You Are Your Child’s Greatest Teacher

March 11, 2015

 

You Are Your Child’s Greatest Teacher

 

 

A couple of months ago I wrote about techniques that child therapists can teach to enhance self soothing for children and how they can decrease the anxiety in children. I wanted to expand on this because I got so many emails thanking me for talking about children and anxiety.

 

You as a parent can help your children to learn how to slow their world down and view life with a positive spin.

 

As a psychotherapist of 34 years I am learning that the number one thing I can do is to learn the neuroscience. Neuroscience allows us to find ways to change brain chemistry and when we change brain chemistry we change how we perceive situations, people, and places. This means we can choose how others affect us. When you internalize difficulties differently, your brain develops different circuitry which is healthy and more resilient.

 

In schools where children learn mindfulness, there are dramatic improvements in behavior and self-esteem. If a child takes two minutes for a brain break three times a day he will improve his optimism in the classroom by 80% and on the playground, aggression will go down about 30%. These changes occur when a child learns to slow his brain down for 3 minutes — three times a day! A curriculum that includes this type of programming might include a gratitude circle where kids can go to the circle and tell each other what they're thankful for. We all know that when gratitude is used happiness and empowerment increases

 

You probably didn't know that you can help your child create better coping skills right now through simple exercises with mindfulness. As a parent you can have a gratitude exercise during dinner asking each person in the family to identify one thing that they are grateful for. This results in children realizing that they are not victims to their own lives but can focus on what is working for them. Another great way to teach them these principles is to role model them yourselves. Do you have a gratitude journal or make it a practice to share with your children what you're grateful for in the middle of a crisis or difficult situation?

 

You also can teach your child that his thoughts contribute to his success. Many people believe that we become what we think. As you experience a negative thought there are many neuroscientists that believe that negative thoughts create certain circuitry in the brain which perpetuates a negative worldview because those thoughts loom over and over again. When you have a negative situation it's helpful to create three positive thoughts about it. This is also a fun exercise to do in the car with your kids. When you hear somebody saying something negative… You say “okay let's think of three positives that can occur because of that negative situation.” If you hear your child telling his sibling, “I hate my teacher” you can ask him “even though you're not liking your teacher right now … share with us three things that you like about your teacher.” Don’t let the eye rolls and negativity get to you because you are teaching skills that will allow for better coping skills that not only feel better but thicken the cortex in the brain allowing your child to make better decisions and feel more connected to others. What a wonderful gift that is to be able to teach your child how to get along better in life and how to feel more empowered in this world to deal with difficult situations.

 

Go to www.IndyKidsDirectory.com to see the December 2014 issue for Carol’s Article – Anxiety and Your Child.

You Are Your Child’s Greatest Teacher

 

 

A couple of months ago I wrote about techniques that child therapists can teach to enhance self soothing for children and how they can decrease the anxiety in children. I wanted to expand on this because I got so many emails thanking me for talking about children and anxiety.

 

You as a parent can help your children to learn how to slow their world down and view life with a positive spin.

 

As a psychotherapist of 34 years I am learning that the number one thing I can do is to learn the neuroscience. Neuroscience allows us to find ways to change brain chemistry and when we change brain chemistry we change how we perceive situations, people, and places. This means we can choose how others affect us. When you internalize difficulties differently, your brain develops different circuitry which is healthy and more resilient.

 

In schools where children learn mindfulness, there are dramatic improvements in behavior and self-esteem. If a child takes two minutes for a brain break three times a day he will improve his optimism in the classroom by 80% and on the playground, aggression will go down about 30%. These changes occur when a child learns to slow his brain down for 3 minutes — three times a day! A curriculum that includes this type of programming might include a gratitude circle where kids can go to the circle and tell each other what they're thankful for. We all know that when gratitude is used happiness and empowerment increases

 

You probably didn't know that you can help your child create better coping skills right now through simple exercises with mindfulness. As a parent you can have a gratitude exercise during dinner asking each person in the family to identify one thing that they are grateful for. This results in children realizing that they are not victims to their own lives but can focus on what is working for them. Another great way to teach them these principles is to role model them yourselves. Do you have a gratitude journal or make it a practice to share with your children what you're grateful for in the middle of a crisis or difficult situation?

 

You also can teach your child that his thoughts contribute to his success. Many people believe that we become what we think. As you experience a negative thought there are many neuroscientists that believe that negative thoughts create certain circuitry in the brain which perpetuates a negative worldview because those thoughts loom over and over again. When you have a negative situation it's helpful to create three positive thoughts about it. This is also a fun exercise to do in the car with your kids. When you hear somebody saying something negative… You say “okay let's think of three positives that can occur because of that negative situation.” If you hear your child telling his sibling, “I hate my teacher” you can ask him “even though you're not liking your teacher right now … share with us three things that you like about your teacher.” Don’t let the eye rolls and negativity get to you because you are teaching skills that will allow for better coping skills that not only feel better but thicken the cortex in the brain allowing your child to make better decisions and feel more connected to others. What a wonderful gift that is to be able to teach your child how to get along better in life and how to feel more empowered in this world to deal with difficult situations.

 

Go to www.IndyKidsDirectory.com to see the December 2014 issue for Carol’s Article – Anxiety and Your Child.

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