The Coping Toolbox, a Child Psych Podcast

A podcast hosted by Canadian licensed Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologists Drs. Jennifer Vriend, Laila Din Osmun, and Mary Simmering McDonald, C.Psych. Topics covered include a wide variety of subjects such as dealing with child anxiety, low mood, sleep difficulties and parenting issues. Guest speakers include other Child Psychologists and developmental professionals.

Listen on:

  • Apple Podcasts
  • Podbean App
  • Spotify
  • Amazon Music


Friday Jun 21, 2024

In this episode, Dr. Laila interviews Janine Halloran, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, author and speaker from Massachusetts. They discuss how to motivate teens to develop a coping toolbox, and coping strategies for older children and teens experiencing panic attacks (including challenging anxious thoughts, deep breathing, distraction and exposure exercises). 
1) Janine Halloran's websites and podcast:
Calm and Connected Podcast
2) Anxiety Canada's handout on panic disorder:

Sunday May 26, 2024

In this episode, Dr. Jenn is joined by Dr. Anna Campbell, a Registered Clinical Psychologist from Nova Scotia. Dr. Campbell describes what emotion coaching is, and how and when to use it. This episode describes emotions as valuable information, outlines that all emotions are okay, and highlights that emotions offer an important opportunity for connection with our kids, particularly when they are validated.
Gottman Institute Website- Online Course on Emotion Coaching:
Mental Health Foundations Website:
Dr. Lafrance and Ashely Miller also have a fantastic book called “What to Say to Kids When Nothing Seems to Work.”
Institute for Emotion-Focused Family Therapy website: has a link on where to find EFFT therapists.

Monday Mar 18, 2024

In this episode Drs. Jenn and Mary discuss some of the early signs of autism in young children. We discuss typical developmental milestones and what might be some indicators of differences in development. Symptoms related to language and communication, social relationships and emotional responses, as well as sensory processing and interests are explored. Drs. Jenn and Mary explore what to do if you have concerns and the role of early intervention. We emphasize that a diagnosis is not based on one symptom but rather a constellation of symptoms, and that that kids with autistic brain styles are unique and have many strengths and gifts.

Test Anxiety

Wednesday Jan 31, 2024

Wednesday Jan 31, 2024

In this episode, Drs. Laila, Mary, and Jenn examine test anxiety. They discuss why we experience test anxiety and practical tips for before and during tests. Ideas for challenging worry thoughts and suggestions for positive self talk are explored. They describe focusing on healthy striving rather than perfectionism and the role parents can play in helping children and adolescents to achieve success. 
Anxiety Canada:
Here to Help:

Sunday Nov 05, 2023

In this episode, Dr. Jenn is joined once again by Joanne Doucette, Registered Social Worker to examine ideas to help navigate the holiday season while you are experiencing grief. They discuss various emotions which are commonly experienced and how to manage some of those big emotions. Joanne outlines a script for how to say “no” when it is in your best interest.  They describe the importance of identifying your needs and the value of self-compassion.
4) Sign up for Joanne’s monthly newsletter for further grief-related resources:

Tuesday Sep 12, 2023

In this episode, Drs. Laila, Mary, and Jenn discuss separation anxiety and how it affects children and their caregivers. Common symptoms are discussed, and they explore ideas to help cope with the challenges associated with separation anxiety.

Monday Sep 04, 2023

In this episode, Dr. Jenn interviews Dr. Simon Sherry. Dr. Sherry is a Professor at Dalhousie University and an internationally recognized expert in perfectionism. During this episode, Dr. Sherry describes types of perfectionism and the role of genetics, parenting and social media as possible contributors. They explore mental health issues related to perfectionism such as depression and eating disorders. Dr. Sherry discusses ideas for managing perfectionism, including reframing failures and challenges as learning opportunities. 
1) Young People Drowning in a Rising Tide of Perfectionism:
2) How Parents Might Pass on Unhealthy Perfectionism to Their Kids:
3) Perfectionists More Likely to Develop Bulimia:
4) Helping Your Child Overcome Perfectionism by Anxiety Canada:
5) Dr. Sherry's publications:
6) Dr. Sherry's social media links:
LinkedIn: Simon Sherry, Ph.D.  
Instagram: @cruxpsychology
Twitter: @cruxpsychology
Facebook: @cruxpsychology
Psychology Today: Psymon Says
The Conversation: Dr. Simon Sherry

The Adolescent Brain

Monday Apr 10, 2023

Monday Apr 10, 2023

In this episode, Drs. Jenn and Mary explore changes that take place in the adolescent brain, including how rewiring fine tunes the brain. This process starts at the back of the brain and moves to the front, resulting in adolescents making decisions that are more heavily influenced by instincts and emotions. We discuss that the increased desire to socialize with peers as well as the increase in risk-taking behaviour are adaptive and biologically driven. We provide tips to help adolescents and caregivers with managing some of the challenges that take place and highlight positive factors associated with this developmental stage.
Dan Siegel – The Adolescent Brain:
Dan Siegel – How the Teen Brain Transforms Relationships:

Friday Jan 27, 2023

In this episode, Dr. Laila interviews world-renowned child psychologist, parent coach and award-winning author, Dr. Dawn Huebner. They discuss the importance of intentional practice in the treatment of childhood anxiety disorders and how parents can help their children take on right-sized, progressive challenges when facing fears.
1. Dr. Huebner’s Website & Books, including Dr. Dawn's Mini Books About Mighty Fears:
2. Dr. Huebner’s TEDx Talk:

Healthy Relationships

Wednesday Oct 19, 2022

Wednesday Oct 19, 2022

In this episode, Drs. Mary, Jenn, and Laila discuss qualities that are frequently observed as part of healthy relationships. Listeners are encouraged to observe what qualities they notice in their present relationships. Qualities discussed include having a sense of acceptance, respect for boundaries, a sense of independence, feeling supported, reciprocity and balance, and having fun.
1. PREVNet's Healthy Relationships Tool:
2. Dr. Nadine Thornhill's YouTube video (Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre - Teaching Teens about Consent:
3. Teach Your Teen to Set Emotional Boundaries by Marilyn Price-Mitchell, Ph.D.:


About the Hosts

Dr. Laila Din Osmun, C.Psych. is a registered Clinical Child Psychologist who completed a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Clinical Developmental Psychology at York University (Toronto, Ontario) in 2012. She has co-authored several publications in the areas of pediatric pain, parent-child relationships (e.g. caregiver emotional availability) and infant emotion regulation. Dr. Laila works in private practice in Ottawa, and she is a co-founder of Rideauview Clinic.

Dr. Jennifer Vriend, C.Psych. is a registered Clinical Child Psychologist who completed a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology at Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) in 2012. Dr. Jenn works in private practice in Ottawa, and she is a co-owner of Queensview Professional Services. 

Dr. Mary Simmering Mcdonald, C.Psych is a registered Clinical Child Psychologist who completed her Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology at the University of Windsor in 2012. She has co-authored publications in the areas of computer-mediated communication (e.g., Facebook), online partner aggression, adaptive and maladaptive coping, and help-seeking behaviours. Dr. Mary works in private practice in Ottawa, and she is a co-founder of Rideauview Clinic.

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