How to Raise Well Mannered Children

Tip #1:  Have Clear Expectations 

Children thrive if parents can have clear expectations for behavior and enforce those standards consistently. Determine what your expectations for your kids are on everything from how they perform at school to curfews, household chores and even things like using profanity and what their bedtime is during the school year. Be specific and then make the consequences equally as clear.  

Tip #2:  Model Appropriate Behavior 

Remember that you always have an audience when your kids are in your presence. We’re human so we’re going to get irritated and speak harshly or display a temper now and then, but just as soon as it happens and you catch yourself, stop and apologize in front of your kids. By explaining why you’re sorry to your kids, you demonstrate that we need to be held accountable for our action.  

Tip #3: Be Affectionate Often 

When a child hears phrases like “I love you,” or “How’s it going?” or notices that you stopped what you’re doing when she enters the room and is greeted with a loving smile, it means the world to a child.  When you display affection to your kids and other family members, you’re validating to them how important they are to you, which sends the best positive message you could ever deliver.  

Tip #4: Teach Problem Solving 

When kids are exposed to problems that allow them to be part of the solution, it builds important skills that will carry over into their adult life including how to manage their behaviors. 

Although kids crave structure and boundaries, they also love and need to exert their independence. As they grow, obviously they’ll have more opportunities to make more involved decisions, which in turn will aid in their problem-solving abilities. 

Tip #5:  Teach Behavior During Play Time 

Forbid name calling. Compassion starts with what’s acceptable and what’s not. Let him know that being kind to others is the rule and hurtful words are not allowed.  If you get involved right away, you are sending an important message that kindness trumps everything and that name calling is not going to happen. 

Tip #6: Request Respect 

If your kids are taught how to respect themselves and others, they will learn good coping skills for dealing with anger and frustration in appropriate ways that are not verbally or physically abusive to others.  

 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

 

 

 

 

Five Essential Guidelines to Stop Sibling Fights

Finding your kids in the thick of a physical altercation–punching, biting, slapping, or even worse was scary stuff for everyone involved–children and parents alike. But the truth is, this behavior is common, especially in younger children who don’t have more appropriate conflict resolution skills. 

What can you do to reduce sibling fights? Model empathy, personal boundaries and healthy conflict resolution. Coach children during conflicts (when needed). Stepping out of a judge role and taking on a more neutral, facilitator role. Below are the five essential guidelines to stop sibling fights. 

1. Step in and limit all behaviors that are hurtful. (You might need to physically stand in their way) Use calm and confident words. 

It might sound like “I’m standing here, and I will not let you hurt each other.” 

2. Take time to listen and validate feelings. Taking turns as needed to speak to each child and remembering that coaching role explained above. Think along the lines of “You two are having a hard time—I wonder what we can do,” instead of “He or she is the problem.” 

3. Focus on understanding needs and boundaries. Avoid criticizing the behavior that was out of line. Children are quite aware that hitting and hurting a sibling is wrong. 

4. Use respectful communication and discipline with the intent to teach. Focusing on solutions and agreements instead of punishments. This actively strengthens connection, a sense of cooperation, capability and well-being. 

5. Don’t be afraid to suggest that everyone take some time to calm down. Stay by your children but don’t get into problem solving mode until tears have passed and everyone seems ready to listen. 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

Helping Your Child Build Healthy Self Esteem

When a child’s self-esteem is positive and well balanced, they aren’t afraid of making mistakes because they recognize within themselves the ability to try again. They can manage worries, frustrations and the learning process well. Especially when parents can encourage and support them along the way. 

Here are ten parenting practices that promote healthy self-esteem: 

1. Use encouraging words: Self-esteem is reinforced when children feel confident in their abilities, even when things are tough. Encouraging words help children stay the course. 

2. Welcome boredom into your home: When boredom shows up, children start to get creative. They tap into their inner resources, discover their interests and learn to rely on their own abilities.  Allow for plenty of unstructured time for your child every day. Even better if you can get them outdoors! 

3. Validate feelings without eliminating every obstacle: When your child is struggling, try to validate and listen. Have faith that your child will be able to feel a full range of emotions and get through their feelings.  

4. Teach self-care skills: Show your child how to care for their body, belongings and home. Self-esteem really starts with knowing you can care for yourself, so allow your child to be an activate participant in their care from the very start. 

5. Listen: Strive to make time to be together each day so you can listen to your child talk about accomplishments, fears, worries, ideas and more. 

6. Acknowledge worries:  When a child feels like her worries are being understood she is better able to deal with them and move forward. So, try not to dismiss worries and instead acknowledge them.  

7. Have courage & bkind: Our children really are watching us and reflecting on the choices that we make. Face your own obstacles, fears and worries with courage. Highlight the good and how you worked things out.  Of course, it’s ok to be authentic and admit defeat, but strive to do so with general compassion and kindness towards yourself.  

8. Welcome mistakes and imperfections: See these as opportunities to learn, to persevere or to know when to quit and move on. Each mistake can be a chance to learn something new, or at the very least to model what it takes to problem solve. 

9. Spend time together: Play, fun and laughter are incredibly powerful ways to connect to your child’s heart and mind. Children that feel connected to their parents feel good about themselves. This practice has tremendous potential to reduce stress, misbehavior and increase your child’s well-being. 

10. Use connected, positive discipline: Focus on working together, on understanding the root of the problem, setting limits well and being present. A respectful, kind and clear approach to discipline helps your child feel secure, loved and understood. A great mix for growing up with a healthy and with balanced self-esteem. 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

Tips to Limit Preschooler’s Screen Time

The exciting nature of screen time can trigger the release of dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter that makes us associate screens with pleasure and therefore something we want to spend more time with. When the game stops, so does dopamine release and for some individuals this can result in irritability. 

Time spent in front of a screen is also time your kids are not spending engaged in other activities, many of which minimize behavior problems. 

Kids with more than two hours a day of screen time by the age of 5 are almost eight times more likely to meet the criteria for ADD/ADHD than youngsters who spend less than 30 minutes a day looking at a screen, according to a 2019 Canadian study in Plos One

The next time you’re tempted to use screen time as a sort of babysitter, think twice. You could be setting up your child for a lifetime of struggle. It’s best to limit your preschooler’s screen time to no more than 30 minutes a day. Here are three ways to limit your preschooler’s screen time. 

 1. Use parental controls. 

Tablets and smartphones come equipped with control options that allow parents to monitor and limit screen time. 

2. Set and enforce screen rules. 

No screens at the dinner table. No screens in the car. No screens before bedtime. Whatever rules you set, be sure to enforce them. This will help preschoolers develop a healthier relationship with their tech gadgets. 

3. Encourage physical activity. 

Take your child to the park, swimming pool, or activity center or sign them up for group sports so they can burn off energy while having fun and learning new skills. Exercise increases blood flow to all parts of the body, including the brain, and it boosts focus and attention. Kids who spent at least two hours a week playing organized sports were less likely to have behavioral issues. When ADD patients play sports, such as basketball, which involves intense aerobic exercise, they tend to do better in school. 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

Words Matter

“Be mindful of the language you use to describe your children. They will come to see themselves through the filter you design.” – Lori Petro, TEACH Through Love 

Words are powerful. Words are especially powerful when said by parents to their children. The words we use to describe our children become a part of their self-concept and their behavior is based on their self-concept. Our actions have deep roots on what we think and how we perceive self. Self-concept has a big influence on our behavior. Behavior pattern decides actions. Stable or unstable self-concept, it is a motivating force in a person’s behavior…It is important at this moment to connect the influence of the words we use to call little ones as ‘dumb’, ‘stupid’, etc. We just casually call and forget, but those words have big impact on little minds. Some school children study below their capacities because they have learned at home and from other members of friend circle to think themselves as dumb. 

Children will have a much easier time valuing themselves if they are valued by their parents. Dorothy Briggs, the author of Your Child’s Self-Esteem, says that parents are like a mirror, creating the child’s self-image. We reflect to them who we think they are, and they take it in as the absolute truth. They are not critical of our evaluation of them until they get much older, when the damage is largely done.  

The way we ‘frame’ a situation, or a person, heavily influences our interactions. If we consistently see our children as frustrating impediments in that would otherwise be a well-ordered life, then every interaction with our children will be marred by that default view. Such a view promotes a deficit-orientation towards a family. It reduces motivation on the part of parents to help their ‘good-for-nothing’, ‘bratty’, ‘ungrateful’ children. And unsurprisingly, such approach is hardly inspiring for children. They feed off the negativity of parental perception and typically live up to precisely what is expected of them…which is not much.  

I understand we aren’t perfect parents, and sometimes something may slip off our tongues that we regret saying. In those instances, apologize and reaffirm to your child your love and belief in him. Positive parenting does not require us to be perfect, but it does require us to be mindful. Be mindful not only of the words you say, but of the thoughts you think. Reframe negative thoughts and purposefully look for and appreciate the positives in your children. Tell them how kind, capable, and wonderful you think they are. One of the greatest gifts you can give your child will never be found under the Christmas tree: A healthy self-concept.  

Ways to Address ADHD Parent Burnout

There’s no denying that being a parent can be one of the most rewarding experiences in one’s life, it certainly has its challenging days, weeks and even years. Parents of children with ADHD have additional stressors affecting their day-to-day lives which can no doubt dampen the joys of parenting at times. 
 

If the stress of being a parent to a child with a developmental disorder or associated concern is causing you to feel “burnt out”, remember: 
 

  • You are NOT ALONE.  Parenthood is exhausting at the best of times, and it is not shameful to struggle. 
  • It is important to TAKE A BREAK.  All parents need a break from time to time, and it is vital to make time to practice self-care. Go for a walk, go to the gym, listen to music, catch up with friends, have a bubble bath, make time for “date nights”. 
  • If those around you offer to help, SAY YES. Remember it takes a village to raise a child. 
  • Draw upon your child’s “care team”.  Talk to their Pediatrician, School Counsellor, Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, or even sporting coach.  No questions are silly questions.  It is always better to have asked about something playing on your mind than to stress about it unnecessarily. 
  • Talk to other parents of children with developmental difficulties – this can help to normalize your experience. 
  • Try and take joy in the small things. Celebrate little wins, and appreciate when your child sings, laughs or smiles. 
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, if the burn-out gets too much, SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP.   

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

Why Does My ADHD Child Not Listen?

When it comes to ADHD, you shouldn’t automatically assume that your child does not listen. They, in fact, might, though, it might appear that they don’t. Alternatively, they could hear and understand and decide to act defiantly instead of obeying. Ultimately, there could be several things going on. Let’s look at some of the most common possibilities. 

🟣 You don’t have their full attention 

For a child with ADHD, their mind often jumps from one focus point to another. If nothing specifically grabs or demands their attention, their mind quickly moves to the next thing. To make your ADHD child listen, do everything you can to request and maintain their full attention. 

🟣 They don’t understand what you are saying and can’t process the information 

Many children with ADHD might struggle with verbal commands because they do not learn best in an auditory setting. If processing is an issue, change your approach and possibly try to explain what you want through demonstration. You could also try to write out instructions or use pictures or drawings. 

🟣 They are being willfully defiant 

In response to defiance, if you want to make your ADHD child listen better, you can try a few things. First, you may want to explain the consequences of their actions again. If they still choose not to obey, you should carry out the consequences. You can’t back down, though, or change the results from what you had said. By doing that, your child might believe they have won the encounter and choose to continue to be defiant in the future. Instead, you should do what you said and carry through on the consequences. Hopefully, they eventually will learn to obey to receive positive results instead of negative ones. 

Secondly, if you find that negative consequences have little effect, you might consider seeking out professional help. Many individuals with ADHD also have Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or ODD. ODD is a separate disorder in which a child willfully and persistently opposes the authority of others. If you continually have concerns about your child’s defiance, this might be the underlying cause. 

Making your ADHD child listen can be a difficult task. You don’t have to be alone in figuring it out, though. While it might take time, you can learn to communicate in ways to make your ADHD child listen. 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog 

Accept Your Child’s Emotions

There isn’t a single piece of research that shows that rejecting, ignoring, dismissing, invalidating, resisting, ridiculing, punishing or attempting to shut down children’s emotions is good for them or for the parent-child relationship. There is, however, decades of research showing just the opposite: that when we accept our children’s feelings and help them organize their emotions by offering our presence, connection, nurturance, understanding, and guidance, they develop into more secure, confident, and socially and academically competent adults who tend to be able to better regulate their emotions and respond with sensitivity to others’ emotions. 

For both kids and adults, having our emotions rejected or dismissed usually leads to the amplification of the intensity of emotion. In kids, “meltdowns” and “tantrums” (emotional dysregulation, stress, and overwhelm) are likely to be more intense and occur for longer when their emotions are rejected rather than accepted. Accepting your child’s emotion and responding with sensitivity, with presence, empathy, and nurturance, can help to soothe and contain your child’s emotion, and help them organize their emotional experience; this process is called ‘coregulation’ and is the foundation required for children to gradually learn to regulate their own emotions. 


‘Oh, but what about when they are engaging in undesirable behavior?’, I hear you say. ‘Should I set limits when they are expressing their emotion in bad behaviors?’ Children can’t effectively or consistently regulate their behavior before they have learnt to effectively regulate their emotion…and let’s be real here, many adults haven’t mastered this skill. Your child is much more likely to be able to regulate their behavior (engage in healthy, adaptive behavior) when they can effectively regulate their emotions, and, for them to be able to regulate their emotions, they need to have their emotions accepted and supported by their caregivers— on this the research is clear. 

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/

How to Smooth Transitions and Avoid Meltdowns

Turning off the TV, leaving the playground, giving back the iPad, or ending a play date — any of these may provoke a tantrum. Why? Many children with autism and ADHD have difficulty moving from one task to another, especially when they must stop an enjoyable activity. Behavior intervention strategies can help smooth the transitions. 

  1. Define Expectations 

Clearly identifying your objectives and setting attainable short- and long-term goals are the first steps to any behavior change plan. 

Let’s take the LEGO example. The expectation may be: When the time comes to shift to another activity, my child will comply when he is asked, without resisting, crying, shouting, or throwing things. 

  1. Create a Schedule 

A written or a visual schedule can help your child follow the order of events for a specific time period. But posting a schedule does not automatically mean your child will follow it. Checking off the events in a schedule should be accompanied by positive reinforcement. 

  1. Reinforcement 

Once you have thought of possible reinforcers for your child (you can create a visual depicting the reinforcers for your child to see), try simultaneously presenting the reward as the transition time is occurring, before your child can resist. Besides offering tangible items, positive reinforcement should also include behavior-specific vocal praise. 

If your child already starts to fuss when the announcement is made to start a new activity, don’t promise the reinforcer. It is very important that the engagement in a challenging behavior never results in receiving a pleasurable item or activity. Reinforcers should only follow desired behaviors. As transitions are consistently paired with reinforcement, the new desired behavior can become more of the “norm.” 

  1. Plan 

Prepare in advance to reap the benefits from your intervention plans. Know how you will present the transition, what items or activities will be effective reinforcers to motivate a successful transition, and how you will respond if your child does not go along with the shift in activity. 

  1. Give Choices When Possible 

Offer options to help your child with transitions. You might say, “Do you want me to help you clean up, or do you want to do it by yourself? It is almost time to leave for baseball practice,” “We are ready to finish TV time and have lunch.” It also helps to see things from your child’s perspective. If a game is just about to end, or there are three minutes left on his TV show, be flexible when possible. 

When a parent’s emotion run high, the child’s emotion will, too. Demonstrate the behaviors you want your children to engage in. Urging a child to “Come on, hurry! We are going to be late,” can have a negative effect. Stay calm and steady. 

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

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Ideas to Help Improve Executive Functioning in Kids

If a child has Executive Functioning Disorder or delays, it does not mean that all the skills and tasks are negatively impacted. A child may be delayed in one skill or all skills. 

Since there are many other diagnoses associated with EF skills, such as, ADD, ADHD, ASD, and Traumatic Brain Injury, many tend to look at the larger diagnosis and not look through the EF lens. This can lead to missed opportunities to assist a child with gaining independence and confidence. Often a child may be called “lazy”, when in fact they have EF difficulties and are unable to plan out how to do something. 

Here are some great tools to help a child that may be experiencing EF difficulties: 

1. Rationale: When a child learns new skills, provide the rationale behind them or things like planning for the task might feel like a waste of time. 

2. Outline steps: Support the child by defining the steps involved in tasks ahead of time to make a task less daunting and more achievable. 

3. Use aids: Use tools like timers, computers, iPad, or watches with alarms. 

4. Visuals: Prepare visual schedules and review them several times a day. 

5. Provide 2 types of information: Provide the child with written (or visual) instructions as well as oral instructions. 

6. Create checklists and “to do” lists, estimating how long tasks will take. Use checklists for getting through assignments. For example, a student’s checklist could include items such as: get out pencil and paper; put name on paper; put due date on paper; read directions. 

7. Use calendars to keep track of long-term assignments, due dates, chores, and activities. 

8. Improve working environment: Assist the child to organize their workspace and minimize clutter and distractions. 

9. Establish routines to try to consolidate skills and memory of what needs to be done. 

10. Cut and paste projects requiring multiple steps in which they must complete tasks in a sequential manner. 

11. Mind mapping to assist the child to get ideas down on paper strategically. 

12. Games: Planning and problem-solving games such as puzzles or games like ‘Go Getter’ (River & Road game). 

13. Lotus diagrams: Use lotus diagrams with the child to help with structuring thoughts on paper whilst creating clear expectations as to how much to write. 

14. Block building: Get the child to copy block designs from a picture or a 3D model. 

15. Drawing: Draw a picture as a model. Then draw an incomplete version of the same picture and ask the child to finish the picture to make it look like the model. 

16. Practice goal setting with the child (e.g., Help the child to set attainable goals that are well-defined). Break goals down into smaller steps and talk about alternative approaches with the child. 

17. Recall games that require the child to recall information such as Memory: “I went to the shops and bought a…” 

18. Multi-tasking: Practice doing several activities at once (it may be helpful to number the activities) to encourage the child to learn to shift from one activity to another. 

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

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Praise Is Important for Children with ADHD

Praise nurtures your child’s confidence and sense of self. By using praise, you’re showing your child how to think and talk positively about themselves. You’re helping your child learn how to recognize when they do well and feel proud of themselves. 

Giving your child words of praise is like offering him a ticket out of the fear and self-doubt that plague him. 

The key to effective praise, the kind that is transformative rather than simply pleasant — is placement. If you applaud everything your child does, your praise sounds phony and loses its power. If, however, you withhold acclaim for only those occasional moments, you may lose the chance to draw out more from a child than he knew he had in him. 

And what if your child does little to deserve praise? Help him to succeed, to go beyond himself. Praise is especially important for children who have ADHD because they typically get so little of it. They undergo testing and are expected to feel grateful for constructive criticism. 

Children with ADHD carry buried treasures and hidden talents that must be excavated to be developed. Praise is one of the best pickaxes in this important mining expedition. 

A reward is a consequence of good behavior. It’s a way of saying ‘Well done’ after your child has done something good or behaved well. It could be a treat, a surprise or an extra privilege. For example, as a reward for keeping their room tidy, you might let your child choose what’s for dinner. So, when you praise or encourage your child’s behavior and then reward it, the behavior is more likely to happen again. 
 

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

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Strategies for Strengthening Communication with Your Child

Parenting a child with ADD or ADHD is a challenge. Communication is essential and communicating with a child who has attention or sensory challenges can be difficult. Below are strategies for strengthening communication with your child. 

1.Recognize when your child is hearing you and paying attention. Most people require eye contact to know that they’re being heard. However, a child with ADD or ADHD has a mind that is operating at a fast pace. They may not be able to make or maintain eye contact with you. This doesn’t mean that they’re not listening. On the contrary, many children fidget with objects when they’re listening. Pay attention to your child’s cues. 

2. Give them short and simple directions. Children are easily overwhelmed. When you’re teaching them something or asking them to perform a task, give them step-by-step instructions. However, don’t lay out all the steps at once. Give them one or two simple steps and then move on once each step is completed. 

3. Create communication strategies. You may need to get creative when trying to communicate with your child. For example, introduce a ‘listening ball.’ Instruct your child to hold the ball or toss it from hand to hand while they listen to you. You can also use visual cues to indicate what you want or need your child to do. When it’s time for bed, show them a picture of a bed or give them the stuffed animal that they sleep with. 

4. Give them choices. Children learn to quickly tune their parents out, especially when they perceive that you’re talking at them rather than to them. However, when you give your child a choice, it’s easier for them to listen. They often allow themselves to slow down and weigh the choices so that they can make the most appealing decision. For example, when it’s time for bed you might say, “It’s time for bed. Which pajamas do you want to wear tonight – the red ones or the blue ones?” 

5. Use visual aids. Children with ADD and ADHD respond to visual aids. Instead of telling them what they need to do to get ready for bed, create a poster with a series of pictures demonstrating the steps.  

6. Talk softly and remain calm. As you become agitated or raise your voice, it can stimulate your child. This is the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish, especially if they’re already agitated or upset. Speak quietly to your child and remain calm. If they’re throwing a tantrum or are agitated, step away and engage in a quiet activity that they may find interesting. Build a tower with blocks, color, or work on a puzzle. Your calm can and will influence them. 

7. Explain your expectations. When your child knows what is expected of them and what they can expect, they tend to behave better. Rewarding positive behavior also supports future cooperation. 

Raising a child with ADD or ADHD requires some creative parenting. Learn your child’s cues and triggers. Observe their learning style and support that style in your communication. If you’re struggling, join a support group. Sometimes talking to other parents can help you not only cope but you can also pick up some new tips. 
 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog