How many times have you asked yourself what more you could do at home for your child’s learning challenge, whether it’s dyslexia, ADHD, or autism?
What many parents don’t realize is that they’re in the driver’s seat. As a parent, you’re fully invested in your child, and that gives you control and power in this situation. Sure, you may not be a teacher or a psychologist, but you are the adult who has the biggest impact on your child’s life. And it doesn’t matter which neighborhood you live in or what kind of car you drive. There are certain ingredients for success every child needs, and here are five of them – think time, love, and support.
Your child needs to feel safe and secure first.
When you establish a daily routine, you create a safe environment for your child that quiets his or her reptilian brain and nervous system and allows learning to take place. Create a consistent daily rhythm and routine in which you do the same things at the same time each day, including waking, sleeping, eating, and doing homework. Speaking of sleeping, make sure you all get enough sleep; children need at least ten hours of sleep a night, and teenagers may need even more.
Children love routines they can count on, and when they know their limits, their behavior will improve. Consistency is key, so don’t allow your child to push the limits. Stay firm, and your child will love and respect you even more because he or she knows you can be counted on.
Your child needs your unconditional love and support.
Giving your child all your love and support helps self-esteem by satisfying reptilian and mammalian brain needs. Love and support also help to create a safe and secure environment, and learning will happen as it should.
Watch what you say.
It’s easy to say something you regret when you come from an angry, reactive place. Always, always stop yourself from speaking when you’re angry, hurt, or upset. You can’t take back what you say. Words DO hurt, and they’re remembered long after they’re said. Angry or unkind words echo in your child’s mind for years, if not for the rest of his or her life.
Your child needs to feel capable and talented.
Point out what your child is good at, and nurture those strengths and natural talents. If you’re not sure where to start, just notice what he or she gravitates toward or chooses to do with free time. You’ll see a new side of your child you never noticed before, and acknowledging it will make your child feel wonderful.
Part of helping your child feel capable and talented comes from you feeling the same way. Read the blogs on this site, and internalize all you can. When you talk to your child’s teachers or doctors, they’ll take you seriously, and the more informed you are, the more they can help your family.
Make special time for your child and the rest of your family.
Create regular, routine time when you do things as a family as well as time when you do things one-on-one with each of your children. Both parents need to do this for the children, whether the two of you live together or not. This quality time is valuable to both parent and child, and it’s imperative that you’re present in the moment with your children.
As you can see, time, love, and support are the main things you can give your child to help him or her thrive, no matter what the learning challenges may be. They’re the same ingredients for success that any child needs, and they’ll help all your children become happy, healthy, well-adjusted adults.