All Posts Tagged: delray beach

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How Will The Delta Variant Affect Going Back To School?

The coronavirus pandemic has affected our world in so many ways and we aren’t in the clear yet, despite vaccine availability. The virus continues to evolve, which is especially concerning if you’ll have children attending in-person classes this fall; as children head back to school, they do so under the specter of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

The pandemic response is deeply impacting our children. Virtual learning has become common, so kids who will be attending traditional classrooms this year may not have done so during the last school year. As a result, they may need to cope with new rules and regulations designed specifically for the safety of all students. In addition, extra-curricular programs like sports or clubs may be closed due to fears of exposure. It is also likely our children will have less of a chance to gather with friends at school as teachers and administrators attempt to maintain social distancing.

What Is The New Delta Variant Of Covid

The Delta variant, originating in India and first making news around the middle of June, has caused concern among health experts as cases become more prevalent.

The new strain is spreading more rapidly than COVID-19 strains before it. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the Delta variant is now responsible for more than 80% of new cases in the country.

Delta is different from prior variants because it is not only much more contagious, it also grows more rapidly in the respiratory tract and is making people sicker faster.

Are Children At Lower Risk Of COVID-19 Than Adults?

Originally, Covid-19 was affecting mostly older adults. Children were less vulnerable to the virus. That is no longer the case. Because the Delta variant is so transmissible and vaccines aren’t yet available for children younger than 12, kids are now at a higher risk of contracting Covid than they have been in the past.

Research, however, has proven that vaccination is an effective way to protect against COVID-19. For this reason, it’s safest for all children 12 years of age and older to be vaccinated from the disease. However, unvaccinated children are also safe in the classroom as long as they take precautions such like masking and limiting social contact during their time at school.

Delta Variant Symptoms In Children

The symptoms of the Delta variant are basically the same as those we all know by heart now: fever, coughing, shortness of breath, headache, and the possible loss of taste and / or smell. The problem with the Delta variant is the fact that it has a greater chance of becoming serious – especially among the unvaccinated.

Delta Variant Back To School Safety Tips

After vaccination (which may be available to kids younger than 12 by the end of 2021), wearing a mask is the most important thing your children can do in the classroom. This goes for school staff and teachers, as well – regardless of vaccine status.

Although schools will try to keep kids socially distant, this can be a challenge when they are indoors. It may be hard for them to physically distance themselves from friends after possibly spending the last year separated from them through virtual learning. In addition, the fact that they have to stay socially distant can create anxiety for some kids who may fear that others will get sick and pass the virus on to them.

We know that children naturally crowd together during more social times, such as at lunchtime. While recent studies have shown that we only need to be three feet apart (instead of six), you will still want to teach your child the importance of wearing their masks at all times, except when actively eating or drinking. Also, remind your kids to wash their hands often during the school day and teach them to cover their sneezes and coughs with their elbow.

At the same time, try to avoid making your children feel overly cautious to the point that they are afraid to do anything. While it’s good to make them aware of their part in helping to stop the virus’ spread, it can be upsetting and frustrating for them to be constantly on guard and worrying about everything little thing they do.

Lastly, it’s important to make sure your child’s school has good policies in place to limit infection. Since masking provides extra protection against the virus, there should be a universal masking requirement in the school. In addition, the school should take steps to immediately quarantine students or staff who show signs of being symptomatic.

To support your child’s mental health during this school year, remember to keep to a routine. Doing so gives kids a sense that things are under control. Also be sure to foster an environment in which your children know that you are willing to discuss any worries or fears they might be facing.

We Are Here For You

If you are concerned that your child is struggling emotionally or showing signs of pandemic anxiety or depression, contact The Children’s Center for Psychiatry Psychology and Related Services in Delray Beach, Florida or call us today at (561) 223-6568.

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Children wearing face masks

What We Have Learned From 2021

No one can deny that 2021 has been a momentous year. It has had a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly for sure. It has at times been frightening, confusing, comforting and educational. We have witnessed a very unusual presidential election, a subsequent denial by some of the validity of the election and an unheard of polarization of our peers and lawmakers. Most critically, we have endured a gift that keeps on giving; the novel coronavirus that has killed countless people world-wide and more fellow Americans than we would have ever anticipated. We have had to learn the meaning of the word epidemiology as it relates to health and wellness. Unfortunately, we now know explicitly what a spike protein is and looks like. More than ever before we have been influenced (for good and bad) by the internet and social media. Although we have been witness to conspiracy theories in the past, but this year has certainly been a boon time for them.

So it is important for us to sit back and take stock of the emotional and psychological impact of these events.   A major fallout has been the confusion over what is fact and what is fiction. We have seen the major news networks disagreeing on many important issues. Who to believe? Proponents of networks that broadcast their unique take on the news may be diametrically opposite of the proponents of the “other” networks. To avoid getting into trouble I will leave the network names blank, but I am sure you know what I am talking about. There was a time in the 1950s and 1960s when veteran newscasters like Walter Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley, Douglas Edwards educated us nightly on national and world events. Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message” conveyed the power and influence of the media. Somewhere during the subsequent decades all this has changed. It became apparent to television and radio that communicating news is basically a form of entertainment. Like most popular entertainment venues it becomes essential to be able to sell the programs to the masses. Media outlets have always been for profit businesses (exceptions being Public Radio and Public Television) but it seems that profitability became linked to the entertainment value of their shows. Newscasters and news commentators became the entertainers that we see today. Walter Cronkite would not succeed as a newscaster in 2021.

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screen time

Screen Time Dangers And Your Kids – How To Set Limits

As pandemic restrictions begin to ease, parents are finding out just how reliant their kids have become on their screen time. For many families, shut downs forced us to turn to virtual entertainment. Schools went totally online. We dramatically increased our online communications with the loved ones we couldn’t see in person. The result is that now, more than ever, we’ve embraced the virtual world  – and many children are finding it hard to break their screen time “addiction.” How dangerous is screen time for our kids and how can parents restrict their online time?

What Do Kids Say About The Time They Spend On Their Devices?

Back in 2018, the Pew Research Center set up a study to see how much screen time use there was among children. At the time, 54 percent of the teens aged 13 – 17 were voicing concerns about the amount of time they were spending on their phones and online.

The study researchers reported that, “Some 52% of U.S. teens report taking steps to cut back on their mobile phone use, and similar shares have tried to limit their use of social media (57%) or video games (58%).”

But then Covid-19 came into our lives and our device use skyrocketed. We’re now worrying if screen time can cause any mental or physical harm to our children (or ourselves).

How Does Screen Time Change A Child’s Brain?

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Our Search for Meaningfulness

The human brain is a curious organ. It is programmed from birth to actively search the world around us. As we get older and mature this search gets fine tuned and focused. We pursue education, friendships, hobbies, sports. Our quest for life experience allows us to learn about the world around us and just as importantly develop a better sense of our own identity. We progress from a period of knowledge acquisition (“knowing”) that can last decades into a prolonged journey that requires that we utilize what we have learned and productively participate in life. This “doing” often includes pursuing gainful employment and careers, raising a family, involvement in spiritual endeavors, development of hobbies, political involvement and altruistic pursuits.

Is there a common thread throughout the stage of knowing and the stage of doing? Both stages involve the presence of meaningfulness. Knowledge, employment, raising a family, friendships all invest humans with a sense of value and worthiness. Curiosity without meaningfulness leads to emptiness. Curiosity requires the attainment of goals and real-time accomplishments. Otherwise curiosity ceases and is replaced with apathy and malaise.

All of us need day-to-day meaningfulness to replenish and sustain our souls. A healthy sense of self thrives on it. The covid 19 virus has created an overwhelming challenge to life’s meaningfulness. Our pandemic world has led to anxiety, an overarching sense of helplessness, and problematic hypervigilance as we worry about getting infected. Covid 19 imposed social isolation has led to depression, hopelessness, helplessness and family stress.

How to cope with a world that none of us have control over?

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What Makes A College A Great Fit For You During The Pandemic?

This is the time of year when college acceptances start coming in. Right now, both teens and parents are feeling incredibly overwhelmed in the decision making process, due to the pandemic. When looking at acceptance letters, what is the best way to determine what makes a college a good fit for them? Is staying close to home now the top priority?

Choosing A College During Covid

Often, high school seniors have a favorite college or university in mind, which they hope to attend because they think is best for them. While this may not always be an objective measure of a good fit, it is important that your child gets to include this college in their process of narrowing down the top college choices.

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In The Classroom: Supporting Your Child At School During Covid

Vaccines are beginning to be dispensed, so hope for an end to the pandemic is on the horizon. Life, however, is still far from normal. Education has been deeply impacted by the virus response. Virtual learning is now widespread, while kids in traditional classes are having to cope with untraditional rules and regulations aimed at keeping us all safe.

If your children are attending in-person classes, there is still a different aspect to their normal day-to-day learning. Many extra-curricular programs have been closed or are operating in a limited way. Staying socially distant means kids don’t interact the way they used to. Even classroom participation may have been reduced in an effort to keep kids and teachers safe.

Back To School Tips For Parents During Covid

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What About Kid’s Mental Health During Covid?

2020 has changed our world dramatically. We know that adults are struggling with the challenges brought on by shut downs and worries about protecting themselves and their families from the virus. But what about kid’s mental health during covid?

Our children have had to deal with their own upheavals. They’ve gone from familiar school routines and activities to shortened sports schedules, reduced or eliminated school programs and navigating through virtual learning while being isolated from friends. All of this disruption has raised their own stress levels.

Signs Of Pandemic Stress In Kids

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Is Election Stress Affecting Your Child?

Anxiety is mounting while the country waits for the official results of the 2020 election. In this unique pandemic year, the very contentious and now unresolved election has raised everyone’s stress levels. Since the topic is on everyone’s mind, there can be no doubt that election anxiety has affected our children as well. Regardless which side of the debate you land on, it is likely that you have been discussing the election in your home.

In the days before the election, the American Psychological Association (APA) conducted a “Stress in America” Harris poll that was set up to gauge stress levels. The results showed that the majority of Americans (68 %, in fact) reported feeling a significant amount of stress about the presidential race. This stress was felt across party lines. It is uncertain how much the stress of the ongoing pandemic has contributed to our anxiety, but we do know that the hotly debated and oftentimes nasty election has affected many people.

Results Of Election Stress On Kids

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Separation Anxiety: Going Back To School During The Pandemic

As the 2020 – 2021 school year begins, children who normally go through separation anxiety may be even more anxious about going back into the classroom during the pandemic. After all, the beginning of a new school year can be threatening during normal times, but returning into a situation where the coronavirus is likely to be present has raised anxiety levels in many kids and parents.

For parents who live in school districts that offer a choice between virtual or in-person learning, how do you make a decision about which is best for your child? Being safe at home means that kids who have special needs or who learn better in person will lose out on many learning opportunities. Children who are fearful of being in a classroom, however, will struggle more if they have to go back into the school.

All this stress can bring up school refusal in kids, not to mention heightened school anxiety in parents.

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kids at summer camp

More Pandemic Grief: No Summer Camp, Plus School At Home

We’ve hit midsummer and kids across the country have had to deal with the disappointment of canceled summer camps this year. Now, many school districts are making parents choose between virtual learning this fall or sending their children to school during a pandemic. Some school districts are going entirely virtual. Having to face more upheaval in a year of unprecedented changes has brought up grief and anxiety for both kids and parents. Yet, despite this turmoil, there are some good things that have come from the pandemic.

The Good – Some Pandemic Silver Linings

One of the most significant changes are the family ties that formed or remodeled after our hectic lives were halted. Parents and kids are spending more time together as a family because extracurricular activities aren’t taking precedence. Plus parents who are working from home have extra time to interact with their children since they don’t have to commute.

Just being able to play like children has been good for kids. Often their lives are structured from the time they awaken until they fall into bed at night, so being able to simply play has been good for developing their imagination, exploring their world, and just being a kid.

The Bad – Pandemic Grief And Anxiety

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