It’s common for parents to contact my practice when their child displays behavioral issues in school. If these issues are not addressed early, they can progress as time goes on. Negative behaviors can be turned around when children are set up for success from the start of the school year. Here are some tips to help your child and family:
- The Importance of Sleep
Psychology teaches us the importance of sleep to brain development, also how the mind and body have negative reactions to lack of sleep. Schedule wind down time in the evening to help your child get into a state of calm. Sometimes children are walking, jumping, playing until parents’ yell: time for bed! By introducing quiet time a half hour before bed, children feel more relaxed and better able to transition into sleep.
Children benefit from structure. In my years as a therapist, I’ve had some child clients in family sessions express to their parents that they would like more structure. Simple tasks such as asking your child to brush their teeth and wash their face before coming to breakfast helps children feel more responsible in their own lives and creates structure. This starts their day off with a sense of accomplishment.
Just think of how we are impacted by words of encouragement and good news. This is sometimes what makes your day special or helps to keep you centered when tough situations arise. When you consistently motivate and encourage your child this builds self-confidence which will carry over into their school day.
- Utilize School Resources
If your child or your family is struggling with something, introduce yourself to the school counselor. Schools have counselors on staff that help children with everything from social skills, support groups to family challenges. Making the counselor aware that your child may need support can make all the difference their school day. It’s also important for children to participate in school activities. Staff serve as mentors to your child which promotes positive behavior. Being involved in school activities creates a sense of community for both your child and your family.
- Medication Consistency
If you are a parent of a child taking medication for a mental health disorder, it is essential that your child takes their medication consistently each day. It’s beneficial to get medication management advice from your child’s pediatrician or psychiatrist. This can help you to figure out the time of day and dosage your child should take to ensure their medication will be most effective. Also, it’s important to keep up with your child’s counseling appointments throughout the school year. Both the medication and routine therapy sessions work together to give your child maximum mental health support.
- Schedule Down Time
Think about ways that you can promote family fun time on the weekends. This gives your child something to look forward to and a way to encourage good behavior.