How to Improve Working Memory in Children with ADHD 

Working memory is what enables us to hold new information in our minds, apply previously learned information or skills to the new information, and solve problems. Unfortunately, students affected by ADHD can have difficulty holding information in their working memory. Poor working memory leads to inattention for many students. 

Kids use working memory all the time to learn. It’s needed for things like following multi-step directions or solving a math problem in your head. You can help your child improve working memory by building simple strategies into everyday life. 

1. Work on visualization skills. 

Encourage kids to create a picture in their mind of what they’ve just read or heard. As kids get better at visualizing, they can describe the image instead of drawing it. 

2. Have your child teach you. 

Being able to explain how to do something involves making sense of information and mentally filing it. Ask your child to teach you a skill. This lets them start working with the information right away rather than waiting to be called on. 

3. Try games that use visual memory. 

There are lots of matching games that can help kids work on visual memory, like the classic game Concentration (or Memory).  

4. Play cards. 

Simple card games like Crazy Eights, Uno, Go Fish, and War can improve working memory in two ways. Kids must keep the rules of the game in mind. 

5. Encourage active reading. 

Jotting down notes and underlining or highlighting text can help kids keep information in their minds long enough to answer questions about it. Talking out loud and asking questions about the reading material can also help with working memory.  

6. Chunk information into smaller bites. 

Write them down or give them one at a time. You can also use graphic organizers to help break writing assignments into smaller pieces. 

7. Make it multisensory. 

Using multiple senses to process information can help with working memory and long-term memory. Write tasks down so your child can look at them. Say them out loud so your child can hear them. Using multisensory strategies can help kids keep information in mind long enough to use it. 

8. Help make connections. 

Help your child form associations that connect different details and make them more memorable. Finding ways to connect information helps with forming and retrieving long-term memory. It also helps with working memory, which is what we use to hold and compare new and old memories. 

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

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How To Help Children Manage Their Stress 

When is distress something more serious? When does it become something that warrants specialized help? As children get older and take on new responsibilities, more activities, and larger homework loads, they are more susceptible to stress.


Whether it’s family, friends, school, or something else causing your child distress, if he exhibits any of these signs of anxiety, it may be time to act. Look at these eight signs which indicated that your child may be dealing with stress.

  1. Nightmares 
  1. Trouble concentrating and completing schoolwork 
  1. Increased aggression 
  1. Bedwetting 
  1. Hyperactive behavior 
  1. Withdrawing from family and friends 
  1. Eating or sleeping disorders 
  1. Overreactions to minor problems 

You can also follow these suggestions to promote well-being in your family: 

  • Validate your child’s experiences: Instead of offering falsely positive reassurances or irritated dismissals about your child’s emotions and questions, acknowledge what you’re observing and hearing from them. Think about their behaviors as signals that something is amiss. You can’t make things better, but you’ll offer comfort to ease their pain and fear. 
  • Stick with the facts: Real information is key. Kids need clear guidelines about the purpose of the quarantine and what actions they can and can’t take. Limit your family’s exposure to the news and be aware of what you are saying. 
  • Remember that we are suffering apart and together: There’s a universal feeling of unease right now, which is combined with the loss of usual routines and decreased social, in-person contact. Staying connected to your social network is essential. 
  • Avoid over-using substances or discussing how they can ease your pain: Go for a family walk after dinner, play a game, or watch a show together. Discuss your frustrations in appropriate ways rather than falling back on self-medication. 

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

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How Can We Help Kids with Self-Regulation 

Self-regulation is the ability to remain calm, cope with big emotions, adapt, and respond appropriately to our environment. Emotion regulation is a skill that can be learned, often with the help of parents or other adults. 

Children cannot always handle their big emotions (e.g., mad, sad, scared) and may appear anxious, irritable, impulsive, destructive, or aggressive. If lack of regulation skills is the cause of children’s meltdowns, punishment will not teach them the skills they need to stay calm, cope, and adapt.  

Here are some strategies that may help at home or at school: 

  • Provide as much consistency as possible. Regular mealtimes and sleep schedules are essential for children’s emotional and physical development. 
  • Talk about your feelings when appropriate. 
  • Encourage your children to talk about their feelings. Label your child’s feelings and discuss emotions as they arise in books or television shows. 
  • Model emotion regulation. What strategies do you use when you are feeling frustrated or worried? 
  • Practice deep breathing. This is a tool that the whole family can practice, and it can be used anywhere! 

Recognize that children need time and support to learn and practice regulation skills. It is important that you model self-regulation by remaining calm. Offer a gentle touch, empathy, and validate their feelings. 

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

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You Shouldn’t Ignore Your Child’s Emotions 

When our kids are upset, it can sometimes trigger us to be upset too and instead of responding to our kids, we react. Rather than trying to force your child not to feel certain things, teach them how to deal with uncomfortable emotions. 

Your goal shouldn’t be to change your child’s emotions. Avoid saying things like: 

  • “Quit being so overdramatic.” 
  • “Don’t get so mad over something so small.” 
  • “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.” 
  • “You’re freaking out over nothing.” 
  • “Don’t be such a baby.” 
  • “Stop worrying about something so silly.” 
  • “You’re overreacting.”
  • “It’s not a big deal.”

Understanding their emotions and responding appropriately is an important part of your child’s cognitive development. In fact, when kids have a solid grasp on their emotions, research has shown that they do better in school and have more positive interactions with their peers and their teachers. 

As your child grows up, they’ll gain better control over their emotions. And acknowledging his emotions is a quicker way to reduce difficult behavior than if you brushed them aside. Look for teachable moments to coach your child. And be prepared to work on managing your own emotions better.  

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

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Powerful Beliefs in Positive Parenting 

  1. When kids are misbehaving, they are expressing an unmet need.
  1. Kids need empathy and support to help them overcome their obstacles. 
  1. Children need guidance in social interaction, and may at times communicate their feelings inappropriately. 
  1. All children are unique. They each have their own identity, pace in learning, expressions, and our role as parents is to support them to become their true selves. 
  1. I have the ability to be a wonderful, loving parent to my child. I am doing the best job I possibly can with the knowledge I have today.

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

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5 STEPS IN EMOTIONAL COACHING 

  1. Be aware of your child’s emotions 
     

Do not discredit or brush off your child’s emotions because you think these are superficial or have no lasting effect. This is their response to the situations they face and discrediting this will teach them to hold no value over their emotions as well as others. 

  1. Recognize emotion as an opportunity for connection or teaching 

Emotions are powerful feelings that give us the drive to pursue goals or to connect with people. However, children still need to learn to control or redirect these emotions in a meaningful way. These are opportunities to connect with your child through empathy and bonding, as well as teaching them to express these emotions meaningfully.  

  1. Help your child verbally label their emotion 

 
Identifying their emotion is an essential skill, so that they may know how to process and express these emotions in a way that will not have negative consequences. 

  1. Communicate empathy and understanding 

Let your child feel that they are not alone, that you understand and will be there for them in times of great grief. 

  1. Set limits and problem solve 

Teach your child to regulate these emotions in a way that will not harm those around them. Set limits as to how they embody these emotions. Problem solving is a process of breaking down emotional stimuli, and the appropriate response to these. 

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

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Understanding Yourself as a Parent

There are many healthy ways to raise a child. No one formula fits all. However, there is one thing parents can do that will almost certainly improve their relationships with their children, and that is to focus on themselves. 

Just like our children, our life experiences shape who we are. As parents, we often repeat what we know best. Most often what we know best is drawn from our own experiences. 

As parents, we need to be aware of our triggers or what ‘pushes our buttons.’ We need to try to separate our own needs and feelings out from the situation with the child in order to respond appropriately. Parents often lack self-awareness. 

When we are self-aware, we can: 

  • recognize our emotions, which is the first step for regulating our emotions. Indeed, how can we regulate our anxiety, anger or sadness if we are not able to recognize those emotions in ourselves in the first place? 
  • identify our triggers, which helps us better plan how to react next time and make more responsible decisions regarding our behavior and our emotions 
  • empathize with others and take on another person’s perspective, which helps us resolve conflicts and build positive relationships. 

When we lack self-awareness, we have a harder time understanding and improving our reactions, thereby undermining our self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.  

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

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Teaching Children to Make Amends

Parents often urge children to immediately apologize. And although that is not out of bad intentions, it can be counterproductive. Other children see a lack of authenticity, and a child forced to apologize is learning to feign remorse. But what is the right way to apologize? And what is the process that may be needed to get a genuine apology? How do we help our children learn the skill of apologizing, when saying “I’m sorry” can even be challenging for adults? 

Knowing how to make amends is a very valuable life skill. So how can we help our children cultivate the skills to learn how to make amends and, when ready, provide a genuine apology? 

  1. Try to begin by giving them and you a quick pause or a moment. This can provide the space needed to allow for awareness, guidance, and help. 
  1. Do a quick check-in with yourself. By helping children learn a process, it is more likely they will be able to complete the process on their own in the future.   
  1. Try to take in the situation. It may be helpful to verbally acknowledge their feelings. Helping children describe a situation and name their feelings can sometimes help their feelings seem less overwhelming. It can also let them know that you are trying to understand how they are feeling. 
  1. Help them empathize and solve problems in order to find a way to make amends. If they are having difficulty coming up with a solution, then it is OK to offer some suggestions. But keep in mind, some children need to take a period after their misbehavior in order to get to a more sincere “sorry.” 
  1. Discuss prevention strategies.  
  1. Modeling appropriate behavior is always another valuable way to teach and influence our children.  

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

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Help Children Learn to Tolerate the Risk of Making Mistakes

It is said that “If we don’t allow children to fail at times, we are setting them up for overwhelming distress from failure in the real world”. When you encourage thinking beyond single approaches and allow your children opportunities to make decisions, choices, and confront the mistakes that come with these transitions from the unknown, you give them the gift of flexible and creative thinking. 

How does one decrease the fear of making mistakes? 

🌟 Share motivating memories 

🌟 Provide examples of people they admire who described their struggles with mistakes 

🌟 Acknowledge your own mistakes.  

When you make a mistake, acknowledge it to your children. Tell them about times when you were their age and felt very embarrassed or angry about your mistakes. Perhaps at times, your first instinct was to blame someone else or to try to hide your mistakes. Let them know if it was a struggle for you to acknowledge your mistakes and frustrating to spend more time to really understand something that was hard. 

🌟 Encourage them to tell you about mistakes they have made in the past and how they felt and reacted. Ask them what they would do differently now when confronting similar issues. 

Just as learning how to walk, speak, and read does not emerge fully proficient, the development of tolerance to setbacks is not a smooth pathway to perfection. When you increase their comfort by making mistakes, you’ll build their willingness to think out of the box and interpret information with wider perspectives. Help your children recognize that they’ll build confidence, problem-solving perseverance, and creativity by understanding that mistakes can be brain boosters. 

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

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Behavior Charts for Children with ADHD

Whether the child is a preschooler or a high schooler, ADHD can present some significant behavioral challenges at home and at school. Recent research shows that behavior charts offer a great resource for kids, parents, and teachers managing the symptoms of ADHD. 

Charts can be a great way to encourage proper home and classroom behavior, but it’s important not to overwhelm young children with too many goals. 

  1. Print out the chart in color. Pictures will help the child stay focused. 
  1. Clearly label the child’s reward. It may also help to include a picture of the reward. Be sure to set a goal for the number of stickers required to receive the reward. 
  1. For each day of the week, give the child a sticker if he or she has demonstrated the desired behavior. Provide verbal praise too. 
  1. At the end of the week, check whether the child has received the appropriate number of stickers. If the child has received enough stickers, present the goal. 

When using behavior charts with kids who have ADHD, keep the following tips in mind: 

  • Keep it simple. A chart that is too wordy may be difficult for your child to follow. 
  • Decide on a reward. Choose a reward that is motivating. 
  • Keep it positive. For the greatest success, the goals on the behavior chart need to be phrased in a positive manner. Stay away from words like “doesn’t” or “not.” 
  • Be consistent. Consistency is the key to success of using behavior charts. If you expect the child to follow through, you need to follow through as well. 
  • Expect some push-back. Keep in mind that your child may really test you when you first begin using behavior charts. However, the positive nature of these charts will soon win. 
  • Keep it age appropriate. Make sure your expectations are reasonable and that you’re using a chart that’s appropriate for the child’s developmental level. 

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

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When Kids Won’t Cooperate: Give Choices

Controlled choices allow children to feel a sense of control. We, as adults know, if we have a sense of control and make an active choice, we are more likely to follow through with the task. This is the same with children. Controlled choices can increase motivation to complete the task, reduce task refusal and increase task engagement and completion. 

Providing young children opportunities to use their voices, make decisions, develop ownership, and solve problems are great ways to bond with them too. 

Giving kids a say also: 

  • Builds respect and confidence. 
  • Develops problem-solving skills. 
  • Invites cooperation. 
  • Decreases problem behavior. 
  • Gives children a sense of worth and accomplishment. 

With controlled choices, children are given a limited set of options, any of which you are ok with them choosing. It allows the child to feel control over the activity and can increase motivation in completing the task. Giving children choices helps them feel like they have some control over their lives. 

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

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How to Handle Disrespectful Children

Disrespectful behavior such as cursing, yelling, arguing, ignoring you, refusing requests, name-calling—is a kind of wakeup call to parents. As parents, we need to teach our children how to treat others with kindness, and how to communicate big feelings without being disrespectful so they can develop healthy relationships with peers, authority figures, and family members.  

It’s hard to deal with this shift in attitude, but it’s important that you know how to respond and what to do when your child is disrespectful. Here are some tips that will help you handle disrespect: 

  • Stay calm: Meeting them with disrespect sends the wrong message. Instead, model good self-care by taking a deep breath, counting to 20 or repeating a mantra before you respond to your child. 
  • Decode the Behavior: Look at things from your child’s perspective. Their response reflects what they are feeling inside. Unfortunately, at this point, they can’t put it into more appropriate words. 
  • Empathize: Help your child understand their own feelings by offering an empathetic response. You do not have to agree with the feeling, it simply means that you are willing to relate to their experience. 
  • Check the Time: Some kids are affected by low blood sugar, hunger or thirst. Others are very sensitive to environmental stimulation or not getting enough sleep. 
  • Slow It Down: It’s easy to get pulled away with the “runaway train” of angry, frustrated words and emotions. Instead of jumping on board and responding to every criticism or complaint your child throws at you, try to put on the brakes. 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog