Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Visual Picture of a Long Term Goal

So the journey to becoming a Clinical Psychologist is quite a long one.  During my 2nd year, a mentor of mine stated very frankly, "Just keep jumping. There are going to be alot of hoops to jump, but keep jumping."  I've been jumping for along time now.  A friend of mine, who has been jumping along with me, sent this to me to help put our long term goal into perspective.  No matter what your long term goals are, approach them with courage, determination, and humor.  Just when you think you have made it, you will likely look forward to the next set of hoops and challenges required to attain your next goal in life.  Never lose sight of the bigger picture.  Live life to the fullest and be present in the moment.

Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge
By the time you finish elementary school, you know a little:

By the time you finish high school, you know a bit more:

With a bachelor's degree, you gain a specialty:

A master's degree deepens that specialty:

Reading research papers takes you to the edge of human knowledge:

Once you're at the boundary, you focus:

You push at the boundary for a few years:

Until one day, the boundary gives way:

And, that dent you've made is called a Ph.D/Psy.D.:

So, don't forget the bigger picture:

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Managing Back to School

Happy Back to School and beginning of Fall.  It's the time of school supplies, cooler weather, beautiful leaves, college football, and adjusting from Summer to Fall schedules.  As parents may know, the morning school routine runs best for everyone when schedule stay consistent.  Whether it's summer or winter, our kids should have the same amount of sleep each night and they should go to bed and get up at relatively the same times.  

With the beginning of the school year, there is excitement and parents are often committed to helping their child have the best year they can.  When our children have good days, parents and teachers have good days.  Here are some tips to help everyone find success during the new school year:

1) Establish bedtime routines for everyone!  We all need certain amounts of sleep.  School age children (Between the ages of 4 and 12) need at least 10 hours of sleep a night.  Therefore, if your child has to be up for Elementary or Middle school at 6:00am, they need to be in bed and sleeping by about 8:00pm.  As your adolescent enters high school they still need 8 to 9 hours to function at their greatest potential.  

2) Even though kids may put up a fight about going to bed, "that early" those brains are working hard throughout the day and when tv time, ipods, and video games are taken out of the bedtime routine, they actually have time to relax and feel ready to sleep.  Electronics and bright lights activate everyones brains.  Therefore, the best thing to do before bed is head into your dark bedroom, climb into bed, and just close your eyes.  If anything, reading can calm or tire the eyes so this can be a great time for parents and kids to read a short story.  

3) Create a homework routine.  Depending on your child, it may be best for them to complete homework shortly after returning from school after a snack.  Or, they may want to have an hour of play time to exert some pent up energy.  However, instilling in your child that homework is a responsibility and it should be done before other privileges.  Once homework is complete, pack up backpacks and keep them close to the door each night.  This will cut down of phone calls to parents at home or work stating something has been forgotten. 

4) As a family, discuss your upcoming weekly schedule over the weekend.  When everyone knows what is coming up that week, it cuts down on confusion and helps everyone plan their time wisely.  With many activities going on at this time of the year, a family dinner may not be possible every night.  Discussing which nights it will be possible, will help family members to know when that important family time will take place.  

5)  Communicate constantly!  Parents and children should have open communication whether your child is 5 or 17.  By establishing open communication early, children can feel comfortable turning to their parents when they are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or if they are struggling with their peers.  

This is a wonderful time of year, that is fast paced and filled with fun.  It is also a time to teach our children the importance of education, structure, responsibility, and time management.  Support your child, enjoy time together as a family, and have a wonderful school year!