Motivating My Kid: Where to Start

You might be stuck wondering how do I start motivating my kid, so far they seem content just barely getting by which leaves the parent picking up all the pieces. Obviously this does not work in the long haul, as the goal is to get them to self-sufficient adulthood.

Here are some ideas to start motivating your kid:

  • Start with one thing and make them accountable. Probably something that you think they could be efficient at like feeding the dog, sorting laundry, or simple self-care items.You have to start somewhere and then when that just becomes daily living add another item.
  • Remember we all have to start somewhere. Patience is key. No they aren’t the best at ‘x,y,z’ but at one point probably neither were you. Let them practice and master the skill.
  • Let your kid have some of the control in decisions. Yes you can pick the decision, but making decisions is part of adulthood. Sometimes it feels like the main part. Learning how to make good decisions early is an invaluable skill.
  • Explain the natural consequences of not fulfilling their childhood duties but don’t stand in the way of letting the consequence happen. We all want to bubble wrap kids, but the younger they are the littler the stakes are, so let them find the natural boundaries of things.
  • Make sure there isn’t something standing in the way of the goal. If your child is an unmotivated writer for example, maybe there is an underlying cause and a tutor or doctor might need to evaluate the child. If they’re unmotivated to school, is it too hard or too easy (this applies both academically and socially).

By helping your child feel in control and able to successfully complete tasks, you are empowering them to practice lifelong skills. We know

“when we experience a healthy sense of control, our prefrontal cortex (the executive functioning part of our brain) regulates the amygdala (a part of the brain’s threat detection system that initiates the fight or flight response). When the prefrontal cortex is in charge, we are in our right minds. We feel in control and not anxious.”

-Scientific American

Hopefully these ideas with motivation and great follow through help your child to succeed. Sometimes it can just be hard to break bad habits for both the kid and the parent. Please let me know if you have any great ideas.

Articles Related to “Motivating My Kid: Where to Start”

Successful Collaboration

Helping those with Learning Disabilities Find Success

Qualifying for Special Education: What to Know

Executive Functioning: The Why and What of Its Importance

Executive functioning literally rules our days. It is the part of our brain that allows us to remember directions, know what needs to be done before we can leave, and helps us stay safe by evaluating potential dangers. Many children can have a delay in developing this region of their brains. Even many adult can be effected by not being as skilled in executive functioning. As with most delays and shortcomings, it is best to become aware of the issue. Evaluate where or what parts of Executive Functioning are particularly difficult, and then come up with the game plan on how to be successful. Here is online test for adults I found, but you can imagine from it some of the same child sized questions.

Executive Functioning Impacts:

  • Time Management: Constantly running late and losing track of time both fall under this category
  • Regulation of Attention: Easily distracted or getting too involved in one thing and not being able to move on
  • Impulse Control: Evaluating whether the environment or certain actions in the environment are safe
  • Organization: keeping things where they belong, throwing out other things, and being ale to re-find certain items all take energy from the brain
  • Working Memory: Also known as short-term memory that allows us to recall important information
  • Emotional Control: Even being able to keep feelings in check falls into executive functioning
  • Flexible thinking: Being able to roll with the changes that life throws at them
  • Task initiation: Being able to redirect the brain into a new task
  • Self-monitoring: knowing how to regulate behavior in order to accommodate their current social situation

Things that can help:

  1. Sticky notes, a calendar, or whatever is going to help them remember each of their tasks…but don’t overfill it with information, keep it simple and to the point
  2. Create environments where they can be successful. Do they need a quiet chair? A wiggly seat? It is best also to keep it consistent. Patterns will help give their brains clues about what needs to be occurring.
  3. If the child is impulsively speaking out of turn, have them write notes instead to share later. Redirect their needs to be satisfied more appropriately.
  4. Create an organization system. Yes this probably mean the parent is doing a lot of the work at first, but skill building can start small and then get bigger. Remember big tasks take a lot of practice.
  5. Patience is probably key when it comes to their memories. You will undoubtedly feel like you’ve said the same thing many times. Taking notes and putting visual enforcers for them can help.
  6. A dramatic kid can also take patience, but teaching them how to check-in with their own emotions can help them in the long term. Things like ‘mindful’ practices may also really help to strengthen their emotional balance.
  7. Flexible thinking can be hard for all of us, but life gives us lots of opportunity to practice this skill. Let them learn it, but try to set them up for success. A good nights sleep and a full belly can go a long way.
  8. Give them a specific starting point for their new task. Help ease them into it. They may need stepping stones because they can’t break down the task into it’s smaller steps on their own. For example, homework requires you grab a pencil, get the homework, find a seat, read directions, and then begin. Breaking the 1 step direction of ‘get homework’ into those 5 steps may really help the child out.
  9. Help your child become self-aware by talking to them about their actions in a neutral way. This can be done while they are in the process of doing it, at the end of the day, or probably best yet before different activities require something special of them.

By OpenStax College – Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site. http://cnx.org/content/col11496/1.6/, Jun 19, 2013., CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30148119

Articles Related to ‘Executive Functioning: The Why and What of Its Importance’

Stress and Children: The Lifelong Relationship

Happy World Autism Awareness Day

disciplining a child

Disciplining a Child: Teaching Positive Behaviors

Disciplining a child can seem like a tricky battle, especially sense no two kids are the same, but let’s look at some things that do not change with children.

Discipline comes from Latin meaning teach. With this in mind, approach discipline as a tool toward teaching a new preferred behavior.

Behavior, even in the current state that is perhaps not preferred, is normally there to fill some basic need. Take a step back and think about what need the child is filling. Are they board? Is this helping them get attention? Is this giving them some sort of power or control? Really think about how it is meeting their basic need because if it is something like getting attention, it will be hard, but if the behavior no longer met that need, perhaps they would no longer do it (consistency is key with this). If it is another need that is being filling, what are some alternative preferred behaviors the child could use instead.

When disciplining a child, threats, anger and other emotional evoking strategies aren’t ideal because they appeal to the limbic system in the brain. It is better to keep it rational and clean cut with the child. If the child is using their cerebral cortex, they are connecting thought with action, a life-long skill. Some great strategies within this are:

  1. Start with clear, simple choices all of which are acceptable to you
  2. Have child verbally reiterate their choice back to you as a verbal contract
  3. Honest communication
  4. Cooperation through compliance
  5.  ‘Teachable Moments’ with reflection of poor choices
  6. Seeing everyone as equally valuable
  7. Clear expectations with consistent follow through
  8. Don’t: compare kids or give conditional appraisal
  9. Set a good example
  10. If the child has multiple behavior problems, start small…changing 1-2 behaviors at a time
Articles Related to ‘Disciplining a Child: Teaching Positive Behaviors’

Dance Therapy: Helping Individuals Connect

Book Facts: Reading is a Gateway to so Much More

Behavior and Cognitive Interventions: Finding the Best Solution

Aspects of Behavioral Disorders

Baby Massage: Improving Life with Touch

Baby massage can be an easy way to help your child. Here are some ways it helps, and some ideas for getting started. It can be help:

  • If the child has hyper-tonic, high tone, muscles, massage can help in relaxing them.
  • Baby massage can also help hypo-tonic, or low tone, muscles to stimulate the muscles and help them develop
  • It helps both children with hyper and hypo sensitivity to regulate their bodies to touch. Helping a child learn to familiarize touch can help with life long necessary skills. Getting a child’s body in-line can also help to regulate other senses.
  • Massage can also help fussy babies relieve tension and stress. Children who are extra susceptible to this need are drug withdrawal babies, sensitive babies, and babies that have unusual pain.
  • Massage can help all babies sleep longer and deeper if done as part of a nightly routine.
  • Baby massage can help increase social skills and increase bonding
  • Help with digestion- keeping babies more regular and ease gas issues
  • Help babies increase alert state for more personal interactions
  • Help with feeding issues by assisting oral-motor development
  • It may even help some children with weight gain- Perhaps through alertness, feeding issues, and digestive help
  • Baby massage can help improve body awareness, which will help gross motor, fine motor, and self-help skills

Easy ways to start:

  • Keep it simple
  • Make it a routine
  • Place baby or toddler on towel
  • Use lotion
  • Talk with baby

Here’s a simple video to help get you started. There are other ideas that started at legs is easier as they are less sensitive. If you need more guidance many massage therapist and even some chiropractors are happy to help get you started.

 

Articles related to ‘Baby Massage: Improving Life with Touch’

Smarter Baby: How to Help Your Child’s Brain Grow

Stress and Children: The Lifelong Relationship

Mental Health in Kids: What to Know

allergies

Allergies in Babies and Toddlers: 6 Things to Know

Allergies in Babies and Toddlers can be very intimidating. What do you do for such cute little ones when they seem to be suffering? How do you know that it is only allergies and not something worse? Well I’d love to say that there is a magic cure all, but if your little ones are anything like our little one, even the allergist will be left guessing.

First: Allergies are caused by their bodies immune systems believing that they need to fight something off. As their bodies create extra antibodies, a variety of things can occur.

Second: Note that allergies can present in various ways. They can show as overly dry skin almost anywhere on the body or a personality change. They can also be chronic cold symptoms, red eyes, acne, itching, or the usual rash (which also presents in a variety of ways).

Third: If you are concerned, call your medical provider. In all cases of allergies, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Anaphylaxis is a rare condition, but it rapidly causes allergic swelling blocking the airways.

Fourth: Our son changed allergies as he grew, so just because your baby is allergic to an item, it does not mean they always will be. Take caution and talk to a medical provider about reintroducing foods or environmentally items after your child has been off of them a while.

Fifth: Allergies can be linked to genetics. The specific allergies however vary. In our family that means, what causes anaphylaxis in me is not the same thing that causes it in my son. Also too much dairy bugs me, but my son is super sensitive to sugars. So although the auto immune over activity seems prevalent in certain family line, the things that trigger it seem to be different.

Sixth: It is important that you talk to your medical provider. They will be able to sort out the virus from allergies. They also can help you deal with both so that your child gets feeling better soon.

 

Related Articles to ‘Allergies in Babies and ToddleRS: 6 Things to Know’

Allergies and Special Needs: A Key to Making a Difference

Autism Research: Finding the Cause and Cure