The Impact of Heavy Screen Time on Your Child's Brain

Boy Holding Video Controller GAME OVER LGScreen time and the appropriate use has been a topic of discussion for years now, but do we truly know what the side effects are regarding screen time. Here at Play Attention, we have also discussed screen time at length because we believe it is an important conversation to have due to the potential impacts it has to cognitive development.

Currently, the National Institute of Health (NIH) is conducting a multi-year study looking specifically at the impacts of heavy screen time in children and the effect that the screen time has on their brains.  An article by Medical Press, Heavy Screen Time Appears to Impact Children’s Brains, looks at a recent interview done between one of the researchers; Gaya Dowling, an NIH doctor, and 60-Minutes.

The study is still in very early stages and is not set to release preliminary findings until early 2019 but in the interview. Dr. Dowling...

Calming Foods for the ADHD Mind

A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that the quality of a child’s diet is associated with their ability to self-regulate their emotions and behaviors. Healthy diets showed a significant improvement in emotional health and unhealthy diets were associated with emotional distress.

ADHD children are often more hyperactive and emotional than their peers. Implementing a healthy diet may help manage these symptoms and improve their ability to navigate and properly express their emotions.

An article from shares these tips to help your child stay calm and mindful.

  1. Balance the macronutrients and the micronutrients in your diet. We need a balanced mixture and amount of these to function and feel at our best.
  2. The key micronutrients are iron, magnesium, niacin, thiamine, vitamin D, vitamin B6, and zinc. It’s best to get these nutrients through...

Activity 1 for Teens: Journaling

Play Attention improves the cognitive skills that lay the foundation for strong Executive Functioning, but many of our clients would like to know other activities they can do outside of their Play Attention sessions to improve cognitive skills Child 360791 640even more.  In the coming weeks, we'll be giving specific examples of such activities divided into age category.  This week, we're going to talk about teens.

Activity 1 for Teens: Journaling
Areas developed: Self-Reflection

Every Play Attention session ends with the Journal, which is an electronic opportunity for self-reflection.  Asking questions like, "what I learned" and "what I'm proud of" prompts an individual to internally evaluate the experience they just had, which in turn facilitates a better understanding of the experience they had.  Part of the process of learning certain cognitive skills is understanding how...

Chronic School Stress and Children

Stress is defined by the American Psychological Association as; any uncomfortable "emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological and behavioralSchool Stress changes. Some stress can be beneficial for our wellbeing; however, when stressors become chronic this is when it can affect our health.” Chronic stress occurs when everyday stressors are ignored or poorly managed, as well as exposure to a traumatic event. Chronic stress can lead to anxiety and depression as well as risk for heart disease or abuse of addictive substances.  

A recent article by ADDitude Magazine; Why School Stress is Devastating for Our Children, explored how chronic stress is affecting children especially ones with ADHD and learning disabilities (LD).  This is troubling because chronic stress can affect our brains and how we handle situations. It can also prevent us from reaching our...

ADHD and Exaggerated Emotions

Children with ADHD often exhibit exaggerated emotions.  How can we help them develop emotional control?

Smiley 2979107 1280Recently an article in Additude magazine; Exaggerated Emotions: How and Why ADHD Triggers Intense Feelings, focused on reasons why this happens.

When looking at ADHD, it is often a lack of executive functioning that makes it difficult for individuals to complete mental functions and self-regulate their behavior. Emotional control is part of executive function and for one to be able to control their emotions they must be able to; pay attention to the situation, process the situation, control their impulsivity and respond appropriately. For individuals with ADHD this is almost impossible; thus, we often see the emotional outburst or exaggerated emotions as a result.

Thomas Brown, Ph.D., explains why ADHD sparks such intense anger, frustration, and hurt, “Challenges with...

Do sleep problems cause ADHD?

Shutterstock 1023149644We all know that if you don’t get enough quality sleep you will not have good attention. recently hosted a webinar about how sleep affects the ADHD brain and the two experts, Joel Nigg, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Super, M.D., gave some helpful insight on the subject. Here are some pinpoints from the discussion:

While it’s unusual for sleep to be the route cause of ADHD, it’s very common for children with ADHD to have sleep problems. The sleep problems are secondary to ADHD but it can make symptoms of ADHD worse. You get a vicious cycle where sleep can make ADHD worse and ADHD can make sleep more difficult.

A recent study showed that adolescents with less sleep did tend to have less attention, were more oppositional, and had sluggish cognitive tempo. However, it’s important to note that poor sleep is not associated with hyperactivity. When poor attention and irritability are...