Episode 30: Executive Function – Strengthen Awareness and Attention with Jill Stowell

     

    In this Episode

     

    Building executive function and attention starts with awareness

    It’s a patient process that builds in small steps. These are life skills that lead towards independence and are worth the investment of mental energy and time that it takes.

    In this week’s podcast episode, we go over how to help your child build awareness into daily life

     

    In this week's episode, you'll learn:

    • Steps you can follow to create positive change this school year
    • Easy language to help develop Executive Function in day-to-day life
    • Quick exercises that boost attention and help with transitions

     


    Episode Highlight

    "When you're exploring a problem with your child, start with something objective like, "I notice... Tell me about that." And then be quiet, and listen.

    This kind of a question keeps them from immediately jumping on to the defensive and opens the door for them to really share with you what's going on."

    - Jill Stowell

     


    Resources


    Bonus Q&A

    What can you do about kids who are good at completing things they like, but fall apart for tasks they don’t like or find interesting?

    What if they don’t see it as a problem?

    Tune in to the Bonus Q&A for Jill’s approach to these challenging scenarios.

    Episode Transcript

    [00:00:32.190] - Jill Stowell

    Welcome to the LD Expert Podcast, your place for answers and solutions for learning differences, dyslexia, and auditory and attention challenges. I'm your host, Jill Stowell, founder of Stowell Learning Centers and author of the new Amazon number one best seller take the Stone out of the Shoe: A Must Have Guide to Understanding, Supporting and Correcting Dyslexia, Learning and Attention challenges.

    [00:00:59.670] - Jill Stowell

    Today we're talking about getting off to a good start with good attention and executive function tools. A new year, whether it's a new school year or a new calendar year, is a great time to review what worked well last year and what didn't.

    [00:01:21.460] - Jill Stowell

    Think about areas where there were challenges maybe getting ready for school in the morning, or homework time, or managing materials in order to get them home and back to school on time.

    [00:01:35.850] - Jill Stowell

    Have this discussion with your child or teen. Let them contribute, even if they say something like, Well, I didn't like you nagging me about my homework all the time. Make a list of three to five things that you want to change.

    [00:01:54.390] - Jill Stowell

    When we work with students at the Learning Center on Executive Function, we work together with the parent and the student to make a list of their three to five top concerns or areas where change is needed. Then we prioritize and sequence the list with the most urgent or desired change first.

    [00:02:17.490] - Jill Stowell

    It's going to be really tempting, I know, to try to tackle everything at one time, but just work on one item at a time. The first thing you have to determine is what is the real problem or challenge that needs to be solved? And the behavior that you see on the surface probably isn't it.

    [00:02:40.830] - Jill Stowell

    If your teen hates that you nag her about homework all the time, the nagging isn't the problem, it's what's causing the nagging in the first place. And what's underneath that that you have to explore.

    [00:02:58.590] - Jill Stowell

    Determine this with your child. Observe, explore, and listen to understand their perspective on the issue. Then clearly state your view of the problem and what change is needed and why. Set a goal together and when we're working with kids on setting goals, we always want to start with the end in mind. What will it look like when the goal is met?

    [00:03:30.390] - Jill Stowell

    We say at the Learning Center: Walk it. Talk it. Visualize it. Draw it. You want your child or teen to actively engage with the goals so that they have a clear picture of what they're going after.

    [00:03:46.710] - Jill Stowell

    The next step is how. Together, brainstorm solutions and strategies. Write down every suggestion, even if it's really off the wall. Guide your students in thinking through the pros and cons of each strategy or solution, and then together determine the best one and why. Then take small bites. If the solution has a number of steps, just take one tiny step, one bite at a time. Let me give you some examples.

    [00:04:27.090] - Jill Stowell

    Jason is a profoundly gifted student with ADHD. He tends to think extremely fast, and he just impulsively talks over people. In observing and exploring with Jason, it was apparent that poor auditory processing and a true lack of awareness that someone else was speaking were at the root of the problem. We're addressing the auditory processing with sound therapy and auditory training. We'll probably need to work through the impulsiveness with him.

    [00:05:06.200] - Jill Stowell

    But the first step in not talking over others is increasing his awareness that someone else is talking. Jason's first assignment, that first small bite, was to notice five different times during the day when someone else was talking and document them in his journal.

    [00:05:30.270] - Jill Stowell

    So let's take the teen who goes down the rabbit hole of social media instead of doing her homework. Taking her phone away might be a solution, but it's going to make her angry, and it won't teach her anything.

    [00:05:46.410] - Jill Stowell

    Acknowledging that time on social media is important to her, and she must get her homework done. And then problem solving that together will help her feel respected, have buy in, and build executive function skills.

    [00:06:05.250] - Jill Stowell

    So as school resumes in 2022, reestablish your routines. Keep those that were working and problem solve those issues that weren't. I want to give you a few pieces of language that will help you in this process.

    [00:06:24.030] - Jill Stowell

    Number one, when you're exploring a problem with your child, start with something objective like "I notice... Tell me about that." And then be quiet and listen.

    [00:06:39.210] - Jill Stowell

    This kind of a question keeps them from immediately jumping on to the defensive and opens the door for them to really sharing with you what's going on.

    [00:06:52.650] - Jill Stowell

    So it might sound like this. "I notice that it's really hard for you to get started on homework right after school. Tell me about that." "I noticed that you seem really rushed every morning before school. Tell me about that."

    [00:07:13.230] - Jill Stowell

    Number two, start with the end in mind. When you're goal setting or planning, teach your child that we always want to start with the end in mind. So that's good language to use. Start with the end in mind. What will it look like when you're done? What will it look like when you've met that goal?

    [00:07:37.110] - Jill Stowell

    Number three, use the language, "What's your plan?" Using that language what's your plan? Will help the student to visualize the steps he needs to take.

    [00:07:54.150] - Jill Stowell

    Number four, take small bites. We don't need to eat everything. We don't eat everything on our plate in one bite. Well, new habits are kind of like that. They also need to be learned in small bites, one step at a time.

    [00:08:13.890] - Jill Stowell

    A last critical step in making a change is to monitor and validate set specific times to check in and see how it's working together. You can modify as needed, but always validate something specific about the student's performance or effort towards the goal.

    [00:09:05.790] - Jill Stowell

    I want to give you five quick attention executive function tools.

    [00:09:12.270] - Jill Stowell

    So the first one is cross crawls. Cross crawls are an integrating activity that you can use to help your child get ready for school or for homework whenever your child's attention starts drifting, when they're getting frustrated or tired, and for transitions. So when you're transitioning from one homework task to another or something like that.

    [00:09:47.910] - Jill Stowell

    So notice in this picture, the boys are crossing their elbow to their opposite knees, so they're really crossing across the midline of their body. You want to do that for about 30 to 60 seconds at a moderate speed. This is a great activity to just kind of reset. So it's a really good one to get going and to kind of reset if the child is getting frustrated or making a lot of mistakes or needs to transition.

    [00:10:18.810] - Jill Stowell

    Number two: walk a line. Walking in a straight line forward and backwards is calming. It's organizing, and it's a good way to help students not only get focused, but learn what it feels like to be focused.

    [00:10:37.840] - Jill Stowell

    So you want to have your child walk on a line on the tile, on the wood floor, or even better, on a curb. The curb provides that added challenge of being elevated, and because it's outside, it adds to the natural calming that occurs when you're walking forward, and especially when you're walking outside.

    [00:11:03.630] - Jill Stowell

    So have your child walk forward and backward, nice and slowly, in control. At first, they may be too fast. They may be out of control, out of balance. That's okay. You're just going to use a quiet, calm voice and let them work it out walking forward and backward until you see that their system starts to settle and calm.

    [00:11:29.340] - Jill Stowell

    And what's happening is as they gain balance and control, they're pulling their attention in. So it's a really good tool for increasing attention and increasing awareness of what it feels like to be focused.

    [00:11:49.950] - Jill Stowell

    Number three: getting started questions. If your child has trouble getting started on tasks, brainstorm together the first three things that she always has to do to get started. Turn these into questions. For example, what materials do I need? Is my name on the paper? Where is the first set of instructions?

    [00:12:19.050] - Jill Stowell

    Have the student put their little getting started questions on the front of their notebook or the top of their desk or wherever it is that they're going to be working independently and read the questions to themselves.

    [00:12:35.610] - Jill Stowell

    This improves independence and it stimulates self questioning, which is an important executive function tool for students who have very busy minds or are just dying to tell you things all the time.

    [00:12:53.670] - Jill Stowell

    Try using a thought box. Have the student visualize a special box where he will put his thoughts or ideas or things he wants to say or even things he wants to think about when it's not the right time to do that.

    [00:13:11.490] - Jill Stowell

    This validates that what the student is thinking is valuable and it isn't being thrown away or forgotten, but it's just not what he needs to be focusing on right now. We usually have the students, they create their thought box. They talk about what it looks like and then they put it on an imaginary shelf. This is a surprisingly effective tool. You have to develop it a little bit.

    [00:13:39.500] - Jill Stowell

    But we've seen kids start to drift or start to say something off topic, and then they'll say, oh, thought box. And they kind of reach up and put something in their thought box. And then they get back on target.

    [00:13:57.210] - Jill Stowell

    Number five: success board. Together, create a small weekly goal with daily steps and document each day to track progress. Make it fun for your child. Make it match your child. My son used to have charts where he put little hockey pucks on. My daughter would have used something colorful and sparkly. Research shows that documenting your own progress increases motivation.

    [00:14:32.850] - Jill Stowell

    It's also a good way for you to consciously validate your child's small steps. Sometimes, you know, in the day to day living, we forget that each one of those small steps is worth a celebration. A Success Board can build awareness and executive function by constantly reinforcing the idea of plan, do, check, act.

    [00:15:05.010] - Jill Stowell

    Plan what you do. Do what you plan. Check what you do. Act to improve. Building executive function and attention starts with awareness and builds in small steps. These are life skills that lead towards independence and are worth the investment of mental energy and time that it takes. Thanks for joining us today.

    [00:15:34.930] - Jill Stowell

    We are very appreciative of this community.

    Bonus Q&A Transcript

    [00:00:00.250] - Maddie

    I've been hearing a lot about. You know, they're super motivated with things they like. And they can turn in things that they like, but then when it comes to tasks that they don't find interesting, the planning just kind of falls apart. Do you have any ideas of how to kind of tackle that? Jill?

    [00:00:19.850] - Jill Stowell

    So if you kind of go through that strategy so you're talking about kids are fine to do things that they are really motivated and interested to do, but things that they don't want to do, like homework, maybe, or maybe they love math, and they can always get that done, but they really struggle with reading. They don't want to deal with anything where they have to read or write. That probably isn't primarily a motivation problem. That probably is an issue of it being too hard.

    [00:00:59.620] - Jill Stowell

    But what we need to do is open it up and find out from the student, hey, I notice that you are super motivated and energized when you're doing this, but when it's time to do your social studies or when it's time to, you know, clean your room or whatever it is, I noticed that's pretty hard to get going. Tell me about that.

    [00:01:28.220] - Jill Stowell

    And then we just need to really listen to see what they say. They may say, I just don't even know how to get started. I don't know what I'm supposed to do. It's too hard. My teacher hates me and gives me too much.

    [00:01:43.370] - Jill Stowell

    Whatever it is, we just need to hear what it is that the student is providing for us, and then it is something that they need to do. But then brainstorm together. Would it help if I sat next to you while you get started? Would it help if we talked through this? Would it help if and just come up with any solution. Brainstorm it, visualize it.

    [00:02:18.210] - Maddie

    Yeah, I love that. I love the just open conversation. I noticed this, and there's no judgment, but it is opening up that dialogue. I think that's great.

    [00:02:28.330] - Maddie

    Tracy has a question. She says, what if they don't see it as a problem? I'm thinking in regards to the fact that maybe they don't want to address things that they don't enjoy. What if they don't see that as a problem?

    [00:02:45.730] - Jill Stowell

    If you see it as a problem and there's something that has to change, well, there are two sides of every issue. The thing that happens a lot of times in a parent child or a teacher student relationship is that the adult is telling the student what they need to fix, what they need to change, what they need to do. And so we just want to acknowledge that there are two sides.

    [00:03:15.650] - Jill Stowell

    So we want to open up what is their picture, and they may not think that it's an issue, but you open that discussion up. I noticed this. Talk to me about that. And then you say, here's my side of it. This has to be done. It isn't okay for I know you love Legos, but it isn't okay for them to be scattered all over the living room because people step on them and get hurt. So how can we solve that? Where you get to have your Legos in a place where you want them and nobody's going to get hurt or whatever. So we have to help them. They also get to see our side.

    [00:04:05.770] - Maddie

    For sure. I like that example. This can definitely apply to things that are not just like turning in your school work. It can be all kinds of things like that. Sunny says hello from North Carolina, how to help high school sophomore with time blocking. He likes two of the four classes he has, so I guess kind of going along with that. But any additional thoughts there?

    [00:04:36.270] - Jill Stowell

    It sounds like the issue is he'll focus on the two classes he likes and not on the classes he doesn't. And so the way to open that discussion is, you know, maybe to say, hey, I noticed it's really tough to get going or to spend time on those classes that you really don't like. What's going on there? Tell me about that.

    [00:05:00.930] - Jill Stowell

    And then to be able to acknowledge, you know what, there's stuff I really don't like either and I know I have to do it. And in your case, you do have to do it. Let's brainstorm some ways that you could get that done. And so you might share something that you do in terms of time, things that you don't like to do. Do you choose to do them first to get them out of the way? Do you do them in small amounts?

    [00:05:33.310] - Jill Stowell

    Like, okay, honestly I hate email and a lot of times I'll say, okay, I'm going to do 30 minutes of email and then I'm going to set the timer and be done with it, even if it's not done and I'm going to do something else and then I'll come back to it.

    [00:05:51.330] - Jill Stowell

    Sharing some ideas is part of that solution. Brainstorming and then having the student then kind of visualize, how would that work for me? Would I like that? What does that look like? And coming up with something to try. It is a problem. He does have to do the other two classes. He can't ignore those. So you do have to figure that out, but let's find out what is it about those that is making it really difficult. And then brainstorm solutions.

    [00:06:30.260] - Maddie

    Definitely. That makes sense. We have a question from Gina. My daughter is twice exceptional, ASD and ADHD. She is resistant to anything I suggest because I'm mom complete with eyeroll. How can I help break through that? Her dad is also ADHD TPI. I'm not sure what that one is, so can't help too much.

    [00:06:58.730] - Jill Stowell

    I think a big part of it is, first of all, I don't know if you said she was a teenager or not. But certainly at all ages, kids don't think their parents know quite enough. But especially as they get into that adolescent teenage, they don't want input from their parents. And they feel like their parents are always telling them what to do. They feel defensive, they're interrogating them. And so you have to really go out of your way to set it up in a way that doesn't feel controlling. That isn't going to feel controlling to them.

    [00:07:47.250] - Jill Stowell

    A good way is I don't know if you like to take walks. Walks are a great time. I found car time when I had one child in the car with me was actually a great time to just talk. And walking is really good because it kind of settles the nervous system. So you get out of that kind of fight or flight kind of state. But the big thing is to set it up. I know with my son, when he was a teenager, if I really wanted to talk to him about something, we went to Round Table Pizza. I don't know why, but he was really willing to dialogue with me at Roundtable Pizza. So that was our space when we needed to have a discussion like that.

    [00:08:43.000] - Jill Stowell

    So you just got to pick a time. Maybe you prep them, maybe you say, hey, we really need to talk about this thing. Let's just set a time to do that. And that way she's got it in her mind we're going to do that and open it up. Hey, I just want to hear from you what's going on with this? Or I notice and keep it really objective.

    [00:09:11.810] - Maddie

    Yeah, I like that a lot. And then she did confirm that her daughter is 16. So yes, a teenager. So that makes sense. I remember when I was a teenager, I don't know why, but I responded really well to sometimes if there was a conversation that needs to be had, almost starting it off over text, I know that's a little bit weird, but it felt less vulnerable sometimes. So that's an idea too.

    [00:09:37.580] - Jill Stowell

    And that is definitely how kids communicate. I remember very early in LD Expert shows, we had a psychologist on and she talked about just exactly what you said. If your child is not talking to you, you can open up a conversation on text.

    [00:10:05.950] - Maddie

    Yeah, definitely. And then it looks like we have a couple more comments. Luis is just chiming in. My son doesn't see the point of school. He has lost all interest in school only like sports or things he gains pleasure from. I've tried countless strategies. He has high functioning autism spectrum disorder and ADHD. So yes, hopefully some of this is maybe some new ideas. I know we try so many things, but maybe opening up that conversation still. Do you think.

    [00:10:46.310] - Jill Stowell

    It is challenging to convince our kids, especially high functioning autism Asperger personality, part of their deal, especially with Asperger type, that's HFA one, I believe, is that it's really hard to see someone else's point of view. So if he feels that school there's no point in school, he feels there's no point in school, and it's hard for him to see your point of view on that.

    [00:11:29.620] - Jill Stowell

    But it is something that he does have to do, and so acknowledging where he is, hey, I get it. You don't really see a lot of point in this. Sometimes our kids are so bright that they can do it, and it just doesn't seem like they need to spend time on it. Hey, I get that. I see it. This is one of those things we have to do. How can we figure out to make it more palatable for you?

    [00:12:09.690] - Jill Stowell

    The other thing is, whenever I hear about a student who they don't see the point at school, they hate school, they don't want to go, that usually means there's something that's really difficult or uncomfortable for them. And sometimes our kids are good compensators or they're smart enough, they have other things that they can manage and they can cover it. But I think it's really important to explore what is underneath that.

    [00:12:41.700] - Jill Stowell

    And that is something that we do all the time in our testing, we're always looking at what are the underlying issues your child may have auditory processing issues, and it is so painful to sit in class and try to stay awake when someone's lecturing and they're not getting anything or they've got attention challenges, and it's just really hard to sit still in a chair. We need to figure out what those things are so that we can start to address them and give them tools, build the underlying skills so that they can tolerate and learn.

    [00:13:28.210] - Maddie

    Awesome. Thank you so much. We've got a question from Karen. She says, I know in a 19 year old with ADHD and depression who has had a rough semester of college, that mid semester slump, any suggestions on convincing him to talk to his teachers about his disabilities and struggles? He believes it won't make a difference if he talks to them.

    [00:13:56.330] - Jill Stowell

    Again, especially at that age. It can't be us convincing them to do it. They have to come to that conclusion. But again, you could open up the discussion and say, it seems like you feel like your teachers would not be open to hearing about your challenges, or it seems like you feel like it's not going to do any good. Tell me about that.

    [00:14:28.020] - Jill Stowell

    Because they may have had experiences in high school that made them think that, but college is different. Each person is different. We don't know. Or maybe the real issue is they don't know how to approach it or they're embarrassed about it. So again, I think we have to dig in and find the real issue so that we know what we're trying to dialogue with them.

    [00:14:54.410] - Maddie

    It's so true, and sometimes we think we know because maybe we're assuming, like, if it was me, this is what my issue would be, but you just don't know until you're able to open up about it. Great advice.

    [00:15:09.050] - Maddie

    Tracy says, my ten year old was recently diagnosed with ADHD combo. He is starting on medication, but we are looking for academic and life skill coaching for school and home. We aren't local. Are you aware of any resources that could help from afar? Don't know where to start.

    [00:15:32.030] - Jill Stowell

    I'll give you two resources to consider. Stowell Learning Centers, we work remotely. We work with people all over the world. That is certainly a resource that I would suggest to you. Give us a call and we're going to put our information up at the end of the show. But Stowellcenter.com, you can just get a free consultation with one of our consultants. Maddie happens to be one of them. And just talk about it and see if it's a good fit and how that would look. So that's a resource.

    [00:16:13.790] - Jill Stowell

    Because you were talking about ADHD and I think maybe sort of along the lines of executive function. Seth Perler, who has been on our show before, is an executive function and life skills coach. And I'm sure we can put it in the chat, but it's probably Sethperler.com that is another great resource and he works remotely, as well.

    [00:16:40.790] - Maddie

    Yes, I know a lot of families really like working with him, just going along with just the whole idea of trying to open up that conversation with the student or the child. Gina is just chiming in. I'm not an expert, but our husband was a university professor. He really felt for the kids who came to talk to him and really tried to make a connection and help. And I think that's the case for a lot of teachers and professors. So, yes, definitely.

    [00:17:12.750] - Jill Stowell

    Your child could have had a bad experience somewhere along the line and now they think that it's going to be the same having that discussion and just trying it out, trying it with the safest teacher and see how it works.

    [00:17:36.010] - Maddie

    Definitely. And then Louisa just chiming in. It's hard with high functioning autism because communication is a challenge for them. Do you have any tips for maybe that audience?

    [00:17:54.110] - Jill Stowell

    It is hard. And Maddie, you can chime in too, if you have some things that you've used with your students that you think would help. But I think you have to connect with your student at the level of their communication. So you need to be very concrete. Sometimes when we're trying to elicit information, we'll give a choice in contrast, is it more like this or more like this?

    [00:18:30.810] - Jill Stowell

    And also with that population, they do best when they have a structure to work with. And so saying, hey, I know this is not something that you want to do, it is something that you have to do. Let's structure this together. Should we try this or this first? Or here's what I think we should try first. What do you think? Is that a yes or a no? So just provide however much support they need in order to communicate back to you and be a part of that discussion.

    [00:19:14.010] - Maddie

    Definitely. Yeah. I think that's great. They tend to do very well with, like if they're having trouble expressing themselves. Yeah, like giving them those options. And from what I've seen, typically kids on the spectrum, they do want to follow rules. They are very conscious typically of what is expected of them, and I think that is important to them. So when it's laid out in a structure that's really clear, they tend to do pretty well with it. There's always nuances and everyone's different, but just from what I've seen, yeah, hopefully that is helpful.

    [00:19:56.850] - Maddie

    Let's see here. We have a few questions, just more about or questions and comments about our services. Karen says that we did the distance learning program with Stowell Learning Center and it was incredibly valuable and successful. Thank you, Karen. That's awesome. Thank you.

    [00:20:15.390] - Maddie

    And then Katie has a question. Does Stowell Center have scholarships for single parents whose child could really benefit from the program but can't afford it?

    [00:20:26.910] - Jill Stowell

    We do not, is the short answer. There are lots of ways to work with kids and families, and so we really try to come up with what's going to work best for you. Most of our students work one on one with one of our clinicians, either on site or remotely, three to four and a half hours a week. That's pretty standard.

    [00:20:56.070] - Jill Stowell

    But we also have some parents. I kind of think Karen was one of them, who they came and they did some intensive work with us and then went back. And the parent does most of the work while having a consultation with us. So there are different ways to do it and it just depends on how much time you can commit to the process yourself, to be a part of it, to partner with us. And so, of course, that reduces the cost. It increases the time for you. It reduces the cost.

    [00:21:35.830] - Maddie

    Angelica says, how can I help my ten year old daughter visualize the steps they need to take to be ready on time in the morning for school? That's a really good question.

    [00:21:45.250] - Jill Stowell

    So using that language, "what's your plan" is really good. And I will refer you to a couple of episodes that we did with Sarah Ward. She talks very specifically about this and so check those episodes out. But when you tell your child what to do to get ready, you are visualizing it, but they are not. What you want to do is say maybe you say you need to get ready for school. What's your plan?

    [00:22:29.380] - Jill Stowell

    So using those words now, maybe your child is downstairs in the kitchen. And so now you say, well, tell me your plan. So now she has to think, oh, I'm going to go upstairs to the bathroom and brush my teeth, and then I'm going to go to my room and I'm going to get my pants and sweater out of the closet. So now as she's talking through her plan, now that's triggering visualizing.

    [00:23:00.350] - Maddie

    Yes, that's so powerful, too. And my same student, I'm just bragging about her because she's doing so great, but she had actually heard that very successful business people and athletes, they visualize their day as just kind of like a practice. And so she started doing that. So running through like, okay, this is what it's going to look like when I get up, and this is what it's going to look like when I go to brush my teeth and this whole thing. And it is working really well for her.

    [00:23:30.020] - Jill Stowell

    And, you know, that is really great when a student can connect to something real kind of outside of themselves. Successful athletes do this or successful your student is 19, so successful adults do this. If your child my son was a hockey player, and I remember one time specifically saying, hey, hockey goalies found this kind of change by doing this. And so he was like, when can I start? So if we can connect it to something that's really important to them also. That's great.

    [00:24:14.750] - Maddie

    Awesome. Thank you. And then, just so you know, we did post the steps in the chat so you can check that out. Plan, do check, act, going along with that. And then Christie has a question. Good question. How do you implement this before they can read? So, like, getting started questions, any ideas there?

    [00:24:36.830] - Jill Stowell

    Did you say how do you implement it before they can read?

    [00:24:40.390] - Maddie

    Yes.

    [00:24:42.950] - Jill Stowell

    Do it with pictures. Another thing from our episode with Sarah Ward, she talks about taking photographs. So if you're thinking about your child, she was talking about getting dressed in the morning. What does it look like when it's done? Take a photograph of that. If your child can't read yet, but they have maybe a little kindergarten homework and they need to come to the table and they need to get their paper out, and they need to get their pencil or crayons, take a picture of those three steps and then put the pictures out for them to follow and they can say what it is. Oh. First, I do this.

    [00:25:37.510] - Maddie

    Yes, definitely. The more the visual aspect rather than the kind of checklist. Yeah. Arla, thank you very much for these tips. Would it also be beneficial that the child can write down on a piece of paper his or her thoughts and use it as a thought box? That's interesting.

    [00:25:58.490] - Jill Stowell

    Yes, it can. The thing that is really great about the thought box is that it's quick. It doesn't require anything in terms of drawing, writing, utensils. It's just quick and easy and they can use it anywhere. But if it's too abstract. You can always start that way with something physical and then go to that later.

    [00:26:32.330] - Maddie

    And then we have another question from Rita. How can I get my six year old son to watch less TV without showing any aggression when the TV is off? That's a very common question. Same with video games, too.

    [00:26:46.310] - Jill Stowell

    Yes, you have to almost make a fresh start with that, and the new year is a great time to do that. So being able to say, first of all, you can still kind of go through your problem solving together, but of course, the younger your child, the more guidance you have to give.

    [00:27:14.370] - Jill Stowell

    But you might say, hey, I know, I can tell that watching TV is really important and fun for you. In 2022, we're going to have a new rule in our family, and that is that we only watch TV this amount of time per day or after homework is done or whatever. Whatever your rule is, you can say, this is how we're going to do it now, as a family, how can we make that work? What do you think? How can we make that work for you but still have your rules?

    [00:27:56.270] - Jill Stowell

    And I wouldn't do it while he's watching TV and you're saying, okay, you need to turn it off. We need to talk about it. Do it at a very objective time where nobody's doing anything that they're going to be pulled away from. Same with video games. Video games, they're very addictive and they are important to kids.

    [00:28:23.230] - Jill Stowell

    It's what they've got, social media and video games and devices, but they can get really out of hand. And you're going to end up with some attitudes and behaviors that you don't want. And so you need to figure out what is your family parameter around that going to be, and then dialogue with your child. Because remember, there are two sides of each issue, your side and theirs. Recognizing it is important. How do we fit it into this rule or parameter that we have?

    [00:28:59.030] - Maddie

    So true. I think when the boundaries are clear, things just go so much more smoothly, because I think a lot of the challenges come up when maybe the expectation is not it's a little bit ambiguous for them, and then that's when they might be very reactive. So yeah, good point.

    [00:29:18.250] - Jill Stowell

    Right. And change is always hard.

    [00:29:21.010] - Maddie

    Yes, true.

    [00:29:22.510] - Jill Stowell

    So that might be where your little success board comes in, where we're going to do this today. And then we get to say, hey, look what I did. I'm proud of myself. One day at a time.

    [00:29:39.530] - Maddie

    All right. She says thank you. Thanks for the question, Rita. And then Gina is actually giving, I think, a suggestion here. Good suggestion. One of the things that helped us a lot was finishing the last question of I think understanding that finishing the last question of homework wasn't the end of homework. Putting the homework in the folder and putting the backpack is the last step. So, yeah, definitely a good thing to add into your visualization of what will it look like when it's done? It's going to be in the backpack, in the folder.

    [00:30:09.120] - Jill Stowell

    Absolutely. Thank you for that.

    Podcast EPISODE 30 Jill Stowell on Strengthen Awareness and Attention

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