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What are Executive Functions?

 

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.

You Are Your Child’s Very First Teacher

Does your little one cheer at the football game just like Grandpa does? 
Do you ever find them in the bathroom putting on your lipstick just like you?  
Has a bad word slipped out of that innocent little mouth?  
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You are your child’s very first teacher! Young children are constantly paying attention to the world around them. They watch how their parents and caregivers talk, eat, react to situations, and interact with others. 
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The typical toddler follows a four-step process for imitation: 
1️⃣ Watching and listening 
2️⃣ Processing the information 
3️⃣ Attempting to copy a behavior 
3️⃣ Practicing 
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Some tricks that you can do at home: 
✨ Be a good role model- Choose your words and actions wisely. Set a positive example for your children, even when they are infants and toddlers. 
🏡 Think of your home as your child’s first classroom- What do you want your child to learn? 
📚 Choose meaningful books and television shows. 
🧹 Include your child in your everyday activities and see those activities as an opportunity for learning.  

Positive Affirmations To Say To Your Children

“Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on Earth, for what they believe is what they will become.” – Brooke Hampton 

Think of how awesome you feel when someone gives you a compliment. 
Your children feel that deep in their souls. 
Young children gain so much of their own identity from their parents. 
They’re watching and listening to you even when you don’t realize it. 
They need you to be their biggest cheerleader. 

Children need positive affirmations to gain confidence. Positive affirmations contribute to a growth mindset and help form who your children believe they can be. 

Repeated positive affirmations help kids with their inner dialogue. You’re competing against a world where the media is sending them messages that they aren’t good enough. 

No parent is perfect, we all say things we shouldn’t BUT you can counteract some of those things you might regret by pouring in the positive. 
It’s never too late to start! 

Why it’s important to read aloud with your kids, and how to make it count

One of the most important things parents can do, beyond keeping kids healthy and safe, is to read with them. That means starting when they are newborns and not even able to talk, and continuing well beyond the years that they can read by themselves. Study after study shows that early reading with children helps them learn to speak, interact, bond with parents and read early themselves, and reading with kids who already know how to read helps them feel close to caretakers, understand the world around them and be empathetic citizens of the world. 

Liza Baker, the executive editorial director at Scholastic, which just released its Kids & Family Reading Report, explains: 

“It’s so important to start reading from Day One,” she says. “The sound of your voice, the lyrical quality of the younger [books] are poetic … It’s magical, even at 8 weeks old they focus momentarily, they’re closer to your heart.” As they begin to grow, families should make sure books are available everywhere in the home. But it shouldn’t end when kids begin to read on their own. “As they become independent readers, we tend to let them go, but even kids in older demographics love nothing more than that time with their parents,” Baker says. “We’re blown away that kids time and again said the most special time they recall spending with a parent is reading together.” 

Below are some highlights of the report and tips for parents on how to turn their babies and children into readers. 

Read aloud early — and keep it going! The good news, according to the new Kids & Family Reading Report by Scholastic, are that more than three out of four parents who have children ages 5 and younger start reading aloud before their child reaches his first birthday. This practice increased to 40 percent in 2016 from 30 percent in 2014 among parents who read aloud before their baby is 3 months old. The research also showed that more parents of 3- to 5-year-olds are reading aloud frequently, with 62 percent of these parents reading aloud five to seven days a week, compared with 55 percent in 2014. 

But it’s not all great news: There’s been a drop in parents continuing to read aloud after age 5. 

Tip to keep it going: Have fun and be playful. Use this as an opportunity to ham it up and perhaps create different character voices to really engage the child. Don’t be shy about not perfecting the read aloud — especially with little ones. Don’t feel discouraged if a younger child gets distracted or interrupts story time with questions. That’s all part of the learning journey and reading process. In fact, books like those in the new StoryPlay series feature prompts and questions for the parent to ask throughout the story to keep young kids engaged and to enhance early reading comprehension. 

Be a resource to your kids for book ideas — even if they don’t ask — especially for infrequent readers. Scholastic’s research shows that parents underestimate that kids need help finding booksOnly 29 percent of parents agree “my child has trouble finding books he/she likes,” whereas 41 percent of kids say finding books they like is a challenge. This number increases to 57 percent among infrequent readers. 

Don’t forget adding books in your home library that showcase diverse story lines and characters. When looking for children’s books to read for fun, both kids (37 percent) and parents (42 percent) mostly agree they “just want a good story” and a similar percentage want books that make kids laugh. One in 10 kids ages 12 to 17 say they specifically look for books that have “culturally or ethnically diverse story lines, settings or characters.” 

It takes a village — look to teachers, school librarians and more for book suggestions. Scholastic asked kids where they get the best ideas for books to read for fun. Overall, kids say teachers and school librarians (51 percent), followed by their peers (50 percent). Younger kids (6 to 11) are the most likely to get great picks from school book clubs and fairs, and older kids (15 to 17) are most likely to find book suggestions on social media. 

Never forget — choice rules when kids read for fun. Eighty-nine percent of kids ages 6 to 17 agree that their favorite books “are the ones that I have picked out myself.” And book choice starts early, as 67 percent of parents with kids up to age 5 reported that their kids choose the books for read-aloud time. This goes up to 81 percent of parents with kids ages 3 to 5. 

For all kids, parents with children up to age 17, recommend that the books every child should read are Harry Potter, Dr. Seuss, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Magic Tree House and The Chronicles of Narnia. Book series are a great way to get kids hooked on story lines and characters. 

Tip:  Make books accessible.  Make sure your bookshelves are low enough for kids to reach the book that they want to read. Keep books by your children’s bedside, in the playroom — all over the house. Bring books with you on car trips, to the grocery store, or even to the doctor’s office waiting room. Rather than handing them a device, hand them a book they love. The more accessible you make books, the more you’ll see their reading frequency grow. Also, if your child needs a bit more guidance on choosing books, narrow it down to a nice range of selection and invite them to pick the book they want for that moment. It will change day to day and month to month, so be open and ready to grow and change along with your budding lifelong reader. 

What Your Children Really Need

Guidance sinks in best when you give it with love, understanding and patience. 
You won’t get it right every time but you should never give up trying. 

The key is to show your children that you accept them, even when they have big emotions. You do not need to accept their behavior, but you do accept who they are and how they feel.  

Patience. It’s something many of us wish we had more of. But what exactly is patience? Patience means remaining calm, even in the face of a child’s extreme acting out behavior. It means keeping your emotions in check so you can respond appropriately and effectively, rather than yelling, cursing, or saying things you will regret later. 

Here are some ways to guide your child with love, understanding and patience: 

1. Multiply the affection. Give your child a dozen hugs, tell her you love her twenty-five times, or give her a hundred kisses. Your child will love the silliness of the amount and she will enjoy the additional affection. 

2. Keep perspective. At the end of the day, we are dealing with kids and not adults. Young children’s brains are still developing and will not be fully formed until they are closer to 25. So, some things will take time, but with time comes maturity and with maturity comes more understanding. 

3. Refuel your body and mind. Bob Marley wasn’t kidding when he said, “a hungry man is an angry man.” So, eat something or hydrate yourself before dealing with your child’s behavior. Nourishing your body and mind before dealing with your child will instantly lighten your mood and help you approach discipline in a more calm, constructive and creative way. 

4. Take time for yourself. It’s probably not the best time to deal with your child’s behavior if you’ve had a tough day at work or experiencing other stress in your life. So, if you’ve had a bad day (or week), take the time do something that will help you feel better whether that’s getting a new hair style, exercising, or going out with friends. Taking time for your mental health will give you perspective and make it possible for you to be a more patient parent. 

5. Surprise them. Skip afternoon activities one day and take your child on an adventure. You can take her ice-skating, to the beach, or even take a walk in the park. 

6. Read him one more story. Say yes when your child asks for another story, even when you are tired. He will love the extra attention. 

7. Frame a favorite picture. Print out a favorite picture of your child and write a note on the back of the photo describing why it’s your favorite. Give her this photo to keep in her room. 

8. Tell your child your favorite memory of him. Tell your child a positive memory you have of him. It could be when you first met, the story of his birth, or any other special moment. 

9. Dance, sing, and laugh. Put on your favorite “oldie” and show your child your moves. It doesn’t matter what song; he will enjoy the time you spend together. 

Nurturing a Dysregulated Child

Next time you nurture a dysregulated child, notice how the breathing and heart rate decrease, and the body relaxes as they enter into a calmer biological and emotional state. 

How we respond *most* of the time builds resilience against how we may respond some of the time, when we too are dysregulated. 

A sincere apology and improved responses go a long way in modeling how to repair relational rupture. Which is inevitable. 

We all need relational safety to grow an emotional resilience. 

I think people struggle the most when they feel alone in their emotions. 

When they have no-one, they trust to share their thoughts and dreams with, or empathize with their most uncomfortable feelings, mistakes and experiences. 

Having a trustful compassionate person to share your true feelings with is life-changing. It can be life-saving. 

Parents and caregivers are this safe place for children to empty out their hurts and fill up their love tank. It makes sense for them to find their own trusted adult people in order to unearth peaceful practices and become their own safe place too. 

We all need to empty our hurts and fill our love tanks in ways that promote well-being. It’s never too late to learn and practice how. 

Children are heroes, too…

    Missing their grandparents, extended family and friends. Lack of normal routines. Loss of structure to their day. Parents who are stressed worried, scared, and just different.  Overhearing talks and news without an understanding of what they hear.  

Give your little hero more cuddles, one-on-one play time and an extra dose of patience and forgiveness. 

Kids Who Listen the First Time Have Parents Who Do These 5 Things First

  1. Make sure your kids aren’t distracted when you are talking to them – This could mean a simple, “Hey can you look at me, so I know you’re listening? before you begin your question. Getting their attention first is a way of showing your child respect and giving them the benefit of the doubt that it’s most likely not their intention to ignore you.  

2. Don’t ask them to do things that are higher than their maturity level (age matters) Back to kids aren’t adults. Assign things according to their age level.  

3. Talk respectfully and not in a demeaning way- Kids might be awful at listening but are great in imitating.  

     We all can be weak in communication sometimes. So, take this as a helpful suggestion, not a judgement. It’s easy in the heat of the moment to bark commands at your kids. If you are kind and respectful in asking your child to do something, then their response is more respectful. If you are short and shrill, his response is disrespectful.  

4. Make sure your child is in the right state of mind when you communicate with him or her 

    Whatever the conversation you have with your children, whether that’s addressing behavior problems or asking them how they feel emotionally, make sure you are attentive to the state of mind they are in. 

5. Give them rewards when they follow through on something you asked them to do and on something you did not ask them to do.  

     The most glorious moments in parenting are sometimes as simple as your child doing something you ask them to do, that they don’t normally do, without prompting.  Reward them with your praise and acknowledgement on following through. This can mean a simple “thank you!” 

Tips for Effective Role-Model To Your Child

If you want your child to learn it, you have to be it. ⁣⁣⁣ Children are biologically wired to follow the example of their parent. Your words and your authority as a parent are not enough to teach your children how to live. ⁣⁣⁣ 

⁣⁣⁣ It has to start with you. ⁣⁣⁣ If you have to be it to teach it, then self-work is one of the most important practices you can do as a parent. ⁣⁣⁣Just show them the way. ⁣ 

Tips for Effective Role-Model To Your Child:  

  • Include your children in family discussions, and use these as ways to show them how people can get along with others and work together. 
  • Practice what you preach. Children notice when you don’t. 
  • Work towards a healthy lifestyle by eating well and exercising regularly. Avoid making negative comments about your body – and other people’s too. Not only will you be healthier, but you will send an important message about body image and acceptance. 
  • Show that you enjoy education and learning. If you make it seem interesting and enjoyable rather than a chore, you child is more likely to have a positive attitude toward school. 
  • Keep a positive attitude in your life – think, act, and talk in an optimistic way. 
  • Take responsibility for yourself by admitting your own mistakes and talking about how you can correct them. Do not blame everything that goes wrong on other people or circumstances. 
  • Use problem-solving skills to deal with challenges or conflicts in a calm and productive way. Getting upset or angry when a problem comes up teaches your child to respond in the same way. 
  • Show kindness and respect to others in your words and your actions. 

Raise Your Words, Not Your Voice

How many times a day do we say these things to our kids throughout the day? And often in a LOUD, BOOMING voice. 
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Want to know why those big reactions don’t work to change behavior?  

1. Loud voices scare kids, and scared kids “listen” less.  

2. Your kid automatically does more of what you give BIG attention to. So, when you give an unwanted behavior your attention, in a BIG LOUD way, you’re (accidentally) asking for more of that behavior.  
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Here’s an example: ⁠ 
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You’re enjoying exactly 22 seconds of time alone, washing dishes, when suddenly, little brother rips a toy out of big brother’s hands. Big brother instantly SCREAMS LIKE HE’S BEING STUNG BY BEES and hits little brother. 
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You turn the water off, storm into the room, rip the toy out of their hands, and LOUDLY say, “THAT’S ENOUGH! NO HITTING, WE ARE DONE!”⁠ 
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Real talk? Your HUGE reaction brings more chaos to the chaos, which is like throwing gasoline onto the fire. ⁠ 
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So, here’s what you should do instead. ⁠ 
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In that moment, you CALMLY, confidently step in – without a loud voice – and hold the boundary: “You’re angry and you want to hit. I won’t let you. I’m going to keep brother over here to keep him safe.” 
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And if you’re ready to REALLY level up? Rather than give your attention to the “bad” behavior, you want to focus on the “good” stuff you want more of. It’s a concept we call “Spotlight the Right.” 
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Here’s what it sounds like:⁠ 
“I noticed you shared that toy with your brother. That was really kind of you.”⁠ 
“Wow! You’re sitting calmly next to your baby sister! I think she likes that!”⁠ 
“Hey! I noticed you were having a really hard time putting your pants on, and instead of screaming, you just calmly asked me to help. Your calm words helped me understand what you needed! How do you feel? ⁠”⁠ 
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The idea is to spotlight the right—so you get MORE of the “right’ behavior! And real talk? YOUR perspective of your kid just might shift in the process. It’s kind of NICE to spend your day focusing on the good. It feels kind of GOOD to notice the good, instead of harping on the no’s.‍‍ 
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How to Reassure a Worried Child

When it comes to feelings of safety and security at home, nothing is more powerful for a child than a sense that the grownups in his life are ‘OK.’” How to send healthy signals that alleviate worry and stress. 

Do damage control. 

Snappy comments between parents can be taken out of context. Children are listening to our conversations, even when we think they’re occupied. If you have been grumpy, admit it and reassure your child that it is not about him: “I guess I feel like a bear this morning. Maybe I should try to be more patient.” 

Show your appreciation for your spouse. 

Help your kids feel good about your relationship by saying things like “Didn’t Dad do a great job of fixing the garage up for us?” or “Mom fixed us the best dinner tonight. Let’s all say thank you to her.” 

Be affectionate every day. 

A goodbye kiss, a hug while doing dishes, and a shared laugh send powerful messages to the kids. They create an atmosphere that says, “We care for and love each other in this family.” 

Involve your children in doing something special for your spouse. 

At birthday or holiday time, take your children on a special shopping trip for dad (or mom). Don’t browse for yourself or let the kids pick out toys they want. Make the trip about finding the perfect present. This will help them learn to notice what is special to others. 

Don’t argue in front of your children. 

Engaging in, and resolving, conflict demonstrates a good relationship. You can’t eliminate differences of opinion with your spouse, but serious clashes may frighten young children. Whenever a disagreement is about your child — his ADHD treatment, her performance at school — hold your discussions in private. If a child hears his name in the context of an argument, he may worry that he’s causing problems between you. 

After you work through an argument that your child might have heard, make a point of telling him that everything has been resolved. For example, “Mom and I talked about taking a trip to grandma’s house this spring. Even though we disagreed at first, we decided that it would be best to postpone our trip until the summer.” 

Your children need to feel that their home is a place of warmth. Disagreements and stress can’t be avoided entirely, but you hope that your child can say in years to come, “Yes, I grew up in a loving and caring home.” 

How To Wire A Child For Co-dependency

Co-dependent adults struggle to identify who they are and what they need to be independent from others; it’s as if their sense of self is dependent on the approval or well-being of someone else.  This is the essence of an “outside-in” lens for the world: Other people show me who I am.  I’ve only learned to find myself and feel safe when other people are happy with me. 

Co-dependency is really about self-alienation, because you’ve been taught that your own wants and feelings threaten the stability of a relationship, so you need to get as far away from yourself as possible. Individuals wired this way are attracted to partners who are narcissistic and low on empathy, the perfect opposing puzzle piece for co-dependent traits. 

Co-dependency may appear in adulthood but it starts in early childhood; remember, we are wiring our kids for their relationship patterns. 

During childhood, kids are asking these questions: “Who do I have to be to achieve emotional safety? How safe are my own feelings and needs?” 

There are very few things that I tell parents not to do.  High on the list are Don’t Hit, Don’t Terrify, and… 

DON’T LINK YOUR CHILD’S EMOTIONS WITH YOUR OWN. 

Don’t wire your child so that her feelings sit right next to their impact on you. This is not a way to create empathic kids; it is a way to create co-dependent adults. 

HOW DO WE CREATE EMPATHY AND AVOID CO-DEPENDENCY? By creating *distance* between our kids’ feelings and our own – seeing feelings not for their impact on us but for the pain they cause our child. 

Instead of “That hurts Mommy’s feelings,” say, “You must be really upset about something to speak to me that way.” Instead of “That makes Mommy sad,” say, “I can’t listen well when you’re speaking to me in that tone. I want to hear about what’s happening to you. I care about your feelings and you’re allowed to have them.” 

And when you do have big feelings? Take responsibility for these as your own. Tell your child, “You’re noticing that I’m upset. Yes, it’s true. And here’s something else true: My feelings are MINE. You don’t cause my feelings and you don’t have to take care of them.” 

7 Reasons Why You Need To Advocate More Than Other Parents

Here are the reasons why you need to advocate more than other parents:

  1. Succeeding at school is therapy for a child with ADHD ⁣

2. Children with ADHD have maturity delays of up to 3 years⁣

3. Half of children with ADHD also have a learning disability

4. Executive function deficits can be more debilitating than ADHD symptoms ⁣

5. Your child’s teacher may not see her IEP or 504 for months

6. Last year’s teacher won’t necessarily talk to this year’s teacher⁣

7. The emotional underpinnings of ADHD can throw everything off track

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Know that you are not enabling or helicoptering. You are taking an active, hands-on role in the education of your child with ADHD. ⁣