A Kid’s Best Friend: Pets and the Family

“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.” –George Eliot

A few months ago, our family got the opportunity to foster a young pup. We lost our first family dog a couple years ago, and we’ve been talking about having a new family dog on and off for a while.

According to the 2021-2022 National Pet Owners Survey, 70% of US households own a pet (an all-time high compared to previous years). Research has found that the impact of pet ownership on kid’s self-esteem appears to be greatest for children under 6 years and over 10 years of age. Also, children ages 7 and 8 rank their pets higher than their family members, viewing them as a best friend and confidant.

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Willy Wonka Series: Augustus Gloop

Augustus Gloop is the first kid to find a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket. His mother, Mrs. Gloop, explains to the reporters that it’s no surprise that her son found the ticket since he eats chocolate bars all the time. Unfortunately, his time on the tour is short-lived as he accidentally falls into the chocolate river and sucked into a pipe to the Fudge Room.  

Kids need fuel to keep up with their activity level and to help them grow. But despite consuming three daily meals and snacks, there may be other motives as to why some kids continuously seek food.

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Willy Wonka Series: Violet Beauregarde

My mom was a tiger mom. She demanded excellence and if any of my friends were better at a sport or skill than I was, she pushed me to do better. That meant hours dedicated to practicing piano, hours perfecting dance routines, and hours studying to get grades that she could be proud of. Not only did this add more stress on me as a kid, but it also placed tension on my friendships because it always became some sort of unnecessary competition.

For Violet Beauregarde, her story was never really about gum chewing. The spirit of competition and need to be the best or the first runs deep with her. The 2005 movie does a more obvious job of showing this caricature.

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Under Pressure: Child Burnout

Our kids can only handle so much.

As parents, we want to give as many opportunities as possible to succeed. We place them in structured activities, enroll them in after school classes and extracurriculars, and take them to new places to gain new experiences. Despite our good intentions, we can go overboard and it’s only a matter of time until our kids finally reach a breaking point.

Similar to adults having burnout, child burnout is the product of continuous, unmanaged stress. They may be overscheduled with too many activities and not enough rest in between. Or they just might be overloaded from people, directions, and physical exertion. Burnout affects their ability to process and reflect on their day, that then snowballs into anxiety and overwhelm. Their motivation and interest in even their favorite things can drop.

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This is Your Kid’s Brain on Tech

Truth: Raising kids today is infinitely harder than in years past. And even though our parents want to give us tips on how to parent, they really have no idea what it’s like with this level of tech immersion. In fact, our kids (known as gen Alpha) will be the first generation to only know a world dominated by digital.

The result: Tech now leaves a completely different footprint on the developing kids’ brain, making focus, learning, and self-regulation harder to achieve.

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