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Getting Children To Sit Quietly | Pediatric Therapy Tv

Pediatric Occupational Therapist gives our viewers the top 3 tips to help get children and students to sit quietly in class, circle time or even on the road!

In This Video You Will Learn:

  • What to do before your child sits down
  • Where to sit each child
  • How to keep your child still

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.

Robyn: Hello and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I am your host, Robyn Ackerman. Today I’m standing with pediatric occupational therapist Deborah Michael. Deborah, can you give us the three top tips to getting a child to sit quietly?

Deborah: Absolutely. First of all, you need your child regulated before they sit down. They need to be ready to sit down. If they just came in from recess or from playing outside, they may need to take a few deep breaths to calm themselves down before they sit down.

Secondly, you want to space the kids out correctly. When you’re sitting in circle time, you want to put Sarah in front and little Peter to the side and left so he doesn’t put his hands in her hair. If you are in a car, you don’t want to put the two siblings that fight the most right next to each other.

And third of all, provide fidgets and movement for children that need it. Maybe they can be squishing a ball or rocking in a rocking chair rather than sitting still and having the heebie-jeebies.

Robyn: Thank you very much, Deborah. Those are great tips. And thank you, also, to our viewers. And remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit our website at LearnMore.me. That’s LearnMore.me.

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Getting your Child to do Homework

With the start of a new school year, comes the responsibility of homework. From time to time, noncompliance, frustration, screaming and yelling can be combined with this task. To help avoid battles and headaches that can sometimes accompany homework, try these helpful tips.

Tips To Get Your Child To Do His/Her Homework:

• Determine a schedule. Make sure that your house has a routine for when it is time to do homework. Everyone should be aware and in agreement of when homework needs to be completed, and the designated time should remain the same everyday. For Girl Not Happy About Homeworkexample, homework could be started as soon as your child gets home from school or right after dinner. In regards to the weekends, homework could be done on Fridays when they get home from school or on Saturday mornings. It is a good idea for your child to complete the work as early as possible so they are able to enjoy their weekend and do not have the task hanging over their heads. Waiting until Sunday night may cause your child to rush on a particular assignment. In order for your child to have ownership, they should help with creating the homework schedule. Involving your child with the input and creation of the homework schedule can help them get on board and be more likely to follow through.

• “First, then” directives. Even with having a time schedule for when homework should be completed, you can still run into complications. Your child might want to do something more personally reinforcing than doing their homework. For example, they might want to watch television, play basketball or a video game, etc. When these situations arise, provide a simple “first, then” directive (i.e., “First you finish your homework, then you will have time to play basketball before dinner.”)

• Establish an area. Just like having a set time for your children to do their homework, there should also be a specific area in which homework is done. Once again, including your child in designating the location of the area can be very beneficial. With picking a homework station, you want to select an area that will have minimal distractions. For instance, completing homework at the kitchen table, computer room, or office studio might all be good places. Another option could be to go to the local library to complete homework. Make sure your designated space has all the proper supplies necessary: paper, pencils, art supplies, etc., in order to help limit time wasted locating and getting items to start the task.

• Let them pick. Let your child decide what subjects, he/she does first. As long as your child completes all of his/her homework it should not matter what assignment is completed first or last. If your child is having a hard time getting the amount of work done daily, or becomes especially frustrated with certain assignments, it may be helpful to discuss with his/her teacher some of the following suggestions: a strategy for what daily assignments should get priority, a time limit for a specific task, check lists for organizing what needs to be done, breaking assignments into chunks, outlining the steps of certain assignments.

• Keep quiet. While your child is working on homework it is wise for you to keep quiet and do your “homework” too. If you are being loud or engaging in more fun/exciting activities, your child might try to escape from their task and try to partake in what you are doing. While your child is working, this could be a good time for you to pay bills, read a book, or do some housework. You want to try to avoid doing things like watching television, playing on the computer, or doing Wii Fit.

• Guide; don’t do. You want to provide help and guidance while your child is doing homework. However, you do not want to do their assignments for them. Take a step back and only get involved when they ask for your help. Provide just enough help and prompts so they can continue to complete the assignment as independently as possible. If your child is able to do the task independently, look over their work when they claim to be finished. This will show you are interested in what they are completing and enable an opportunity for praising their work when done appropriately.

• Praise. The verbal praise given to your child when completing his/her homework and bringing home good grades should let them see how happy and proud of them you are. In addition, you can also use tangible reinforcers (i.e., going out for ice cream, giving them a special toy they wanted, having some extra television or video game time, or money). You may want to choose these types of rewards for a particularly challenging test, project, or assignment since you do not want to always rely on these tangible reinforcers. You do not want your child to always expect something for completing their homework or getting good grades; instead, you want to show them the personal satisfaction gained from working hard and trying their best when achieving a goal.

• Natural consequences. If your child flat out refuses to complete his/her homework, let them endure the natural consequences of not doing their homework. Write your child’s teacher a note or send an email informing him/her that your child had the time and opportunity to complete the homework assignment but chose not to do it. With the natural consequences of disappointing the teacher, points being deducted because of the assignment being late, or receiving a zero on the assignment, can make your child realize how important it is to do his/her homework.

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Child Struggling In School | Pediatric Therapy Tv

Today’s episode answers a question from a viewer.  The mother asks if she should be worried that her son’s teacher tells her that her son has a hard time paying attention in class.  Pediatric Neuropsychologist Dr. Stasi answers her with what her next steps should be.

In This Video You Will Learn:

  • If a parent should listen to a teacher’s concerns even if the parent disagrees
  • Figuring out the why’s of the child’s struggle
  • What the goal of an evaluation is

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.

Robyn: Hello and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I am your host, Robyn Ackerman. Today I’m standing here with pediatric neuropsychologist Dr. Greg Stasi. Doctor, we have a question from Tina from Arlington Heights. Tina asks, “My son’s kindergarten teacher says he has a hard time paying attention in class. I think he is just being an active boy. Should I be worried?”

Dr. Stasi: Thank you. Tina, that’s a great question. I get a lot of parents coming in and telling me that their child struggles to pay attention or that the teacher told them that he has trouble paying attention on a day-to-day basis. Should the parent be worried? I don’t know. It’s a concern, and the teacher has the best viewpoint as far as identifying whether or not the child pays attention. She is comparing him to the peers in the classroom.

The goal is to identify the ‘whys’. Why is this child struggling? Is it because it’s ADHD? Is it because of some type of learning disorder, that the child has difficulty comprehending the text? Is it a language disorder, that they are really not comprehending what is being instructed to them? Or is the child bored? The goal is to get an evaluation and figure out why is the child struggling and then we can move forward. Thank you.

Robyn: Thank you very much, Dr. Stasi, and thank you, Tina, for submitting your question. And remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit our website at LearnMore.me. That’s LearnMore.me.

Submit your own question to robyna@NSPT4kids.com (all questions will be answered discretely and question submitters will receive the response in an email as well).

Stranger Danger: Teaching Your Children to be Safe

Teaching children about “stranger danger” is about teaching the possible dangers they may face as they are out in the world. But, this is not as simple as saying, “Don’t talk to strangers.” I tell children that it is safe to talk to strangers when they are with a grownup they know (such as when a child is with Mom at the Stranger at parkgrocery store and the nice older woman asks what her name is).

We need to teach our children to be functionally weary of strangers. It’s important that your children feel confident rather than fearful. Having information will help them know what to do rather than being afraid if a stranger approaches them.

 

Educating children on good vs. bad strangers

Kids should be taught that not all people they don’t know are dangerous. They need to know the difference between “good strangers” and “bad strangers”. They should know that there really are more good people than bad. Sometimes, kids may need to approach a stranger for help. They may get lost in a store and need help finding you. Teach your children about the best possible stranger to approach for help.

When in public, a good rule of thumb is to teach children to ask an employee (who is easily identified by a uniform or name badge). If your child cannot find an employee, or is not lost in a store, he is better off approaching a woman for help. Although female predators exist, they are less common than male predators. Also, approaching a mom with children is usually a good bet.

Ploys by Predators and What to Do

Some strangers can be persuasive. Tell your children that adults don’t usually need help from a child. It makes more sense for them to ask another adult for directions, finding a lost pet, etc. Children should be taught to never go anywhere with an adult they don’t know.

Predators can be sneaky. They may tell your child that he is a friend of yours and you sent him to pick up your child. Or, the predator may tell your child that you have been injured or are sick and the child has to come with the predator to come see you.

What to tell your child if you can’t pick him up:

  • Explain to your child that you will never send anyone he doesn’t know to pick him up. Tell him if anyone says otherwise, the person is lying and he should get away from the stranger as fast as he can.
  • If you don’t have a group of trusted people who could pick up your child in an emergency, choose a password that you will give to the person picking up your child. The password should be something important to your family that would be difficult for a stranger to guess.
  • Tell your child never to go with anyone who doesn’t know the password and change the password after each use.

9 Stranger Danger Tips to Teach Your Children

1. Know your name, address, and phone number (this will help if the child needs help from the police to get home or contact you).

2. Never walk anywhere alone (this is great for older kids too).

3. Trust your instincts. If you feel you are being followed or something is not right, find help right away.

4. If a stranger approaches you, you do not have to speak to him.

5. Never approach a stranger in a motor vehicle. Just keep walking.

6. Do not accept candy or other “presents” from a stranger.

7. Never walk off with a stranger no matter what!

8. If someone is following you, try to remember the license plate of the vehicle and tell a trusted adult right away.

9. If a stranger grabs you, do anything you can to stop him from pulling you away or dragging you into his car. Drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite, and scream. Get the attention of others who can help you. Scream out, “This is not my dad,” or “this is not my mom!”

 

*North Shore Pediatric Therapy, Inc. (NSPT) intends for responses to the blogs to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; all content and answers to questions should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).  Questions submitted to this blog are not guaranteed to receive responses.  No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by NSPT  to people submitting questions.  Always consult with your health professional first before initiating or changing any aspect of your treatment regimen.

Helping Your Child Plan and Organize Their Daily Lives

The start of school brings many changes with children’s daily lives. Children must be able to transition between subjects, organizing their work, sitting at home, and independently taking the initiative to do their homework and monitor their own productivity. These above behaviors all fall under the label of “executive functioning.”

homework with mom and daughterMany children are able to complete these tasks and behaviors independently; however, a large portion of children also struggle with one or more of the behaviors and tasks. As a result, many children benefit from strategies to help develop their organization, planning, problem solving, time management, and monitoring of their work.

Parents vs. Children on Homework Assignments

As a psychologist, I often have parents inform me about constant battles that they have with their children to complete daily homework assignments. Specifically, parents often report to me that their children will do anything but start their homework (surfing the internet, texting friends from their cell phones, or watching television/playing video games).

Two major executive functioning tasks are involved with the child’s ability to complete daily homework: Initiation of action and time management. Children who demonstrate issues with their ability to complete daily homework benefit from strategies and interventions that target their ability to start and complete their work in a timely fashion.

Tips to help children complete daily homework:

  • Developing a daily “Need to” (homework, chores) and “Want to” (baseball practice, dance lessons, video game time) list of tasks
  • Prioritizing the list with estimated time requirements for each task
  • Verbally and physically prompting your child before starting each task by (e.g., “John, what is the next thing we should do?” while tapping him on the shoulder)
  • Positively reinforcing all self-initiating tasks by giving praise when your child starts a project on his/her own

Dealing With Your Child’s Forgetfulness About Assignments

Another major area of concern I hear from parents is that although their children are able to actually complete the work, they struggle with their organizational skills and will either forget about the assignments or lose the work between home and school. As a result of the difficulties with organization, all children benefit from strategies to improve this area of functioning.

Strategies that have proven to be effective with the development of a child’s organization include:

  • Structuring and scheduling designated ‘study time’ as part of your child’s daily routine.
  • Completing homework in a central location away from distracters including television, computer, telephone, and other people who might be disruptive.
  • Creating time-lines for long-term projects, breaking tasks down into basic elements with separate due dates for each task.
  • Discussing homework expectations with their teacher to determine the recommended amount of study time.

With the start of school, we want to help children be as organized as possible and ready to complete daily homework in a timely fashion. Following the above strategies and developing some of your own will ensure that your child will be more organized and less stressed!

How To Help Your Child Adjust To A New Routine, Classmates Or Classroom

We all know children respond best to routine and schedules, but it is also very important to teach your child to be flexible with change. Throughout a child’s life they will be placed in new situations and they will frequently find themselves having to change their routine and schedules, there is no avoiding it! There are ways to make it easier for your child so they can adjust to change and learn to be flexible.

Tips to Help Your Child Adjust to a New Routine

The Earlier the Better:

Start introducing your child to change as soon as you can! The more exposure they have to it, the better equipped they will be at handling it appropriately and effectively. If your child is used to change, it won’t be a big deal when it occurs in everyday life.

Plan For Positive Changes:

Pair changes with good outcomes as frequently as you can! You want to make sure you don’t allow your child to think that change results in a negative outcome. Create changes from time to time so your child is used to it and make sure that the change results in something that may be more fun or exciting. As much as we wish this were always the case, there will be times you have no control and that is why it is important to create situations that allow change to be a good thing, rather than a bad. This way if there happens to be a situation that leads to a negative outcome your child won’t always correlate change with bad.

Create Schedules:

Always create a schedule with them that emphasizes exactly what their new routine or schedule will look like. This allows the child to know in advance what they will be doing and reduces some of the anxiety they may be feeling of not knowing.

Plan New Play-dates:

If your child is meeting new classmates, create a little get together in advance so your child has the chance to meet them in a comfortable, familiar setting such as their home or a familiar park. This again will reduce some anxiety of meeting new people in a new place. The idea is to familiarize your child with as much as you can in a comfortable setting to avoid overwhelming them too much.

Visit The School:

If your child is going to a new classroom, set up visits to the school so they can visit the classroom and teacher a few times before school starts. This will familiarize him with the school and classroom so they can focus on making new friends, rather than learning where they are.

Practice New Routines:

If you are changing a routine, walk through all of the steps involved in the routine ahead of time so your child is prepared. For example, if your child is going to start taking the school bus as their routine to go to school, set them on a schedule to be ready for the bus a week before school starts and practice with them what it will be like to take the bus. For example, review where the bus will pick your child up, drop them off, etc. This will create a sense of comfort for your child to know what the expectations are in the new routine. If necessary, create a little checklist for your child that consists of each step in the routine. This will increase their independence with the routine as well as their confidence in completing it.

 

How To Notify A Parent About Concerns You Have For a Child In Your Classroom

Teacher In Front Of Classroo Of StudentsThe start of a new school year is associated with many changes for a child’s academic, behavioral, and social functioning.  Teachers are often the first ones to identify concerns regarding a child’s academic, social, or behavioral functioning.  Bringing concerns up to a parent can always be a challenging situation.  Below are several tips that can prove useful for teachers to help identify and bring up concerns with a parent.

5 Tips For Voicing Your Concerns The Right Way

  1. Be confident.  You as a teacher have the most insight in a child’s day to day functioning.  You are able to compare the child’s development to that of the other children in your classroom.  If you suspect that a child is falling behind his or her peers with any domain in your classroom it is important to identify this and bring it up to the parents.
  2. Document.  It is always important to have actual examples to show why you have concern about the child’s performance within the school setting.
  3. Plan.  Have a plan as to what your want to accomplish and how your ultimate goal will be met.  Be specific with your feedback to parents as to what you would expect their child to be doing and also what ideas you have for that child to reach the goal.
  4. Measurable and attainable.  Any goal that you have for a child needs to be measurable and attainable.  If a child was previously standing up and walking around the classroom every 20 minutes, it would not be reasonable to assume that the child can remain seated for a full day of school.
  5. Communication.   After goals are determined and a plan is established it is vital that you and the parents have constant communication in order to ensure that the child has made progress towards the goals that are set.

The Dirty Little Secret on Poop – Tips For Children Who Won’t Use the Potty in Public or at School

As if potty training isn’t hard enough, there is also the challenge of having your child go to the washroom in public. Many children have increased anxiety when it comes to using a public restroom. There are several reasons that might cause your child to display this anxiety resulting in avoidance of using the bathroom. Below are some tips to help reduce your child’s anxiety and encourage them to use public restrooms.

Ways to Encourage Children To Change Behavior And Use Public Restrooms

Talk About It!

Address the problem that your child is having. Take the time to figure out why your child is having difficulties using public restrooms. Some possible things that might cause your child to be anxious are:

  • The toilet is different than the one at home
  • The toilet flushes differently (automatic vs. manual flush)
  • The water in the toilet bowl might be a different color (some places use the cleaners that make the water dark blue or even a green color)
  • The lighting in the restroom
  • The sounds fans make
  • The noises of the automatic air fresheners,
  • The germs – Yes, germs! You are probably thinking that kids aren’t concerned about germs, but that is actually not always the case.

Start talking to your child to identify what items in the restroom are causing their anxiety. If your child has difficulties saying exactly what bothers him or her about public restrooms, take field trips. When out and about in the community go into different restrooms and ask your child to tell you what it is that makes him or her uncomfortable.

Brainstorm Solutions and Try Them!

Try to come up with different solutions to help your child feel more at ease when using public restrooms. If certain noises in the restroom bother your child, let him use headphones or hold his ears to listen the noise. If he is scared about germs, put toilet paper on the seat before he  uses it. Let him know that toilets will be different, but that does not make them scary. Look at different toilets on the Internet and talk about them.

Create Positive Potty Time Stories!

Once you identify the problems and come up with solutions that make your child more comfortable to use the restroom, sit down and write a story together. Be sure to have your child help with this story as much as possible. Write out the things that scare him and then add the different things that help him calm down. The story should be used before going out to the community and can even be used right before the child needs to use the restroom as a reminder of what they will encounter.

Give praise!

When your child uses a public restroom, be sure to praise them. You want to make a big deal about this great accomplishment so that it will be more likely to happen again. Be sure to provide plenty of verbal praise, “Great job of using the bathroom! You are such a big girl/boy!”, “I knew you could do it! See, there was nothing to be scared of!”.When your child first starts using the public restroom, you can also give them little rewards. For example, if you are at his/her favorite restaurant he/she can pick an extra treat, at the toy store your child can pick out a new toy, or at the grocery store he/she can choose a favorite candy bar. These treats should not last forever but should be given heavily in the beginning and then sporadically, eventually completely fading out.

Listed below are some books that can help when potty training:

 What are your tips for helping ease the anxiety when your child uses a public restroom?

 

Start The School Year Out Right

A Guide To Meeting With Your Child’s New Education Team

Summer vacation is almost over and the first day of school for many children is on the horizon. The majority of children (and teachers) experience difficulty transitioning from the A Parent and Teacher Meetcarefree days of summer to the rigid structure of school. Children with special needs and learning disabilities are even more likely to exhibit difficulty with the school year. As a parent, it is your duty to advocate for your child in order to ensure that the academic year starts smoothly and that the child’s needs are being met.

I recommend that the parents establish a meeting with the child’s teacher and any ancillary staff that has an impact on his or her academic success (special education teachers, social worker, speech/language therapist, occupational therapist). In addition, it is always recommended that you have your child’s outside therapy team be part of this meeting in order to share information and develop effective strategies. Five specific goals of this initial meeting are listed below:

5 New Teacher Meeting Goals

1. It is important that all individuals working with the child be made aware of the child’s issues as well as what has worked/not worked in the past. It is vital that last year’s teacher have an opportunity to share information with parents about the challenges from the previous year as well as what solutions she has found helpful in the classroom.

2. Any outside therapist needs to be present at the meeting to share how things have been going over the summer. What has the child been working on as part of therapy, what goals were achieved, and what goals were not met. This will help establish expectations for the child.

3. Creation of specific, attainable, and measurable goals is important. If a child is getting out of his seat every five minutes it would not be realistic for his new teacher to expect him to sit for hours on end. We might set up an initial goal so that the child is expected to remain seated for ten minutes. Once that is achieved with regularity we move the goal up to fifteen minutes, and so on.

4. Establish a frequent communication system between parents and teachers. The goal of this is to not bombard teachers with constant emails/phone calls but to be able to have constant communication between all parties so that parents can help organize the daily assignments and ensure that all work is completed.

5. Identify that everyone is on the same team. The goal of this meeting is not to burden the academic staff with more work but to help develop solutions to ensure that the child’s needs are met.

How To Advocate For Your Child Now

Mother Talking to DoctorA parent is their child’s number one advocate. If a parent does not act on behalf of their child, who will? There are multiple areas where parents must act as an advocate for their child.

Advocating At The Doctors

When a parent is sure that a child is falling behind the other children in their play group, the first step is to visit the pediatrician. However, if after consulting the child’s pediatrician they say, “just wait,” a parent does not have to wait. They must listen to their own instincts Read more