I Need a Nap!

While sleep studies typically focus on adults, a study in the Journal of Sleep Research by Berger and colleagues looked at 30-36 month olds.  They studied ten healthy children with no assessed sleep problems and looked at the impact of missing one nap.  Parents kept a strict sleep schedule for the toddlers for five days, at the end of which they either allowed or did not allow the daily nap.  They then repeated the same strict sleep schedule for five days and did the opposite nap arrangement (i.e., nap or no nap).

It Wasn’t Me: How to Handle Your Child’s Dishonesty

Let’s first think about why lying gets under our skin so terribly.  Well, as parents we know that honesty is critical to healthy relationships, to having integrity, and to resolving problems.  Dishonesty can land you in a heap of interpersonal, academic, legal, and/or professional trouble both in the present and in the future and nobody wants that for their kids.

Diagnosing ADHD: What every parent should know.

So, here are some thoughts that may help parent navigate the complex process of ADHD diagnosis.Currently, the general consensus among psychiatrists and psychologists is that ADHD is diagnosed based on the criteria included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition (DSM-IV Click here for the full diagnostic criteria for ADHD and a discussion of the proposed changes for the new DSM-5). Although I wont summarize the full criteria here, I want to talk about four important aspects of the diagnosis of ADHD, some of which are often disregarded by clinicians resulting in questionable diagnoses.

Put Aside the To-do List: How to Bring Mindfulness to Parenting

In brief, mindfulness is the bringing of one’s attention to what is right here, right now.  It is inviting oneself to let the ruminating about the past go and the obsessing about the future go as well.  And just as important, it is treating yourself with compassion while suspending judgment.  Studies have given much support for the usefulness of mindfulness in treating a variety of mental health and medical conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and chronic pain and stress (Baer, 2006).  By simply being where you are and gently and compassionately bringing yourself back to the moment when you find yourself wandering elsewhere, you can calm your nervous system and allow a peace that we could all use.

A Little Control Goes a Long Way: Why and How to Use Forced Choice With Your Child

Why Use Forced ChoiceFirst, let’s talk first about why it is important to give children choices.  Perhaps it’s easiest to start with someone you know very well: You.  Think about how it feels to have your power stripped from you, to feel that you have no say in a matter that’s important to you.  For children, most matters do feel pretty important.  And, let’s face it, kids get told many, many times a day what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.  While having a parent as a guide can feel quite comforting, having a parent with all of the control can feel pretty terrible and sometimes downright infuriating.

The Universe is a Great Teacher: How to Use Natural Consequences to Help Your Child Learn

We’ve all been there.  Your child wants to do something or has forgotten to do something that you fear will result in unwanted consequences.  Your impulse is to assert your opinion, change the behavior, or otherwise involve yourself so your child does not have to suffer those undesirable outcomes.  It may be helping with last minute homework that the child knew needed to be done, bringing the winter clothes to the car that your child refused to take on a cold day, or contacting a teacher because you did not agree with a grade.  When this need to intervene becomes extreme, we call this parenting style helicopter parenting due to the image that it conjures of a parent hovering around the child ready to act the moment anything looks like it may go wrong.  Guess what?  We may be doing our child a disservice by stepping in.

How to Effectively Implement Time-out

That being said, here are some steps and key points to keep in mind regarding time-out.  The technique is especially recommended for young children (2-4 years but as young as 18 months) and can also be used with elementary-age children.  Bear in mind that there will be variation among professionals regarding how to specifically do time-out.  I am including what has been effective in my work with families, including my own, across the years.  You know your child and your home better than anyone and the point is to make this work for you and your family.