Tag Archives: Dr. Keith Kanner

Your Family Matters

10 Jul

Running your kids………..

I usually don’t compare people to dogs, but then again, we are all animals by nature. As a dog lover of 6 ( 4 are rescue dogs ), I have 2 labs and a Golden and energy are their middle names, especially the Labs. I know quite well that if they don’t get that 15 to 20 minutes of exercise a day ( we play fetch and an interesting version of dog/person baseball ), they will likely get into trouble or dive me crazy . On the other hand. If they are given the attention to get things off their “paws”, they are loving, relatively calm ( Labs?) , and rest peacefully at night. If this sounds familiar to kids, you are dead on.

The plethora of studies emphasizing the beneficial effects of regular exercise for children far exceed the amount of space for this week’s column. I will instead suffice it to say, exercise is better than any magic pill for both the physical and emotional sides of life. What’s nice is that the effects are immediate and long lasting if they are fun and enjoyable.

But for most kids, exercise is boring unless they are really into sports. This lasts into the teenage years when some then decide to pay attention to their bodies and decide to get into shape or are forced to by that high school coach The motivation here for most of the teens is to attract the opposite sex and become stronger than the concept of exercise as a form of self-therapy and self-care. That comes into play for many adults. The rest of the teens and adults alike tend to be sedentary and often overweight and depressed.

Now, getting kids to exercise when they don’t want to is a common parental battle often compared to bring a horse to water. On this one, I think we pick this battle for it has to do with both the physical and mental health of our kids. As a loving parent, we owe them a long and healthy life. So, how do we win this one? It’s actually pretty easy especially if you have dogs.

1. Exercise yourself as an example to your kids. Modeling behavior as a parent carries a lot of weight. Most kids identify with their parents – both the good and not good stuff – Exercise and fitness is obviously a good one.

2. Exercise with your kids on a daily basis. I personally love this one. My kids and I do a variety of challenges daily. Running time trials ; swimming; tennis; or we make up games like “tickle monster”. We engage in one of these for 20 minutes a day and we all feel and act better towards one another.

3. Reward the behavior. Make the outcome a celebration – make a healthy smoothie together. Kids love to win by the way and parents need to be okay with losing.

4. Take turns making up sport or activity games. The rules might get a little confusing and change frequently, but the idea is that everyone plays and gets the benefits of exercise. Consider NOT keeping score to reduce competition unless they are all against you make a big deal if they beat you.

I officially recommend adding running to your parent list of “things to do with my kids everyday”, and watch the benefits before your eyes. Stay healthy.

Dr. Keith Kanner

Anchor/Host Your Family Matters

Mental Health Expert/Contributor

NBC California Nonstop


Meaningful Gift Giving

12 Dec

Yesterday we blogged about some great gifts kids can make for friends and family. Today, Dr. Keith Kanner, shares his blog with us about the true meaning of gift giving.

Background:With the holidays just around the corner, children and adults alike are struggling to find that “right” gift for a loved one and become concerned with issues such as quantity, quality, degree of personal appreciation, and amount of money available for gift buying in an economy that is tight for many. The giving of a gift for most however, is, intended to be an expression of love, affection, and appreciation of others, while the receiver is commonly touched by the thought and investment of the other’s time and thought about the choice of the token.
The “right” or most meaningful gift however is typically based upon on how well the giver knows the needs, interests, and personality of the recipient. When this type of information is obtained, issues of quantity are replaced with the more important aspect of quality, and the outcome is a benefit for all. The recipient feels as though the giver took the time to find out what he or she was really in need of or interested in, while the giver then feels gratified that their choice was well accepted and appreciated. So, how does one go about obtaining this type of information? If one plans ahead, asking the recipient what they are interested in before the holiday season allows one to gain important and direct information. However, most people do not plan far in advance and then asking such questions too close to the season eliminates the surprise. In most cases, most people then rely on other people who know the interests of the person and t! his then helps narrow down possible gifts.

Once this type of information is obtained, the concern of finance then becomes an important consideration and the giving person must be realistic in what they are able to afford given other gift commitments for their entire lists. Here, perhaps having a number of possible “meaningful” gifts for the recipient is important for some will be more expensive than others and one may fit more into the budget than another.

For children giving gifts, they will typically need the assistance of their parents to both choose and purchase gifts for others. For many parents however, they often enjoy their child making them a gift, rather than buying one, and this is often more meaningful than any sort of purchased item. Here, again, the quality of the gift outweighs the amount of money spent of number of presents.

It is very important that parents teach their children early about the goals of gift giving – that gifts are tokens of love, appreciation, and an investment in trying to bring some joy to another person. Here is where the uniqueness of a gift becomes important as it relates to a person’s needs and desires and that they have more to do with the meaning of the gift rather than the price or amount of presents given or received.

After all, when all is said and done, most individuals, adults and children alike, seem to be most invested in gifts which fit their needs and interests, rather than numbers of gifts which end up being stored in a closet and never enjoyed.

Key Points:

1. The “right” or most meaningful gift however is typically based upon on how well the giver knows the needs, interests, and personality of the recipient. Quality is much more important than quantity.

2. The concern of finance then becomes an important consideration and the giving person must be realistic in what they are able to afford given other gift commitments for their entire lists.

3. For children giving gifts, they will typically need the assistance of their parents to both choose and purchase gifts for others.

4. It is very important that parents teach their children early about the goals of gift giving – that gifts are tokens of love, appreciation, and an investment in trying to bring some joy to another person. It is not the price of the gift, amount of gifts, but the thought and meaning behind the gift that is the most important.

Find more from Dr. Kanner, author of Your Family Matters, at kanner.tv

Laura Crawford
Social Media/Web Content Manager
Dr. Keith Kanner
Web: www.kanner.tv
Facebook: Dr.KeithKanner

The Man in the White Truck

17 Nov
We welcome back, Dr. Keith Kanner, as today’s guest blogger. Today is Child Protection Day and being aware of your surroundings is one way to keep your kids safe. We do not recommend approaching potentially dangerous people. Always contact the police. 
Also, below Dr. Kanner’s post, we have links that will help you teach your child about personal safety.
Many of us have witnessed this before…a lone man parked in a truck looking at a crowd of people and we ask why? This becomes an even more significant question and concern if the crowd they appear to be looking at are children. With the John Gardeners of the world who stalk, rape, and murder innocent children combined with the greater awareness of registered child molesters, “normal” parents are more aware these days, as they should be.
Two weeks ago I had a first-hand encounter with a man in a truck parked in front of my children’s school 30 minutes prior to the bell ringing. It was a strange experience. I was dropping off my 12-year-old daughter and noticed a man in a white truck eyeing children as they entered campus from the privacy of his front cab. He seemed very interested in something but I couldn’t determine what. I also noticed that his truck was very unusual.  It had no windows on the side or rear of the cab. It reminded me of the elevator in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. No windows and no doors.
Although creepy, I’m thinking maybe he was a parent, a school worker, or had some legitimate reason for being parked in front of the school. But why was he watching patrons coming into the school?  It was also September 12th, the day after our nation’s worst disaster in this century, so that was knocking at my brain as well. I thought about calling 911, but if I was wrong, it could greatly embarrass my kids. I could hear it now…. “My dad called 911 and caused a lock down”.  That’s a lot of points that I could risk losing as a parent. Instead, I decided to exit the parking lot and pull up behind him and watch for a while. It was now 15 minutes before the start of school and he was still gazing. I became a little nervous so I decided to pull my SUV up in front of his truck and introduce myself to get a better read on this man.  This is when things got interesting.
“Hi, how’s it going? I’m Dr. Kanner from Fox News and Ws Radio.”  He was uncomfortable but responded, “Hi”.  His face began to turn inward. “Are you a parent here at this school?” I asked. He replied, “No.” I then asked, “I have three children who attend school here. Are you a teacher or work at the school?” He hesitated and replied, “No”.  I added, “Well then, you must be employed somewhere in our little town here?” “Well, uh…no.” He stammered. I then asked, “SO WHY ARE YOU PARKED 5 FEET FROM A SCHOOL IN A WHITE TRUCK WITHOUT ANY WINDOWS OR DECALS ON YOUR VEHICLE?”  He nervously stated, “I was texting.”  Now I knew he was lying because I saw him watching kids and adults walking onto campus. For safety reasons, and a fear of possibly getting hurt, I decided not to confront him on his lie. The police can do that. So I changed course in my questions and calmed the situation down. “Okay.” I said. “I was worried as I’m writing a news story on child stalkers and you scared me.”  He responded with relief, “Well, that’s a great story!” I knew at this point that I could freely look into the back of his truck and there I saw some sort of strange cage or machine. I was thinking, what the heck is that?  Is that some sort of bomb or something? So now I am a bit fearful and inquired, “Well, after all, you have heard of John Gardener, haven’t you?  “Oh, yeah. That guy.” He replied, “Yes, that guy.” I responded “Who less than 5 miles from here stalked and raped and killed two teenage girls. Does the name Chelsea King ring a bell?” Now he looked puzzled. My goal here was to obtain as much information as I could about this guy and pass it along to the police so they could talk to him. He was clearly uncomfortable. I then felt the need to both try and get this guy out of here before school began to protect the kids, and also contact law enforcement, so I said, “Dude, if I were you, I’d never come back to this town again. I am planning on doing a feature story called “The man in the white truck who parks in front of schools choosing this particular place to text message.” “Don’t you think that’s a bit strange after our conversation here?” “Yes, I suppose so.” He responded.  I ended the conversation with “Seriously, by next week this place will be crawling with cops and I will be looking for guys in trucks like yours to interview for my story.  I’m sure the cops will want to interview you as well.”  “THANKS, MAN, FOR THE TIP.” He sighed. I ended with, “Sure thing.”  I then got into my car, took another snapshot of him, and waited for him to leave. He waited a minute and then started up his truck. I waited. I didn’t want to spook him, so I didn’t call 911.  Instead, I followed him out of our little town tailgating close behind him. I kept looking for a cop, but no luck. Once I got him out of the area while he watched me watch him, I returned to town and contacted the authorities.
After contacting law enforcement, I felt much better.  I supplied them with both a description of the man, photos of his truck, license plate number, and profile. The police and other agencies are checking him out as you read this, and I am looking forward to hearing what information they find on this particular man.
Although I felt courageous, the officers that I spoke with told me that in the future, it’s best to contact 911 even if one just has a hunch. They explained that the 911 operators will ask certain questions to determine if a police unit should be dispatched based on such information. I agreed but told them that my “dad instincts” couldn’t wait for an operator to make the call regarding the safety of my children, especially on the heels of the 9/11 anniversary.
The moral of this story is simple. It takes a village to keep our kids safe.  Be aware and make the effort to make it clear that as parents, we protect our children.
Dr. Keith Kanner
Anchor/Host Your Family Matters
Host:  Ask The Doctors: Relationship Edition
Fox 5 News – San Diego
Lifechanger-EXTRA TV
Personal Safety for Children: A Guide for Parents Download this free booklet developed by the Departments of Education, Justice and Health and Human Services and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Adult Personal Safety Tips Presented on Good Morning America
Child ID Kits CVS offers free Child ID Kits at the check out counters. Although this article mentions an expiration date, they are still available in stores. You can also contact your local police department to ask if they have child ID kits.

Managing the Back-to-School Blues

14 Sep
Are you ready to tackle the back-to-school blues in your house? Our guest, Dr. Keith Kanner, will give you some tips on how to manage the blues.
     Background:  By the end of this week, most children and adolescents will be back to school.  Although most parents took the appropriate measures to prepare them by talking about it and getting the needed “back to school supplies”, nevertheless, going back to school after summertime represents a significant transition for most kids. Typically, the first month back after summer is when parents experience the most significant battles over homework, getting up in the morning, turning off those cell phones, and being generally cooperative.  Such manifestations are due to the natural feelings that all children and adolescents experience when going back to school – a combination of frustration and perhaps some excitement about seeing their friends.  The adult comparison would be going back to work after a vacation where there was an absence of business problems, meetings, and deadlines.
     Adults seem to have an easier time understanding the concept of “Monday Morning Blues”, then being able to put themselves in the shoes of their children and responding as though they know how they feel.  However, children truly appreciate when their parent can associate with their inner experiences without them having to express themselves in words.  Remember the days when your child was an infant and as a caring and invested parent, you could determine what type of cry determined what particular feeling in them?  This was all done without words.  Just because a child develops the capacity to speak does not erase how important it is for parents to be able to “read” their child’s non-verbal cues to determine their mental state.  In fact, as children develop and strive towards independence from their parents, they naturally speak less until they get through the adolescent years, but still rely on that caring parent to “know them”.  Here, is where the continual investment of parenting comes into action – being able to let your child know that you know them and how they must feel.  Even making the attempt to convey your perception is worth the chance that they may tell you are wrong, but at least you tried and there is a chance they might actually share what it is they are feeling.
     Putting this concept into place comes in handy over this next month.  Most children and teenagers will have some “normal” adjustment issues to going back to school which could manifest in a number of typical ways:  a refusal to do homework; trouble getting up in the morning; irritability; acting out; and even some infrequent bed wetting, just to name a few.  Each of these “symptoms” are just that – indicators that your child is experiencing some very strong feelings about going back to school.  How a parent responds to this “regression” is very important however.  Perhaps the most common parental mistake is to just punish the behavior.  Punishment by itself does not work, but communicate to the child that their feelings and behavior are both bad.  There is a big difference between a feeling and a behavior.  It is a matter of how feelings are handled and the role of any parent is to help their child learn how to better manage feelings, not feel bad about them.  When parents merely punish a behavior, most children then generalize that the feeling was “bad” too and then a development of guilt over feelings becomes a pathological pattern rather than the emphasis be placed on appropriate behaviors.
     So, if your child is having such a “regression” due to school resuming, talk to them about how they are feeling and work together with them to get through the initial “shock period” of getting back into school.  Empathize, share how it was for you when you were a kid, and help them get their “job” accomplished by encouragement and some limits if necessary to “help” them manage, not punish them for feeling frustrated and perhaps saddened that vacation is over for a while.
Key Points:
1. Most kids will have some normal adjustment issues about going back to school
2. Help them by talking to them about how you think they must feel
3. Both emphasize and help them stay on track with rewards and limits
4. Punishing behavior by itself is limited in effectiveness
5.  Regression typically weans over the first month back to school
Dr. Keith Kanner
Anchor/Host Your Family Matters – Wsradio.com
Host:  Ask The Doctors:  Relationship Edition
Fox 5 News – San Diego

Fighting Procrastination In Kids

24 Aug
Thanks to our guest blogger, Dr. Keith Kanner, psychologist, author, and radio host of Your Family Matters.
Background: With school just around the corner, parents once again have to deal with helping their kids focus on getting through daily homework, projects, and studying non of which are on the “top of the list” for most typical kids and teens. Procrastination, or putting off the completion of projects, schoolwork, and many other activities, is a common manifestation for children, adolescents, and adults alike.  The outcome can be devastating – poor grades, low self-esteem, and a lack of promotion are just to name a few, Breaking a procrastination habit or pattern is also not an easy task for the underlying causes are frequently hidden and not easily identifiable.  In fact, in certain cases, medication is prescribed with the determination that the cause must be traced to an Attention Deficit Disorder.  Interestingly, even in these cases, only sometimes does the effects of the medication help with the problem indicating that the etiology is often more complex than meets the eye.  Procrastination also seems to change and vary in appearance.  For example, many only procrastinate in certain circumstances and not in others.  For children, procrastination is higher when dealing with something that they either do not like, find difficult, or are related to some circumstance that they do not feel good about.  Procrastination is also at a peak just prior to and after vacations, such as Spring Break. Procrastination, like many other unfortunate occurrences,  such as Panic Attacks, is a symptom of something else going on inside of the person causing extreme conflict and anxiety.  These conflicts are typically unconscious and the person usually is not aware of the root of the issue.  This is especially true in children for they do not have the intellectual capacity to utilize insight to help themselves solve internal struggles.  Often times, when insight becomes available, the symptom disappears and the problem is solved.  In other cases, it may take time and may require professional assistance of it continues to cause extensive problems, like failing grades.In most cases, the root of procrastination is either anger, fear, or a combination of the two and are not immediately aware to the person.  Instead, they avoid the condition that they dislike or fear, and then their feared condition comes true because they were not able to help themselves through the struggle.  10 year-old Sam was a solid A/B student without any difficulties getting his work done, except in Math, where he always seemed to put off doing his homework and often forgot to even turn in completed assignments leading to a failing grade.  It turned out that Sam had some very strong negative feelings about his math teacher that  he did not let himself know about and instead, his uncomfortable angry feelings came out on himself through his procrastination and forgetting.  Why was Sam so uncomfortable with these feelings and why take them out on himself?13-year old Kim always falls apart academically just prior to vacations.  It seems that no matter what she does, her grades suffer just before a vacation and she struggles to remain focused on  her work.  The outcome  is her feeling ashamed and tends then to have a damper on her full enjoyment of her vacation.Such examples have the same underlying cause – strong feelings that are both unaware and uncomfortable to the person.  For both Sam and Kim, they are both uncomfortable with their angry feelings – Sam towards his teacher, and Kim having to wait for her vacation to begin – because both are unaware and uncomfortable, their feelings play out in another way – procrastination.

So, how can a parent help their child both better understand their minds and not compromise themselves for strong “normal” feelings?  The answer is that the parent needs to be both insightful about feelings in their children and help them both understand the normality of them and how to best manage them.  This process then becomes taken into the child and self-applied.

In Sam’s case, telling him that it is “okay” to feel mad (not get mad) at his teacher but not to let his feelings compromise his work, would be helpful to him.  Being empathic to Kim’s feeling of frustration about having to be patient about her upcoming vacation might have been enough to help her stay on top of her work prior to the vacation.  The point here is that feelings need to be recognized, not avoided, and managed in a way to promote success, not limit it.  Most children do not have this “automatic” capacity until late in their adolescent years and therefore need their parents to help them better understand and manage themselves, especially during times of the strong pressing of feelings.

Key Points:

1.    procrastination is a symptom of “uncomfortable” feelings
2.    anger and fear are usually the cause
3.    parents need to help their children validate their internal feelings
4.    feelings, not actions, need to be “normalized”
5.    forward incentives are also helpful to motivate staying focused

Dr. Keith Kanner
Anchor/Host Your Family Matters
Co-Host Ask The Doctors:  Relationship Edition
Fox5 News-San Diego
Columnist – Rancho Santa Fe Review

Transitioning to Middle School

2 Aug

Dr. Keith Kanner is our guest blogger this week and has provided wonderful information for parents with new middle schoolers. If you don’t have a middle schooler in your home right now, pass this valuable information on to someone who does.

Dr. Keith Kanner is the author of Your Family Matters: Solutions to Common Parental Dilemmas and host of Your Family Matters internet radio show

July 21st, 2011

Background:  Summer is always a time of transitioning for children.  Sometimes it’s just moving up one grade from the next, which can in itself be stressful, but some transitions are more significant than others. For example, any change from one level is school to the next is more significant than merely a grade change.  Therefore, transitioning from Preschool to Elementary School; Elementary School to Middle School; Middle School to High School, and then High School to College represent such “significant” changes.  Much of this change not only entails academics, but also commonly involves a school change which includes lost and new friends, a new environment, and new tasks to master.  As many high school seniors will be leaving for college next month and in September, the kids at home will also be making their own adjustments even though they are still living with their families.
Much focus on such “significant” changes over the years has been on the transition from Middle School to High School whereby parents and educators stress that from an academic point of view, the leap is intense and the kids who were not serious about school in Middle School better shape up over the summer for high school performance over the next four years will determine where and if they will go to college.
But, it’s in Middle School when children reach puberty, engage in more of a departure from relying on mom and dad, seek intense peer relationships, become obsessed with the opposite sex, and have to perform much greater than they did in elementary school.  Many high school students have told me that the transition from elementary school to middle school was much harder than beginning high school after 8th grade due to the multitude of changes that go beyond studying more, having up to 6 different teachers, and wanting to “fit in” with the popular group.  Most of the stress felt by the Middle School kids has to do with physical and psychological changes which he or she has little control over.  Biology doesn’t wait for the psyche to mature and in many cases the kids just aren’t ready for their bodies to become mature.  On the other hand, some kids are ready and their body isn’t.  These two groups, the early pubescent and the delayed pubescent are considered “risk” groups due to the multitude of tasks that a 12 to 14 year-old has to face during the Middle School years. The tasks of the Middle School child are as follows:
1.  accepting a changing and maturing body
2.  mastering a greater separation from parents
3.  more academic and social demands
4.  interest and relating to the opposite sex
5. greater intensity in same-sex peer relationships
The “who am I” becomes a common question for most middle school children and it is not an easy one to answer given all of the changes and demands made during this two-year period of time.  I see these middle school students as both a vulnerable group, but also provides an opportunity for helpful outside influences if more people are sensitive to the importance of this period of time in a child’s life.  Middle school is often like a middle child. More focus is either placed in the earlier years or in the upcoming high school years, and these two significant years are then minimized and frequently ignored.  Another contributing factor to this is the common attitude of this young adolescent which is frequently resistant, strong willed, and not terribly nice and friendly to their parents.  Typically based on desired independence, many parents hope it is just a phase and hope it will pass once their child goes to high school.  In these cases, too much distance may be created between the parent and child which then leaves this vulnerable child more alone with so much on his or her plate.  A lack of enough parental involvement can then further confuse the teenager and leave more influences in the hands of their peers.
So, how can parents withstand their child’s “attitude”, but not get pushed away too far so not to help their child better manage these invaluable tasks that they need to master to better make it in both middle and high school?
1.  Be aware of the tasks their child has to master and help them if needed.  For example, if a child is having trouble in school, insist they get some help even if they don’t want it.
2.  Be sensitive to their normal vulnerability and be compassionate.  Kids will act nicer to you if you are genuinely nicer to them.
3.  Continue to have family time despite resistance but try to find activities that are enjoyable to everyone.
4.  Insist respect and do not allow they to get out of control.  Young adolescents are like large toddlers and need the same type of loving limits when they are struggling to tow the line.
Take some time this summer and review the necessary normal tasks for your child and work with them to satisfy them.  They will feel better about themselves, be more successful socially and academically and less conflict will echo in your home.  You will also be helping them prepare for high school which is a stage where new and more complex tasks are right ahead of them and mastering the ones in middle school will give them a great foundation in obtaining them beforehand.
Dr. Keith Kanner
Anchor/Host Your Family Matters

Is Your Child Ready For Kindergarten, Or Not?

21 Jul
Our guest blogger, Dr. Keith Kanner, shares great information for parents of incoming kindergarteners.
Note:  This is the first of a 4-part Back To School Series for the month of August.  
Background: One of the many critical parental decisions that arise is the determination whether or not their child is ready to go to Kindergarten. In most cases, the primary concern is age with anxiety that perhaps their child is either too young or too old and a fear that the decision will have future negative effects for their child. But more important than age is a series of developmental achievements that are necessary for a successful Kindergarten experience which far outweigh the child’s chronological age.

The six developmental areas that must be considered for “Kindergarten Readiness”, aside from age, are as follows:

1. the child’s capacity for self-control and emotional-regulation
2. the child’s capacity to separate from their parents
3. the child’s level of social relatedness
4. the child’s understanding of morality
5. the child’s level of fine and gross motor integration
6. intellectual capacity

Self-control & Emotional-Regulation: The Kindergarten- aged child should be able to calm themselves down and self-soothe during times of mild distress. This developmental achievement is one that is typically the outcome of toddler-hood and is an essential milestone of early childhood. This capacity does not mean that the child is free from complete distress during anxious times, but is indicative of a child who when faced with stress, internally goes into an automatic state of emotional recovery and slowly overcomes their plight.

Capacity To Separate From Parents: The Kindergarten child needs to be able to separate from their parents and last an entire day at school. This process usually takes a week or two for most children to be able to master for it is a significant transition from most preschool and pre-kindergarten experiences, but the child needs to have this degree of maturity in order to manage the time component of the kindergarten year.

Social Relatedness: Sharing, taking turns, and being able to sustain a short-term conversation are important social requirements for kindergarden. Most children at this age are shifting from what is termed parallel play to cooperative play and in order to be able to participate in group activities the child must be able to also compromise and be sensitive to others. Obviously, these social-skills are enriched further in the kindergarten and grade school years.

Morality: Having a basic sense of right versus wrong and being able to follow rules are key elements that are necessary for kindergarten successfulness. Although the child’s conscience is still being formulated, by this time it should be becoming progressively internalized and guide the child to make good decisions when faced with dilemmas.

Fine & Gross Motor Integration: Being able to bounce a ball, hold a pencil, be fully toilet trained during the day, and have average balance and coordination are important areas of physical readiness for the kindergarten-aged child. Many schools expect that the child can also write their own name and have the ability to write letters and shapes.

Intellectual Capacity: Average intelligence, knowledge of shapes, letters, and sounds are frequent intellectual milestones that many schools look for in their assessments. In addition, the child should be shifting from magical to reality-based thinking as they are entering the kindergarten year.

The consideration of these areas should be taken into serious consideration by any parent before sending their child off to kindergarten and far outweigh age in terms of whether or not the child will have a successful year. Most educators and Psychologists believe that children who fall on the borderline of age for kindergarten should be encouraged to go forward if these developmental achievements have been met. Keeping a child back when they have the developmental maturity to succeed, unless some other special condition is present, often leads to boredom and frustration and can additionally effect self-esteem.

If concerns are still present, check with your local school Principal for further assistance in assessment. Many schools have certain measures that can be given to the child to help better determine if they are ready for kindergarten or not.

Dr. Keith Kanner
Anchor/Host Your Family Matters

Is Summer Really Over Already?

13 Jul

I hate this time of year! It’s still summer, but school starts in four weeks and in two weeks I have to get my kids back on a school schedule. I feel bipolar; let them enjoy summer or get them off to a good start at school.

Unfortunately for my kids, getting them ready for school will be a priority in our house starting at the beginning of August. However, the next two weeks are actually going to be the hardest of the whole process. It takes me weeks of training to begin toughening up my inner self. What for, you ask? Well, two teenagers that love to stay up late and sleep in even later and a tween who thinks she’s a teenager but gets up early would be the three reasons. The fussing, arguing and yelling at me because they’re tired, and I woke them up early, is why I’m going into training.

As a former teacher, I know the importance of kids being ready for the beginning of school. As a parent, I know my kids won’t be ready for school if they keep up this sleep schedule.

Over the next few weeks, my blogs will cover simple strategies and fun activities on how to get your kids ready for a successful new school year. Also, Dr. Keith Kanner will be a guest blogger on the same topic. You’ll love both of the blogs and will be completely equipped for back-to-school.

Celebrating Fathers

6 Jul

We know it’s past Father’s Day but this topic is always relevant. Our thanks to Dr. Keith Kanner for sharing his blog with us this week.

Many fathers never realize how important they are to the development of their children. Yet, as early as in Infancy, the father’s participation in the basic needs of a child have tremendous immediate as well as lasting effects. For example, when fathers help with holding, feeding, and soothing an infant, this experience provides the child with a sense of two, rather than a single caregiver. Here, the small child recognizes that not just one, but at least two caregivers are there to provide relief during stressful times and leads to the establishment of basic trust.

Once children enter the toddler years, the father’s presence and time with their young child helps them to better manage separation from mother in order to develop a better sense of self and ensure a more comfortable capacity to manage stress. Toddlers and pre-school children who have invested fathers, tend to be more successful tolerating change and adaptation and also tend to be more popular.

Because fathers tend to play differently with their kids – dads tend to be a bit more “physical” then moms in their quality of play, it assists both boys and girls to manage aggression better and not get as carried away when they play with their peers. This is due to the fact that most fathers will both have fun but also calm the waters when the play gets too rambunctious. This process then becomes internalized inside of the child.

By the time kids become school age, the father then helps boys and girls better understand gender difference. Here, when boys and girls become more identified with either being male or female, fathers help boys better understand what it feels like to be a boy and give them a direct reference model. As when moms provide the same for their daughters, the parent’s gender role is very helpful in helping kids feel comfortable about who they are and who they might become.

And then there is the tween and teen years where the father becomes a frequent buffer due the conflicts between mothers and both sexes as they attempt a more complete separation from moms on the road to greater autonomy. Of course he doesn’t take sides, he rather tries to better calm the waters.

Children who grow up without invested fathers sometimes develop a condition called “father hunger”. These children often experience significant problems with regulating aggression, making friends, and feeling comfortable identifying themselves as being “male”.

Taken together, the roles of fathers are vastly important in the lives of both boys and girls and the dads who enjoy this time and function experience the greatest joys in being a father and rejoicing in raising healthier children.

Dr. Keith Kanner

Anchor/Host Your Family Matters


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