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.  

Nurture Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence

Developing emotional understanding from an early age equips children with practical coping tools to deal with emotional issues, shaping how children approach everyday life pressures as they grow into adults. Young children raised this way, learn how to identify and manage their emotions, as well as developing an understanding of the feelings of others. 

Children are not born knowing what emotions are or how to cope with them. Below are five tips on how you can help children from birth to three years explore their own emotions, talk about how they feel, and learn to understand the feelings of others. 

  1. Encourage emotional play: Help children to explore their emotions through play. For example, use a doll or a puppet to help demonstrate physical reactions related to feelings. You could put on a silly voice, make a certain noise or pull an exaggerated face to signify different emotions. Interaction is key! 
  1. Talk about emotions: One of the most important ways for children to learn about emotions is for you to talk about emotions with them. Ask a child how they are feeling, talk about their emotions, and explain what causes emotions. You can also talk about other people’s emotions. For example, you could explain to a child that their friend is sad because she lost something, and that she is crying because she feels sad. 
  1. Be responsive: Listen to and watch how children react to what you are doing – show that you are ‘tuning in’ to them and try to make sense of what they are saying. Affect attunement is when you show a child that you are tuning in to their emotions and feelings, by using your facial expressions, gestures or by making sounds that match their feelings. 
  1. Give praise: It is generally a good idea to give positive praise for good behavior rather than focusing too much on negative behavior – ‘catch them being good’ rather than ‘catch them being bad’! Give them warm praise. 
  1.  Deal with tantrums: Validate a child’s emotions but remind them of the rules. After initial validation and boundary setting, ignore the tantrum, and ignore the negative behavior. Remember to give warm attention for any positive behavior. 

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  

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. 

Teaching Children Self Care Routines

A lot of learning happens in the first few years of a child’s life. From rolling over, walking and running to counting and writing their name, your child is learning a lot! Along with academic skills, it’s also important young children learn important self-care behaviors like brushing their teeth and washing their hands. 

Establish a routine. Young children are not only working on self-help skills, but part of the process is simply working on memory skills. Making these acts a routine will help kids remember to complete these tasks each day.  

Explain the “why.” It’s easier for us to follow rules or do things we don’t necessarily want to do when we understand why it’s important. Explain to children why these self-care practices are necessary. Talk about how we wash our hands to avoid spreading germs, which can make us sick, or how brushing our teeth regularly helps us avoid painful cavities and keeps our teeth clean and healthy. 

Be there. Young children need guidance and support from the important adults in their lives. By simply being present and engaged with them throughout the day, you can help them learn and remember these self-care routines. Young children will need lots of reminders, and it may be a while before they can complete the tasks independently, but your presence is important. 

Model it. You can do this in two different ways: by letting them observe you naturally doing these things (i.e., washing your hands or brushing your teeth while they are in the same room) and by providing some purposeful instruction. Children are little copycats; your actions can give them something good to imitate. 

Encourage their efforts. Children need encouragement, so notice when they try and when they are successful. Learn more about how to encourage children’s behavior. 

You can help your young child learn important daily routines they will use for a lifetime! 

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  

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 

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 

Reasons why Listening is Important for Your Child’s Growth

 

Young children are inquisitive and curious, we all know that. This is because they are blank slates. The world is still an amazing place for them, and they want to know more about it, about everything. 

In these formative years, children are limited in mobility and other sources of communication, as well as gaining information. So, they turn to the easiest way of gaining new information, listening. 

Let us gain in-depth understanding of how listening is essential in the growth ages, years 1-5, of every child. 

1. Listening Improves Concentration and Memory 

Listening is one of the prime senses of our body. Although visual memories are stronger, our body also retains auditory memories or echoic memories. It helps stabilize the mind and improves concentration. 

2. Improves Vocabulary 

As children grow older, their need to speak and communicate grows rapidly. However, this development is strongly rooted in the initial phase of their childhood. During this phase, listening plays an important role in developing their vocabulary and language processing. 

3. Adds Clarity to Communication and Thought 

This allows them to express themselves more clearly and understand what they want. The ability to communicate clearly and understand the reason strengthens the bond between children and parents. 

4.  Builds Confidence 

One aspect of listening is that it builds confidence. While listening seems like an ordinary thing, most of us listen to reply than to understand. 

Conscious listening decreases speech errors or response errors, thus improving confidence levels. Clarity of thought and concise, but perfect communication allows children to speak their mind. 

5. Improves Relationships 

Communication is the foundation for any relationship. Children with good vocabulary can speak openly with their adults. Their ability to understand reason helps parents to understand their children better as well. 

6. Optimal Method for Growth 

The most important factor of listening is that children between ages 2-4 have limited sources of gaining information and since they cannot read, they prefer listening. 

7. Enables Experiential Thinking 

One of the most important aspects of listening is that it triggers experiential learning. 

Audio plays a primary role in the beginning growth in children. Long before visuals start taking effect, audio plays a key role in developing the early experiences of children. 

Listening is a key-factor in children’s growth and empowers children in multiple ways to process information and interact with their surroundings better. 

 

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

More articles on www.MrMizrahi.blog