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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