Category Archives: Parenting

Helping Your Child Discover Their Passion

The weather is warming up and summer is just around the corner – Hooray! Summer is the perfect time to provide your child with opportunities to explore new interests. And just as we teach children how to learn, we need to teach them how to pursue a possible new passion.

To discover a passion, a child needs time to sample an interest as well as work through the challenges that are innate to learning a new skill. Allow your child to choose a non-academic activity that sparks their interest. In addition, ask your child to make an agreement with you that she will give this new activity a sufficient amount of time to allow for some mastery of this new skill. Much of the joy of a passion is the feeling of, “I am good at this!” – but that emotion can only be obtained through time and effort.

Parents can create a supportive environment by taking a true interest in their child’s activity. Learn the rules of the sport that your child loves to play or take your child to the grocery store to purchase the ingredients for the fabulous dessert that your child wants to bake. Let your child see that you believe their passion has true value.

Parents should strive to allow their child’s interest to belong to them. Fight the urge to fantasize about how your child’s activities will look on a college application. Remind yourself that your child doesn’t have to excel at their hobbies or interests. Your dreams and expectations are not a component of your child’s passion. Instead, allow them to enjoy their activity for the sheer love of it without any preconceived goal in mind. And if your child’s passion wanes in six weeks or six months, so be it. There are so many opportunities to try something new!

Parents can role model how to develop new interests by challenging themselves to try a new activity. For example, why not enroll in a photography class, learn how to surf, or try a new volunteer activity? Ask yourself, “What would I try if I knew I couldn’t fail?” and then give it a go! As adults, we know we can try something without being graded on it or without any thought about a possible award. Give your child that same gift of freedom to try something new without any expectation on your part. You just might be amazed at what happens!

If you would like to learn more about how to help your child get the most out of summertime, let’s talk about it! You can email me at jerirochman.jd.ms@gmail.com or call me at 310-849-6751.

Best,                                                                                                                                                                                        Jeri

 

ADHD – It’s All In The Family

In a recent New York Times article, “Helping Kids with ADHD, and Their Families, Thrive,” Dr. Mark Bertin, a developmental pediatrician, noted that when a child has ADHD, the whole family can feel challenged. Dr. Berkin stated that research shows that parents of children with ADHD are more anxious, more stressed, and feel less confident.

For parents of children with ADHD, this might not be ground-breaking news. Children and teens with ADHD often have struggles from waking up in the morning to facing the challenges of the school day, from dealing with the anxiety of homework to an inability to wind down at bedtime. It is painful for parents to observe their child struggle so mightily and not always see the results that would make it all worthwhile.

To add to their stress, parents may feel that the people in their lives such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings, might not understand and mistakenly view the child with ADHD as just being lazy or disrespectful.

Parents understand that they can assist their child by providing structure, setting goals and giving positive feedback. But, as Dr. Bertin points out, when parents are already feeling overwhelmed by work or other obligations, it is really hard to do all the things that professionals suggest that they do for their child with ADHD.

So, what to do? Dr. Bertin suggests that parents practice their own self-care so that they have the strength and positive outlook to assist their child. In addition, parents can look for the areas where their child is successful and help their child build on those foundations. Parents should also make sure their child is receiving appropriate interventions at school and seek resources to help with homework issues.

Dr. Bertin also suggests that parents view ADHD as a delay in self-management skills and remind themselves that their child will learn these skills with support and time to develop. When viewed as a developmental delay, assistance and support can be offered in a practical, problem solving manner.

Parents may feel less anxious by remembering that, with interventions and accommodations, their child will catch up and learn the skills necessary for independence. But, in the meantime, parents may need to practice their own deep breathing as they remind themselves that their child is doing the best that he or she can.

If you are feeling challenged by your child’s ADHD and would like to learn how to decrease your stress, let’s talk about it! Please email me at jerirochman.jd.ms@gmail.com or 310-849-6751

Best,                                                                                                                                                                                          Jeri

Teaching Your Child About Cyberbullying

I volunteer weekly as a crisis counselor for Crisis Text Line, a free 24/7, confidential text message service for people who are in crisis. People in crisis can text to 741741 and be connected with a trained crisis counselor who will assist the texter to achieve a sense of calmness through active listening and collaborative problem solving.

During my shifts on the Crisis Text Line, I engage with people of all ages who are experiencing a wide variety of stressful situations. But a large number of people who text in  are children and teens who are experiencing feelings of anxiety and despair due to cruel comments on their social media platforms.

Now that it is common for children as young as 8 to be given their own cell phone and access to social media, the need for education about cyberbullying is essential. Parents should start this conversation with their child on a very basic level, and as their child matures, the conversation can go deeper.

Teach your child the basics of texting:

DO re-read your words before you hit “send” to male sure it says what you want it to say. DO only send a message that you would want to receive.

DON’T hit “send if you would be embarrassed if anyone saw your message. DON’T hit “send” if your message is mean or full of gossip or rumors. DON’T hit send if you know you could be in trouble for using swear words.

If your child is being harassed or cyber-bullied, offer support and assistance. I suggest the following approach:

Explain to your child that there is no need to keep mean texts, or the sender’s identity, a secret. Explain that all texts are public and the sender chose to send the text knowing full well it could be viewed by many people. Show your child how to make a copy of the texts to possibly share with law enforcement or school. Empower your child to block the sender so he or she can no longer  be a bother.  Empower your child to hit “delete” if there are further emails from annoying people. Let your child know that he or she  has power and control over his or her phone and does not have to answer or return phone calls or texts from people he or she doesn’t like.

Teach your child that the golden rule applies to all phone use whether it be texting, instagram, or gaming online: treat others the way you want to be treated.

And advise your children of these words to live by: Nothing is private anymore. Your texts and photos will remain forever for everyone to see.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your child’s use of social media and would like to talk further about issues involving cyberbullying, please call me at 310-849-6751 or email me at jerirochman.jd.ms@gmail.com. I am here to help!

Best,                                                                                                                                                                                              Jeri

 

Help Your Child Get In The Right Mindset For Sleep

I had the pleasure of speaking at the CHADD San Fernando Valley Parent Support Group on Wednesday, February 28, held at Bridges Academy. This group is warm, lovely, inclusive, and a wonderful resource for parents of children who are challenged with ADD/ADHD. For more information about CHADD, visit chadd.org

Below are the strategies and tips I shared for helping children, both with ADHD and neurotypical, to develop a calm mindset during a very challenging time of the day: the bedtime routine.

Bedtime Routines: Many children are completely wound up at the end of the day. Research shows that kids with ADHD are four times as likely to have trouble with falling asleep and staying in bed all night. One reason for this behavior is that the region of the brain that regulates attention also regulates sleep. But a reliable and consistent routine will help your child get in the right mindset for sleep.

#1) Make sure that your child has some form of physical activity every day. Being active places healthy physical stress on the body which in turn increases the body’s need for sleep.

#2) Plan for bedtime and start your routine early enough so your child can get enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation offers guidelines for how much sleep the average child should get, based on their age. For example, 6-13 year olds need 9 to 11 hours of sleep and 14-17 year olds need 8-10 hours of sleep. But every child is unique. Some kids with ADHD may just need less sleep. So if that is the case, starting the bedtime routine too early may just create more anxiety from lying in bed and waiting to fall asleep. A good strategy is to have the same bedtime every night – even on weekends – into order for your child to gain the benefit of the routine.

#3) Make decisions for the next day.  Have your child choose their clothes for the next day, pack up their backpack, gather all necessary items needed for after school activities. Place everything that is needed for the next morning right in front of the front door and ready to be grabbed on the way out of the house.

#4) Have your child take an evening bath or shower. It can be very relaxing and calming.

#5) Some kids may like a bedtime snack. A protein-rich snack can be an efficient get-to-sleep aid. Try scrambled eggs, a bowl of oatmeal, a cup of soup or anything comforting for your child.

#6)  Read and snuggle!

#7) Teach your child relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, listening to soothing music, or aromatherapy.

#8) Create a sweet and personal good-night routine. This not only assures your child that he or she is loved and an important person  in the family, it will signal his or her brain that it is time to go to sleep. For example, a hug and “I love you to the moon and back, sleep tight!” – and then you leave the room.

#9)  Some of you may be saying, “this all sounds well and good but my child refuses to stay in bed!” I understand! Many kids with ADHD or anxiety find that their anxiety ramps up at bedtime. Some kids will go to sleep but then they are up an hour later, or they simply refuse to go to sleep. You may want to try a behavioral approach. Make a rule: child stays in bed from 9pm – 6am. If your child gets up, calmly and with no chit-chat, remind her that it is time to go to sleep and walk her back to bed. You can use a reward system such as stickers or points for staying in bed.

I hope you found these strategies helpful. If you would like to talk more about creating a bedtime routine for your child, or any other challenging parenting issue you are facing, please give me a call or send me an email at jerirochman.jd.ms@gmail.com. I look forward to speaking with you!

Best,                                                                                                                                                                                       Jeri

A Positive Morning Routine Is The Start Of A Positive Day

I had the pleasure of speaking at the CHADD San Fernando Valley Parent Support Group on Wednesday, February 28, held at Bridges Academy. This group is warm, lovely, inclusive, and a wonderful resource for parents of children who are challenged with ADD/ADHD. For more information about CHADD, visit chadd.org

Below are the strategies and tips I shared for helping children and teens go from a hot moment to a cool calm during a very challenging time of the day: the morning routine.

Morning Routines: An effective morning routine can help make mornings manageable. If your morning feels positive, it is likely the rest of the day will feel positive too!

#1) Figure out what time you need to leave your home in order to get your kids to school on time. And then add on an additional 15-20 minutes for unexpected situations. Your stress level will go down if you give yourself, and your child, some built in leeway just in case.

#2) Prep the night before as much as possible. Mornings often feel rushed and shortened because you need to be out the door by a certain time. So no matter how tired you are at night, you will probably will feel less frazzled than you do in the morning.  After you put your child to bed, try to quickly and efficiently take care of mornings tasks such as preparing lunches, packing backpacks, and picking out clothes.  You might find that prepping at night makes mornings a bit easier.

#3) Build in time for your child to wake up. Many people find mornings a struggle because they just can’t wake up and get moving. For children and teens with ADD/ADHD, this can present an even bigger challenge because ADD/ADHD often comes along with trouble getting to sleep which in turn makes it harder to wake up. To help your child in the morning, build in additional time to wake up. One option is to wake your child up 20-30 minutes before they actually need to wake up and get moving. That gives them time to slowly wake up. Some kids with ADHD are extremely sensitive to touch and sound so you will want to pat them very lightly and speaking softly. You can also let a bit of light into their room as well.

#4) Cut out distractions. Nothing throws a morning into chaos like distractions. But what is a distraction for some kids is not a distraction for others. For instance, some kids like to watch TV while they eat breakfast. Does that help them stay calm and eat? Does it give you time to get dressed? Then keep it in the routine. But does it stop you from getting out of the house on time due to your child’s inability to stop watching TV? Then take it out of the routine.

To make a morning go smoothly, think of your child’s routine as a “to do” list. For example, #1 – wake up. #2 – shower. #3 – get dressed. #4 – eat. #5 – get backpack, shoes, jacket. #6 – get out the door.

Distractions take away from completing what needs to get done. Any unproductive distractions can be saved for after school. So you aren’t saying, “no” – you are just saying “yes” for later!

#5) The Breakfast Conundrum. Breakfast is, of course, a nutritional priority. However, breakfast also comes with a lot of challenges. First, will your child eat breakfast? And if so, do you have time to make it? Some options are to prepare breakfast before your child gets up, or while they are in the shower or getting dressed (which assumes you are already showered and dressed.) If being around other people is difficult for your child in the morning, let them have breakfast in bed while they are waking up. Another option is breakfast in the car: a cup of fruit and a bagel, a waffle, a smoothie, granola/yogurt parfait. Something to keep in mind is that many ADHD kids who take medication are not hungry once their medication kicks in. So it is very important to get food into them before they get to school.

#6) Shoes!! The putting on of shoes can be a major bottleneck in a morning routine. Shoes seem to give kids a lot of challenges. One option is to have kids put their shoes on in the car or they can put them on once they get to school. 

#7)  Figure out a plan for getting multiple family members ready for the day. Look at every family member’s routine and then determine a game plan. For example, one child showers while the other eats breakfast. This can also prevent morning arguments between cranky people by decreasing interaction.

#8)  Stay Calm (Serenity Now!) Kids look to parents for their emotional stability. They take their cues from their parents for how to react. If you find yourself about to lose your cool, take a few seconds to step away and regain your composure. Try to speak calmly. Remind yourself that the morning routine is a finite time and it will be over around 8am. Another option is to plan a family meeting and discuss how you would like the mornings to be more peaceful. Have all family members contribute ideas and work out a new plan that works for your family.

#9)  Try to keep your weekend routine the same as the weekday routine. This can be a difficult strategy to accept because you are probably craving the chance to sleep in on a weekend morning. But for a routine to become, well routine, you need to stick to the schedule every day. Sticking to the routine makes Monday mornings easier for everyone.

#10) Reward good behavior – stickers or points for completing tasks. Rewards can be video game time or time alone with mom and dad.

If you would like to talk more about creating a more positive morning routine, or about the challenges you are facing as a parent, please give me a call at 310-849-6751 or send me an email at jerirochman.jd.ms@gmail.com. I am here to help!

Best,                                                                                                                                                                                      Jeri