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  • Erin Walsh delivering keynote address on social media and mental health at MACMH conference

    Workshops and keynotes that inform, affirm, and energize – online and offline.

     

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Testimonials

“These sessions have been a lifesaver! It helps so much to know that we aren’t alone right now in our struggles. Your sessions have been a space for us to take a deep breath and focus on what really matters. Thank you! “

– Keith, Parent

We don’t believe in a one size fits all approach. From keynote addresses to online workshops, we will tailor the topic and format to fit your audience.

1. Fill out the Book a Speaker form

2. We will get in touch with you to talk through details

3. Engage, learn, & enjoy!

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“As an Employee Resource Group leader I would highly recommend Erin and the Spark and Stitch Institute as a resource for supporting caregiver employees. Erin was incredibly engaging and empathetic in her sessions while rooting all of her work in science. Our community valued hearing the research backed findings to help support what’s happening at home. In this odd time of 2020 Erin brought everyone some sense of calm and understanding.”

Haley, Athena Health

Topics

We work with parents and professionals to spark understanding and stitch science to practical strategies for raising connected and courageous kids. Your time and attention is precious. Parent topic nights or professional development days shouldn’t just be check-the-box events. They should be engaging, practical, and moving. Erin Walsh and Dr. Dave Walsh’s signature styles combine science, warmth and humor to help participants engage in some of the most pressing topics of our time – from stress to screen time. Bring Spark & Stitch to your community for a keynote address, webinar, or facilitated workshop. Participants will leave feeling equipped, confident, and inspired.

Parenting Topics

Screen Time and Digital Wellbeing

It's Complicated: Teens, Social Media, and Mental Health

Is Facebook depression real? Is social media use contributing to teen anxiety? Or is social media actually connecting and inspiring us? In this interactive and energizing presentation, our guest speakers cut through conflicting messages to explain how technology is impacting mental health. You will leave understanding the key ingredients for digital wellbeing as well as practical tools and strategies to reduce risks and nurture digital strengths.

From Apps to Laps: What Young Children Need From Us in a Digital World

The youngest among us are no strangers to digital technology. One-third of children under three years of age go online daily and 28% of children under two have televisions in their bedrooms. Families are getting conflicting advice about the impact of these technologies– on one hand companies promise that media can boost their children’s intelligence while on the other America’s pediatricians urge parents to limit screen time in the early years.

In this workshop, our speakers explore the latest research on the power and impact of screen time in early childhood and shares the ingredients that young children need to thrive in a world dominated by screens. Using stories and warm humor, our speakers help parents or professionals identify ways to use technology and media to support children’s learning and development.

From Online Safety to Digital Wellbeing

While news headlines suggest that media and technology are either good or bad for children and youth – evidence suggests that they are powerful. The good or bad depends upon how we use them. In this interactive and energizing presentation, our speakers use brain science, stories, and humor to explain how technology is changing the ways that kids grow up, socialize, and make decisions.

Talking to kids and teens about online safety is important, but not sufficient, for preparing them to thrive in a digitally connected world. Our speakers will help you reclaim your role as media mentor in children’s lives. Media mentors build digital citizenship skills, leap across digital divides, and model digital wellbeing. This workshop can be tailored to includes the following topics:

  • Racism and hate speech online
  • The protective power of media production
  • Cyberbullying and sexting
  • Over-use and addiction
  • Focus/attention/multitasking
  • Monitoring and trust

iBrain: Learning in the Age of Distraction

One of the most precious and valuable resources that children and teens have today is their attention. In this energizing and engaging presentation, our guest speakers explore the brain science of attention, memory and multitasking in the context of a digitally connected world. Learn more about the distraction economy, the seeking brain, and practical strategies for building focus as children shift their attention between homework, YouTube, texting, and each other.

Brain Science and Social Emotional Development

Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Teenage Brain

Based on the best selling book Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain, our speakers explain exactly what happens to the adolescent brain on the path from childhood into adulthood. Revealing the latest scientific findings in easy-to-understand terms, our guest speakers show why moodiness, risk-taking, and miscommunication are so common – all are linked to physical changes and growth in the adolescent brain. Using this information, you will learn three ingredients for working with or parenting adolescents in ways that build on their strengths and gives them the support they need to grow into capable and caring adults.

Stress and the Brain: Raising Resilient Kids

As a culture, we are obsessed with stress. You can buy stress busters, stress exterminators, and stress eradicators. Yet stress is a part of life. New experiences, transitions, real and perceived danger, academic pressure, and unknowns can all evoke feelings of anxiety in children and youth.

We know that too much stress impacts health and shapes the brain’s developing architecture. Yet learning how to handle appropriate stress is a healthy and normal part of development. Kids who haven’t had practice handling stress or taking responsibility for their actions can become more anxious and risk averse. By overprotecting them, we inadvertently make them more vulnerable.

Using warmth, stories, science, and humor, our speakers will explain the impact of stress on the brain and share practical strategies for  resilience.

  • Executive function development
  • Exploring sources of stress including racism, sexism, and other -isms
  • Protective power of relationships and systems change

The Science of Motivation – Getting Going Again

You don’t have to go far on the Internet these days to find tips for how to “stay productive” and ideas for how to motivate kids despite changing routines and stress. The reality on the ground though is that productivity and high motivation can be difficult to find during times of uncertainty. Understanding the science of motivation can help us keep our eyes on how to nurture it in our kids – not just for the sake of getting more done but for everyone’s mental health and wellbeing.

The Worried Brain: Helping Kids and Teens Build a Worry Toolkit

Worry is one of the brain’s superpower. It helps us think ahead, consider possibilities, and plan for our own safety. But when worry takes over, it can take over family life and erode children’s mental health. It is essential to help kids distinguish between the kind of worry that keeps us safe and the kind of worry that keeps us from living. The challenge is that the dominant ways parents are told to respond to worry tends to make it stronger. . Learn more about how worry show up in kids and teens and ways to respond that build your family’s resilience and wellbeing instead of eroding it.

Boundaries Without Battles: How to Be Flexible and Firm When Kids Need It Most

Setting limits is always a challenging part of parenting. It can be especially hard to know when to be flexible and when to hold the line. Learn more about why kids and teens need boundaries and how to be both flexible and firm when your kids need it most. Parents will learn how to clarify their limits and follow through with consistency and care.

The Social Brain: Raising Kids Who Care and Repair

We are born hardwired to connect. But that doesn’t mean that navigating relationships is easy. Indeed, skills like empathy, self-management, and conflict resolution are works-in-progress for children as they learn to navigate “me to we” dilemmas at home and in the classroom. While the impulse to step in and protect children from distress and disagreement with peers is strong, these interactions can be critical sites of learning and growth. In this warm and engaging workshop, Erin Walsh will explain the neurological basis of social and relationship skills and share ways to help children practice healthy conflict and repair.

Disrupting Gender Bias in Children

In many ways, children today are growing up in a world with more expansive understandings of gender than generations before. At the same time, studies show that rigid gender roles continue to be engrained in our expectations, language, and culture. This isn’t without consequence for kids, as decades of research link belief in rigid feminine and masculine norms to lower health, education, and economic outcomes. Many researchers think about gender norms as a “gateway belief system” for children, meaning that when a child internalizes them it negatively impacts other areas of their life as well. Children begin learning these norms right away, influenced not only by family but also by cultural institutions, media, advertising, political coverage, and social observation.

So how can parents and educators tackle rigid gender norms and create a different future for our kids? We translate the latest research in child development into easy-to-understand language to help families see how children “learn gender” and internalize gender bias. Using warmth, interaction, and humor, our speakers help families and educators identify doable and concrete strategies for disrupting rigid gender norms at home and at school.

Professional Development Topics – For Schools, Corporations, and Organizations

Stress and the Learning Brain: Too Much, Too Little, and the Resilience Sweet Spot

Learn more about the impact of stress on the brain and why “too much” stress hijacks learning and growth and why “too little” stress can make students more anxious and risk averse. Learn what educators and professionals can do to protect young people from the harmful effects of stress and nurture practical strategies for resilience.

iBrain: Learning/Working in an Age of Distractions

Our reliance on screens has increased as school, socializing, and work move online. One of the most precious and valuable resources that students have today is their attention. Explore the brain science of attention, memory and multitasking in the context of a digitally connected world. Learn more about the distraction economy, the seeking brain, and practical strategies for building focus as children shift their attention between homework, YouTube, texting, and each other.

The Science of Motivation

You don’t have to go far on the Internet these days to find tips for how to “stay productive” during the pandemic and ideas for how to motivate students despite changing routines and high uncertainty. The reality on the ground though is that productivity and high motivation become more elusive as the pandemic wears on. Understanding the science of motivation can help us keep our eyes on how to nurture it in our students – not just for the sake of getting more done but for everyone’s mental health and wellbeing.

Status Update: Kids, Screens, and Mental Health

What is the impact of escalating screen time on the mental health of children and youth? As the pandemic wears on, paying attention to the protective factors for student mental health and wellbeing matters. In this interactive and energizing presentation, we cut through conflicting messages to explain how technology is impacting mental health. You will leave understanding the key ingredients for digital wellbeing as well as practical tools and strategies to reduce risks and nurture digital strengths during this screen-intensive time.

Customized Topics

What do you need?

We have experience creating workshops to help support the specific needs of parents, school systems, and community educators. Contact us with your needs.

Speakers

Book Erin

Book Dr. Dave

Trusted by school districts and organizations across the country, Erin or Dr. Dave has been invited to speak by:

Logo for Learning and the Brain conferences

Logo for the Kansas University Center for Public Partnerships and Research

Logo for Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Logo for PBS Kids

Logo for Independent Schools Association of the Central States

Logo for National Association of Elementary School Principals

Logo for Education MN

What audiences say:

 

“As an Employee Resource Group leader I would highly recommend Erin and the Spark and Stitch Institute as a resource for supporting caregiver employees. Erin was incredibly engaging and empathetic in her sessions while rooting all of her work in science. Our community valued hearing the research backed findings to help support what’s happening at home. In this odd time of 2020 Erin brought everyone some sense of calm and understanding.”

Haley, Athena Health

“Erin Walsh was a VERY skilled speaker, I felt entertained, was never bored, and learned a lot.”

– Participant in day-long training

“Erin Walsh is a fantastic guest speaker and I recommend her without reservation. She knows her content and delivers it convincingly and tactfully. Her style is dynamic and methodical. The audience found her to be highly engaging. If you are considering Erin for your events I have full confidence that you will be as pleased as I am.”

– Adam Seaman, Director, Youth Philanthropy Initiative

“Erin Walsh presented information about adolescent brain development and the effects of media on our children. As a behavioral pediatrician, I found her presentation to be incredibly informative and well delivered, making complex and difficult information palatable and understandable. All of our parents were completely engaged during her lecture and found it very impactful for them as to how they would approach parenting their teens in this time of technologically-driven culture. We (parents) are still talking about her presentation. “

– Dr. Timothy Johanson

“Cargill brings in many speakers to talk to employees about important issues. Erin Walsh ranks with the best. She delivered great information and practical advice in an engaging style. Not many speakers can connect with the audience and leave them wondering where the time went!”

– Keith Tvedten, Cargill Human Resources

 

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Watch Erin’s EDTalk: