Jul. 13, 2015


BED TIME: Bed time is often a nightmare! Some children are scared of the dark, some suffer separation anxieties, some find the time boring before sleep and want to stay "riled up". These are some of the main issues, but there are more and these make bedtime the main time when they become demanding and manipulative.

1. Eating: Nothing to eat for 2 hours before bedtime. Kids will demand it, but they are typically equating boredom with hunger and food will likely rile them up, as their foods of choice are full of sugar and other energizers.

2. Melatonin: only use with older children if needed. Only one 1mg tablet 2 HOURS BEFORE THEY ARE TO BE ASLEEP and OK this with their physician first. This is to set their biological clocks. Melatonin does not make you sleep. It resets your clock for sleep. So give one time only and the same time each night if possible. If it does not work on day one repeat each night and you should see results in 5-14 days.

3. Establish a firm bedtime: In order to implement the above effectively you need to establish time for the child to be in the bedroom and in bed. You can not make them sleep. The idea is more to offer quiet time that is conducive to falling asleep than to see it as a time to force sleep. That (forcing the issue of falling asleep) just increases resistance, anxiety (they then expect punishment), and fear. As a parent honor this bedtime. You chose to have the child, so love your child to sleep. Do not schedule events during this time if you can help it. If you can't, then have someone be home with the children/child during this time. It should be very rare to have children out during this time. Routine with this is your best friend.

4. Drinks: Water only. Not a lot. It is to help with dry mouths and not to encourage demands for toileting! No other kind of drinks as they will want more and use them as a stimulant! If they drink it fast and demand more just say no. They will learn to make it last.

5. Screaming for you: You know when the scream means something bad has happened and you better come here versus the scream just for attention. Allow yourself to respond only a set number of times unless the screaming/yelling indicates an emergency. Three should be sufficient.

6. Electronics: None. If any it should be just music and no video. Music does not need to be classical, but the beat should approximate the beat of the heart, it should not be driving, no syncopation, as little vocal as possible.

BATH TIME: Some young children love bath time, others hate it. I have encountered many that 1. Hate having their hair washed. Mostly they are afraid of not being able to breathe. The least fearful way of handling this (besides not washing their hair) is to let them take a wet wash cloth and running it over their hair to clean it. After many times of this introduce a slightly soapy one followed by one to rinse it. The most frightening is to pour water over their head after using much soap so that the soap and water cascade down their face. This is very frightening to them. 2. Hate having to take a bath (a shower is even worse): Let the child play in the water and make it as fun as you can. They are soakng in the water and getting clean some as they play. Introduce washcloth as a massage. Later add soap and rinsing process. Keep it fun! If you do not have time to let them play and they are scared of the bath process then try to forgo it until you do have time. Do a sponge bath instead. 

HOMEWORK TIME: Kids are in school for so long, then they come home and are tired. Brain tired. If they do not do their homework right away then it becomes even harder to get them to it later. If they agree to do it if you give them something and you give, well, they got what they want and no longer are motivated to do what you wanted! I feel that homework should be focused on children getting help from their parents to learn something they are having difficulty with. There should be no homework at all except for that. If a test is coming up and the children are not ready for it, that is a teaching problem and not a child problem (except for kids that just have no interest in learning, and even then teaching is in part making the topic of interest to even these).

BUT: you have a child that does have homework in a school system that thinks homework is more necessary than knowing a loving God. What do you do? My biggest problem was getting them to even tell me when they had homework! I tried to bargain with the teacher to make sure the assignment got in the bookbag, I would then take it out, get it done, and place it back in the bag. The teacher was to then make sure to ask him for it. Many times the homework was done and just did not get turned in. No teacher through three children ever agreed to this simple preposition! I have met other kids with this same need, with parents insightful enough to ask for the same thing, to also get turned down! Why? "We can't do that! We would have to do that with all the kids then." Why not? If homework is worth that much than do something like this with them all!

Do you have any ideas? Please e-mail me at brthrlv@msn.com !

I have heard throughout my life the expressions, "Boys will be boys", "That is what girls do at that age", and so on. These are used to excuse bad to very bad  and even criminal behavior. I also encounter over and over star sports players being excused for behavioral outbursts because we need them on the team to win.  It should be (but has not been) easy to deal with the sports stars: don't excuse the behavior just because they are stars, nor later in life because they are the boss, or the senator, etc. With the other: educators and psychologists should continue to determine what to expect at certain ages and have classes related to how to respond to others based on the probable way of thinking of children of that age. That information is already available, but may need updated for modern terminology. I used to have it through age 18, but as my kids passed these ages I threw the sheets away. No one seemed interested in approaching problems based on these predictions. The discriptions fit my kids to a tee. I looked at others since and see  the same patterns. When I talk about them they are denied by the parents and teachers even though the child in question is having the behavioral problem as indicated for the child's age! It seems unloving and even criminal to ignore what is out there already and allow the problems we have to continue instead of anticipating the problems and finding ways to use the knowledge to improve society.