Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Kids

The most important relationship to a child is the one they develop with their parent. Children learn about the world around them through a positive parent-child relationship. As they are growing and changing, children look to their parents to determine whether they are safe, secure, and loved. It is also the foundation from which they will build their future relationships. 

You can build a positive parent-child relationship by being in the moment with your child, spending quality time together, and creating an environment where they feel comfortable to explore. There is no secret handbook or guaranteed approach to get this relationship right, and you’ll likely find hardships along the way. However, if you keep working on improving your relationship, your child will surely blossom. 

Being in the moment is about tuning in and thinking about what’s going on with your child. It shows your child that you care about the things that matter to them, which is the basis for a strong relationship. 

Here are some ideas for being in the moment with your child: 

  • Show acceptance, let your child be, and try not to give directions all the time. If your child wants to pretend the building blocks are people, that’s OK. You don’t have to get your child to use them the ‘right’ way. 
  • Notice what your child is doing and comment on or encourage it without judgment. 
  • Listen to your child and try to tune in to your child’s real feelings. For example, if your child is telling you a long story about lots of things that happened during the day, they might really be saying that they like the new teacher or that they’re in a good mood. 
  • Stop and think about what your child’s behavior is telling you.  
  • Part of being in the moment with your child is giving your child opportunities to take the lead. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

Parents Need to Grow Along with Their Kids

Parenting is an ongoing journey, and parents need to keep enriching and educating themselves as their child grows from an innocent baby into a mature adult. 

Life is in a constant flux and many parenting skills or practices from your childhood, or those you may have picked up along the way in dealing with your child, could now be considered outdated or unsuitable for the stage your child is in. For example, fear-based methods of parenting were popular in the past, but nowadays, most experts agree that these methods are ineffective and that getting children to self-regulate is best. 

While the basics are similar across different ages, the approach used should be tailored to each individual child to suit his age and stage of development. Stay abreast of current parenting practices and any other knowledge related to parenting and child health. 

Do stay on top of things by monitoring what influences your child’s thoughts and/or behaviors. This includes the friends he spends time with, his use of the internet and social media, the type of entertainment or reading materials he enjoys, as well as how he spends his leisure time. 

As your child grows and matures, you should be able to gradually give less and less supervision and guidance. Continue to be there for her whenever she needs you but let her have the freedom to approach problems with her own solutions. 

The thought of your child growing up and becoming independent too quickly may seem scary. Parenting is never stagnant, nor does it end when your child grows up into an adult. 

The most important skill any parent needs is communication. Remember to communicate often with your spouse and your child. This is often the best method to gain feedback on how effective your parenting methods or strategies have been. Nevertheless, don’t ignore problems either, especially if there are long-standing issues that cannot be managed despite your best efforts. This could be due to a child’s developmental issues that may require professional assistance. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog 

Managing your Own Emotions

Wander any playground or mall, and at some point, you are likely to observe a parent coaching her child to take deep breaths in and out to calm herself down or directing her to “use her words” versus hitting, kicking, or grabbing. These are indeed good parenting strategies for helping children learn to manage and express their emotions in healthy ways, a critical but not easy task. 

It is important to tune in to and manage our feelings, because how we react in these moments deeply affects our children’s ability for self-regulation, self-control, and overall emotional health far into the future. Research (and real life) shows that when parents react harshly and with emotional intensity, children’s distress tends to escalate and, whatever the problem at hand, it is less likely to get resolved. 

Here are some strategies that can help: 

👉 Tune in to your feelings. 

Tuning in to your feelings allows you to make a conscious decision—instead of a knee-jerk reaction—about how best to respond. In this case, it might mean taking some deep breaths to clear your head, then calmly telling your child that you know she is disappointed, but it’s not possible to always go first and that she will be okay communicating confidence in her ability to cope.  

Remaining calm allows you to stay connected with your child rather than increasing her distress by experiencing an emotional break with you; she feels understood, not shamed, which makes her more open to accepting the limit being set; and when you react calmly, it decreases the stress hormone in her own brain, which helps her calm down more quickly.  

Staying calm also results in a lot less remorse for having lost control, and many fewer nights going to bed feeling like all you did that day was yell and stress out your kids—a common and painful experience for many parents. 

👉 Do the unexpected. 

This can reduce the stress and tension of the situation and doing something totally unexpected can also put a stop to the unwanted behavior. This is not coddling or giving in.  

If your child is telling you he hates you because you won’t let him have 5 more minutes to play (and he hasn’t finished his game yet! he just needs 5 MORE MINUTES!) and you approach him with a bear hug while saying, “It looks like you need a big mommy hug,” you are letting him know you hear his frustration and empathize with it. You are not giving him five more minutes which would be “coddling” or rescuing him from having to cope with a limit he doesn’t like.  

It may surprise you how this can turn the tides doing the opposite of what he expects when he is in a provocative mode. Or don’t respond to his “bait” and just turn on some music and start to do a silly dance, all the way to the dinner table you are trying to transition him to. Simply say, “Join me,” and move along. It may sound hokey, but it can be very effective—and again relieve both his stress and yours. 

👉 Give yourself a time-out. 

It allows you to remain present even in the face of the negative emotional intensity these situations often arouse. It also serves as a very powerful role-modeling for your child on how to manage strong emotions—exactly what you are trying to teach him. This gets you out of a reactive state and gives you time to think about the meaning of your child’s behavior and what you want him to learn from the experience. It’s much more likely you will come up with a response that sets the limit or guides your child’s behavior while remaining nurturing. 

Managing strong negative emotions is surely much easier said than done. But it’s worth the effort, because the payoff is huge, for you and your child.  

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog 

Validate Those Feelings And Encourage Them to Trust Themselves

Is your kid feeling extra nervous, extra clingy, next level melting down in new situations or small social gatherings? A friendly neighbor saying hi, going to Grandma’s house, going back to school? Shoot, my girl was even terrified melting down over a new slide she wanted to try but was too nervous to go down.⁠ 
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Maybe your child has always been the nervous/shy type, or maybe COVID has brought on a totally new nervous/scared/shy side to your normally outgoing kid.⁠ 
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Listen, we all want outgoing, social, brave kids. We’ve seen them laugh and play with kids before, and we KNOW they can do it! But not all kids feel comfortable in social situations right away, especially if it’s been a while since they’ve been in social situations. Sometimes, it takes them a moment to get comfortable – and THAT’S OK. 
 
Real talk: it takes us a while to get comfortable in new/social situations as adults too. 
So, when your kid is in a new situation, or a social situation, and is clinging to you, or crying or whining, it can be REALLY tempting to push them into the situation. As an adult, we can objectively see: “this IS NO BIG DEAL, we do this all the time! Nothing is even happening; you’re going to love it!!!!!!”⁠ 
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But when we pressure them to get in there and play sooner than they’re ready to, they’ll only end up feeling MORE overwhelmed and MORE nervous. They’ll cling to your leg even harder and longer.⁠ 
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So instead, to get your kid over the nervous hump, and into confident mode: Let them feel exactly how they feel – without pushing them- and assure them that they have our support. In doing this, we increase their comfort level a million times over. And with that comfort, comes the confidence to get out there and play, to get out there and do the new thing.⁠ 
 
Be their safe person. Be their homebase. Validate those feelings and encourage them to trust themselves. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

https://mrmizrahi.blog/2020/10/01/6-ways-to-show-faith-in-your-child/

Parent Child Relationship

When it comes to family life, everyone strives to figure out how the relationship between parents and children can become ideal. Positive parenting techniques work well for raising children with discipline and good moral values and are every parents’ dream. However, it is not an easy feat. And it is important to know that the parent child relationship is a two-way street, in other words, it is a partnership between a parent and their child. 

A garden with different flowers becomes beautiful when it blossoms. Similarly, if parents learn how to be a ‘gardener’ and can recognize their child’s personality and nourish it, then their ‘garden’ will become fragrant! This is what positive parenting is all about! 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

https://mrmizrahi.blog/2020/10/01/6-ways-to-show-faith-in-your-child/

Support Kids in Developing Gratitude, Generosity, and Kindness

#Repost @curious.parenting Instagram

We can make a child say thank you, but we can’t make them feel grateful. 
We can make them share their toys, but we can’t make them choose generosity. 
We can make them apologize, but we can’t make them be kind. 
 
If we want to support kids in developing gratitude, generosity, and kindness, we need to model thanking fully, giving generously, and responding kindly. 
 
Forcing a kid to share, say thank you, and apologize is directly counterproductive to the development of gratitude, generosity, and kindness; these traits can only exist if chosen freely. 
 
How does it feel to get a “thank you” from someone who has been forced to say it? An apology from someone who doesn’t feel sorry? 
 
Instead of pushing, we can make our presence a place where gratitude, generosity, and kindness can grow. 
 
💧 We can water them by saying things like: 
 
🌱 “Thank you for spending time with me.” and “I’m so happy to have your help” 
 
🌿 “Would you like to borrow my warm scarf?” and “Here, you can use my bucket.” 
 
🌳 “I’m sorry for yelling earlier. I’d like to be more gentle with my words.” and “I’m so sorry I threw that away, I’m hearing how important it was to you.” 
 

Ways to Boost Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence

Help your child become happier, more confident, and more empathetic by teaching them healthy ways to express their feelings. 

Amid worrying about our kids’ academic success, it’s easy to lose sight of their emotional development. But research suggests a child’s emotional intelligence is every bit as important as reading, writing, and ‘arithmetic. Why? Because kids with a high emotional intelligence have mastered the other three Rs: responsibility, resilience, and respect. 

Since they’ve developed more coping skills, these kids are more able to control their emotions and behavior when things don’t go their way. This in turn makes them happier, more self-confident, and more respectful of others. Not surprisingly, children with a high EQ (or emotional quotient) also tend to do better in school. They pay attention, easily take in information, stay motivated, and get along with teachers and classmates. 

Is this just a matter of inborn temperament? Perhaps in some cases, yes. But research shows emotional intelligence can be taught. Students who have gone through school-based EQ training average 11 percentile points higher on academic test scores. As a parent, you can also teach your kid to handle challenging emotions like anger, sadness, and frustration. From books and toys to family games, here are five creative ways to help your child become an EQ whiz kid.  

👉 Play the “What-if” game 

During family car rides or as a conversation starter at the dinner table, the “What would you do if…?” game gets kids thinking about ways to respond to different situations. Ask questions that encourage your child to behave with more emotional smarts: “What would you do if you saw someone grab a toy away from your friend? Or if I blamed you for something you didn’t do? Or if your brother hit you for no reason?” 

Asking these questions when emotions aren’t running high gives your child a chance to come up with ideas on how to best respond – and for you to offer some ideas of your own. Since you can tailor questions to fit your child’s age, this works for younger and older kids alike.  

👉 That’s emo-tainment! 

Don’t tell the kids, but books and movies can be more than just entertainment. San Francisco-based childhood social skills teacher Dominique Baudry says that reading books and watching movies with children present ideal opportunities to talk about emotions and behavior. ” When reading together, ask your child, ‘What do you think he’s feeling?’ Talk about a character’s motive and intention. ‘Why do you think he did that?””  

Similarly, after watching a movie together, ask your child why a character was angry, frustrated, sad, or excited. These conversations all present an opportunity to expand “emotional literacy,” so that children get used to talking about why people behave the way they do and how they might have responded differently. What’s more, doing this with make-believe characters makes it that much easier for kids to be emotionally fluent when talking about their own emotions – which is the whole idea.  

👉 Read it with feeling 

Not only can you use stories as a launching pad to discuss feelings, but you can also get books that address emotions directly. One of the best “I’m feeling bad!” books for young kids: When Sophie Gets Angry – Really Really Angry. As happens with many children, Sophie’s anger is too much for her and her family: She rages, kicks, and screams. To find her way out of her overwhelming emotions, Sophie takes time to be alone and calm down, then returns to her family more cheerful and encouraged. 

👉 Give everyone a do-over 

Admit it: When parents – and kids – get angry enough, they yell or throw tantrums. Angry outbursts make everyone in the family feel terrible and usually solve nothing. It is recommended that all family members should be allowed a chance to have a “do-over.” 

Anyone in the family is allowed to say, ‘That came out really mean. I’m going to do a do-over. Here’s what I wanted to say.’ Do-overs allow kids and grownups a way to gain more self-awareness by practicing less hurtful ways of expressing difficult emotions. Allowing for do-overs lets the whole family help one another try again in a kinder, better way. It’s also a very kind way to cut each other some slack. 

👉 Work on playing 

With less free playtime at and after school, kids today have fewer chances to practice the social skills that are important for learning emotional intelligence and dealing with difficult issues like bullying. Give your child as many opportunities as possible for unstructured, cooperative and imaginative play with siblings and other kids. Building a fort, putting on a play or a variety show or playing ‘restaurant’ or ‘barber shop’ together give kids lots of opportunities to practice communicating their desires and resolving conflicts. 

As your child grows older, talk about real-life situations—whether it’s things they’re encountering in their daily life or it’s a problem you’re reading about in the news. Make it an ongoing conversation. Use your child’s mistakes as opportunities to grow better. When they act out because they’re angry or they hurt someone’s feelings, take time to talk about how they can do better in the future. With your ongoing support and guidance, your child can develop the emotional intelligence and mental strength they’ll need to succeed in life.  

Treat Your Children as You Would Like to Be Treated Yourself

Snuff out their fears, give a name to those emotions that they do not know how to express, dedicate time to them, let their dreams take off, and make them feel who they are: the most precious people in your world. 

A child does not want to be yelled at and does not understand reproaches; your child deserves to be treated with the art of listening, patience, and the grandeur of affection, because children are not there to be “dominated”; they are there to be loved. 

A mother’s instinct or a father’s natural ability to intuitively know the needs of their own children is doubtlessly the best strategy when it comes to educating them. Children come into the world with innate kindness, so they deserve to be treated with respect. 

A child must be treated with affection and without fear. There are mothers and fathers who are afraid to fail in their role as parents. They think that they are failures if they don’t get them a place in the best schools or buy them the same brand-name clothes that their friends wear at school. They aspire, in some way, to offer their children what they themselves never had. 

Everyone is free when it comes to choosing how to educate a child, but we often forget what children are like and everything that happens in their heads. We hang onto the thought of everything that we have to offer them without first finding out what they really need: us. 

Our children do not really need brand-name clothes or electronic toys that they can play with alone. They need your time, your example, your good night hugs, and your hand to hold when they cross the street. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog 

Strategies That Help Improve Executive Functioning Skills

When we practice using our executive functions, it helps them to develop and get stronger over time. Executive functioning is essential for social and emotional intelligence. 

As a parent, you can encourage your child to use these skills every day in order to promote strong executive functioning skills. 

1. Decision Making 

Give your child choices throughout the day. For little ones, this can be as simple as “Do you want to wear your pink shirt or your yellow shirt today?” 

Older children should have the chance to make more complex decisions. As parents, it can be instinctual to make the “right” choice for our kids, because we don’t want them to make mistakes, but this is a learning experience for children and necessary for them to have strong decision-making skills down the road. 

The natural consequences of your choices can be the best learning experience. 

2. Practice Problem Solving 

If this is an area your child struggles with, try the problem-solving wheel to help teach effective problem-solving skills. Give them hypothetical scenarios and ask them to choose the best option(s) for solving the problem. 

Practicing frequently will help them to be able to apply these skills in real-life situations. You can even act out different scenarios and use pretend-play to practice social skills and problem-solving at the same time. 

3. Play Physical Activities That Require Attention 

Kids need to pay attention to instructions and use their impulse control to play certain games. These games are also great ways to provide kids with proprioceptive input and is great for motor planning. 

  • Freeze dance 
  • Musical chairs 
  • Simon Says 
  • Duck Duck Goose 
  • Mother May I? 
  • Red Light, Green Light 

4. Play Sorting Games 

Getting children to sort objects by changing rules, such as first sorting by color, then mixing them back up and asking them to re-sort by shape helps improve cognitive flexibility. 

Cognitive flexibility is the ability to adjust your thinking from an old situation to a new situation. 

5. Play with Building Materials 

Children learn best through play and through doing. 

Give your child the opportunity to play with building toys, including blocks, mag snaps, train tracks, and racetracks, Legos, marble runs, etc. 

It might seem like they’re just playing, but it takes strategic planning to build things with these toys. Planning, organization, and decision making goes into every creation. 

If your child is building a train track, they’ll need a strategy to make the tracks connect at the end. 

Likewise, if they’re building a tower from blocks, they’ll learn that you need bigger blocks at the base of the tower, or else it will fall over. 

This building can evolve over time. As your child gets older, they can focus on building more complex Lego sets, or model airplanes, robots, etc. 

These tasks require working memory, the ability to follow multi-step directions, focus, and concentration. 

6. Play Board Games That Require Strategy 

Strategic board games give your child a chance to practice planning and keeping it in mind for several moves. They must also adjust their strategy in response to the other players’ moves. 

Through strategizing, a child’s inhibitory control, flexibility, and working memory need to work together, practicing many executive functions together. 

7. Improve Empathy 

It’s a myth that children with autism lack empathy. 

They are very empathetic; the problem is that they have trouble reading how other people feel. They don’t pick up on body language and slight changes in tone of voice or facial expression as easily as others. 

You can help improve your child’s ability at recognizing others’ feelings by drawing their attention to them regularly. 

For example, when you’re watching their favorite TV show together ask your child how they think the character feels. 

Over time this will help your child form connections between actions and feelings and help grow their understanding and they will become more empathetic. 

This will also help your child to better identify their own big emotions and improve their perspective-taking abilities. 

8. Give Executive Functioning Time to Develop 

Finally, you just must give your little ones some time. As I mentioned earlier, the part of the brain responsible for executive functions doesn’t completely mature until the mid-twenties. 

A child with ADHD usually is delayed by about 3 years in their level of executive functioning. As a parent just keep facilitating opportunities to learn, being patient and nurturing during meltdowns, setting boundaries when you need to, and playing lots of games together. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog 

Help Your Child Make and Keep Friends

Help Your Child Make and Keep Friends 

Children with ADHD often have trouble making friends, but it turns out that parents can help. Learn why solo time with your child and planned playdates can help you take a more active role in how he makes new friends. 

It’s common for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to have trouble making friends. How can parents help? 

Where do you start? 

Start by listening. The more positive and trusting your relationship, the more likely it is that your child will accept your guidance. If he’s upset about a friendship problem, be empathetic. Give him a chance to express his feelings before saying what he should do differently next time. 

Spend some time doing fun things together, just the two of you, without directing or criticizing his behavior. Building a relationship with your child pays off. Parents in my study groups have said that when they work on relationship-building at home, they see better behavior in their child’s peer relationships right away. 

Look for the positive, even if it’s hard to find something to praise 

For example, you see your child with another child, and almost everything she does seems wrong. She goes up and says, “Hi,” introduces herself, and says she wants to play. Then she treats the other kid as a play-slave, and says, “We’re going to do this. I go first. You stand here.” 

There’s a lot to criticize. But you can praise what she did well: walking up and introducing herself in a friendly way. As for the rest, there may be 20 behaviors that you’d like to change but be selective. Pick the most important one or two-and be specific in what you say: “When you play a game, you get to move your pieces, but you have to let your friend move hers.” 

Parents take a more active role in promoting friendships 

You can help your child make better choices – for instance, a friend with the same interests who’s also a good personality match. 

A great way to find the right playmates is to volunteer at your child’s school and for extracurricular activities. You see other kids, and you get to know other parents. It’s an opportunity to network and to suggest playdates. 

Made playdates go more smoothly 

Planning. Before the playdate, put away anything that might cause conflict, like a favorite toy that your child wouldn’t want other kids to touch. Plan enough activities so that you leave little or no unstructured time. If your child has repeatedly acted in a way that’s likely to cause trouble, caution him in advance about the most appropriate behavior.  Be on hand with snacks or another distraction in case the kids start fighting – especially if you don’t know the other child well. 

How closely should you supervise? 

It depends largely on the age and on the child. You might want to be in the same room with a six-year-old, so you can head off a tantrum if you see it coming. For a 10-year-old, stay just within earshot and check in from time to time to see if the kid’s friends need your attention. If it’s too quiet, your child may have lost interest and may be ignoring her friend. 

Whisper to your child if something’s wrong. If it’s the kind of behavior you discussed beforehand, a reminder may be enough. If it isn’t, or if the misbehavior is serious, talk to her in another room. Unless the situation is out of control, don’t cut the playdate short. 

What do you do after the playdate’s over? 

Debrief your child. Give him feedback, particularly on how he handled the behavior you focused on before the playdate. You might say, “It was really nice of you to congratulate your friend on winning the game, like we talked about.” 

Use the experience in planning the next playdate. If you stay focused on improving trouble behaviors, you should see progress. It often happens that way in my study groups. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog 

Make Time for Unstructured Play

Weekends are the perfect time for some unstructured play!  

But why is it so important? 
 
Unstructured play encourages creativity and imagination. 
 
Children learn through play. This is how they work out problems, practice important social skills, and process emotions. 

Unstructured play increases confidence. When children are able to think and create, using their own cognition and creativity it increases their confidence in themselves. 

 Attachment and bonding with your child are increased when you join in unstructured play with them. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

https://mrmizrahi.blog/2020/10/01/6-ways-to-show-faith-in-your-child/

Temper Tantrums VS Meltdowns

There are significant differences, neurologically, between a temper tantrum and a meltdown – those differences come down to which parts of the brain are in control during a meltdown or a temper tantrum. 

Tantrums 

As awful as tantrums can be, it is an indicator that your child’s executive functions are developing typically. So, in a strange way you can be proud of your kiddo for that fit they’re throwing. 

A child having a tantrum is acting out in order to get their way or push your buttons or get some attention. They’re likely operating with the forebrain and midbrain – the thinking and feeling brain. 

They may appear out of control but are able to stop the tantrum abruptly (for example, when they get what they want) and return to making logical decisions and behaving calmly. 

Parents are taught to ignore tantrum – because if your child’s tantrum doesn’t get them what they want or get a reaction out of you, they will learn that this strategy is ineffective and over time, will stop. 

You may notice a child who is throwing a tantrum will look over at you to see if you’re watching them. 

Young children use tantrums because they don’t have the communication skills yet to communicate their wants and needs. Learning about their feelings, and positive ways to communicate, will drastically reduce the frequency of tantrums. 

Meltdowns 

A meltdown is completely different. 

When a child is having a meltdown, thanks to their amygdala causing fight or flight to kick in, the prefrontal cortex responsible for executive functioning completely shuts down. 

Stress hormones flood their tiny body and, temporarily, they are literally incapable of controlling their actions and emotions, or using any executive functions like considering consequences, problem-solving, or listening to reason. 

When your child is having a meltdown, they do not need you to set firm boundaries or ignore their outbursts. Your child needs you to be nurturing and comforting until the meltdown is over.  

The best approach to take will vary depending on your child’s temperament and what the trigger of the meltdown was. Just remember that this is an emotional reaction and not a behavior choice. 

When your child is having a meltdown, trying to talk to them about consequences or appropriate vs inappropriate behavior will not help, and may in fact make things worse. 

The executive functions of the brain need to be up and running for any of this information to be processed. 

When their emotions are regulated again, and no longer rushing with emotions, you can talk about appropriate vs inappropriate behavior with them. 

It’s better to talk to your child using compassion and understanding than to be punitive. The best strategy for meltdowns is to be proactive. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog