I have always loved Dr. Amen’s work and this article below from his website, is one, from the series of 10 focused on raising kids.
Long time ago I read that he advises to give kids a “healthy day” of their choosing, I do not recall the frequency he suggested, but I adopted that. I created a “healthy day” for my oldest daughter to take ones a month, whenever she feels like it. She does not have to be sick and does not have to give me a reason. The purpose of a “healthy day” is to not wait until the child gets sick, and has to take a “sick day”, but to have a day off and avoid build up of stress, burnout, fatigue, lack of sleep, even homework pile up :).
The “healthy day” is amazing tool my daughter, who is 15 now, uses, and she uses it wisely and with much gratitude!
135 BEST THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR CHILD – LOVE AND CLEAR EXPECTATIONS (PART 4 OF 10)
A Loving, Helpful Environment
Good communication is essential to any relationship and absolutely essential to the difficult parent-child relationship. In order to get your child to talk with you, you must first set the stage for a loving and helpful environment, showing them that you are willing to accept and listen to what they have to say. It is also important to believe that they have the capacity to solve many of their own problems if they are allowed to talk them through.
“Active listening” with children and teens works to increase the level of communication and the concept is simple: repeat back what you hear before you react and listen for the feelings behind the words (this is also great for adult relationships).
Too often parents are telling children how to think before they really understand the situation. This behavior cuts off communication and decreases the chances that the child will come to you in the future. Below you will find 10 of my tips for creating a more loving and helpful environment and improving your relationship with your child.
44. Tell a child you love him or her everyday.
45. Touch a child everyday.
46. Establish eye contact with a child everyday and inquire about their day.
47. Take the time to hug a child whenever they climb into your lap (or into your space).
48. Listen to their music to hear what information is being fed into their mind.
49. Limit TV and video games. These are often “no-brain” activities and of little help for children.
50. Don’t allow kids to watch too much of the news. It’ll scare them and increase their internal sense of anxiety.
51. Rituals (bed time, meal time, holidays, etc.) provide continuity, structure, and stability for children.
52. Introduce children to a multitude of experiences, even if they are hesitant.
53. Play games with your kids. Recreation is essential to a balanced, happy life.
After you have established a loving and helpful environment, establishing clear, written rules and expectations is the next step in good parenting. These rules need to give direction for the child’s behavior. When they know what is expected of them they are much more likely to be able to give it to you. Too often parents believe that children should know how to act without the rules being clearly communicated to them. Written rules have power!
54. Be clear with what you expect with a child or teen. It is effective for families to have posted rules, spelling out the “laws” and values of the family.
Here are 8 examples:
1. TELL THE TRUTH
2. TREAT EACH OTHER WITH RESPECT
(this means no yelling, hitting, kicking, name calling, or put downs)
3. NO ARGUING WITH PARENTS
(as parents we want and value your input and ideas, but arguing means you have made your point more than one time)
4. RESPECT EACH OTHER’S PROPERTY
5. DO WHAT MOM AND DAD SAY THE FIRST TIME
(without complaining or throwing a fit)
6. ASK PERMISSION BEFORE YOU GO ANYWHERE
7. PUT THINGS AWAY THAT YOU TAKE OUT
8. LOOK FOR WAYS TO BE KIND AND HELPFUL TO EACH OTHER
Notice What You Like A Lot More Than What You Don’t Like
55. When a child lives up to the rules and expectations, be sure to notice him or her. If you never reinforce good behavior you’re unlikely to get much of it.
56. Notice the behaviors you like in your child 10 times more than the behaviors you don’t like. This teaches them to notice what they like about themselves rather than to grow up with a critical self-image.
57. Praise and encouragement enhance good behavior and teach children new skills. Anger and punishment suppress difficult behavior but do not teach children anything good in the long run.
58. Praise and encouragement strengthen the parent-child bond. Anger erodes the parent-child bond.
Part 5 – Next Week:
Adapted from New Skills For Frazzled Parents – The Instruction Manual That Should Have Come With Your Child, Daniel G. Amen, M.D.
Purchase from the MindWorks store.
I think these are great suggestions and ideas. There is so much more great info to be found on Dr Amen’s site.
To your health,