Afraid of the dark: A troubleshooting guide

child, afraid of the dark, under covers in bed using flashlight to peer out at imagined ghosts

Is your child afraid of the dark? Is your child’s fear severe enough to be considered a phobia? Here’s what research tells us about the signs and causes…and how to help kids to overcome their fears.

Postpartum depression symptoms: When is it more than the “baby blues?”

depressed mother with infant in foreground

Postpartum depression symptoms overlap with symptoms of the “baby blues,” the mood swings that mothers experience in the first few days after childbirth. But when symptoms persist beyond two weeks — or take a more severe turn — it’s time to get screened for depression.

Can babies sense stress in others? Yes they can!

baby looking out window, appearance of being downcast

Stressed-out parents often wonder: Can babies sense tension and anger? Can babies sense stress in their caregivers? Experimental research confirms that stress is contagious.

How toxic stress affects child development

eyes of worried child peering out of space between slats on a wooden fence

Recent studies reveal how toxic stress “gets under the skin” — disregulating hormones, turning genes “on” and “off,” and altering a child’s brain.

Poor sleep intensifies next-day stress for parents

tired mother working at laptop, eyes closed, rubbing head, with children in the background

Can a lack of sleep cause stress? Research confirms that we experience more stress the day after a poor night’s sleep. And the effects might be particularly noticeable for parents struggling to care for multiple children while holding down a job.

How do children respond to a mother’s voice?

fascinated baby watches mother talking on phone

© 2021 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved A mother’s voice has special power. It can provide comfort — and improve outcomes — for babies hospitalized in the NICU. It can shape the way infants process language in the brain. And it can help children cope with pain and stress. What happens when a baby … Continue reading