVES, WE ARE AT PEACE IN THE BREEZE. UH OH THE BREEZE IS PICKING UP ITS BECOMING WINDY OUR BRANCHES ARE MOVING. OUR BASE IS GROUNDED IN THE EARTH IT REMAINS FIRMSAFE AND SECURE. OUR BRANCHES ARE MOVING, OUR LEAVES ARE SIGNING WITH THE SOUND OF THE WIND.

WE ARE A TREE ORCHESTRA, SOUND MIGHT EVEN COME FROM OUR TREES. AHHHHHH LAAAAAA. AND WE SHAKE AND WE TREMOR AS THE WIND HOWLS. IT FEELS GOOD TO LET OUR ENERGY FLY AWAY WITH THE WIND, WE ARE MOVING WITH THE WIND WE ARE ONE WITH THE WIND.

AHHHH THE WIND IS SOFTENING, ITS BREEZE IS CALMING AS ARE OUR BRANCHES AND OUR LEAVES.  OUR BRANCHES BEGIN TO REST, OUR LEAVES GO BACK TO SITTING PEACEFULLY RESTING ON OUR BRANCHES, WE ARE BREATHING OUT FEELING EXHILARATED NOW CALMED. WE MOVE BACK TO A ROCKING TRUNK A RESTING TREE AT PEACE WITH OUR SURROUNDINGS.  WE ARE NOW A TREE THAT SITS IN SILENCE. SMILE. SIT.

8 Simple Ways To Encourage Friendship Skills via @encourageplay

PrintAs a mother of two and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with over a decade of experience, working mostly in elementary and middle school settings, if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that play is vital for children. However, some kids really struggle with learning how to play with their peers.  Here are a few simple ways you can help your children improve their friendships skills. Let us know what you do to enhance your children’s social experiences, we’re listening @encourageplay.

Parents want their children to make connections with other kids, but sometimes it can be hard.  Parents know that play and friendship is important, but sometimes kids struggle with it.  What can you do?  How do you balance the importance of play with your child’s needs?  Provide scaffolding and support to help them make connections to others.

1. Keep your child’s temperament in mind - Temperament matters in social interactions.  I could drop by daughter in the middle of any playground with a ton of kids and she’d run off and be happy without looking back.  My son, however, is slow to warm up in new situations, and things always go more smoothly when I remember that and don’t push him before he’s ready.

2. Your way of relating to people may be different from your child’s way of relating to people - Recognize that friendships and connecting with others may be easy for you, but hard for your kids.  My son’s way of relating to people is very similar to mine, but my daughter’s is not.  I try to keep that in mind when faced with different social settings.  Don’t let your own interactions heavily influence your expectations for your child’s behavior.  Embrace your differences.

3. Practice small talk & conversations - Practice having conversations and small talk at home with family members.  Make a list of topics your child might feel comfortable talking about and have them practice the basic small talk topics like weather or food.  When small talk happens in real life, have your child watch you make small talk, like in line at the store or waiting for a train.  Learning how to volley a conversation back and forth is a valuable skill. Practice, I say… You say… several times a day.

4. Discuss friendships - Talk with your child about the importance of having friends. Why is friendship important?  Who are people you’ve been friends with and why? What qualities do you look for in a friend? What makes a friend, a true friend? Reliability, honesty, trustworthiness? Friendship skills are learned, therefore they can be taught.

5. Emphasize quality over quantity – Teach your children that you don’t need to have a ton of friends, it’s better to have one or two people you can count on. In this day and age of hundreds of facebook “friends,” it’s good to emphasize what actually makes people friends, not just one of your stats.

6. Find nice people - Seek out local places or community centers where there are like-minded individuals, who share your values and vision. Look for places that are flexible and accepting.  Youth groups, the YMCA or your local library might be a good place to start.

7. Try new things – Find activities to make new connections via Fred Frankel, Ph.D. on www.additude.com.

8. Keep play dates small, short and structured – My main recommendation for children who struggle with play dates is to keep play dates small, time limited and to have a planned set of activities for the kids to do.  I think starting with just one friend makes a lot of sense if kids feel uncomfortable on a play date.  Keep it to just an hour or two at most the first time.  Have some games and activities pre-chosen so that they don’t spend a ton of time figuring out what to do on the play date. Consider offering activities in blocks of 15-20 minutes for younger children so that when they begin to lose interest they can wrap up one activity and be on to the next.

Playfully, Janine

Janine Halloran, LMHC, Founder of Encourage Play

www.encourageplay.com
www.facebook.com/encourageplay
www.twitter.com/encourageplay
www.pinterest.com/encourageplay  

15 Solutions for Better Thinking and Self-Regulation ~ LIVE Webcasts

In her upcoming book, Play Activities For Better Thinking, Self-Regulation and Motor Skills in Children ages 3-12, pediatric psychologist Dr. Lynne Kenney integrates the newest neuroscience research with practical activities designed to enhance executive function, learning, behavior and self-regulation.

Now you can get a sneak preview of 15 of the neurocognitive activities as well as brain-based strategies in two LIVE 2 hr webcasts Tuesday April 8, 2014.

Join us LIVE April 8, 2014 Brain-Based Parenting 1:00 pm Eastern

Join us LIVE April 8, 2014 Self-regulation 3:15 pm Eastern

Practical research-based cognitive and motor activities to alert or calm the mind.

Live demonstrations of brain-based techniques you can use at home, in the office and in the classroom.

Live music with composer Nacho Arimany, co-producer of inTime with Sheila Allen and Alex Doman of Advanced Brain Technologies.

Apply the latest neurocognitive science to learning and behavior

  • Easy to implement high-energy activities
  • Activities you can do without any equipment at all
  • Step-by step instructions provided in simple never before seen worksheets
  • Strategies to help difficult children become more interested and invested in learning
  • State-of the-art resources, books and links

What is neurocognition?

Why do we need to move to think?

How and why music improves learning

How to use a ball to alert or calm the brain

How to work smarter, not harder

How to activate the brain and calm the mind for better learning and behavior

How to enhance rhythm and timing for better memory, learning and behavior

Join us LIVE April 8, 2014 Brain-Based Parenting 1:00 pm Eastern

Join us LIVE April 8, 2014 Self-regulation 3:15 pm Eastern

Here are three activities to get you started.

1. What’s in the bag ~ Hide n Seek in a bag, what could be more delightful! Have child collect five objects they like, put them in bag one at a time, allow child to explore outside of bag with hands to determine what is inside.

2. Roll and release ~ Teach mood modulation with slow medium and fast seated ball rolling.

3. Let’s not do it ~ Consider an action that your child needs to reduce and practice not doing it. “Hold on, let’s not do it.” “What can we do instead?”

Hope to see you there!

#Brain Awareness Week: Your Brain on Music & Math

inTimeMusic, particularly beautifully orchestrated music can enhance brain function. The immediate benefits of calming, pleasure and stress-relief are well-documented. Newer realms of research show us how music impacts educational progress, neuronal connections and pain relief.

March 10-16, 2014 is Brain Awareness Week.  Yet, awareness and brain enhancement happens year-long. Here are some fascinating studies and tools to begin your own journey to brain wellness.

1. The Arts & Cognition Consortium: Arts training enhances brain function PODCAST on Music and Math

Harvard’s Elizabeth Spelke, Ph.D. helps us understand the role of music and math. This is a particular interest of mine, ever since I started using movement, blocks and music to teach children ages 4-12 math facts and factors.

Play Math is FREE grab it, use it and share it.

2. inTime: The revolutionary music technology for better brain health

Music and rhythm enhance brain connections. Children, teens, and adults can engage with the rhythm-based music of inTime to help stimulate rhythm awareness, focus, timing precision and adaptive responses to stress, all of which supply your brain with the highest quality of stimulation it needs for optimal function. As brain health and the brain-body connection improve, these abilities improve as well.

inTime is compelling with it’s rhythmic percussion and ambient sounds. The world music of inTime is entirely composed and played by Nacho Arimany, who brings his distinctive blending of rhythms and instrumentation, old and new, from cultures and regions across the globe. inTime’s signature sound is achieved through masterful emphasis of orchestrated percussive rhythms and specified sound frequencies as the basis for a rich melodic and harmonic structure.

Recordings were done in High Definition sound within natural acoustic space to capture the sound and spirit of over 100 instruments; including membranous drums from West Africa and the Middle East, clay drums from Nigeria, South India, and South America, seed instruments from Colombia and Brazil, Malian calebasses, Vietnamese wooden frogs and much more. Combined, they create the beautiful, powerful, and effective music of inTime.

3. Pleasing Music Offers Pain Relief

“When scientists asked study volunteers to evaluate pain while they listened to different types of music, researchers found that people who listened to excerpts of music judged by most to be pleasant (such as the Romantic music piece “The Blue Danube Waltz“) reported less pain than those who listened to unpleasant music (such as Steve Reich’s modern classical piece “Pendulum Music“). The more pleasing the listeners found the music to be, the less pain they felt.”

Rhythm, timing and music please, calm and ready the brain for learning and peace.

Play: It’s More Than Therapy ~ Join Us February 2014

PLAYScotland and England, here we come! Working on dates now for Play: It’s more than therapy. Next stop, Indiana February 4-7, 2014 PLAY Merrillville, Fort Wayne, Carmel, Evansville, Indiana. There is still time to sign-up call PESI 1-800-844-8260.

In this applied play therapy presentation we explore the current neuroscientific underpinnings of child development, communication, social-emotional skills, and behavior with an emphasis on how play therapy enhances executive function, metacognition and daily functioning.

Moving beyond theory and into practice, clinicians will learn the brain-based reasons why and how play therapy works. Reviewing over 20 play therapy tools and techniques clinicians will have the opportunity to create their own written play therapy methodologies with an ability to articulate what they do and why they do it, from the perspective of brain science. By delving into the meaning of narrative communication, social skill development and academic enhancement, we will broaden the landscape of therapeutic interventions in play therapy for ADHD, SPD, OCD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, anxiety, trauma and depression. Here is the ppt for download with over 100 books, resources, products and play concepts.

Dr. Lynne is bringing brain-based interventions to clinicians, teachers and parents worldwide. Is she speaking in your city?

#Free Printable Social Skills Curriculum

WOW! We’ve gotten a lot of great questions this month. Today’s reader question, “How do I teach our son how to introduce himself to others at the bus stop.” He stands off to the side, alone, even though I know he wants to join in.”  So click, I run to my pal Google Scholar and Voila! Dr. Lawrence Shapiro has written an activities book on enhancing social skills that is free. READY TO USE SOCIAL SKILLS ACTIVITIES Gee, I love experts who do that.

Here you go, mom. ShapiroIn Common Dr. Shapiro has an entire section on introducing oneself. Let us know how it goes, we are listening.

Neurocognitive Training Jan 15-17, 2014 #Boston

Can’t wait to see Boston area teachers, psychologists, school psychs, PTs, OTs, PTs, parents and SLPs for CE ~ Neurocognitive Interventions for Behavior and Learning Jan 15-17, 2014. We’ll dance, sing and learn about brain development. There is still time to sign-up call 800-844-8260.

January 15-17, 2014 Practical Brain Based Dedham, Natick, Woburn
February 4-7, 2014 PLAY Merrillville, Fort Wayne, Carmel, Evansville, Indiana
April 28-30, 2014 Practical Brain-Based Kansas City, Columbia and St Louis MO

Boston PESI

Did You Know That Square Numbers Are Actually Squares! #Math

Ready to teach your 6 to 12 year olds fact families and factors. It’s so easy with Play Math.

When children learn that all whole number fact families are squares and rectangles they become confident that they can figure out the product of any two whole real numbers. I mean, really, who knew that a square number is actually a square, cool eh! Here is the Play Math Manual October 2013.

Anyone can play math, even older kids can teach younger kids, it’s a fun way to learn conceptual math.

We use SparkPe equipment and Unifix blocks, kids love ‘em. Get your math equipment here.
SPARKPE PLAY MATH unifix

My Very Own School (ages 3-6) #Free Printable

MVOS CoverEver since I worked in the inner city of Los Angeles back in the 1980′s I have interacted with parents who wish to introduce routines, schedules and enrichment into the lives of their little ones but they are not quite sure how to. Back then I was working in schools and I observed that in Kindergarten children were coming together in circle time to learn what their day had planned. Then they were off to Centers, Outdoor Play and more. The children delighted in knowing what was next. It gave them a sense of mastery throughout their day.  The visual aspect of seeing their daily schedule helped their brains to preview and plan.

So I wrote an 18-page handout called My Very Own School for families as a resource to help them with daily scheduling. When Wendy Young and I wrote Bloom: Helping children blossom, I took the time to transfer the MVOS handout into a printable I have been using with families in my practice. MVOS offers ideas about the order of events during the day along with resources to find quality enrichment activities. download it, use it, change it, improve it and adapt it to your own family. For more on the importance of daily routines, schedules and rhythms see The Family Coach Method. Enjoy!

My Very Own School Jan 2014 v 1 CLICK ON LINK TO DOWNLOAD FOR FREE. Share, share, share It’s Free.

How To Stay In The Play with Your Little Ones

Interactive activities with children shift and change, come front of mind and move on. That’s one of the greatest aspects of working with families, we attend to what they need, in the moment. Sometimes it is brain-based skills, other times it is enhancing executive function. Today is play.

Recently two parents who read The Family Coach Method asked me, “How do I use the space between to stay in the play?” Bright questions, from two caring families.

As I tell families, the space between you and your child is the area between the two of you where you communicate, build skills and enhance your relationships. It is as though there were a hoola-hoop between you delineating a space of growth and change.

It is within this space, face to face, on the floor, at a kitchen counter or at the park where you offer your child new words and actions for better decision-making, social skills and feelings management.

Staying in the play shows creativity how to flourish

When you sit on the floor and play with your child, the space between you is the area in which play themes are explored, imagination thrives and creativity expands. Whether you are building with Legos, drawing or playing pretend, “staying in the play” is the gift of mindful interaction, you give your child.

What does it mean to stay in the play?

Staying in the play means engaging in child-lead play without shifting to reality-based questions or communication. Staying in the play means moving with the child-lead themes, expanding them and allowing your child to flourish in play.

Let us consider Mommy Jessica and Jameson (age 4). Today they are playing at the Thomas The Train table in their living room. It is full of trains, train tracks and colorful objects of play. The play theme the child has introduced is going to the store.

Jameson: “Thomas is going to the store, Mommy.”
Jessica: “How are we going to get there?”
Jameson: “Here you take Arthur, he’s coming too.”
Jessica: “Here is Arthur, he’s going to the store with Thomas.”
Jameson: “No, not that way this way,” as Jameson moves his train along the train track.
Jessica: “Oh, I see we’re going this way.” “Arthur is so excited to go to the store.”
Jameson: “We’re getting apples for lunch mommy.”

Staying in the play is moving with the theme, introducing words that enhance the theme and being in the play.

Jessica: “Oh, Arthur loves apples.”
Jameson: “I love apples with almond butter.”
Jessica: “Yum, me too.” “We can get Thomas apples and almond butter.”

Moving away from the play would be if Jessica brought reality into the play, thus stopping the creative flow. It might sound like this:

Jessica: It’s not apple season, we have no apples.”

Or

Jessica: “But you are allergic to apples, we cannot get those.”

When we stay in the play, what is creative and imagined, is the joy. We need not talk about the future, we need not discuss allergies, we just stay with the theme and allow the child to explore and discover.

Here’s another example.

Daddy Martin and Sarah (age 5) are playing “My Little Ponies.” One of the ponies has gotten aggressive and is hitting another pony.

Sarah: “My little pony is named Lizzy.”
Martin: “I see Lizzy the pony.”
Sarah: “The big pony is smashing the little pony.”
Martin: “Oh that must hurt.”
Sarah: “It does.”
Martin: “How can we help?”
Sarah: “Let’s throw the big pony away.”
Martin: “Maybe we can show the big pony how to be gentle.”
Sarah: “How?”
Martin: “Big pony we like to play. But when you hurt the little pony, it’s not fun to play with you.”
Sarah: “That’s right, we don’t like you.”
Martin: “We can all like each other if we play with gentle hooves. Maybe we can dig in the pony garden. Let’s do it with kind bodies.”
Sarah: “Yes, we can like you then.”

Martin did a lovely job as a dad, staying with his daughter’s theme by offering the HOW ~ How can we all play nicely and the WHAT ~ What do we need to do with our bodies to be nice?

Stepping out of the play could have sounded like this:

Martin: “These toys are expensive, if you do not use them properly you will get a time-out.”

Or

Martin: “You are not playing nicely, just like when you are at school.”

In this case, the daddy stayed with the play and provided an opportunity for Sarah to learn:

1. How to collaborate together to help teach the pony to be kind.
2. That when we make mistakes, we can learn new words and behaviors to get along better with others.
3. That the space between is an area, where we can explore themes without getting in trouble.
4. Play is where we learn new skills, new thoughts, words and actions.
5. In play we can pretend.

Martin is so skillful, he might later introduce that sometimes the big pony hurts the little pony because he has hurting feelings himself. Then at play, he could explore with his daughter what underlies the pony’s misbehavior, possibly impacting Sarah’s own ability to develop skills that will lead to more successful social interactions at home and at school.

When parents learn to stay in the play, the play experience is more enjoyable and fruitful for all. Simply be present, stay with the theme and when you are not sure what to say or do next, be quiet and wait for the next verbal prompt from your child. Children know how to play. They will lead the way.

To learn more about play, feelings and interaction with your little ones, here are a few resources:

Kidlutions
Moving Smart
Teach Preschool
Kimochis
Brain Insights
Sue Atkins

As I like to say, “We move to learn, we play to behave.” Let us know about your play experience www.lynnekenney.com or twitter @drlynnekenney. Wishing you all peace, joy and creative play today.

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Copyright © 2014 Dr Lynne Kenney