Meghan Tuohy Walls, PsyD, Author at Nemours Blog

Meghan Tuohy Walls, PsyD

Squid Game: 10 Things Parents Need to Know

Squid Game: 10 Things Parents Need to Know

Squid Game. The latest Netflix/internet obsession. After admittedly watching the series myself (spurred by patients asking about it), there are a few things parents should know. There is enough violence, ethical dilemmas, and other mature content to draw a hard line: your young children should absolutely not watch this show. Still, teachers and schools are reporting kids emulating Squid Game at recess and in the classroom. The show itself is rated mature (17+). Teens of all ages, however, are likely to watch it or hear about it. Keep these things in mind as you navigate their viewing:  Watch Squid Game, or at least one episode, before you allow your teens to view it. You should be prepared, minimally, to have conversations about the difficult topics and those are easier to navigate when you have seen the content as well. If you are a parent of younger kids, keep them in […]

How to Get Kids to Listen Without Yelling

How to Get Kids to Listen Without Yelling

How many times have we told our children to do something (put on their boots, come down for dinner, put away the phone) and they just don’t do it. Frustrating?  You bet. As parents, we sometimes escalate the situation by yelling. It’s a knee-jerk reaction to get louder when we give commands that are ignored. Kids of every age will test limits. When you tell them to do something (or stop doing something) they often won’t comply with the first command.  They want to see what you’ll do next. Their goal is to get what they want – to keep doing something they like, to avoid something they don’t.  Try these techniques to get kids to listen without yelling, keeping in mind the child’s age and developmental level. Get on Their Level Go to their space and get on their level.  It’s probably not effective to yell from the kitchen,  […]

Rise & Shine: How to Rethink Your Morning Routine, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Rise & Shine: How to Rethink Your Morning Routine

Is your morning routine giving you and your kids a meltdown? Wouldn’t it be great if you could get the entire family up, fed, dressed, prepared for the day, and out the door without it becoming a stressful nightmare? Everyone, especially children, need some time to make the transition from sleep into the busy activity of the day. And many children don’t like to feel pushed. Having a clear morning routine structure in place can give your children a sense of trust, safety and security. If they know what to expect, they’ll be able to easily move through their responsibilities and start off the day the right way. Use these strategies to rethink your idea of morning activities. You’ll be more likely to stay on schedule and also support your kids becoming more independent.   Is the Whole Family Getting Enough Sleep? If everyone in your house gets enough sleep, […]

Digital Screen Time and Links to ADHD, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Digital Screen Time and Links to ADHD

Too much screen time has long been linked to an increased risk of emotional and behavioral problems, especially when kids engage for long stretches — like watching TV for hours or playing too many video games­. The long-term health effects of being constantly connected to smart devices isn’t as well understood. But several recent studies show that these screens can have a negative impact on social behavior, sleep quality, and mood. And one study links attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to teen use of digital devices. Understanding ADHD According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood, affecting 8%‒10% of children and teens. The causes of ADHD are still unclear. Research does not show a link with eating too much sugar, parenting, or social and environmental factors like poverty. But these factors, and many others, can make symptoms […]

Kids and Mobile Devices: 5 Ways Parents Can Take the Wheel, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Kids and Mobile Devices: 5 Ways Parents Can Take the Wheel

This is part 3 in a series on kids and the role of mobile, digital and social media in their lives. While media by itself is not the leading cause of any health problem in the U.S., it can contribute to numerous health risks. Excessive media use has been associated with obesity, lack of sleep, school problems and behavior issues. At the same time, kids can have positive experiences through digital access. As discussed in earlier posts, they are forming valuable social relationships and using their devices and social media for education. The best way for parents to get into the driver’s seat when it comes to their children’s digital use is to have an open and honest conversation with them. And the sooner the conversation is had, the better. Start the Conversation To begin your conversation, stress to kids that their digital experience is all about making good choices. […]

Kids and Mobile Devices: What’s Up With YouTube, School Apps, and Messages?, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Kids and Mobile Devices: What’s Up With YouTube, School Apps, and Messages?

This is part 2 in a series on kids and the role of mobile, digital and social media in their lives Children in the U.S. get their first mobile device as early as age 8. These “digital natives,” or the iGeneration, use their mobile devices for many activities, including accessing their social media. So it’s important to understand those apps, which we detailed in our first blog post in this Kids and Mobile Devices series. But kids also use their phones to watch videos, access schoolwork and communicate with teachers and classmates, and to text or messaging one another and their parents. Videos and Live Streaming – What Are They Watching? YouTube remains the leading online video platform, and by a significant margin. It’s almost certain your kids are watching YouTube videos. Nearly all (95%) of the iGeneration uses YouTube and nearly half say they can’t live without it. They […]

Kids and Mobile Devices: What’s Up With Social Media?, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Kids and Mobile Devices: What’s Up With Social Media?

Mobile, digital and social media usage has played a predominant role in the lives of families for the past 15 years. But many parents still struggle to understand what’s happening when it comes to the digital usage of children, adolescents and teenagers. The generation of digital natives, often referred to as iGeneration, have immersed themselves in a world of apps, smartphones and tablets. It’s important for parents to know what’s being used and what for, as well as how to best protect kids as the digital world continues to expand. Most Kids Have a Cell Phone The Nielson fourth quarter 2016 Mobile Kids Report states that most children in the U.S. get their first mobile device and service at age 10 (some even as young as 8). These kids usually share the same plan as their parents, and most have all mobile wireless services including voice, messaging and data. Parents […]

Toddlers need little to no screen time.

10 Ways to Limit Screen Time

Did you know that, besides sleeping, most American children spend more time watching television and looking at screens than doing almost anything else ? In fact, most kids spend nearly six hours per day in front of TV and other screens (excluding homework). That’s 42 hours per week of screen time – the equivalent of a full time job! When used wisely, high-quality and educational television and apps can help children learn. But the more time children spend playing video games, texting and watching TV, the less time they have for studying, reading and physical activity.  Media use also interferes with sleep. Many studies have even shown a link between the amount of TV kids watch and their being overweight. If you want to reduce screen time and make TV and other screens less tempting to your children, try these ten tips: Keep the TV, laptop, tablet, etc. in a central […]

Vaccines: It Doesn't Have to Hurt, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Vaccines: It Doesn’t Have to Hurt

Back-to-school is approaching fast. If you’re like many parents, that means back-to-school physicals and possibly vaccines or blood draws for your kids too. For some families, this topic makes kids and parents alike cringe. We know the critical importance of vaccinations, but it doesn’t make it easier on a child who is frightened of needles, or on parents as they watch their kids squirm, scream, and cry in anticipation of the shot or needle. Thankfully, research doesn’t stop at the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Dr. Christine Chambers and Anna Taddio are well-known pediatric psychologists who study pain and have worked to get the message out publicly that pain management in kids is important and accessible, especially in the case of vaccine! The campaign, “It Doesn’t Have to Hurt” is an excellent resource for parents. Currently, fewer than 5% of kids receive any pain management during vaccines. It’s reassuring to […]

Mental Health and Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Meghan Tuohy Walls, PsyD | Promise, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Mental Health and Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Social media is a widespread way for teens and tweens to communicate. A recent survey on teen media use revealed that 39% of teens prefer Snapchat as their preferred social media channel, with Instagram a close second at 23%. Teens are spending more and more time being inundated with images, ads, and thoughts from not only their peers, but celebrities and other teens they may not even know. Social media surely has its positive aspects. There’s no doubt it has helped raise money for good causes, and makes connecting easier. But teens and tweens can fall into traps that bring out the negatives of scrolling through pictures on Instagram or watching Snapchat stories. As we close out Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s take a look at how social media impacts kids’ mental health. Studies Show… The Royal Society for Public Health, based in the United Kingdom, looked at social media and […]

13 Things to Consider about 13 Reasons Why, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

13 Things to Consider About “13 Reasons Why”

If you’re a teen, tween, parent, or just a Netflix aficionado, you’ve likely heard of the new series, 13 Reasons Why. If you haven’t, the premise is that Hannah, a high school student, has already died by suicide when the series begins. She leaves behind 13 tapes for the people she blames for her eventual death. The series shows the people on the tapes working their way through them, and ends with a graphic scene of Hannah taking her own life. Some are praising this work for suicide awareness. And while suicide awareness is indeed very important and much needed — suicide is the second leading cause of death for young adults — the way this show depicts suicide overlooks important media recommendations offered by experts on the portrayal of suicide. John Ackerman, PhD, suicide prevention coordinator and clinical psychologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, spells it out further in […]

5 Simple Ways to Grow Good Behavior With Time-Ins, by Meghan Tuohy Walls, PsyD, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

5 Simple Ways to Grow Good Behavior With Time-Ins

We all know about time-outs: Sending children to their room or removing them from enjoyable people or activities. But how well do we practice time-ins, which help reinforce good behaviors? And why should we work on quality time together? Why Time-Ins and Quality Time? Quality time with parents provides many benefits to kids. An important thing to remember is that quality really does matter over quantity. It’s not necessarily how many minutes you spend with your children, but that you’re present and make the time matter when you’re together. Research suggests positive quality time with parents results in a number of positive outcomes, including: strengthening the parent-child relationship fostering communication improving behavior decreasing later risks in adolescents for both mental health and health outcomes You’re also modeling positive relationships for your children and helping them understand the importance of being engaged and consistent. Start Simple 1. Snuggle. Be generous with your […]

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