Of course, parenting a child that struggles to maintain attention, control their impulses, or waiting their turn in activities can be very difficult! The use of games is a great way to help your child to learn patience and increase their ability to focus! Here are some great games:
Totika (Jenga) – Children learn that keeping the game going and building the tower includes having patience and calmness.
Trouble – Kids like the “pop” and learn to wait the turn.
The Impulse Control Game – A great therapeutic game to both teach AND practice skills.
FOCUS! – Another game with practical application.
“Freeze!” – Classic tag game (increase the amount of time kids are expected to freeze over time).
Puzzles – Involves memory and sustained attention (increase difficulty over time).
I am a huge advocate for healthy development of Social and Emotional Health in children. Key aspects of sociability are derived from skills that help children understand and express feelings and behaviors in ways that facilitate positive relationships. These aspects include self-regulation, active listening, cooperation, and effective communication.
This is a great article describing 3 strategies that foster sociability and social-emotional learning:
1) Teach social skills early.
2) Create shared social norms.
3) Engage students in cooperative learning.
I am asked all the time about what the newest “guidelines” and “rules” for screen time are for various ages. This article has great research regarding young children and the effects of technology on their development.
Emotional Intelligence, or people’s ways of expressing, controlling, and recognizing the emotional experience, is extremely important in development. Some even hold that it is MORE important than IQ! Raising emotionally-intelligent children can help lessen power struggles and negative relationships. See this article for strategies and explanations!
I speak highly of the practice of mindfulness, whether that be mindful eating, speaking, or relaxing. This is a really interesting activity to remind yourself of the sincere need to “detach” sometimes:
With a background in exercise science and organized sports, a belief in the importance of holistic health for all ages, and a husband whose professional work involves health and fitness, it’s easy to see why I believe in the benefits of exercise on cognitive development. This is a tremendous article about the links.
Great article on proper use of “time-outs,” or BREAKS, as I prefer to call them:
Time-outs sound easy but can be challenging, so parents shouldn’t be afraid to ask for some help. Having a coach to help practice and problem solve can be really helpful. There are also some excellent videos available at this http://www.cdc.gov/parents/essentials/videos/video_timeout_vid.html website.
This is a great article on discussion strategies with your children/students. This one involves ways you’re unintentionally discouraging listening- my number one strategy to give parents and teachers is FOLLOW-THROUGH! (If you expect something of the child, hold that expectation hard; if you have promised to do something related to that, FOLLOW-THROUGH! This will make your child believe you and know there are no mouse holes.)
Global Mom: Eight Countries, Sixteen Addresses, Five Languages, One Family by Melissa Dalton-Bradford (Familius, 2013) Melissa Bradford shares a journey of global motherhood that includes adventure and profound loss. This book addresses parenting, moving, and grief intertwined in a global journey.