"If you want children to keep their feet on the ground put some responsibility on their shoulders." Abigail Van Buren
Need Help Parenting,Grandparenting or or in the Classroom?
Just because you became a parent, grandparent or teacher doesn't mean you always have every answer. The books and products on this page may offer solutions to everyday situations as well as difficult topics. A book can be the beginning to a discussion with your child. Read it together and follow up with a discussion. For young children, seeing their favorite character acting (or not acting) a certain way, or reading the words on paper, helps to make it "real" to them. When age appropriate books are read, it can help children understand a topic (manners, honesty, sibling rivalry, strangers and safety issues).
Helpful books for parents & kids
Links, books and ideas on other parenting & children's issues
Learning Strategies - Reading and Writing Strategies for Students with Attention/Behavior Challenges Brennan Innovators
Articles written by ADHD experts, links to related web sites. ADD Resources
St. Louis Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) offers education, support and consultation. IDSTL.ORG
Resource for the understanding and treatment of developmental disorders including ADHD and related problems ADD Warehouse
Child and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder CHADD
It can be really easy to get upset when a child is throwing a temper tantrum, but do your best to remain calm. Throwing a temper tantrum is a natural way for young children to experiment with feelings and gain independence and control. Toddlers ("terrible twos" are traditionally the peak age) might not have the verbal/communication skills to express their anger and frustration. Imagine not being able to communicate your needs to someone. Try to help him communicate his frustration by just saying "you are really mad aren't you?" Besides helping him communicate it, you are acknowledging his feelings which may help relieve some of the frustration. As language skills improve with age, temper tantrums usually decrease. You may also find a soft place for him to help himself get calm or hold him firmly but gently. Sometimes the power of touch can be very soothing.
Read books about Anger/Acting Out/Temper Tantrums/Aggressive Behavior. Reading books that are age appropriate help kids understand because they are written in terms they can understand. Then, refer back to it and say "Remember when we read the book about not biting, hitting? You don't want to act like the boy in the book?" It will bring the visual back to their mind.
If it's a minor temper tantrum, try to change the mood. Do something funny to distract them and get them to laugh. If they are not wanting to get dressed or put on their shoes, put their pants over your head or act like your going to put their shoes on your feet. Toddlers laugh at almost anything silly and it will help change the mood.
Try whispering in their ear so they have to calm down to hear what you say. Say something soothing (I'm sorry you are mad) and let them know that when they calm down you will help them with whatever it is they are frustrated about.
Some toddler don't outgrow temper tantrums and outbursts continue through childhood and even adulthood. Help manage tantrums by learning how to express a normal emotion (anger and frustration) constructively. Find alternative ways of expressing anger. Some children find it helpful to put their feelings into words, I feel angry because.... Again, remember to LISTEN AND ACKNOWLEDGE when they are expressing frustration. If nothing you try works, make sure you have consequences in place and children know in advance what they will be and you WILL IMPLEMENT AND STICK TO YOUR WORD. Later, when things are calm (possibly before bedtime, talk about what happened and LISTEN and ask how he/she will handle differently in the future. Express your confidence that you know they CAN DO IT in a more constructive way! When it angeror frustration is expressed in a constructive way, just say "I like the way you handled that or how you expressed your frustation to me". Books (along with parental conversation and guidance) are such a good tool in teaching kids how to handle things appropriately. Also see the time out Discipline section below. Knowledge is power! Act PROACTIVELY rather than REACTVELY!
Buy a special stuffed animal that only comes to visit while a child is sleeping. Put it under their pillow after they fall asleep and let them play with it when they wake up. Then take it back and put it up to come back and visit after the child is sleeping again.
Not Home at Bedtime or Too Tired to Read?
Listening Library offers great audio books which are great for kids to listen to at bedtime (they don't even need to keep their eyes open!) or to listen to in the car when driving from event to event. Click below to go to the Listening Library Website below or see these Classic Books on CD
Work proactively by giving reminders before going into a store or restaurant about my expectations for behavior. Driving there say, "Remember, when we get into the store stay with mommie (remind about strangers) and walk beside the cart and keep your hands to yourself. We will be looking for ...... and you can be my helpers! " Or say (in a positive manner) whatever behaviors you know might be a problem and what your expectations are. Also set up consequence for not following the rules. If behavior gets out of hand, get down to eye level and say stop, if that doesn't happen, leave the store even though it is a pain! Explain your disappointment and then implement appropriate punishment (whatever you decide is right for your child). After time is served (consequence implemented), say you know that he/she can do better next time.
Try the Uh-oh! Song for young children." Basically, it's verbally training your child - if he did something you don't want him/her to do, say calmly "Uh-oh!! It looks like you don't want to do what Mommy wants you to do. That's too bad..that means you have to ________(fill in a natural consequence here)"
It might seem silly but continuing to do it and sticking with a natural consequence pretty soon all you will have to say is "Uh-oh!" when you see him/her that he/she wasn't suppose to do.
Books on Feelings (Sad, Scared, Worried, etc.)
- acknowledge and address your children's feelings. If they are scared, try to figure out why. If they are scared of monsters, read funny books about monsters to see them in a more humerous way. If they are scared of getting their first haircut they might not understand that hairCUTS don't hurt. They may associate a cut with bleeding (see haircut below). If they are angry, let them know it's ok to be angry and use it as a tool to teach them how to express their anger in an appropriate way. (see anger/acting out above).
See Helpful Tools for Feelings Diary & Journals
Teaching kids to write down their feelings is a good tool in helping them express it.
Say "Let's go see Miss Danielle so she can trim your hair", don't use the word "cut" which my sound scary.
You may know that getting your haircut doesn't hurt, but very young children may think a "cut" could make them bleed.
Take stickers and tell him to put them on all over his/her clothes or the cape (one by one). It will keep him/her busy. Or take a pack of Smarties or small candy that takes time to get out of the wrapper which may distract him/her.
Do something after the haircut like lunch at McDonalds or play on the playground so he/she sees it as a fun experience.
Make sure you go to someone who has patience and understanding of his fear.
Ready.....set....homework! Ugh! Do you dread homework as much as your kids do?
Some parents implement a 30 minute rule. Let kids relax, eat snacks, watch tv, just chill for 30 minutes when they get home. Don't ask alot of questions about school. They have been using their brain all day to answer questions. It might be helpful to give them some down time before questions and homework start.
Work proactively to set up a better system for homework and stay positive!
Establish a routine and work area, free up time (not too many extracurricular activities)
Remove the distractions (tv, siblings playing in the same room etc.)
Provide help and not the answers.
Make sure your child understands the homework before he begins.
Talk about homework expectations BEFORE school starts.
Help prioritize (work on assignments that are due the next day first and set schedule for long-term assignments).
Put homework in backpack when completed. Very frustrating to see your child work so hard on homework and then leave it at home on the kitchen table!
Check grades on line periodically
Set and implement consequences for poor grades (make the punishment fit the crime....natural consequences like you didn't do well on your test, next time there will be tv the night before the next test to free up time to study).
Kids under the age of 7 or 8 do not understand the difference between truth, fiction, lies, and what they wish was true. You can role play to help teach them.
Rip a piece of paper right in front of him and then ask him who ripped it. Then, deny that you did. Say that a stuffed animal next to you did it. Ask him if you told the truth. You can also make up other silly situations like this.. Keep it fun and silly so kids can start to understand.
If a child tells a crazy tale about a cow jumping over the moon, praise their wonderful imagination and say "wouldn't it be great if a cow really could do that?"
If a child tells a story to prevent themselves from getting in trouble, remind them that calm lies are naughty behavior and them fix the problem.
If a character in a book tells a lie, remind them that "Remember when Johnnie from the book we read told a lie and nobody would believe him? You don't want to act like Johnnie do you?
Hygiene & Kids
Some kids go through a stage where they don't like baths, hair washing etc. Find a cute book, fun soaps, cute hairbrush or toothbrush. Set them in the bathroom and don't say a word about it. Let them find them. Sometimes all it takes is to see their favorite character in a book or movie do something (they want to also) or a new product geared toward their age. Bath crayons, bubble bath might make all the difference to make bathtime not so boring. Put in some old cooking bowls and whisk, spoons etc. with the bubbles and kids can stir up some fun all while getting clean! Also see some of the cute bathtime robes (can be personalized on our Gifts for kidz page)
Manners & Help Me Be Good-Whining/Bossy - Teaching manners doesn't have to be boring are always "correcting or lecturing". Plan a day to spend all day focusing and teaching manners. Be prepared for your day by having movies, books, websites, examples ready. Post a sign on the refrigerator, bulletin board or calendar "Today is Manners Day". Learn about good manners,recognize and acknowledge all day when someone is using good manners (i.e. you used good manners when you said thank you, it was good manners to share with your sister, the lady at the store was kind when she allowed us in front of her in the line). Also provide examples when someone is not using good manners.( Dude That's Rude is a fun look at typical forms of rudeness and makes them totally uncool). Make the subject fun or turn it into a game (i.e. dress up and have a formal dinner showing good table manners, take turns to talk and everyone must keep quiet, which teaches good "listening" manners, make a seek and find with words like "thank you, please, share", find pictures in magazines or draw pictures of examples of someone using good manners, award a penny for each time someone in the family is using good manners, see who has the most at the end of the day, take pictures of the kids using manners or being kind to each other. Post on the refrigerator (eyelevel) as a "reminder" in the future etc.
See some ideas to make reading fun (reading jar, reading field trips, kids book club, hide the book game at bedtime) CJKidz Books Page
School (Also see Homework above)
If your child has fear or seems worried, let him/her know it's "ok" and encourage him/her to share their feelings and talk it out. Reading books about School, Starting or Afraid school (especially those with their favorite character) will help them understand some of the feelings that come with going to school (being afraid, nervous, excited, etc.) and it's ok.-
Share your memories of when you were a child and went to school (both good and bad experiences). School is an adventure, and like all adventures, it has its ups and downs.
Invite a classmate over for a playdate in advance of school so your child has a 'friend" or someone he/she is familiar with. Talk about making friends and how to interact with other kids Making Friends or talk about Manners or Learning to Get Along when interacting with the teacher or classmates.
Meet the teacher in advance and go into school a little early the first day.
Make a school count down jar which is just a jar decorated with school stickers and the words "count down for school". Two weeks before school starts, fill a jar with 14 pieces of small candy (laffy taffy, M&M, small cookie) then each day allow your child to eat one piece. This allows them to prepare mentally for how many more days school will be starting.
Send a Lunch box note in your child's lunch so they know you are thinking of them or proud of them.
Family Traditions - Teens are trying to figure out "who they are". It's important to help them know that they ‘belong’. Encourage your teen to be part of the family traditions and family activities (don't automatically rule traditions/activities out because they are "too old"). Traditions provide a foundation for them to stand on and help them with their identity when they are searching and defining who they are. It also provides some consistency that they can count on when their world is being turned upside down from negative influences. Family traditions create positive emotions and memories well beyond the teenage years! See our Family Traditions Page
Set up a date night with your teen (once a week or once a month). It could be a father/daughter breakfast or dinner together (WITHOUT OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS) or a hobby that you both enjoy. Mom and son can do the same. If you start this in the tween years, it will be expected when they become teenagers. It's a good opportunity to create positive memories. More ideas for teen/tween together time, include a sporting event, shopping, getting an ice cream or a dessert at a nice restaurant, arcade or video games together at home, work out together at a gym (or talk a walk around the park or mall), help study for a test. Make sure you LISTEN more than TALK, be positive, give your full attention.
Educate yourself on raising tweens - During the Tween years, kids become very self-centered (staring at themselves in the mirror, taking an interest in their body and dress), feel like everyone is "watching their every move" ( may become embarrassed of being with parents because someone may see), they don't understand the dangers or consequences of actions and therefore, may take more risk. Knowledge is the best defense in raising tweens (see books Tweens ) or prepare yourself for teenage years (see above teenager section).