Establishing Self-Care to Promote Your Child’s Mental Health

Growing up is a hectic period for children, one that manifests as a continuous cycle of trials, tribulations, and positive revelations. Helping your child build healthy self-esteem through consistent self-care practices is a necessary preventative measure. 

As a parent, self-care is your best tool for preventing mental health concerns from debilitating your child’s life. Taking the time to establish self-care routines with your child will help them develop a self-loving attitude towards themselves, negating ultimate difficulties with their mental health. 

Self-care is any action that your child can take to prevent additional regression of their mental health, and overall enhance their general well-being. Integrating this practice into a daily routine can be done through your example, modeling a healthy, loving relationship with yourself. 

Self-care begins with helping your child articulate how they’re feeling. Basic abilities to safely express emotion can be interrupted by stress experienced during the infancy stage of development. Teach your child that it’s necessary to acknowledge when they struggle with their emotions, in order to offer these challenges understanding and rest. 

Believe in your ability to negate future mental health complications by introducing self-love at an early age. Spend more time building a loving environment in which they can safely navigate their adversity, falter, and grow. Learning to love yourself despite unique adversities is less of a given and more of a muscle that needs to be conditioned each day. Placing self-care above all else when developing your relationship with your child will provide the opportunity for this growth to take place. 

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. 

Reflective Listening

Reflective listening is a skill I utilize during Play Therapy!  
 
This skill involves focusing intently on the child and working to convey that you hear, understand, and care about what the child is communicating!  
 
 
The concept is straight-forward and includes three easy steps. ‼️ 
 
1. Remove all distractions (i.e. phone, work, television, etc.). 
 
2. As your child talks, look at them and listen closely. 
 
3. “Reflect” back what your child shared with you. 
 
Yes – it really is that simple! ⭐️ 
 
When we make the time to remove distractions and really listen to understand – instead of listening to respond – we help our children know that their experiences and emotions are valuable and important to us.  
 
This creates strong parent-child bond and models healthy communication skills for the child!  

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/

Don’t Make Your Child Say “I’m Sorry” – What to Do Instead

 

Something to remember is you should never force an apology from your child. By telling your child “Say you’re sorry,” there is no explanation for your child as to why their actions could have hurt someone. Or what they can do to change the way they acted. 
 
This type of “sorry,” in particular when, it’s said with no feeling or a lack of sincerity, will stay with kids into their adult life. 

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. 

What to do instead? 

1)   Modeling.  If you are one to say “sorry” when you err, they will mimic you.  Trust me on this one. 

2)  Pause.  That’s right.  Give kids a moment to volunteer a genuine response to a situation before you jump in two guns ablazin’.  You may well discover that your children do say they are sorry, if given a moment to compose themselves. 

3)  Focus on the future:  Instead of forcing them to say sorry about the past, which they can’t change, put the focus on their commitment to do something differently in the future.  “Can you let your friend know that you won’t take his bike without asking again.” 

4)   Ask your child “what should happen now?” If they broke a neighbor’s window playing ball, letting the child think for themselves of how to right the situation helps build empathy, internalizes the lesson, and generates positive feelings about rectifying the situation. Replacing the window with their allowance and writing a letter stating it was an accident and promising to play in the park in the future feels restorative when they come up with the idea. 

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/

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 

8 Things to Try Before You Yell

What else would you add?⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
Yelling is something many parents struggle with and wish they did less of. Why do we yell? Here are a few possible reasons:⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
👉Old patterns⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
👉Last resort⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
👉Exhaustion⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
👉Overwhelmed⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
👉Unprocessed emotions⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
If we are prone to yelling and our child is not responding, it’s possible they’ve developed a defense against it in order to protect themselves. If there is no imminent danger, before you yell pause & notice what you’re experiencing.⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
Pausing may look like closing your eyes, taking an exaggerated deep breath (exhalation being longer than the inhalation), or walking away.  
 
“I see the drawing on the wall and I’m experiencing some big feelings, I need a break. I will be right back.”⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
Then notice what you’re experiencing. ⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
If you’re overwhelmed because your child has destroyed the room – that makes sense.⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
If you’re angry because your children keep fighting – that makes sense.⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
As we make sense of our own experiences we can return to our child and ask a question rather than yell. Or we may reflect on how we would have liked to have been approached when we were little in a similar situation.⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
Remember to care for yourselves, even if it means three minutes of deep breathing in the morning while you sit alone in the bathroom!⁣⁣ 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

How to Support Your Child with Learning Disabilities

Studies show that family involvement plays a big role in getting kids ready to enter school, promoting their school success and preparing them for university. 

Of course, as a parent, discovering that your child has a learning disability can bring on a mix of emotions, from fear that he or she will be labelled as lazy or slow to feelings of guilt or despair. 

If this sounds familiar, here are some tips for supporting your child’s learning. 

1. Learn as much as possible about your child’s disability 

Parents can benefit from conducting their own online search to learning as much as they can about their child’s reading, learning or behavioral disability. 

If parents become familiar with local organizations online or in person, they can participate in workshops, information sessions and support groups. 

If you’re not sure where to begin, try signing up to relevant websites to receive newsletters and joining local groups and parent groups, which can be a wealth of knowledge and connect you to further community services and help. 

2. Collaborate with teachers 

Another thing that can be beneficial is getting to know your child’s teachers before the school year begins and then communicating with them throughout the school year. You can write an introductory letter to introduce yourself and your child. This establishes with the new teacher that you’re an active parent and that you care. 

Introducing yourself creates the opportunity to detail what strategies have worked well with your child so far and get across that you look forward to being involved in your child’s education. 

Be sure to provide all your child’s medical and academic records, as that’s the ‘go-to’ place for learning support specialists and it is imperative that they can read about your child and the diagnosis. 

Let your child be as active as possible by joining the school’s Facebook page, reading the school’s newsletters, attending parent-teacher interviews and participating in any school or community events. 

3. Find out how you can help 

It’s also a good idea to talk to your child’s teachers about what he or she is learning and how you can support their learning at home. 

If there are fundamental or foundational skills your child needs to learn, meet with the class teacher or learning support team from school and learn how to scaffold that learning for your child. 

Many times, learning moves fast at school, and whilst teachers try hard to differentiate a child’s learning at their level, it can only help if parents are prepared to learn what to do and help at home. What greater gift would there be than to work with your child and give them this time? 

4. Provide opportunities for your child to use his or her strengths 

Children with learning disabilities can suffer from low self-esteem, so one way to combat this is to help them focus on and develop their natural strengths and abilities. 

All children have different skills and things they are good at. Some may be good at running or swimming, while others are good at reading or listening; but they should all be allowed to feel good about themselves and their different talents, strengths and skills. 

Try to work together with your child to figure out what they feel good about doing, whether it’s sports, singing, painting or photography, and then provide more opportunities for them to develop these talents, as this can help them build confidence in other areas too. 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog 

Positive Phrases to Use Instead of Stop, No, Don’t

As parents, the way we speak to our children is incredibly important. Words can build kids up, and they can just as easily tear them down. Which is why finding positive things to say to your child matters! 

In a world were saying “no” is a heck of a lot easier than saying “yes”, we need to be especially careful that we use language which demonstrates to our kids that positivity has a higher value than negativity. 

Children imitate what they see and hear. Meaning, they will imitate kindness if kind words are spoken at home. 

Show your child you believe in them by using words of encouragement daily. It helps kids feel supported and loved and gives them a sense of empowerment that will stick with them into adulthood. 

By making a habit of using positive phrases around your little ones you’ll be building their confidence and self-esteem 

Here are the positive phrases to use daily to help them feel confident and loved. 

  •  Let’s remember gentle hands 
    (“No Hitting” “Stop Fighting”)  
  • Outside is a good place for being loud 
    (No Shouting Inside the House!)  
  • Let’s try to breathe through these yucky feelings 
    (Calm Down, Stop Crying, No Whining)  
  • Let’s use kind words, please  
    (Don’t say that, don’t talk like that)  
  • Shoes are for your feet, remember? 
    (Stop throwing your shoes around the house)  
  • Why don’t you ask if you can use it when he is finished or You really want to play with that, don’t you? What could you say to her instead?’ 
    (No fighting!)  
  • It’s windy outside today, let’s check the weather and see if tomorrow is good to take a walk 
    (No, we can’t walk today) 
  •  Your toy car will be waiting for you at home when we are all finished with our grocery shopping 
    (No, you can’t bring your toy car)  
  • Let’s play at the park a different day, today we have so many other things we need to get done and I need your help! (No park today) 
  •  Remember to walk in the house, please 
    (No running in the house!) 
  •  If we eat all the popsicles in one day, there won’t be any left for tomorrow. And if you have too many, your tummy might get sore! Let’s save some for tomorrow.  
    (No more popsicles)  
  • There are a few more things that we need to do before we can watch a show, let’s go do them now and I’ll put on your favorite show right after.  
    (No TV right now)  
  • Are you feeling frustrated when the boxes fall? How can you solve this problem? 
    (Stop crying, they are just boxes) 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

Not Every Emotion Needs an Explanation

A gentle reminder: ⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
Not every emotion needs an explanation. ⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
It seems fitting after two days of sharing scripts to share this reminder. ⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
Words are helpful and if we are consciously engaging with our child and ourselves, scripts can help us understand the framework from which we want to parent and shift our mindset. ⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
And yet, words can also be our crutches. ⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
Words can be what we use to prevent us from engaging with what is happening in the present moment.⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
Words can keep our anxiety at bay.⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
If we are predominantly left-brained, words and logic are what feels comfortable and safe.⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
We want to understand, rationalize, analyze, and get to the root of our child’s emotions.⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
Naming the emotion.⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
Validating the emotion.⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
Trying to help our child uncover the root of the emotion. ⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
All very valuable! ⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
But we may miss the opportunity to teach our child another valuable lesson: emotions are not a part of us, we can experience them, notice them, and let them go.⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
While this language is too sophisticated for a toddler, the goal is integration. ⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
Integrate the left and the right brain. ⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
As parents this means that our presence is more important than any words we share with our child.⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
Empathy is communicated by our presence and body language, not only our words. ⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
When your child is experiencing an emotion, pause and notice: ⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
How is your breathing?⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
What facial expressions are you communicating?⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
What are your body movements communicating?⁣⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
Worth noting: if we are predominantly right brained and tend to get stuck in our emotions or our child’s emotions, integrating the left-brain or logic and reason is the goal. ⁣ 
⁣⁣ 
What about you, are you predominantly left ⬅ or right ➡ brained? 

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/

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