Blog posts by Marcia Slattery, MD

Holiday Shopping Tips: Happy Kids and Healthy Brains

Holiday shopping is once again upon us—as your kids make their lists and write their letters to Santa, could the type of gifts they receive affect their brain development, not to mention how home life will be for everyone in the months ahead?

“Yes”, says Dr. Marcia Slattery, UW Health Professor of Child/Adolescent Psychiatry and Pediatrics. “A child’s brain goes through massive developmental changes throughout childhood and adolescence, and the type and variety of experiences a child has can influence the pathways and connections in the brain”.

Parents should keep this in mind as they set out on the challenge of holiday shopping for their children. The goal: selecting gifts that are fun, enjoyable AND promote healthy brain development.

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Screen Time Stress

Many parents may have experienced the challenges of getting kids to turn off electronic devices when time is up, and for some families it can even turn into a struggle with kids refusing to stop. Dr. Marcia Slattery, UW Health child and adolescent psychiatrist and director of the UW Anxiety and Stress Disorders Program, sees many families for whom screen time has become a “battle.”

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Helping Kids Manage the Anxiety and Stress of the Holidays

Helping Kids Manage the Anxiety and Stress of the HolidaysThe holidays can be a time of fun and lots of festivities. But what people often underestimate is how stressful they can be for both adults and kids. Winter break, traveling to see family, late nights with friends can all take their toll.

But, Dr. Marcia Slattery, UW Health child and adolescent psychiatrist and director of the UW Anxiety Disorders Program explains that what’s really at the root of the stress is that we lose our daily routine. Read more

Making the Transition Back to School

Transitioning Back to School

It seems like all school year long kids can’t wait for summer break. And just as soon as the family really starts to enjoy it, it’s August and time to start making the transition back.

Aside from the disappointment of vacation coming to an end, the start of school can be a source of anxiety for many kids as they worry about the unpredictable – who will be in their class, who will they have for teachers, if the work will be too hard for them. And this is especially true for kids who may be moving to new schools with the transition from kindergarten to first grade, elementary to middle school, or middle to high school. But there are ways parents can help.

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Helping Ease Summertime Anxiety

Summertime Anxiety

How can having no school, going to bed when they want, and sleeping in be causing kids anxiety? It may seem counter intuitive, but it’s true. And if your kids are showing signs of being restless, irritable and maybe even reluctant to go do things , chances are they may be feeling anxious. Kids need a framework for their day. If there’s ambiguity – too much unstructured time or unpredictability – there’s increased anxiety.

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