School is starting!! Would you like to make the school year easier? Here are a few suggestions:
Kids backpack checklist- JDaniels4mom has a great checklist that helps your child take charge of their own backpack organization. This is great to teach organization skills and responsibility.
Organizer of art work- HGTV created these easy clip art rails so that you can post your kids artwork or papers.
In my own preparation for back to school, I have created 4 things that I think will be helpful.
1- I created a label which I will put in my kids shirts for the first week of school. On the label I have their bus number in case they forget. If you have kids with allergies you could write their allergies on the label as well. I think you could write any information that you think is important for the first school day.
2- I created a color coded schedule so that my kids know what they are doing everyday.
3- I went crazy with magnet tape strips and attached anything that created a stressful mess for me last year. Stressful mess for me= anything that gets lost easily which causes frustration when I need it. Note that I have a clip for things that need to be signed and returned. I apologize for the quality of these pictures so you probably cannot read the clip well. The clip says "stuff mom or dad have to sign, do or make". I downloaded it from here
4- I created a bag for each after school activity. This helps my child and myself be more organized. We are often in a hurry so we will keep all the stuff we need in each bag so that we can just grab the bag and go. To make the bags I went to a craft store, bought appropriate bags, iron ons, & decorations.
I hope this gives you some ideas on getting ready for the school year.
The school year is about to start and some parents are worried about their child's lack of attention, impulsivity and/or level of activity during the school year. They ask me things like: "should I get him/her tested?", "should we medicate?"
It is difficult to differentiate between an active child who is able to pay attention when the subject is of interest versus a child who is hyperactive and unable to pay attention even when she/he wants.
I suggest parents first try to implement behavioral modification changes to see if the issue can be resolved. A good program that helps parents is "Behavioral parent training". Even if your child does not have ADHD the simple fact that you are worried he/she may have means that you could benefit from a change in how you are parenting.
If the behavior continues then it is time to get a thorough diagnosis. If the diagnosis is that the child has ADHD, then medication may be used by parents.
The decision to medicate a child who has an ADHD diagnoses is a difficult one. In order to make the best decision for your child I suggest parents consider the following steps.
1- verify that your child has been diagnosed appropriately
2- get a full physical of your child including levels that are related to attention/focus (e.g. iron, zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, etc). Some studies say that Omega 3 fatty acids help ADHD symptoms so you might try using those for a while.
3- see if symptoms are worse when your child has not had enough sleep or is hungry. If you notice a difference,then address those first. For instance, create sleep and eating schedules and stick to them.
4- consider the possible negatives of medication (e.g. decreased appetite, decreased weight, unknown side effects, financial, etc) versus the positive (e.g. higher attention, higher grades, less anger, less fights, etc).
5- make a list of questions to ask your pediatrician and any other mental health professional (psychologist, clinical social worker, licensed mental health counselor or licensed marriage and family therapist). Parents often feel overwhelmed by a diagnosis so having a list is the easiest way to not receive too much or too little information.
It is important to know that just because a child is taking ADHD medication it does not mean that the parents should not be continuing with behavior modification programs. About two thirds of ADHD kids will continue to have symptoms throughout their lives so learning how to manage their symptoms is extremely important. This is the area where mental health professionals can help. Also about 50% of parents who have an ADHD child fit the criteria for depression. Parents need to make sure they take care of themselves, in order to minimize and treat any depression that they may have.
Sabrina Bowen, LMFT
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