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Monday, December 22, 2014

How to Teach Children to Give

As we reach the holiday season, a focus can unintentionally shift onto material items. Many get swept up in the excitement of getting new toys, and as a parent it can be challenging to know how to shift the focus to giving. However, as adults, we can greatly influence the lens through which children view the holidays by examining our own language around this time of year.

To learn more, check out this video by David Maxfield and Joseph Grenny. If you're not able to watch at this moment, allow me to summarize:

These researchers wanted to see if the language that adults use influences the children’s feelings of generosity. To create their experiment, they asked children at a Christmas party to talk to Santa, who was played by a member of their team. They presented two scenarios to two different groups of children. In one scenario, Santa asked children what they were most excited to get for the holiday. In the other, Santa asks what they were excited to give for the holiday. Immediately following this, two children were taken to see one of Santa’s helpers, who was also played by a member of the team. The helper then presented the child with a choice of a big chocolate or a small chocolate, with the understanding that the one they did not choose would go to the other child. That is to say, if the child sacrificed by choosing the smaller chocolate, the other child would have the benefit of receiving the larger option. They found that children who were asked what they were excited to give before they received this choice were 50% more likely to take the smaller candy, therefore giving the larger candy to their peer.

This experiment highlights the importance of cognitive framing, which is the process of using language to impact a person’s interpretation of the information. You might use this when you want to ask for help with a chore and you present it as an opportunity to help. For example, “I’d like you to help out by emptying the dishwasher,” is likely to go more smoothly than, “Why don’t you ever empty the dishwasher? Get to it or no TV.” 

If you’d like to shift the focus to giving this holiday season, think about the language you use and lead by example. Ask what your children are excited to give to others, share how happy you feel to give to them, or even arrange a giving project by volunteering as a family. 

Emily Herber McLean, LPC is a child and family therapist at The Center for Psychological Services. To learn more about her practice, visit www.centerpsych.com.

Friday, December 12, 2014

4 Tips to Deal With Difficult News

Picture yourself in an IEP meeting or conference with a teacher. The conversation turns to a difficult topic concerning your child. You know you want to hear them out but you can feel your blood pressure starting to rise…. Raising kids with learning disabilities and/or attention challenges has its moments. Any parent knows this is true.

What do you do during these challenging moments to help yourself really hear what the person has to tell you? When the listening gets difficult, what do you do to stay connected? You will always be able to determine the value of what they have to say later, but not if you don't hear it now!

Here are four tips to use when the listening gets difficult. With practice, these will allow you to listen deeply despite the frustration you might be experiencing:
  • Listen Non-Judgmentally: Assume the information you are listening to is just one person’s opinion. That opinion matters but it isn’t the end all and be all. Learn to look for the grain of truth in every encounter.

  • Ask for Honesty and Truthfulness: To find clarity about what is being said, ask for truth and honesty – not just nice talk. Nice doesn’t always bring clarity. Nice tries to mollify. If you have a challenging situation, getting to the heart of the issue is more important than cloaking the truth in “nice”.

  • Focus on the Future: When faced with a challenge, it is easy to get bogged down in the details of the past or present. This usually doesn’t help after the basic level of understanding is achieved. Knowing where to direct your energy to make changes is critical. Ask future oriented questions to help determine your next steps.

  • Write Down and Confirm Key Points: When encountering difficult information the emotional component hampers us from remembering what we heard. Confirm what you heard as wrap up for your meeting. Write it all down for reference. Keep all your child’s information in one folder or notebook for easy access.

Using these tips your conversation will be better focused and you will better understand and remember what is said. This makes reengaging easier. Challenges often aren’t solved in one meeting. Solutions are built over time with cooperation and collaboration. As a parent, using these tips will help you connect in the best way possible ensuring solid solutions for all.

Parents, do you have questions about your child with learning issues? You can raise confident capable kids despite learning issues. Reach out for answers to your most perplexing questions! 
Becky Scott

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Magic of Positive Comments: The Magic 5:1 Ratio

As you move into the holiday season the nature of school schedules is such that you will be spending more time with you kids, and your spouse.  Holiday breaks can be wonderful, full of fun trips, time with extended family, hot chocolate and sledding, and warm cuddles in front of the fire.  They can also be filled with messy homes, bored children, and too much time on screens.  It is a time that is ripe with potential for feeling irritable and annoyed.  It is also a wonderful opportunity to work on strengthening the positive emotion between you and your kids, and you and your partner, building up the reserve that can get depleted by the daily grind through the course of the fall.

So Here’s a Strategy to Help You Do Just That… Gottman’s 5:1 Ratio:
John Gottman, a well known researcher on couples and marriages, found that all couples fight; people who live together have conflict.  You and I know that parents and children do as well.  Gottman’s research focused on identifying the factors that made some couples successful and led to failure by others.  Fighting was not the significant factor.  What was more important was the degree to which couples could accentuate the positive and minimize the negative.  Take note, elimination of the negative wasn’t significant or even attainable.  It was an increase in the positive that made a tremendous the difference in the endurance and success of marriages.  Gottman found that stable, happy couples have about a 5:1 ratio between positive and negative interactions.  That is, for every criticism or negative comment there has to be at least 5 compliments or positive comments.

Why 5:1 Ratio?  
Gottman found that positive interactions build up a “reservoir of positive feeling.”  You might liken this reservoir to a savings account into which you are making regular deposits to be withdrawn on a rainy day. Couples who have such reservoirs of positive feelings use some of this when they are criticized, which sustains them through the difficult work of resolving the conflict.  Positive expressions of love, respect, and affection keep love nurtured when they are offered with consistency over time.

What if you Applied Gottman’s Magic Ratio to Your Relationships with your Children?  
For every criticism or complaint you made a point of offering five positive comments.  These aren’t hard to offer, but it may require some attention to do so.  This can be challenging, especially in the midst of a living room that looks like a hurricane hit it with a trail of belongings that follow your children through the house as they lay across the couch with their face in a screen. 

What is the Benefit? 
The benefit would be that parent/child relationships that are inherently positive, provide the foundation needed for a child to develop confidence, healthy self-esteem, and resiliency.  For those of you with a child who has a learning disability or other significant challenge that makes life harder than it may be for their peers, such qualities are all the harder to establish and that's much more critical to their success.  Also keep in mind that when parent/child relationships are not experienced by the child as inherently positive, anxiety, oppositional behavior, and adjustment problems can ensue.  In a relationship where the 5:1 positive to negative ratio is evident, kids are more likely to be cooperative and to listen and respond when a parent does have a complaint. 

Strategies for Success:
So, can you see the value of working on this positive undercurrent in the way you treat and/or hold your child?  To make it a bit easier, here are some tidbits to put in your pocket to offer them throughout these days of holiday cheer, and then well into the winter…

“Good Job”     “I love you.”     “Thank you for…”     “That was nice.”     “I appreciate that you…”

Other ways to contribute to the positive energy savings account include:
  • Do not overlook what seem like small things.
  • Remember that sometimes simply remaining calm and not overreacting can be interpreted as positive and have a wonderful effect. 
  • Pay attention to your child (especially when he or she is doing something positive).
  • Be empathetic.
  • Be respectful and accepting of all feelings.
  • Maintain a positive view of your child.
  • Always be on your child’s side.
You might also pay attention to negative behaviors on your part that warrant a decrease:
  • Eliminate criticism
  • Shed blame
  • Avoid sarcasm
So, I Leave you with this Question: 
Have you said five nice things to your child today?

Be well and happy holidays,

Jennifer Jackson Holden, Psy.D. is managing director of the Paoli, Pennsylvania office of the Center for Psychological Services. www.centerpsych.com drjenniferholden@gmail.com.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Strategies When Schools Refuse to Classify Students with Disabilities

The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is a special education law that safeguards that public schools attend to the educational needs of students with disabilities. IDEA mandates that schools implement special education services to eligible students as defined in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). IDEA also outlines specific requirements to assure a least restrictive environment (LRE) and a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students with disabilities.

What Can Parents do to Resolve a Dispute with a School?

The Individuals with Disabilities Act offers various options for managing disputes between parents and schools concerning a school district’s delay or denial to evaluate a student because it is
using a Researched Based Intervention or RTI process.  Such complaints would be based on the district’s violation of Child Find.
  1. State Complaints:  This is a written complaint that can be filed by any organization, individual, or group of individuals, claiming that a school district has violated a requirement of Part B of IDEA or the state’s special education law or regulations, including Child Find.  Child Find is a part of IDEA that requires states to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities, aged birth to 21, who need early intervention or special education services.  State complaints must be filed within one year of the alleged violation.  IDEA requires every state to have a formal procedure for filing complaints. Information on how to file a state complaint should be available from your state’s Department of Education or Parent Training and Information Center.
  2. Due Process Complaints:  This is a written complaint filed by a parent or school district pertaining to any situation concerning the identification, evaluation, educational placement or violation of a free and appropriate public education to a student with a disability. Due process complaints must be filed within two years of the incident, and each state’s Department of Education must offer a model form to assist in filing a due process complaint that meets the requirements of IDEA. Reach out to the Department of Education in your state or Parent Training and Information Center to acquire more information.  
Filing complaints under IDEA, is a serious and time-consuming undertaking.  So before commencing with either of the options outlined above, make sure you are well educated about and fully comprehend federal and state mandates. 

Where Can I Get More Information?

The National Center for Learning Disabilities offers a free copy of Parents Rights in the Era of RTI or go to the NCLD website to learn more.

Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren, Learning Specialist and Educational Therapist

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Novelist Sally Gardner's Poem for Dyslexics Everywhere

The brilliant Sally Gardner is an award-winning British children's novelist. She's written Coriander, Maggot Moon, I, The Silver Blade and more... and she is severely dyslexic. 
Growing up as the child of two lawyers in London, she couldn't read until age fourteen. Her teachers repeatedly told her she would never make anything of herself. She turned to art and spent many years as a theater set designer before returning to her original love: writing.  
For Dyslexia Awareness Week in early November of this year, she put together a poem for dyslexic children and adults everywhere.
Disobey Me, a poem by by Sally Gardner
They told me I was dyslexic
it didn’t describe me
belonged in the library
of words I can’t spell
no matter how many times they tell
you just try harder sound it out
simple when you think about
To keep reading this moving poem in its full form, click here.
Sarah Forrest is a Reading Specialist for the Easyread System, an online program for children struggling with reading and spelling. Get a free 10-day trial at www.easyreadsystem.com

Saturday, November 22, 2014

5 Steps to Setting Limits with Your Children

In my last few posts, I’ve been sharing some of the skills involved in filial therapy, including structuring, empathic listening, and imaginary play. Today I’ll discuss the last skill involved, limit setting. 

Why Set Limits?
In thinking about setting limits, the “why” seems like an obvious question. Limits help to keep children safe by protecting the child from dangerous choices. When a child feels safe, they tend to also feel less anxious because they know that their parent is helping to make sure they are safe. However, it can be difficult to know when to set the limits! It’s a fine line to provide enough freedom for a child to explore, but also enough limits to protect the child. In Filial Therapy, parents are asked to set limits only if there is a safety concern, such as hurting someone, breaking a toy intentionally, or running out of the room. 

How to Set Limits: 

  1. Once you’ve asked yourself if the limit is necessary (and have decided that it is), the first step is to check and make sure you feel calm. An important key in limit setting is to stay emotionally neutral, using a matter of fact tone. 
  2. Get your child’s attention by stating their name. You might also put a hand up if there is an imminent safety concern, such as an item about to be thrown. 
  3. State the limit clearly. “One of the things you can’t do is throw that marble at me. But you can do just about anything else.” Notice that in this example, the adult did not suggest other choices. The reason for this is that in this method, you really want to teach your child to problem solve. By leaving the solution up to the child, they must then think about their other options and decide on the best one, which essentially takes them through the problem solving process. 
  4. If the limit is about to be broken a second time, I suggest a three strike policy. That is to say, you would remind the child of the limit and then explain the consequence that will happen if they try again. In this example, the adult would state (in that same matter of fact tone), “Remember how I said that you can’t throw the marble? If you choose to try it again, you’re choosing not to play with marbles today.” The consequence will be most effective if it is a natural consequence that is easily connected to the infraction. The child will not clearly learn the lesson if the consequence were, for example, to lose TV for a week after throwing a marble.
  5. If the limit is broken again, follow through with the consequence. This is key to limit setting! It lets your child know that you mean what you say, and teaches them that next time they really need to follow directions within the first two tries. 
Setting limits consistently helps your child understand that you mean what you say and that you’ll work to keep him or her safe. Using a matter of fact tone, especially during the first two infractions, helps to prevent the child from reacting to an emotion rather than the limit, which tends to lower everyone’s emotions in the situation. Furthermore, having a system will help to reduce your energy expenditure during the situation, as it will become automatic over time and therefore less emotional for you as a parent or caregiver. 

Emily Herber McLean, LPC is a child and family therapist at The Center for Psychological Services. To learn more about her practice, visit www.centerpsych.com.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Frustration is FRUSTRATING! Simple ideas to combat frustration.

It’s hard to know what to say or do 
when someone is frustrated!

This emotion gets in the way of progress in school, social encounters and the quality of interactions as a family. Often times, as parents, we understand a reason for being frustrated but agreeing with the frustrated person doesn’t change the problem. It's well, SO FRUSTRATING!!!

So what do you do about frustration when it rears its head in family life? People with learning disabilities feel frustration perhaps more often than their counterparts with out LD. Knowing how to use a couple simple tools will help with the frustration while building life skills and supporting confidence and self-esteem.
Always speak the truth: Your child or young adult needs to hear the truth; empty praise or pacifying wont cut it! Praise the effort invested even though the situation may have created frustration.

Don't engage in comparisons: Discourage comparisons with others! We are all individuals on different paths and celebrating that is important. Guiding a young person to use strengths to overcome weaknesses can be a way to focus on the individual instead of comparing to others.

Increase overall understanding of a situation: use the SLOW methodology to remove confusion, hopefully breaking down the frustration.
o   S – Stop: the conversation or action and take 3 breaths! This creates a little space to decide what comes next.
o   L – Look: around and take note of what is happening all around you. Everything that is going on can provide you with information.
o   O – Overview: to create a better understanding of all parts of the situation. How do all the different parts of a situation come together to create the frustrating situation?
o   W - WHAT: Ask the “What” questions to find a path forward. What is important? What do you want to have happen? What does how you are acting have to do with the frustration? What next steps do you need to take?

Create a Frustration signal: Sometimes recognizing you are frustrated is part of the problem! Create a secret signal so a parent can signal that frustration is present. This brings the frustration out in to the open and it can be dealt with.
Another helpful trick is to have a mantra that is repeated to create focus on problem solving instead of letting stress and frustration build. An example could be to use the word “SLOW” to remind you of the steps above.

Frustration is a part of life and people with learning disabilities know this better than most! Use these tips and tricks to increase the feeling of being in control even when frustration is present. 

Let us know how these work for you!
Becky Scott

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Children: To Hold on or Let Go?

My mother once told me, when I was in my thirties I might mention, that she found it far harder to parent grown children than younger ones. The reason, she explained, is that as your children grow older you have less control over what they do and with whom they do it.  Being a mother myself by then, this comment resonated with me.  It has proven to be a challenge that I see parents working to manage every day in my office.

Essentially, I tell parents, the parent/child dynamic needs to go like this:

Your children’s job is to push the limits. Your job is to maintain them.

But first you have to know when and how to set limits

When your children are little you can pick them up and put them where they need to be, remove a dangerous toy from their hands, feed them what you choose, set and enforce their bedtime, put them in timeout.  Then they get older, and darn it if the little buggers don't start to assert themselves, expressing their own opinions, desires, and even perspectives in a way that you can't bypass, ignore, or disregard.  

You have to start listening and even more so, you should.

One of the most central internal conflicts your children experience (and it is ongoing until they are fully cooked sometime in their twenties) is the tension between the need to be dependent and the need to be independent.  You see this in your toddler who has learned to say "no" (and practices that new word a lot!), but won't let you out of his sight from the sandbox. You see it in your 8 year old who wants to set his own bedtime, but still insists on being tucked in--multiple times!  The struggle becomes particularly profound in adolescence as your child begins to move away from you and ever more towards his or her peer group.  Insistent on greater autonomy in their use of social media, establishment of privacy, and resistance of whatever limitations you set.  Yet at the same time they need to know that you have their back, that you will catch them if they fall.  That they are not truly on their own just yet.  

The challenge to you as a parent comes by way of determining where and when to set the limits and what those limits should be.  They are ever-changing and continually demand that you be flexible and wise in choosing your battles.  For the little ones this is not easy, but it is simpler as the boundaries for behavior and parent/child roles are more concrete.  Many parents don't realize it but as your child grows older your job is actually to pull back, to allow for greater problem solving and self-determination on their part. You essentially have about 18 years to get this person ready to go out into the world and be okay, which translates into being able to pick themselves up and dust themselves off when they fall, which they will…repeatedly.  They are supposed to.  For goodness sakes, you want them to!  

It's in the falling down that your child learns to be resilient, to bend with life's challenges,
and to cope with what this world throws at them.  

If you hold them too close or set limits that are too firm or inflexible they never get the chance to acquire these skills.

So therein lies the balance. 

Here are some tips as to how you let go, while holding on just enough....
  1. Hold them close enough to keep them generally safe from the really dangerous stuff, but let them venture far enough way to learn how to handle dangerous situations. 
  2. Find the balance by listening. Let your child assert their wishes, discuss them, and never reject them out of hand. 
  3. Always show your child that you value their opinion, and by extension that you value them, by listening and engaging in discussion with them that takes their desires and your own into account in equal measure. 
  4. Above all, negotiate. Together find a compromise. Never negate their wishes or needs, instead always find a way to give a little--unless their safety is at risk.
Be Well,

Jennifer Jackson Holden, Psy.D. is managing director of the Paoli, Pennsylvania office of the Center for Psychological Services. www.centerpsych.com drjenniferholden@gmail.com

Friday, October 31, 2014

How to Help Students Plan, Organize and Manage Time

Simple tasks such as using an agenda or turning in an assignment seems obvious to many, but for some young learners these tasks can be very difficult to master.  In fact, some students require comprehensive instruction and scaffolding to plan, manage time, and organize.  Executive functioning, which manages these skills, is the last part of the brain to fully develop, and in fact, it does not fully maturate until students reach their mid 20's. 

How Hard Can it Be to Plan, Manage Time and Organize?
When I first began working with students that struggled with executive functioning, I was astounded how challenging planning, time management and organization could be for some of my bright learners.  What seemed to be obvious was obscure and taxing for them. 

These Difficulties are Misunderstood:
Students that have difficulties with planning, time management and organization are often maltreated with discipline and erratic methods that result in poor grades. In addition, many of these students are told that they are unmotivated, lazy and careless.  What's more, these negative labels only worsen the problem by making the students' feel frustration, anger and even helplessness.  Acquiring accommodations for students that struggle with executive functioning is challenging, and now, with a multitude of technological tools at our fingertips, each teacher seems to have a unique way of communicating and collecting assignments.  As a result, this population of learners' need for consistency is neglected.

What are the Symptoms of an Executive Functioning Deficit?  
These students often:
1.   misplace materials.
2.   fail to turn in assignments.
3.   avoid things until the last minute.
4.   underestimate the time it takes to complete a task.
5.   fail to document homework in an agenda or planner.
6.   forget materials at school.
7.   forget materials at home.
8.   neglect to prepare for tests and quizzes.
9.   avoid planning and breaking down long-term assignments into manageable tasks.
10. fail to plan for midterms or finals.
11. forget important details.
12. miss important notes or directions.
13. lose mental stamina.
14. misplace materials.
15. rush through school work.

What can be Done to Assist these Students?
1.   maintain a structured, daily routine.
2.   make priorities.
3.   create a homework plan. 
4.   section large assignments into manageable chunks.
5.   generate a to do checklists.
6.   coach them on study skills.
7.   teach note-taking skills.
9.   demonstrate test-taking methods.
10. teach memory strategies.
11. offer incentives and positive reinforcement.  
12. use graphic organizers for writing.
13. teach metacognitive skills by thinking through a process aloud. 

Where Can I Get Ready Made Materials?
To learn about these strategies and more, I have created a publication on CD or digital download that offers materials that structure, guide, and support students in the areas of planning, time management, and organization.  This document includes agendas, questionnaires, checklists, and graphic organizers for writing and test preparation.  In addition, advice and materials are presented in the areas of math, reading, memory, motivation, setting priorities and creating incentives programs.  What’s more, the handouts are varied and accommodate learners of all ages from early elementary to college.  Finally, I offer a free sample assessment from the publication, as well as a free video on executive functioning.  Click Here  

Cheers, Erica
Dr.  Erica Warren, Learning Specialist and Educational Therapist

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Using Imaginary Play with Your Child

Recently I’ve been sharing some of the skills involved in filial therapy, including structuring and empathic listening. Today we’ll take a look at how imaginary play helps children learn and grow, and how playing with your child can strongly benefit your relationship.

What is Imaginary Play?

Imaginary play occurs when a child asks you to enact a role in their play, much like a director would ask of an actor in the theater. When a child invites you to take on an imaginary role with them, they are engaging you in a very active process. Whereas empathic listening involves reflections of the child’s feelings from an observational standpoint, imaginary play is all about participation.

There are Several Ways to Take on Such a Role: 
  1. One option is to ask the child what they’d like to see in the role. For example, if the child assigns you the role of teacher, you might ask if you’re a strict teacher or a relaxed teacher.
  2. Another option is to play the role however you feel. In this example, you might start off as a relaxed teacher and then become strict (or introduce another character to the play).
  3. In Filial Therapy, the suggestion is to read the child’s tone and guess what they’re looking for, trusting that they will tell you if you are wrong. For example, you might begin as a teacher giving directions in a neutral tone, and the child may then instruct or direct you to, “Be mean!” or, “Pretend you’re really nice.” 
Why it’s Important to Consider These Factors or Play a Certain Way?

In everyday life, play can be flexible and dynamic, with both parties contributing to the story line. However, if your goal is to better understand and connect with your child’s concerns and issues, you may want to give option 3 a try. When you’re able to play the character the way the child directs, you’ll have a better chance at relating to your child’s needs and helping him or her work through any questions or situations with which they may need help.

How Can Imaginary Play Help Kids?

Imaginary Play allows the child to try out different ways of acting and to take another’s perspective. It allows the child to take risks and within the confines of a safe environment to help develop a sense of self. If you’re able to respond to your child’s wishes for the play, you’ll likely find that your child will look to connect with you as well.

Emily Herber McLean, LPC is a child and family therapist at The Center for Psychological Services. To learn more about her practice, visit www.centerpsych.com.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Parental Leadership: Routines

How is your hectic fall schedule? We all have been back at it for about a month now. Many of you will say it is going well but you are still experiencing a few sticking points to that smooth running family you visualize! To fully settle into a routine takes time and effort. One month is not a time to judge your parenting or your kids. It might, however, be a time to check into what could be tweaked to achieve comfortability with your school schedule.

Here are a few ideas for those sticking points that show up for all of us in our parenting.  See if these can help you settle your family into the fall routine.

Morning Routine: Is someone in your household late, cranky or unable to pull it together in the morning and impacting everyone else? Or is it that the whole group is having their challenges? This set of steps will work with one person or the entire family.

Call a family meeting and:
  •  Get clear on the morning routine that is currently in place. Document that.
  • Where are the challenging or sticking points
  • What alternatives are available to solve these sticking points? (All ideas welcome here – encourage contribution
  • Democratically decide how to proceed. Get buy in from all. All may not agree, but buy in means you will adhere to the plan being decided on.
  • Document new plan and post it. Be clear with with expectations of new plan
                        Use uncomplicated, well defined easy steps
                        Consider a chart with pictures for youngsters

                      Calendar or time line for older kids
  • Everyone must agree to new plan for a period of two weeks at which time a family meeting will be called to review.

What if your family issues are homework based?
  • Provide, as parents, a structured schedule for homework each day of the week. What fits best into your family’s routine taking into account after school activities and evening routine? 
  •  Set expectations for starting, engaging in and completing homework.
  • Understand what parts of homework require parental support. Schedule time for that homework on parent calendar so time is focused, regular and uninterrupted.
  • Provide energy boosting snacks.

How about bedtime routines?  This can be the hardest to change. Lazy days of summer don’t require early and wide-awake mornings to be at your best…summer and school routines can be very different. However, if this transition isn’t made, the late nights and not getting to school on time can wreak havoc on the young learning mind.
  • Parents need to be clear on their expectations as it relates to bedtimes.

  • Decide what needs to be part of your families bedtime routine

  • Written expectations should be step by step with no ambiguity. Example:

Brush teeth, read one book together for younger kids

No electronic devices after 10pm. for older kids

  • Post the routine and talk about it in a family meeting

  • Monitor the routine and insist on it being carried out. A solid evening routine is the best way to endure a good morning!

Most of these suggestions involve discussion and follow through. Parents, make sure you are giving yourself the time to do these pieces well. With out a strong set up and strong follow through none of your routines will be adhered to. Parental Leadership is a valuable tool in making routines really work!

As always, reach out with your questions!