The Importance of Chores for Your Kids

As a parent, do you feel strongly about the importance of chores for your kids, or do you think kids should be kids and not worry about responsibilities?   

Well, I would say that most of us feel like kids need opportunities to be kids, but they also need to learn about age-appropriate responsibilities. Here are the 5 Essential Skills Learned Through Chores. 

🔷 Independence 

As parents, it’s our job to teach our children these skills to create independent, autonomous adults. But the key is that we must model correct completion of the chore.  

🔷 Confidence 

Getting a chore done and doing it well can give your child a major sense of accomplishment. 

🔷 Initiative 

Initiative almost always follows confidence. By teaching our kids how to do new things, we are giving them confidence in themselves. That confidence will translate into a willingness to try new things and a whole lot of initiative. 

🔷 Perseverance 

If you want your children to acquire knowledge in life skills, like sweeping, washing dishes, mowing the yard, and laundry, they need to be shown, step by step, the correct technique for completing each task.  Then they need to be given ample opportunities to do it repeatedly! The repeated act of proper task completion teaches our kids persistence. 

🔷 Responsibility 

The only way we can effectively teach our kids how to become responsible is by giving them a task (chore) to complete on their own. If you have taught your kids how to complete specific tasks, but they consistently perform the task incorrectly, show them again.  

After showing them several times, they are responsible for completing the chore correctly. 

Ultimately, this is the only way they will understand the importance of chores, learn to take responsibility for their chores, and grow as a person. 

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 

Not Every Emotion Needs an Explanation

A gentle reminder: ⁣⁣ 
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Not every emotion needs an explanation. ⁣⁣ 
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It seems fitting after two days of sharing scripts to share this reminder. ⁣⁣ 
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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. ⁣⁣ 
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And yet, words can also be our crutches. ⁣⁣ 
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Words can be what we use to prevent us from engaging with what is happening in the present moment.⁣⁣ 
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Words can keep our anxiety at bay.⁣⁣ 
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If we are predominantly left-brained, words and logic are what feels comfortable and safe.⁣⁣ 
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We want to understand, rationalize, analyze, and get to the root of our child’s emotions.⁣⁣ 
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Naming the emotion.⁣⁣ 
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Validating the emotion.⁣⁣ 
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Trying to help our child uncover the root of the emotion. ⁣⁣ 
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All very valuable! ⁣⁣ 
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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.⁣⁣ 
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While this language is too sophisticated for a toddler, the goal is integration. ⁣⁣ 
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Integrate the left and the right brain. ⁣⁣ 
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As parents this means that our presence is more important than any words we share with our child.⁣⁣ 
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Empathy is communicated by our presence and body language, not only our words. ⁣⁣ 
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When your child is experiencing an emotion, pause and notice: ⁣⁣ 
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How is your breathing?⁣⁣ 
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What facial expressions are you communicating?⁣⁣ 
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What are your body movements communicating?⁣⁣ 
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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. ⁣ 
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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/

Strategies That Help Improve Executive Functioning Skills

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

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

1. Decision Making 

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

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

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

2. Practice Problem Solving 

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

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

3. Play Physical Activities That Require Attention 

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

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

4. Play Sorting Games 

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

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

5. Play with Building Materials 

Children learn best through play and through doing. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Play Board Games That Require Strategy 

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

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

7. Improve Empathy 

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Give Executive Functioning Time to Develop 

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

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

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog