Parenting Ideas on How to Build Executive Functions with Summer Activities for All Ages. Register Here
We've been enjoying working with some of our younger students these past weeks with the book, "Your Fantastic Elastic Brain". We learned about the different parts of our brain but more importantly, how we can grow it. Like our muscles, we need to exercise our brains. An important item we learned from the book, is that our brain learns the most from mistakes. Instead of getting frustrated when we have made a mistake, we should take a step back and ask ourselves; " What did we learn from this mistake , and what do we need to change the next time we do the task"? We sculpted our brains with model magic, what a fun way to learn!
Love this idea by fellow coach Jennifer Carlton Kampfe. Make sure to visit her site at http://www.fantasticallyfocused.com/hearts/.
Did you know ADHD experts estimated that children with ADHD receive 20,000 more negative messages by age 12 than children without ADHD? 20,000 more negative messages! Let’s start at three years old, when most children start pre-school. From age 3 to 12 your child would hear around 2,857 more negative messages a year; around 238 more negative messages a month; 55 more negative messages a week; and about 7 more negative messages per day than his/her peers.
The idea, each day, from February 1st-14th, shower your child with all the things you love about him/her using one of the hearts. You can post the hearts on their bedroom door, their bathroom mirror, put them in their lunchbox, or share them anyway you’d like. Be creative!
I think we can all admit, there are times when we become glued to something on one of our digital devices. I'm personally guilty when it comes to ancestry research. If I begin, I know I will use every free minute, and probably more!
A study completed in 2013 by the Northwestern Center on Media reported that media related parenting style (ie: how often are you using your digital devices) is linked to child use. I think this is important because if we are asking our children to make changes, then we really need to take a look at ourselves and make a change.
So let's talk a little about self regulation, because this is a crucial life skill. There are many parental control programs for digital devices like "circle", and it's great to hear that many families are implementing these systems for their children. But, there's a missing piece in this picture, and it's teaching the skill of self regulation to our children. We do not want to send our children off to college without the skill of self regulation. If we get back to the idea that you are your child's frontal lobe, then it falls on us as adults to teach this skill, not just expect it to happen.
As many of you know, the teen years are so precarious. There is such a battle for independence, and sometimes just an idea from a parent, can cause a teen to do the opposite. It's important to introduce these ideas at the right time, and in the right way. I like to discuss how self regulation can be challenging for all us, even as adults. Often we will talk about the choices that need to be made, for example if I'm going to go online to do ancestry research then it will be done on an evening where I have nothing planned. I will even go a step more, to make sure there is nothing pressing the following day. We also discuss some of the tools at our disposal. There are many programs out there but I personally like Rescue time and Forest. Rescue time runs in the background of your devices (phone and computer). It tracks time spent on websites and apps. It offers a variety of reports, even detail by the minute. This is a such a good tool to use with students, to show them what it being used and for how long. Students with ADHD/and or Executive Function challenges often are "time blind". Time often passes without them noticing, and often it's not used effectively. I have had students report to me that they may find themselves staring in a mirror, day dreaming, or even not knowing what they were doing. Rescue time offers the ability to see if the device was a distraction. I recently had a a student who reported that he spent about 8 hours doing homework on a Sunday. He immediately admitted that he probably was not working the entire time. We brought up Rescue time, and after looking at the report; we were able to determine that his device was not the distraction. I have another student who is often shocked to see how much time he has spent on Youtube during homework (and it's not homework related).
Forest is one of my favorite apps, and I was so excited to see last week that it now has a safari extension. It allows individuals to stay focused and present in the moment. The idea is to not use your device or your browser. You determine how long you would like to be focused. Once the time is decided, a tree is planted and grows for your predetermined time. If you leave the app and move to another app/tab; the tree dies. The more you use the app ,the more trees are added to your forest, and you can earn coins to add items to your trees. It's a fun way to stay focused.
There are so many conversations to have around digital devices and our children, but let's not forget how to teach them self regulation. It is such a key to their success.
I was introduced to the idea of a pause button and loved it. Initially it was introduced as something students could imagine, especially those that may be impulsively lying. It is a great tool in asking students to pause, and reflect on their given answer. Students with ADHD often impulsively lie. This tool can be a non judgmental technique that parents can utilize when their child has impulsively given them an answer, that is an obvious lie. I've also used this idea for students to use when they need to slow things down, reflect on what they need to do, and chunk the task into steps. "Pause" is a wonderful tool for all of us to incorporate into our lives. As I've mentioned before, I love incorporating art, but not all students enjoy it for a variety of reasons. I have found though, that even the students that do not like some of the more artistic projects, like this one. Model magic and foam letters, create the perfect Pause button.
I really enjoy doing this activity. It can be done at many stages in the coaching relationship. In the beginning, it is a great project to break the ice and get to know the student. It can also be used later as a self esteem project when we are trying to focus on the positive traits in the coaching process.
I love incorporating art into my coaching if it is right for the student. It allows for a relaxed, calm, and open communication, which always enhances learning. Loved these morning and bedtime routines for some of my students.
More and more research is speaking to the benefit of mindfulness for everyone. It is particularly good for those that are challenged in the areas of anxiety and focus. I think it is important to do fun things with kids, especially when introducing them to new ideas. Today I made a calming bottle with a student that I coach. When shaken, the glitter and confetti floats, allowing the child to focus on what is happening in the bottle. What fun!
I've been consulting with Kristine Shiverick for several months now and I am very excited to be welcoming her to the Connected Pathways Coaching Team. A little about Kristine:
Twelve years ago my husband and I were told by our son’s first grade teacher that she had some concerns about his ability to pay attention.
Since having our son tested and diagnosed with ADHD-Predominantly Inattentive Type, I have been on a quest to learn all I can about ADHD and provide him with the best possible support services.
I realized early-on that finding someone who truly understood ADHD was going to be a difficult task.
My passion for learning about ADHD and helping individuals and families dealing with this unique brain style has lead me to a career in ADHD coaching. My son is my inspiration and coaching has felt like a natural progression from my BA in Severe Special Needs Education, a M.Ed in Early Childhood Education and parenting a child with ADHD.
It is through coaching that I am able to provide resources to help individuals and families discover effective strategies, minimize the challenges of ADHD, and live the life they want to live.
Kristine has her own coaching business in Wisconsin and will be working with clients virtually. I'm so excited to welcome her to the team!