Build Back Your Child’s Social Skills in 7 Steps

Build Back Your Child’s Social Skills in 7 Steps

Have you watched your child with ADHD interact with peers and wondered why they can’t drop the joke after it stopped making their friends laugh? Become too silly for too long, take over the game, and tell friends what to do and when to do it? Get into others’ space, talk at or poke friends over and over, or insist he is correct, regardless of whether it is true?

What Causes Poor Social Skills in Children with ADHD?

Some parents fear that if they don’t supervise, cajole, suggest alternatives, and remind their child not to say or do things, they will be destined to a life without friends.

Making and keeping friends is tough for some children with ADHD. While your child has strengths, it is the weak executive functions — the management system of the brain — that affect their social skills. These brain-based processes determine how they behave in social situations.

After a year of social distancing, children with ADHD may need to practice being together. A year without play dates has made social interactions more challenging for all children, especially those with ADHD. Lack of practice, lagging maturity, fewer social models, and weak executive functions mean that they are struggling. Now is the time to provide children with extra support to build back emotional skills.

How to Improve Social Skills in Children with ADHD

  1. Determine the root cause of social ineptness and practice workarounds.

    What causes the most disruption? Does your child have difficulty sharing, managing emotions, engaging with a friend, handling excitement, or being flexible? Once you have identified the top one or two challenges, practice building skills in real-world situations.

  2. Beef up skills.

    Children with executive function weaknesses often need direct instruction to help them learn to self-regulate, read the room, and stop interrupting. To help your child with social learning, demonstrate the desired skill or behavior, then engage in situations where she can practice this new skill. Engage in conversations, ask her to share with siblings, prompt her to interpret daily situations, so she can cultivate the skill and demonstrate it with a playmate.

    If your child can’t manage her emotions when losing a game, play board games with her, and encourage her to use the soothing strategies you have taught her. Ask her to show you how she can allow family or friends to choose a game or a TV show. Talk about what flexible versus inflexible behavior looks like, and remind her to work on this social skill before the next play date. When your child is flexible and courteous, you can say, “Great job. I love it when you are like that.”

  3. Assign your child a mission.

    Choose one or two focused behaviors to practice during your child’s next play date. If your child has shown anger, explain that they can work on controlling their anger the next time they see a friend. As you head to the park, remind them that they have two missions: to share and to take a deep breath to calm himself. You and your child should choose a mission together for better chances of success.

  4. Find compatible friends.

    A friend whose temperament is similar to your child’s will help him to play better and to practice the target behaviors. But two bossy kids may lead to arguments.

  5. Timing is everything when it comes to play dates. Remember that one goal of the play date (besides having fun) is to give your child a chance to practice new skills. Set up the date for a time when your child is not hungry, tired, sick, or sad. Play dates that last over two hours usually lead to disaster, as this is too long to work on emerging skills.
“Are You Not Entertained?”

“Are You Not Entertained?”

In intimidating social situations like dates or parties, I feel most at ease when I can make someone laugh. Telling a joke or a silly story for a few chuckles helps me to relax — and usually helps loosen up the conversation.

I often use humor as an inclusive, warm tool to assess a new social audience. You can tell a lot about a person by what makes them laugh — or what doesn’t.

But recently it dawned on me that I also use humor as a shield — usually when I’m feeling uncomfortable, vulnerable, or a little threatened. When a conversation or a situation becomes overwhelming or uncomfortable, some people with ADHD retreat; I make impulsive jokes instead (for example, I made the nurse shake with laughter during my last blood test, much to my detriment). Sometimes, it gets me out of trouble and other times it buries me deeper in my ADHD hole.

You see, I can’t tell the difference between “fake laughter” and the real stuff. Since Brits communicate almost exclusively in subtext that often passes right by me undetected, things can get a bit tricky. These days, though, people aren’t sure what’s “OK” to laugh at in public and it can be hard to tell what’s authentically inappropriate. So I sometimes find myself coming across as a bit more cringey and awkward than I’d like to admit in the wrong circles.

As I work to gauge boundaries, it’s inevitable that I am going to cross the line and offend someone every now and then, especially if I’m getting carried away or becoming too comfortable too quickly, or they can’t quite put their finger on me. In those situations, the nerves start up and I’m more likely to accidentally blurt out something inappropriate (shocker!). Then I find myself reeling backward because the crowd’s eyes don’t match their smiles, or their glances go sideways around the group. If I can’t read someone or if I sense that something’s going wrong, I’ll ask or joke that I’m digging a hole. That doesn’t always go brilliantly either.

How Can You Get to Know Me If I Never Stop Joking?

I recently had a pre-date call with a very tightly strung feminist activist with a freight train’s worth of emotional baggage and more red flags than Chinese New Year bunting. I actually really liked her. She was fascinating, intelligent, and insightful. She had lived some hard experiences that piqued my interest. I felt we had a lot in common and I could learn from her perspective. Over the course of a 10-hour video conversation, we shared all sorts of things, including ADHD (she believes we like to set fires!). In the process of that often emotional encounter, we both became very vulnerable and opened up too much, too fast.

As the conversation got increasingly intense and the hour ever later (4am on a school night!), I made a few quips that were a bit edgy and funnier in my head than they were out loud. When I got that judge-y look back instead of a giggle, it compounded that “iceberg ahead” feeling, so I teased her and told her to lower her eyebrow.

The next morning, she cancelled our date and told me I did this “check” 8 times (she was counting!). I came across to her like I was insecure and demanding that she react with laughter – I was “one of those men who isn’t as funny as you think you are.”

How can we save our kids from screen addiction, which soared during the pandemic?

How can we save our kids from screen addiction, which soared during the pandemic?

Amir, a seven years old child, shows violent behavior and angry outbursts when his mother, Nour, refuses to let him watch TV or play on his iPad. Moreover, he does his virtual homework only if his mother allows him to spend at least five hours straight on screens. Amir’s mother, Nour, told Enab Baladi that even on special family occasions, her children spend a significant part of their playtime with their peers on screens amid the absence of traditional children’s games, which include physical activities.

In the past, TV stations used to broadcast children’s cartoons and shows within a scheduled period of time, commensurate with the school education systems in each country, in an attempt to minimize the negative side effects of too much-unorganized screen time. Unfortunately, the new digital devices, which display their content 24 hours a day, thanks to the available access to the internet, undermined efforts to monitor time spent staring at screens. Children can use technology, turning it into a habit that can be practiced at any time and without limits. Moreover, the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and the shutdown of traditional schools accelerated the embracement of digital learning immensely. Thus, children’s screen time soared during the pandemic.

Pediatric psychiatrist Alaa Daly told Enab Baladi that children’s misuse of technology—children often use technology for playing video games and watching videos— poses great dangers to their mental health, especially at young ages, the stage when the children are developing their language and social skills in order to interact and communicate with others.

Children’s mental health is also affected by the overuse of technology. Video games, in particular, have a harmful effect on their attention and concentration. While playing video games, children are completely detached from their surroundings. In other words, they cannot focus on their daily life activities, including physical ones, or connect with their families appropriately.

Prolonged TV viewing and digital game playing also inhibit the child’s ability to communicate and interact with other children, which is essential at this age. Excessive screen time may also lead to depression, anxiety, addictive behavior regarding the internet, sensitivity, anger outbursts, separation from reality, and lack of acceptance of real-life and interaction with its events. Alternative solution

Pediatric psychiatrist Alaa Daly said that one of the methods to mitigate potential risk factors for children, including their spending too much time on digital screens, is to find other non-screen activities for children to become involved. This means extra parent-child bonding activities. Parents should spend more quality time with their children; they should communicate with their children openly and effectively, carry out at-home activities, and minimize the amount of time children […]

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Advice for Soothing Kids’ Back-to-School Anxiety

Advice for Soothing Kids’ Back-to-School Anxiety

Devon Meyers / TMT In this past year of a profound global health crisis that has upended our daily lives and, at worst, stolen the health or lives of friends and loved ones, it’s no secret there are more people suffering with anxiety. With in-person instruction now offered at local Malibu schools, this may be a stressful time for those returning after a year of remote learning.

According to a report from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, due to the lack of peer interaction that helps develop crucial social skills, many children have suffered an emotional, mental and developmental toll along with a probability of falling behind in their studies.

The anxiety of returning to school after a lengthy period away caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will likely be more stressful than a normal autumn return to the classroom, especially for children. A few therapists contacted by The Malibu Times did admit they were seeing children and adults with varying levels of anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic and a return to a more normal life. The Wellness Center operated by the Boys and Girls Club of Malibu earlier told TMT it offers social support services to students including transitioning struggling distance-learning students, back to in-person instruction. BGCM social support services director Peggy Zherdev earlier confirmed: “We have professional therapists who are trained and have crisis intervention skills.” 300×250 image ad There are also things parents can do to help.

“Be attuned to your child,” advised psychotherapist Elizabeth Topp of the former Roots & Wings Center in Malibu. “Although many children are excited about going back to school,” reengaging in public life can stir up fears in some children who have “gotten used to being home and like being with their parents.”

And going back to “normal life” is not as simple as just flipping a switch.

“There’s a whole spectrum of anxieties,” Topp said. “Families have to decide what their own level of comfort is. If you have someone sick at home, children could carry that anxiety that they could bring [illness] back home to a vulnerable family member. At this point, many are comfortable with the protocols and practices that are in place at school.”

The PhD pointed out that even with mask requirements, “there’s a sense of liberation to be able to go to recess.”

For parents with kids who are anxious, Topp suggested, “The best thing to do is normalize any fears of the unknown. This is something we haven’t lived through before.” 300×250 image ad Still, she said, we have many things in our control, such as washing hands and wearing masks.

The psychotherapist suggested parents “check our own anxiety. If we are anxious, children pick up on that. Stay calm, grounded. Be available. […]

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How Physical Activity Helps Children Do Better in School, Life

How Physical Activity Helps Children Do Better in School, Life

Experts say physical activity can help children with self-esteem and task management as well as provide an outlet for emotions.

Parents are encouraged to schedule exercise for children as if it’s a daily classroom assignment.

Physical activity in childhood can help youngsters develop their emotional and behavioral regulation skills, which play a crucial role in their academic achievement.

That’s according to new research from the United Kingdom that analyzed the Millennium Cohort Study, a longitudinal study of 4,043 children.

Parents and teachers completed questionnaires to measure the emotional and behavioral components of the children’s self-regulation skills at ages 7, 11, and 14. Children’s physical activity was measured by factors that included intensity, duration, and enjoyment.

For 7-year-olds, physical activity positively predicted emotional regulation skills, resulting in higher academic achievement throughout early primary school.

For 11-year-olds, physical activity was linked to behavioral regulation and positively affected academic achievement. After accounting for socioeconomic status, these associations were even more pronounced.

“Physical activity is linked to emotional regulation in early childhood and behavioral regulation in middle childhood,” the study authors wrote. “This relationship predicts academic attainment, suggesting that early and sustained physical activity is an important element in children’s development and schooling.”

The authors also highlighted the importance of ensuring children have access to forms of physical activity, particularly for children from lower socioeconomic settings who may lack the resources or opportunities to participate in organized physical activity.

Dr. Jake Kleinmahon , an American Heart Association volunteer expert and pediatric cardiology director of Pediatric Heart Transplant and Heart Failure at the Ochsner Hospital for Children in Louisiana, explained how physical activity helps children with emotional or behavioral regulation.

“Physical activity is well-known to improve rates of depression, anxiety, and emotional well-being in children,” he told Healthline. Mechanisms that can explain this, according to Kleinmahon, include: Children involved in sports learn time management, communication skills, and receive feedback from coaches. Physical activity allows children to express emotions through movement in a productive manner. Organized sports provide structure for children, teach teamwork, and allow children to feel belonging. Improving one’s physical fitness, training, or competing come with emotional challenges that children learn to work through. Natural endorphins are released during exercise, causing a feeling of well-being. “All of these skills help in the classroom and improve brain development,” said Kleinmahon. “Conversely, the inability to regulate emotions may hinder learning, lead to disruptive behavior, and may negatively impact their life.”

Team sports offer children the advantage of consistent schedules and physical activity, playing with peers, and furthering social skills. Nonetheless, all types of physical activity are beneficial.

“Generally, when children feel better and better about themselves, they have an easier time regulating their emotions,” said Kleinmahon.

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Parents fear lockdown has slowed their child’s development – with kids more clingy and less confident, survey reveals

Parents fear lockdown has slowed their child’s development – with kids more clingy and less confident, survey reveals

MORE than seven in 10 parents are concerned that lockdown and the events of the past 12 months have set back their child’s social development. A study of 1,000 mums and dads of children aged eight and under found 65 per cent of youngsters have struggled with the lack of interaction during the pandemic. 1 A fifth of parents worry their child no longer talks as much as they used to, while 23 per cent think they are less playful, a survey revealed And children have become clingier, less confident, and more reclusive as a result. One fifth of parents worry their child no longer talks as much as they used to, while 23 per cent think they are less playful. Sadly, three in 10 parents say their child simply isn’t as happy as they previously were. It also emerged parents believe it’ll take at least five months of school or nursery before their children bounce back. In normal times, the average child would be socialising with seven good friends, and six in 10 parents say their social life used to be better than theirs. Deena Billings, Early Years expert at Busy Bees, which carried out the study said: “There is no doubt the pandemic has had an impact on the nation’s children, and they need more attention and understanding than ever. “We’ve seen children in our nurseries having to re-learn how to use their social skills, independence and interactions with peers when we initially reopened our doors last […]

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