Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Communication with Children!

Do you know people who always have a complaint, but never anything nice to say?  Do you like hearing the good qualities about yourself rather than the bad? 

Your answer to both of these questions is probably YES!  We all like to hear what we have done right over what we have done wrong.  This same idea also pertains to our children and is likely to be more important in the developmental years.  Sure, children need to be disciplined appropriately, but they also need to hear what they have done right!  “Catching your child doing something right” and providing praise that is descriptive of the action is pertinent to reinforcing good behavior that you want to see more of and building self esteem. 
Here are some tips:
-Make sure your non-verbal behaviors such as tone of voice, body language, and eye contact is reflective of what you are saying….in other words BE GENUINE!
-Offer physical affection if appropriate, such as a hug, back rub, or pat on the shoulder when communicating.
-Plan some alone time with your child….this says, you are special and I am going to make time for only you!
-Make descriptive positive comments, such as, “I really liked how you turned off the T.V. and came to dinner without me having to ask”.  Catching your child doing something right and describing the specific actions that they took is so important in getting your point across to let them know what they did that was good. 
-Reframe the word “No”.  For example, if you are at the store and your child wants a candy bar, an alternative to saying “No”, could be….”Today we are at the store for other things, rather than a candy bar, how about a banana?”.  Of course, saying “No” is much easier, but reframing the word will be helpful in the long run.
-Include these words in your vocabulary regularly:
“I was wrong” 
“Please forgive me”
“I love you”
“Tell me more”
“I appreciate”
“Thank you”
“I’m sorry”
With these words, you will be modeling appropriate behavior that your child can utilize in social settings, as well as teaching them empathy.

Remember, we want our children to talk to us, as well as others respectfully and appropriately, so we must do the same!

Resources:  Positive Parenting Program & Parenting Quick Tips-Practical Parent Education

Written By:
Naomi Berger-Perez, MA, LPC, LMFT

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Teaching Children About Feelings

Jake (6 years) was playing with his lego set, feeling very proud of his lego city, when Sallie (4 years) comes along and begins to “add” to his creation. Jake rebels by ripping the legos from Sallie and Sallie in turn cries loudly and stomps her feet. At that moment, mom comes in the room to find both children unhappy and frustrated with one another.
Any parent or caretaker of children has experienced this scenario. The mother here has to make a choice of how to respond in the best way. She can either a) punish Sallie for not asking Jake to play first, b) punish Jake for grabbing the lego and not sharing, c) punish both children by yelling and sending them to their rooms, or d) take this opportunity to teach both children about their own feelings and the feelings of the other child. Most experts will agree that the last choice- teach both children about their own feelings and the feelings of the other child- is the best option.

Teaching your children about their feelings is one of the most important gifts you can give your child.  Children who can identify their feelings and know how to express their feelings in an acceptable way will be more successful in school, show more empathy towards their peers, exhibit less depression and anxiety, and develop skills for healthy relationships in the future.
Here are some ways to teach your children about feelings:
·         Use everyday opportunities- In the scenario above, the mother can talk with both Sallie and Jake about how they felt during the moment when their toy was taken and help them talk about how they would feel if they were the other person.
·         Give the feelings words and encourage them to use their words when they have that feeling. For example, if your child goes to a new classroom and you notice they are hiding behind your leg, tell them you notice they are feeling SHY and that sometimes you feel shy when you don’t know anyone. This is also a good time to teach the child ways to make friends.
·         Point out the feelings of other people when you are in public. For example, if you are at the mall and notice another child crying, point out how they feel SAD.
·         Activities are a fun way to teach your child about feelings. One fun activity is to get round paper plates and art materials and make different faces- happy, sad, mad, etc.
·         Teach appropriate expressions- If your child is acting out when they are angry, be sure to label their feeling as well as give them an alternate way to express their feeling, such as through art, music, exercise, deep breathing, or talking to someone.
Your child can experience a wide range of emotions throughout their days and weeks.  Be sure to stay in tune to these feelings and use those opportunities to help your child become self-aware, empathetic, and in control of their emotional life.
Written by:

Kim Peterson, MA, LPC, RPT
Assistant Clinical Director, MedCare Pediatric Rehab Center Spring
Program Manager, MedCare Centers for Counseling and Play Therapy

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Welcome to the MedCare Cares blog! Here, not only will you find updates on what is going on in our clinics and in our home health, but you will also find tips and news about how to care for your child! Do you want to know accurate information about what is going on in the care of a special needs child? You will find it here from our expert therapists, nurses, and counselors so look no further...

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