Health Tip: Keeping kids COOL – physically and emotionally

By Dr. Kelli Hill, licensed child and adolescent psychologist and clinical director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center
Kelli Hill, Ph.D.

Kelli Hill, Ph.D.


We are careful to keep our children and teens physically secure in the summer. For example we sign them up for swimming lessons and teach bicycle safety. Yet it’s also important to help young people build up their emotional resiliency. For children to overcome the obstacles of life, they must feel safe, nurtured and challenged. Here are some tips to help youth develop and thrive:

1.  Create an environment that is physically, psychologically and emotionally safe.
2.  Encourage and reinforce, rather than limit and punish.
3.  Promote creativity rather than accuracy. (The latter will come!)
4.  Give space for failure (understand that true learning occurs through the making of mistakes).
5.  Trust the innate growing and greening of young life.


The Center offers specialized clinical services for children and adolescents through its COOL practice (Children Overcoming the Obstacles in Life). For more information, visit

To schedule a counseling appointment for your child or teen, call 515-274-4006.
This health tip originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of the Urbandale Chamber of Commerce newsletter.