Yes, most people feel guilty about the way they’re coping during the pandemic. Before reading the rest of this post, please complete the following quiz to assess your level of functioning during this pandemic. Keep… More
Over the years, many parents have asked me why their kids aren’t motivated and what they can do about it. How can you get your child to be more motivated? To do better in school? To even go to school?
The important thing to remember is this: your child is motivated. They’re just motivated to resist you and others when they do not want to do something. The key is to learn how to turn their negative motivation into a positive one.
Lack of Motivation is a Form of Resistance
When kids won’t get out of bed, won’t do their homework or school assignments, or won’t get involved in activities, it’s important for parents to realize that there is motivation in the child. But the motivation is to resist. The motivation is to do things their way, not yours. The motivation is to retain power.
When kids feel powerless, they try to feel powerful by withholding. A child or teenager who feels very powerless will stay in bed, not go to school, avoid homework, sit on the couch, and withhold overall involvement because it gives her a sense of being in control.
To the parent, the behavior looks completely out of control. But the child sees it as the only way to have control over what’s going on around him.
You’ll see it when you ask your child a question and he doesn’t answer, but you know he heard you. What’s that all about? That’s a child withholding an answer to feel powerful. When he says, “I don’t have to answer you if I don’t want to,” you see it as a lack of motivation. He sees it as a way to win control over you.
All Kids are Motivated by Something
I want to be clear about this point: everyone is motivated. The question is, motivated to do what? If a child looks like he’s not motivated, you have to look at what he’s accomplishing and assume that this is what he’s motivated to do.
So part of the solution is getting him to be motivated to do something else. To assume that the child is unmotivated is an ineffective way of looking at it. He is motivated. He’s simply motivated to do nothing. In this case, doing nothing means resisting and holding back to exercise control over you.
Kids Resist Because They Lack Problem-Solving Skills
The child who uses resistance as a form of control lacks both social skills and problem-solving skills.
They don’t have the social skills to know how to talk to other people, how to be friendly, and how to feel comfortable with themselves. Also, they don’t have the problem-solving skills to figure out what people want from them, how to deal with other people’s behavior, and how to meet expectations and demands.
These are basic skills we all have to learn in order to be successful as adults.
If continually resisting is how a child tries to solve problems, then parents will have a hard time until they teach the child how to solve problems appropriately.
The first step in teaching kids problem-solving skills is to understand that these kids are not helpless victims. Instead, they’re simply trying to solve problems in an ineffective manner.
Don’t Argue or Fight With Your Child About Motivation
Very often these kids are motivated by the power struggle. They find different ways to have that struggle with their parents. The job of the parents, therefore, is to find other ways for the child to solve the problem that’s causing the power struggle.
But if parents don’t have those other ways then the power struggle continues with no end in sight.
If you’re fighting day after day with a kid who won’t get out of bed, you’re never going to solve that problem. Because even if he gets out of bed then he won’t brush his teeth. And even if he brushes his teeth then he won’t comb his hair. Or he won’t wear clean clothes, or he won’t do his homework.
Understand that when you yell at your child for lack of motivation, you’re giving their resisting behavior power. So don’t yell. Don’t argue. Don’t give their resisting behavior power.
I understand that parents get frustrated—that’s normal. And sometimes you will lose your calm, even when you know better.
The point I want to make here is that yelling and fighting won’t solve the problem. If you’re yelling and fighting over these issues, you’re giving him more power in the struggle, and you don’t want to do that. Here’s what to do instead.
Be Clear, Calm, and Give Consequences for Your Child’s Behavior
Make the situation clear for the child. Use “I” words. Say the following:
“I want you to get up out of bed and get ready for school.”
“I want you to do your homework now.”
Then leave the bedroom. If the kid doesn’t do it, then there should be consequences. There should be accountability.
If your child says, “I don’t care about the consequences,” ignore her. She will tell you she doesn’t care just as a way to feel in control. Or, she may not care now, but as consequences get applied consistently, she will eventually see compliance as a better alternative to consequences.
Therefore, give consequences. And don’t worry if the kid doesn’t like it. You are not your child’s friend, you’re their parent.
Related content: Unmotivated Child? 6 Ways to Get Your Child Going
By the way, if your child doesn’t get out of bed, he shouldn’t be doing anything else. He shouldn’t get to play video games. He shouldn’t spend four hours in front of the TV. If he’s too sick to go to school, he shouldn’t be going out of the house. These rules should be set and enforced consistently.
Give Effective Consequences
Understanding what is and what is not an effective consequence is critical. The right consequences actually motivate your child to good behavior. They put you back in control and teach your child how to problem-solve, giving your child the skills needed to be a successful adult.
Know that effective consequences are not punishments. Indeed, I say all the time that you can’t punish your child into behaving better.
Let Your Child Experience Natural Consequences
I would always tell parents in my office that you have to have the courage to let her experience the consequences of her behavior. It takes a lot of courage for a parent to step back and say:
“Okay, you’re not going to do your homework, and you’re going to get the grades that reflect that.”
But in these cases, it can help to let the child experience the natural consequences of resistance. You don’t let the kid watch TV. You say:
“Homework time is from six to eight. And if you don’t want to do your homework during that time, that’s fine. But you can’t go on the computer, you can’t play games, and you can’t watch TV. If you choose not to do your homework, that’s your choice. And if you fail, that’s your choice too.”
Remember, natural consequences are an important part of life. That’s why we have speeding tickets. A speeding ticket is a natural consequence. If you go too fast, the policeman stops you and gives you a ticket. He doesn’t follow you home to make sure you don’t speed anymore. He lets you go. It’s your job to stop and take responsibility. If you don’t, you’re going to get another ticket fifteen minutes later.
Natural consequences help people take responsibility, and they can be used to help kids take responsibility for things like going to school, participating in class, and doing homework.
Don’t Forget to Use Rewards
Along with the plan to let her experience the natural consequences of her decisions, build in rewards for success if she does make the right decision.
For example, if my son failed a test, there was no punishment. But if he passed, there was a reward. It was very simple. We rewarded A’s and B’s. We didn’t take anything away for C, we just didn’t reward it.
So my son eventually strived to have A’s all the time. So with kids who resist, it’s important to have a rewards system as well as a consequence system.
Be Patient and Persistent
Calmly and consistently using effective consequences is your fastest and best way to get your child motivated. Just be patient and persistent as consequences do their job and your child begins to learn better problem-solving skills. And know that the vast majority of kids come around and get motivated once they are held accountable in a meaningful way.
Source: Empowering Parents
In the psychologist’s jargon, we say that a set of actions has been selected and that you now work on auto-pilot.
The ability to move from one behavior to another depending on the requirements of the environment.
The ability to actively and effectively search information contained in your memory.
The ability to organize a series of actions in one optimal sequence to achieve a goal.
They are manifested by difficulties in passing from one behavior to another depending on the environmental requirements.
They are manifested by difficulties in performing two tasks at the same time while each of the tasks can be performed individually without difficulty.
They are manifested by difficulties in organizing a series of actions in an optimal sequence to achieve a goal.
Executive function is like the CEO of the brain. It’s in charge of making sure things get done. When kids have issues with executive functioning, any task that requires planning, organization, memory, time management and flexible thinking becomes a challenge. The more you know about the challenges, the better you’ll be able to help your child build her executive skills and manage the difficulties.
Have you ever considered how conventional parenting advice, like saying “you’re okay” or putting your kids in time-out can actually hurt your relationship with your kids?
We know babies cry. But what if, while we are trying to keep our babies from crying, we’re actually harming our relationship with them?
Here’s what we say to our kids that can start to make them feel insecure in their relationship with us: “You’re okay.”
What’s wrong with this simple statement?
They don’t know what it means. They don’t think they’re okay. We’re telling them something they don’t understand, or believe.
Are they okay? Yes, of course they are. But when we tell them that, we’re telling them how to feel in that situation — when it’s not up to us. They need to understand what’s happening with their emotions, but they can’t understand if we don’t explain it properly.
Let’s put this concept into perspective. How would you feel if you just hurt yourself and can’t control what you’re feeling right now? You’re probably scared. And then someone you depend on tells you you’re okay, when you know for a fact that you’re not okay? You might even be labeled “bad” because you’re expressing yourself. Do you feel safe with that person? Do you believe them? Do you know how to express yourself around them the next time you feel that way?
What should we do in these situations? Show them empathy by putting yourself in your kid’s shoes: “I can see you’re upset, I wouldn’t like it if I fell down either. I’ll bet it hurts. I would be scared if I fell, too.” Here’s another example: “I know you’re sad that I’m leaving right now and you don’t want me to leave you with Grandma. You’re scared because you don’t know when you’ll see me again. I’ll be back soon, and I love you.”
Your kid will likely still be upset. But as they get older and feel understood, they’ll calm down quicker. There is an energy that comes from you that they will recognize, and know that they are okay because they’ll understand that you know what they’re feeling. They’ll feel safe to express themselves with you.
When you make a habit of showing your child empathy, you’ll build trust and connection in your relationship. They’ll start to recognize that it’s safe for them to feel the way they do, and that it’s safe for them to have a range of emotions. You’re also building the foundation of trust for when they start to have tantrums or break rules. When they trust you, they’ll be much more likely to regulate their emotions, so tantrums and rule breaking won’t happen as frequently and they won’t last as long.
Have you noticed how your kid responds to empathy versus you telling them they’re okay?
On Dec 15th, I was honored to receive the West Side Sephardic Synagogue Exceptional Educator Award.
It is such an honor to be part of this amazing community. Thank you to the WSSS Community for allowing me to work with their children.
#proud #award #wsss2019award #exceptionaleducators #educatorawards #teachersawards #parenting #teachersofinstagram
There are many schools of thought on summertime learning activities for kids. What should be required, expected, or hoped for when it comes to academic learning? This all varies depending on your child’s age, level of performance relative to their grade level, desire for advancement, and I believe a very important consideration – level of stress and burn out from the school year.
Is summer learning necessary?
Most people would agree that there are certain skills that, especially when they are newly acquired or still being developed, need to be continued on a regular basis so that they are mastered – firmly placed into long-term memory. For example, a student that learned their times tables during the year will want to practice them to some degree during the summer months so they are not forgotten. Of course, with the heavy use of calculators I think all people need occasional brushing up on their math facts! Or what if your child is truly behind grade level? Here I would first request that the teacher be involved in helping you set a reasonable expectation for advancement. You don’t want to add pressure to “catch up” beyond what is realistic since the added stress will likely REDUCE the amount of learning that actually will take place.
If you are going to require your child do summer learning, I would suggest that you ask the teacher to provide you with resources and guidance so that the learning goal is S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound). Then you can decide if outside tutoring or support is necessary.
Getting your child’s “buy in”
While children are still in the early years of grade school, it is a lot easier to choose and direct what they will spend their time doing. However, as children reach the tween and teen years they are much more cognizant of what their peers are doing and the work that is “required” by school verses parents. If you are going to require that your child do summertime learning activities it is very important that they feel good about doing the work. Creating motivation is of course crucial if you want this to be a positive experience. As I have mentioned previously (Motivation – How Can We Help Kids Find it?), motivation requires Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.
Regardless of your child’s age or grade, make sure they understand why they are doing the activities, what choice if any they have in crafting when and how the work will be done, and what benefit they will derive from having done the work. A solid discussion with your child where you are allow them to express their concerns, questions, and desires will go a long way if done well in advance of the actual starting date. I am not opposed to offering a small reward or treat for them to participate in added summer learning as this may take the sting away!
Great summer learning opportunities
First and foremost, if your child is NOT very proficient in his/her keyboarding skills (QWERTY ten-finger typing) summer is a great time to learn this vital skill. Many students with ADHD have poor handwriting skills, making it challenging for them to write legibly at a quick pace. Also, many benefit by being able to use a word processor to organize their thoughts and manage their written work. Most children are developmentally capable of learning to type by 2nd or 3rd grade. There are many programs that only require a few minutes a day and the skills can be mastered within a two-month time period.
Learn a graphic organizing program
For many children with ADHD and Executive Function deficits, the writing process could be quite daunting. A good graphic organizing program can help students by giving them the structure and format to outline their work that is very easy to use. Programs like Inspiration (www.Inspiration.com offers a free 30 day trial) allow students to get their thoughts down on paper and then worry about organizing spelling and grammar afterwards. Once they learn how to use this program it is also excellent to use for annotating during reading and taking notes during class.
Even though during the summer your child may not have many tasks or assignments to manage, this is a good time to introduce an overall approach to improve their skills for when they need them. One of the best techniques I’ve ever found to help people manage their time is the Pomodoro technique. Business executives and students use this technique to make sure that they not only plan our their work more efficiently, but also deepen their focus and concentration while they are doing the work. Read What I Learned About Time Management from Running and a Tomato for a basic explanation of this method. You might start using it yourself to get through some of your tasks as well!
Whether your child is currently learning his math facts or still struggling to remember 7 x 6, summer is a great time to nail these facts down. A great tool I like is Times Tales. This lesson booklet contains a creative, innovative mnemonic-based program that makes it fun and easy to memorize the upper multiplication facts. Each number is a character (ex. 8 is a snowman) and there are short stories with graphics that include the fact and answer, making the learning fun and multi-sensory. For those interested, I have them available for sale in my office.
Most students are assigned a book or two to read over the summer. While of course having your child actually read the book cover to cover is preferable, if you have a reluctant reader you may want to help the process along a little so at least they can gain value in properly doing the accompanying assignment or participating in the discussion once school begins again. Agreeing to share in the reading is one way to bond and help your child complete the book. Another option is to get the book through a program like Learning Ally. This is a service that, for a yearly fee, has a vast catalog of audio books that are recorded by individuals (as opposed to a computer generated voice). They have novels, textbooks, and magazines. This way they can listen to some or all of the book while they are moving around – a great way to keep the mind alert for some! It’s also great for during the year if the content material is too much volume for your child to read independently even though they are academically capable of absorbing the material.
“How was your day?” “Fine.” It’s not exactly illuminating conversation, is it? Unfortunately, many kids with ADHD don’t leap at the opportunity to talk to Mom and Dad about how their day at school went — especially if it went poorly. Here’s how parents can encourage better communication (hint: it starts by asking the right questions).
Kids don’t like to share their thoughts and feelings about school, especially if they have had a rough day. Unfortunately, many children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) have a lot of rough days at school. Many of them find school a slog — seven hours of falling short of expectations and feeling bad about themselves. Who would want to talk about those experiences every day?
Here’s a list of questions to ask that get them talking. Some questions will lead to interesting conversations, hilarious answers, and insights into how your children think and feel about school. If your child is quiet about school, try out some of these questions on him or her:
- What was the best thing that happened at school today? (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)
- Tell me something that made you laugh today.
- Whom would you like to sit by in class? (Whom would you not want to sit by in class? Why?)
- Where is the coolest place at the school?
- Tell me a weird word that you heard today (or something weird that someone said).
- If I called your teacher tonight, what would she tell me about you?
- How did you help somebody today?
- How did somebody help you today?
- Tell me one thing that you learned today.
- When were you the happiest today?
- When were you bored today?
- If an alien spaceship came to your class and beamed someone up, who would you want them to take?
- Who would you like to play with at recess whom you’ve never played with before?
- Tell me something good that happened today.
- What word did your teacher say the most today?
- What do you think you should do/learn more of at school?
- What do you think you should do/learn less of at school?
- Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to?
- Where do you play the most at recess?
- Who is the funniest person in your class? Why is he/she so funny?
- What was your favorite part of lunch?
Some of our favorite answers came from questions 12, 15, and 21. The “alien” question gives kids a non-threatening way to say who they would rather not have in their class, and encourage a discussion to ask why, potentially uncovering issues you didn’t know about.
“When I asked question 3,” says a mom, “I discovered that one of my children didn’t want to sit by a best friend in class anymore — not out of a desire to be mean but in the hope that she’d get the chance to work with other people.”
Source can be found here.
Children’s attention span or ability to concentrate is constantly growing. If we compare a one-year-old and a five-year-old, it’s clear that the progression is huge. This aspect, like every aspect of childhood development, can be worked on. Children’s ability to concentrate can be stimulated through various activities. Being able to stop and pay attention to specific elements and stay focused for a certain period are simple, yet highly important factors. Read on to discover 10 activities that will help children develop their ability to concentrate.
- Blindfold a child with a scarf and give him verbal instructions he must execute. For example, you may ask him to clap his hands, spin around, stand on one leg, etc.
- The parrot game. Pronounce a word, a sound, or a series of two or three numbers and ask the child to repeat it/them. You may also trade roles and ask the child to say something that you must repeat.
- Ask children to be perfectly silent and pay attention to the sounds that are present within your daycare. Name the sounds and identify the source of each one.
- Clap your hands and invite children to move forward according to the rhythm (one clap=one step).
- Clap your hands and have children stamp a bingo marker once for every clap.
- Pronounce words. Have children draw a continuous line on a piece of paper until you stop speaking.
- Give each child an empty toilet paper roll. Let children have fun repeating the words or sounds pronounced by a child inside their cardboard tube. Give each child the chance to lead the game.
- Give each child a drum (plastic containers with lids work just fine). Tap a drum and ask children to reproduce each rhythm.
- Deposit coins in a jar. Children walk to the rhythm produced by the coins falling in the jar.
- Ask children to close their eyes. Make a noise (crumple paper, close a door, cough, sneeze, etc.). Have children name the sound.
You may have to adapt these activities depending on the ages of the children in your group. Gradually increase the level of difficulty. Keep in mind that the children in your group may not all have the same capacities, especially in multi-age groups.
Impulsiveness is common among children who have special needs. It can cause a great deal of disorganization. The adults who care for special needs children may constantly feel as if they have a time bomb on their hands, since they have no idea when children will “explode”. What’s more, they may have the impression they are walking on eggshells or be afraid even the simplest refusal will spark a tantrum. Does this ring a bell? Probably. After all, impulsiveness is frequently observed in young children.
What is impulsiveness?
If we were to try to define impulsiveness, we may say that it represents the thoughtless side of a person or action. In real terms, impulsiveness is a lack of self-control that leads children to react very quickly, that prevents them from thinking before they act and often, leads them to overreact when they face a negative situation or emotion.
How does impulsiveness manifest itself?
It is not always easy to affirm or confirm that we are really dealing with a problem related to impulsiveness. Very often, at a young age, we believe that a lack of maturity or a lack of self-control causes children to act without thinking. A child who spontaneously hits one of his peers, a child who gets up before you have finished giving your instructions to the group, and a child who disregards rules can all be associated with poor self-control. Children want to have or do something and they immediately spring into action, as soon as the thought crosses their mind.
Several behaviours may be present. Here is a short, non-exhaustive list of behaviors you can encounter. A child may:
- speak over his early childhood educator.
- steal another child’s turn.
- get up very quickly at the end of an activity, before listening to complete instructions.
- explode with anger when he faces refusal.
- hit another child when he is approached.
- make errors caused by inattention, not because of an incapacity.
As previously mentioned, impulsiveness can often be linked to poor self-control which is normal in young children. As children get older, their self-control develops and their impulsive behavior should decrease and become less intense. In one-year-olds, we may observe the first signs of self-control through their brief (but real) capacity to wait. At two or three years of age, children can tolerate frustration without necessarily exploding in anger. In general, at four or five years old, children have the capacity to calm themselves and be flexible. Several factors, such as a child’s temperament, can play a big role in controlling impulsiveness. With time, you will be able to determine whether a child faces an impulsiveness problem. Certain diagnoses, for example, an attention deficit order with hyperactivity, have an impulsiveness component. Once again, most diagnoses will not be made during preschool years, even if your observations lead you to suspect certain difficulties may be present.
How can you help a child control his impulsiveness?
As I often say, it is important that we, as early childhood educators, stock children’s toolboxes with tools that will help them throughout life. This is also true when dealing with impulsiveness. Whether a child’s impulsiveness is developmental or a real problem, your role is to help him manage it. Here’s how you can fulfill this role.
- Reward good behavior. Impulsive children can, day after day, display a great deal of negative behavior. You may have the impression you are constantly intervening. For this reason, it is highly important that you congratulate impulsive children for good behavior to try to encourage it.
- Teach children to name their emotions and recognize the signs associated with each one. Managing emotions will have a direct impact on impulsiveness. Teach children methods they can use to control their emotions. Keep in mind that all emotions are healthy. Too often, it is the means children use to express them that you must work on.
- When a child is going through a difficult situation, take the time to discuss the situation with him to help him identify solutions. Slowly, children will register the acceptable solutions you offer. This may help them avoid explosive situations.
- Watch for signs that may precede a tantrum or an impulsive act and try to divert children’s attention before it’s too late.
Of course, managing impulsiveness requires a great deal of patience. Take it one step at a time and try to be consistent.
Voting is an important process in our country through which leaders are selected to make laws and solve problems.
In this article, explore the history of voting, discover why it is important to vote, and learn why you should vote in every election.
Time to Vote! Let’s learn why everyone should vote, and how it can change the way you live.
What Are Elections?
An election is when leaders are chosen for public offices or jobs by voters. Elections can be held for people who have local jobs. An example of a local leader is a mayor, who works to help make life better for people living in their town or city. There are also elections for state and national leaders, like your state’s governor.
So where do people go to vote? There are sites called polling places, which are usually public buildings like schools or libraries where people who live close by can come and vote.
Can you imagine a time when certain groups of people were not allowed to vote? Sadly, this happened not very long ago. Up until 1920, only white men were allowed to vote. However, women and African Americans fought for the right to vote, which is often referred to as suffrage.
Voting Can Improve Communities
Imagine a school building, maybe the one where you are a student. Who decided to construct this building? Who decided that you would go to this particular school? Local leaders made these decisions, and they are people who are voted into these jobs. When you vote, you get to have a say in who these leaders are.
You can also choose state and national leaders, who make laws that improve the lives of people living in their state.
Today is an election day. Make your voice heard.