The Importance of Summer Routines

Uncategorized Jun 06, 2019

Routine and structure are very important elements of managing your child's behavior over the summer months.   It is far easier to keep morning and bedtime routines in place through the summer, even if the time is adjusted (later wake-up and later bedtime than during the school year) than it is to let them go and have to re-establish before school starts.    For adults, it can take 30 days to form a new habit, and it can be even longer for kids, so it just makes sense to keep the routines going.    Get up at the same time every morning, have a set schedule (with some flexibility built in) for activities, and have a set bedtime each day.    

Here is a sample summer schedule:

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

8:00 am 

wake up, breakfast, straighten rooms

wake up, breakfast, straighten rooms

wake up, breakfast, straighten rooms

wake up, breakfast, straighten rooms

wake up, breakfast, straighten rooms

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Helping Kids Who Give Up Too Easily Build Confidence

Uncategorized Mar 17, 2019
 

 

How do you help your child develop the confidence to take more risks when they easily give up and just say, “I can’t do it.”

First, of all have them reframe the I can't statement.    The easiest way to do that is to add "yet" to the end of the statement.   I tell them, when you say, "I can't do it, your brain believes you, and makes it harder for you."   

Here are some other ways to reframe negative thinking:

Instead of "This is too hard.", try "This will require hard work and good strategies to master."

Instead of "I am afraid I will make a mistake.", try "I learn from my mistakes and get better."

Instead of "This is hard for me. It is easier for my friends.", try, "I am becoming smarter everyday. I grow my brain by learning hard things!"

Next, allow your child to solve his or her own problems.   Try language like this, "That does seem like a problem.  What have tried so far?   What will you try next?”

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Is a Pet a Good Idea for my Child with ADHD?

Uncategorized Mar 17, 2019
 

Parenting a child with ADHD can be stressful and exhausting, so the thought of adding a pet that requires care and time.   Your child promises that he or she will take care of the animal, but you are sure that it will fall back on you.    Do you cave?   Can having a pet help a child with ADHD?

Here are some things to consider

Pets can be great companions for kids with ADHD.  Can help kids learn responsibility and empathy.    Pets offer unconditional love to children who are often socially awkward.    Caring for a pet can build time management skills.   Walking and playing with a dog provides exercise.   Pets can help children feel less anxious and stressed.  

Make sure to talk about the positives and negatives of different types of pets with your child before selecting one.    You can’t cuddle all animals.   And some are quite messy.    A small, nervous breed of dog might not be the best...

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Helping Your Child Learn to Recognize and Read Social Cues

Uncategorized Mar 17, 2019
 

How do you teach your child to read social cues?

Role playing and practice is so important

There are several aspects to social cues:  

1.  Voice pitch and tone - Explain that words mean different things depending on how they are said,  and then play a game.    Use a nonsense word and say the word as a question, as a statement, as if you are angry, and get your child to guess what you are trying to convey.   Then, switch, and you guess what he is trying to convey.   

Using apps such as conversation coach or teach emotions can also be helpful.  

2.  Body Language and Facial Expressions

Using apps such as Training Faces or emotions flash cards can help with recognizing and interpreting facial expressions.   

3.  Personal space

Show your child what too close feels like by walking toward them until it feels uncomfortable, which is 18 - 24 inches for most people.   Then show them what 18 - 24 inches looks like and...

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How to Help Your Child When He or She Struggles Making Friends

Uncategorized Mar 17, 2019
 

Many children with ADHD struggle with friendships because of impulse control and emotional control difficulties, but there are a few things you can do to help mitigate.   Once they find a new friend, arrange a play date, but do it at your house so that :

a.  You can help send your child signals if they are behaving in ways that are not socially acceptable.   Have some silent signals to let them know that they are being too talkative, too physical, forgetting to take turns, etc.  

b.   You can help them avoid trigger things such as competitive games,

c.  You can control what your child eats and drinks and avoid trigger foods, etc

It is typically best to keep the play dates short at under 3 hours to avoid overwhelm and potential problems..   

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How to Help Your Child Build Focus and Attention

Uncategorized Mar 17, 2019
 

I have heard people say that telling an ADHD child to just focus harder is like telling a hearing impaired child to listen harder.    And, in many ways,  I agree with that statement.  On the other hand, I don’t think that we should just work from the belief there is nothing that can be done to help them focus.   

You can absolutely learn to develop focus.   Does that mean that inattentiveness will cease to be a problem?   No.   The ADHD brain is what we call interest driven rather than importance driven.    So, it is not that ADHDers can’t focus, it is that they focus on what is interesting them at the moment, and not necessarily on what they need to focus on.   In fact, you have probably seen your ADHD child hyperfocus on something and it is almost as if they are in another world and do not even know you exist when you talk to them when they are hyper-focusing.    But, we can help children learn...

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Natural Supplements as an Alternative to Medication

Uncategorized Mar 17, 2019
 

Some parents are hesitant to try medication as a treatment for ADHD in their children, and yet others try medication and find that the side effects outweigh the benefits their child receives from the medication.   I was in the latter category.  We tried several medications and they all caused severe headaches, insomnia, and significant weight loss.       Are their natural alternatives that may help?   In addition to eating a clean, high protein diet, avoiding food additives and dyes and excessive, their is research around the following supplements that suggests they may benefit children with ADHD:

Magnesium

Omega 3’s

B Vitamins

Zinc

Iron

Ginko and Ginseng

Do your research, purchase high quality supplements and I would suggest trying one at a time for a couple of weeks to test effectiveness, so that you aren’t wasting money on something that doesn’t work.   Each child is different, and what works for one, may not work for another....

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Time Management Tips

Uncategorized Mar 17, 2019
 

Time is not manageable.  Tasks are manageable.  Attitudes about time are manageable.

Analog clocks and watches help children see the passage of time better than a digital watch or clock in which they only see number flipping

Since time is abstract, talk in terms of more concrete events.   Instead of saying, “in 5 minutes, we will……”  try “after 3 more lives on the game, we will….

If you always seem to “run out of time” on a particular task, record the beginning and ending times each day for 5 days in a row to get a more accurate estimate of how much time that tasks really takes and adjust accordingly

Build in extra time and plan on arriving 15 minutes early.  This may seem like a waste, but if you do arrive early, have cards, books, magazines, sketch pads, etc. ready to occupy the time, or just use the time to connect

Set alarms and reminders on phones.  Set one alarm for 5 minutes before departure time...

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Exercise and Meditation to Control ADHD Symptoms

Uncategorized Mar 17, 2019
 

ADHD can make it hard for children to pay attention, control their emotions, and finish tasks.

Often kids are given stimulants or other medications to control symptoms.  These medications work by increasing the availabiity of dopamine in the brain.   But did you know that exercise and meditation will cause the brain to release chemicals called neurotransmitters (such as dopamine), and can naturally help with attention and clear thinking, as well?    Not only that, but exercise and meditation can Ease stress and anxiety, enhance working memory, and improve impulse control.

 

I often hear from ADHDers that they have too many thoughts running through their head or that they can’t sit still long enough to meditate.   But, You can practice meditation in a variety of ways.   You do not have to be in a lotus position to meditate.   You could try a walking meditation or meditate through yoga. 

There is another Alexa briefing that has a...

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Family Mission Statements and Nightly Meetings

Uncategorized Mar 17, 2019
 

What Is a Family Mission Statement?

“A family mission statement is a combined, unified expression from all family members of what your family is all about — what it is you really want to do and be — and the principles you choose to govern your family life.” -Stephen Covey

 

Having a family mission statement creates a positive family culture and helps family members feel connected and valuable.   Also, it helped us stay focussed on the stuff that is really important and not hung up on little rules that were broken or shortcomings during the day so that children’s self image improves.   

 

When we did this, we found out that helping other people was of utmost importance to our kids.   We had done some volunteer work seasonally (working at a food bank before Thanksgiving) and adopted families at Christmas, etc.   but when we heard how important this was to our kids, we started doing regular volunteer work...

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