Let’s talk about… P L A Y!

Play encourages creativity, increased dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength!  
 
Play can lead to feelings of confidence, competence, and resilience in children!  
 
Play is POWERFUL.  

For most people, learning involves acquiring a specific new skill, such as memorizing alphabets, counting, writing, etc. They often believe that playing is only for fun and involves no actual learning. 

However, according to studies, playing is learning. Children learn through playing. 

The importance of play in early childhood cannot be underestimated because playing is essential to a child’s growth. 
 
Another added benefit of play is strengthened child-parent bonds! As a parent, consider joining your child in play. Allow your child to set the scene and take the lead – this gives you an opportunity to experience your child’s world and connect on a deeper level!  

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

Five Essential Guidelines to Stop Sibling Fights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Helping Your Child Build Healthy Self Esteem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

Tips to Limit Preschooler’s Screen Time

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

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

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

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

 1. Use parental controls. 

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

2. Set and enforce screen rules. 

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

3. Encourage physical activity. 

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

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

Words Matter

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

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

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

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

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

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  

Ways to Address ADHD Parent Burnout

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

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

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

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog  

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 

Conscious Parenting

I hear from parents every day trying to break old patterns from their childhood and parent more consciously. If you are struggling to remove yourself from the ways you were parented and the negative cycles you’d prefer to leave behind, I want to encourage you. The only parent you are destined to become is the one that you decide to be. 
 
Your past doesn’t get to choose your legacy. 
 
Committing to breaking cycles from our childhood and parenting consciously can lead to imposter syndrome bringing self-doubt into the mix, “Am I doing this all wrong?” No one is fully conscious all the time. Making unconscious decisions and falling back into old habits is natural. Parenting is the best self-development course you will ever take. 

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/