Stop Ignoring, Start Interpreting for Better Discipline

Guess what? The nagging and yelling aren’t working. Learn how to keep words to a minimum, nix harsh punishments, and develop a more positive approach to navigating ADHD with your child.  

Like all kids, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) sometimes make bad choices regarding their own behavior. No surprise there. But to make matters worse, parents could often use a few parenting tips themselves, and err in the way they discipline misbehavior. Instead of using firm, compassionate discipline, they move into what I call the ignore –nag-yell-punish cycle.  

First, the parent pretends not to notice the child’s bad behavior, hoping that it will go away on its own. Of course, this seldom works, so next the parent tries to urge the child not to do such and such. Next, the parent starts yelling and scolding. When this doesn’t produce the desired result, the parent becomes extremely angry and imposes harsh punishments. I think of this fourth stage as the parent’s temper tantrum.  

This four-part strategy (if you could call it that) isn’t just ineffective. It makes life needlessly unpleasant for every member of the family. 

How can you avoid it? As with any other pitfall, simply being aware of it will help you steer clear of it. At the first sign of starting on the wrong path, you can stop what you’re doing and make a conscious decision to try something else. Take an honest look at how you respond when your children misbehave. What specific situations are likely to cause you to go down this path? How far down the path do you typically proceed? How often? 

Let’s examine the ignore-nag-yell-punish strategy more closely to see why it doesn’t work – and come up with some strategies that do. 

Why Ignoring Doesn’t Work 

By ignoring your child’s misbehavior, you send the message that you neither condone nor support his misbehavior. At least that’s the message you hope to send.  

In fact, your child may read your silence as “I won’t give you my attention or concern” or even “I reject you.” That can wound a child. On the other hand, your child may assume that your silence means that you approve of his behavior or will at least tolerate it. “Mom hasn’t said I can’t do this,” he thinks, “so it must be OK.” 

Even if your child correctly interprets the message that you’re trying to send by ignoring him, he has no idea what you want him to do instead. In other words, ignoring your child doesn’t define better behavior or provide guidance about how your child should behave next time.  

Instead of ignoring him when he does something you disapprove of, I recommend another “i-word”: interrupting. That is, quickly move people or objects so that your child is unable to misbehave. 

For example, if your children start quarreling over a toy, you might say, “Alex, sit over there. Maria, stand here. I’ll take this and put it up here.” Similarly, if your teen comes for supper with dirty hands, immediately take his plate off the table and silently point to his hands if you feel the need to tell your child what you expect of him, tell him once, very clearly. Then stop talking.  

Don’t Be a Nag 

Why is it important to keep words to a minimum when disciplining your child? Because, as I often remind parents, words are like tires. Each time they rotate against the pavement, they lose tread and become less efficient at starting, stopping, and steering. If you spin words out endlessly, they’ll become less efficient at starting, stopping, and steering your child. Eventually, your words will have no “traction” at all – as tires will eventually become bald. 

If the chatterbox parent is ineffective, so is the parent who barks orders like a drill sergeant. To break the yelling habit, tell yourself that you won’t open your mouth until you’re calm enough to speak at a normal volume and in a cordial tone. Often, all it takes to calm down is to spend a few minutes alone – something as simple as excusing yourself to get a glass of water may do the trick. 

Taking time to cool off will also help you avoid the last and most counterproductive element of ignore-nag-yell-punish. 

Punishment vs. Undoing and Redoing 

Parents often assume that by punishing a misbehaving child, they’re helping to build the child’s conscience. Not so. In most cases, harsh punishments, like spanking, simply encourage a child to become sneaky to not get caught next time.  

A better approach is to impose consequences that are appropriate to the offense and respectful of your child. Ideally, the consequence you impose for a particular misbehavior will involve undoing or redoing the situation. The consequence for carelessly spilling milk for example, might be that your child cleans up the mess (undoing), and, then pours another glass and sets it in a safer place (redoing). No need to blame or yell. No need to impose harsh punishments (for example, withholding food).  

If you’re careful to recognize your first steps down the ignore-nag-yell-punish path – and to substitute the strategies I’ve described – you’ll find yourself on a different path, one that leads to a better relationship with your child. It’s a trip I highly recommend.  

Tips for Helping Children with ADHD Deal with Aggression

Kids with ADHD tend to have outbursts more often than other kids their age. Most of the time, these flare-ups aren’t threatening. Kids might yell or slam doors. But sometimes, they lose control and become aggressive. 

Here are five tips on how to curb the aggression of a child with ADHD and ODD. 
 
1. Cut down on electronics. For kids with ADHD, too much screen time can make symptoms worse. Set a timer or limit the number of hours of electronic use per day (the suggested amount of time is no more than two hours for the entire day). During the periods of the day when you child would have been streaming a TV program, offer alternatives – go out for a walk, cook together or try out a new activity once a week. 
 

2. Teach your child compromise and negotiation skills. Kids with ADHD have difficulty being flexible and compromising. Adapting to new situations and rules they’re not accustomed to isn’t a pleasant activity for them. Establish a set of “rules.”   

 

3. Help your child express his or her emotions positively. Kids who learn how to express their emotions in a healthy way grow up to be supportive of others, perform better in school, have better relationships with partners and peers, have better coping skills, and have an overall healthier sense of self. 
 

4. Show your child stability and structure. Children with ADHD need structure and routine. Daily routines and a predictable, organized schedule help make your child feel safe. Maintain consistent house rules. Remind your child of your expectations and the consequences of not meeting those expectations.

   

5. Exercise. Exercise is a fantastic activity for anyone, even for kids without an attention disorder. But for kids with ADHD, it’s particularly helpful. Science has proven that exercise is a great way for kids to unleash and unwind; it’s also a way to work out any feelings of anger and frustration. 

 

Experts say that even 30 minutes of vigorous exercise per day can help kids with ADHD manage their moods. It can even decrease or eliminate the need for medications that are prescribed to aid in symptom management. It’s also an excellent way of reducing aggression. 

 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

Teaching Strategies to Help Kids with ADHD

Children with ADHD have more than the ordinary amount of trouble paying attention and controlling impulsive behavior. 

Students who have ADHD have above average IQs, but experience difficulty in the classroom which may lead to lower grades or other problems. 

Here are the tips and teaching methods for teachers and parents to assist students with ADHD. 

1. Break instructions down into smaller parts. 

Giving one piece of directions at a time is helpful for kids with ADHD. This helps students stay focused on one task at a time and helps maintain focus through the class period.  

2. Give written directions. 

Students with ADHD may not remember lengthy oral directions. Provide written directions that allow students to refer to them when needed. Having directions accessible while completing an assignment ensures students stay on track. 

3. Check student work early and often. 

It is very frustrating for students to have to redo assignments! It can contribute to the common problem of taking hours each day to do homework. Checking classwork and homework a few minutes after beginning a task provides the opportunity to redirect efforts – whether it be because the student misunderstood directions or needs a little more math help! 

4. Use patterns and mnemonics. 

Learning patterns in math makes it easier to understand and remember concepts. Mnemonics are memory devices, like “don’t miss Susie’s boat” to remember how to do long division (divide, multiply, subtract, bring down). Anything that seems to make math easier and faster helps kids with ADHD focus better. 

5. Provide real-life examples. 

Real-life examples can make math concepts come alive for all students including those with ADHD. 

Telling time and making change with money are examples of ways for younger students to understand basic concepts with real-life context. 

6. Use technology and visuals for math help. 

Charts and graphs are a great way to assist kids with ADHD to remember the steps needed for complex calculations. Computers and smartboards also help students interact with the material in different ways. This can affect transfer from short-term to long-term memory. 

 

 

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  

10 Tips for Managing Your Child’s ADHD

A child with ADHD can place many demands on your time, energy and sense of competence. The constant interruptions, need for repeated instructions and close supervision can be taxing. The following strategies may be helpful. 

1. Clear rules and expectations 

Children with ADHD need regular reminders of the house and classroom rules so set clear targets for behavior and re-cap them at the end. 

2. Strategic praise 

Recognition of making the right choices will serve as a regular reminder of behavior expectations for a child with ADHD. Positive attention is powerful – “Catch them being good.” 

3. Immediate or short-term rewards and consequences 

Children with ADHD will benefit from immediate feedback for desired behaviors and likewise clear and proportionate consequences.  

4. Be persistent and consistent 

You may want immediate results, but that’s not likely. It can take months to see significant progress. When the boundaries are consistently applied the child will learn that you are in it for the long run and the relationship will form. 

5. Establish routines 

Children with ADHD get bored with routines but need them desperately, routines may include visual timetables on the desk and warning when the daily routine is going to alter. 

6. Create clear plans and checklists for lessons and unstructured activities 

Write these on their desks. A child will benefit from seeing the activities checked off and will feel a sense of accomplishment which also builds resilience in the learning environment. 

7. Use timers 

Timers are great for setting activities and movement breaks. 

8. Reward for going above and beyond 

Ensure that children have a personalized reward of their choice for completing their work or helping others in the classroom.  

9. Plan your learning environment 

Students with ADHD benefit from the learning environment having minimal distractions. Student and parent voice will help to establish the ideal environment for the child to access the learning. 

10. Empower 

Allowing a child with ADHD to feel empowered is a helpful step. Ask them where and how they think they will learn best.  

The promotion of self-regulation should be encouraged too. This can be achieved through a time-out card and identifying a safe space when environment becomes overstimulating or when the child feels dysregulated. 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

How to Get a Child with ADHD to Go to Sleep

Modify Medicines 

Trouble with sleep is a common side effect of ADHD medications (which are stimulants). To be sure your child can wind down at bedtime, ask their doctor about changing the dose, the timing of it, or the type of medication they’re taking. There are non-stimulant options that could work for your child’s ADHD. It may take a few tries to find the combo that works best for focusing during the day and going to sleep at night.  

Welcome the Dark 

You may have most of the lights off in your child’s room at bedtime, but does that make the room dark enough? Your kid’s body clock may need more of a nudge to know it’s nighttime. Unplug or cover any electronics that glow. Blackout curtains can help shut out extra light from outside. If your child will wear it, a sleep mask can also do the trick. 

Skip the Screens 

The blue light from the monitors on things like computers, tablets, and phones can trick your child’s brain into thinking it’s time to be awake. Limit screen use to earlier in the day and fill your child’s post-dinner hours with activities like board games, reading, or quiet play. 

 
Focus on Food Choices 

What and when your child eats (or drinks) can affect their sleep schedule. A bedtime stomach that’s too full or too empty can make it hard to start snoozing. So, can snacks and drinks packed with caffeine. Skip soda, tea, and chocolate in the afternoon and evening. 

Stick to a Schedule 

A nighttime routine can help ease your child toward sleep. A regular order of events at bedtime will help train their body and brain that sleep comes next. Write your plan down, with the help of your child. That’ll make sure you’re both on board (and help babysitters know the drill when you’re away). 

Move More 

A body that exercises daily sleeps better at night. Anything that gets the blood pumping and muscles moving works.  

Build in Bath Time 

A soothing soak in the tub might be just the trick to tire your child out. After they get out of a warm bath, their body will start to cool off. That can make them feel sleepy. 

 
Set a Wake-Up Time 

It’s easier (most of the time) to get a kid out of bed than to get them to fall asleep. Keep your child’s wake-up time the same every day, including weekends, so their body gets in the rhythm of the same sleep hours. 

Stifle Sound 

It’s likely your child’s bedtime happens before the rest of the household hits the hay. Block out extra noise that could distract your kid from dream time. White-noise machines create soothing static that can mask other sounds. Earplugs can also work for kids more sensitive to noise. 

 
Address Anxiety 

About 25% of kids with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder. That can make a child’s mind race and prevent it from drifting off. Talk to your child’s doctor about whether that might be part of their sleep problem. They might suggest other therapies or strategies. 

 
Head Off Homework Early 

Schoolwork often causes stress, which can delay sleep. Help your child organize their time so they can finish their work early enough that bedtime can stay the same. Try using checklists and a specific work area to help them stay on task. 

 
Maybe a Sleep Supplement 

Melatonin is a hormone your brain releases at a certain time of day to tell your body it’s time to go to bed. You can buy it in pill form and take it before bedtime to treat insomnia or other sleep problems. Experts are still studying the long-term effects of using melatonin, but they consider it safe to use in kids. Ask your child’s doctor if it might work as a sleep aid. 

Relaxation Techniques 

Brain and body calming methods can help some kids. Breathing exercises and guided imagery are two ways to slow down a racing mind and jittery limbs. Ask your doctor to help you find ways to show you and your child what to do. 

 
Choose the Right Time for Bed 

Be sure your child’s bedtime is setting them up for good sleep. Figure out how many hours they need based on age: 

Two-year-olds and younger need 14+ hours. 

Preschoolers need 10-13 hours. 

Kids under 13 need 9-11 hours. 

Teens need 8-10 hours. 

Count backward from their wake-up time and start there. Some kids do OK with less than the average and may go to sleep faster with a later bedtime. 

Your doctor can help find out what works best. 

 
Rule Out Other Things 

Sometimes ADHD isn’t behind sleep problems. If you’ve tried good strategies without success, think about seeing a sleep specialist. Your child could have: 

Asthma 

Allergies 

Sleep apnea or another disorder that disrupts rest. 

Snoring or pauses in breathing can be signs of a sleep struggle other than ADHD. 

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 

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.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog 

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.   

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

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  

How to Boost Your Child’s Executive Functions

Studies have proven that the child’s executive functions between age 3 and 11 are predictive of physical health and mental health, future earnings, and even marital harmony. 

Bottom line is if you want your child to eventually find and keep a job in the future, be a dependable and happy adult, then you need to care about their Executive Functions. 

Here’s how you can help your child build up these muscles, gaining more control over their ADHD symptoms and taking strides toward independence along the way. 

1. Enforce Accountability 

The problem with ADHD is not with failure to understand consequences; it’s with timing. The first step is to not excuse her from accountability. If anything, make her more accountable — show her you have faith in her abilities by expecting her to do what is needed. 

2. Write It Down 

Compensate for working memory deficits by making information visible, using notes cards, signs, sticky notes, lists, journals, anything at all! Once your child can see the information right in front of him, it’ll be easier to jog his executive functions and help him build his working memory. 

3. Make Time External 

Make time a physical, measurable thing by using clocks, timers, counters, or apps — there are tons of options! Helping your child see how much time has passed, how much is left, and how quickly it’s passing is a great way to beat that classic ADHD struggle, “time blindness.” 

4. Offer Rewards 

Use rewards to make motivation external. It’s best to create artificial forms of motivation, like token systems or daily report cards. Reinforcing long- term goals with short-term rewards strengthens a child’s sense of self-motivation. 

5. Make Learning Hands On 

Using jellybeans or colored blocks to teach simple adding and subtracting or utilizing word magnets to work on sentence structure — helps children reconcile their verbal and non-verbal working memories and build their executive functions in the process. 

6. Stop to Refuel 

Give your child a chance to refuel by encouraging frequent breaks during tasks that stress the executive system. Breaks work best if they’re 3 to 10 minutes long and can help your child get the fuel, they need to tackle an assignment without getting distracted and losing track. 

7. Practice Pep Talks 

Teach your child to pump herself up by practicing saying, “You can do this!” Positive self-statements push kids to try harder and put them one step closer to accomplishing their goals. Visualizing success and talking themselves through the steps needed to achieve it is another great way to replenish the system and boost planning skills. 

8. Get Physical 

Routine physical exercise throughout the week can help refuel and help him cope better with his ADHD symptoms. 

9. Sip on Sugar (Yes, Really) 

The glucose in these drinks fuels the frontal lobe, where the executive functions come from. The operative word here is “sip” — just a little should be able to keep your child’s blood glucose up enough to get the job done. 

10. Show Compassion 

It’s important that the people in their lives especially parents show compassion and willingness to help them learn. When your child messes up, don’t go straight to yelling. Try to understand what went wrong and how you can help him learn from his mistake. 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

When Siblings Won’t Stop Fighting

Sibling fights seem to erupt more frequently and virulently when ADHD is in the mix. During quarantine, you can guard your family’s wellbeing and your kids’ relationship by squashing squabbles before they start and teaching emotional control, with help from this expert advice. 

All children need four things: your ear, your empathy, your acknowledgment, and special time alone with you. This is how they feel supported and valued by the family. 

In children with ADHD, hyperactivity and lack of impulse control can trigger even more annoying and problematic behaviors such as persistent interrupting, yelling, poking, badgering, and not playing fair, for example. This may be driving everyone in your household nuts at a time when you could really use a break yourself. Siblings often bear the brunt of this behavior. 

Here are some ideas for reducing conflict as a team. 

#1. Give voice to your neurotypical child. 

Giving them a voice and validating their experience can minimize bad feelings. Every day or two, check in with your neurotypical child. Ask them how they’re feeling or what’s bothering them. Attending to their discomfort and allowing them to acknowledge unpleasant feelings helps diminish their stress. It also lets them know they are cared about and noticed, even in their role as the cooperative sibling. 

It also gives you the opportunity to learn what’s hard for them and reassure the child that you love and care about them. 

Always be ready to acknowledge acts of kindness. Saying “thanks for being patient with your brother today” fuels their desire to be helpful and lets them know you are on the same team. 

#2. Avoid activities that usually lead to conflict. 

Suggest some collaborative, rather than competitive, activities they can participate in together such as baking or working on a LEGO project. Ask for their ideas about what would be fun to do together. 

If they do decide to engage in play that may be challenging, anticipate sticky moments in advance and troubleshoot resolutions with each child. You can say for example, “If you play basketball with your brother, what will lead to an argument?” 

#3. Teach kids how to express their feelings rather than become their feelings. 

Emotional regulation can be a struggle for kids with ADHD, so language is important. Ask them to assign a number to their anger (from 1 to 10, 10 being the highest). If they say it’s a 6, ask them what they can do to get their anger to a 4. You can provide solutions like time apart to cool off, a snack break, or a round or two of jumping jacks. Let them know they’ll have to go to their rooms unless they can get their anger under control. 

Create a reward system around this to incentivize the kids and encourage them to continue practicing self-control. I work with a family that puts a marble into a jar every time the child uses the thinking part of the brain to get back in charge. Once the jar is filled up, the child is rewarded with a special toy or activity. 

#4. If your child with ADHD is medicated, consider a temporary adjustment during lock down. 

Everyone’s schedules are different now and a lot of medicines — especially stimulants — are designed to last through the school day. After about 3 p.m., and without after-school activities or sports to take the edge off, sibling battles tend to escalate as the day wears on. 

We’re all starting to suffer from quarantine fatigue, but it won’t last forever. Navigating your family through rough waters requires parental leadership. Strive to anticipate the conflict and avoid it before it erupts into fighting. Also strive to hear and acknowledge difficult emotions, while teaching your child how to practice using their thinking brain to wrest control away from the anger. This is their chance to learn emotional control in a safe and rewarding environment. 

If there’s a silver lining in this pandemic, it’s that spending more time together is an opportunity to practice self-control and experience new ways to play more contentedly together. 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog