Feed Your Children Food

 

 

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Feed Your Child Food

It was exactly a year ago, last February, when I wrote an arti­cle about the harm­ful effects of processed food. Food, the fuel we feed our­selves and our chil­dren, had become a means to line the pock­ets of an uneth­i­cal indus­try. There is no stop­ping peo­ple from try­ing to make a buck by fool­ing the inno­cent. The only way to reverse this course is through edu­ca­tion.  

Our bod­ies are built to digest and use food to sup­port liv­ing. Artificial ingre­di­ents inhibit the body’s abil­ity to func­tion prop­erly, break­ing down our organs bit by bit while starv­ing our­selves of needed nutri­ents. The long term effects of this prac­tice is already being felt as more chil­dren are devel­op­ing chronic ill­ness and extreme aller­gies. Medicines, another unnat­ural sub­stance, is added to the mix as a short tem fix. The human body needs unadul­ter­ated food to max­i­mize its’ health. Parents must not sweep this issue under the rug. 

I beg you to read this arti­cle from last week’s New York Times. It is writ­ten specif­i­cally for par­ents and will be a guide for your family’s diet. A diet to sup­port a life­time of healthy accom­plish­ments and mem­o­ries.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/19/learning-to-cut-the-sugar/?_php=true&_type=blogs&emc=eta1&_r=0

http://goodparentsgreatkids.com/category/nutrition/

Fast Food and Other Poisons

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Beware of Antibacterial Soaps and Gels

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The use of antibac­te­r­ial soaps and gels have long been an issue. They have per­me­ated our soci­ety as the fear of Bird Flu, West Nile and all the other scary threats in the last decade.  As a teacher I see stu­dents opt­ing for the antibac­te­r­ial gels instead of wash­ing their hands. People use the free gels mounted on the walls of gyms and pub­lic places the way we used to stop for a drink of water from the water foun­tain. We stopped using water foun­tains for fear of germs. .Ironically, the thing that was meant to kill germs may be more harm­ful in the end.

Chemicals are not nat­ural. When we look towards chem­i­cals to cure one issue we risk the chance of caus­ing another prob­lem. I urge par­ents to stay as holis­tic and nat­ural as pos­si­ble for the health of their fam­ily.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/17/health/fda-to-require-proof-that-antibacterial-soaps-are-safe.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0 

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And Then He Turned His Phone To OFF

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I have been try­ing to use my phone less, be in the present and take in my world more. I am not a par­ent of young chil­dren and my dis­trac­tion is only harm­ful to myself…except when I take care of my six month old grand­son. That darn phone, the lap top and even the tele­vi­sion.  They all call to me and my sweet lit­tle grand­son doesn’t mind at all. In fact, he loves screens. All of them. He can sit and watch the T.V. whether it’s child’s pro­gram­ming or not. Take out a phone to cap­ture a pic­ture and he stops what he is doing to stare at the beau­ti­ful glow.

I remem­ber a busi­ness din­ner with a female col­league of my husband’s. It was a couple’s thing and her hus­band was a big deal edi­tor of a big time mag­a­zine. At the begin­ning of the meal he took out his phone and I fig­ured he would be on it all through din­ner. Instead I watched as he turned it off. Not to vibrate, but OFF. It was remark­able and it gave us the mes­sage that we were the most impor­tant thing to him at that moment. It was pow­er­ful.

Just think what turn­ing your devices could accom­plish. It’s clearly not a prac­ti­cal thing to do for most of your day. Just try it for a half hour and see what changes. Your time with your chil­dren is too impor­tant to share with an elec­tronic device. 

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Please Stop Whining!

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Whining (verb)

To give or make a long, high-pitched com­plain­ing cry or sound.

Complain in a fee­ble or petu­lant way.

Please Stop Whining!

If you are a par­ent there is no need to read the def­i­n­i­tion of whin­ing. It is some­thing chil­dren do nat­u­rally and par­ents seem to just get used to…. and yes, we often get annoyed or VERY annoyed. Some par­ents learn to deal with this and almost tune out the sound. Others find that it intol­er­a­ble and can lose their tem­per and see things spi­ral down­ward.  

Learning to con­trol our reac­tion is not the only way to go. If your chil­dren learn to wine it can become an issue for them as teach­ers and friends may also find it an irri­tant. Whining becomes an impor­tant issue if it causes us, as par­ents, to behave in a less than accept­able way.

 

Recognizing the need to decrease whin­ing is the first step and it is a giant step. This arti­cle will help you to under­stand how whin­ing orig­i­nates and will pro­vide spe­cific steps to dimin­ish it. It will make a huge dif­fer­ence in your lives.

 

1.       Evaluate.  Is there any­thing spe­cific that brings out the whiner in your child? Take notes about the time of the day, their phys­i­cal and emo­tional state and the kinds of things they whine about. Don’t just take men­tal notes, write it down. You may gain a great deal of insight.

2.       Understand.  What does whin­ing accom­plish?  It is usu­ally a learned behav­ior from a child that is used to hav­ing to beg r make repeated requests for what they want. They are feel­ing pow­er­less and defeated and there­fore resort to whin­ing. Pretty soon it can become their main way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing or request­ing.

3.       Model and prac­tice.  Your child is prob­a­bly unaware of their whin­ing and will require time to replace this behav­ior. Ask your child to prac­tice ask­ing for things in a reg­u­lar voice and then when whin­ing does occur, ask them to use that reg­u­lar voice.

4.       Praise. Catch them speak­ing in a non-whin­ing voice and praise them by say­ing how nice and sweet their voice sounds. Be care­ful not to give a “back handed com­pli­ment,” by com­par­ing it to the neg­a­tive.

5.       Awareness of YOUR behav­ior. Are you part of the prob­lem or solu­tion?

Child: They get frus­trated and then they start to whine.

 Adult: Be respon­sive to their frus­tra­tion level and inter­vene before they start to whine. If they are ask­ing you for some­thing be aware of a ten­dency to ignore and only respond when they whine. Respond ear­lier, even if it is to say I heard you and you need to wait.

Child: Whines when they talk to you.

Adult: You ignore the whin­ing and respond to them. If they whine ask them to please repeat their mes­sage in their reg­u­lar voice.

Or…..

Child: Whines when they talk to you.

Adult: Gets angry.  A child that can make a grown up lose con­trol has learned a pow­er­ful tool. React calmly and your child will respond in kind.

 

Congratulations for read­ing this. It shows that you want to ele­vate your par­ent­ing skills. Stick with it and you will see the results you want. Remember, revers­ing bad habits may be a lot of work in the begin­ning but care­ful atten­tion to these areas has big pay­offs in the end. Teachers and other adults will have a more pos­i­tive view of your child if they com­mu­ni­cate well. Confidence is boosted and so is per­for­mance. It’s HUGE and there­fore well worth your time.

 

 

 

 

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Nutrition NOW

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Nutrition con­tin­ues to be a hot topic. The recent expose in The New York Times Magazine points out the addic­tive and harm­ful prop­er­ties of con­ve­nience food in a way that demands our atten­tion.
The food we give our chil­dren can pro­vide needed energy, and nutri­tion. This is indeed the core of a child’s phys­i­cal, and to a degree emo­tional, infra­struc­ture. At this point in time, it seems almost indis­putable that con­ve­nience foods con­tribute to obe­sity, ADD/ADHD, Celiac dis­ease and more. To know­ingly con­tinue to reg­u­larly feed our chil­dren processed food is sim­ply crazy. Gogurt is not healthy yogurt.  Fruit rollups are not fruit. Frozen and pack­aged foods that are not care­fully selected could have an immense amount of sodium and sugar. Not only are these prod­ucts harm­ful but are man­u­fac­tured specif­i­cally to lead a per­son to eat more than they ordi­nar­ily would. A child’s metab­o­lism becomes com­pro­mised. Studies show that par­ents are aware of the issues but are unable to change their behav­ior due to time restraints and habits.

I have included links to two arti­cles that are a must read. The New York Times Magazine arti­cle is not an easy read. It is the scari­est piece on nutri­tion I have ever read and demon­strates how the food indus­try preys on our youngest and most eas­ily manip­u­lated to line their pock­ets with no con­cern for the con­se­quences.  

I implore par­ents to focus on their child’s nutri­tion in a way that demon­strates its’ impor­tance and stop fool­ing them­selves as to the dan­gers of poor nutri­tion. I know it will take a lot of work but there is no doubt that it is an essen­tial part of good par­ent­ing.

It is truly the infra­struc­ture of your child’s entire devel­op­ment.

Links:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magazine/the-extraordinary-science-of-junk-food.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/02/25/172717996/how-crunch-time-between-school-and-sleep-shapes-kids-health

 

 

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Calm Down

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Teaching Self-Calming Skills

by Jessica Minahan on January 30, 2013
 
The fol­low­ing was an arti­cle directed to teach­ers to help chil­dren calm down. This is a noble goal but con­sid­er­ing all that teach­ers must do these days it is highly unlikely that a teacher can use this tech­niques as often as it may be needed.
Parents, how­ever, could cer­tainly ben­e­fit from this approach. I espe­cially like the ther­mome­ter strat­egy. Becoming more self aware is a highly effec­tive tool when prac­ticed at times of calm rather than dur­ing an inci­dent. 
The fol­low­ing was taken directly from the arti­cle so you can pick and choose what makes sense to you.

You need to calm down.” This is some­thing I hear a lot in my work as a behav­ior spe­cial­ist when a stu­dent starts to get agitated—answering rudely, refus­ing to work, mak­ing insult­ing com­ments or whin­ing. A teacher might tell a child to “go sit in the bean­bag chair and calm down” or sim­ply “relax.”

The prob­lem is, many stu­dents don’t know how to calm down. This is espe­cially true for chil­dren who dis­play chronic agi­ta­tion or defi­ance.

File 1947When a child behaves inap­pro­pri­ately, I find that it’s almost always due to an under­de­vel­oped skill. Recognizing and teach­ing under­de­vel­oped skills is one of the key strate­gies Nancy Rappaport and I talk about in our book, The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students.

All chil­dren will ben­e­fit from learn­ing self-calm­ing skills, but for some chil­dren, learn­ing this skill is so essen­tial to their suc­cess at school that it’s impor­tant that class­room teach­ers focus on it as well as spe­cial­ists, such as coun­selors and spe­cial edu­ca­tors.

What’s the best way to teach self-calm­ing skills to an indi­vid­ual child in your class­room? Here are three sim­ple steps to take:

1. Teach the student to identify emotions.

Students who exhibit anger in the class­room are often described as “going from 0-to-60 in a split sec­ond.” In real­ity, how­ever, the student’s emo­tions prob­a­bly grew more grad­u­ally from calm to frus­trated to anger, but the teacher (and the child) didn’t notice the build-up.

Teaching a stu­dent to iden­tify this esca­la­tion is essen­tial if she’s to learn how to catch her­self on the way up. A help­ful tool to use is an emo­tional ther­mome­ter. When the child is calm, share the graphic with her, explain­ing how emo­tions often grow in inten­sity from calm to frus­trated to angry. Give the child a copy of the ther­mome­ter and ask her to pay atten­tion to where she is on it at dif­fer­ent times of the day over the course of a few weeks, check­ing in with the child as needed to dis­cuss what she is notic­ing.

Another way to teach a stu­dent to iden­tify emo­tions is to do a “body check.” When you notice signs of frus­tra­tion first begin­ning, label it for the child and explain how you know: “Your shoul­ders are hunched and your fists are clenched, so I can see you’re frus­trated right now.” Over time, the child will learn to iden­tify when she’s frus­trated with­out your cues.

2. Teach the student self-calming strategies.

Once a stu­dent can iden­tify when he’s frus­trated or angry, he can then make use of a calm­ing strat­egy. However, find­ing the right strat­egy for a spe­cific stu­dent is like find­ing the per­fect pair of shoes—you may have to try a few out before find­ing the right fit.

Also, stu­dents who are just learn­ing to iden­tify their feel­ings of frus­tra­tion may need fre­quent reminders to uti­lize a par­tic­u­lar strat­egy. The calm­ing strate­gies I have found to be most use­ful with ele­men­tary school stu­dents include:

  • Reading a book
  • Deep breath­ing
  • Listening to music
  • Drawing
  • Yoga stretches
3. Practice with the student.

Like any skill, prac­tice is key. Each day, at a time when the stu­dent is calm, ask her to role play what she looks/acts like when she is frus­trated or anx­ious. Then ask her to prac­tice her self-calm­ing strate­gies.

To make the prac­tice most effec­tive, have the stu­dent do the role-play in the area of the class­room she’s most likely to go when she’s actu­ally upset, such as the read­ing area or bean­bag chair. Then when she goes there in a moment of frus­tra­tion, she’ll be more able to use the cor­rect strat­egy in that space.

Some stu­dents will learn these skills quickly, and oth­ers will need con­tin­ued sup­port over time. Self-calm­ing train­ing takes only a few min­utes a day but it’s impor­tant that you focus on it daily with a child until you see the child begin­ning to take hold of the tech­niques. Not only can it pre­vent chal­leng­ing behav­ior moments in the future, but it is an essen­tial skill for suc­cess at school, at home and in social set­tings.

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Increase Responsibility Using A Checklist

There’s A Checklist For That

Everyday rou­tines can be exhaust­ing.

You know the kids are going to:
Ignore you
Put up a fuss
Do it slowly or poorly

You are tired of get­ting aggra­vated so you:
Yell
Nag
Give up and do it your­self
Or learn to let them do it it their own way

Many sit­u­a­tions fall into this dance of par­ent and child:
Bedtime
Getting ready for school
Coming home from school
Homework
Helping with chores
Cleaning room

Though there are many things that we try to ana­lyze and per­fect, for many rea­sons par­ents often resign to the stan­dard
prac­tices that come nat­u­rally but may not be effec­tive. When we take the time to eval­u­ate we can make big changes. A check­list, com­bined with bet­ter under­stand­ing can pro­vide har­mony in the home and more respon­si­ble chil­dren.

Example:
Sarah was a mom of 3 dar­ling girls ages 2, 4 and 6.
She fre­quently com­plained that the girls ganged up on her and it was espe­cially ter­ri­ble at bed­time.
Gymnastics in the bed­room includ­ing jump­ing on bed and using the win­dow sill as a bal­ance beam was their rou­tine. Once in bed the party con­tin­ued, start­ing with soft whis­pers and soon esca­lat­ing into wild laugher. Often the girls would sneak out of bed and get mas­sive amounts of food with­out the par­ents hav­ing a clue, only to find the remains under the bed the fol­low­ing day.

1- Examine and trou­ble shoot
What might be inter­fer­ing with your intended goal?
      When we exam­ined the sit­u­a­tion we saw that the girls had got­ten into a rou­tine that needed to be stopped in order to see change. The 6 year old, deprived of night time rest had resorted to tak­ing a long nap in school which made it harder for her to be tired at night.

The plan was to cre­ate a new look to bed­time. The fam­ily, includ­ing the girls and I made a check­list of what needed to hap­pen once the bed­time rou­tine was ini­ti­ated. Since one of the prob­lems was the amount of time mom spent talk­ing and read­ing at
bed­time we added a time com­po­nent so cud­dling and read­ing was rea­son­able. Talking would be saved for day­light hours, at least till things fell into place. I took pic­tures of them to fur­ther invite buy in. The neces­sity of sleep was explained. They knew that most flu­ids would stop after 6:00 and the restroom would be used prior to bed­time so access to the bath­room was not going to be granted. They also knew.…..and this was super impor­tant.…. that mom would be sta­tioned out­side their door and would know if there was any talk­ing or whis­per­ing.
2- Create a check­list
Think about what it would look like if your child inde­pen­dently, or close toin­de­pen­dently, began and fin­ished the cho­sen rou­tine. A bare bones approach is just as effec­tive as one that gives lots of details. Logic and the par­tic­u­lars of your sit­u­a­tion will guide your deci­sion. Do a run through to check for accu­racy.
• Let your child be involved with the sequence of events
• Have your child pose for pic­tures for each step. iPads make insert­ing pics very easy
exam­ple for Going to Sleep:
Take a bath
Put on paja­mas
Eat a snack
Brush teeth
Toilet
Story time:15 min­utes
Cuddle time: 5 min­utes each
Close eyes, think of some­thing nice

The reward for a suc­cess­ful bed­time would be a prize that they had already picked out.
After many suc­cess­ful bed­times the girls tran­si­tioned to a star chart which trans­lated to a fun fam­ily trip. Now it’s just their rou­tine and rewards are unnec­es­sary.

The day we began mom and dad made sure the girls were tired out from the day. The check­list was brought out and the girls coop­er­ated. Once they got into bed the lights in the entire apart­ment were turned off.
Mom made sure they could clearly see her right out­side the room tak­ing away the temp­ta­tion of get­ting out of bed to assess the sit­u­a­tion.
They had rel­a­tively few issues and after only one bath­room request (which was ignored) and one warn­ing about whis­pers, they fell asleep
within min­utes.
Mom kept expect­ing the drama to start but the evening was unevent­ful, with the excep­tion of the silent cheers of a relieved mom and dad.

As the days unfolded the girls con­tin­ued to embrace this new rou­tine. The effect of har­mony at bed­time had pos­i­tive effects in the day­time as well includ­ing increased respect and coop­er­a­tion. School time naps ended and the teacher reported bet­ter focus.
I know that this sit­u­a­tion was extreme but the same process can be applied to more mild issues.
A mom I worked with was mis­er­able about how her child kept com­ing home from school and dropped their stuff all over.
She said she’s tried every­thing but a con­ver­sa­tion with her child which resulted in a jointly cre­ated check­list solved the prob­lem.

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The Vaccine Debate

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I feel com­pelled to write this.

My hus­band and I have great respect for our nat­u­ra­p­ath. His name is David Getoff and he has a very extreme atti­tude about health. He often appears a bit extreme, but most of the time his opin­ions become well accepted.

The first time I met him was 28 years ago when he was on his way to Colorado. He was of the opin­ion that the mer­cury in his fill­ings were dam­ag­ing to his health and there was a den­tist who would remove them. This was a painful and expen­sive process but he was deter­mined to get it done. Of course now we all know to avoid ingest­ing mer­cury.

He is also against chemo ther­apy, mam­mo­grams, soy by-prod­ucts, genet­i­cally man­u­fac­tured food, flour, sugar and vac­cines.

Recently I crossed paths with a mom who refused to give her 4 year old most of the vac­cines that are rou­tinely given. She is con­cerned about the bom­bard­ment of chem­i­cals on a young child’s brain and men­tioned that it has been linked to SIDS.

Since I will be a grandma soon I paid atten­tion and did some research. My con­clu­sion was to talk to my son and daugh­ter-in-law and sug­gest they look into it. My hus­band and I would be happy to bring our grand­child to the doc­tor more fre­quently in order to spread out the shots and there­fore les­son the neg­a­tive impact.

A week later we received sad news. My daughter-in-law’s niece had died from SIDS. She was 4 months old. I looked up the sched­ule for vac­ci­na­tions and saw that the sec­ond round was at 4 months. Last night  I had a chance to talk with my son about my con­cern. He looked at me with dis­be­lief. He told me that the lit­tle girl had been vac­ci­nated the day before she died.

please, please, do your research.

http://www.thinktwice.com/sids.htm

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Plan For Misbehaving

 

Children will mis­be­have and par­ents will give warn­ing, after warn­ing , after warn­ing. If this sounds too famil­iar, you are not alone. Parenting is non­stop but if we put effort into prepar­ing for mis­be­hav­ior and imple­ment the plan con­sis­tently we can relax more and put aside the headache rem­edy.

When we make a plan that includes our children’s input we gain way more than peace of mind. Our chil­dren become more respon­si­ble, respect­ful and resilient.

The fol­low­ing gem from the beloved Jane Nelson illus­trates how mak­ing a plan can gain the coop­er­a­tion of our chil­dren.

1. make a plan

2. imple­ment the plan con­sis­tently

3. ignore atten­tion get­ting behav­ior that devi­ates from the plan

 

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The Jones fam­ily is very excited. They have just fin­ished plan­ning a day at the beach. Seven-year-old Jason and five-year-old Jenny have promised that they won’t fight. Mr. Jones, has warned, “If you do, we’ll turn around and come back.” “We won’t, we won’t,” promise Jason and Jenny again.

The Jones fam­ily haven’t gone two miles when a loud wail is heard from the back seat, “Jason hit me.”

Mrs. Jones says, “What did we tell you kids about fight­ing?”

Jason defends him­self, “Well, she touched me.”

Mr. Jones threat­ens, “You two had bet­ter cut it out, or we are going home.”

The chil­dren cry out it uni­son, “Nooooooo! We’ll be good.”

And they are — for about ten min­utes. Then, another wail is heard, “He took my red crayon.”

Jason replies, “Well she was hog­ging it. It’s my turn.”

Mr. Jones says, “Do you want me to turn around and go home?”

Nooooooo. We’ll be good.”

 

All this mis­be­hav­ing should be no sur­prise. It hap­pens rou­tinely but always met with an “I don’t know what to do with them” response. 

And so the story goes. Throughout the day Jason and Jenny fight, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones make threats. At the end of the day, Mr. and Mrs. Jones are angry and threaten never to take the kids any­where again. Jason and Jenny feel bad that they have made their par­ents so mis­er­able.  They are begin­ning to believe they really are bad kids—and they keep liv­ing up to their rep­u­ta­tion.

Now let’s visit the Smith fam­ily. They have just planned their trip to the zoo dur­ing their weekly fam­ily meet­ing. Part of the plan­ning included a dis­cus­sion about lim­its and solu­tions.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith have told Susan and Sam how mis­er­able they feel when they fight. The kids promise they won’t. Mr. Smith said, “I appre­ci­ate that, and I think we should come up with a plan for what will hap­pen if you for­get.” The kids keep insist­ing they won’t fight. Mr. and Mrs. Smith know their chil­dren have good inten­tions, and they are also very famil­iar with the pat­tern of good inten­tions gone awry. So, they have decided what they will do and they will fol­low through.

Mrs. Smith says, “Well then, is it okay with you if we stop the car if you do for­get? We don’t think it is safe to drive when you are fight­ing, so we’ll just pull over to the side of the road and wait for you to stop. You can let us know when you are ready for us to drive again. How do you feel about that solu­tion?” Both kids agree with inno­cent enthu­si­asm.

Typically, it doesn’t take them long to for­get their promise, and a fight begins. Mrs. Smith quickly and qui­etly pulls off to the side of the road. She and Mr. Smith take out mag­a­zines and start read­ing. Each child starts blam­ing the other while protest­ing his or her own inno­cence. Mr. and Mrs. Jones ignore them and just keep read­ing. It doesn’t take long for Susan to catch on that Mom and Dad must mean what they said. Susan says, “Okay, we are ready to keep dri­ving.” Mr. Smith says, “We’ll wait until we hear it from both of you.” Sam says, “But, she hit me.”

Mom and Dad just keep read­ing.  Susan hits Sam, “Tell them you are ready.” Sam cries, “She hit me again.” Mom and Dad just keep read­ing. Susan real­izes that hit­ting Sam won’t help, so she tries to rea­son with him. “We’ll have to sit here for­ever if you don’t say you are ready.” Susan fol­lows her parent’s lead and starts to color. Sam holds out for about three more min­utes before say­ing, “I’m ready for you to start dri­ving.” Mom says, “Thank you very much. I appre­ci­ate your coop­er­a­tion.”

About 30 min­utes later another fight starts. Mom starts to pull over to the side of the road. Both kids cry out in uni­son, “We’ll stop. We’re ready to keep dri­ving.” There was no more fight­ing for the rest of the day, and the Smiths enjoyed a won­der­ful day at the zoo.

What is the dif­fer­ence between the Jones fam­ily and the Smith fam­ily? Are Jason and Jenny really “bad” kids?” No, the dif­fer­ence is that the Smith fam­ily is help­ing their chil­dren learn coop­er­a­tion and prob­lem solv­ing skills while the Jones fam­ily is help­ing their chil­dren learn manip­u­la­tion skills. Mr. and Mrs. Smith demon­strate that they say what they mean and mean what they say by using kind and fol­low through. Mr. and Mrs. Jones don’t. They used angry threats. This had a tem­po­rary effect, but the kids would soon be fight­ing again.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith stopped using words and instead fol­lowed through with kind and firm action. It took a lit­tle longer for the kids to catch on, but once they did it had a longer last­ing effect. Because they are kids, they just had to test the waters one more time. When their par­ents started to fol­low through again the kids knew they meant what they said. They were left with the feel­ing, not that they were bad kids, but that they were clever enough to fig­ure out a solu­tion to the prob­lem and that coop­er­a­tion was the most effec­tive alter­na­tive.

 

Misbehaving will hap­pen. Plan for it. 

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Go To Sleep

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Bedtime Wars

The life of a par­ent is not often easy, but get­ting your child off to bed may be the most dif­fi­cult rou­tine and at a time when your strength and patience are worn thin. 
When we talk about address­ing a child’s needs, pro­fes­sion­als often quote the beloved psy­chol­o­gist Abraham Maslow’s  hier­ar­chy of needs which sim­ply put, points out that a per­son can not learn and grow to their full poten­tial if  their basic needs are not met. The most fun­da­men­tal needs are: esteem, love, secu­rity, and phys­i­cal needs. This is a widely accepted the­ory and there­fore, as par­ents, we should be quite insis­tent about giv­ing our chil­dren the oppor­tu­nity for a good night’s sleep.

So what do you do if your child refuses to go to sleep, whines and manip­u­lates you for more time, more water, or com­plains about mon­sters as a last ditch effort to keep from going to bed by them­selves?

First,address this issue as if it is the most impor­tant thing you do all day. If you do this well.… and con­sis­tently, it will be smooth sail­ing for years to come. Does that sound worth it? Of course it does! It will take time so plan on mak­ing this sac­ri­fice for a big­ger pay­out.

1. Think about your bed­time rou­tine. Make a chart (I have included a sam­ple one here. Add your own pic­tures) and include tim­ing for steps that your child tend to daw­dle on. 

2. Discuss with your child the plan and show them the chart. The chart is visual and con­crete which helps a child under­stand what to expect. Since chil­dren are crea­tures of habit, once they fall into your new rou­tine they will con­tinue it nat­u­rally.

3. Start bed­time early.

4. Make sure drinks and toi­let­ing are taken care of prior to bed. If going to the bath­room is used as an excuse then limit flu­ids after a cer­tain time. A child should be able to sleep through the night with­out need­ing to uri­nate, unless there is a phys­i­cal or psy­cho­log­i­cal issue. 

5. Follow your rou­tine and take note of the time. Your chil­dren should be aware that you are tim­ing every­thing such as read­ing, cud­dling etc. It is impor­tant to be strict because you want your child to know that manip­u­lat­ing is not an option. Children love to play beat the clock so if you make it fun, they will enjoy the ele­ment of being timed. 

6. Let them know that after they go to bed they should close their eyes and think of some­thing pleas­ant. Music is fine if that helps. Do not engage in con­ver­sa­tion.

7. Reiterate the impor­tance of a good night’s sleep and that to insure this you will be out­side their room mak­ing sure they stay in bed.

8. Keep the noise to an absolute min­i­mum (a sound machine may be help­ful if the noise is too loud and can­not be con­trolled).

9. Turn off all the lights in their room and any other room where light seeps in. A night­light is fine.

10. If they try to get out of bed for any rea­son be clear and firm and redi­rect with­out any emo­tion or con­ver­sa­tion.

11. I like to keep a suc­cess chart so they can feel moti­vated. Rewards in the morn­ing for a suc­cess­ful bed­time can be used and then weaned.

12. Make sure your child is tired and going to sleep at a time when they can eas­ily fall asleep. Children need 9–12 hours of sleep depend­ing on their indi­vid­ual needs. Sugar can influ­ence their sleep cycle so if your child needs less sleep you may want to look at how much sugar they eat each day.

13. If night­mares and mon­sters come into the pic­ture be nur­tur­ing but aware that the more you empathize the more this will be used to manip­u­late sleep. Be clear that there are no mon­sters and that night­mares are just like a scary movie that is not real. Your child will feel more secure if you act non­cha­lant. The more you engage on this sub­ject the longer they will embrace it. Consider read­ing a sto­ry­book on these sub­jects in the day­time. There are many good ones to choose from.

Every house­hold is dif­fer­ent and your child may need a slightly dif­fer­ent strat­egy. The most impor­tant point to know and remem­ber is that if your are firm and con­fi­dent they will com­ply. There is much to gain if you con­vey this mes­sage. There is much to lose if you let your child call the shots and deny their body the sleep it needs. 

Sample Chart:

Going to Sleep Image 

Take a bath 

 Put on paja­mas 

 Eat a snack

 Brush teeth

 Toilet

 Story time: 15 min­utes

 Cuddle time: 5 min­utes

 Close eyes, think of some­thing nice

 

 

 

 

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