Parents – RU really OK?

Amanda Abel – Paediatric Psychologist & Founding Director

Earlier this week I received a late-night email from Madeline Sibbing – one of our Principal Psychologists. It was something along the lines of “I can’t (insert expletive!) believe I forgot to write a blog post about RU OK Day – it is this week”. She mentioned how angry she was with herself.

After reminding her not to beat herself up, it got me thinking about the situation we find ourselves in right now and that Madeline’s 2020 RUOK Day blog post would unfortunately still apply this year as we still find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic, juggling remote learning and working from home. But this time it is different. This year we are all exhausted. We’ve been playing this juggling game intermittently here in Melbourne for 18 months now – with little teasers of ‘freedom’ in between the 6 lockdowns we’ve had so far. And as for the rest of Australia and the world – everyone is struggling in some way or another as a result of COVID.

There’s no doubt that COVID and lockdowns have significantly impacted parents. In fact, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported in June 2021 that 23% of women experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress due to the pandemic, compared with 17% of men. The same survey also found that more Victorians experienced psychological distress than the rest of Australia. And here we are again – locked down, working from home and remote learning. But this time, we are seeing the impact that 2020 – and the continuation of the pandemic, has had on our children. Hospitals are seeing a significant increase in child and youth mental health admissions, and our mental health system is overloaded with demand for services. Many of the parents I’ve spoken to clinically are experiencing stress about work, guilt about their children’s education and are mentally and physically exhausted.

I share this story with you because Madeline’s feelings of anger at herself might ring true to you. We need to accept that this is NOT a normal situation to be in. We can’t expect ourselves to perform to our usual high standard, remember everything, be the teacher to our kids, support our family and come out of the other side of this pandemic in one piece.

So please, have a read of last year’s RU OK Day blog post, where in 2020 Madeline reminded us to check in with our friends who are struggling. This is still applicable today unfortunately.

And if you need some ideas to keep going through the remainder of this lockdown take some simple steps to help your body’s natural response to stress kick in:

  • Slow your breathing down – inhale for a count of about 5, hold, then exhale for a count of 10. Ensure your ribcage and abdomen expand.
  • End your shower with cold water or immerse your face in cold water
  • Laugh
  • Engage in non-screen-based activities that you really enjoy

Some general ideas that can help parents who are working from home with little remote learners by their sides are:

  • Set aside time to play and connect meaningfully with your kids (make a list if you find it hard to think on the spot)
  • Get physical daily – even if it is dancing with the kids or playing chasey
  • Spend time in nature – which is known to reduce stress
  • Give yourself permission to say ‘no’ to extra work demands
  • Allow yourself dedicated ‘worry time’ – try not to think about work stress until your designated ‘worry time’ each day. This allows you to be more present with your kids and contain your stress so that your reactions to the kids can be focussed on their emotional needs rather than a response to your own stress.
  • Try mediating apps (Headspace is great, or even try YouTube for some freebies) – there are some super short 3-minute mediations that you’ll be able to fit in. You can even try embedding meditation into the daily routine with the kids so they can reap the benefits too.
  • Be flexible in your working habits, with later or earlier starts or day swaps if needed and if possible.
  • Increase structure into your workday by forming some WFH routines (coffee breaks, lunch with the kids etc.).
  • You can also increase structure into your kids’ lives which reduces anxiety and difficult behaviours – things like visual schedules, reward charts and house rules can work a treat if used consistently.
  • Try to embed fun into your lockdown life. Have a picnic in front of the TV for dinner or camp in the back garden. As important as structure is, we also need some variation to keep a sense of novelty in our lives!

Remember, this won’t be forever so it can help to find solutions that simply work for now. If you need to let things slip a bit with the kids, then that is absolutely what you should be doing. At the end of the day, the most important thing your family needs is to know that you’re all loved – and for your kids to understand that they are a priority in your life. If choosing not to argue over your child’s schoolwork means that you’ll all still be talking to each other by the end of the day, then that’s the option to take. Help is available at Parentline Victoria on 13 22 89, Kids Helpline 1800 551 800 or Lifeline 13 11 14. You can also speak to your GP about a referral to see a psychologist for ongoing support.

Amanda Abel is a paediatric psychologist, mum, and founder of Northern Centre for Child Development (NCCD) and Hawthorn Centre for Child Development (HCCD). She consults monthly in Beechworth in North-East Victoria. Amanda frequently presents at both academic and parenting events, most recently at the 7th Learning Differences Convention in Melbourne and Sydney in 2019 as well as many other events hosted by PR companies in Melbourne. Amanda is media trained, appearing on Channel 7 and 9 News and regularly features in print media. As a contributor to Finch Publishing’s “Working Mums” book, Amanda shared her insights about juggling a business and parenting.

Remote learning…AGAIN….

By Psychologist, Emily Coen

Home learning- here we are AGAIN! We have had to engage in homeschooling on and off for over a year now, and let’s face it we are all just a little bit over it. Below are some helpful tips to try and make this experience just a little easier for you right now.

1. Schedule

Plan your day! It is much harder to start work when you have a big pile of things to do, and no idea where to start. Just like at school, separate each subject into planned time. If you do not get through all the tasks in that allocated slot- that’s ok!

2. Quality over quantity!

When sitting down to do work, we know that children (and adults/ psychologists writing this blog) can procrastinate and put things off. The number of hours sitting and doing work does not always reflect learning skills. 

When it is time for your child to complete their school tasks, engage in short periods of quality work time and include break time so they can switch off, before re-engaging again. Again, if you don’t get through all of the work, that’s ok! You can always come back to it later.

3. Breaks

Children need movement breaks and learning breaks to help them reset and focus. Just as we have breaks during a regular school day, these are as important at home. As lockdowns drag on we notice children being less diligent with this and staying cooped up in their rooms more. Make sure to include movement breaks into your schedule.

4. Rewards

Having to engage in the bulk of our learning in the home environment is HARD. Set up a reward system for you child to motivate them throughout the week. Rewards can include ‘student of the week’ and other certificates, getting to choose the meal for family take away night, finishing ‘school’ early for the day or a special treat.

For some children, they may need reward for a particular target behaviour or skill. For example, if they can apply the teacher’s feedback before the end of the school day they will get a reward.

5. Balance

With the unpredictability of 2021, life can be stressful and overwhelming. Whilst we may have been given a mountain of remote learning tasks, it is so important to include self care and down time into your day. Just as we schedule ‘school work’ into our days, we really need to be scheduling downtime, to relax, socialise and engage in physical activity. Your children will also be less likely to avoid their school work, when given enough downtime to balance out their day. 

You are only one person, and chances are, you’re working from home yourself. Have some realistic expectations of what you can practically achieve for the day, whilst maintaining your sanity!

Emily is a registered psychologist with a Master of Professional Psychology. Emily has experience working with children, adolescents and their families across home, clinic, and educational settings. Emily has a special interest in working with autism spectrum disorder, developmental disorders, anxiety, behaviour management, and emotion regulation difficulties. Emily is passionate about working with children and their families in a flexible and creative manner, to best support their goals. Previously, Emily has worked as an ABA therapist and supervisor, allowing her to develop strong relationships with children and their support networks.
Emily works predominantly within the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy frameworks. Emily is an accredited Tuning into Kids facilitator and Cool Kids Anxiety Program facilitator. 
Outside of work, Emily enjoys spending time with her family, reading a good book, playing netball, and cheering on the Geelong Cats.

How do I tell my child they have ASD?

By Psychologist Emily Coen

In the second part of her “Should I tell my child with ASD about their diagnosis?” series, Emily Coen is back again. This time, for those of us who feel like we may be ready to share our child’s diagnosis Emily has some advice on how to go about it!

What should I say?

It is most important that you stay positive about Autism Spectrum Disorder. Everyone with an ASD diagnosis is completely unique and therefore it is important that each conversation is individualised to the child themselves. Everyone is different in their likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and personality. Differences should be discussed in a matter of fact manner, using concrete examples from the child and their peers. 

Most children will have a lot of questions, so start with minimal information, remembering that we can always continue the discussion as they learn more about themselves. There are some fabulous books you can read with your child such as:

  • Some brains:A Book celebrating Neurodiversity. Nelly Thomas
  • All My Stripes: A story for Children With Autism. Shaina Rudolph and Danielle Royer
  • Different like Me My book of Autism Heroes. Jennifer Elder and  Marc Simon Thomas
  • My Brother Charlie. Holly Robinson Peete

Some families find it easier to have a professional begin the conversation with the child, allowing the family members to play a supportive role. The professional can also gauge the child’s reaction, and provide further tips to the parents to best support the child. 

If you do wish for one of our fabulous psychologists to assist you with this conversation, please do not hesitate to give reception a call and book an appointment today. 

Emily is a registered psychologist with a Master of Professional Psychology. Emily has experience working with children, adolescents and their families across home, clinic, and educational settings. Emily has a special interest in working with autism spectrum disorder, developmental disorders, anxiety, behaviour management, and emotion regulation difficulties. Emily is passionate about working with children and their families in a flexible and creative manner, to best support their goals. Previously, Emily has worked as an ABA therapist and supervisor, allowing her to develop strong relationships with children and their support networks.
Emily works predominantly within the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy frameworks. Emily is an accredited Tuning into Kids facilitator and Cool Kids Anxiety Program facilitator. 
Outside of work, Emily enjoys spending time with her family, reading a good book, playing netball, and cheering on the Geelong Cats.

Should I tell my child about their ASD diagnosis?

By Psychologist Emily Coen

Here in the clinic, we come across this question all the time. Should I tell my child about their diagnosis? When is the right time to tell my child? What resources should I have ready for them? 

Many parents feel anxious around informing their child of their ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) diagnosis, for fear that it will give them a label that might make the child feel different from others. Parents often go through a range of emotions when their child is given a diagnosis – grief, relief, acceptance, and many more. And of course each parent’s emotional experience is unique. You may fear that your child will not understand, that your child may become angry that they have a diagnosis, or you may fear that the child will view themselves differently overall. Our hope is that after your child receives their diagnosis, you as the parents are provided with the necessary support to be able to understand the diagnosis and to advocate for and assist your child, in the best way possible. 

Are there any benefits to sharing the ASD diagnosis with my child?

We think so! First and foremost, children need to be able to have an understanding of themselves and their needs so that over time, they can learn to advocate for themselves. 

Children with an autism spectrum diagnosis should also have the chance to understand, accept and appreciate their uniqueness, which can occur once they learn of their diagnosis. Quite often, we find that understanding the label also leads to a sense of belonging, and knowing that there are other children out there who are similar to them and really “get” them.

Particularly for older children who have better insight, knowledge of their ASD diagnosis can also build a stronger sense of self-esteem. This is because some young people are often already aware that they experience some areas of difficulty compared to many of their peers, such as socialising or tolerating change. Knowing about their diagnosis often provides them with an explanation of WHY they have these challenges. It can provide relief for them to know that it is the ASD and not simply a lack of effort that cause these challenges.

So when do I tell my child?

Unfortunately, there is no magic age when it is best to tell a child about their diagnosis. This will be completely dependent on the child.

As with all children, their personality, abilities and social awareness are important factors to consider when determining when a child is ready to learn about their diagnosis. In the clinic, I often hear questions such as “why do I come to see you?”, “why is it so hard for me to make friends?” and “why can’t I be like everyone else?” These questions are a good indication that your child is ready to learn about their diagnosis. 

For info about HOW to tell your child, read Part Two of Emily’s article in the next blog post!

Emily is a registered psychologist with a Master of Professional Psychology. Emily has experience working with children, adolescents and their families across home, clinic, and educational settings. Emily has a special interest in working with autism spectrum disorder, developmental disorders, anxiety, behaviour management, and emotion regulation difficulties. Emily is passionate about working with children and their families in a flexible and creative manner, to best support their goals. Previously, Emily has worked as an ABA therapist and supervisor, allowing her to develop strong relationships with children and their support networks.
Emily works predominantly within the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy frameworks. Emily is an accredited Tuning into Kids facilitator and Cool Kids Anxiety Program facilitator. 
Outside of work, Emily enjoys spending time with her family, reading a good book, playing netball, and cheering on the Geelong Cats.

Should my pre-schooler start school or wait?

By Psychologist Madeline Sibbing

Jump on any Facebook parenting forum, type in the key words “prep” or “what age to start school” and no doubt you will be inundated with pages and pages of posts, conversations and opinions on this very topic. When faced with so much information, it can feel quite overwhelming and sometimes complicate your decision-making process even more than before!

So with that in mind, here are some of our top tips to help you formulate your decision. This advice is based on our experience as paediatric psychologists and decades of collective experience working with young children. 

Listen to your kindergarten teachers

It is around this time of year that parent-teacher interviews are held, with the specific aim of identifying whether your child appears ready to start school next year. You know your child best of course, but kindergarten teachers also have a great grasp of the range of typical development, and the particular skills required for school readiness. So use their expertise and bounce your thoughts and ideas off them! 

Try and ignore sweeping generalisations

These might be “boys are less mature so should always wait an extra year” or “shy girls won’t cope in the school environment”. Hearing these types of comments can make us question our gut instincts, but are rarely helpful. Your child is unique and stereotypes like that should not apply! 

Speaking of ‘gut instincts’…..

……this is the time to trust them. As a parent of two children, both of whom have birthdays after January, I was faced with this tough decision twice. And I chose to send one child at 4 years and keep the other one back until they were 5. Why? Because my partner and I just felt, in our gut, that one of them needed that extra year and one just didn’t. Both kids have absolutely thrived in their own way. 

Think about the end-game.

The decision you make now will also impact your child when they start secondary school in Year 7, as well as when they come to completing Year 12.  Keep in mind the impact of your decision at those key developmental milestones as well as just entry into primary school. 

Be specific about the skills you want them to have before starting school.

Think carefully about WHY you are leaning towards your decision. Is it that you feel your bright child is very bored and acting up, so would benefit from the stimulation of the primary school environment? Or is your bright child still struggling to develop their emotional regulation and social skills and would benefit from another year in pre-school to do this?  Again, this is where kinder teachers can be super helpful.  Speak to them about what you observe at home and what they see at kinder – and, if needed, seek their advice on strategies you can use to help your child develop the required skills. 

My final piece of advice is simply this: no decision is written in stone. Yes of course we want to get it right the first time, but if things don’t go to plan, there are a multitude of school staff, pre-school teachers, psychologists and other therapists who can help you forge a different pathway.

Madeline Sibbing is a Principal Psychologist at the Northern and Hawthorn Centre for Child Development. Madeline holds a Master of Educational and Developmental Psychology from Monash University. Her sixteen years of professional experience has been attained within government and independent schools in assessment, therapeutic interventions and consultation with children, adolescents, parents and teachers. She also developed primary prevention programs, mental health awareness activities and teacher training in a secondary college. Madeline spent several years working as an Educational Psychologist in London, UK, as a Chartered member of the British Psychological Society. She is a registered supervisor with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, supervising Masters of Psychology candidates and newly-registered Psychologists.
Consistently described as an engaging, down-to-earth and knowledgeable therapist, Madeline obtains enormous joy from working with children and young people… as often evidenced by the sounds of laughter and silliness emanating from her therapy room.

4 simple strategies to help kids with anxiety

By Psychologist, Judy McKay

All children experience worries, fears and anxiety to some degree. In fact, some anxiety is shown to be helpful (e.g., protecting us from danger, kickstarting us to study, practice and perform under pressure or to prepare for important events). However, when a child’s worries become persistent, when they start to affect daily functioning and prevent them from doing the things that they enjoy, we might start to have some concerns. Research suggests that anxiety disorders affect between 6-7% of children and adolescents. Below are some simple ways to help children manage their anxiety, by: noticing, normalising and talking about anxiety with them.

  1. Noticing physical and emotional changes – Things like somatic complaints, changes in confidence, sleep difficulties, appetite changes, more attached to parents and overthinking. 
  2. Labeling and acknowledging their anxiety – For example  “that feeling you are describing sounds a little bit like something called anxiety and I completely understand why you might be feeling worried and nervous right now”. 
  3. Normalise what they are feeling – For example “this reminds me of a time when I felt worried (I was ….) (I felt…)”. 
  4. Providing recognition for conquering fears – Noticing when they were really nervous and worried about something but they overcame it and did it anyway. 

So if your kiddo seems a bit anxious in recent times, try these four simple steps to start them on the road to identifying and challenging their anxious feelings!

References: Creative Ways to Help Children Manage Anxiety – By Dr Fiona Zandt and Dr Suzanne Barrett. 

Judy is a registered psychologist with a Master’s degree in Educational and Developmental Psychology. Judy has experience working with young people, their families and extended support networks across educational, clinical and community-based settings. Judy enjoys working creatively and flexibly with children and adolescents to explore their difficult emotions and experiences.
Outside of work, Judy loves spending time at the beach or in the countryside. She further enjoys playing social sports and prioritises spending time with friends and family.

Our fave parenting podcasts

By Judy McKay, Psychologist

We know that many of our CCD parents are juggling their own work, getting their kids to school and to various appointments all in the same day. Given this, finding the time to upskill in child development and parenting skills may not always seem feasible. So here are some recommended parenting podcasts that you can listen to on the go. They each contain short, informative and professional informed advice that you can soak up during the school run!

Parental as Anything – Maggie Dent

Maggie Dent is an Australian parenting author and educator. She’s an advocate for kids and parents alike and embodies a common-sense approach to parenting. In her podcast, she talks to parenting experts and gives you practical tips and answers to your real-world parenting dilemmas. 

A Different Brilliant – Orion Kelly

Orion Kelly combines his lived experience and expert advice to highlight the strengths, interests and aspirations of the autistic community. This podcast is made for autistic adults and parents of kids on the autism spectrum. 

Happy Families – Dr Justin Coulson

A podcast for parents who want all the answers but don’t have any time! In each short, easily digestible episode Dr Justin and his wife Kylie will address a specific family topic, offer expert advice and provide simple parenting strategies. 

Ask Lisa: The Psychology of Parenting – Dr. Lisa Damour Raising kids can be a bumpy, stressful and uncertain process which is why Lisa’s podcast brings her sane, informed, and practical perspective to your timely and timeless parenting questions. USA based.

Listenable – Dylan Alcott and Angus O’Loughlin

In their podcast, Dylan and Angus speak to people living with disabilities about their lives to educate and break down the stigma associated with disability. This podcast is targeted more towards adults, however the following episodes are recommended:

#4 – Prue Stevenson – Living with autism

#14 – Too Peas in a Podcast

Judy is a registered psychologist with a Master’s degree in Educational and Developmental Psychology. Judy has experience working with young people, their families and extended support networks across educational, clinical and community-based settings. Judy enjoys working creatively and flexibly with children and adolescents to explore their difficult emotions and experiences.
Outside of work, Judy loves spending time at the beach or in the countryside. She further enjoys playing social sports and prioritises spending time with friends and family.

Why making time for YOU matters!

By Laura Moresi, Psychologist

At the centre we work with parents that are ready to do whatever it takes to ensure the best for their children. But, when the subject of parent self-care is raised this is often dismissed as unnecessary, not the current focus and sometimes even selfish. We know raising children is an incredibly important job, but looking after yourself helps you do the job well and allows you to give your children what they need to grow and thrive. 

It is all too common to see a self-care post on popular social media sites that highlights the need to ‘treat yourself’ with bubble baths, long walks on the beach or bingeing the latest Netflix series. While these activities are important and can leave you feeling great, they are not reflective of true self-care and can often leave parents feeling that self-care practices are frivolous and/or selfish. 

True self-care is a broad concept focused on improving your physical and emotional wellbeing and involves any action you do to improve your health. Self-care tends to fall under the following six categories:

  • Physical
  • Psychological
  • Emotional
  • Spiritual
  • Social
  • Professional

When discussing self-care with families at our practice, the focus is often on practices that fall under these categories and support them in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Examples of self-care that may not be as readily posted about can include staying active, eating balanced meals, getting as much rest as you can and prioritising tasks to manage your stress levels. 

A further reason to prioritise your self-care is that self-care and mental health are strongly connected. When parents do not make their self-care a priority we can observe increased signs of stress and burnout. Parents can manage stress by using routines, staying connected to others and making time for themselves. Even a few minutes alone for a cup of tea or some breathing exercises can help bring your stress levels down. If feelings of stress continue, parents can also access their own mental health support.

Parents are often so focused on caring for their children that they do not always take time for themselves. But when you take time to care for yourself every day, you are looking out for your loved ones. And, as some might say, you’re giving them the best of you rather than what’s left of you.

References:

Raising Children’s Network

Waterford.org

Laura Moresi is a psychologist completing the Educational and Developmental registrar program. Laura is passionate about working collaboratively with families and other professionals to support children and adolescents to reach their best potential. Laura has experience working with a variety of development and mental health concerns.

3 top tips to help kids do things for themselves

Psychologist, Judy McKay

How do children learn to become independent and contribute to the household? The key is to start early, by building independence while they are young and harnessing that enthusiasm that young children have to “help” or “do it myself!” If you’re having trouble letting them step up, or unsure of how to go about it, here are three top tips to get you started!

  1. Give them choice – Kids love feeling in control of their decisions. Providing them with 2 options instead of telling them what they need to do can be a simple and effective strategy to build autonomy. It can also be useful when encouraging your child to do something they don’t want to do (e.g., You need to have a bath and eat your dinner so which would you prefer to do first?). 
  1. Develop their sense of responsibility –  Allocate them a special job or role within the family system (e.g., Feeding the dog, unpacking the dishwasher or watering the pot plants). Encourage them by praising their efforts. You could also track their success with a star chart with a reward they are working towards.
3.  Encourage Exploration - Once you feel that your child has developed a sense of safety and security (i.e., they have a safe and protected place to return to if they venture too far),  it’s time to let them explore their surroundings and to test their limits outside the safety net you can provide. Show confidence in your child’s abilities and let them know you think they can do it! 

Judy is a registered psychologist with a Master’s degree in Educational and Developmental Psychology. Judy has experience working with young people, their families and extended support networks across educational, clinical and community-based settings. Judy enjoys working creatively and flexibly with children and adolescents to explore their difficult emotions and experiences. In the past, Judy has supported young people experiencing a range of neuro-developmental disorders, anxiety, trauma, social skill and emotional regulation difficulties. Judy values the individual needs of each client and attempts to incorporate their personal interests, strengths and goals throughout therapy. Judy utilises a client-centred approach to her therapy which is grounded in cognitive-behaviour therapy and other evidenced-based techniques.

Outside of work, Judy loves spending time at the beach or in the countryside. She further enjoys playing social sports and prioritises spending time with friends and family.

Discipline and ADHD – can the two go together?

Psychologist, Emily Coen

Before parents with kids with ADHD stress out…..the answer is YES! Of course kids with ADHD can also respond to discipline and boundaries! They just may need a slightly different set of strategies that really fit their needs. Kids with ADHD may have difficulty sitting still, completing tasks, managing impulses, and following directions. The strategies below can be helpful in assisting your child with ADHD to follow the rules.

  1. Set limits: 
  • Be firm, fair and consistent. 
  • Start by establishing just a few specific rules, expectations and consequences for their behaviours.  
  • Follow through is important as children are great at identifying “soft spots” and learn how to get their own way.
  1. Release energy:
  • Children with ADHD often have excess energy. Allow your child to release this in an appropriate manner. Activities include trips to the playground, heavy work activities such as lifting and pushing, jumping on the trampoline, sensory games, or structured activities such as sports. 
  1. Managing attention problems: 
  • Establish a habit of working in short uninterrupted blocks of time to maintain attention and focus. 
  • Assist your child to stay on task by using visual reminders of tasks they need to complete. 
  • Give effective instructions. Start by gaining full attention, and avoid multiple step instructions with complicated language. Keep instructions and give one step at a time.
  1. Managing impulsivity. 
  • Come up with a private signal to remind your child it’s time to try and settle down. For example, use a hand as a stop sign to cue to the child to stop, breathe and think. 
  • Teach your child to go to a quiet spot to calm down when they are overstimulated or frustrated. Create a comfortable area and calmly guide the child there, not as punishment, but as a way to soothe themselves. They might need you to sit with them and help them regulate, this is OK! We call this “time in” with an adult who can support them, rather than the old-fashioned term of “time out” which is more of a punishment.
  • When talking to your child, bend down to their level and calmly explain their actions and consequences to their actions. 
  1. Praise 
  • Be proactive! Catch your child when they are displaying positive behaviours and praise them for it. Praising motivated children about what behaviours we are looking for, and providing frequent feedback, are really important.  
  • Establish a reward system for when your child is engaging in positive behaviours. 

6. Attention

  • Give your child 10 minutes of undivided attention. Learn about your child’s interests, their day at school, their friends. Check in on their feelings and allow them to ask questions. Giving your child attention in a proactive way can reduce attention-seeking behaviours.
  • If you’re finding it hard to fit this in, schedule it! Plan ahead, such as walking home from school once a week and chatting to your child on the way; or stopping for a milkshake before their after-school sports. It doesn’t matter how, where or when you do it – just plan it in!

Things to remember:

  • Stay calm. If you are angry or upset, do not deal with the situation on the spot. Or tag team with a partner or another family member who may be in a calmer state than you are! When you are calm, you are more able to communicate effectively with your child.
  • Do not take your child’s actions personally. It’s not about you! All kids struggle at times to regulate their emotions and behaviour, and it can sometimes be even harder for our kiddos with ADHD. Try and keep this in mind when your child pushes your buttons and remember: kids generally want to do the right thing, it’s just sometimes hard! (Just like it can be hard for all of us sometimes!)
Emily is a registered psychologist with a Master of Professional Psychology. Emily has experience working with children, adolescents and their families across home, clinic, and educational settings. Emily has a special interest in working with autism spectrum disorder, developmental disorders, anxiety, behaviour management, and emotion regulation difficulties. Emily is passionate about working with children and their families in a flexible and creative manner, to best support their goals. Previously, Emily has worked as an ABA therapist and supervisor, allowing her to develop strong relationships with children and their support networks.
Emily works predominantly within the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy frameworks. Emily is an accredited Tuning into Kids facilitator and Cool Kids Anxiety Program facilitator. 
Outside of work, Emily enjoys spending time with her family, reading a good book, playing netball, and cheering on the Geelong Cats.